When not travelling to look at sailboats, I spent my ‘free’ time working through the process and paperwork involved in creating a non-profit corporation.  To hire an attorney to do the work would have been too expensive – and after slogging my way through I can certainly understand why!  I put at least 50 hours of time into the endeavor.  We formed a preliminary board of directors and assembled 95% of the forms and paperwork to apply for non-profit status, when the whole process came to a screeching halt.  At the end of the day, it was decided that there were too many negative aspects and not enough positives to warrant our finalizing the transition.

In February, Danielle responded to a call for extras in a movie being filmed in Carmel.  The movie is actually titled ‘Carmel’ and stars Lauren Bacall, Alfred Molina, and Hayden Panettiere.  Not only was Danielle selected as an extra, the director picked her out for a ‘red-carpet’ scene, focusing on her stepping out of a $400,000 Maybach limousine!  We don’t know if/when the movie will actually be released, but it will be fun if Danielle (‘the lady in red’ as she came to be known) makes a few moments on the silver screen. [update: here's a clip that made it into the movie]

This year, my birthday happened to coincide with the home opening game for the San Francisco Giants.  My birthday wish was granted as Rita and Jordan joined us attending the game, and the Giants won!

Rough seas.  In April, the faltering economy hit us with a huge broadside!  The company I work for, SHOP.COM, suddenly announced a 30% across-the-board layoffs and I got caught in the RIF.  I very quickly discovered just how difficult the job market is for 57 year old software engineers – it’s bleak to say the least!  With uncertain prospects for employment we began looking into our options.  One of the early, reluctant decisions was to sell our Harley-Davidson FXDXT motorcycle.  Danielle and I enjoyed so many trips, short and long, on that bike.  It was very sad to see someone else driving it away…

We also put our house on the market on a 90-day listing, with little hope that we’d actually find a buyer.  Surprisingly, even to the realtors, the house generated a lot of interest -- but no actual offers.

After a month of job-seeking, with no response, I went to a high tech job faire up in Santa Clara.  I stood in line for 2 hours with over 2000 engineers just for the opportunity to chat for 1 minute with the 4 companies that were presumably hiring.  This was definitely the low point of the year for me; actually one of the lowest points of my life.

In the category of ‘when it rains, it pours’, I had to deal with evicting the tenant from our San Jose townhouse.  Not only did I lose 5 months’ rent, because the legal system supports deadbeat tenants, it cost me an additional 2 months and thousands of dollars to repair the damage she left behind.  The property manager said he’d never seen a property so badly abused.  It took another 3 months to finally rent it out, at about 70% of the previous level.  But, at least I got it rented!