Colo Vacation 11 Colo Adventure 04/05 Our Cruise 03 Myrtle Beach 02 Egypt 02
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I have finished for now, the work I was doing at Wallops Island, sure was glad to be back. It seems like I missed the entire month of November, except of course my wife's birthday on the 28th.
Christmas is now over and the presents are either in use or on their way back to their origin. I usually gauge the whole affair by how many presents that must be returned. This year was a good year, as I only want to return two items and exchange a damaged pair of gloves that Karen gave me. I actually received some "gun" things such as primers, bullets, powder and three boxes of AR-15 ammo. I also got two books, a digital tire pressure gauge and a heated-vibrating back massager that fits your chair. Karen and Cheryl each made out with too much stuff to list. Our friends the Chaney's gave me a blanket with a Harley Davidson on it and Karen and Cheryl each a received a jewelry item.
After opening presents and burning the boxes we dressed and went to Karen's brother Brian's house for a Christmas lunch. Brian had turkey, ham and lots of finger food items with different cheeses and breads, it was very good. He even made a truffle candy and lots of other goodies. From there we left for home. I called a coworker, Dick Celley, to come on over and Karen fixed chicken and dumplings for our dinner. Dick brought a very good bottle of wine to which Karen only had about a third of one glass. Not a problem, Dick and I polished off the rest. The dumplings and the wine were good. Dick provided excellent conversation and we did not even once argue over politics, guns or religion, that in it's self is a major accomplishment for us, as I usually stir these things up at work....
Now the New Year approaches, the year of the true millennium, and we still have not explored Mars as was dreamed of in the seventies. It is that time of year when we take stock of years past, and then yearn to fix that which they can in the future. Usually we mess up our grand plans somewhere in late January or February.
We are sitting here awaiting a massive storm that could bring large, for us, amounts of snow. If the system forms off of the Chesapeake Bay which is due East of us, they are forecasting 1-6 inches in the metro area and 6-12 inches about 20 miles North. If the storm forms South of the Chesapeake Bay, we could see nearly a foot or maybe more of snow on the ground. Good thing this is happening over a long weekend as we had less than an inch of snow on Wednesday and there were accidents everywhere! These city folks in their 4X4s just don't understand ICE...
I spent five years with Raytheon working on submarines from 1989 - 1984 and many of the folks I worked with then pop up here and there. I sent an email asking for information on "where are they now" and "what are they doing now". I intend on putting it all together on a web page so everyone can enjoy it. I intend on including email links to all that I know of the old work force. So if you get weekly funnies from me and worked at SEABAT and you DON'T want me to include your email address, then you better send me an email pronto...
The link to this page will be: -- not available yet...
Here is wishing you and everyone you know a happy, healthy and fruitful New Year!
Today my wife and I were planning on a nice cool motorcycle ride. It was to be a charity toy ride for children of the King's Daughter's Hospital. Usually you buy a couple of nice new toys and present them to Santa, usually the biggest hairiest biker of the group dressed up in a red suit, who in turn gives them to needy children in the area. You may have heard of "Toys-for-Tots" which is an annual tradition sponsored by the Marine Corps. We went to the Marine Corps "Toys-for-Tots" a couple of weekends ago and it was a little cool and I got lost finding the right K-Mart parking lot, but we managed to find it as it was in Newport News about 40 miles North of Chesapeake. The ride was nice. It was cool and ended up with "Santa" filling up a big Marine Corp truck. Our friends the Chaney's were unable to go as half of their motorcycle population was in the shop.
This weekend Mike Chaney's motorcycle was still in the shop, so Karen and I decided to once again go alone on this one. The weather report this morning did not say anything about rain. It just said highs in the mid 40s. I knew Karen would be a little cold so I told her to dress warmly. I dug my leather chaps out of the closet, I had not worn these for about 5 years, lucky they still fit. As we donned our helmets and thin gloves for the ride, I noticed a stray rain drop or two appearing on the seat of the bike, I wiped them off before Karen could see them. We hopped on and started on our way, we had neglected to buy toys until this morning so we stopped at Hell-Mart (the local Walmart) and Karen ran in and bought two nice toys.
After Karen got back on the bike and we headed for Norfolk's JANAF shopping center it began to rain. Now 60 mph at 43 degrees in the rain was a new experience for Karen. I forgot to put a bandanna around my neck so I could cover my cheeks from the stinging rain drops. We pulled into the JANAF parking lot and there was about a hundred other bikers there pretending not to be cold. We went and registered and received our run pins. As I was handed my pin I felt for sure we were going to earn these pins. We paid $8 each and were given a blue and a pink stuffed animal to be tied to our bike as the symbolic toy for the kids. I guess our Hell-Mart toys were not needed. There was a "Santa" riding a big bike with a trailer in tow that was made up to be a red sleigh. Santa's bike and sleigh was adorned with enough Christmas lights to be the envy of the Griswalds. Karen gave the two toys we had bought at Hell-Mart to Santa for his sleigh, he laughed and said thanks.
We hung around pretending the rain would stop. Karen had her doubts about continuing the ride as she was very, very cold. She even called the Dork and had her drive down to JANAF. Karen was contemplating driving home with Cheryl. However, after she and Cheryl walked around and saw the other folks waiting to make the run, folks old and young, man and woman, all cold and ready to ride for the children, she too decided to make the run and not "weenie-out". At about 12:40 PM Santa mounted his bike and the lights shone bright. I put on my thin wet gloves and started the bike. The weather had taken a turn for the worse in that the rain was turning to sleet and ice. Not the best conditions for a motorcycle parade. So with a full police escort, a column not unlike a long and thunderous snake left the JANAF parking lot and worked it's way down Virginia Beach Blvd. heading for Downtown Norfolk. I have been on other toy rides, many with more bikes, but never was there one with more heart than this one. Karen and I were about in the middle of the procession and all I could see behind us were bikes and all I could see in front were bikes, a single column two bikes wide. Once we arrived at the King's Daughter's Hospital we delivered our toys. By this time Karen and I were soaked and my fingers were frozen. The temperature had fallen into the 30s so we headed home. We got home and put the bike away, Cheryl made a fire and I ran to the sink and ran warm water over my cold fingers. We eventually warmed up and Karen made the best chicken & dumpling dinner to date. So closes a Sunday to remember.
Over the course of the last couple of years I have been the recipient of many, many email items that were, in my opinion, just junk. I have received an embedded virus or two, and once in a while a legitimate email from an unknown. This week, I received another email that detailed that so-and-so had just rented an "email tracker program" and that they were offering a monetary prize to every person who forwarded the email.
There is no such thing as an "email tracker program". There is no way a company is going to just hand over money, prizes or any kind of endowment that is going to cost them money without a measurable return.
Please use common sense when forwarding emails. Forwarding such emails requires time on the part of various Internet servers. This time slows down other Internet activities. The more of these type of emails there are circulating on the Internet, the slower the Internet works as a whole. The more money various companies, governments and universities have to spend on Internet equipment to handle the increased load. This yields higher taxes, tuition and consumer prices.
Someone might argue that funny or humorous emails are in the same category. I would disagree in that usually one sends a humorous item to a friend or associate because they want to share the humor. Just as if you heard a good joke and then tell it at the water cooler at work the next day.
Advertising email is usually tossed in there as junk email also, but it was sent with a purpose. To promote something that if acquired, would increase the sender's wealth. So it indeed has a tangible purpose.
Now every person has their own classification of just what is exactly "junk". I look at "email tracker" and "chain letter" emails as nothing but a scourge eating away at our Internet resources. They provide no real function. I have never seen an email that says our "email tracker program" has gone around the globe a gazillion times and we have given away quadrazillion dollars in prize money. If something like that were to really happen, it would be bigger news than a few Floridians not understanding how to vote...
