Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Petco is right next to a Dicks' Sporting Goods so we put the dogs in the car and went in and bought me some new knee supports. These ones were one step up from my other ones and had the knee holes in them. When we got back to the car, the blanket was no longer over the back seat and the golden retriever was in the driver's seat. We went home and I vacuumed out the car and Windex-ed the windows (to get the slobber off). While wearing my new knee supports.
Then I went to the backyard and raked out the golden retriever. That thing worked great. I should have made a commercial for it. I had clouds of hair swirling about me. The dog is a shadow of her former self. Next, it was doggie bath time. I line up a bunch of towels and throw on an old T-shirt and shorts. Ashleigh helped by aiming the hand-held shower head. Britni the beagle is an easy wash. She is in and out pretty quickly. When she gets out, she puts her head against the corner of the wall where it meets the carpet and rockets around the perimeter of the rooms. Pretty funny. Jasmine the golden retriever happily hops right into the tub. But she is so big and hairy, it is quite a job. Having raked out the hair made things much easier. So now the dogs are clean and smell good. For about another 2 days...
I then plopped on the couch for a while and affixed ice bags to my knees with Ace bandages. That really helped.
That night we went over to some friends and played games and ate dinner while the kids were at church youth group.
Saturday Lucie and I went out and did a little shopping in the mall area. Parking was tricky but there were no lines in the stores. I had to buy some more blank DVDs because my DVD burner apparently doesn't like the Sony brand. Which I have a whole spindle of. And which is now for sale. I bought a spindle of TDKs and all is good now. That night we had some friends over to have some ham from the Honey Baked ham my father sends us every year. More eating and games.
Today it is pretty foggy out and we have no real plans after church. The Patriots play at 4 at Miami. Miami is on a 1 game winning streak.
Friday, December 21, 2007
I finally found the bad bulb in the Christmas net lights. I spread the net over a chair in the living room and started the one-by-one replacement process. After a few minutes, I found it. Replaced it. All good. Saved myself $4 from buying a new one. So I took myself out to McDonalds for lunch.
Tonight we are having some friends over while our kids are at the church youth group. The local grocery store that sells the weekend $5 large pizza is taking a beating from us.
As is usually the case at this time of year, we had a ton of people come out for basketball last night. Some church people back from college, friends of friends of friends, etc. We had 21 people come out. I sent 3 home when they came an hour and a half late. We were able to play full court which was good with that many people but it is a bit much. We go thru this cycle every once in a while - somehow the word gets out that I am running a YMCA and all sorts of people show up. So I have to cull the herd on occasion and get things back in order. Makes for some unpleasantness but I figure they can start their own basketball night at their church...
While I was playing, my knees were killing me on every jump. I wear knee supports but they aren't doing the job any more. I may have to look for a wheelchair league to play in...
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Meanwhile, the bulb in our lawn decoration present burned out. As I was unscrewing that, it exploded and was smoking. Cut my finger but I didn't feel it because by then, my fingers were nothing but frozen popsicles sticking out. Put another bulb in and that is working now.
Continuing the theme of frustrations, I went to the church to work on the wifi network there. After much ladder climbing and poking around, I found the main cable line to the access point had no signal. So that needs to be rectified.
But I did have a good experience buying something at Best Buy using their online process. Bought it on a wicked sale online, went to the counter, showed them my confirmation email, ID, and credit card and walked out with it about a minute later. Nice. I like having them pull it for me and having it ready when I get there.
Royal Caribbean got back to me yesterday that there will indeed be televisions on the cruise to show the Patriots win the Superbowl.
I have a couple of interesting job leads right now that I just sent my resume to.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I have some Christmas shopping to do today after meeting Lucie for lunch. Which will consist of Ramen noodles and sandwiches in her office.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Speaking of sand, today we got some Royal Caribbean documents. The cruise is coming. I reserved a 12 passenger van today for us to drive from the Orlando airport to the hotel. Taxis and limos are much more expensive so we will split this with another family going down with us. It is a one-way rental so we can drop it at Cape Canaveral but we can use it the night before the trip to do some local sight seeing. We are taking the RC bus back to the airport after the trip.
The church banquet went really nice Saturday night. I made an elf show of the church pastoral staff (like the one someone made of us - see the link below) and showed that up on the big screen after the meal. That went over pretty good. That night Ashleigh had some friends over for the night after going to the movies. And I can tell you, the biggest drama of the night didn't take place on screen... But I guess that is to be expected with a teenaged daughter.
Elliott has another game tonight. I am going to record this one and then he and I are going to analyze the video after the game. It really puts things in perspective to see yourself play. That is why I don't let anyone record me...
Saturday, December 15, 2007
This morning Elliott had his first organized basketball game. He did pretty well - shot 33% from the field with 4 points including a nice runner. As I always tell him, if he outscores the man he is guarding, he has done his job. The team, however, lost 40-29. A lot of it was first game jitters. They missed a lot of shots that they normally hit. And the other team had a kid over 6 feet tall. That was crazy. The picture shows some perspective (Elliott is #3 with his back to us.) I put a link on our home web page where I will track his stats scroll down on the page till you see the link:
If you just want to see the stats:
I finally got together with my friend to move the treadmill over to his house. I still cannot figure out how I ever got it down to our basement on my own. We had to take off some door hinges and move it a couple of steps at a time. By laying down all the seats in my Pathfinder, we could roll it in (folded flat). But it has found a new home now where it will get a lot of use.
