Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Love a Good Deal!

But then everyone does, don't we?

As I have already explained, I had ordered a SD card for Sarah's new camera last weekend. Days went by and no communication from the company about anything. When I finally contacted them, they explained that it was backordered. Wasn't that nice of them to keep me so well informed? I thought so, and to show my appreciation I canceled the order and chewed them out.

That put me online yesterday morning, and that's where I first found this deal. had a 2 gig card on there for 19.95 with an "instant savings" of 5 bucks, bringing it down to 15 bucks! I was just about to hit the place order button but stopped. With shipping and tax it ended up being about 23 bucks. I paused and closed the browser window. I decided to stop by their Kent store on the way home. I figured they oughta be about the same and that way I wouldn't have to wait for it. Imagine my surprise when I walked up to the rack and there it was with a price of 49.95 attached to it! I couldn't believe it. I mean, I'm used to disparities between stores and online, but come on--That much?! Well, a store employee came up to me about that time and I tried my best to avoid venting on him--After all, he didn't do anything wrong. I may have let a little frustration and color escape my lips, but then he saved the day:
"We do price matching," he volunteered.
"For your own company's prices? Online?" I asked, making sure we had the story straight.
Well, he couldn't believe it either when he carried the item over to the computer, went online to their site and plugged in the SKU number. There it was: 15 bucks. So, he was my hero... He took me up front and did the price match and I walked out of there a happy man with my deal of the day.

I wrapped up her camera and the card and took it over to their house but nobody was home. I guess that's getting to be pretty common. Of the last 5 or 6 times I've "dropped in" over at their house it's been that way. As I told Suzie last night, I guess it's another era ending. Now they both have other places to go and ways to get there. I'll try again tonight, but I'll make it a little closer to dinnertime.

In other news, it would appear that Bruce knows about Suz and I at work too. I was working on something back at Elaine's table and he came walking up.
"Well, did you tell Elaine yet?" he asked.
"Huh? Tell her what?" I asked, trying to figure out what he was talking about.
"You musta forgot that you gave me the address of your blog." he laughed.
I laughed. "Oh yeah, that's right." I said. I told him that we had indeed told her, and brought him up to speed on the events of the last day or so. He thought it was pretty cool that we were both together. I couldn't agree more. Every time she visits it's like we haven't seen each other in a month.

I suppose it's just a matter of time before more coworkers happen to notice things though. We're reckless!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Big Surprise

Boy, sometimes you just never know how people are going to react.

My day yesterday was very ordinary. Not too busy, but I found plenty to keep me busy. I spent most of the day working down in Elaine's area of the shop. Sue and I had discussed telling her about us and by afternoon still had not done so. There was one "almost" when she came back to where I was working and about that time Elaine left and another coworker drifted nearby.
"Darn, just when I get here Elaine leaves and he shows up." She said, pointing to the nearby coworker. I didn't know exactly what she was going to do because we still hadn't really planned anything.

It was almost quitting time when Suzie came back again and was puttering around where I was sitting at a workbench. Elaine was about 10 feet to my right when Sue leaned over and kissed me a couple times.
"Shoot, she wasn't looking!" Sue said in mock frustration. Obviously, we needed to be a little more direct.

"Elaine..." I called, waving my hand and motioning her toward Suzie and I.
"Did you know Suzie and I were 'an item'?" I asked.
She had a sort of blank look on her face until I turned back to Sue and kissed her a couple times and we both smiled.

Elaine instantly blushed red and started crying!

Sue left to go back up to the office up front and I asked, "Elaine, are you okay?"
"I just want everyone to be happy!" she said, still blushing and weepy, but very happy.

At first she thought it was a sort of random event, but I explained to her that Sue and I had discussed it and decided that we wanted to include her in on our little secret. When I told her that she was the only one we wanted to be in on it and share it with us she was very moved. Sue and Elaine and I all work slightly staggered schedules so they are there longer than I am, and after I left, Sue went back over and talked with her a little bit more about it too.

Wow. Neither of us expected quite that much of a reaction from her. I talked with her a bit afterwards right before I left for home, explaining a few of our details. Suz came by my house later on when I was cooking dinner and talked for a minute before leaving to go to a church meeting near her house. We both agreed that her reaction sort of took us by surprise.

Needless to say, that was quite the event. Now there are three of us that are in the know. All of us will have the Mona Lisa smirk!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Random Tidbits of my Monday

It was a good day. The drive to work was nothing--Even though there was snow on the ground. Usually people here go whacko and start calling a little half inch dusting of snow "Winter Storm 2008" or something like that. Even though we're fairly far north here, due to geographic features in the area we on the western side of the state don't usually get much snow. Due to that and the fact that many people that live here came up from California, many people don't know how to drive in snow, and that creates quite the chaotic situation when we get some.

Sarah's new camera showed up yesterday just like the tracking info said it would, but I haven't given it to her yet. I think I'll try to wait until the memory card shows up. If that's not going to happen soon I'll re-think it.

I got a hankering for meatloaf during the course of the day so I stopped by a couple stores and fixed myself up with what I needed. When I decided to have meatloaf, I have to jump right into it when I get home because of the prep involved. When I got the meatloaf finished and ready to put in, I cut up a bunch of potatoes for fried potatoes. When that was all done I texted Suzie and invited her over for dinner. My timing was excellent because she had just left work. She never needs an excuse to come here, but likes to get an invite anyway. Hell, who wouldn't? It assures you that you're really wanted. You know how it is--People will say, "Come by ANYtime!" but in reality they go "whew" when the door closes behind them. Not so with Suzie. If I go "whew" when she leaves, it's for a totally different reason! Love that "whew" factor...