Seems like I get around to updating this about every couple of weeks. This time I had no exotic travel or work considerations. My only excuse was laziness. Oh Well. This years hurricane season has proven to be a big disappointment for me anyway, I am sure the folks in Texas, the Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean don't share my views. One of the best storms we have had since I have lived here, raised our lake water level by about 8 feet. I am sure if a Cat-4 or higher storm ever plowed into this area, we would be devastated to say the least. I had the opportunity to see the damage that Hugo did to Charleston South Carolina seven days after it hit. It was amazing... Trees just cracked in half, half way up. Buildings destroyed, mobile homes... well let's just say mobile homes probably should not be sold to folks who live on the coast. The insurance companies have started to prepare for a devastating storm to hit here. All of a sudden our home owners insurance policies have cyclonic storm damage clauses and our rates have nearly doubled. I guess they want to scare the population into buying hurricane coverage, like they do flood insurance. I have little love in my heart for insurance companies. I feel that any entity that gets the lawmakers to pass laws forcing people to buy their "product" is not playing on a level field.
Last fall, two years after I built my shed, the homeowner's association took exception to my shed which did not have a gabled roof. After a lot of negotiating with them we came to an agreement. In that I would modify the foot or so that overhung from the front of the shed and fashion a gable. I have been working slowly on the project since last January. This project involved me swinging a chainsaw over my head to do some artful cutting. Having done this and in the process tore the tendons in both of my arms it was a while before I again started to work on the project. Then in the spring I re-injured the tendons again carrying tool boxes and materials up and down the USS TARAWA in San Diego. In actuality they were not fully healed until I had returned from San Diego in August. I kind of forgot about the project. Until this week, we received a kindly letter from the homeowner's association asking why the modifications were not done that were agreed to nearly a year ago were not done. Well I just finished the physical modifications and the gable is there, it is not a very pronounced gable, but it is there. All that is lacking now is that we must now paint the shed the same sick green color that the rest of the house is. Arghhhhh! I hate green!!!!!! I am planning on buying paint and some rollers tomorrow and going to town. I will then take some pictures with a digital camera and send them to the homeowner's association.
I will be spending most of November up in Wallops Island the home of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. I don't get to do anything with NASA though, NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems, our real boss) is building a staging and testing lab for aircraft carrier advanced combat display systems and we are responsible for making sure the lab works after it is built. We built one of the pieces of equipment for the system. Most of the involvement will be baby-sitting after the "bugs" in the system are squashed.
I guess I need to start saving my pennies. The next gun I want is a Desert Eagle semi-automatic pistol in .357 Magnum caliber. It is very expensive though and it will probably be a couple of years before I actually get to have one. If I could sell the cats by the pound, I could get it tomorrow!!! We have found that Karen does not like the "big" guns. By her definition a "big" gun is anything stronger than her .22 Ruger pistol. She has began anticipating the "kick" and points the gun down just as she pulls the trigger. As long as the bad guy is laying on the floor in front of her she would be OK. Right now she just plows the soil. She does not do it at all with the .22, in fact, she is quite accurate. She did not used to do this "nose-diving" so I believe that she could learn to overcome it.
The weather has been fairly mild out here in Virginia and should start to get colder soon. I like the colder weather, I like to ride my motorcycle in the cold. People must think I am crazy though, as they tend to give me a wider berth than during the warm months.
The weather here has turned "nippy". My look at the thermometer this morning showed 46 degrees! Yesterday it did not get above 52 degrees. Everyone I see is starting to wear coats. Grandma Helen used to tell me it is not cold until the snot in your nose freezes. There has only been one or two winters here where the temps dropped into the teens and stayed there for a while. Usually it is around the 20s & 30 as the coldest.
Karen has left for Las Vegas until Thursday. Her parents bought her a ticket so that she could attend her grandma's funeral. She had to beg, borrow & steal to get time off from work, as she does not have anymore vacation left. I do not know when her vacation timer starts over for the year
I have some vacation hours saved up. I am trying to get my "bank" of hours up to the maximum carry over amount. The max carry over amount is the maximum number of hours you can carry on the books from one year to the next. I figure that I will have the required 240 hours sometime in 2001 or 2002 depending on how much leave I take during the course of time. I really wanted to come to Colorado last summer, but my work schedule did not permit. I am starting to plan another month long ordeal in late summer next year. There is a motorcycle rally in Durango that my friend and I want to attend. So don't be surprised if several loud bikes show up around the end of August...
We are all getting over some really bad cold/flu. It started out with a sore throat and then a minor congestion in the chest and then NSM (No Solid Matter) bowl movements. The sore throat is gone but the other symptoms are lingering on. Cheryl seemed sicker than both Karen and I so she went to the doctor and they told her that she had bronchitis again, gave her some pills and sent her home.
The cooler temps sure make my old dog Bart stiff and sore. I usually give him a Motrin pill and that seems to help him. He is about 9 this year and probably only has a couple more years left in him. I am thinking about having his coat made into a pelt when he dies and I can use him to warm me when I am laying on the couch. His fur is very thick and soft.
That big orange cat Bentley survived his ordeal with his bladder infection. At the height of the infection he was puffed up like a balloon, withholding almost all of his urine. We had to keep him confined in the laundry room. He would "leak" some rather disgusting materials which were easier to clean up in there. Karen had to give him two pills twice a day until he was better. Remember the email joke a few months ago about giving a cat pills? Karen will attest to how much that fat orange cat disliked pill-time. The other cats are fine and seemed to leave him alone. Tessa the middle cat is really kind of an odd-ball. She is pear shaped and very very skittish. And for some unknown reason is not real "light" on her feet like cats are supposed to be. It seems all of our cats are a bit odd in that manner. Bentley is just plain too FAT to be bounding and jumping about, Scout the outdoor cat is cross-eyed and has a very bad depth perception problem. Scout sometimes jumps to the bathroom window from the edge of the tub, about 3 1/2 feet, and misses. If you are in there on the toilet, you had better catch him or you might get upset claws in your bare lap...
It looks like the day is turning a little sunny, yesterday was overcast and gloomy. If it looks like it will stay sunny, I may make the trek, 28 miles each way, to the outdoors range and shoot my rifles. Maybe the cooler temps will keep the lightweight folks at home. I usually take all my rifles out there to make sure they are still sighted in. That's about as close to hunting as I get these days. It is fun to shoot my AR-15 assault rifle out there as I can put a full clip into a 2" orange circle at 100 yards easy. It would be great for an afternoon of popping chipmunks or groundhogs from the back of a pickup in a lawn chair with a cooler of beer. Ahhhhh my redneckedness is coming out... I remember sitting on the porch in the fall with Paul Jr. waiting for the blue-jays to come feed on the tallow that was tacked up on the tree for the chickadees. Paul Jr. and I would shoot the blue-jays and then the cats would carry them off when the fell to the ground. It was great! And we even had Grandma Helen's blessing...
It has been a little while since I last updated this page, no excuses - just lazy perhaps. Work is going kind of slow but should pickup next week a little bit.
Karen has been working to help set up the calendar kiosk in their mall. Waldenbooks sets up a kiosk to sell calendars out in the common area of the mall. They do it in almost every mall they have bookstores in. Karen says that it is very lucrative but only around the end of the year. I wouldn't think that there was such a big market for calendars. But then, I am not am economics major, right Dickie???
Cheryl is doing a little better with her memory, but she is still having excruciating headaches. I told her welcome to the club. She is seeing a neurologist for them. I really hope her headaches are temporary and go away after a while as real migraines are a bad thing.