Last night we went over to some friend's house to watch the University of Delaware national championship game. Turned out to be not much of a game but we had a good time and most importantly, we had good food. I had to bail out early and fetch Elliott from a birthday party. But we got back in time to see the second half. And get some more to eat.
Speaking of eating, tonight is the annual church Christmas banquet. There is some predictions of snow tonight but it should turn to rain quickly and not be a problem.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Today a friend of mine, with obviously way too much time on her hands, rendered this bit of Hale Holiday Happiness. That is a screen shot from the entire video at http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1326779715. Go there for a laugh and create your own. (It takes a few seconds to load.)
Quiet day here today. I found another online job site that had quite a few job listings - some I hadn't seen before. There was a posting for the vacant Security Director of the NBA. I could do that. But it is in NYC. I perused that site and signed up for alerts. I spoke to a recruiter yesterday but he was more of a finance and accounting guy. He did say he would keep his ears open for me if he stumbles on something suited for me.
I finally managed to get out in the mist yesterday and suck up the remaining fallen leaves. I hope that is the last time I do that this year.
I also did some work on the church wifi - installed some better range antennas, encrypted it, etc. That should help with the signal and keep the neighbors off our network.
The treadmill still remains in the basement. Every night that my friend plans on coming over to get it, it rains.
Had to lay down an ultimatum on the kids to get their rooms cleaned up. I specified a time it had to be done by and laid out the ramifications if it was not completed to my satisfaction by that time. They beat the deadline and their rooms are presentable. Now it is just a matter of daily maintenance and inspections. I was wondering where in the world they got so 'cluttery' - until I took Lucie's car out to get gas. Then it all came clear to me...
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
When we picked up the kids later, we talked to a couple of friends. One recently unemployed girl used a headhunter and wound up getting a job very quickly. She is going to forward me his name. So that was encouraging.
Saturday morning I took Elliott to basketball practice. That went well. He got into a pick-up game before his practice and did well. When that was over, his coach still hadn't arrived so I jumped in and started to set his team up for a scrimmage. Then the assistant coach arrived and took over. They practiced for about 30 minutes, then played another unofficial game against the next team coming in. They lost 18-22 but Elliott had 6 points, a few rebounds and steals, and played well. One kid formed an alliance with another apparently and tried to force-feed him the ball every time down court. Which resulted in a lot of turnovers. The coaches yelled at him to "Get Elliott the ball." He can hit the outside shots and is doing great on defense. His first game is next Saturday.
Today Elliott has a friend coming over to finish a science fair project. Just when I thought all the leaves were down, more drifted in during the recent snow and rain. I guess I will go suck them up. And brush out Jasmine - she is looking pretty woolly and in need of some de-thatching. Tonight we are going over to some friends' for dinner.
Friday, December 7, 2007
As I continue my house cleaning/reorganization efforts, I came across a box of old comic books. I had catalogued them a while back so today I sent the spreadsheet to a local comic book store. I was already preparing my statement for the newspaper interview for finding a rare and much sought after comic. Then the comic book store wrote back and said there was nothing of interest and I should try and sell them on eBay. Foiled again.
Yesterday Lucie was off so after taking the kids to school, we did a little Christmas shopping (and I mean a little). We got home and walked by Elliott's room and decided we needed to do something about it. He has (had) junk piled everywhere, clothes everywhere, etc. etc. He didn't like sleeping on his bed frame so he has been sleeping for years on his mattress on the floor. We changed that. Went to the basement and brought up the wooden frame that matches his furniture and cleaned up a lot of stuff. And threw out a lot of stuff. Now he just has to maintain it. Ashleigh is next on the hit list.
We are due a little wintry weather today. The kids have church youth group tonight.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Earlier that day he competed in the Math League. His school has three teams in the math league district. One team came in first and the other two teams tied for second! They are something else. Out of the top 10 scorers, kids from Elliott's school hold 8 spots. He finished this meet ranked #17 out of 54 competitors.
I went downstairs and started some work on the basement yesterday. A few years ago we put some heavy duty metal and wood rack shelves down there. In one section, we put them two deep which turned out to be too deep. We couldn't get to the back of the rear rack. So I moved the front rack yesterday and will spend the afternoon transferring stuff between the racks. I found some interesting stuff I forgot we had.
It is snowing out pretty good right now. Church tonight is looking questionable. We are only supposed to get about 2 inches but being the first snow of the winter, that will result in all sorts of accidents. I have my shovels at the ready. Typically, I am the only one who goes out and shovels during the storm. I would rather shovel 2 inches 5 times than 10 inches one time. My neighbors don't seem to get that concept so while my driveway is nice and clear, they are out there breaking their backs.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I saw a 6 outlet outdoor power strip on sale at Target but since that is so far away, I bought a similar one at Home Depot. On Sunday night I was standing out in the yard in the driving rain trying to pull apart extension cord connections to turn off the outside Christmas lights and had visions of someone finding me electrocuted the next morning laying in the bushes. So this outdoor strip is pretty good - it has a weather cover for the outlets and a timer. No more late night ventures out to the yard to turn off the lights.
