26 August 2016

AIRBNB for dogs

Happy National Dog Day!

First Uber, now Airbnb.  

We've got a guest for a while.  My nephew's girlfriend got a new job down in Hawaii and they have some pretty strict regulations about bringing pets onto the island that required a 90 day quarantine for rabies testing.  That usually means, if you want to ship your furry children down to the island, they wind up spending 3-4 months locked up pending the outcome of the tests.  Somehow I sorta volunteered to keep the little guy for a few months while he was under quarantine (must have been the Scotch talking). Starting last weekend, we picked up a new member of the tribe.  

So, in my best Al Pacino impression:  Say Hello To My Little Friend!    


40  pounds of energy packed in an 11 pound frame.  We're all getting used to each other, but he is fitting in well.  Grayson is not quite sure what to make of our new guest.  He wants to play with Osiris, but the dynamics are was different from Claire.  Grayson feels he will squish Osiris but that hasn't kept O from running amok.  I think Grayson's a bit sad that he's no longer top dog and has to share.  

In the meanwhile we are back to two mutts for the next few months.            

14 August 2016

Dog Uber

Another weekend, another drive in the country.

As part of our rescue group, GBGRR, there are many jobs or assignments to spread the load.  We tried our hand at fostering, but didn't seem to grasp the concept of letting them go once they crossed our doorstep.  So, one of the things I can do is  is playing doggy uber for rescues being shipped in from south Texas.  Since I'm on the southwest side of town, it is more convenient for me to drive south to pick up an incoming foster.  Several times I have been called to meet someone coming up from the valley or Corpus Christi.  It's a good 3.5 hour drive (one way)  from Corpus and at least 6 hours from Brownsville.  Occasionally, we have a dog or two turned into another rescue group down south and they make arrangements to transport up to Houston to turn over to GBGRR.  To make it easier on the people coming up, we will send out a person to handle the exchange and take the dog the rest of the way.  I've done a few runs down south.  Our go-to spot is usually Mikeska's BBQ in El Campo.  Good, convenient spot to make that is a bit over an hour south of my place.  Not quite half way, I've proposed a place further south to give the other driver some break but this seems to be the most visible and convenient spot.

I've done three since Claire passed and each has been hard to hand them off.  Especially the one back in March - Twinky.  I swear she was the spitting image of Claire but with a few extra pounds.  I'd really like to take them home and introduce them to Grayson, but the coordinator says that the dogs are a lot of under stress from the transport and introducing them to another dog too soon could create problems.  One day.  

Today's fare was not one but two dogs.  A 4 year old Golden/Chow male mix named Buddy and a 10 month old Golden female named Chase.  One was a found dog, the other was an OTI (owner turn in).  I've done a few OTis and some can be really hard, especially if the owner doesn't want to really let them go.  Both were great dogs and had a good rid up to Houston where I handed them off to their temporary fosters.  Chase was going to one of our fosters and Buddy was going to a sister rescue group (Golden Retriever Rescue).  Today was interesting in that there were a number of dogs being transferred.  Two Goldens, two poodles, a chow and two Pyrenees.  All being picked up by their respective rescue groups.  It was sad to see so many dogs being transferred but good to see so many people working to find them homes.  I played just a small part of this relay race, but it was heartening to help.         



Both rode home well.  I used a cage since I wasn't sure how the two would react.  Buddy got the cage first and Chase rode in the open truck.  At first, Chase was very shy and nervous, but as soon as I put her in the truck, her tail perked up and she started to wag her tail.  After a few miles she parked herself right next to Buddy's cage and slept the rest of the way.  Long day for both dogs, but I think they are on their way to a good home.      

12 August 2016

More road tales

My job has definitely gotten interesting.  With our merger last October, change was expected and change we have gotten.  Several reorgs have seen people come and go.  New bosses, new job titles, new roles.  And the changes are still coming.  Becoming part of a larger, global company is changing everyone's perspective/outlook.  And, with any change, you must learn to adapt and roll with the tide otherwise you run the risk of being swept under/aside.  

My role hasn't fully changed, yet, but we see which way the tide is going so we are adjusting our approach.  Lately, everyone has gotten into the habit of checking the company org chart on Friday morning.  That seems to be the time when changes are posted.  

Even with the changes, I'm still traveling a bit.  Some for audits, some for conferences.  As I did last year, I attended a conference on Conflict Minerals in Chicago.  Nice three day deal in downtown Chicago, but they definitely don't hold this gig in the local Motel 6.  Very nice hotel right on the river - the Londonhouse.  Great corner room on the top floor.  Impressive views of downtown Chicago and the downtown river.            


