31 May 2009

Sunday parables

Short but busy week.

I've been trying to fight off a cold for two weeks without much success. I tried to cowboy up and fight it off without any meds but finally resorted to getting some Sudafed Friday to see if I can dry out. Really sucks being sick. Haven't run in two weeks and I am feeling the effects. Now that the meds have kicked in, I am feeling a bit better. Not 100% but definitely better. Was able to get out an mow the yard yesterday and even gave the dog his first bath. He was better behaved than Shadow, but still did not enjoy the experience. (Note to self: Grayson has way more hair than previous dog - takes much longer to dry. Take him outside to shake off).

Junior is settling in in Seattle as an intern employee of the evil empire (Microsoft). Got a great apartment next to the campus and has already bought a bike to get around town/work. He is still trying to figure out the routine, but, he has a definite plan on what he wants to do. He has a very bright future and is on a track to be a success. Of all my fears/concerns/angst I have had in my life, one of my bigger ones has been is if he will succeed in life. It's one of those nagging fears that parents sometimes get - will their children be safe/happy/successful. In high school, he was not very outgoing and had a select group of friends. He was not a real jock and was more of a math whiz and not what I would call a rebel (unless he was out splitting infinitives). IMHO, being a boy scout and a band geek, may have labeled him as a geek, but he wore that badge proudly. He is very bright and intelligent and knows what he wants in life. My mom & dad raised me to be an independant thinker and not have to depend upon them when I departed the next and I have tried the same with my sone. While I will always be the concerned dad that he will be ok, I am no longer worried about his future. I know he will achieve success in anything he tackles. I try not to be boastful, but I am proud of him and his accomplishments.

We are making plans on going up in the late June to visit with him and my brother. I really cannot afford to take off from work (project deadlines), it's gonna cost a lot of coin, gotta coordinate logistics, long flight & late arrivals, need to find someone to take care of the dog. Given all of those excuses of why not to go, I remembered: Life is not convenient. It will not sit and wait for a better opportunity to come along.

Life's short. Play hard.

25 May 2009

The price of freedom...

24 May 2009

Easy come, easy go

We got back from the airport a few hours ago where momma's baby has flown off to Seattle. Part of my job as dad is to play the supporting role in major events. I help him move into/out of the dorm, haul his stuff across Texas, drive him and his entourage to the airport. I drove momma, junior, and girlfriend to the airport earlier today. Of course, being a night owl, he stays up until 0400 packing for the trip, so I am the one (with the dog) to get up early and make sure the logistics are in order prior to departure. I kinda have to roust the crew up from their beauty sleep and get them organized to leave the house in time to make his flight. Since I've done a few of these trips to the airport over the past few years, I kinda know when to leave and what route gets us to the airport fastest. He was taking two checked bags (48 & 49 lbs respectively), one carry-on and one backpack. Of course that does not include the stuff he left for me to ship to him next week. We made the airport with plenty of time (thanks to me) and I dropped them off to get checked in. Of course, trying to find a parking space near the terminal is not an easy or quick chore, but I was able to make it to the check in counter about the time he was done. Since it was a fairly light crowd, we had about 2 hours to kill before his flight, so we sat around the terminal until he finally had to check through the TSA scanners and move to his gate. I will say that I am glad that his girlfriend came along. It was touching/sad to see them try to say goodbye for the summer (they are definitely in love).

Actually, by the time I post this, he has landed and texted us that he is doing well and looking for his bags. Was fun & great to see him, but I am tired.

23 May 2009

Controlled chaos

Did I mention that junior came home? We are in quick turnaround mode here. He landed Thursday afternoon with his car load of stuff and he is leaving tomorrow for the summer for his intern job in Seattle. Packing, planning, coordinating, vi sting with high school friends, last minute shopping. We try to keep a neat and organized house, but the house has blown up over the past few days. For a guy who has been living out of a dorm room for the past 9 months, how can he have so much stuff? He has his gear/clothes spread over 4 rooms of the house. His room looks like a refugee camp. Even the dog is afraid to go in there. I'm not complaining (ok, I am grousing about it here), but since we area only getting a few meager days with him, we'll take the chaos. Besides, I can always clean up after he leaves tomorrow (I'm thinking leaf blower). It is humorous to see him prep for the trip. This will be his third summer working as an intern, so he knows the drill. He did Seattle two years ago, so he knows the town/environment/climate and knows what to take this time. Still, what he deems critical/essential is not what I would necessarily take (guitar, amp, x-box, ginormous monitor).

Enjoy the weekend and be safe. Put the blackberry down and spend time with your family.

Always drink upstream from the herd...

22 May 2009

Three day weekend

Memorial Day - according to wikipedia, Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

Since 1971 Memorial Day is now celebrated by law on the last Monday in May. That year Congress passed the National Holiday Act, P.L. 90-363 to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays.

As we shop the sales, relax on the beach, hit the lakes, savor the outdoor picnics and bar-b-ques, I like to stop and take a moment to remember the reason why we are enjoying an extended weekend. As a former tanker & service member, I am eternally grateful to those who laid down their lives for me.

