Howdy, kids. It's July, and it's blisteringly hot in D-town (or at least was, until the storms today cooled things off a bit).

Both of my bosses are on vacation for the next week, so even though I'm off until Tuesday I'm still kind of in charge. Funny how that works. We did get our new employee hired and trained, and so far she seems to be working out quite well. There's a tremendous learning curve to the job, but so far she has absorbed a lot of detail in a short amount of time.

Em and I are headed to Houston in the morning for a couple days of sightseeing (yeah, I know, it's just Houston, but I've never really seen much of the city). Our agenda includes the Museum District, Ikea, the Orange Show and basic driving around - oh, and a visit with our old friend Scott who is stuck in the humidity capital of the world getting his law degree.

Em finished teaching summer school today, so we celebrated with dinner and drinks at Juan's (nothing special, but the buy-one-get-one-free coupon can't be beat). She's been busy with projects around the house, including a complete re-do of the built-in desk in our living room (now a lovely bar) and another big project which I'm sure she will tell you about soon.

We've decided to do a refinance on the house. The appraisal value has jumped so in the past year that we can get rid of PMI and lower the monthly payment, and our original lender has worked out a good deal that won't cost anything up front. It won't be a huge difference, but enough to save us some money each month (and therefore it's worth the trouble).

Finally, a recommendation: I don't listen to much hip-hop, but the new Common album 'Be' is outstanding, and takes me back to the great chill-out-vibe records of that genre I listened to as a wee lad (Tribe's 'Low End Theory', most notably). Check it out.

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