Wednesday, March 1, 2006 – Ash Wednesday, Happy Birthday Kristen Barriner
I got a haircut for the first time in over a year today. Actually, it was just a trim, but it was the first time anyone took scissors to my head in any way, shape or form since the day I first interviewed with my boss, Scott Hendrix.

The weather was just absolutely beautiful today. I felt compelled to start my work day out back at the picnic table.

Amanda and I went out to eat downtown at the Reel Cafe. Rob Peterson and Kristen Barriner were already there when we got there. Kim Ayars came next, followed by Ben and Jessica Lambeth and then Paul, Kim’s husband. Paul had gone to a meeting to see about a mission trip to Costa Rica. Duke was playing Florida State throughout dinner and they lost. In the first half Duke made a great rally to get within a few points by the half, then it went back and forth, staying close in the second half, but Florida State pulled it off. I wasn’t able to watch the entire game, but Duke was in a lot of foul trouble. Josh McRoberts fouled out about halfway through the second half, Sheldon Williams fouled out at the end and just about everyone else had three fouls. That lead me to thinking there was some terrible officiating going on, because Duke is a team that draws fouls. From what I’ve read on message boards, I’m right. It sucks, because Duke could have gone undefeated in the ACC (one more game against the Tarheels, at Cameron, so the Devils should win). Plus, the Seminoles are unranked, so Duke is sure to lose the top spot in the polls.

Anyway, back at Christmas we had decided to do a white elephant or Chinese Christmas, whatever you want to call it. Well, since we’d never gotten around to it and because Paul’s birthday was Sunday, Kristen’s was today and mine is Saturday, we decided we’d all bring presents and do that now. I ended up with a small battery operated tv, although I didn’t get it tonight. Paul and Kim have had their presents wrapped and ready since Christmas but the rest of us were slack in getting our gifts ready. Ironically, Kim forgot to grab the gifts on the way out!

Tonight was guy’s night on American Idol. One of the North Carolina guys, Chris something, was easily the best singer of the night. I think so far, he’s my pick to win it all.

I’ve decided to give up candy for Lent again. It worked well for me last year. I even started (as I do now and then) a little exercise regimen today. Nothing major; a bunch of jumping jacks to get the heart pumping a little, some sit ups and push ups then a number of stretches. Like I said, it’s nothing huge, but it’s something. Hopefully I can keep it up and expand on it later.

Thursday, March 2, 2006
I was drowning at work today. All sorts of sales and support items have been coming up lately. Along with going to a meeting across town I just felt like I couldn’t catch up. I also met with Caroline and I think she’ll be ready to go very shortly, which, with the way I was feeling today, is a really good thing.

As I was at Bear Rock at 5:00, Amanda met me there and we walked around the mall looking for gifts for Amy and Ben and for my dad. I called to house to see if Mom had any ideas of what to get him and Dad, of course, said he didn’t need anything. He said the only thing he told my mom he wanted was a very bright golf bag, like a pink or a purple or whatever would just really stand out. That way when someone asked which bag was his, he could just tell them, “That one.”

Earlier today I got a birthday card from Baba and Pap (my dad’s parents). I’ve tried calling them over the past couple months a few times but finally got through today. Pap sounded real good and healthy. He said they were still able to drive around and get out to places like the grocery store and church. He told me that on Dad’s card he’d written some Slovak phrases. I told him I thought it was cool that he still knew so much of it, my assumption having been that he picked some of it up from his parents when he was little, but he told me that it was actually all that was spoken in his house and he knew very little English by the time he started first grade (there having been no kindergarten back then). His older siblings had taught him some. He also said something that made me really glad; that he was writing down memories now and then and was thinking of buying a tape recorder.

Friday, March 3, 2006
Work was much more manageable today; I got very caught up due in part to the mercifully low call volume today. I started the day by dropping Amanda off at work and I was able to leave at 4:00. We stopped by Target to pick up a gift for Amy and Ben then headed out to Hampstead to pick up Ben and Jessica. Ben was running a few minutes behind, but we weren’t held up long and went on to Richlands.

Karen had fixed us some salad, spaghetti and apple pie. We hung around there for a while (and I finally got my brown jacket back!) and waited for Michael, but he ended up getting off really late and we went over to Beulaville to stay with Peggy and Earl, Amanda’s grandparents.

Oh, Amanda had gotten everyone together to get me a battery grip for my camera, but it was unfortunately the wrong model, which I found out after opening everything and trying to attach it to my camera. She got an extra battery for it too. I actually knew what I was getting, because a yesterday when she was talking about the credit card problem (which was fixed finally- somehow our check showed up but she still had to argue with them to get the late charge removed, and this after being told by a snooty operator to shut her mouth). Anyway, she made a mention of calling “the camera store,” which confused me for a second because I thought she was referencing the flash I bought last month before I realized that wasn’t bought with the credit card. So I knew it was something for the camera, and when she said her mom went in on it, I knew it was either a lens or a battery grip. I was excited to get it and really ready to put it on and try it out, but I guess I’ll have to wait until I can exchange it.

Oh yeah, Anna Frazelle, Amanda’s aunt, referred a friend of hers to me to shoot her daughter’s wedding and bridal shots. I might actually end up paying off my hobby one of these days!

