The Gull Reef Club

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7/12/2017 · 4:22 pm· Trouble · Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right
I've been following the saga and cataloging links of interest that contain more than mere rhetoric.... | Read More

12/23/2016 · 8:43 am· lordhelmet · Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve!
Merry Christmas to you and Mike as well as a Happy New Year!... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
Sure doesn't, which in no way explains why the Cubs won! Interesting that we all woke up this... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 12:21 pm· LH · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
No good deed goes unpunished. But at least the Cubs won.... | Read More

10/28/2016 · 6:42 am· lordhelmet · Official Release – Jaime 2.0
I already voted for Trump of course. He was my last choice in the primaries (I supported Kasich)... | Read More

7/13/2017

That’s What I Like About the South

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:48 pm

This month marks our 16 year anniversary of living in the South. I’ve been keeping this blog for over 13 years, so most of our time down here. I started poking around, and noticed I’ve never articulated why we moved here, and why we’ve stayed. I guess now is as good of a time as any, right?

Background first. We have to go to December 1999. Y2k was going to destroy modern life as we knew it. The internet was young, unfettered, and fun. Bill Clinton was on his way out, and we were looking toward a ‘path to the 21st century.’ Optimism seasoned with the right amount of Gen X cynicism abound.

On the personal level at that time, we were living in northern Illinois, young 20 somethings, trying to figure out what to do with our lives. I toyed with the idea of going to law school but that would have likely tied us to Illinois, possibly forever. While I wasn’t 100% certain, my hunch said that could be a bad idea.

Then came the big event – New Years 1999. We planned to enjoy the night as Prince intended. Through the good graces of being friends with an all-around awesome guy who happens to be a pilot, we spent a few days ringing in that famous new year at a concert in a cow pasture on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation just north of Alligator Alley in South Florida. That story in itself deserves its own post, and someday maybe you’ll get it. For now, focus on the fact that I was exposed to a South Florida winter climate in December/January.

New Years 1999 was the first time in my life I had experienced warm winter weather and it changed my thinking forever. I hated winter, but despite that, spent my first 22 winters in Illinois, where it is miserable from November to April. I didn’t know any better, until Y2k New Years…and then I did.

All that winter of 2000, I couldn’t stop thinking about those people living in South Florida. They were warm. They were doing outdoor activities. They could open their windows and get fresh air. Meanwhile I was stuck breathing recycled indoor air or the noxious scent of catalytic converters that always seem to linger on cold days in Illinois. Fortunately for me, Mike felt the same way.

We stuck it out that winter but talk of leaving was getting more frequent and more serious. We opted to wait for the election before really deciding if we were going to make a change or not. So Bush v. Gore, yadda, yadda.

It just so happened that the winter of 2000-2001 was the 2nd coldest and snowiest on record for our area at the time. It truly was one of the nastiest winters in Illinois we experienced. December 2000 alone dropped over 30 inches of snow on us. At the time, we were living on a busy street that got plowed and salted often. This necessitated multiple shovelings of the drive, but because it got salted it was really a hard ice mound that had to be broken up before shoveling. So everyday Mike or I would come home, park somewhere other than our street, shovel the drive out, go back to get the car to park, park it in the drive, and repeat to get back out. It was hell.

We eventually dug out of both that winter and that election. We had a president. We had springtime. We found ourselves with both a renewed sense of patriotism and hatred for winter. The national pride led us to want to spend Memorial Day 2001 in Washington D.C. The winter hate had us diverting part of that D.C. trip to the Savannah area to visit some family of Mike’s and start shopping for a new city.

It didn’t take us long to fall in love with Savannah. In fact, after we returned to Illinois from our trip at the end of May, we both put in our resignations at our jobs. By July 2 (or give or take a day, it’s really hazy) we were officially in Georgia. We have been living here ever since.

Why was Georgia such an attractive option to 20 somethings 16 years ago? Well, weather – duh. Besides that, income and taxes also seriously played into our decision. Coming from Illinois, we were struggling to get a start financially. Despite both of us having pretty good jobs, the cost of living in Illinois was an obstacle. We were not amassing much in savings because living expenses were too high. We, therefore, could not pay down debt quickly nor build a nest egg to buy a house. Even if we could have overcome that, the ever mounting tax burden in Illinois is outlandish. Spinning tires.

Over time, I’ve come to prefer the politics, philosophies, and values held by my fellow citizens of Georgia over those in Illinois. Georgia is by no means a utopia. We have plenty of problems to address, but I’d take our brand of problems over Illinois’ any day.

There are a few aspects about Illinois that I miss. Primarily this comes in the form of diversity in restaurant and entertainment options. Being near a big city like Chicago put us in touch with an overwhelming number of ethnic foods to eat and great concerts to see. Down in Savannah, not so much. I’d so love to have a proper gyro or a pizza puff right now, but they simply do not exist here. I’ve made peace with this though. Moreover, it’s taught us how to be very good cooks.

As for the concerts? We have made peace with that too. Plus, we really do not prefer to go out much in that way anymore. We are more inclined to do something active, outdoors, and away from other people. That is certainly more an age thing than a change in geography thing, so it’s all worked out.

That Y2k trip to Florida was a fateful one, setting off a course of events that would lead us to Savannah, and stay, so far, for 16 years. I can’t say we’re here to stay, but Savannah does have a curse – May You Never Change. Only time will tell if that includes us now, too.

7/11/2017

Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:12 pm

Pandora is yelling at me to leave the box alone, but here I go anyway…

I really want to talk (or ‘open a dialogue’ in modern parlance) about the alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election, but am finding it quite difficult. The difficulty for me lies in the fact that half of you have come to a completely different position than I have, and that the facts upon which you base your position is a completely different set of facts than I am using. We can’t have this discussion if our realities are different. I end up thinking you are crazy or ignorant and you will think the same of me.

In the civil litigation world, we address fact issues in summary judgment by submitting a Statement of Undisputed Facts or in pre-trial by submitting a list of evidence we intend on relying upon at trial. Leading up to that, we often swap expert reports in an effort to show our expert has the most proper understanding of the facts. We don’t have it so clean or easy here. We can’t even agree whose experts to believe (Washington Post? CNN? NYTimes? Zerohedge? Breitbart? Wikileaks?).

At this spot in my post, I’m supposed to come up with some sort of conclusion statement to close things out. I can’t even do that. So – конец. Feel free to use my space to discuss this, but know that there’s a 50% chance 50% of us think you’re wrong.

The Gull Reef Club