John 15:13

21 May 2009

Both ends

Busy busy busy. The fun never stops when you're always on a roller coaster.

Junior comes home today (hauling a ton of laundry I imagine). Expecting a small cyclone of activity.

Work is continuing to kick my butt. Projects/problems/deadlines. Just when you think you hit the bottom of the mine shaft, someone tells you to dig deeper. I'm the HMFIC of Purchasing which means I pretty much get blamed for just about everything. Not enough parts. Too many parts. Parts don't' work. Parts cost too much. We're out of toilet paper in the bathroom (major crisis). Past two days have been nothing different. Scrambling for parts for the past two weeks only to find that they don't fit. Trying to negotiate a long term contract with a rental car company only to find that someone in senior staff wants to go with another company. Typical life in procurement. And my system upgrade project is like the attack of the zombies - it just keeps on coming. I need to be testing and checking out the system but it seems like everybody has a problem and I am the only one who can fix it. And its not like I am trying to be nice and cordial. Hell, quite the opposite. I am buried under a pile of tasks and have tried to post my 'leave me alone" persona but they STILL come. Gee, I guess it's nice to be loved/needed. I keep reminding myself that I volunteered for this job.

Junior leaves for the west coast Sunday.

Should be an interesting weekend.

Time's fun when your having flies...

19 May 2009

My dogs are tired

Long day yesterday. Drove up to Austin and back to help the offspring perform a tactical withdrawal from his encampment. 6 (or was it 7) trips up and down the elevator (did I mention he lives on the 14th floor?) with boxes, clothes, rug, chair, bike, etc. to load up the landbarge. Back in my yut, I moved myself into and out of the dorm and was able to fit an entire year's supplies and gear (including a dorm refrigerator) into my 1969 Plymouth Fury III. I have a gift of being able to pack a lot of crap into every available square inch of a vehicle (it looks like something out of the Grapes of Wrath). Anyway, since junior is finishing up his year as dorm RA, he has to stay until Wednesday when they close down the dorms for the year. He kept the essentials to live off of (computer, xbox, electric guitar). I made it home around 2000 hours (8:00 pm) to unload the truck. The breezeway is full of his crap. Let the summer games begin.

17 May 2009


whirl·wind (-wind′) noun

  1. a current of air whirling violently upward in a spiral motion around a more or less vertical axis that has a forward motion
  2. anything resembling a whirlwind, as in violent or destructive force

I am leaving early in the morning to head to Austin to help extricate my son from school. He is finishing up his third year and he has one more final in the morning (ergo our delay in going up today) and I am helping to extract him from the dorms. He is RA this year, so he cannot leave until Wednesday, but I am trying to help him move back home, even if it is only for a brief time. Now, I am sure he could manage the move by himself, but I am willing to take a day off to help him relocate his crap back home. I know that momma would like to go, but this is more of a commando run where I will depart the SP at 0700 and make the transition to Austin to load up his gear and make the return trip in the afternoo. My brother (has 4 sons out of college), thinks we should let him make the move himself, but since junior is our only son and he is about to head out to the west coast for the summer, any help I can provide is something I want/need to do. Besides, I enjoy spending the time we have with him (since he will be graduating next year). The real pandemonium will be that he already has an internship lined up with Microsoft this summer and leaves on Sunday for Seattle. This means that we only get to see him for 4-5 days before he heads off to his job for the summer. I am glad that he has an excellent opportunity at a big time company and his future looks bright, but momma is not happy with the brief time she get to see him. I guess that I am going to have to squeeze in a road trip to Seattle this summer to visit him. Gonna be an interesting summer.

14 May 2009

Last call

The last blog generated a morbid, but interesting line to ponder.

How would you want to celebrate your life?

A formal funeral service with all the mourners and pall bearers? A wake with an open bar?

Many people who were kind enough to respond indicated a predilection to be cremated and celebrate life in a more positive fashion. Me? I have always wanted to go out in style. Now, I am not planning anything real soon, but if I were to pass on, I want to be cremated and have a wake as a memorial service. I do not want for people to be sad and forlorn, instead, I would prefer to have my friends and family celebrate life and have a good time. If given the chance, I would also prefer to have have my ashes spread over a place that I find special meaning. I have always harbored a secret desire to have my ashes scattered from a plane over Kyle Field (the football stadium @ Texas A&M). This may turn into another thread in a blog, but I have always had a intense love/loyalty to my Alma matter and it has become a part of me since I attended over 30 years ago. I am pretty sure that this practice is not permitted and people would frown upon my desire to spread my remains over the campus where I graduated into life, but I still would like to make a go at it. If not there, then I would like to be cast to the wind over the mountains of Philmont. To me, that is one of the few remaining frontiers of America and a place I could find peace and tranquility. Both spots represent major turning points in my life and I found true inspiration and tranquility. Now, reality tells me that this is probably not allowed, but we can always dream of writing our own ending. Of course, I am not looking to close out this chapter any time soon, but one should always consider the final stop in life.

Hope this was not too morbid or maudlin for you.