Right after I finished prepping my meatloaf and stuff I got a call from Teresa wondering if I had any gas in a can. Apparently she was driving Sarah's car over to Sarah's friend's house to pick her up and ran out of gas. Ha, she should know better! She totally knew it was that low but thought she could make it to picking her up and then hitting a gas station. Wrong! Anyway, I have a gas can but didn't have any gas. She had almost made it to the people's house when she called and was walking there as she called. About the time I told her I didn't have any gas she had just gotten there and was telling them what had happened. I guess they handled it at their end because I didn't hear back.

Right before that I got a short call from my dad, thanking me profusely for fixing his slide projector. It's funny when he does that. I don't know if he has a momentary lapse of "feelgood" or my mom is standing behind him with a rolling pin poised over his head. Either way, it was nice of him.

Suzie and I decided last night that we should tell Elaine about us. We both like Elaine and she is such a good friend that we felt that if we were going to share it with anyone it should be her. She's practically family to me, and we've shared many stories and details of each others' lives over the years. How and when we tell her remains to be seen though.
We both feel the same though--Like when you have something amazing going on inside you and you want to jump up on a fence and shout it to the world, you know? Maybe part of you wants the scream it and part of you wants to keep it private so you have something to smirk about. That's probably what Mona Lisa had on her mind when she posed for her famous portrait.

You think?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blah, it's Monday.

Okay, I don't really feel too blah... I'd just really rather not have to go to work today, especially because I awoke to find snow on the ground. Just what I need to make for a nice drive to work. Not! Okay, there is also the fact that I woke up at about 2am and never really got back to sleep.

I was having a pretty good start to my Sunday yesterday until the phone rang. It was my dad. When he and my mom came over to Sarah's party on Saturday night, he was dragging his old slide projector. The on/off switch was totally broken and he was wondering about the possibility of fixing that. The funny thing is, he was directing all of this dialog towards my brother. He's a smart guy and all, but fixing something like that is my forte' not his, and I'm pretty sure my folks know that. When they got ready to leave, I suggested my dad leave the projector here and I'd take care of it.
"No, that's okay--I've can take it apart. I've got all the stuff I need to take it apart." he said.
My brother and I made eye contact with each other, rolling our eyes. Both of us noted that he said "take it apart", not fix it. My mom told him to go ahead and leave it for me to look at, but he was adamant and took it with them when they left.
Well, as I said before, the phone rang yesterday. When I heard his voice on the line I knew exactly what was up.
"What are you doing today?" he asked.
"Nothing yet that I know of" I admitted, knowing what was coming.
"I got that thing apart but I can't see what the wires are going to," he said. He just kept repeating himself over and over like he usually does. I told him to bring it over.
When he showed up, he had taken all the screws out of the bottom of the unit, whether they were actually holding the bottom on or not (most were not) which meant some of the components that should have been still anchored to the base were now rattling around. He had all the screws and nuts in a plastic bag and poured them out on the table.
"I don't know where this spring came from" he said over and over, "When I opened it up it just came out."
To make a long story shorter, he had parts neither he nor I knew where they came from or how they fit, parts that were missing, and after all that he still didn't even have the unit all the way apart yet at this point. I spent almost an hour just analyzing the fit of everything and making sure I could get it together without damaging anything. When I had determined that it was doable, we went out and bought a switch at Lowe's that would be a suitable replacement. After cleaning everything I put it all together and checked it functionality. All was well. This projector is a unit from the 50's so it is almost totally mechanical with linkages and stuff going everywhere that interlock with each other. At least it's working again. They have a LOT of slides at their house. The total time was about two hours... Probably roughly twice what it would have taken me to do it if I had started the job myself.

Oh well... That's what happens when you're the "handyman" son.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Successful Gathering

I waited until the last minute and that's entirely my fault. I don't know why I thought that Teresa would have some sort of party for Sarah's birthday. I should know by now.

Our family events are never very many people, but if the few "regulars" do show up it turns out to be a great gathering of folks, and just the right size. Such is the case yesterday. I called Friday afternoon for an event that was to happen the next day at 5pm so I didn't expect miracles, but to my delight we got almost 100% turnout.

To make it easy on myself, I relied on quick-fix foods. A few days earlier I had bought a 100-piece shrimp cocktail, and lucky for me I remembered to take it out of the fridge beforehand (they come frozen). I took it out for about 3 hours on Friday and about the same yesterday, and even then it was just barely defrosted. There were still some ice crystals here and there. Whew, dodged a bullet on that one. I also added two Papa Murphy's pizzas--One of the new chicken/bacon/artichoke variety that I had just bought for the first time recently, and one classic half pepperoni half Canadian bacon/pineapple. Guess which one the kids went for (stupid question)? I also had some sweet and sour meatballs in the crock pot. I only had bottled water for the younger folks to drink, but other than energy drinks, that seems to be about all they drink anyway. There was plenty of wine and beer for the older folks. Teresa brought the cake and ice cream with her.