Yesterday was coffee pot/machine cleaning day. The water reservoir was stained and needed a good scrubbing. I found a funny little brush thing and used an old toothbrush (that I kept for such an occasion) and went to work. It came out pretty good but I must have got the innards too wet because when I plugged it in, it wouldn't turn on. So I set it outside in the tornado winds to dry out. That took care of it as a few hours later, it was working fine. I mixed up a concoction of vinegar and water to run thru it a few times. After the first run through, the water was still in the pot and I was upstairs. Along came Ashleigh and saw the pot of hot water. She poured some into her cup and made some tea, and then mixed up some oatmeal using it. The tea tasted fine she said but the oatmeal tasted old...
Sunday, December 2, 2007
After that, we started in on the Christmas decorations set up. Much like egg nog, it doesn't take but a little bit to remind me why I don't like it. I pulled out the lights for the tree and the outside bushes and icicles and started the bulb replacement process. A string of bulbs costs like $5 at WalMart and every year I say it would be a better use of my time to just throw out the strings every year and buy new ones. But I cannibalized a couple of old strings for the bulbs and got everything working fine. Dragged everything outside and started the install. The icicles went up fine and the net bushes went on pretty quickly too. Elliott came out and we put some lights on our new little tree and set up some lawn decorations that look like giant, lighted presents. The wind was whipping cold but it went pretty smoothly. Turned on the switch and found a bunch of lights out! So now I replace more bulbs but this time out in the cold. We have been watching a documentary on people climbing on Mt. Everest and one of the lines on the show is, 'lose a glove, lose a hand.' I tried to keep my gloves on due to the cold but that didn't last long. By now, it was dark outside and we were able to adjust the net bushes for maximum effect. Looked good. For about 10 minutes. Then one of the tiny fuses in the plugs blew out. Took me about 10 minutes and a Chilton's manual to figure out how to open the little door in the string plug to replace that. Finally I got it and popped a new fuse in. Looked pretty good.
Lucie had made us hot chocolate and was working inside the house on the tree. Meanwhile, the new crock pot I got her for her birthday was simmering away making a big stew. So Elliott and I went in and started fluffing the tree limbs for Lucie. She would stick them on the tree and rig the lights at the same time. And rig she did. Typically we have about 5 or 6 strings of lights for the whole tree. I get the dual colored ones - each bulb has two colors so that really lights things up. She was about halfway done and had used 8 strings! Off to WalMart she went to get some more. By the time we were done, 14 strings were run through the tree. I found I could turn the furnace off and we were all warm enough from the light of the tree. It looked really good though. Except for the top - there was an unspoken rule that no one was eating until the tree was done so I ran one string of lights around the top of the tree and headed for the kitchen. Then all of the tree lights went out. I learned from my net lights experience what the problem was and replaced a fuse in one string of lights and all was good again. Ashleigh started vacuuming up the needles that had fallen off onto the carpet and managed to suck the main power cord to the tree up into the vacuum. I fished that out but it was looking a bit rough so we had to replace that. Which meant disconnecting all the tree lights and attaching them to the replacement power cord. That was proabably a good thing because this time we broke up the strings and attached them to the power cord outlets evenly (instead of stringing them all together with just one plug).
Lucie and I went out to the yard to survey our handiwork. The tree is in a front window and we keep those shades open so people going by can see the tree. Looked good. Then the net lights fuse blew again... So this morning I ran another power cord out there and split up the strings like we did the tree. Finally we settled down and watched the movie, "Kicking and Screaming." That was pretty funny. What was not so funny was that we had rented it from Netflix and it was on regular (free) TV at the same time...
Tonight is the church kid's play so Lucie and the kids will be there getting ready for that all day. A friend of mine bought our old treadmill so he is coming over to get that this afternoon. They predicted icy rain all day and so far nothing. Which is good.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Had been in bed to get some much needed sleep,
When at the foot of the bed there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from the sheets to see what was the matter.
To the bedroom floor we flew in the night,
I grabbed a towel and Lucie hit the light.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But the beagle, puking on my clean carpet - oh, dear!
That little episode took place at 5 AM this morning. I couldn't believe it - my newly shampooed carpet! I guess the crock-pot chicken and dumplings didn't agree with the dog. So Lucie ran Britni down and outside and I toweled up the spot (it wasn't that big) and sprayed it down with cleaner. This morning I re-shampooed the area.
Our experience at Lowe's yesterday was not as positive as the last time. The idea behind shopping online, for me anyway, is to speed things up. I want my purchased items waiting for me when I get there. Like they are supposed to be. We wound up waiting at the Customer Service desk for 10 minutes while someone went and found the sink cartridge and brought it up. I could have done that... Anway, we got home and Elliott and I popped it in. Took 10 minutes and works fine.
I managed to rip the flashlight brackets out of the drywall yesterday when I pulled the flashlight off. So I fixed that and got that hung up right.
Two weeks ago at basketball I was on fire hitting about every shot I put up. Last night I barely got a shot off before I was stripped of the ball or rejected or just lost it out of bounds. My shot selection was terrible, bad passes - just not in the game. We won maybe one game out of seven or so. It was still a fun night but I was not very productive.
