Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No Parts Left Behind

A friend's car was overheating and he bought a new thermostat for it. It was a rainy day here so we made arrangements for us to replace the thermostat in my garage. In return, his wife agreed to make us dinner. Sounded like a good deal and it turned out to be a good deal. I got his car over here a couple of hours before him so it could cool down. While I waited for him to arrive and the engine to cool, I looked at his radiator fans. One was belt driven, the other electric. I ran a hot and a ground to the electric one and got nothing. So I pulled that out figuring that was at least part of his problems. When he arrived, we quickly replaced the thermostat. This is going to be hard to believe, but not only did I not drop any bolts, but I didn't injure myself, break anything else, have to run to the parts store for something and there were no parts left over! He then checked the fuse box under the hood and replaced a blown fuse labeled "ignition." Once everything was up and running and we were checking for leaks (none!), we decided to check the fan one more time. We re-connected it and it fired right up! Now how can that be when the bench test got nothing?! So we dropped that back into place and the engine temp was perfect.

I got what appeared to be a legitimate email response to one of my resume postings so I looked up the company. Another fee-based scam operation. Lots of negative testimonials about the company. I learned my lesson...

Ashleigh should have another lacrosse game today. It is cloudy and cool but not raining.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Prom Picture

Above is a picture of freshman Ashleigh at Nathan's junior prom.

We had a good weekend. Scrap-booking and game playing and grilling on Friday night, then visiting friends and movie watching Saturday. Sunday we went to the annual church board luncheon and took a nap. It has been cloudy and rainy for a couple of days but that is good.

Not much planned for today - maybe help a friend replace the thermostat in his car.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Deck the Hale

Obviously the deck in the picture to the right is an exaggeration but it is not that far off from the actual job site I worked on today. The Revells asked me over to help do some repair work on their back deck but as is often the case, one thing led to another and we wound up tearing down most of it and re-building it. And when I say "we," I mean Doug - I was mostly a helping hand following direction. We replaced the stair risers and deck planks but railing and treads and ballisters need to be put on. But it will be fine when it is done. It seemed very, very hot working on it and my allergies were killing me. I can safely say that my sweat and snot went into the building of that thing. But it was a good time.

I went home and took a shower so I could go play basketball and then come home and take a shower. But only 5 of us came and it wasn't worth all of the take down and set up time so we just didn't play at all. Just as well, I am beat.

Ashleigh had a game the other day and miraculously, they didn't lose! They wound up with a tie score 4-4 and played pretty well. Ashleigh had 3 shots on goal which was good.

At the advice of a wise friend, I have removed a previous posting here which included an email dialogue I had with the headhunter I met with on Monday. If you are interested in it, contact me personally.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hit the Brakes

Well I went from moving fast to what you see at the left today. It is a long story but basically, the headhunter group I met with today turned out to be a fee based service. And I mean a big fee based service. I thought it might be that and was willing to listen to what they had to offer. BUT, there were plenty of flags to tell me that this company was not on the up and up - their office was tiny and a common receptionist serviced all of the building tenants on the floor, the person interviewed before me was lead out through a different exit (not the lobby), etc. More importantly, the managing partner I met with spent the first hour talking about his company and his credentials and his employment history. Never once went over my skills and work history except to review my resume (and actually did make some minor recommendations). I finally pressed him to talk about the job offer I originally saw and what drew me in. He gave me some convuluted story about the position but basically, it didn't exist and his company posted it pro bono for a client. Sounded like a bait and switch to me. I will not be going forward with this outfit (MGA Careers by the way) and was so disappointed. I left one company for ethical reasons, and I am not about to get involved with another one with questionable ethics.

So I made my way through the traffic home and Lucie had a good supper waiting. Distracted myself with a movie and a few emails.

Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bee Whacking

What you see above in the left of the first picture is a carpenter bee. You can see how it differs from a bumblebee to its right. Believe me, I am now an expert. Also, the carpenter bees don't sting. They hover around all menacing like but they don't do anything. Well, let me correct that. Look at the next two pictures. THAT is what they do. They love to drill dime sized holes in our cedar pool fence and once they get in, rip the wood like in the last picture. I made a mistake of caulking a female in the hole once and it ripped a foot long section out of the fence. Now I use a powdered poison that I squirt into the hole using a turkey baster. They tromp it in on their feet and die in the hole. I find the holes by the piles of sawdust they leave at the bottom of the fence. This weekend I have found the most effective way of eradicating them is by swatting them down with a pool skimmer net then stepping on them through the net. Or, in one instance, just knocking it down with my hand and then stepping on it. So far I have a body count of about 15. All piled up to attract the others. When one comes along to investigate the pile, he joins it. And people say I have no life...