We ended up with my sister and her daughter (Sarah's age) and her son and his girlfriend. Also, my brother and his wife and daughter (also Sarah's age). A little while later my parents showed up, and much to everyone's surprise and relief, my dad was very tolerable for a change. Oh, and of course, Teresa and Sarah too. That was a good size group of folks.

I had a good fire in the woodstove, had streaming music from Radio Paradise running through my stereo, the house was clean, and Mona (my mannequin's new name--Like it?) was dressed in a new Harley shirt. Halfway through the event we even turned the traffic light on, and that hardly ever gets used. See? Things were just clicking nicely.

I had Sarah bring her laptop with the excuse that I was going to reinstall her printer driver. I don't know if she wondered about that or not, but in reality I wanted to see how it fit into her new laptop bag. She loved the new bag and so did everyone else, and the laptop was a perfect fit. I also gave her a $100 check inside her birthday card. I don't recall what she got from everyone else because I was partying and mingling and enjoying myself. I told her that she had another present coming that would be in on Monday. That is her new digital camera. I also added to that and ordered a 4-gig memory card for it the other day, but I have no idea when that will show up. I think I'll try to hang onto the camera until that shows up. It only makes sense. She's going to need that 4-gig card with a 7 megapixel camera.

Boy, it's hard to believe she's 17 years old already!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Morning!

Friday means many things to many people, but for the most part it means the last day of the work week. For me it means I won't get to see Suzie until Monday. I'll see her at work today of course, but she and her family members are all taking a trip to Leavenworth for the weekend to play in the snow.

I guess it's a simple case of new love withdrawals.

It's pretty cool working together and having nobody know about us. She came out yesterday at break and said, "I need to see you upstairs." During break time, the upstairs is deserted--Need I say more? Having my lunchtime nap later in the day put on hold to show a little love certainly makes my day too. It's so much fun to sneak around like that! We both know one of these days the cat will be out of the bag. We may actually let it out ourselves, but for now we're having a great time with it!

I went shopping with her last night and we had a great time. She just started a photography (her passion) class this last week and she had bought herself a new camera online. We went to Office Depot in Federal Way to pick that up. It's a nice camera! A Canon Digital Rebel is a 10.1 megapixel camera that's half SLR and half digital camera. She's going to love that camera! After we left there we headed over to WalMart's new super store that's across the street. To finish off the night out, she bought me dinner at Rio Blanco, a Mexican restaurant in South Auburn before heading back to my house.

I'm gonna miss her this weekend.

I ordered myself a new ignition switch for the Harley on Tuesday morning using an Ebay "buy it now" with free shipping and it showed up yesterday. That was fast! There is nothing wrong with my current switch as far as functionality goes, but the cap that hinges down over the key portion had a spring broken off it and it buzzed badly at certain speeds because it wouldn't lock down. The new switch is also a lot better inside supposedly. I know it does seem to have a lot better "feel" to it.

Tomorrow is Sarah's birthday. Unfortunately, her camera won't show up until Monday. I guess I should have ordered it a day or two sooner than I did. I hate it when that happens. Oh well, at least I have the laptop bag for her to wrap up. She was over last night to have me scan a couple things for her so she could Photoshop them, and after I was done she asked if I could just email them to her. The two of them together were over 3 megs in size and I told her no, that wouldn't be very good for her because she's on dialup internet. Instead I reached over and grabbed my brand new 2 gig flash drive and put the files on that. I handed it to her and told her I had a brand new one in the package that I was going to give her for her birthday but instead she would get this one that was open. She already has a couple of flash drives (much smaller ones) but never seems to have them around when she needs em. This time I put it on her keychain with her car keys.

I'm not sure what's going to transpire on her birthday. I wanted to host an event for her tomorrow, but that didn't work out because none of her friends would have been able to attend for various reasons. Maybe I'll just have family members over tomorrow for afternoon munchies or something.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Limit?

Yes, it could be true... I may have finally found my limit.

Most of you know I ride to work all the time in cold weather. I don't like to park my bike when it's winter, but like it or not it definitely gets limited use. I ride to work pretty much any day that the internet weather reports says it's going to be decent at 2:30pm when I get off work. If you do the math, getting off work at 2:30pm means you start work at 6am. For those of you that don't know anything about the world at 6am because you've never experienced it, it can get damn cold, and it's always dark.

I don't use a windshield when I ride and that seems to enhance the colorful descriptions people have for me. Basically, it's about the fact that I routinely ride to work when the lighted bank signs that we all pass say 29, 30, or 31 degrees. I tell them, "Hey, if I don't ride to work in the morning when it's colder than shit, how the hell am I going to ride home from work in the afternoon when it's nice out? Besides, if I ride my bike I don't have to scrape the ice off the windshield."


Even the "bikers" I work with think I'm nuts. Screw em. I get the last laugh when I grin all the way home from work on those sunny "nuts" days...

So back to today. It was a little different today. Each bank I went past said the same thing: 22 degrees.

Actually, I was going to ride to work yesterday too, but neglected to have it's winter trickle charger plugged in during the previous week. Cold weather can really whack a battery, and it refused to turn quite long enough to fire yesterday morning. After being plugged into it's electronic I.V. overnight though, it spun over this morning like it was rarin' to go.

Even though I only have to go about 7 or 8 miles each way it's still a challenge in cold weather.

When I got to work I had to look in my mirror to get my helmet unclasped because I couldn't feel my fingertips, and even then it took a few tries. I had to wait at least a half hour before my nuts finally decided to come back out of hiding, and I don't think my penis has been that small since I was about 8 years old.

