Thursday, February 26, 2009

Eighteen Down, One to Go

I have now worked eighteen days in a row, but tomorrow is Friday, and I have the weekend off. I don't know what we are going to do. Mrs A wants to go someplace, but hasn't expressed any desired destination.
I'm kinda leaning towards Deception Pass. Far enough away to be "away" but close enough to not be a major expedition. Wonderful scenery, some nice trails to hike. There is a small seafood selling place along the way. Fresh caught shrimp, fresh clams, Dungeness Crab meat.
We will probably detour to Anactortes to the Rock Fish Cafe, which serves very good seafood, and also happens to be the public outlet for Anecortes Brewing who happen to make an excellent Porter. No hurries, no worries.
I had a rude awakening this morning. When I got up and peeked out the drapes, there was about 2" of fresh snow on the ground, and it was still coming down. Mrs A and V elected to stay home. I borrowed the HHR and went to work. The roads were terrible. It had rained, then frozen, and then snowed on top of it. Lots of tire spinning going on. I live four miles from work and saw a half a dozen cars either in accidents or off the road. The roads are clear now, but it is supposed to freeze tonight, and any water left over from today will be ice in the morning.
I hereby order Winter to be over. Executive decision.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Damn Truck

I am thoroughly convinced that mechanical things have a malevolent streak. For example the house knew I was sick, and tired from working many days on end, so that is why the plumbing chose to plug up right now.

The same goes for vehicles. Last night when I got off work, the truck would not turn over. A friendly co-worker gave me a jump, but when I turned the key, it would only click, not turn over. The guy had a tow strap, so we just hooked it up and at 5mph in second gear, popped the clutch and it started up. I was going to stop at my mom's on the way home, but didn't dare shut the engine off, not sure it would start up again.

There are several possible reasons for this. The battery could be down. The relay for the starter could be bad, or the starter could be going out. The battery could be down because the alternator is going out. The bearings have been making noises for several months, but it was still alternating, so I haven't done anything about it.

The result is that I am driving the Z for now, because I am just too damn tired to do anything about the truck. Not that I mind driving the Z. I love driving the Z, and have been wanting to drive it for some time, but was waiting for the weather to turn a little nicer. The Z is a lot of car. It wants to go fast and corner fast and zip around. I am surprised I have never gotten a ticket in it.

So I am in no hurry to fix the truck.

On another front, I called my cousin Kelly in Texas. We talked for an hour and a half, and barely scratched the surface. After all, we haven't talked in about ten years. It is great to hear that he is doing well. He manages some properties for his folks and plays music in his spare time with friends. I'll have to find out more about his musical connections next time I talk to him.

It will be soon.

Six more days until a day off.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Triple Hump Day

No, I am definitely not talking about sex.

The first hump day is because It is Wednesday, and it is downhill from here to the weekend. This is mostly symbolic, since I am working both days this weekend.

The second Hump Day is a little more relevant because it is day 10 of my 19 days without a day off. About now I can start looking forward to having next weekend off. Probably will be too tired to do much, but any time off right now is a good thing.

Third hump day is because I am over the hump with my cold. I feel well enough that I didn't take any NyQuil last night, and left the Robitussin at home. But then again, I have stomach cramps and diarrhea today, so I don't dare to cough.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nasty SH#&

I can fix just about anything.

Wiring, no problem. Appliances, I can generally do just about anything, sometimes better than the supposed pros they send out.

Construction, love it.

Plumbing. Hate it. I can do it, but I would rather go to the dentist, and I hate the dentist.

The upstairs shower wasn't draining well. So I pulled off the drain cover and fished out some stuff, used the plunger to get out a bunch more. Mrs A poured some Drano in the drain. Result: It totally plugged the drain.

Damn I hate plumbing.

When I got home, I stopped and read the paper, and fortified myself with a beer. I knew this was going to be nasty. Went and got the ladder and set up under the drain for the upstairs bath. Pulled apart the drains and of course took a sower of nasty water. Pulled the trap and plumbing apart. There were shapeless hairy things hanging out of the drain pieces. Pulled it out, and manually (That is MANUALLY, as in using my fingers) pulled the stuff I could get to out. While supressing my gag reflex.

