31 August 2009

PSA (public service annoucement)

Typical crappy Monday. Too many chiefs, not enough indians. Everybody's got a problem and thinks I can fix it for them (or I care). Then, just to lighten my day, this little ditty hit my in box this afternoon and I had to share...

To All Employees:

To prevent injuries, please use caution when entering the restroom facilities. There may be a fellow co-worker on the inside preparing to exit the restroom at the same time.

Thank you.

Sometimes, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go...

28 August 2009

Friday Follies

Getting old is not for wimps.

You are getting old when you get up feeling like the morning after when you haven't been anywhere the night before.

The old chassis has a few more rattles and dings that it used to. Things tend to hurt more. Knees ache. Backache. Headache (Ibuprofen is my friend). Gray hair. Less hair. Nose hair. Food I used to enjoy to excess now either gives me heartburn or gas (and not the good kind). The music I used to enjoy to in high school is now played on elevators or as a commercial for certain romantic medications (When the moment is right...). As soon as you buy & learn the latest electronic gadget, it is out of fashion/date. Walking across a college campus with all of the incoming students will make you feel ancient.

Its official - I am an old fart. Got new glasses the other day and this is my first set of "progressive lenses" (That's the nice way of saying bifocals).


  1. Raising teenagers is like nailing jello to a tree.
  2. Wrinkles don't hurt.
  3. Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
  4. Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.
  5. Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
  6. Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.

Have a great weekend, be safe, be prepared, be fruitful.

25 August 2009

A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

On this day in 1609, Galileo demonstrates his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers

On this day in 1718, New Orleans was founded

On this day in 1814, the British captured Washington, DC

On this day in 1910, Yellow Cab was founded

On this day in 1916, the National Park Service was founded.

On this day in 1932, Amelia Earhart completes transcontinental flight

On this day in 1944, World War II: Paris is liberated by the Allies

On this day in 1981, Voyager 2 spacecraft makes its closest approach to Saturn, and

On this day in 1987, our lives change irrevocably.

Never has one small event have such an impact on our lives. I have done a lot in my life and have been a lot of places, but I have never been more humbled and proud than that one night 22 years ago. It hardly seems like 22 years, but it has been one interesting adventure. Congratulations on your senior year and Happy Birthday, Stephen!

Mom & Dad are proud.

A budding superstar!

23 August 2009

We're baaack...

Short trip. Dog tired. Just got back an hour ago. Helped junior relocate to Austin along with all of his worldly possessions (or so it seemed like it).

Ya gotta love those college towns especially during move in weekend. Lots of overloaded pick ups, full trailers, frazzled parents and wide eyed kids. Even though it was brutally hot, this year seemed to go easier, perhaps it was because of my stellar planning, or my command of the situation, or the fact it was our 4th year and we pretty much knew the routine (plus having a ground floor apartment this year helped out my back). We were able to drive up, unload and have his apartment set up in about 2-3 hours. Nice place. Older apartments about 3 blocks from campus that have just undergone a serious rennovation. Aside of having a frat house right next door to the complex, seemed to be a nice place. Of course, priorities are different as you get older. Momma and I were focused upon getting the place set up and organized while junior was more focused on getting his system set up and getting the internet hooked up. In the end, they are set up well and ready to hit the ground running come Monday. School starts on Wednesday and they have 2 days to figure out their schedules and get books/supplies. At this point in their academic careers, we are no longer the advisors of what to get or how to prepare, I am more of the logistics/transportation person to help him set up shop. We got done early enough last night to be able to go out to dinner with his girlfriend and her sister and her roommate and their parents. All told, it was a group of 15 people who decended upon Serrano's in Austin (pretty good Tex-Mex) - not that crowded for a Saturday night. Afterwards, we dropped him in his new place and let him alone with his roommate and meandered up to our hotel. Not a bad hotel, but the room seemed hot and we were never cool enough. Shoulda gone down and jumped in the pool but it was after 2300 and it was closed. Slept late (~0630), got up ran 2-3 miles in the heat (was 85 when I started), swam in pool, checked e-mails, ate breakfast, took shower, hit the local wallyworld for supplies, went over to pick up junior to take him out for early lunch at Hut's in downtown Austin. Fantastic burgers (try Arnold's Best). Was able to finish up and drop him off at his new home with the obligatory hugs and good luck before hitting the road south.
Was a pretty smooth ride home, but it was hot this entire weekend (did I mention how hot it was?). Thank goodness for a/c.