But you know what? It's worth it to see the look of awe (I think that's what it was) in my coworkers' eyes.

The bottom line: I grinned all the way home in sunny weather. That makes it all worthwhile.

Yes, I may have finally reached my low temperature limit, but I'm still not sure. It's going to take some more experimentation I guess. I'll let you know.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Aw Man... It's Monday Morning Already?

I didn't accomplish diddly this weekend with the exception of buying a couple things for Sarah's birthday.

Back before Thanksgiving Sarah's digital camera bit the big one (hey, what does that really mean anyway?). I remember thinking that the timing for something like that to happen really wasn't too bad. After all, it was before Black Friday, so chances are I would find a hot deal on something good then, and if not the Christmas deals would surely present something good.

I did a lot of "deal watching" for them, having to relearn what was new on the market and read reviews voraciously, trying to pick up on what was hot and what was not. Well, there was no deal on Black Friday of course (or I would have already blogged it, right?). A week or so into December is when I decided on buying her a laptop, so the camera idea got pretty much pushed aside for the time being. I still continued to watch for them, learning about them as I went, secretly hoping I wouldn't find a deal before Christmas so I could minimize the fallout on my bank account.

Since Christmas, Teresa and I discussed buying her a camera for her birthday and we agreed to go half on one. Because she is frugal (polite words!). I knew she would be okay with that. I asked her about a limit and told her $150 would buy her a nice little camera with great features and she agreed on that price.

I still couldn't find a better camera for the money than a Canon, and that's what I ended up ordering for her yesterday morning online. Usually I get a sour taste in my mouth when something dies and hesitate to buy one of that brand again. I still maintain that rule regarding Sony products though. I won't buy Sony for two reasons: First of all, I've had several Sony products and something has went wrong with almost every one of them, and second, they have too many things that are "proprietary" or unique, so it becomes a compatibility thing. Anyway, cameras have come a long way since hers was bought as far as features go, and the prices are holding well. Value, feature, and picture quality-wise, Canons are still getting good reviews. My main thing was sticking to a camera that takes AA batteries. The lithium-ion batteries may hold a charge longer, but you have to recharge them yourself or buy another to swap out if you're "in the field" taking pictures and you run out of power. I figured for her AA's would still be best because she already has the rechargeables from her other camera, and she can put alkalines in if she get s in a jam.

I also ordered a bag for her laptop online yesterday morning. I bought it from Circuit City and had to speed up to the Tacoma Mall store to pick it up. It's a nice looking bag in the "messenger style" instead of standard attache' type you usually see. It really boils down to how well it will fit into it and all that. One thing about it, it does have some style at least, and it's not black--It's some sort of sea greenish/grayish canvas type material. I hope she likes it.

Suzie came down yesterday afternoon and we went and saw Atonement at the movie place in Kent. As far as movies go, I give it an okay rating. It was a very visual movie and had some really good camera work. It did a good job of capturing wartime England in the forties. I'll give it a 3-star (barely).

So I got a few things done and got to see Suzie twice this weekend so it was a good weekend. If I could shake the thing that's going on with my back I'll really be happy. It only bothers me when I'm lying down for some reason. Most of the time back problems are the other way around.

Well, it's garbage day too, so I'd better get cracking and get that stuff dragged out before I leave for work.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Off The Market?

Here I am, divorced for two years and I seem to have found myself in love. It's something I never thought I'd encounter. It's not that I never thought I'd be in love with anyone, it's how in love I seem to be. When you're over a half century old it seems weird to be head over heels in love with somebody. It's not the "in love" part that that seems weird, it's the "head over heels" part. You think it only happens to school kids.

I keep telling myself, "It's just the newness of it--It will calm down after a little while." So hmm... Maybe so, but what if it's been a few weeks and it's still getting stronger? That would seem to be a pretty good indication that it's not to be taken lightly. I worry about myself because I know how I am--Going hot and heavy on something new and then all of a sudden being totally burned out on it.

So who is this person?

You may have figured it out already. She goes by Sue but I like to call her Suzie. She was the first person I laid eyes on the day I went to apply for my job at La Croix Industries, but that is coincidental. She has been their office administrator for several years, doing a million things to keep the company running smoothly. I have always liked her, but obviously it was purely from from a friendship standpoint back then. After all, I was married when I got the job there. I do know that I have always enjoyed talking to her, and I felt that we had a sort of a bond even back in my first years with the company. I never thought I'd be sitting here telling all of these current developments to the world though!

She has been divorced for about 10 years, and is mother to four boys and one girl, as well as grandma to 3 kids. She is a strong woman and brought her kids up well on her own. We are compatible in so many areas it's spooky. She's smart, pretty, funny, energetic, passionate, and so many other things. She is not afraid to tackle a home improvement just because she's never done it before. She owns her own home East of Auburn about 15 minutes away. As I have stated before, she is a member of Jehovah's Witnesses (the crowd gasps).

Can it work? Can someone like myself coexist in her world? Can she coexist in mine? I would be first to admit that I'm a little rough around the edges, but I'm basically sound. I have been known to cuss a blue streak, and I'm a non-believer in any religion--In other words, I do almost everything wrong in that regard. There are so many issues that scare me. She assures me that they (Witnesses) are the most misunderstood religious group out there, and it can indeed work. You know what? It could be interesting.