I am a bit of an architecture nut and love older buildings.  If I hadn't gone into Mechanical Engineering, I was considering Architecture as a major.  I find older cities and the building fascinating.  

Of course, the most interesting view was right outside of my window across the river...
And nobody was climbing up the side of it...
On many of my road trips, if time allows, I will explore around the local area trying to find the more interesting/mundane things.  

 Enjoying some local street food and drink.

And a local piano bar.   Since Ms Agg is a redhead, I just had to send her a picture of this.   

I am a regular TripAdvisor contributor so I tend to review and rate the places I visit - hotels, restaurants, bars, venues.  The hotel was supposedly just opened a month before as part of a complete renovation.  I found the hotel very nice but there were a few quirks that I had noted.  I wasn't really all that impressed with their elevator system, the room was an odd layout (IMHO poor use of space) and I found an odd situation in the bathroom. 

And, of course, the throne room. 

Can you spot what I might find as odd with this set up?

I've got a few more trips coming up.  I will post up any pictures that may peak my interest.  Like, perhaps, another dog run this weekend.      

06 August 2016

Pate post mortem

Yea, Abby, Pate is definitely full of testosterone.  Old cars, cigars, scotch and lots of guy stuff.  When your basic meal plan involves beef jerky, chicharrones, and beer, you can just imagine the stories told and deals made.  But, to plagiarize the old Vegas slogan:  What happens at Pate, stays at Pate.  

Yes I was briefly tempted by the old Mustang but. fortunately, I was sober enough not to take the bait.  Besides, I figured I already had a Mustang project car that wasn't getting any attention.        

As with many of the "deals" you find at Pate, there is always a back story, just like you may hear when out hunting or fishing with your buddies.  Something about the conquest makes the story more "unique".  

Of course, just like any "buddy" trip, there is always someone giving your advice or encouraging you to "go for it" .  We were trying to convince the nephew to buy the Delorean golf cart.  After all, he already has a real Delorean.  
The details alone made it a prize - working flux capacitor, Mr Fusion, smoke generator. 
Unfortunately, the price of the golf card was equal to what he actually paid for his actual Delorean. so that pretty much was a deal killer right there.  

Of course, that did not stop us from "test driving" or checking out some of the other deals.

Doesn't everyone need a backhoe?  

An old Airstream project that was up for auction. 
 Of course, it required a "little" work  
An old Westfalia Vanagon.  This one is for my brother out west in Washington.  He owns one of these campers.   

The nephew used to own one a Firebird back in college (Smokey & The Bandit version - complete with the screaming chicken on the hood).  A real money pit.  That is why he bought the hood to hang in his back yard as "yard art".

After we hauled it back to our trailer and set it up so we could admire our daily haul we noted something interesting.  It may have been the scotch talking but I swore that you could see the face of Jesus on the hood and THAT is why he had to buy it.   

03 August 2016

Catching up

As I said last time, I would try to post more often.  Thought I would start with a few pictures from my travels over the past few months.  Things have been busy, both at work and at home.  Hard to believe that football season is just a few weeks away.

I've been out on the road a fair amount.  Chicago, Buffalo, Atlanta, Fort Worth,  Some for work, some for play.  Looks like the job is kicking it up a notch and I will be  back out on the road this fall to more far off and exotic places like Denver, Minneapolis, San Jose, Dallas, Paris, Milan, etc.  I know, life's hard all over.

I was able to sneak off to Pate again in April for a few days of R&R.  Typical guy trip with my brother and one of his sons.  This was a pretty good year - weather was sketchy, nobody go sick, we scored a few deals, bought another bar light (or two), drank some beer, didn't come home with any new projects (well, except for the car lift). 

Weather looked ominous for a while...
You can find all sorts of conveyances...

My brother hurt his knee (translation:  he's an old fart) and he wound up renting one of those mobility scooters to ride all over Pate while we browsed for the deals.  Good thing for him - we wound up covering about 6-8 miles per day covering the entire meet.  

Not quite the same as texting and driving...
Need a lift?
Wagon train

Yard art?

When you really need to go back in time for another round...

And a new ride for the grandkids...

Of course, when my brother crashed for the afternoon, nephew and I "borrowed" the scooter to make one last run through the meet...

And I had my eye on this sweet looking convertible.  Just slightly older than my son but still a nice ride.. 

But this one really got my attention.  Only a measly $2k and you can drive it home today!  

A 1966 Mustang "Ranch" car.  It's had a "few" modifications done... 

Of course, being frugal (aka cheap), I didn't really buy much this year.  Instead, I blew my Pate money on getting the driver's seat for the landbarge reupholstered at a local shop while we were up at Pate.  It was pretty rough before, but looks like new now.