Saturday, March 4, 2006 – Happy 50th, Dad (and happy 28th to me)!
I started my 28th birthday off by taking Bruce outside to pee twice by 7:30 while wearing my jammy pants. Fortunately it wasn’t freezing outside. Karen joined us all for a classic Peggy and Earl country breakfast and we (me, Amanda, Ben, Jessica, Peggy, Earl and Karen) sat around and talked for a little while before the younger ones of us headed off for Rougemont. Erin called to wish me a happy birthday while we were heading out of there and we talked until we got to I-40. On the way there we worked a crossword puzzle, which was kind of fun because everyone was involved.

When we got to the Dotsey homestead nobody was there but Aunt Jodie and Gordon. Mom got home from a fox hunt not long after though, and eventually Andra came home with Eleanor and Hillary and Jackson and my birthday present, the book Son of a Witch, which is the sequel to Wicked, which Amanda got me for Christmas. (I haven’t read it yet, but I really want to; just need to finish Wild at Heart first.) Jackson was completely wiped out, so I didn’t get to see him walk much at that point. Dad came home a little while later with Josh and Francis. They’d been out golfing. Jackson woke up and played with a new toy Andra picked up for him while they were out picking up a golf bag for Dad’s birthday. It’s a little wheeled Winnie the Pooh thing with a bunch of buttons he can push, one of which shoots out bubbles. It’s amazing how quickly he picked up on hitting the buttons. He thought it was such a trip.

I had to leave shortly after that to get Uncle Tom from the airport. Andra had just been out there (about 45 minutes from the house) but would have had to stay out for about an hour or so longer to wait for the plane, and she didn’t have much room in the car for another person and luggage anyway. So I didn’t have to go alone, Ben rode out there with me. The plane was a few minutes early and I didn’t have to wait for Uncle Tom very long. Ben drove the truck (we took my parents’ red truck) around the airport a few times while waiting. Really, the longest wait was for the luggage.

We stopped by Panera on the way back, because both of our women love it and there’s not one in Wilmington. We went to the house so Tom could freshen up and change. Everyone else was either at church or setting up the party with the exception of Josh and Jackson, so we all headed up to St. Mary’s School after a little bit. The ladies were already eating when we got there, which is understandable because it’d been a while since we’d left for the airport.

The party was nice. It was, in my mind anyway, mainly to celebrate Dad’s and another guy from church’s 50th birthday, but my name was on the wall too, so I guess it was also for me. I didn’t know a lot of the people there, but Tom and Heather, Jack and Joan and Tony were there. I talked to the Novaks, the Izlars and Xaomi, as well as David Carden and Nick Banderenko (sp?), Mom and Dad’s neighbors. Jason Revill, my oldest friend, came by too, and I talked to him for a while. Cousin Dave made it out and made mention of a game called Spore that’s coming out later this year that I need to remember to check out.

The party was fun, just talking to people and all. Dad did what he could to get people out on the floor to dance, which was pretty entertaining. Jackson was dancing too, doing some bobbing up and down and shaking his arms.

We took off at about 9:00 so I could make it back for the Duke-Carolina game. The population of the party had mysteriously dwindled by this point, as I think a lot of people were heading off to watch it. Jack walked me out and presented me with a walking stick that he had carved and lacquered- really a very impressive gift. He showed me a putter he’d crafter for Dad. Jack’s always been someone I admire, although I don’t keep in touch with him like I should.

The one thing I had asked for for my birthday was for Duke to beat Carolina, and it sickens me still to say that they did not. There are so many reasons this eats at me. Duke didn’t play well, which is not taking away from Carolina- they played great, and freshman-to-hate Tyler Hansbrough schooled my senior-led team. Redick, who has not performed well in the last three or four games, had 18 points, which is decent, but he was 5 for 18 after started off really well. This was the last game of the regular season, AT CAMERON on senior night. I don’t know how Duke wasn’t fired up enough to win this one. Carolina hasn’t beaten Duke at Cameron since 2001 or something, and hadn’t upset them on senior night in like ten years and Duke very rarely loses two games in a row. Honestly, my faith is shaken and I’m not sure how far Duke will go in the NCAA tournament if we don’t see some kind of change in the ACC tournament.

This was supposed to be Carolina’s off year! One of the complaints I’ve heard is that Duke has all these great players that never see any time because they’re not up to snuff on defense. Well, if the players who do get all the playtime aren’t doing anything on defense, why not go ahead and get some of those other guys in there? Duke was just outplayed and, I daresay, possibly outcoached, and it pisses me off. It didn’t help that Sportscenter kept going on and on about it.

Mom and Dad eventually got home and we opened some more presents. Mom had gotten me a one gigabyte USB flash drive, so I’m thinking about putting a Linux OS on my old 512 MB one (an idea I got from David a while back). Amanda got me a new baseball tee (my last one got some bleach on the collar a while back) with some 3/4 sleeves.

Sunday, March 5, 2006
Last night, Andra, Mom and Jackson all fell asleep on the couch together. Ben, Jessica, Amanda and inflated some air mattresses in what is now the exercise room. It was freezing in there and late in the night I went and got a space heater. It was somewhat toasty when I woke up. I woke up before the rest of them and went downstairs and ended up playing with Jackson. He walked upstairs and eventually made his way into the exercise room and laid down on the one Amanda was on. By this time Jessica was up and Ben and Amanda were both stirring. We went downstairs and ate our Panera food then sat around for a little before heading on home. I wore (and am still wearing, actually) my new shirt. If I didn’t look 70’s before, I think I do now. Andra even said I looked like Dad with the shirt and jeans on.