Today I did a lot of yardwork. Uncovered the outdoor furniture, trimmed, mowed, filled the tiki torches with oil, etc. Then I took a nap at the edge of the covered pool in the beautiful 80º weather. I couldn't fully enjoy the situation but at least I had good memories and great expectations...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Moving Fast

This morning one of the job search engines sent me my email list of new job postings including one for a VP of Corporate Security for a place about an hour from here. The job was listed through an executive headhunter service. So I sent them my resume online and within 3 minutes I got a call setting me up for an interview with them (screening before the actual job interview) on Monday at 2:30. So make a note to keep me in mind during that time. At the very least I will be in the headhunters system for other possibilites. Talk about moving fast!!!

Lucie is away today and most of tomorrow at a women's leaders conference about 2 hours from here. BEAUTIFUL weather here right now (80º) so she should have a good drive and a nice time. 7 other women went with her from our church.

Only 7 people out for hoops last night. We played 3 on 3 half court and my team had the sub. I am not much of an offensive player, or a defensive one for that matter, but I had another good night shooting an outside jumper that has developed since losing weight. We won most of our games.

Elliott is feeling better but has no school today. I may do a quick yard mowing today but after walking the dogs yesterday, my allergies kicked in for a while.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is It Too Early?

What you see above is a rendering from the central deck of the new Royal Caribbean Genesis ships. Besides all the other good stuff on this ship, the central area ("Central Park") is open air - no roof! For comparison purposes, it will be 160 feet longer than the last RC cruise ship we were on (the Mariner), 60,000 tons heavier, and will have about 1,500 more people. Lucie got all excited when she saw this and we have penciled ourselves in to be on it for Thanksgiving of 2010 (her birthday will be on Thanksgiving that year). Here is the link to a video of the ship: http://www.royalcaribbean-genesis.com/main.html

Elliott came down with some sort of stomach ailment at church last night and had to come home early. I guess it is going around the school. So he is home today.

Not much else happening. It is going to be near 80º today and should hit it tomorrow. Lucie is going away tomorrow overnight for a women's conference with some other women from church. Basketball night for me tonight.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Opening Old Wounds

I was on the elliptical yesterday watching Sports Center on ESPN and they did a story on the pre-printed t-shirts that were made declaring the Patriots the Super Bowl champions. They showed both sets of shirts and hats on the field and the scramble towards the end of the game to have either set ready for the winner. Fast-forwarding through the ugly part, the t-shirts ultimately ended up in a Nicaraguan village for the kids there. That was nice but somehow a tiny (big?!) part of me was still disappointed...

Ashleigh has a game tonight quite a ways away so we are not going. It is across town and Lucie is busy getting Elliott a haircut and I have my interview meeting. She still has many games to go. We went to her friend's game yesterday. I can tell you this - boy's lacrosse is a LOT different than girl's!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

It Is Aliiiiiive!

The close-up green bud you see in the picture is of the Patmore Ash tree I have been writing about. Thanks to the prayers from Sally (!), it has bloomed!! Hard to tell from the picture but there are buds all over the tree so I think it is going to be alright.

We had a busy weekend at times. Went out to eat at a pizza place with friends. The women did some scrap book shopping. After that, we all went bowling. I haven't bowled in years but did OK. Had a couple of strikes and a spare or two. Then I started thinking about my form and fell apart. Good time anyway.

Saturday was another Ashleigh lacrosse game. It started off cloudy and cool. Then it sprinkled so they stopped the game at the half and made the varsity play. After that, they finished Ashleigh's game. Meanwhile, it got sunny, hot, humid, cool, rainy, cloudy and probably would have snowed if we stayed any longer. Pretty weird. The rest of Saturday was pretty laid back. Cooked on the grill and caught up on some Tivo stuff.

Sunday Ashleigh went to University of Delaware women's lacrosse game with her team to watch how the game should be played. After church a group of us spontaneously went out to Friendly's. That was fun. Just appetizers and ice cream but it was a nice time.

Last night the Red Sox and Yankees played on ESPN. I watched the final 5 innings or so. Almost bailed befoe the game was over but James shamed me into staying on if I was to call myself a real fan. The Red Sox won.

I heard from an old friend today who is now a recruiter for a local company so I sent her my resume. Tomorrow I am meeting another friend to discuss an opportunity with him. That should be interesting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring Is In The Air... And My Face

The weather people say it is supposed to rain this weekend which means that it won't. But just in case they happen to be right, I went out and did some yard work. Changed the oil in the lawn mower, sharpened the blade, did some edging, mowed the back yard, etc. You know spring has arrived when you do the first mowing, the birds wake you up in the morning, bumblebees are in the fruit trees and, of course, when you are walking with your hands full and you walk right through a spider web in your face. And no amount of sputtering, spitting, blowing or wiping your face on your shoulder will get it off.

But I got all that done and mopped the kitchen floor too. Ashleigh is spending the night at a friends right after school and then I will get her after her game tomorrow morning. Lucie has an AED recertification class tomorrow morning so she will miss the game. Tonight we are meeting some friends and going to a new scrap-booking store at the next town over. Fortunately, there is a pizza place and bowling alley so the men-folk will busy themselves with that while the women spend money.