I still have thoughts about pledging myself to someone. Do I really want a steady woman in my life? I keep telling myself that I like being single, but yet I seem to keep "reaching out" and always wanting to meet new people. I think I like living in solitude but yet I keep doing things that are counterproductive to that notion. I find the whole thing scary but at the same time I'm so consumed by it. She dominates all my thoughts. I find myself doing something at work and the next second thinking about her in some way. My thoughts are constantly derailed by Suzie sneaking into them. I have those moments while driving where you can't remember a single detail of the last several minutes of your drive--Functioning on autopilot so to speak. She is going through exactly the same thing in her day-to-day activities. Neither of us can get each other out of our minds.

Or lives at work are interesting and fun. Catching each other's eye across the room with a knowing smile, passing love notes, and enjoying the fact that nobody around us knows (yet). My cubicle is the right outside the door to the inner offices, and I'll find myself looking up almost every time the door opens, hoping it might be Suzie.

People may have wondered why my blog posts have waned significantly in the last few weeks. Well, now you know why. A lot has been going on in our lives in the last few weeks, and I was hesitant write about it. At the same time, it dominated so many of my daily thoughts and activities that if I didn't write about it, I had little to write about.

Man, I've got it bad.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ah, 'Tis a Better Day

I awoke this morning in more of a normal fashion--Tired. Not in pain--Just tired. After all, who wouldn't be tired? Some little plastic box manufactured by General Electric woke me up, not my own body telling me it was time to get up.

I stumbled around yesterday at work feeling all the world like I was hungover. I mean it. At one point at about 7am I felt almost queasy, and I'm sure if anyone were analyzing me at that moment my face would have probably looked white and slightly shiny. Oddly enough when I got to work I felt like I needed to do a bunch of physical labor so that's what I jumped into. I basically went on the pallet offensive and did some serious housekeeping so we could have some space. Of all the days I could choose to do physical labor (the key being that I chose to do it) why would I pick a day when I felt so crappy? Maybe I hoped to beat my body into submission? Maybe I wanted to sweat it out? I dunno... It's just weird. Although I did feel better as the day wore on, it was only marginally better.

I hoped to go to bed early, but it was not meant to be. Sarah texted me at about dinner time and asked if she could come over and do some homework. Duh! Of course! She cited "too many distractions" at home (aka: mom?) as the main reason, but she also wanted to print a couple things. Her new laptop never did have her printer installed on it. Jeez, who is her bonehead IT tech anyway? He put the file on the "desktop" of her laptop but never ran it because it would have asked to plug the printer in (and he didn't have it handy). Still, that was weeks ago that I (I mean the IT guy) should have done that.

She did a lot of work while she was here. I left her totally alone downstairs with Radio Paradise playing on my laptop and through my little stereo downstairs. Every time I went down there to the kitchen or whatever she had her cell phone out and was texting someone, but she was also steadily cranking the work out. By the time she was done she had 6 or 8 pages of some pretty heavy math stuff.

I asked her about her boyfriend--Whether they were together, and she said no. I told her that I wanted her to be careful "out there" and that there were too many things that could go wrong. At that point, I admitted to her that I have the "Big H" and told her she definitely didn't want to have to deal with that. I gave her two condoms and told her to put them somewhere and keep them handy. I said they are not a "ticket to ride" but more like "cab fare" if you get stuck somewhere. We talked a few minutes about "H" in general as she was getting her stuff together to go home.

I'm glad that's out in the open. Most everyone else I know already knows that it's part of my life. Well okay--immediate family doesn't know. I may bring them into the loop someday too. Parents? Nah..

Hey look--It's Friday!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I hate it when I wake up in pain. I never know if I should just wait a bit and enjoy my coffee and see if it goes away, or address it with pain pills as soon as possible. This morning I awoke with a backache and a headache both. And tired too.

Nice way to start the day, no?

Much to my delight, Sue was over last night. It was a great night to snuggle in front of a fire, that's for sure. It might have been better if it was stormy out, but only because then we'd be able to hear it and it would add to the ambiance. Although she stayed past my bedtime, she still left too soon. I'm sure that fact had nothing (or very little anyway) to do with my feeling tired this morning. It was the pain not the sleep. Really.

I rode the Harley to work yesterday. It was one of those clear, cold mornings that would have required window scraping--I think it was about 31 degrees. It was a great ride! I was telling someone later that some days I ride in knowing I'm going to freeze and actually don't, and other days I might ride in expecting it will be somewhat comfortable and I freeze to death. Yesterday was the former. The only thing is, when I get to work I have to use my mirror to see where to unclasp my helmet because I can't feel my fingertips. I was telling Suzie last night that I put up with a cold ride in so I can enjoy a ride home obviously, but the macho side of me also enjoys hearing someone comment on it. Here's one exchange yesterday:
Shakes his head, "You must have balls."
"Well, I did when I left home..." I admitted, shivering.

I do know I didn't see a single biker on the way home last night, and it was a nice afternoon too. The old sports saying applies when it comes to riding to work in the winter:

"No pain, no gain."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Late For Work Because I'm The Dad

Yep, it's true. It wasn't anything I did though. It was because I was being the good "dad" and helping out.

I was sitting here enjoying my moment of coffee time yesterday morning and had just posted my blog post for the day when the phone rang.
"Dad? My printer won't print."