We dropped Ben and Jessica off at their place then went by Sonic to get some food (we’re about out of it at home, and neither of us felt like getting any after driving all the way from Rougemont). Unfortunately something was wrong at Sonic and said the order window would be closed for half an hour, so I stopped by Hardees and got some chicken fingers while Amanda ordered a chicken salad from Andy’s.

While we were taking things in from the car, Bruce decided it would be fun to slip out and run around a bit. I tricked him back into captivity by opening the car door and making him think we were going for a ride. Silly stupid puppy. Other than that, we watched SNL and Supernatural on the DVR and then watched the Oscars. Brokeback Mountain and Crash won just about everything.

Monday, March 6, 2006
Not a whole lot going on today. I went by the camera shop to exchange the battery grip I got for my birthday. They told me they’d order me a new one, but then called later to tell me they didn’t make them for the 10D anymore. So now I get to take it back for a refund. On the upside, I found a guy on the Fred Miranda Buy & Sell Forum who was willing to sell one for $135 including shipping, which is a pretty decent price.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Amanda and I ate lunch with Adam at Bear Rock today and ran into my boss, Scott and his family. His wife is due very soon, and they had their daughter and his in-laws there with them. I was sticking around to meet Caroline after lunch, so I had my computer and showed Adam some of the video for the much-anticipated game Spore. He called me later after he was able to check more of it out and said he was mad at me for showing it to him.

The meeting with Caroline went well. I got her on the phone talking to a few people and she did a good job. After that, Amanda picked me up from Bear Rock and we returned the battery grip. The one I ordered should be here in the next couple days. We then went and looked at houses for sale in the Gordon Road area and proceeded to get depressed. There were a couple houses in our range, but there were also a number of them going for over $200,000. Starter homes! Starter homes, people; homes for people looking to buy their first house and start a family! We saw a couple for $214,000 that shouldn’t have been more than, glancing at them and in my admittedly unprofessional opinion, $180,000 at the very most.

After being frustrated at the state of housing in our chosen city, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings to get our customary Tuesday night dinner (although I tried the new garlic parmesan sauce, which was pretty good). We called our order in then I got a few things from Wal-Mart while Amanda got some gas. Even after going to Wally World I had to wait while for my food. There were three of us waiting for pick up orders, and they had the pick up orders sitting for a while before they started bagging them and calling our names. On top of that, Amanda was circling the parking lot for the ten minutes I waited inside waiting for the food, and finally pulled into the only spot she could find; a handicapped spot. Amanda’s not one to to that, but it was either pull in there or keep circling the tiny lot, and another car was in another handicapped spot next to the one she was in. Both cars were running, so they were obviously not planning on staying there, but a cop (who was actually there just to get food) threatened to give both of them tickets. I understand where he’s coming from, but that lot is tiny and, as many pick up orders as that place gets, they really need to have some take out parking.

So then, after getting home, we remembered that we had left my car at the mall and had to go back and get it. That’s the second of two times we’ve done that.

We ate and watched some tv. We watched Scrubs in the bedroom so we could record House and this new show, Sons & Daughters and it was cold last night, so when we were taking the heater to the bedroom, Amanda tripped on the cord, locked up her knee and fell over. Just a nice cap to a great night.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006
I nodded in and out of consciousness while watching Sons & Daughters so I’m really not sure if it was good or not, but it struck me as a network trying to cash in on Arrested Development but not quite getting it. The really funny parts were used for the commercials.

There wasn’t really a great deal going on today. I felt pretty good about work; I think we’ve got a bit going on and have a few things lined up that should be pretty nice.

Oh, the battery grip got here today! I was excited, but I haven’t gotten to play with it yet besides attaching it to the camera. The second battery needed to be charged, and I didn’t want to mess with it until it was completely ready. Actually, it should be good to go by now.

American Idol’s Taylor Hicks :: Zach DotseyAmanda and I picked up some O’Charlie’s grilled chicken Caesar salad for dinner before heading over to Paul and Kim’s. After we got back we watched the recorded guys’ night of American Idol. Crazy-moving Taylor was probably the best tonight. I asked Jason if he was watching Idol this season, and he said yes. He even likes Taylor, something I wasn’t sure that he would, because it’s obvious that Taylor loves the music. Man, he really let the music take him over tonight. He should go a long way. Jason’s favorite, though, is little Paris Bennett, whom Jason has named the best singer they’ve ever had on the show. I agree, although she hasn’t lived up that the past couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 9, 2006
There have been a lot of new client leads lately and Scott expressed that he’s feeling good with the direction of the company. Amanda fixed us some steak for dinner and we watched some tv. Exciting day.

Actually, conference tournaments are well under way in NCAA basketball and there were several games lately that have been good. Syracuse won on a last second three pointer yesterday to advance to meeting #1 in the nation UConn. They played UConn today and tied the game up on a last second three pointer (both of these were by Gerry McNamara) and they beat the Huskies by two in overtime. I was pretty happy to hear that. If Duke does as well in the ACC tournament as they should, it might push UConn back to number three. Villanova, who is still in the Big East tournament and stands a good chance of winning it, should be a shoe-in for number one. At this point all these teams will be number one seeds for the NCAA tournament though.