Keep an eye on the Hale Family Web Site for the status of Ashleigh's lacrosse games. She is 0-4 now. I am beginning to think they are the Anti-Patriots...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

All Coming Together

Well, it has been a good couple of day. Lots of little things have been coming together. First, Ashleigh's prom night went well and she had a good time.

On Sunday morning a friend from church approached me with a short term project doing some contracting work for his company. He and I will work out the details on that.

Meanwhile, I got a call from an old friend who is coming into town next week and wants to talk to me about an opportunity he is working on. I am actually pretty excited about that and am hoping that works out.

Last night the NCAA college basketball team that I needed to lose for me to win our church pool contest was leading by 9 points with 2 minutes to go. My team hits a 3 with 2.1 seconds to go to send it to overtime. They eventually went on to win 75-68. That is also the total number of points I predicted would be scored in the game (143). So I wound up winning the contest. And I don't follow college hoops at all!

Finally, the little tree I have been watching has really been doing well. The buds are turning green and multiplying. (I know that is making you happy, Sally!)

Tonight Ashleigh has a game way on the other side of Wilmington.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Nice Relaxing Walk With the Dogs...

...Not! I took the dogs on our customary walk today and had a little excitement. I have a splitter contraption that I attach to a retractable leash that lets me walk both dogs at once (on that one retractable leash). It took some getting used to but now they both walk along and don't get all tangled up or anything. And I don't have to mess with two leashes. So we aren't 100 feet down the road when the neighbor's Rottweiler starts barking inside their house as we go by. Their front downstairs windows were open but the screens were in. Suddenly, that dog busts right out through one of the window screens and is charging right at us! Britni and Jasmine thought they had a new playmate coming and were not afraid at all. But I was yanking for all I was worth to do an about face and get away. The dog was actually fine and never growled or anything. Eventually it went back home and we went around a different route. When we came back around, the windows were closed and the screen was picked up from the front yard.

Ashleigh is getting ready to go to a junior prom tonight so it is like a beauty salon around here. Elliott had a little date of his own earlier - he met up with a bunch of friends at an ice cream place and hung out there with them. I took a nap in the car and Lucie did some shopping in the area.

My WiFi is still acting up. I cannot figure it out. I keep changing channels and trying different options but every now and then, it drops the signal. Very annoying and I cannot figure out what is causing it. One of my neighbors got something new that is interfering or the aliens are starting to close in on me again...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lacrosse Math

Ashleigh had another game in the windy, freezing cold yesterday. They started off well and were tied at 3-3 at halftime but wound up losing 10-3. There were 11 shots on their goal, 10 scored. I am thinking they would do better by pulling the goalie, putting in a cardboard cutout, and using the extra player for some more offense. But according to my math, if Ashleigh's team continues at this pace, where they score three times as many goals as their previous game while reducing their opponents goal total by one per game, within 3 games they should win 81-7. Someone want to check that?

It rained last night and is rainy today. Our Patmore Ash has more little stubby blooms on it so I am getting more and more optimistic.

I had a great night at basketball last night. I am down about 15 pounds and am really feeling great. Driving and scoring and much more mobile. In one game that we won, I had 5 of the total 7 points. Not bad.

My wifi keeps getting knocked offline for short periods. But last night I had a program running to watch the neighborhood wireless network activity. I got knocked off right when someone's print server kicked in. It went away and my wifi was back. So I think I have found the problem. Now to fix it. That server was on channel 6 which is what I was on. So I am working through my list of channels (1-11) to try and find one that will not be affected. Fortunately, I have managed to reduce my offline time to either one minute or the length of the person's print job.

Should be a quiet weekend here. Ashleigh is going to her friend's junior prom on Saturday night. I am sure all three of us will have a great time...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

First Lacrosse Game

Ashleigh had her first JV lacrosse game yesterday and it was quite educational. Her team lost 11-1 but I think she learned quite a bit. She plays an offensive position near the opponent's goal and managed to get off a good shot but it went off the pole! After her game, Ashleigh watched the Varsity girls play - which was a whole different level. She is just a freshman and this was her first game so she and the team can only get better.

It was a real warm day yesterday so it was nice sitting in the stands watching the game. We had a thunderstorm roll through late last night. Which was perfect timing as I had put down the first Scott's and Grub-X treatment earlier that day.

Our Patmore Green Ash tree looks a little more 'bloomier' today so I am optimistic.

For about a week now, every afternoon, the wifi on the home router goes down for a few minutes. The hard-wired connection stays up so I am thinking it is interference of some sort but I cannot figure out what it is. Sometimes we are not even here and it drops (from looking at the logs). Maybe a neighbor installed something or does something between 4 and 6 every afternoon. I am in the process of changing channels and settings on the router to see if I can eliminate the problem. But I have to make a change and then wait and see what happens for 24 hours before I try another one.

At least it gives me something to do...