30 June 2014

Paddling as fast as I can...

It's been that kind of week.

Uber busy.  Worked through last weekend trying to finish up some changes to procedures and get some reports out by Monday.  The changes have been long in coming and, honestly, I have kinda procrastinated on getting them done earlier.  Been trying to get them done while doing the normal work stuff, but everyone seems to need my advice/input/comments and I just cannot seem to get any traction during normal hours.  I finally resorted to taking the entire weekend alone at the office to knock out the changes and get them posted.  I've tried the same at home but there are too many distractions (both have fur and tails) and I just couldn't seem to find the right motivation.  I finally got everything done but I am about a month behind.  Implementation will take the next two weeks and I have many other things that are taking top priority.  Got another road trip planned - an audit the week after the 4th in Wisconsin and Chicago.  We have an outside agency coming in the following week to do our annual audit and everyone is getting uber paranoid getting prepared.  I have a ton of stuff to do and little time to do it.  Next few weeks should be interesting...  

Speaking of interesting, I lost one of my buyers last week.  He retired on Friday and I am having to open up the search for a new buyer.  I've had mixed feelings about this deal.  The buyer has been with us for many years, but decided two weeks ago that he was going to retire.  Got an e-mail from him late Friday evening that he was retiring with two weeks notice.  Needless to say, it kinda took me by surprise.  I fully appreciate someone who has worked long and hard towards retirement, but I would have appreciated a bit more a warning about this change.

Update on my dad.  He finally got his surgery appointment scheduled for next month on the 21st.  It is not considered urgent or critical so the date is more of a scheduling deal to fit everyone's schedules.  My dad is not happy with the date (wants it sooner) but he is going take what he can get for now.  I am not exactly thrilled with the prospect of him going under the knife at 91 next month but I am trying to keep a positive outlook.   

And I have a mystery challenge.  While driving along one of the main roads a few weeks ago, I spotted an interesting site.  A bike along the side of the road.  A very orange bike.  From initial glance, it did not appear to be a factory paint job.  It looks like an older bike painted day-glo orange and staged at a certain spot.  I finally took time yesterday on the way up to the trailer and pulled over for a closer look.  No real clue what it means - no sign or posting on it.  I am thinking it was a memorial to a cyclist that might have been killed at that spot much like a roadside cross.  I have tried to search the net for some meaning but have come up dry so far.  

16 June 2014

Rough start, nice ending

Finally got off my duff and back out on the trails.  This weekend I had planned to run the Dad's Day 5k event downtown.  It's become an annual gig for me after I discovered it a few years back.  Sort of my summer penance for slacking off since the marathon.  I haven't been running as much lately because of work/schedules but, between you and me, that's just an excuse.  Every year I need some spiritual kick in the butt to get me motivated to start training towards the marathon in January and this is the perfect timing.  Great cause (Prostate Cancer) and gets me out of my rut/funk.  Of course, being downtown Houston in early June, temperature and humidity comes into play.  Was 82 degrees at the start and humidity was just a bit shy of 95%.  Lovely conditions for a run.  Since I haven't been running much lately, I did not have high expectations.  What really did not help is I got sick Friday night/Saturday morning.  Not sure what it was I ate but I woke up around 0200 with a seriously upset stomach.  Was up until 0430 until I finally settled things down to catch a few zzz's.  Work up around 0630 feeling like hammered dog do and questioning if I could really pull off a run.  With all of the strength and stupidity I could muster, I gathered myself together and made it downtown in time for the run.  It wasn't pretty but I survived, albeit a bit sore and sweaty (thanks, Advil).  The results were nothing I want to brag about.  I can live with being beat by some skinny 21 year old or the 5 year old kid running with his dad or even that 75 year old guy running for the 10th time.  But there is no damn way I was going to let the Michelin man pass me up in the last mile.  I may be old and achy and slow, but when some guy hovering north of 300 lbs starts to gain on me, I found motivation to kick it up a notch.  Pride sometimes makes for a good motivational tool.               

I managed to drag my sorry butt across the finish line upright, which is not a bad goal to shoot for.  Felt like crap but with a sense of accomplishment.  Went home to crash and recover a bit.  