Tonight the kids have gym night at the church. Lucie and I are going to bring the Christmas stuff upstairs while the kids are there. Elliott is spending the night at a friend's, then I will take him from there to his basketball practice tomorrow morning. After that, we start putting up the tree and decorations and lights. I have it down to a science so it should run pretty smoothly. They are calling for an icy mix on Sunday so we will probably be in the 80º's...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Lucie and I went to Home Depot to get the faucet cartridge but of course they didn't have any. Today I bought one online from Lowes and when I go to pick up Ashleigh from school, I will swing in and get it. I love that. They pick it from the rack, bring it to the front, and all I do is show my receipt and take it. (I pay for it online when I order it.)
By the way, I solved the mystery of the bungee bandit. I found it halfway up a nearby tree. It had sling-shotted itself up there.
It was one month ago today I left my job. We haven't had to touch our savings yet (thanks be to God). We have cut back a lot and been really frugal - something we will continue to do going forward.
One of our cruise friends sent us an email about a very unusual occurrence. I will condense it but basically, a friend of his who he only hears from once or twice a year said he felt impressed by God to send our friend a check for $140. Our friend thought that was strange and then realized that that was the exact amount that Royal Caribbean assessed him for their new fuel surcharge. On top of that, the check was dated November 20 - the exact date that I had emailed our cruise friends about the RC increase. Pretty wild. It is more than coincidental - $140 is not a common number. But it shows a couple of things - that we need to be obedient to God's directives and that God is in the details. Now if any of my friends want to send me a check to cover some cruise costs, don't disobey the voice of God!
Today I sold our old treadmill. Barely used. Ha ha. Actually, we used it quite a bit, but then the pounding on my knees was too much. The elliptical is much more 'body-friendly.' A friend of mine will come over Sunday and we will drag it up from my basement and get it over to his house. So I actually made money today. I wonder what I can get for the couch...
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Our bathroom faucet went bad last night. It started dripping a week or so ago, then stopped. I declared it repaired. Last night it wouldn't shut off and was a steady trickle. I shut it off using the valves under the sink. It is a Moen faucet so there are no washers to replace - just the entire cartridge. I replaced the one in the shower this spring so this should go pretty quickly.
Yesterday I blew and vacuumed the leaves in the backyard. Again. This time no dogs got out and it went pretty quickly. I bungeed open the gate while I brought something in, but when I went back, the gate was closed and the bungee was gone. In like 30 seconds. Either there is a bungee burglar loose in the neighborhood, or that bungee just launched into the great unknown. I never did find it.
My cold is getting better. Down to just a cough now. I am hitting the elliptical for 30 minutes a day now and that seems to help. I haven't lost a pound but I feel pretty good. Full court basketball at church tomorrow night due to the youth gym night on Friday (normally we play width-wise so the court is shorter).
Monday, November 26, 2007
A friend of ours stopped by with a really nice present for Lucie's birthday. It is kind of a funny story but I will save it for later in case Lucie reads this before she gets home.
We brought our carpet shampooer in to Oreck a while ago to get it fixed under warranty. A month went by so we called to check on it. They could find nothing wrong with it. Of course, it would have been nice if they checked it for what the problem was: every time we squeeze the trigger to release the shampoo, the protection fault on the power cord trips. They didn't test that. Now they say they have it fixed. I may venture over there and pick it up. Then I will bring it home, try it out, find out they didn't fix it, and bring it back.
Last night was a close game with the Patriots but I figured experience would prevail. And it did. Still, it was pretty exciting. I think I would rather watch a blow out though.
We paid off the remaining balance for the cruise yesterday. It was the last day we could do that so now we are official. Today I made reservations at the airport off-site parking area so we can leave our car there. I picked the same place we used last time - they were convenient and had a nice drop off service.
I did a pre-emptive strike on our leaves a few days ago figuring most of them were down and the rest would eventually fall. Well, the rest fell - the next day. So now I have that exercise to do again. It is rainy today so maybe tomorrow I will blow them in a pile and get them out the back gate.
I think I will go and spend some time on the elliptical and try to sweat some of the cold out. I think a solid two minutes should do it.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Yesterday I was pretty wiped out from a cold. Lucie went shopping and left me strict instructions on how to strip and mop the kitchen floor while she was gone. But I found out that it is impossible to clean the floor while asleep in the recliner. I woke up feeling better and my sore throat was gone. I went out and checked the tire pressure on the Pathfinder and sure enough, all of the tires were at 32 lbs. - they were supposed to be at 35. So I put air in all around and the low pressure light went out on my way to the gas station.
When I got there, a couple of girls approached me with some story about being kicked out of their boyfriends' car and needing taxi money. I certainly have no money to spare and I told them so so they went after someone else. He gave them some money and they meandered behind away behind the gas station for a while, then started walking down the road. No taxi in sight.
Lucie wanted to put the Christmas tree up last night but I was not up for that. So Elliott set up the game of Life and we played that twice. That was fun - we hadn't played any family games like that in a long time.
When I let the dogs out for the last time around midnight, it was snowing. It didn't accumulate but there it was. And winter has begun...