When Sarah calls at 5am on a Monday morning with a printer problem that means only one thing: She was up probably past midnight doing a report that should have been done days ago.

After talking with her a minute, we determined that her PC has some sort of USB connectivity issue and won't recognize the printer or even the mouse if you plug them in. That's the computer the printer is always usually plugged into. I asked her to try the laptop, but she said it wouldn't work either. I surmised that the drivers probably weren't installed for it yet. At any rate, there was really only one option that I could see.

"Email the files to me and I'll print them off and bring them by on the way to work." I suggested.

I didn't anticipate the amount of stuff she needed printed. There were six 1-page documents, and six 6-page documents! Holy crap. It's not like I have a laser printer you know, so it was a little slow due to most of the pages having a graphic of some kind on them (they were all some sort of math graphs). By the time I usually leave for work there were still two 6-pagers waiting to be printed so I had to call in and tell them I was going to be late. It gave me plenty of time to go out and scrape all the ice off my windows and warm my car up. By the time they were done printing I had everything ready so I grabbed them and jetted out. When I drove up to the front of the house, Teresa stepped out to get them.
"I hope they're all right because she doesn't get a second chance this time." I said and hurried back to my car.

As it turns out I was only 10 minutes late. Everyone in the place was staring with a look of mock disbelief, "You were late? Wow!"

I texted Sarah a little later and asked her if everything came out all right and she said yes. Whew. She's a very smart girl, but isn't the best at managing her time. Anyone that can bring home straight A's in high school has got my support!

The things we must do for our kids, right? Oh well, I'm not a real good dad as far as dads go, but one thing about me--I will always step up when she needs help, whether she brought it on herself or not.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Weekend Report

I hate it when I forget to buy milk. That means I have to have coffee black this morning. I won't let it get me down though and ruin my day... I won't I won't I won't.

I was a very interesting weekend for me. The weird thing is that I don't really want to blog it all. Why? Well, let's put it this way: It's centered around the romance category, and at this stage in the game I feel I need to be a bit discreet.

I don't mind saying though that it's pretty cool for someone my age to be experiencing the same sort of excitement that a kid in school probably feels when they have their first romantic involvement. I say probably because it's been an awful long time since I was at that point in my life, and I'm surely not going to remember the emotions that were felt when I was 16 or 17 years old...

There are a few factors involved that make me want to keep it a little hushed at this point, but I'm sure as time goes on it won't be long before it's all laid bare here in these pages. For anyone that reads this as their little soap opera, you can pretend this is the teaser for the new season premiere!

I did get the Harley out yesterday for a while. It was so beautiful I would have kicked myself for days had I not. Just as before, it was a bit of a challenge to get it started. It's just too long in between rides I guess. When I ride it all the time it just fires right off. That's okay though--I keep the battery on the charger all the time when I'm not riding it, so if I have to grind on it a lot to get it started it can take it. I still remember the time or two I had to drive my car to work after the bike wouldn't start. That was awful to have to take all the leathers back off. It felt almost like punishment.

Steve came over on his bike right after lunch. His still has "new bike smell" because it's so new. I think he only has about 300 miles on it so far. When he came riding up on it and music was playing, I waited for him to shut the bike off before chastising him.
"Hey, Harley riders don't play music while they're riding!" I teased.
He laughed. "It's okay if you're if you're over 50." he said.
He had just recently had a little work done on it and he wanted to show me and tell me about it. He obviously felt the same need to get out on the road that I did.

I got to chat with Sarah online right before bed. She was expressing her pleasure about how fast her new laptop is--Even through dial up internet. We may go play tennis this afternoon. That will be fun.

Well, it's Monday... Ready or not week, here I come!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Hair Experience

I've been meaning to get a haircut for a few days now, but things just hadn't "clicked" yet. I had a hair moment yesterday and I finally got it done.

I hate getting haircuts as I'm sure my readers well know. Some of the reasons I don't like it include:

  • I think it's a nuisance to have to waste time doing it in the first place. Scientists need to learn how to turn hair growth off and on.
  • It's never seems to be the same stylist/barber twice. Do they get fired? Do they open their own salon? Are they avoiding me?
  • What I tell them I want, and what they hear usually don't quite match. This is made worse by the next one:
  • When English is not their primary language. When I walk into a salon or barbershop and hear broken English, I want to turn and run.
  • They don't have any nitrous oxide to relax me. The dentist does, why can't hair stylists?
  • $15 for that?!
Anyway, I have been meaning to try this little barber shop for some time, but kept hitting it on either Sunday or Monday when they're closed. Maybe it was just my inner self telling me that I really didn't want a haircut that day. Also, many times when I really need a haircut I don't have the right frame of mind to deal with it.

Yesterday it felt right. So right in fact, that I didn't even go home first (I usually like to have an after-work beer and think about things first). I drove up to the place, noting that there were no cars out front and walked in.

It was a single chair barber shop, and it's run by a Korean lady (so much for my broken English comment). Much to my delight she was just finishing up with a customer--An elderly Mexican lady that spoke no English. Apparently her husband sitting next to me didn't either, but the Korean lady seemed to speak just enough to get the job done. While I was sitting there I looked around and my eyes landed on the price list. I can't remember much of it but I do remember that men's haircuts said $10 and up, women's were also $10 and up, and a shave was $5. Wow, finally a place that has a 10-dollar haircut? Surely my short hair would fall into that category.