Cleaned out all the pieces of pipe, reassembled them and went upstairs to check it out. It worked, but leaked a little underneath. Had to tighten a couple of fittings, and everything works just fine.

But, man do I feel icky all over. I will have to take an extra long shower tonight to get right of the nasty feeling.

Damn I hate plumbing.

Friday, February 13, 2009


First of all, I don't really care for social networking computer systems. They all seem to me to be, well kinda sophomoric. But that may just be my anti-social curmidgeonly side speaking.

Carol and I are road crew for a Christian rock band, Morning Light. They mostly do shows at detention facilities. The message, while consistently Christian, is more oriented towards "Hey, we can have a whole lot of fun without drugs and alcohol". Since the band and crew are mostly recovered drug users and alcoholics, they know what they are talking about.

John McBride is the leader of the group, although his wife, April is the heart and soul. They recently created a Facebook account, and sent us an e-mail asking us to check it out. So Wednesday night I went to check it out, and as those things go, you have to have an account to view an account. So I did.

When I created the account, there was a thing to add friends, which was gleaned from our e-mail contacts list. I noticed one of Mrs As friends, so I added her. I also saw my Uncle in Mexico, so I added him.

On another side vein, I have a cousin that I grew up with that I lost contact with about ten years ago, and I have been trying to find him for a couple of years.

On an impulse, I searched for him, and lo and behold, got a hit. Not sure that it was the same person, I sent a message asking if this was my cousin. The reply was that indeed, it was.

I sent him my e-mail address, and he replied and sent me his.

I will be giving him a call soon, and look forward to a long conversation getting caught up. So much has happened.

I'll probably have to set aside a couple of hours for THAT phone call.

I think the time difference is a couple of hours, so I'll have to take that into account.

So maybe Facebook isn't a total waste of electrons.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hangin' Tough

I have the crud, but it has been manageable.

Nyquill by night. Robitussin by day.

Keeps the critters away.

I have managed to make it to work and get through the day. I have been busy enough to keep myself occupied, and take a slug of junk every four hours. By the time I get home, I don't have a whole lot of energy left. Go to bed early and with the help of a generous slug of Nyquill, get a decent night's sleep.

I get a little better every day.

I will make it through.

Monday, February 09, 2009

And that's Final

Like usual, I got things wrong. Working seven days a week gets me so out of touch with things I sometimes don't know if I'm afoot or horseback.

The debate tournament at Stanford was not Regionals, as I had thought, but a National level tournament. Nationals isn't until the end of the year.


He does not know exactly where he placed in finals, just "Somewhere between sixth and thirtieth". In other words he didn't win a medal, but that's not all that important to me. More important is that he put in the time and effort and concentration to achieve a goal. It took a lot of focus and dedication to get up at zero dark thirty on Saturdays, stay out late, travel all over, not let himself get down when he didn't do as well as he thought he should.

So congratulations to V.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

It Just Ain't Fair

I woke up Saturday with a sore throat and stuffed up head.

I finally get a couple of days off and I feel like crap. I spent the whole day on the couch yesterday. Will probably do the same today.

I also haven't been sleeping well. Wake up choking from all the nasty stuff in my throat. Maybe it is time to break out the Nyquill.

V. called from San Jose this morning to say he did well in the first part of the debate Tournament. Good enough to come back for the second part today. He was really jazzed when he called. We congratulated him and told him we were very proud of him, wished him best of luck in the finals. I guess all the time and effort we have invested are proving worth the investment. Up until now, it has just been local braggin' rights, but West Coast Regionals is a different thing. Maybe I will have to start thinking about Nationals.

So he will be in the back of my mind all day today. Sure hope everything goes well.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Fly Away!

V is in San Jose for a regional Debate thing this weekend.

This is the first time he has travelled by himself. We took him to the airport and watched while he checked himself in, and walked with him to the security check-in. Told him to call us when he got in.

This is a big thing for him. First time getting himself through the stupidity of the airport and security, meeting people in the boarding area, traveling without family.