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The rest of the day Elliott spent playing his new game and I blew the leaves out of the yard. I opened the front gate to blow some leaves out there and Britni (the beagle) took off. I just let her go hoping someone would take her in and give her a good home. But the neighbor across the street was trying to catch her for me so I figured I better bring her back. All I had to do was open the garage roll up door and she bolted back in. About an hour later, I had the back gate open and Jasmine (the golden retriever) took off. She is usually pretty good about not going out but not this time. I was concerned about her being shot by a deer hunter so I went out and coaxed her back in. Not all of the leaves have fallen so I will have more to do later but I got the bulk of them.
The kids went to the youth pastor's house for an outdoor movie and cookout around fires last night. So Lucie and I went out to do some Christmas shopping. On the way, my low tire pressure light came on in my Pathfinder. It has done that at least 10 times and I have taken it in to get fixed about 4 times. They replace a sensor or re-set something each time. It is very annoying as I have to get out and check to be sure it is not a true reading. So I guess I will take it to the dealer next week to get it checked out again. That light went off one time in my old Bonneville - and I really had a tire going flat then.
Last night we watched the three hour movie of "IT" and took a break from turkey with one of the special $4.99 large pepperoni pizzas from our local grocery store.
I woke up with a sore throat this morning. Usually I wake up grumpy but then she goes back to sleep...
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The new church laptop performed well last night in it's first live run. Of course the first song on the list to be sung somehow didn't migrate over when I imported the songs from the old computer. I typed it in but now I am wondering how many others didn't make it. It is kind of weird because I checked both computers and the number of songs in the databases were the same after I imported the songs. We will just monitor it I guess.
The weather people said today would be cold and rainy so naturally it is sunny and in the mid 60º's. Beautiful day. We have no plans but to stay home and eat ourselves into oblivion. Isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about? (Obviously I am thankful for all we have...).
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Elliott had a good basketball practice last night but now he has no more practices until next Monday night. No hoops for me either due to Thanksgiving.
The sanctuary computer at our church died last week. We use it to project the words to our worship songs and PowerPoint presentations on a roll-down screen. I resurrected it but it was ancient and slow. So our Pastor shopped around and found a great deal on a Toshiba laptop. He bought it and I set up the song projection software on it. This laptop runs on Vista which takes some getting used to but I got everything running. I will take it into the church to test it live later today but I think it should work fine.
Royal Caribbean hit us with a fuel surcharge fee for our cruise in February. I emailed them and called them up to complain but that did no good. They extended us another two weeks or so to get a refund without penalty but I guess we will fork it over. It is only $70 (for us - others in our group are being hit for $140) but it is the principle of the thing. And $70 is $70. That money could be used for a downpayment for another on-board salon session for Lucie...
Not much happening on the job front. It will be a dead week for hiring this week I imagine due to the holiday. Gives me more time for my beard to fill in.
I have been after the kids to clean up the family room. They shed their clothes and books and shoes and wrappers in there as soon as they walk in. I hate that because it is the first thing I see when I come home from a long day at work. Wait, let me re-phrase that... Anyway, today I scooped it all up and after several trips, I deposited it all in front of their bedroom doors. Now they will have to step over it to get into their rooms. And I have no doubt that is exactly what they will do for a few weeks but at least they are getting some exercise.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
While we were out shooting and getting shot at, Lucie went to breakfast with some ladies in a group she just met with.
We got a call last night from Royal Caribbean saying that they were adding a $70 fuel surcharge to our cruise. I was not pleased with that - nor were several others in our group that have TWO rooms which will cost them $140! So I sent an email to RC complaining and will follow up with them on Monday.
A friend of ours from church invited me to the Baltimore Ravens football game tomorrow. His company has a suite at the stadium and some clients weren't able to go so he invited me to. I guess you could call me a 'suite filler.' That was cool. We will go down after church tomorrow morning for a 1 PM game. Oddly enough, this will be the first NFL game I have ever gone to where I was not on the field. They are calling for rain but it won't matter to us. Suiteness!
Friday, November 16, 2007
This morning I played racquetball with 4 other guys from church. We were on two courts at the Y with the winner of the 3 players playing the winner of the singles players. It was pretty fun. One of the guys (Gary) got hit in the eye (by me) and that drew blood from his glasses. Later on the youth pastor nailed him in the back and someone else got him in the right rear cheek.
Which brings me to tomorrow's outing for paintball. Looks like about 13 adults going and 20 kids. The first round will be adults against kids. We will have a state trooper on our side so that will help. We are playing at a farmhouse right near us. Should be a good time. Always is. We will pack our lunches to eat there and layer ourselves in clothing for warmth and to lessen the paintball pain.
I am almost finished putting the handles on the drawers and cabinets. Gotta run down to Lowes today (I didn't make it there yesterday) and get the last ones. Lucie likes them so much that I now refer to them as 'love' handles...
Thursday, November 15, 2007
One of the church computers is acting up so I ran some diagnostics and fixes on it overnight. I call Lucie every couple of hours to check the status and run something else. I will go over there shortly and do some more. I think it is salvageable.
FedEx came by yesterday and delivered a rejection letter to me from the place in DC that I interviewed with. Polite but pretty much saying that their current positions are all in the DC area. I sent the interviewers a thank you email and asked them to keep me in mind for future consideration. My friend who works there says he will look into it when he returns from an assignment but told me that new projects come in all the time and something may open up up here.