Anyway, when I got in the chair, she gave me very detailed haircut , a shave (with an aftershave splash too of course), and a shoulder massage. The price? 10 bucks! She even buzzed the little "old man" hairs growing outta my ears. When she was finished she vacuumed my head and neck so well that hardly any strays ended up down the collar of my shirt before I took a shower later.

I was very impressed. It was (at least from my perspective) a good haircut too--Not some sort of hatchet job. Anyway, I ended up giving her 15 bucks anyway because she pleased me.

The key though will be consistency. Will the next time I go be as good? If so, I've finally found my hair place.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Aw, crap...

I was standing in my work area yesterday talking to one of the owners when the other brother walked up. He wanted to tell me while they were both there that they were giving me another $1.50 raise.

What did they go and do that for? Don't they know I was planning on jumping ship? Now what the hell am I supposed to do? Dammit. This falls under the same sort of category as when I'm trying to be mad and some woman walks up and shows me her boobs or starts tickling me (no, that's never happened).

While I'm usually very excited (okay, moderately excited) about getting a raise, yesterday's raise gave me mixed emotions.

When I start making a list of good and bad about working there and working at Boeing, the list of good is definitely longer on the La Croix side of the list. Trouble is, it's an "apples/oranges" sort of difference. There are a lot of things about working at Boeing that I didn't like, and I know that I would be reminded of them if I were hired back on there again.


Yes, I'm thinking I'll stick around here for a while longer and see what happens...

Monday, January 07, 2008

That Dreaded Hum

Yes, the humming sound within my head that has plagued me off and on for so long is back, and it's back with a vengeance.

It's the strangest thing to experience. Even though I'm a decent writer (my opinion, not anyone else's...) I still can't put it into words very well. This time it isn't constant like it was in the past--It's off and on just like someone switches it. When it comes on, I can turn my head and it may go off instantly--Like a "head-turning" muscle caused it to do so. Even if at that point I don't move a muscle, the hum will switch back on in a few seconds. It's possible that maybe I've got a cold or virus and don't know it, and maybe that's causing it? I know that I don't really get sick like most people do, but it may be that I do get sick and it just manifests itself differently in me than in most people. I always did claim to be a little different...

It was a good weekend, but from a sleep habits standpoint, a very weird one. Starting with Sue's visit on Friday that caused me to go to bed so late, it just kept going that way. I ended up waking up that next morning early like usual, so didn't get enough sleep. That night I was at the computer after eating dinner and got really tired all of a sudden so I threw myself across the top of the bed and closed my eyes. I woke up in the same position 4 hours later--Wide awake and wearing a bedspread imprint in my naked skin from head to toe. At that point, it was bedtime and I was wide awake. I ended up reading for a couple hours and finally got to sleep, albeit a somewhat fitful sleep. Again I awoke somewhat early. Last night I ended up going to sleep a little early, thinking that I may finally get myself back in sync, but no... Wide awake at 2:30am and never got back to sleep. It's a frustrating thing when you're looking right at your alarm clock when it goes off...

Although my yesterday started out as a usual Sunday with usual things like laundry, it did change at mid-afternoon. I went up to Federal Way and met up face-to-face with Bethine, a new friend I've made online. We met at Vince's Italian Restaurant and had a great chat for a couple hours. We "met" a week or so ago on I had just found the site and started a profile on there to see what would happen. Meeting people online is an odd way of doing it to many "old-school" folks, but I find it very comfortable. Get used to it folks--It's getting more and more common! Anyway, she's a very nice lady and I look forward to a great friendship. I love making friends!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Late Friday Night

I haven't stayed up until 1am in ages! It wasn't my plan to stay up that late of course, but sometimes things click and time goes whoosh.

Sue came over last night right after work. She is working on a website aimed to make her some money and hopefully enable her to become self-sufficient. In a best-case scenario she would like to be able to give up her under-appreciated position at La Croix Industries. That right there would be a great thing for her. I had mentioned at work yesterday that I had software that may help her do her site building tasks a little more easily, so she came over to see what it was all about.

She came bearing 1-lb. square of carrot cake as a thank-you offering, which was a very nice thing. The reason I know it was 1 pound? I weighed it! She laughed at that, but hey--That's me. I fed us salad and lasagna, and we drank Blue Moon ale all evening.

She came over for software reasons, but I know it is friendship and level of comfort that made her feel at home enough to kick the shoes off and stay as long as she did. We talked about everything!

Isn't it funny how people do that? When someone feels a level of comfort and trust, they open up--The words, the stories, the sharing of personal secrets--They just flow effortlessly. If that level of comfort doesn't exist do you think any of that kind of thing would take place? No way.

One odd thing about our friendship is a sort of self-imposed "barrier of respect" that I seem to have erected in my mind. It's hard to put into words. See, I'm a hugger. I love hugging and love being hugged back (I apparently didn't get enough when I was growing up). My ideal hug is a kind of long by hug standards... Say, 5-10 seconds. I don't consider a hug to be the stereotypical "next level" because I associate that term with dating, but regardless--It is another level of friendship to me. Doesn't that seem weird? I mean, it's one thing when a hug is mutual and just "happens" but it's an entirely different thing when you want to say, "Can I give you a hug?" when you say goodnight. I like Sue an awful lot as a great friend, and I've shared things with her that I don't share with just anybody, but when you couple the desire to hug with coworker status, it just doesn't quite feel right.