13 May 2009

Multi tasking

I made a snap decision to attend a funeral yesterday for the brother-in-law of a friend and co-worker. I knew the guy from many years back when we worked for the same company but I felt that my friend needed (& deserved) my support and condolences. I had brought my suit & tie just in case and, on my way into work, I decided to attend the service (only one from our company). Since the funeral was located in a town 1.5 hours away and started at 1100, I pretty much figured it would eat most of my day and I just tossed a vacation request with my boss and took the whole day. Was not looking to come back to work after the service since it would be 1.5 hours back to the office and a good 50 minute commute going home. I basically had about 1-2 hours in the office before I bailed. The adventure comes from trying to drive across three counties to get to the church on time. Since I was not in my suit at the outset, at every stop light I was changing my clothes. Haven't done that in years (nice to know I still have that skill set). Apologies to the lady at the light in Angleton for the shirtless display. I was able to make it to the church with 10 minutes to spare and did not break any traffic laws. After the service and burial, I headed back home to take care of a few overdue chores like picking up dog food, rotate tires, settling a traffic ticket, cleaning the oven, etc. (things I would have had to take time out during the week to get done).

It was a Catholic service (haven't been to one of those in years) and very interesting. I have been to too many funerals in my years and this was one of the more regimented versions. Too much protocol and formality for my taste. Many people take comfort in this kind of service but IMHO, the best memorial service that I ever attended to was for a friend who was killed in an accident. It was a Baptist service but very open and inspirational. He was a regular card in his life and his church and they had a very contemporary service with his favorite pictures/jokes (Farside cartoons). It was a very open and uplifting service with lots of good memories and humor. I decided that, when I go, that was the kind of service I would like to have. Life's too short to sit and bemoan the loss. Instead of feeling sorry and regret, I feel we should celebrate life to the fullest. When I go, I want a party/wake. I would prefer people to remember the funny stuff. I kinda get morbid like that when attending funerals. Ever pondered how you would like to be remembered?

12 May 2009

Max capacity

Ok, who keeps moving the finish line?

This is another one of my whiney grips about the mountain of crap we have to do at work. I know, I know, I should be grateful for the work and the opportunity and staying busy, but do you have to pile it on at one time? I feel like posting that OSHA warning sign:

Typical week on the farm. Multiple reports due, several status meetings, still trying to test out the new system (we go live in July), trying to coordinate deliveries, just got tagged with two audit responses, the finance auditor want to dig up information from two years ago, trying to go to a funeral tomorrow, got a doctor's appointment Friday, got reviews to write, and trying to plan a road trip in June. I like being busy, but sometimes I feel like the old carnival ride that's seen one too many state fairs.

At least I can honestly say its not boring (who has the time?)...

10 May 2009

Yo Momma

A toast to all the moms out there (especially to my mom and my wife).

Happy Mothers Day terri, abby, meleah, judy, nonna, brigid!

We have so much to be grateful for. You brought us into this world, loved us unconditionally, showed us how things are done, healed our hurts, paid our bills, and set us on the path of life. No mere card or flowers or cheesy bauble or hallmark momento can ever express the gratitude I/we owe. As I said on my birthday in March, thanks for making it all happen. It may be just a guy's opinion, but I think the hardest thing of being a mom is letting your children go.

Thanks Mom!

And remember, you made me what I am (so, in some way, you are to blame)...

04 May 2009

Celebrating life

Ya know, sometimes you just have to cowboy up and get on with life. Was feeling a bit peckish this morning after my long night, but was able to get some rest and started feeling well enough to go to the office for a bit. Slept until 1300 and woke up feeling MUCH BETTER, so I decided to head into the office to see if I could at least knock out a few reports that were due today. I was able to skate out after 5 to come home and take my sweetie to the Cheesecake Factory for our anniversary dinner. We have a new one down here that I have never eaten at and I thought it would be nice for the two of us. Slow night, lite crowd. Even given my recent digestive problems, I felt OK enough to try something not too heavy. Think I will stick with chicken or fish for a while. Very nice dinner & great food. Of course, the specialty there is cheesecake. My son, who is off in school in Austin, had called in an order for an entire cake for us that is absolutely decadent. The cake is just oozing chocolate. Not sure how we will be able to eat this thing, but we'll just have to cowboy up and give 'er a try.

Nom nom nom...

Great gift from a great son!

Inspite of all rumors to the contrary, life's pretty damn good

Feeling like hammered dog poo

How's that for a catchy title?

Was having a good weekend but got sicker than a dog last night. Heartburn, nausea, upset stomach. These nasty fellas joined up to keep me awake all night. Finally, around 0400 I wound up calling ralph and imediately felt better. Called in sick (or send it an e-mail) and went back to bed. Feeling somewhat better now, but tired and headachey. May try to go in to the office after lunch, but it depends on how much rest I get. We had some steaks & potatoes last night that didn't sit well with me. Lately, it has gotten where I don't eat a lot of steak because of this reaction, just not this severe. If I eat beef too late in the day it seems to settle in my stomach like lead and I don't sleep well. Will stick to the chicken next time...

And, no, it is not the swine flu.