Basketball night tonight. Some people are off tomorrow so we should have a good turnout. Some other church guys invited me to play racquetball again tomorrow at the Y so I might go do that.
If the rest of the handles install smoothly today, I may have to think of making it a career. I am enjoying working in my drawers all day...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Today I saw there was a security project manager job in Wilmington for a consulting firm. I sent them my resume and asked for more information.
Yesterday I utilized all of my management skills and scooped about 800 pounds of dog poop from the backyard. It is the kids' chore to do and I even have a calendar with the responsible name printed on it to reduce bickering over whose day it is. But rainy afternoons and busy schedules, early darknes, and a bit of laziness on their part, has kept them from their appointed task. So I showed some great initiative and did the duty (doodie?).
I was going to install the cabinet handles but found when Lucie bought them, she was two short (no - I did not just write that Lucie is too short!). So I went to Home Depot, after picking up Ashleigh from school, and found that she had bought them from Lowes. So I will go to Lowe's today and get some more. I made a little template to use as a guide to be sure I put them in consistently. The biggest challenge was to install them horizontally or vertically (insert Pastor Ben joke here for those who know that one). I fell back on my decision making matrix processes and came up with the best solution (I asked Lucie how she wanted them).
In another effort to exercise my abilities, I took apart the vacuum to see why it wasn't sucking as much as I thought it should. Gave it a thorough cleaning and now it sucks no better than before. But at least I got it all back together and I am sure I can use the leftover screws for something else.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A few of our crusie buddies ran into some airline problems over the weekend. Their flights were changed by the airline but they were never notified! Good thing someone checked and spread the word. They are all set now but we will have to watch that airline in case it happens again. Most of us are going down on Air Tran (the airline that changed the flights) but another family is going down on USAir. And if someone is wondering what I am thinking going on a cruise when I am unemployed, let me answer that: (1) we have already pre-paid for most of the cruise, (2) the airfare is non-refundable, (3) the hotel is 'paid' for by using points I accumulated, and (4) I intend to be employed soon. So there.
Ashleigh has pretty much decided to give up on the swimming. She was the only one on the team that has never swum on a team before. Working on the fundamentals (getting off the blocks, etc.) is becoming too time consuming during practice and mostly she is not having fun. Practice is two hours a day, six days a week. The practice pool is actually closer to the house than her high school but it is another trip out and back every day. Her drama class teacher has been after her to try out for the school play (Romeo and Juliet) so she is supposed to talk to her today. Needless to say, we did not go buy a swim cap yesterday.
Lucie bought some cabinet handles that I will be installing today I guess. I applied to another place online today but that well is running dry. I should hear from the place I interviewed last week within the next few days or I am to call them Friday.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Last night we all settled in to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and it went as it usually does around here during movies: Lucie and Elliott fell asleep 15 minutes into it and Ashleigh was IM-ing the whole time. I enjoyed it anyway.
Not much else happening on the job front. I emailed my contact at the State Police licensing division to tell her I was no longer the license holder for my old company. She gave me an idea to pursue and said she would keep me in mind if she comes across any openings.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The new software unlock code for my GPS map update finally arrived in the email so I installed that. That went fine so now I can find my way to the mailbox.
I watched the Kevin Costner movie, "Mr. Brooks" yesterday afternoon. Not exactly a family movie but very well done and interesting. Lucie wants to see it so we will watch it (again for me) this afternoon. The kids are going to a birthday party between church services. Then I am going to sit them down and watch Raiders tonight. They don't have school tomorrow.
The Patriots are off this weekend. The Celtics are undefeated so far this season. Could this be the year the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics all win their respective championships?
I spoke with the friend of mine in the local security chapter. I tried to call him all afternoon but I had two numbers of his home phone transposed. Googled him and got the right number. He was very supportive and gave me a couple of leads to look into and asked me for my resume to float around his contacts. So I emailed him that and will work on the leads he gave me.
The kids are off tomorrow and so is Lucie. My schedule looks pretty clear too... We will probably do some fun family thing like me standing in the hallway with a yardstick yelling at the kids to clean their rooms and then using the stick to point out the piles of clothes that remain after they say their rooms are all picked up.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Today he had basketball practice and has picked up one of his old man's traits - lack of on court stamina. Starts off like a shot, but wears out quickly. So I will be introducing him to the elliptical machine later to work on that. It has done a lot for me with my breathing and pacing. He did really well though and scored several baskets during the scrimmage.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh came home worn out last night from her first swimming practice and had another practice today. Today they were going to be filmed underwater to analyze their technique. She is the only person on the team who hasn't swum (swam?) on a team before but she is doing fine. They will work with her on some of the fundamentals like getting off the blocks and turns, etc.
Still no success on the map unlock code for my GPS. Another tech in India and I went around and around yesterday - each time him telling me they will email me the new code in 12-24 hours, and me asking why he can't email it to me right then - or just read the dang thing over the phone to me? I think I should move to India and be a tech support person who speaks English as a first language. I will be the most sought after person in the country...