Made it home without much fanfare. Momma slept most of the way, so I was jamming to various tunes or the latest Astros loss. Picked up dog from parents and he did not seem too spoiled or worn out. They loved him and he had a good time but was glad to go home to his yard/bed. This is our 4th year and we should be used to it, but it has been a whirlwind week. Nothing like family to make you feel old....

21 August 2009

Friday follies

Ever see a really good idea and you just want to steal/copy it?
Well, along the lines of Life is Good and Silver Lining Saturday, I thought I would start a similar thread on my meager blog along the same line and see how long I can keep it up.

Anyway, another week in the bag. Work's about as much fun as trying to give a cat a bath. With one buyer out on a vacation cruise, another buyer out due to a death in the family, my boss is on the road somewhere in Minnesota or Pennsylvania, that only leaves me and one buyer to run the whole she-bang. Between part problems, month end activities, 20 different emergency orders, project testing, and assorted office drama, life has been anything but boring. This is one of those weeks I am glad to have made it to Friday alive.

Weekend looks to be even more fun. Time to hitch up the team and head north to Austin. I am helping my off spring relocate to college this weekend. This is year 4 for him and, this year, he is moving off campus to an (unfurnished) apartment. We are helping with the major stuff (table, chairs, bed) while he is loading up his car with all sorts of essentials (do you really need 2 guitars?). I am planning a commando run to Austin. Gonna try to sneak out from work to pick up a small trailer, go across town to get the bed from my parents (and anything else they try to give to him), check out a new desk at a thrift shop and then head back home for the rest of his junk. The bus pulls out in the morning (not as early as I would prefer) and we should be in Austin by 1300. I figured it was gonna be a late night so I scored a sweet deal on a hotel for almost nothing (did not want to drive back late in the day). My only worry now is what to do with the stinkin' trailer while in Austin. It is way cheaper to rent this rig for two days & drag it all over Texas (~$30) than do the one way drop off thing ($110). Even the dog is getting a treat. Will spend the day getting pampered/spoiled at my parents. I'm sure my mom will cook up a steak for him. We'll see if we can survive the weekend!

Happy Trails, Ya'll!

18 August 2009


It comes in all forms and from different sources.

A job well done. Completing a major project. Finishing a major cleaning project. Achieving a major goal. Graduating from school/college/basic training. Some things are worth the effort.

Nothing as inspirational as that, but I feel some sense of accomplishment this weekend. Was able to clean up all three cars Sunday afternoon and I feel hot, tired, sweaty, and happy. I come from a warped family that prefers to keep their vehicles in pristine shape, so I try to keep mine fairly clean/serviceable. No way I can keep up with my dad who will wash & polish his van & trailer before he leaves on road trip. I guess I can blame my dad, but I get some measure of completion if I can clean my truck & trailer before I hit the road. I know, it is kind warped and the rig will get dirty on the road, but somehow, I feel better if I can clean all of my cars before I hit the road.

Anyway, I finally washed & cleaned all three vehicles in the stable. I felt that two were long overdue and needed some TLC. That includes my son's car that, will probably be cleaned until he comes home for Christmas. I know it is probably a waste of time, but I feel better knowing that he leaves for college with his car is ready to hit the road. At least his ride should not give him cause for concern.

Speaking of junior, he made it home late Sunday night without any problems. Was actually a bit early hitting the tarmac. We were halfway across town when I got his call that they had just landed (20 minutes ahead of schedule). Timing worked out pretty good as I just pulled up to the passenger loading area as he was coming out with his entourage of bags. Interesting what people consider important to pack in your suitcase for a flight. Among his clothes and laptop and gear, he managed to bring home 5 bottles of his new favorite beer from Seattle (Black Butte Porter). Like father, like son.

16 August 2009

Calm before the storm, language, and other stuff

Junior's coming home.

After three months living our in Seattle, he is headed back home this evening. He has the one direct flight from Sea-Tac to IAH, which, unfortunately, lands in Houston around 2357 (that's 11:57 PM for you non-regs). This is the same flight we took home back in June and we did not get back to the house until 0130. I'm looking at a late night for moi and I will still have to go into the office tomorrow (something about more project testing). Of course, once he hits the ground, the fun begins. Plans are to head north to Austin next Saturday to move into his apartment & get ready for school, so this should be an interesting week ahead.