While I was working this afternoon I watched Wake Forest pull their act together and beat Florida State in the last few minutes of their game. Considering Wake Forest’s appalling record this year, and the fact that FSU beat my Blue Devils last week, it was a pretty big stunner. Temple also got a win over #6 George Washington and Kentucky had a good win over Mississippi. Duke plays Miami (who beat Clemson) tomorrow at noon. We’ll get to see if Redick’s downtime is at an end. There are some other good games I’m looking forward to tomorrow. In other basketball news, UNCW won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament the other day and Gonzaga pulled out a couple close games to win the West Coast Conference tournament. I really don’t see them making it to the Sweet 16, Gonzaga, based on the strength of their schedule this year.

Friday, March 10, 2006
Very little got done today with support, but I was very busy today talking to new clients.

Duke played Miami today and only beat them by four. I never lost faith, but it was a little nerve wracking. Wake Forest beat State, and since Carolina beat Virginia, I’m hoping the Demon Deacons can continue their tear until the meet Duke in the finals (if Duke can pull it together and make it there), then drop it in that game. If Duke doesn’t win the ACC tourney, I’d like for Wake Forest to.

We went to have dinner with the Frazelles tonight. Anna fixed a turkey and some of her famous chocolate cake. Peggy and Earl were there too, and after dinner and dessert we watched Walk the Line. Reese and Joaquin were both pretty impressive in it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006
It was beautiful out today. I started off by doing our taxes online. After that Amanda made me go to the mall with her so she could look at dresses for John and Denise’s wedding. She was mercifully brief. After we got back we watched Duke end Wake Forest’s surprising tournament rally with a twelve point win. There was one play, a missed three point shot by Redick that McRoberts caught and slammed home, that never had a reply shown of it, which surprised me. Redick bruised his knee and went to the locker room for a bit and Sheldon Williams sat out half of the first half with two early fouls. This forced the other guys to step up, and step up they did. McRoberts had a good game, but the big star was Greg Paulus, who came away with 17 points. The kid was en fuego.

After that I went downtown to take pictures. I wasn’t overly happy with my results though. I was there for a few hours though, and enjoyed walking around. In passing, I talked to a guy who said he was the son of, or in some way related to Allen Collins of Lynnard Skynnard and an actress from NYPD Blue. His name was Steve something, and he was… entertaining.

Liberty Statue in Downtown Wilmington, NC :: Zach DotseyWhen I got back in the car I was listening to the UNC-Boston College game, which Boston was winning by 14 at that point. Amanda had actually called me while I was taking the picture here to tell me that BC was winning, and she called when I was talking to Steve to say that BC was up one at the half, but I wasn’t hearing the phone ring.

After I got back to the house we watched the end of the game, which Carolina fought hard to bring within two points, but BC pulled off the win. I was rather happy about that. Another Duke-Carolina game would be suspenseful, and it would be a good opportunity for Duke to take back some bragging rights, but I’m just as glad to not have the Tar Heels make it that far.

After the game Amanda and I went to Wal-Mart to get some groceries, dog food and some other stuff. I looked into getting a card reader for my lap top, because the Canon 10D has a USB 1.0 port on it and it takes forever to download a lot of pictures, but I want to get one that will plug directly into my laptop as opposed to a USB (2.0). Of course, a USB one would be more portable and I could get one that does multiple types of cards. Amanda had the idea that I could just look for one that would suit me better later.

When we were heading out of Wal-Mart, it was dark and cool, but not at all cold. I felt a kind of charge; it reminded me of nights back in college when a bunch of us were heading out to a bar or a club. Because of that, I suggested to Amanda after we got home that we should go downtown and just walk around a little, and so we did. We even took Bruce, but this was his first time downtown and he was obnoxiously trying to sniff absolutely everything. I got a slice of pizza from I Love NY Pizza, where Adam and I had gotten some lunch once, and then Amanda and I had ice cream (I had a shake, actually) while we strolled down the Riverwalk. Amanda’s scoop was too big and when she tried to push a little of it into a trash can almost all of it came off. We also bumped into Chris Mowbray and her husband, Dave. Chris is Amanda’s boss and we were friends in high school. We walked right past them but Amanda happened to see and recognize Dave as they were passing us. They were out with some friends and were going to a show, but they weren’t sure how long they were staying; Chris is pregnant and didn’t want to be around a bunch of smoke.

All in all this was a nice day. Duke won, Carolina lost, it was pretty out, I took a bunch of pictures and Amanda and I had a nice little date.

Sunday, March 12, 2006
I directed at church this morning. Well, I didn’t do all three services- more like I did the first one and half of each of the second and third ones. I let Joey, one of the guys who usually does cameras, get a little practice in. He did a good job. Today was Ben’s first day of helping out too, and he got some really good shots. On top of that, Amanda and Jessica started volunteering at the kids’ service today. They did the 10:30 service after attending the 8:30. After that Jessica went to do some grocery shopping and Amanda came back home while Ben and I did some work for the 12:30. We got out early though, so we all went back to my and Amanda’s place to watch the ACC championship game.