Lucie's hayride was rained out last night. Sort of. She canceled it because they predicted a lot of rain but it mostly just sprinkled until about the time it would have ended - then it rained. But she had to make the call based on the information at the time. She did learn something from The Weather Channel yesterday - even though the radar shows a huge cloud cover and they are calling for a 70% chance of rain, that doesn't mean the rain will hit the ground. Sounds like a nice alibi for missing another forecast...
Ashleigh and I saw a meteor or shooting star or something like that the other night. We thought it might be a firework that never exploded shooting across the sky. But at least one other person I know saw it too. Nothing in the local news about it. The strange thing is, we lost about 3 hours of time that night and I woke up with puncture marks in my stomach...
Speaking of losing time, I still cannot get used to this time change. At 5:30 PM it feels like 10:00 PM. And no one is going to be able to convince me that changing the clocks has any benefit to mankind at all.
Yesterday I made myself a note to contact someone I know in our local professional security organization chapter . I thought I would give him a call on Monday. Well, he and some other former co-workers were at a function in NYC yesterday and my situation came up. He told them to tell me to call him at home today. So that is a good sign. He is a real nice guy and connected so he may have some leads for me.
And you know the holiday season is upon us when the fruitcakes are available. Of course they might be the fruitcakes that didn't sell last year just put out on the shelves again. But that doesn't matter to me. I dug deep into our reserve fund and bought one yesterday. Tis the season to be jolly...
Friday, November 9, 2007
Elliott has basketball practice tomorrow morning. He is really liking that.
Lucie is supposed to have a church hayride tonight but they are calling for rain so that may go down the tubes.
Still no unlock code for the GPS from Magellan. They have taken the upgrade off of their website due to technical issues with it. I call every 24 hours and speak with a tech rep in India who tells me that they will email me the new code in 24 hours... When I told the guy yesterday that I was tired of hearing that, he told me he had emailed his bosses my request and that he had designated it as "hyper-important." That sounds like a line from the movie Spaceballs...
Based on that interview yesterday, I am going to look in some other directions for employment today. And the first place I am going to look is in the second racquetball court at the Y around 10:30... (I am meeting a friend there to play a few rounds.)
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I see some potential issues - this company's main client is the federal government and I have no experience in that area. That issue also means that most of their work is in the DC area which is too far of a commute for me. On the other hand, I bring to the table a lot of experience and an approach that is different from what they may be used to. So at the end of the day, I am not sure what is going to happen. I did my best and maybe I am a fit for them, maybe not. At the very least I got some interview experience going forward. I guess I will find out in a week.
Yesterday I spent some more time with Magellan trying to get the map update code to unlock. The problem is spreading across the nation but the fix is slow in coming. I was told they will email me a new code today. We'll see.
Lucie and I went to Costco's and picked up 25 chickens and bread and other stuff for the church fundraiser dinner last night. When we got to the car to load the stuff in, we found a box of Hershey bars at the bottom of the basket. A quick check of the receipt showed they hadn't charged us for them. So Lucie headed back in to pay for them and was met with astonishment and amazement. And confusion. Seems they have procedures on how to respond to thefts and shoplifting, but not much experience with returning items to purchase! So she set a good example there yesterday and paid for the candy.
The dinner was a great success and everyone had plenty to eat and a good time.
I am about to head out for my interview. Giving myself plenty of time to get there. I have to admit I am a bit nervous but I have no reason to be (besides being human); the company looks great, and the position I am interviewing for is something that I like to do and do well. I was reminded of the Biblical story of how God spoke, and spoke intelligently, through Balaam's donkey. So, with that in mind, I am praying that I get down there and talk like an ... well, like a donkey.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Elliott was home from school yesterday so we did a little food and clothes shopping (hard to find basketball shorts and shirts in the beginning of basketball season... imagine that). Last night we hung out and watched Heroes and Lucie finished off some shows she had started to watch, but fell asleep in before they ended.
I called Magellan about the GPS map update problem yesterday and they said it would take 48 hours to come up with a fix. I posted the problem to an online newsgroup and someone responded that he got through to another tech who knew of the problem and gave him a new unlock code. So that is my mission today.
Tonight is the annual fundraising dinner at church so Lucie is spending the day prepping chicken and the rest of the stuff. I am going over in a bit to set up tables and do some manual labor.
Tomorrow is the big interview day but I know my abilities and this opportunity is what I do really well at so I am pretty relaxed and comfortable. Just going to be me.
So here is the news that I have known for years:
Being a little heavy may have some benefits
Study: Those up to 25 pounds overweight may better survive some illnesses
CHICAGO - Being 25 pounds overweight doesn’t appear to raise your risk of dying from cancer or heart disease, says a new government study that seems to vindicate Grandma’s claim that a few extra pounds won’t kill you.
Released just a few weeks before Thanksgiving, the findings might comfort some who can’t seem to lose those last 15 pounds. And they hearten proponents of a theory that it’s possible to be “fit and fat.”
Having a little extra weight actually seemed to help people survive some illnesses — results that baffled several leading health researchers.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
We came home and watched Chuck. Lucie and Ashleigh went to bed and Elliott and I were ready for a late night (he has no school Tuesday). I went into the kitchen to put my dishes away, and he was sound asleep on the couch when I came back 30 seconds later.
Today I am working on my application and getting Elliott a haircut. Local voting today too. Then we are off to Kohl's to get him some more shorts for basketball.