I have been having very severe migraines since as long as I can remember and have been on various medications for many years now. Before my last trip to San Diego I was started on new a "preventative" medicine that I took every morning. It did reduce the frequency of the headaches but it (and all of the previous medications like it) had a nasty little side effect that I had just written off as part of being me. My close friends and associates know that I generally do not stray very far from restrooms . While working on the LHA5 ship in San Diego I was faced with a dilemma. The ships restroom facilities where we were working, were nearly non-existent. The nearest facility that was not a "shipyard outhouse" was a walk down to the end of the pier to the Welldeck, a small Navy Exchange operated luncheonette. Now this meant donning your hard hat and safety glasses and then winding your way down the ten or twelve some odd shipboard ladders just to get to the pier, then a nice long walk to the Welldeck. Including the restroom stop this was about a 30-45 minute affair. Now combine this with a person needing to use these facilities about every other hour or so, especially if food had been ingested previously in the day and we have a "little" problem. I had to stop taking the migraine preventative medicine so that I could get a day's work done while I was out there. Once the medicine was out of my system, I felt like a normal (whatever normal is) person.
I told you all of that so that you could appreciate this... I rode my Harley to go see my neurologist this week and let her know that I had stopped taking the preventative medicine and that I was no longer a slave to the porcelain. You must understand that my neurologist is a rather good looking woman about a dozen or so years my junior, so it took a bit of fortitude to admit to her that I was having a little "problem" with one of the side effects of her newly prescribed medicine and ask if there was a substitute that would not keep me a slave to the porcelain God . She kept her laughter in check until after she had prescribed the new medicine for me. As I was leaving, she was admiring my motorcycle saddlebags and asked where I got them. I explained that I bought them in Tijuana as I opened the right one up to show her how much room was inside, then she saw that I had a roll of toilette paper in there...
With the weekend looking like a washout due to rain Karen and I invited our friends the Chaney's on an overnight excursion to Washington DC to go and check out the museums and such.
We filled the Expedition up with gas at about 5:45 on Saturday and went to pick up Mike and Marianne at their house. We did not get there until about 6:10 and we were on the road by 6:15. The drive up was raining on and off, just enough to be a nuisance requiring me to switch on and off the windshield wipers every minute or so. After driving the old '49 Chevy pickup truck with vacuum operated wipers back on the ranch all the time while I was growing up, I was used to letting a bit of accumulation appear on the windshield before turning the wipers on. I have found this little practice "annoys" my wife a great deal. I tell her it is just to save wear and tear on the wipers and motors. She does not buy it though.
About 40 miles into the trip I asked Karen if she had the opportunity to get our FIRESTONE WILDERNESS TA tires replaced (we don't really have the recalled tires) and we engaged in a mock argument about whose responsibility it was to have the tires exchanged. Mr. Chaney said it should only matter if the tires are at or over the 50,000 mile range and were under-inflated. I said we were OK as the truck had 49,500 miles. Marianne's look of disbelief (horror) in my CENTER rear-view mirror was worth the resultant tongue lashing that ensued when she found out we were joking.
We (I and everyone else by association) got a little lost finding the Motel 6 that I made reservations at just South of the I395/I495 beltway that surrounds the DC metro area. After a bit of skillful (Mike & Marianne might argue it was more daredevil) driving we arrived at the motel. Seemed like a nice place, a little on the small side but hey for $69 a night what the heck. We arrived about 9:40 or so.
After checking into the motel we were off to find the Washington Metro (subway) Huntington station that was located about 5 miles from the motel to park the truck and continue on the subway. DC has a very extensive subway train system that is fairly inexpensive and convenient (after you learn a little about the various red, blue orange, yellow and green trains). All in all, we rode all over both days for $8.20 each. That includes a few extra excursions because of being a bit "lost" oh, excuse me, unfamiliar with the rail system. Marianne wanted to go to Union Station on the way to the museums and have lunch. Union Station is kind of neat. It has a ceiling that was nearly a hundred feet high inside. Lunch there was a bit pricey though. From Union Station we went to the Museum of Natural History. It was very neat with lots and lots of interesting exhibits. I enjoyed seeing my old friend Rex.
From there we walked to the Air and Space Museum. My favorite overall. The women wandered around a little before they declared squatters right's on a bench. Mike and I managed to see most everything quickly. I got to touch a Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space capsule. The Mercury capsule was John Glenn's Friendship 7 capsule that he first orbited the globe in. The Apollo 11 capsule was Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collin's home while Neil and Buzz visited the moon. A copy of the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) was also on display and I bent way over the rope so I could touch it too. The had many moon rocks on display as well as rocks they believed were from Mars that had landed in Antarctica that you could touch. I could have spent days in there... But alas, the girls were bored and Marianne wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial. She swears that she did not even see the building when we went up there on our motorcycles for Rolling Thunder on Memorial Day 1999. It was raining pretty good when we left the Air and Space museum.
It just so happened that this weekend, EVERY SINGLE OVERZEALOUS EVANGELISTIC FIRE & BRIMSTONE BIBLE THUMPING "PREACHER" was in the National Mall spreading their word of evil and destruction for all of mankind through a loudspeaker network that would make the rock bands KISS and METALLICA green with envy. It was so loud that their message followed us the entire mile walk from the Air and Space museum to the Lincoln Monument in the driving rain (about a mile). Anyway, Mrs. Chaney got to climb up and see Abe. We then started our trek back to the motel on the Metro, this is where we took a couple of wrong trains and learned our "Metro" lessons. When we finally returned to the Huntington Station, we went to the wrong parking lot and searched each level high and low for our great white truck. I was starting to think it had been stolen. We ended up asked the station attendant if there were two parking lots. He showed us "tourists" where the other lot was, and we found our truck and headed back to the motel. Now, all the while we were "exploring" the Metro, Marianne had to pee. There does not seem to be any restrooms anywhere in the Metro system except Union Station). By the time we got back to the motel Marianne was wanting to do the "wee-wee" dance pretty bad. Good thing K-Mart was close. We had dinner at a Chilli's restaurant and retired to the motel.
Morning came soon, feet and legs sore, wrong shoe choice for the trip. After showering and dressing we met up with our friends and found an IHOP for breakfast. We then headed back to the Huntington Station to continue our museum prowl. This time we wanted to see the National Portrait Gallery. CLOSED until 2002. Damn. Then we walked back to the National Gallery of Art. We had purchased a soda from the street vendors and as we entered the Gallery we looked for a sign indicating no food or drinks allowed. There was none, so Karen took her drink inside with her, I had already "woofed" mine down. There was a large, short African American guard after you entered the building. He nearly fell over himself to tell Karen that she could not carry in her hand the drink. It had to be in her pocket or purse or pack. Karen asked him why, and he just refused to answer. Karen inquired as to where any sign was that dictated the "drink" policy and he very rudely told her that "she didn't need no signs". Then in the very next hall, another guard lady approached Marianne and told her that she could not wear her backpack on her back. Marianne's purse is like a small backpack with two shoulder straps but is in no way a big backpack. A short argument ensued as to the reasoning why she could not shoulder her purse even though hundreds of others were doing just that. The Chaney's decided that they did not need to see that culture badly enough. This all happened while, you guessed it - I was in the can, Karen told me the Chaney's had exited and were outside headed to the National Archives to see the Constitution. Karen and I were not really wanting to see anymore of the Art gallery anyway, so we met up with the Chaneys and headed to the Archives.