Amanda had set the DVR to record it so I could watch it when I got home and try to catch up before the game was done. The score was 19-12 Duke when Ben and I got here and I told Amanda we could just let it play, but she said I’d want to watch Paulus and McRoberts. She was wearing her jersey already too. I’m so glad I’ve got her actually caring about Duke basketball. She claims she’s a State fan first and foremost, but I don’t think she could name one player on their team. She knows Redick, Williams, Paulus, McRoberts, Dockery, Nelson and Melchionni on Duke though. She may know more, but she definitely knows them.

We caught up just after halftime. The game went back and forth a bunch but Duke pulled off their seventh ACC championship in their ninth straight appearance in the conference tournament. I was really upset with CBS’s handling of the post-game. Actually, I was upset with Jefferson Pilot in general with the way they handled the production of the game. They weren’t using hi-def cameras for some reason, which negated the point of my having a hi-definition tv and HD service, the picture quality kept getting fuzzy then sharp, they would sometimes have a commentator talking or show crowd shots while action was going on on the court. All this was going on throughout the tourney, which bothered me, but what really bugged me today was they they hardly showed and of the victory ceremony. You barely saw any footage of anybody cutting down the nets and they did individual interviews while other things were happening. I mean, they could have had the audio of the interviews while showing the guys cutting down the net at least.

Anyway, Amanda went to a baby shower while I worked on editing some of the pictures I took yesterday. Some of them came out alright, but overall I’m a little disappointed in the results of my effort.

Monday, March 13, 2006
Not a whole lot happened today. The cable, which is the TV, internet and phone, went out this afternoon, which made working a little difficult. I called Time-Warner and they said it was being worked on so, since it was a nice day, I decided to take Bruce for a walk around the block. While out I saw the Time-Warner guys working on a line. I asked, and they said it was working then but that it would probably go down soon for a little bit, or something to that effect.

I started walking back towards the house when I noticed an old black and white dog which looked like it largish Chihuahua following us. Every time I tried talking to it or moving towards it it would shy away, but when I wasn’t looking directly at it it was following us. It got tired of us after a while, but I went ahead and walked to a house where I know a number of Chihuahuas live to ask the lady there if she was missing one, which she wasn’t.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 – Happy Birthday Adam Dotsey, Reggie Horner and Malachi Balayan!
I took Adam out for lunch today at Saltshaker, over on Wrightsville Avenue. He had lasagna and I went for a breakfasty lunch (French toast and eggs). I had stopped by the mall and picked up a shirt from American Eagle for him, which he said he thought was a pretty cool one. There was another one I liked that I almost got him, but the only small had stitches showing on the shoulder, so I didn’t think it was a good one to get. If I see it again (in better repair) I may get it for myself. It’s blue with white eagles facing inward on the shoulders.

I worked at Bear Rock from about 2:15 on because I was meeting someone at 3:00. We had a number of deposits and hosting accounts come in today, which is a good thing. After work Amanda and I got the usual Buffalo Wild Wings Tuesday night dinner, making a stop by Scott’s to drop off a check I’d collected for him. On the way out of there we stopped by a single story house that was for sale. $214,000. To its credit, it was 1200-1300 square feet as opposed to the ones we have been seeing with 1100-1200 square feet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I worked about half the day at Bear Rock with Scott. I spent over an hour talking to one client, well, she’s an existing client but wants to do another site and is shopping it around. We also got notification that one guy we’ve been working on getting decided to go with someone else. Scott talked to him for a while, and I’m not sure if we’ll get him back or not. I like the guy personally, and would like to have him as a client.

Kristen came by Bear Rock to pick up a coupon I had for Michelangelo’s Pizza. We were going to have pizzas tonight for small group, but something came up with Paul and Kim and we didn’t have much time to reorganize for everyone, so we didn’t get together. To their credit, I think they tried to call me, but I was on the phone all friggin’ day.

I spent a bit of time tonight reloading some important programs onto my recently formatted desktop.

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Reloading programs onto the computer was a bad idea. I felt like playing a game so I threw in the old Caesar III, which I think I’ve had since I was living in the dorms. I looked at my watch when it was just a few minutes after midnight and the next time I looked at it it was a few minutes after 3:00. Whoops!

Things seem to be going well with work. We’ve now got two people helping with sales, which frees up more time for me to do the support and project managing. Project managing is probably the most fun for me, plus it’s more profitable. The idea is that having extra people help us focus on sales aspects will not only bring in more projects, but also help us all better manage our time.

Officially, the NCAA tournament started Tuesday, but it really started at noon today and the tv showed basketball for nearly twelve and a half straight hours (with about an hour and a half break to watch Invasion on the DVR and The Office). It’s wonderful, and there were so many good games. Of course, I’ve already 6-6 with my bracket. To my credit, I didn’t have any of the teams I’ve picked incorrectly so far go past the second round anyway, so as long as these teams lose I may be okay. UNCW blew an 18-point lead during a 19-0 run to lose in overtime to George Washington. Boston College almost really screwed up my bracket (I have them in the Final Four) when they went into OT with Pacific. Gonzaga almost lost (which I need them to do next round, not this one). Lots of exciting stuff. Duke played sloppy against Southern for a while until finally pulling it together and winning by 16. If they play like they did for most of that game, they’ll really screw up my bracket. (I have them winning against UConn in the championship game).

Friday, March 17, 2006 – Happy St. Patrick’s Day
I wore the shirt that Amanda got me for Valentine’s Day today. It’s got lots of green.