I know that I always over-analyze things, but that's me!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

First Loves and Post Season Gingerbread

Sarah has been going through some tough time the last several days. Her first love dumped her. At least he had the cajones to do it in person--Nowadays most people would probably text them a goodbye. What he probably didn't expect though, was the depth of emotions a female has pertaining to something like that. Evidently when he told her she got sick and threw up on the ground in front of him. Being a guy myself, if I were in his shoes when that happened I would have been totally without a clue. We tend to completely underestimate things and that's probably exactly what he did, because right after that he started backtracking and giving her the "doesn't want to lose her but needs some space" routine. Translation: He wants to keep her around for backup... "Plan B" if you will. They have been texting, calling, and everything else like crazy for the last several days since that happened.

Yesterday was the last day off for her before going back to school, so I decided it would be a good time to invite her over. I wanted to invite her for lasagna, allow us to put the gingerbread house together, and give her a little time away from her ma. You'd think Teresa was the one that got dumped because she has been just as emotional as Sarah has throughout the whole thing. She lives her life vicariously through Sarah as it is, and has always been one to go overboard, never allowing anyone to get the last word in. I figured Sarah could use a break.

Well, of course the dinner was flawless--How could it not be? It was a Caesar salad from a "salad-in-a-bag" kit, and Stouffer's lasagna. Both are great. I also had some open face oven browned rolls to go with it all. In other words, I didn't "make" any of it... I was the assembler.

Speaking of assembling, let's talk gingerbread house. Yeah, the gingerbread house that begged to be built, but for some reason or another had been forced to stay in it's box throughout the holidays. Every year the kits are different. They're probably always made by someone else, and if not, they might be make differently or have different stuff included in them. This kit actually seemed pretty good. It came with a huge pack of pre-made frosting (aka: cement), a couple of gingerbread snowmen, a gingerbread tree, and packs of gumdrops, gumballs, sweet tarts, and sprinkles. I supplemented the included candies with a couple packs of those color-coated Hershey's mini kisses and a roll of Necco wafers. It came with a plastic base that had a built-in recess to embed the walls of the house in, as well as a walkway and a couple spots to put the snowmen and tree into. I'm not going to go into much of any detail here, but let me just say that it was our first failure in all the years of gingerbread houses. As we were getting close to finishing, we noticed that the rooftop had slipped down on one side, allowing the row of candies across the peak to fall inside. While straightening that up, I broke the opposite roof panel right in two. Oh well. We didn't have a meltdown or anything about it. I sorta laughed and swore at the same time. We just took the roof panel off, set it on a piece of waxed cardboard that was in the kit, and glued the halves together with gingerbread house cement. While it was sitting there, we decorated it. Tonight when I come home from work I'll put that roof panel on the house (if I can get it off the cardboard) and call it good.

It wasn't too bad, but definitely not as nice as last year's house.

I didn't have much to offer her in the way of dealing with her first love problems, but I did insist that she remove him from her locker. He keeps a bunch of stuff in there I guess, but she doesn't want to put him out of it. She's being overly optimistic in my opinion, but I insisted that she needs to have that as her personal space. It needs to be a sanctuary, not a link. Personally, I don't see much of a future for them, but she's hanging on. Being a guy, I'm pretty sure that he'll go forth with his plans--He just backtracked after seeing her reaction when he told her. It's all a matter of time, but I wish her the best.

I sent her home with enough lasagna to feed the two of them tonight easily.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

For some reason, I spent a couple minutes staring at the title to this blog entry. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it should have an exclamation point after it or not.

Am I excited about it being a new year? Not really. To me, this day is naught more than a free day off. It really doesn't mean anything to me. I've never been one to reflect on what went right and what went wrong during the previous year. Sure, there are always going to be ups and downs--That's the way life is. Some will be minor and quickly forgotten (unless you're a blogger and can read about it), and others will be major, life-altering experiences.

I've never made resolutions that I know of. I think that when someone makes a New Year's resolution they are already halfway to dooming it to failure. Why? Look at it this way: When someone quits smoking, they have a much better chance of quitting when they do it the instant the urge or spark or idea hits them. If they say, "I'm going to quit just as soon as I finish this pack." or "I'm going to quit just as soon as I finish this carton--They're so expensive you know." or even worse, using a target date; "I'm going to quit smoking next week." When people make resolutions on New Year's, they are already dooming them to a high failure rate simply because they aren't making the resolutions for themselves--They are making them for the holiday.

Hmm, what did I accomplish last year... First of all, I didn't set any goals, so did I really "accomplish" anything? How would I know if I had? I live my life by the seat-of-my-pants method and rarely make goals. That's probably why I have accomplished so little in life. I like to think I enjoy life, but do I really? I know with no goals I am free to take any fork in the road of life that looks interesting. Pretty selfish way to live really, but it's who I am.

Will I accomplish anything in the upcoming year? I don't know. There are many things I have been putting on my mental "to-do" list, but I'm such a procrastinator will I do them?

So back to the title of this post. If I put the exclamation point on it, I would be exuberant about the New Year. If I put a period on it I would be doing a "ho hum" about it. Punctuation can mean a world of difference. Instead I decided that I would leave the punctuation empty, and in honor of that I created the appropriate smiley face.

I'll just take the year as it comes like I always do.