Speaking of my project, I got a funny observation Friday. Among all of the things I am doing to prepare for this system upgrade, one of my other jobs is to train the rest of the production group on what the new system will look like and how to use it. Spent the last three days conducting training sessions to demonstrate the new system. Basically it was numerous 2 hour workshops on how to use the new features. I consider myself decent when it comes to public speaking. I've been a Toastmaster before so I am comfortable speaking to groups of people, but doing back-to-back sessions over several days is not my favorite hobby. As you teach the subject over & over, you become more relaxed with your groups and you tend to slip into a more casual role and can have more fun with your audience. Where am I going with this? Well, in my Friday class, I was halfway through my spiel when one of the participants (a director) handed me a scrawled note that said (and I quote):

Please do not say


Were in mixed company
Save a complaint

Now, I am an old Army guy and sometimes my language can be classified as "coarse" but I honestly do not remember saying SH*T in my sessions. CRAP, yes, but SH*T, no. I wasn't sure how to take this input (I don't think laughing would have made him happy) aside of smile and thank him for his observation. Now I'd like to note that, out of this "mixed company" class, there was one female engineer whom I know very well and she has a pretty extensive repertoire of non-PG13 language. And since when is CRAP an offensive word? If this is out of bounds, then I am guilty of far worse offenses.

So, to any & all sensitive readers whom I may have offended with my language, I would like to appologize right here. Oops. My bad.

09 August 2009

To be continued...

Postponed. Well, I pretty much knew it was coming. Had one of them big lunchtime meetings with the big dogs on Friday that went about 2.5 hours debating progress on our software project. Things are working now, but only just. Lots of discussion & debate but the bottom line is that we are pushing back our go live date another 30 days. Part of me is glad for the extra time to get things ready, part of me is tired of this never-ending project. Its kinda like taking off a band aid - some to do it slow & steady while others just rip that sucker off (I'm starting to lean toward the snatch & grab tactic). Oh well, another 2 months of hearing me gripe about it.

I am taking the weekend to get some minor chores/things done around here before my son gets back next weekend. I've been driving his car this summer to work (technically, it is still in my name). Gets way better gas mileage that the land barge and is still in excellent shape for a 16 year old Camry. I have been doing the maintenance and upkeep on it and was able to score some replacement parts for it yesterday. I'm trying to chase down some problems with the radio wiring and some miscellaneous dash lights, but nothing major. I like working on cars and doing a lot of the maintenance myself. I get some kind of personal satisfaction when I can diagnose and fix a problem that would have been $$$ at the repair shop. I consider myself an amateur mechanic, but can do some of the basics (oil, brakes, batteries, filters, radiator, water pump, alternator). I have even replaced the clutch and rebuilt a carburetor on my old truck. Not sure I could do that today with some of the newer vehicles, given all of the technology and electronics. I used to change my own oil on all of my vehicles, but I have a shop down the road from my office that will do it fairly cheaply and even wash the vehicle when they are done, so I have relinquished that task to them. Still, I enjoy working on a car and fixing a problem. Something about busted knuckles and greasy fingernails and the smell of Goop just makes me happy.

07 August 2009

Friday already?

Work, work, work. Ever have one of those weeks where all you seem to do is sleep, eat, work? Ever since I got back from NY, it has been pretty much running nonstop at at the office. We're getting closer to implementing our new software and we are busy testing and retesting and then testing some more. Been in early every morning and working late nights. We're on the edge right now. We could go live at the end of the month but we still have some gremlins in the system that could do with some more "fixing" but that would delay the go live by another month. While we'd like to have more time, we are tired of dealing with this project and want to move forward. Got a meeting today with the big dogs to decide the next step.

Glad to have made it through another week at work. I don't really have much planned for the weekend as it is still way to hot (~100) to do yard work. Need to get new glasses, work on son's car, wax the truck/car. Speaking of my son, he is winding up his tour with MS in Seattle and will be heading back home next weekend. Supposed to fly in late Friday and I am sure life will get hectic for a while. Not sure how he is going to ship back all of the stuff I shipped to him (including a new bike) but, he is an innovative, intelligent guy and I am sure will figure it out. College starts up in about 3 weeks, so I am certain the next few weeks will be full of chaos as he preps to head back to Austin. This is his senior year and he pretty much knows the routine/system, so our input/help is not required as much.

Grayson is doing great and about to finish up round 1 of his heartworm treatment. We start round 2 on Monday and it will be another 4 weeks of rest/inactivity before we are out from under his problem. So far, he has not shown any signs of slowing down. No more possums, but he does love to cut loose in the yard if you let him.