I met Scott at Bear Rock this morning to discuss how some Flash with him, but unfortunately I forgot how to do some pretty basic stuff. We also discussed the state of the business, and he’s pretty happy with how things are going right now.

I met Amanda for lunch at Port City Java. I wasn’t too hungry (had a sourdough grilled breakfast sandwich at Bear Rock that was more filling than I thought it would be) so I just ate a little of her Tuscany and sipped on a steamer. We chatted a bit and then we left. I walked her to her car and she was kind of sad, since I was leaving this afternoon to go to Jaime Arnold’s bachelor party in West Jefferson (in the mountains, about as far from Wilmington as you can get in North Carolina) and I was going to be gone all weekend. I don’t think we’ve been away from each other for that long since we’ve been married, and it was then that I realized it actually would be hard being away from her for an entire weekend.

I left the house (and therefore work) at about 4:15 after scrambling to get a few things done before the weekend. I followed up with a few people while driving towards the MLK to 40. I got to Raleigh without hitting any traffic and found Joel Freeman’s place without a hitch. I waited around there for a little bit while he packed and such, then we headed to Greensboro. It was a nice drive and we had plenty to talk about. Originally he was going to take his car, but his dad was going to give it an oil change over the weekend, so we took mine. I was tired of driving so I let him do that.

Joel Freeman and Chris Banks at Brandon Bartlett’s House :: Zach DotseyOnce in the Boro we stopped at the mall so I could pick up a shirt from American Eagle; the one I saw when I was birthday shopping for Adam, and so we could get some food. After that we headed on over to Brandon Bartlett’s. Chris Banks (who had flown down from New York a day or two ago), Jason Revill and Jeff Arnold were already there, and Travis and Courtney (formerly Arnold) Sowers got there a little after we did. We drank and talked and watched basketball. Michigan State lost, which threw off a lot of brackets, and Carolina had to play down to the last few seconds to avoid an upset. It would have killed my bracket, but I’d have been happy to see them go. Kentucky won. A lot of the games only had a three point margin in the last 45 seconds or so. Good ball.

Saturday, March 18, 2006
Charlie Titus :: Zach DotseyStayed up pretty late last night. Most of the guys played some Texas Hold ’em. I’m not much of a bettor. I was up pretty early this morning and went over to Annie and Rick Titus’s to see them and meet their baby Charlie for the first time. He’s a cute little bugger, although in the couple hours I was there he pooped literally five times. Annie blamed the vegetables she had eaten the night before. Rick had to head to work not too long after I got there, so I hung out with Annie while she mage some brownie-cupcakes with caramel to take back to Brandon’s. They were a bit hard but tasted good.

I got back to Brandon’s in time to watch Duke have a decent win. Not long after the game we took off and I rode to West Jefferson with Jason. Brandon, Banks and Joel rode in Brandon’s car so they could all smoke on the way up. The ride up to the mountains was pretty. I’d love to go up there for a weekend, maybe longer, with my camera. When we got there someone, I think Rob Sullivan, greeted me and Jason as Jay and Silent Bob on account of my long hair, backwards ball cap and longish coat.

There were a bunch of subs and bags and bags of potato chips for the bachelor party. A little before the entertainment arrived a few of us were downstairs in the basement. Two of the guys went around front from there and rang the doorbell. I think Banks and I were the ones left downstairs and we heard the disappointment when whoever answered the door saw it wasn’t who they thought it was. A couple minutes later Banks (or whoever it was) and I decided to do the same, which was pretty funny.

The entertainment arrived. She was a friendly person. I didn’t spend a single penny.

Sunday, March 19, 2006
I got up early today and got rid of a lot of the alcohol I drank last night. And no, I didn’t throw up. I went back to sleep for a bit until Rob got me up so I could get a ride back to Greensboro with him. I had to get Joel up for that, since I was his ride back to Raleigh. He didn’t seem pleased, but he slept the whole way from West Jefferson to the Boro in the back of Rob’s car. I asked Jason before if he thought he’d be okay driving himself back. He looked rough. I felt a little bad leaving, but I knew if I waited around for all the other guys to wake up and get ready to go I wouldn’t be leaving there until probably noon at the earliest, and I wasn’t looking forward to driving literally all the way across North Carolina today anyway.

Rob and I had some good conversation back to Greensboro and Joel was awake from there back to Raleigh for me. From there I was alone until the coast. Mom and Dad were in town since Adam’s birthday was this week and I was back in town in plenty of time to see them. Michael was in town visiting with Amanda, and even though I didn’t get to see him, they went to church this morning then out for breakfast downtown with Mom, Dad, Adam and Renee. When I got home everyone was in the backyard and we all went to the park at Greenfield Lake with Bruce, Schatzi, Emma and Tsota. Adam was stopped even five feet by someone asking what Tsota was. The weather was nice and we had a good time.

Once we got back to the house I wanted to check the score of the Carolina game. They were killing early in the first half (I was listening to the game on the radio driving home) but it turned out that they lost to the number eleven seed, George Mason! On top of that, when I turned on the TV to check the result of that game, Kentucky was playing UConn and almost beat them. Man, what a weekend of basketball it would have been if Duke and Kentucky won and UConn and UNC lost!

My hair looked good this weekend, by the way. Maybe it was the water or whatever shampoo I used at Brandon’s with a combination of wearing a hat and pulling back my hair, but it was straightish and looked really good. Someone called me John Lennon (which was a step above Kevin Smith’s Silent Bob, although I really don’t see John Lennon in myself). I wore my new shirt today. I like it.