Yesterday I got a map upgrade for my GPS. Went to install it and it wouldn't accept my unlock code. Of course customer support was closed so I will try it again today.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday was a pretty laid back day. Cooked some burgers on the grill after the morning church service. Ashleigh worked at a fund raiser car wash for the afternoon while Elliott and I hung out. I recorded the Patriots / Colts game and successfully navigated around those who knew the score at church Sunday night. We raced home and watched the game (mostly fast-forward). I have to admit the final two minutes of Brady taking a knee was anti-climatic but a win is a win.
Tonight Elliott has his first basketball practice with the city league. He is on a team of seven with at least one friend so he is pretty excited about that.
My blistered foot from the hike (over two miles by the way) is still sore so I am using that as an excuse to elevate it and stay off of it... ha ha
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Then the kids and I decided to go hiking in the back woods. They go quite a ways back but not so far that we could ever really get lost. For long. So we headed out and found a weird clearing in the middle of the woods – like a former UFO landing spot. Nothing growing in a wide area. Anyway, we came across a corn field so we hiked through the middle of that and eventually found a road. Followed that for a while back towards home with the machete and hatchet hidden so people driving by didn't think I was Jason from Friday the 13th marching the kids to Camp Crystal Lake. Then we decided to get into the woods again for the final leg. That was a mistake. We ran into the thickest mass of prickly bushes I have ever seen. I had a machete with me but that wasn’t much help. We were too far in to turn around so we kept pushing on. I wound up forging through backwards while the kids followed with their hands over their faces. Woo-hoo, that was some fun. Then I developed some nickel sized blisters on the back of the heels of my feet. Finally we saw some houses and just made our way to them and emerged from the woods through someone’s backyard. Not too long of a walk back home. We were gone for about two and a half hours.
Ashleigh got some video on her cell phone of these weird looking things we saw on some branches. They looked like dandelion fuzzes all swaying on a branch. Did some research and found they were woolly aphids.
Click the play button to see each video (you may have to hit it twice).
Lucie and I took our carpet shampooer in to be fixed while it is still under warranty and then picked up the kids from school. Used our club card to buy a large pepperoni pizza for $4.99. I am thinking if we had lived like this the past 14 years, I wouldn't have to be looking for a job now...!!
On the way to dropping Ashleigh off for her field hockey bonfire, we were stopped at a red light. There were several lanes of traffic and the car next to us had the music thumping wicked loud. It was slightly ahead of us on the right. So I rolled down the window on my passenger side (the side that the thumping car was on) and yelled out at them to turn it down. Horrified Ashleigh and Elliott. Of course the people in the car didn't see me and certainly couldn't hear me (I knew that) so I carried on a bit. The light changed and as we pulled off, I realized that the car I had been yelling at was NOT the car with the music - it was the car in the next lane beyond! So it was a good thing they didn't hear me after all.
During the kids' church youth group, we had friends over and played cards.
After picking up the kids from church, we came home and watched the Discovery Channel show about a group of people climbing Mt. Everest. That is crazy. One guy was 400 feet from the summit and couldn't make it. 400 feet! That is something I have absolutely no interest in ever trying. But I would interview with the Sherpas if they called me...
Friday, November 2, 2007
We had some quality Hale family time yesterday and watched The Blair Witch Project together. You can either get freaked out by that movie or think it is a waste of time. It scared me. I can't look at our back woods the same anymore. A&E want to go running around there this weekend after seeing it.
I have been on our elliptical most every day since we got it about two months ago and yesterday I walked the dogs. At the very least, I and the dogs are going to be healthier!
Played basketball last night. We only had 7 out and one hurt his knee. Playing 3 on 3 means there is nowhere to hide. I played pretty well and had a great blocked shot. The teams were pretty even and it was a good workout.
Today is a day of more resume submission and online networking. I got a call from a place I had submitted my resume to a while back and we will have a phone interview next week. And I will be taking our carpet shampooer to a factory place to get it repaired (under warranty).
Tonight is Powerline for the kids at church. Ashleigh has a bonfire party with her field hockey team before that and then we will take her over to the church. Lucie and I would usually go down to the University after we dropped the kids off on Friday nights and get something to eat but tonight I think we will come home and heat up a can of Spam. Again.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Yesterday was another day of phone calls and emails spreading the word and convincing some that I have not lost my mind (completely). Still most everyone knows my situation and are confident I did the right thing and the right job for me will come along. This morning in my Daily Blessing email, I got this (the title was Doing the Right Thing):
When you do the right thing, God knows it, and He makes sure you get blessed in return. It’s not always easy to do the right thing! Galatians 6:9 says, Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap.
It is things like that that give me confidence that I am on the right track.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh had her last field hockey game yesterday. She is moving on to swimming now which will consist of 2 hour practices, 6 days per week. After that, she better be qualified for the next Olympics.
Elliott has try-outs for the school basketball team today. He is signed up for a city league with a friend of his. Seven players on the team. I think that will give him some good exposure to team playing and will develop his skills.
Elliott missed the bus this morning so I drove him to school.
That is the events of the day. Basketball for me tonight. Today I will be updating my resume and creating different formats for various opportunities. I found some online executive job search sites but I need to track down a headhunter.