I have this weekend off. Two whole days! Nineteen days without a day off. The first thing I plan to do is sleep in tomorrow. But I also know that when your body gets used to getting up at zero dark thirty, I am going to wake up tomorrow at zero dark thirty. I hope I will be able to heave a sigh of relief, turn over, and go back to sleep.

Mrs A is going to meet her sis for lunch, so I will have the middle of the day to myself. If the weather is halfway decent, I plan on working on Frankenhealey. I'd like to get the waterpump on, hoses connected, radiator, fan and belts back on so that I can start it up, and maybe even get the idle set on the Dellorto's. But maybe not.

When she gets back, It would be nice to take a shower together and.......well never mind.

Naps will be taken, regardless.

Mrs A has been really bummed lately. Her daughter and partner borrowed a couple of hundred bucks from us because they had fallen behind on the rent. They promised to repay when they got their income tax return. They got the income tax return, and of course there were a lot of reasons they could not pay us back. She takes this as a very serious breach of conduct. I don't expect a lot from my fellow human beings, so it is no better or worse than what I expect. Never loan money you cannot afford to write off. She acts like it is a personal failure on her part.

Plus whenever the daughter blows us off she trys to make her mom feel like it is her fault. Mrs A trys to pay me for the money that I got stiffed for, but of course I won't let her, because it isn't her fault. But it severely bums her out. She obsesses about how it must be her fault and everything. She looses sleep over it.

I stopped off and bought her flowers on the way home last night because I know how upset she is, and I love her and hate to see her so bummed, and want to show her how much I love her.

It helped some. Maybe having a little time to spend together this weekend will help.

Got a lot of stuff to try and cram into two days.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

At last

The chairs I ordered six weeks ago came in today. They are very nice and comfortable. They could be a little taller, but that's OK since they have adjustable arms, adjustable back support, adjustable foot support ring. AND WHEELS! Oh, and they spin like a bar stool.
My back and neck will be grateful.
The second at last is I made the final payment on the motor home today. That frees up an extra couple of hundred bucks a month that can be used for other things, like gas for the motor home. We need to sit down and try to sketch out some preliminary plans for going camping. I am still thinking about adding a tow bar to the front of the S10 so we can tow it along and use it when we get where we are going.
And the last is not an at last, just the last thing on my mind for this morning. One of the guys I have worked with for the last year got his layoff notice today. So far the Company is playing by the rules in the contract. That is, Contractors go first. This Engineer is a Contractor, so he is one of the first to go. I hate to see him go, but them's the rules and the chances you take when you become a contractor.

Monday, February 02, 2009


I went on line and booked V's flight to and from San Jose' last night.

$275 round trip. A fair amount of money that was not budgeted, but well within my means. I hope he has a great experience. I was never given the opportunities he has been given. I hope he appreciates what he has been give.

I'm still working every day, without a day off. Hopefully I will get at least one day off this coming weekend. It becomes a little more of a struggle every day to get out of bed.

R came by today with "i". He is growing so fast. He has a couple of teeth, and more on the way. He wore out my legs playing "horsey". I love little kids. Most of them. There are a few that set my teeth on edge. But to see a happy baby with all that curiosity and sense of adventure reminds me that our perceptions become jaded as we grow older. What a wonder to see the world through the eyes of a child.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday


Up at zero dark thirty to go down to work. I needed to get in to do my usual weekly statistical stuff. How many of what and how long it took. Can't do statistical trends without statistics.

After five hours, I had enough and skipped out. Six days until a day off.

Some of the people in the regular group have complained that the P8-A guys are hogging all of the overtime. So we are throwing next weekend open to whoever wants it. I might actually get two days off if we have any takers. But they have to be willing to sit in my chair and do my job. The fact that none of them have ever done it or know what it entails might discourage most of them. There are a couple of them that I would very much like to see try, because their idea of a good day at work is one in which they don't have to do anything or answer any questions.

So I am home early, having a couple of beers and getting ready to watch the Stupor Bowl.

I don't really care who wins, as long as it isn't the guys in the stripes. Or whoever paid them the most.

If I can just stay awake.