Monday, March 20, 2006
Nothing much happened today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Working at Bear Rock Cafe :: Zach DotseyWorked at Bear Rock from 9:30-5:00 today. Picked up Buffalo Wild Wings on the way home. Sandy, the Mercers’ old golden retriever, was put to sleep last night. She hadn’t been doing well lately and last time I saw her she was extremely gaunt. Karen had called to tell us, but we weren’t answering the phone at the time.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Couldn’t stay awake last night, been very tired lately. Happy with work. No Lambeths tonight for small group, but went to Elizabeth’s Pizza with the rest.

Thursday, March 23, 2006
Duke lost tonight. LSU had some great defense and Duke had a terrible shooting percentage, with the exception of Sheldon Williams. It was a terrible career-ender for JJ Redick, which is what upsets me about it the most. I felt a little nervous going into it. I was very upset, but I think I controlled it well.

I’ve been reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire lately. That’s part of why these things have been extremely sparse lately; I’ve been spending typing time reading. I intend to flesh them out some, especially the stuff from the weekend. I need to get around to adding some pictures in here too.

Friday, March 24, 2006
Work was work today, although I didn’t feel like I got much done. I had run out to get my check and put it in the bank and as soon as I got back from that, I had a client call who had been planning to meet with me at some point, so I went right back out and met with him. I also got a call from a distant relative of Adolph Rupp, which I thought was pretty cool.

I was watching the UConn game tonight, against Washington (Husky versus Husky). Washington, in my opinion, was robbed. A key goal tending call was not called and, I think, the fouls were being called very liberally in UConn’s favor. Of course, Washington could have still pulled it off if not for a very stupid foul towards the end.

Saturday, March 25, 2006
We met first thing this morning with a realtor referred to us by Amanda’s dad. The plan was to meet her at a house off Carolina Beach Road, then go look at some townhomes. It turns out that one of the townhomes, having been on the market for a scant eight days, was already under contract. The other one was taken off the market because the owner decided to rent it out to a friend for six months.

Anyway, I liked the house well enough; it had a decent layout, nice open kitchen and a very nice-sized fenced-in backyard. Unfortunately, you could smell old smoke as soon as you walked in and Amanda wants something closer to the other side of town. We discussed that if there was anything one or the other of us was uncomfortable about in the houses we look at, that we won’t get it. It would have saved us from being in a house with no heating or air conditioning for the past year if we’d put that into effect when looking at rental places.

By the way, I realized this morning that this is the longest I have lived in any single place on my own. That is, while not living with my parents (or, technically, in a dorm). Every place I’ve lived previously I rented for a year then moved.

V for Vendetta :: Zach DotseyAfter looking at the house we got some bagels then went home for a bit, then out to see V for Vendetta, which I was overall pleased with. We went to a 12:20 show, which left lots of day open for us. We ate at J. Michael’s deli then went to Ann Taylor Loft at the mall so Amanda could use a gift card she had.

I mostly sat around and read Wicked after that. We picked up a little because Amanda’s brother Michael and his girlfriend Sarah were coming over. I made a deal that if I folded the clothes Amanda would put them away, so she watched A Cinderella Story, or whatever the name of that Hillary Duff fluff is, while I did that.

We decided on spaghetti for dinner, but we were mostly out of noodles and entirely out of sauce, so I struck up another deal that I’d put up the clothes if Amanda would go to the store. She called me on the way back to tell me of an ordeal she had there. She’d only gotten a few things; spaghetti, sauce, Texas toast and a 24 pack of water, which was on sale. She figured she didn’t need a cart or anything as she had no problem carrying it all, but right when she got to the parking lot the cardboard handles on the tray containing the water broke and sent water bottles all over the place. She went to grab one cart, but the wheels on it were stuck and it wouldn’t move. She went to get another and the same thing happened! She finally got one that worked then went around picking up water bottles. The really bad part of it was that people were walking right by and nobody offered to help. I’ve helped people in similar situations, and now that I think about it, the situation is still kind of funny, but it pisses me off that no one offered any help.

Anyway, Michael and Sarah got here eventually and they watched the end of one of the basketball games while Amanda and I watched a recording of Lost. After that we played some Scrabble, which Michael won (followed by Sarah, then Amanda, and I lost).

Sunday, March 26, 2006
We watched The Forty Year-Old Virgin last night, which Sarah didn’t much like. Amanda and I went to the 10:30 service at church today while Michael and Sarah went to the 11:00 mass at the Catholic church. On the way back, Amanda and I picked up some ingredients to make waffles, which we ate for a late breakfast.

We watched some TV and Michael showed me Oblivion on the Xbox 360, which was quite nice. We had decided to watch George Mason play UConn for the right to go to the Final Four, which came on at 2:30. I went out right as it was coming on to get some chips and dip. It was a really great game, although as they’ve done in I think every game this tournament, UConn came back at the end to tie up the game and put it into overtime. It was kinda funny; Michael and Sarah are Carolina fans, Amanda and I pull for Duke, so it was nice for us to all pull for the same team for once. We were so excited when George Mason won at the end! They’re the ultimate underdog this year, and I’ll admit I’m on their bandwagon. I mean, my bracket’s got only two of my Final Four teams left and neither of my final teams made it (although I really didn’t mind the Huskies losing out today!), so I’ll pull for the underdog this year.