We had to pass through an airport style metal detector to enter the National Archives. We had to wait in a long line to see the Constitution, when I got up to it, I wanted to look a little at the handwriting and I guess I was taking to much time, as the guard gruffly told me to move along. I looked back at him and explained that it was my tax dollars paying his salary and the expenses for this archive and that I would take my sweet time. He barked some more and I just stood there and looked at the neatness of their writing. I moved along in due time. The rest of the National Archives was some pre & post declaration letters and ledgers, and a whole gallery of Americana style photographs. It was allot nicer than the Gallery of Art. From there we spent the rest of the day in the National Museum of American History. This was really good. I could have spent a day alone in there.
When it was time to go, we hustled over to the Washington DC Planet Hollywood restaurant to pick up some mementos for the Chaney children. Then it was off to the Metro and back to the Huntington Station. We remembered where we parked this time... It was a good thing as it was raining cats, dogs, roosters and pigs!
We drove home on Interstate 95 in the pouring rain until we got to Fredericksburg and stopped for dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant. The trip back to Chesapeake took about an hour longer than the trip up due to the worse rain, darkness and fog. We dropped the Chaneys off about 10:20 PM or so and headed back home. Filled up the Expedition after 455 miles on one tank. We managed to get 18.2 mpg. That was a bit of a record for the beast.
When we got home and unloaded the truck, we sat down for a few minutes before unpacking. That gave Karen's cat just enough time to pee on my leather duffle bag! If I would have caught which one did it, we would have one less cat.
Overall, our adventure was an excellent one. Karen and i intend on a return trip this fall when we can take more time at some of the museums.
And the Dork did not even burn the house down...
I Guess it has been a very long time since I updated this page! I was away on travel to San Diego from July 5th through August 12th. It was a long, but successful trip to say the least...
While I was gone, and the grass was growing, Cheryl had been involved in an automobile accident where a teenage girl failed to yield the right of way and pulled out in front of Cheryl and she crashed into her. Cheryl was banged up pretty bad and taken to the hospital and later released. She is doing better and the bumps and bruises are gone, she is having frequent headaches and spells of short term memory loss that concerns her. She is going to see a neurologist to have it checked out soon. However, her pride and joy, the bright yellow Honda Prelude she had purchased from my good friend Dick was destroyed. The insurance company for the girl who hit her was being a real pain in the ass. The insurance company was told that Cheryl was not the actual owner of the car, it was titled in mine and Karen's name and that they must deal with Karen or I, not Cheryl. They continuously called Cheryl at her work, out and out lied to her on several occasions saying that they had contacted me on my cell phone in California and that I was in agreement to their settlement terms for the wrecked Honda. Luckily Cheryl understands my outlook (read that hatred) towards the insurance business and did not fall for their stories. This continued with the insurance company until I returned from California.
Now to understand the gravity of the crashed car scenario, you must first understand the history of the yellow Honda. It was purchased by my friend Dick in 1987. Dick is a very bright fellow that has been working on Navy computer system about 10 years longer than I. Dick understands that he has a bit of a limitation with mechanical things. This "limitation" equated to him having the yellow Honda serviced every year at the dealer and all mechanical work done by a competent authority. Dick decided to buy a brand new 2000 Honda Prelude, alas it was not yellow, and that left him with the pampered 1987 yellow Honda Prelude which he sold to Cheryl for a "song" (about half it's market value). So now you have the picture, a really really well cared for car in immaculate condition for Cheryl.
The offending insurance company, not understanding the true value of this 13 year old car, offered us less than half of what the NADA used car manual indicated it was worth. To make a very long and aggravating story short, I was a bit of a bulldog ASSHOLE to the insurance company. We settled on an amount that was more in line of what we thought the car was worth. It was enough to pay off the personal loan Cheryl had acquired through the credit union and put some bucks in her pocket for a down payment on another vehicle. Since she saw a bit of a profit from the deal she was required to bake Dick a major plate of chocolate chip cookies.
Now comes the "finding Cheryl a replacement car" job... After hassling with the insurance company I was not looking forward to this task. We discussed with Cheryl about what she wanted and what she could afford. I sat her down in front of the computer and we did a spreadsheet to weigh the options ahead of her. We decided to take a look at the Hyundai line of cars from South Korea. They are not quite as costly as other new cars and they came with a standard 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers everything except tires, batteries, belts and similar maintenance items. Cheryl found and liked a nice silver four door sedan which soon became hers after dad negotiated the terms. The car salesman didn't stand a chance after honing my "negotiation" skills with the insurance company. We got the price down to a couple of hundred over dealer invoice and then I piped up about the factory rebates in affect. The salesman's eyes just kind of rolled out, as he could only agree with me, and he saw his commission dwindling even further. Cheryl did opt for a clear coat treatment of the paint and an additional $300 to extend the bumper-to-bumper warranty for a total of 10 years and 100,000 miles.
The morning after I returned home, I looked at the dreaded backyard. Arghhh! The grass was nearly to the top of our picnic table in the backyard. Cheryl had been cutting the front yard and had cut the backyard once since I was gone. She could not get the backyard lawnmower started so she just left it, and left the old tired mower out in the elements. Now the week before I returned the rain had been visiting for quite some time and everything was pretty much saturated. All the rain had gotten in and rusted the throat of the backyard lawnmower's carburetor somehow and all over the linkage and such. I shortly contemplated, for about 30 seconds, whether I should spend a day trying to fix it or just buy a new cheapo mower to take it's place. I chose the latter.
The new lawnmower was acquired with a side discharge instead of rear like the old. I was tired of Scout's dead birds and lots of dog poop being flung onto my legs. I had to wait for several more days until last weekend before the sun would come out long enough to dry the morning dew and there was enough time to mow the lawn before more torrential rain came in. Now the grass WAS over the top of the picnic table... The new lawnmower performed well, given it's initial outing in the back yard. It stalled several times as I would get too anxious and try to take a bigger cut, but all-in-all, the yard was cut down.
I tried to start my motorcycle and found that my battery was totally dead and then it would not hold a charge. A new battery was purchased and I was able to ride again! I decided to spend a little $$$ on the bike so I bought a kit to extend the foot pegs 4 inches further forward so I could stretch my legs a bit more. What I found after I was started into the installation was that I had to relocate my oil filter as it interfered with the new shifter linkage. About a hundred dollars later I had the oil filter relocated and several hours later the new extensions were installed. You do know that HD stands for Hundred-Dollars instead of Harley-Davidson right??? It sure seems that way. Now all I "need" for my fourteen year old motorcycle is new solid wheels (I want to never adjust or clean spokes again), new paint (the kid's bicycle handlebars have taken their toll), new adjustable rear shocks and couple more odds and ends. Now I just need to find the $$$.
Not much more to expound on this week, my fingers are tiring a bit and once again, the lawns are calling...
Since the last update, our son Michael and his girlfriend Rebecca visited a justice of the peace in Georgia and were married on Wednesday the 21st of June. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Then they came to visit the following Friday and are staying until July 6th.
Karen is going to go get a tattoo today with her friend Marianne, I told her she should get a great big set of Harley Davidson wings across her chest, I don't think she thought to much of the idea though...
Cheryl has accepted a new position in the city courts in the juvenile district court, she is hoping it will give her a nice big raise. She starts the week of July 17th. She is looking forward to the new position.
I am looking at going to San Diego on July 5th for a minimum of three weeks. It could turn into a longer stint depending on how knocked around our equipment gets while it is loaded on the ship. The equipment was all shipped out of here on time. It arrived in San Diego on the last possible day it could to make it on board the Peleliu. Now it is in the hands of the shipyard's riggers. I really hope that they treat it gently, I don't want to spend anymore time in San Diego than I have to. I do plan on an excursion to Tijuana for new saddlebags for my bike.