Sunday turned out much better.  A bit stiff and sore, but not as bad as "she who runs with bears".  Able to knock out a chores around the hacienda.  Mowed the yard, got the edger working again, loaded up the recyclables, ran reports for the office.  Went over to nephew's house for an impromptu Father's Day gathering.  Nothing ornate, just a gathering of the tribe to drink beer, swim in the pool and talk smack about the rest of the family. Got a chance to spend more time with my dad.  He is doing pretty darned good despite his situation.  He is chomping at the bit to get the procedure done, but hasn't gotten a t-time from the doctor, yet.  Hopefully, he will get an update this week.  

A nice way to wrap up the weekend.  

11 June 2014

From one fire to another

Same old excuse - busy (what else is new?)

Seems like we are handling one crisis challenge after another.  Just enough things to keep me busy and give me a few more grey hairs (for what is left).

No real update on SIL - pretty much status quo.  Not getting any better, not getting any worse which, is actually a good thing.  She is trying to keep a positive outlook even if she doesn't feel it.  I actually had a conversation with her last weekend about where she wanted to be buried - not something I initiated but she wanted me to know her thoughts/wishes.  Damn.  How do you respond to that conversation on the fly?  She is working hard on staying positive, but with the setbacks she has had, it is hard, and I don't blame her.  I gotta admit, given all of her challenges and issues, I am not sure I would take the same path as she has.  My wife has been taking care of her sister throughout this whole ordeal and she is a bit worn down.  I am trying to hold down the fort over here while she is taking care of SIL but it just doesn't seem to equal out to what she has done.  People/family have offered to help out but this is something that we are dealing with ourselves.  

If that wasn't enough stress, got word that my dad is going into surgery in a week or two.  Remember him?  The 90 year old guy that gets up at 0500 every morning for a 3-4 mile walk, tows an Airstream across the country and still gets out and does his own grilling?  This is the first time in 31 years that my folks are not going on their summertime trek to the international Airstream rally up north.  31 years.  I did the math this weekend and figured out that they have been roaming the countryside for almost as many years as we have been married.  This will be the first time we get to spend their anniversary with them at home.  My dad has been feeling at odds and when in to see his doc for a prostate/bladder issue.  They ran the typical battery of tests/exams and ruled out PC (prostate cancer) but he did have an issue that would require some treatment to resolve.  Give the options of wearing a catheter or surgery, he chose surgery.  Now, typically 90 is not considered a good age for surgery, but his doc reviewed his condition and status and said his prognosis was good/strong.  So we are waiting to hear of an open slot next week. Needless to say, his sons are not overly excited about the prospect of him going under the knife (or laser).  As a pessimist and one who as done this kind of surgery, I worry about all of the negative outcomes.  My brother who lives in Seattle is planning to fly in for the surgery to sit with mom and help them out while he recovers/recoups.  When it happens, I plan to take off to sit with my mom while dad goes in (much like I did 10 years ago when she went in for heart surgery).  I working to keep a positive perspective on this deal and not consider any of the negatives but it does tug at the edge of my mind.  I deliberately carved out most of last Saturday to spend it with my dad over at brother's garage.  It was a lame excuse to catch up on things and play with grandnephew and the dogs while getting the 411 about his "procedure".  Next week may be intense but we are keeping our hopes up this turns out well. 

Work has not helped calm things down.  Finished up two projects and two audits only to get three more.  Seems like I am always chasing my tail.  Lots of stress, headaches.  Sometimes the old bait shop is looking better and better.  One bright spot was last week.  We had our annual company celebration for meeting our goals/objectives.  Past years we have gone to a ranch for various activities/food, last year they did a local funplex that had a myriad of activities (games, bowling, laser tag, glow golf).  This year they decided on indoor racing.  Interesting venue.  An organized race with supercharged up go-carts on an indoor track.  Pretty nice ride, but I have to admit it was a bit boring at times.  If you weren't racing, you were talking with your fellow employees or eating lunch.  

Start your engines

New career path

I am not one to complain and I fully appreciate the company shelling out the money for this gig but there was but there was a lot of dead time waiting for your turn to race.  A  good change of pace to the normal routine.