In the other game, Florida beat Villanova, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting a game and we had gone to the park during most of it anyway.

After we got back from the park Amanda made spaghetti for everyone while I did the dishes. Actually, I didn’t have any spaghetti because, even though it’s not usually an issue for me, I’d had enough last night. I was in the mood for a peanut butter and jelly, so I ate that.

We found the water heater leaking this morning, by the way. We couldn’t find a plumber working today, but Ben and Jessica came by to see if Ben could figure anything out with it. They were in town for a birthday party, but that was all the way across town. It was so nice of them to come by to take a look.

After dinner we watched some tv and played Scrabble again. Amanda won this time, edging me out in the last couple rounds. We had a close game but beat Michael and Sarah pretty soundly.

Monday, March 27, 2006
Amanda’s a little stressed with a new program at work. From what I can gather it’s buggy and not as good as the older version. I played a little Oblivion on the Xbox 360 Michael left here while he and Sarah went to Myrtle Beach. It’s pretty sweet.

The plumber came at about 8:00 this morning. I was in the bathroom when I heard the knock on the door. He cussed a good deal and ended up drilling a hole in the floor in case of future leaks, but he also turned down the water temperature a little or something, saying that the pipes were heating up too much and causing them to loosen up.

Our Mondays tend to be pretty boring.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
We were supposed to go house hunting tonight, but our realtor didn’t realize she had something going on already, something with the realtor association she heads. We’ll get to look tomorrow though. I spent a little time today trying to make sure we have everything lined up as much as we possibly can.

Michael and Sarah got back from Myrtle Beach this evening. I finished up some work while Michael practiced on a deck of trick cards he got and the ladies went to get some Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. We played Scrabble after that and Michael killed us all. Kid’s gotten good at some Scrabble.

We watched some TV together and Michael got frustrated trying some tricks. Adam called to say he saw V for Vendetta and really liked it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Work was ridiculously busy. I think I was on the phone for literally more than half of my working day. My boss Scott and Brian Gibson, a guy we use for design and such now and then, but who has his own company apparently had a big discussion yesterday about something I’ve always wondered why they haven’t discussed before. While I was talking to Brian it came out that he’s moving soon so I talked to him about his house. It’s within our range and it’s not on the market yet.

After work Amanda and I met with Sue, our realtor. We liked both of the houses we looked at, but particularly the first one. We headed out to Paul and Kim’s directly after that, after calling Ben and Jessica to see if they wouldn’t mind picking up some food for us. (They usually grab something on the way and had actually just left Chick-Fil-A right before we called.)

I took my laptop to Paul and Kim’s to use some materials the church provided for discussion, and it seems I was picking up a wireless internet signal from somewhere because I got notification of a new e-mail. I went ahead and checked it to find a picture of Brian’s house. I showed it to everyone and Amanda and I got really excited. On the way home all she could talk about was how she wanted to go see the house right then. I had already talked to Brian about seeing it on Saturday, but after seeing the picture we’re really, really stoked. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high about it, but it’s hard not to.

Thursday, March 30, 2006
I started off the day in a pretty good mood. I don’t know that there was a particular reason; I was just in a good mood. It ended up being probably the most stressful day of work I’ve had at this job. I don’t want to get into it too much, but one party wanted to do things one way, another wanted to do it another way, and I was stuck in the middle. Between that and all the other talking I did today, my phone was complaining of a low battery by 4:00 (I unplug it from the charger when I start work at 9am and it will usually go well into the next day if left unplugged) and my throat was dry.

Amanda had a rough day too. I decided to have a glass of wine (in lieu of beer, since I have none) to settle my nerves. Seriously, I was stressing today.

The North Carolina lottery started today. I meant to go out and get a ticket just for the hell of it.

We’re looking at Brian’s house on Sunday. I’m trying not to be too excited about it.

I’m watching the Slam Dunk contest on ESPN right now- impressive stuff. Just saw a commercial for the women’s Final Four: Duke vs. LSU (interesting coincidence) and Maryland vs. Carolina. ACC domination there. Not that I really care much about women’s basketball, but how cool would it be for Duke to meet Carolina there? That’d be a dream game for the men’s final. I think I’d be too nervous to watch that game!

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Friday, March 31, 2006
One of the parties from yesterday apologized to everyone this morning and gave me permission to override him should things like yesterday happen again. Today was much, much less stressful, but still busy.

We went out with Ben and Jessica tonight. Amanda was calling them right as they were calling us (or maybe vice versa). We all went out to Red Robin over at Mayfaire and talked about work and religion and all sorts of things. We had a really good time. The Lambeths were going to go to Michael’s (a craft store) after dinner, so in an attempt to spare Ben that particular purgatory I suggested that we all go get some ice cream at Coldstone. That semi-worked. Amanda and Jessica went to Michael’s while Ben and I headed over to Starbucks so he could get some coffee. It’s right across from Coldstone so we went there and waited for the girls. They got there after a few minutes and both got some ice cream. I just had some of Amanda’s and Ben didn’t want anything but his coffee.

After that we went home and watched TV like the boring married couple we are. Amanda and I are going to look at Brian’s house on Sunday. We’re really excited about it but still trying not to get our hopes up. And that’s the end of March.