Mike is going to cut the lawns just before he leaves returns to Georgia, which should hold the backyard until I return. I hope Cheryl will hack the front one about every ten days or so.
It's been almost three weeks since I updated this page.
Cheryl is doing well. Her car failed the state safety inspection and she will have to fork out almost three hundred dollars to get it fixed. I told her tough break, and welcome to the "real" world.
Karen is in her new job and she likes the store and the people. The only downside is that she has to pay for parking downtown each day, but she is at the largest and newest shopping mall within a hundred miles...
The dogs and cats are having a time with fleas this year. We are going to have to try that prescription flea control stuff and see how that works. I will probably have to kill them in the carpet this weekend. I usually use a strong mixture of soap and vinegar with the carpet shampoo machine. It will make the house smell a little funny for a couple of days but boy does the vinegar kill the fleas. That will be an all day affair.
Last night for Father's Day, Karen Cheryl and I accompanied by our friends, the Chaneys, went to a Japanese steak house for dinner, we had reservations for 8:00 PM and was seated around 8:35 PM. They were very busy, and to make matters worse, their air conditioning seemed to be on the fritz.
When dinner was over we started to head back home. On the way home we ran into a rainstorm. This was some storm, the rain was coming down so hard I could not even see the end of the hood on the Expedition much less the road. I could see the left edge of the road out of my side window so that is how I drove for about 2 miles while we were pelted with teaspoon sized rain drops and hail. The wind was very high also. When we got home we learned that the winds had gusted in places to nearly 60 mph and had caused troubles to the tall masted sailing ships moored in downtown Norfolk for the weekend.
Driving home from work today I encountered another similar storm and it looks like more severe thunderstorms and rain is in store for this evening. Norfolk has had a Tornado watch for most of the afternoon.
I have been busy at work to say the least. I have been working on getting our Command Station and Peripheral Support Processor Group equipment ready for the USS Peliliu LHA5 out in Sand Diego. This ship set has been rough one due to time constraints, but one of the best we have put out yet. This equipment consists of a large console that seats two operators, with three 19" color monitors and two large screen displays that are about 6' diagonal and high resolution video, this is the Command Table. Another single operator Command Table is similar in construction but smaller. Two 72" high equipment cabinets that hold all of the electronic "smarts" for the Command Tables and two more 72" high cabinets that provide emulations for four outdated peripherals that are nearly impossible for the Navy to maintain.
Command Table Electronics
Peripheral Emulation Cabinets
These will be packed up and shipped to San Diego for installation on the ship later this month. We expect to be able to turn them on and start testing the middle of July. I have to go out to San Diego right after the 4th to do some more "fix-up" work on the USS TARAWA LHA1. So I may just stay there until we are done with Peliliu.
Since I update this almost as religiously as I cut the grass, you can guess that my grass is a bit high. Cheryl took pity on me a week ago and cut the front lawn, it needs to be cut again very bad. The back yard is higher than I have seen it in a couple of years... Damn wet weather. I will have to pre-cut it with the weed whacker before i take the lawn mower to it. The weather report is saying that tomorrow is going to be in the low 80s with low humidity, I may sneak out of work early and come home and cut them.
The week has been a hectic one at that at my work as we planned how to deal with our favorite ship the TARAWA, and how to deal with some other parts shortages that we just learned about for the next ship set of equipment. By Thursday, I was ready for a four-day weekend and I took my first official day of leave since I went to work with the government. I passed my one-year mark on Thursday.
Karen has been offered a promotion at her bookstore and it would require her to go work in a different mall in downtown Norfolk. The up side is that it is a promotion and is closer to home, the downside is that she will have to pay for parking at the new mall as it is downtown. She will decide this week what she wants to do.
Cheryl is doing well and is chugging along with work and friends. She is going to the Dr. today as she has been having a pain in the neck all week. I told her it was just her boyfriend... She didn't laugh much...
I had to cut and edge both of the lawns, including the calf high back yard, Friday about noon. The temperatures were in the middle 80s, with little humidity and I figured the humidity and temperature will get miserable as the storm system that is headed our way arrives later in the weekend.
Every year our community has a community wide yard sale on Memorial Day that starts at 8:00 AM and goes until you have had enough. Since we did not go camping, we joined into the yard sale. While Karen and I were dressing we saw cars entering our circle and scouring for items at around 6:45 AM. We started setting up our meager two tables of junk about 7:30 AM, by 10:00 AM we had sold a bunch of crap that had been hanging out forever. We made about $60 from the deal. Next time if we just spend some more time cleaning closets, the garage and the shed the week before Memorial Day we could have a butt load of stuff to sell. And buy stuff, some people will buy just about anything... The little bit we did not sell, some books, stuffed animals and some misc. cooking things were taken to a Goodwill drop over buy Hellmart (Walmart). The last time we participated in the community yard sale it was scorching hot and we sold bottled water for 50 cents apiece and sold every bottle we had and made a very good profit. This year in anticipation we bought two cases of bottled water and $8.00 worth of ice, much to our chagrin, the day remained overcast and in the lower 80s, we only sold about 6 waters. Five kids did come by asking if we would let them have ice to suck on, they were all about 9-11 years old, I told them if they could answer some basic history questions I would give them a water to drink. After many questions, I was exasperated at their not knowing anything about the revolutionary war such as the "Boston Tea Party" or who Paul Revere was or what the first words of the constitution were. A bold example of today's schooling system. I remember learning that stuff in 3rd or 4th grade which is where most of these kids were at. I finally relented and gave away five waters, further dampening our water sale profits.
Late Saturday afternoon and in came a very severe thunderstorm and rainstorm. Lots of lightening and rain, Bart and I sat in the garage with the door up watching the lightening. Bart is afraid of the lightening and his head does not leave my lap while we are out there. A really big blue flash was observed, probably just across the lake, and immediate thunder that shook the house came and that was it for old Bart. Straight to the door into the house he went. I noticed that the rain was overcoming my gutters and was swelling over them. The rain was heavy but not torrential, the downspout must be clogged. Arghhh!
As soon as the rain subsided a bit, I went and retrieved the ladder and climbed up there and stuck my fingers in to the top of the downspout, yuck! Wet leaves and who knows what else is in there. I go get a positive (+) screw driver to remove the set screws so I can take the junctions apart. Three rusted little screws. It starts raining more. The last one is a negative ( - ) screw, down from the ladder I go and find a flat bladed driver to take the last screw out. Get the assembly apart and oh what a mess, rotten nasty icky black leafy bunch of stinky stuff it is. It is raining hard enough that I can rinse out the gutter pieces by just holding them at arms length. As I start to reassemble the gutter with the rain increasing more, Karen hollers out from the garage door that our friends the Chaneys are on the way to go have dinner, about 40 minutes earlier than expected by me. Soaking wet and needing to take a shower I finish the gutter project, only dropping one of the screws.
Karen and I gave the dogs a bath Friday afternoon, she needs to bath those damn cats as they really "need" it. The youngest cat, Tessa, has an allergy to something in the house and is loosing her hair, actually she lost most of it last year and it had partially grown back during the winter. Now her hairline is creeping up her back towards her head. Soon she will be nearly bald. Chester is as wild as ever, Bentley is still "heavy" and Bart and Mollie are filling the back yard with fertilizer. Scout, the middle cat, spends most of his time outdoors.
Sunday is Karen day, and I have to go see a "chick-flick" with her this afternoon. Even though we just had Mothers day and I had to go to downtown Norfolk and wander around and look at "art" displays with her and her best friend Chris. Tomorrow is my day, I am planning a day at the shooting range! Maybe we will have to shoot the 30.06 hunting rifle, that will teach her to make me sit through "Places in the Heart"...
Marianne Chaney, the wife/significant other of my best friend Mike Chaney, is taking a motorcycle operator's course this weekend. If she passes, and she probably will, they will be scouting for a Harley for her in the near future. It will be fun helping them spend big bucks!
I had a couple good days at work, we were able to get our first cabinet of four working with very little trouble and we solved a very vexing fiber optic problem for the two ships (LHA1 and LHA5). Monday we have to present the fix to our Commanding Officer with a plan. I hope I will have most of the Monday AM to work on my portion of it.
Other than that it seems like a very uneventful week. Our weather was cool but very dry with no rain during the week and the grass hardly grew so I sloughed off cutting it this week. I am sure I will regret it next Saturday.
This weekend the city of Chesapeake puts on a celebration called the Chesapeake Jubilee. It is held at the City Park, which is less than a mile and a half from our front door. Now in years past when the kids were younger and enjoyed such things, we would go and ride the rides and other fun stuff. With the kids old enough to go on their own and not wanting parental escort I have not ventured down to the Jubilee in about 5 years. It is primarily a nuisance now as the police try blocking off various lanes of traffic and it makes it a pain to drive around. This year being the exception though, the traffic was not too bad.
Karen just called from her work and has to stay a bit later than usual while the carpets are cleaned. I bet she is mad as a hornet.
The next door neighbor just cut his front lawn, damn! I go out to cut my lawn so I don't look like the lone wolf of the court. Lawnmower is out of gas and the gas line trimmer is out of gas. Went to get gas, spilled gas all over cans and myself. Gas station is run by some damn broken English speaking (when it's convenient for them) foreign folks who don't have any paper towels at the pumps and don't know what I am asking for. Put the wet cans in the Expedition, head home slowly. Cut the grass, air out the Expedition and myself.
Karen is still not home from work, I called her and she said she will be home at 9:00 PM. I will be a good husband and fix dinner, burgers, Tator-Tots and corn.
Don't you just know it... I went to work on the Tarawa in San Diego a week or so ago and earned a little bit of OT and come back home and find out that the refrigerator is dying a slow and horrible death. Put a thermometer inside and watched the temperature steadily rise each day until Wednesday AM when it was 68 degrees inside. Went out that evening with Karen and found a "scratch & dent" refrigerator on sale at Monkey Wards the same size as our old one and just about the same price as my OT. We loaded it up in the back of the Expedition and drove home. Spent until midnight reversing the doors and getting it setup. I let it sit three hours standing up after it was on it's side in my truck before throwing electricity to it. By the morrow it was nice and cold. We had to throw away a bunch of food. I don't know for sure what they were, but there were some very strange things found under the old refrigerator...
I sure like our Expedition, despite it's ravenous thirst for petroleum distillates, but I have been looking at the new Chrysler 2001 PT Cruiser, it is pretty cool looking.
I drove my motorcycle over to a dealer that had one on the showroom floor and I sat in one. It is nice, not as much room in the back as the Expedition. Driving it would make the hour and half I spend commuting each day more enjoyable on days I don't ride my bike. I could see us selling the Expedition and buying one of these this fall or next year.
I was smart this week, cut the damn grass on Thursday evening after the sun went down and before it got hot on Friday. Most of the week has been above 90 degrees, except for Thursday and today. Our normal high for this time of year is in the seventies. If I remember right last year, we had a very hot week in the spring and then the summer was not too unbearable except for a couple of weeks here and there. They are predicting another very active hurricane season this year. I hope it is like either '96 or '97, we had a record number of storms. They are fun to track on the computer. And now that I am with the Government, so if a hurricane threatens Dam Neck, we might get a day off. So when we see the poor sailors placing sandbags we get anxious! Dam Neck is about as far east as you can get in Virginia. Walk about 100 yards east of the main buildings and the Atlantic will be lapping at your feet.
Cheryl and Karen are doing well. Karen has found out that her pain in the head and neck, not me, is a severe muscle strain in one of her major neck muscles. She also appears to have a very small benign cyst somewhere on her gourd, other than that she is doing well with her Asthma and various allergies.
Cheryl has joined a Bally's health club and tried to sign me up for a week or so. I can see my big Dumbo ass in there sweating around all those scrawny folks. Not going to happen. I may start back at the YMCA one of these days. That is where I injured my left Achilles tendon, on a stair stepping machine, back in late '96 and it took over three years to heal.
I have been having to put water in my motorcycle's battery on a weekly basis. I began troubleshooting it late yesterday and found that my alternator is putting out the right amount of AC voltage. That leaves the voltage regulator and the battery as possible culprits. Since it has been doing it across several batteries, that leaves the voltage regulator that needs to be replaced. That won't be cheap I am sure.
I missed my opportunity to go to Washington DC this year and march with the S.A.S. (Second Amendment Sisters) to counter protest the anti-gun M.M.M. (Million Mom March) protest march. Oh well, I will just have to sit here and make bullets in silent protest.
Whew! Two hours to cut my little yard's grass. The front was not bad, but the rear was high enough that the grass was turning to seed. Anyways, that is done now until next weekend. Arghhhhhh, I sure wish Michael was back here to cut the grass for me! I tried to convince Cheryl or Karen that it is good for them to do, but they won't have anything to do with the back yard...
Cheryl did not get the autopsy results yet from Haley, her doctor said the results were not back yet. I sure hope they come soon as I need closure on it as does everyone else.
Cheryl bought a Honda Prelude last year from a good friend of mine whom I work with. This car has those lights that flip up when you turn them on. The passenger side light blew out and Cheryl bought a new one. I had helped her change the driver side one out a couple of months ago so I was helping her change this one. As I was starting to install the new light, Cheryl in her blondness, decided to turn off the lights to save her battery, well my fingers are deep inside the light housing and when she hits the switch to turn off the lights they not only go off, they want to flip down, with my fingers - both hands inside. I was sitting there, both hands stuck inside the light enclosure screaming at the Dork to turn them back on! They would not flip back up until they finished the flip-down cycle so I had the choice of waiting for the Dork to come around and try to pry the light enclosure up or yank my hands out and hope I did not leave too much skin, bones and blood on the inside. Well, me being the testosterone bag that I am, I jerked my hands out. I was lucky, it's a good thing the electric motors that do the flipping are not real strong or I would be typing this with my stumps right now! I am sure the Dork thought it was pretty funny, as anyone who might have been watching.
This weekend is the third annual Virginia Beach Bike Classic, a motorcycle event that spans the whole weekend. I have been looking forward to since last years was nearly rained out. Well, Karen forgot to request the weekend off and she had to work last night and today. She has Sunday off so we can go together that day. There is a planned ride today called a Poker Run that I will participate in. A poker run is where you start at one location and draw a card and record what you drew, then you get directions to the next stop. You travel to the next stop and draw another card, this is repeated until you have drawn your last card at the last stop. Whomever has the best poker hand at the end wins a prize. The last ride I went on, I won a new leather vest because I correctly guessed the total number of miles at the beginning of the ride. The vest is very nice and for my birthday Cheryl had a very nice embroidered Harley Davidson patch sewn on to the back of it.
Our best friends, the Chaney's are really bummed out. Mike's bike broke down and is in the shop being worked on so they do not get to go on the poker run. I really feel bad for them. He has been looking forward to this weekend as much as I. Maybe they will go with us Sunday.
Back from the USS TARAWA adventure in San Diego. We had a dismal start to our job and then finished with a bang! Ship's happy, we're happy, we're out of there!
Cheryl goes today for a doctor's appointment and hopefully she will learn the results of Haley's autopsy. Cheryl is doing pretty well and is back to work now.
Karen has been having weird pains at the right rear base of her skull, she has been to the doctor once for it, and today I am taking her in again. So we can get the old goat squared away...
The damn backyard grass is of epic proportions again, probably an entire afternoons cutting is in order. Cheryl cut the front yard for me Sunday and here it is Thursday and it needs it again. It is going to be a long summer...
On Travel to the "lovely" USS TARAWA in San Diego
Cheryl had a small but nice service for Haley Tuesday eve. The funeral home that cremated Haley let Cheryl use an empty chapel for her service. Karen and Cheryl brought all of the flowers that had been received and made a very nice arrangement. I printed out the Haley website on the color printer and Cheryl had that displayed on a stand-up message board. Karen had bought a nice ornate polished silver box to hold Haley's remains and it was engraved with Haley's name and date. It was very nice. It seemed to bring closure to a rough experience.
The experience was made worse by the father, Roderick, or any member of his family NOT showing up. Hopefully Cheryl will see the selfish and abusive nature of this very immature person and move on. She loved him so much that it has blinded her. Karen and I both, as well as many of her close friends, have tried to talk to her about him. I can only hope that this was the "last straw" and she will indeed move on and give herself a chance to find someone who will treat her as an equal and not as "his bitch".
Looks like rain here. We had a big thunderstorm last night and at least one lightening bolt struck very very close as the house shook. I am hoping for no more rain as I have to mow the lawn and do some other work outside. But it may not hold off. I may have to cut the grass in the morrow.
This week was a doozey...
The week started out in good weather and me riding my motorcycle to work without getting rained on. Karen was busy and so was Cheryl.
On Wednesday Cheryl went for a routine doctor's appointment in the afternoon. At 5:00 PM I received a frantic call from Karen that there was an emergency and that Cheryl had gone to Chesapeake General. I left work and literally raced Karen home. We then drove to the hospital together.
Cheryl was in the Labor & Delivery ward and very, very upset. We learned that at her earlier visit to Dr. Ferebee, Cheryl's doctor, Dr. Ferebee could not hear the baby's heartbeat. She ordered an ultrasound there at her office and could not see movement of the heart or the spine. Roderick and their friend Justin took Cheryl to the hospital.
By 7:00 PM Cheryl had another ultrasound performed at the hospital and we waited and waited for the results. Around 8:45 a doctor from the hospital came in and explained that she had read the ultrasound and conferred with Dr. Ferebee and that they were sure Cheryl's baby had succumbed and was no longer alive. The doctors indicated that everything looked good in the ultrasounds, no direct evidence as to what may have happened to the baby. The doctor explained the choices Cheryl had and the reasons for the various recommendations for each. Cheryl chose to have labor induced and have the baby.
At 10:00 PM the doctor applied the labor inducing medicine to Cheryl with fingers crossed it would come soon. She started with a 25 micro-gram dose. Two hours later and Cheryl was not dilating so another 25 micro-gram dose was given. This continued on through the night with Cheryl not entering labor. Every two hours another dose.
On Thursday morning Cheryl spoke with Dr. Ferebee and she explained that she would give her a much higher dose later. By noon Dr. Ferebee applied an 800 micro-gram dose expecting fairly quick results. Cheryl started some strong contractions, but they soon lessened in intensity. Dr. Ferebee then said we should wait until about 8:00 PM as she had another plan.
The new plan was to let her eat and then about 8:00 PM insert some items that will slowly cause the cervix to expand, then later on (probably early in the next morning) they will give her another high dose of labor inducing medicine. Dr. Ferebee said she would return to Chesapeake as soon as she finished the birth she was handling at Norfolk General.
We waited... Cheryl ate... We waited...
Then about 9:00 PM Cheryl started having some pretty heavy contractions, Dr. Ferebee had not yet returned. They intensified to the point that Cheryl was given an epidural around 10:00 PM. Roderick had gone home to catch some much needed sleep, he returned about 10:15 PM just in time!
At 10:20 PM Cheryl had a contraction and thought she had wet the bed, her water had just broke. By 10:25 PM the baby's foot was peeking out and the nurse told Cheryl that on the next big contraction to PUSH hard. After a few smaller ones came a big contraction. Cheryl pushed and then POP! On April 13th, 2000 at 10:28 PM, Haley Elizabeth Angelina Coleman was born.
Karen's sister in law, Barbara, had brought a set of very small doll clothes by earlier that morning. Karen and the nurse dressed Haley up and then wrapped her in a small blanket and presented her to Cheryl and Roderick. Some pictures were taken and the Cheryl was allowed to go to sleep. Roderick spent the night with Cheryl and everyone else went home for some very needed rest.
Cheryl stayed in the hospital until about noon on Saturday when she was released to come home.
Cheryl and everyone is doing OK and holding up well. We wish to thank everyone who sent flowers and cards. The were very much appreciated.
Now we start a new week, Cheryl and Karen are able to take some vacation time and I have to fly to San Diego on Friday for hopefully a short visit...
Cheryl has allowed me to make a short little www page for Haley.
April Fools Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No big tricks here today, just warm and sunny. Temp is in the 70s and very sunny. I am finally over my damn bug and Cheryl is still fighting it. Karen miraculously did not catch it. She is usually the duty cold catcher and sufferer.
Last night we told the Dork we were going to the gun store so she would not want to go with us. Then Karen drug me from baby store to baby store looking at cribs. We went to: Babies-R-Us, Montgomery Wards Greenbrier, Sears, Toys-R-Us, Montgomery Wards Military Circle, Haynes (yes, Haynes, and the were having a sale!), back to Montgomery Wards Greenbrier, Back to Babies-R-Us and finally I was done. Told Karen to pick one out and lets go. Karen bought it and we loaded it in the Expedition and home we went.
Karen took the Dork out early to yard sales looking for baby stuff, I declined to go. As soon as they left I started to assemble the crib. Figured 15 minutes tops. HAHAHAHA! You always hear about the proverbial bicycle assembly at Christmas time, that drives fathers to brink of reality and sanity, well, they hold no candles to the makers of this crib. The parts list did not match the parts included with the crib. The parts were labeled wrong. There were not enough screws (good thing I don't throw extra stuff from other projects away) and to make matters worse the instructions to assemble the crib were not for this crib. I tried to call their "Assembly Hot-Line" which was NOT a toll-free call and I got thank yous for buying but nobody was there, at their 24 hour Assembly Hotline. The frustration grew. The cold beer in the fridge started looking very good. But I know what happens when beer is introduced into an assembly project. Usually modern art is the result, so I held off and downed a Diet Mt. Dew, ahhhh caffeine....
I sat there and slowly pieced everything together without applying any glue and such and finally figured out that they had mistyped the parts identification stuff on the list. I regrouped, had another "Dew" and started in. An hour and a half later the crib was assembled and all cleaned up.
Karen and the Dork are still away, so I started in on the lawns. Finished them in record time. Took a shower as the Dork and mother were coming home. They bought several hundred dollars of baby "crap" (strollers, car seats, bassinet, yadah, yadah, yadah) for dirt cheap. I hope they have their baby fix for awhile.
Karen bought a "bunch" of plants to plant in our "flower" boxes (weed boxes for the last thirteen years). She bought roses, which require sunlight. Well she put them in the shade. Guess what, they might as well be given their last rights now. I think she is going to plant them in the sunny area this weekend, but after several days with no sun they are looking a bit "limp".
Bought some new grips, a little larger for my little "mule" The snub-nose .357 magnum, hopefully it won't be so unbearable to shoot. Man I really would not ever want to be shot with a .357 magnum, terrific muzzle energy for a handgun. Now all I need is a semi-auto .357 magnum! I am dreaming of course, as the only company that makes one is called Magnum Research and costs a lot. The Dessert Eagle is available in .357 magnum and .50 caliber. These guys are massive to say the least. They are usually used in movies as the look real big because they are REAL BIG. I have shot a .50 caliber at the range once, it was awesome! It was so heavy though...
I still need to wash the dogs, motorcycle and Expedition this day so I better get cracking.
We have not heard from Mike in a while. I think he is planning on taking some leave in the middle of the month and coming up here to visit with his current girl friend. maybe he just wants to bring her to the Greenbrier Mall to pick out this one's engagement ring. HAHAHAHAHAHA! So far every girlfriend he has had he has given an engagement ring to...
Well we are one more gun richer! I was able to acquire a Ruger SP101 snub nose revolver at the gun show.
Spent less than expected and found some other trinkets I needed. Bought Karen a very pretty little knife for her to carry in her purse. It has a rose colored marble handle that she picked out. Shot over 330 rounds through my three .357 magnum caliber guns today. The new one (above) is by no means a "girlie" gun. It is kind of like smashing a hammer into your hand between the index finger and the thumb each time you shoot it. I need to find some larger grips for it to make it more comfortable to shoot, it's kick is substantial!
It seemed to be cold for most of this week so I did not get to ride my motorcycle until Friday my day off, I had to go to work so I rode. This ship out in CA, sent a Navy message detailing problems with their system, again. This is called a CASREP (Casualty Report) and usually is quite serious for a ship to send. Their problems involve hardware and software. The hardware problem needs parts to correct, we have already identified the parts, they are order but the ship is screaming. So my good friends and colleagues, Dick Celley and Jim Muglia, flew yesterday to meet the ship in San Francisco and will work on it until it returns to it’s home port in the near future. It is anticipated that I may have the parts by then and will again fly out to help with the repairs. Argggggh!
Karen is well, she has not caught my bug, which has subsided a great deal and is nearly gone. Cheryl, however, has caught it. Her ankle is much better and is not wearing the brace anymore.
Karen is still sleeping and I need to go waken her, as she wants to accompany me on my pilgrimage to the Hampton Gun show this morning. I know she is actually my chaperone but I have been saving and planning for this one since November… I need to acquire a concealable .357 magnum revolver with a snub nose barrel about 2" long. That will make my "carry" gun, target pistol and rifle all the same caliber. I can then take my Vektor semi-auto carry and lock it up in my gun case as it is a real collector’s item. It is the very first one imported to the USA from South Africa. I have already been offered twice what I paid for it. Not a chance pal…
I need to give Bart and Mollie baths this weekend. I have a bit of a "Honey-Do" list this weekend, all of the fluorescent lights need replaced, dog baths, truck wash & vacuum, fix shed roof so it is gabled and more if she can think of them. I know the sprayer on the kitchen sink is broken, but it is REAL hard for me to get to, as I can not straighten my right arm enough to get to the nut that holds the hose on the underside of the sink. I put fertilizer down last eve so I don’t have to do any yard work yet, probably next weekend though.
Cheryl has been buying a lot of clothes for Bart, but they seem to be pink and very very small, I don’t think Bart could get his head in one of them…
My friend Bill Campbell who is the spitting image of Ned Flanders on TV show "THE SIMPSON’S" gave me this picture, I thought it is funny:
The Dork went for her second ultrasound last night and we watched the little creature kick and push around. It was lying so the head was in her pelvis and the feet kicking at the DOUBLE D’s. The lady running the machine was not 100% sure, but she said it is about an 80% chance that the creature will also be missing the Y chromosome set (80% chance it is a girl). Karen and Cheryl are all excited and want to rush out and buy all kinds of baby stuff. I had to remind them to keep their feet on the floor, and come back to reality. After all there IS a gun show this weekend…
I have been home now for a little over a week now, and starting to get back in the rut of things.
Monday night I put the battery charger on my Harley’s battery and let it charge for 24 hours with the anticipation of riding sometime that week. On Wednesday morning I was all set to ride it to work when the battery up and decided that I had been too mean to it over the last couple of years and refused to hold the new charge. The bike does not have a kick start so no ride, it was a beautiful day too and I saw many other fellows enjoying their motorcycle. Ok, then the plan is to acquire a new battery as soon as I get off from work, get it charging and then ride Thursday or Friday. Karen calls about noon and complains of her stomach hurting. I called her later and she said it was worse. I asked her why she did not go the doctor, she said she was waiting for me to come home. I scolded her and told her to get her ass to the doctor now and I would leave from work and meet her at the doctor’s office. We use a facility that is open from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM as our primary care facility, that way when we have situation like this, we can go there and NOT require an appointment first. We have been using them for many years now and it works well for us. I met her and the Dork there about 6:30 PM, they found nothing serious and suspect it is some form of an infection in her stomach plumbing somewhere. We were kicked out of there about 7:00 PM. Hmm, still enough time for me to go to Sam’s Club and acquire a new motorcycle battery. Karen and Cheryl left to fill a couple prescriptions so off to Sam’s I went. Had a late dinner and the new battery was installed and charging…
Thursday morning, Karen is a little better and has a doctor’s appointment for the middle of the day with the doctor who yanked 14" of her intestines out the year previous for a check up. I started the old hog up and left for work under cloudy skies. Now John Cash our local weatherman, the one I USED to watch said rain was likely after 7:00 PM. Well, he missed it by three hours, again. It started raining out at Dam Neck around 3:00 PM. I had to ride my bike back from a meeting held in another building about that time and got a "little" wet. By 6:00 PM it was not actually raining so I left for home, 18 miles away. About 6 miles from Dam Neck the cow in the sky let go and it began pouring. I was wet when I got home. Dried off a bit and went and ate Mexican food. Karen was a little better and her gut surgeon could not find anything wrong with her and she said she was a bit better.
Friday was pretty uneventful and we went to dinner with the Dork, afterwards Karen and I went to see a movie, "Mission To Mars", which was pretty good. She wanted to see the new Julia Roberts movie but agreed that this one was not too bad. Maybe we will go see that one tonight.
We had an all hands meeting last week at our command and we were informed that probably by the end of the year, we would be part of a union. I am not especially looking forward to that. I have always despised the unions of late. They seemed to have served their purpose back at the turn of the century getting children out of sweat shops and limiting the hours of work and so on. But now days I feel they are just parasites. That’s my opinion and like assholes, we all have them and everyone else’s stinks… HAHAHAHA!
I am using Microsoft Word97 to edit this and I am not sure if I like Word as an HTML editor. I liked HOTDOG, which is an Australian product, which I have not used for a very long time. I don’t even know if they are still in business. I need to acquire a copy of Microsoft’s Front Page and see how it does.
Windows 2000 Professional that I have up and running on my main computer at home is doing well, it did not recognize my sound card at all, so I "had" to buy a new one and install it. Now I have sound again, and I have to reinstall QUAKE III though. I am pissed at the company named MUSTEK, they make scanners and other geek stuff. They do not have or intend on providing Windows 2000 drivers for their products. Boy, thanks for the help Mustek, I will remember you on future geek purchases. So I will probably move the scanner over to Karen’s computer which is still running Windows 98. So far no problems with Windows 2000 Pro, I will let you know how long it goes without "crashing".
02-21-2000 through 03-10-2000
Just set my little digital camera back up. I found some software that will periodically take a snapshot of whatever the camera is aimed at and then upload it to our web site. This lets us add a picture to our home page that is updated every minute or so. The web page does not automatically update yet. I am working on that.
I also did some much needed editing of our web page in general.
Jagow's Rest Stop