Chuck's  2007 Ramblings...

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This is the final update for 2007.  The year in review was fairly good, Karen found a better job back to selling books at the Barnes & Noble store that originally was the root of her unemployment earlier in the year, but all that is well ends well with that saga.  Cheryl is still at home with Cameron here, he is beginning to outgrow his Sponge-Bob bed.  The dogs are in good health, the cats are doing well.  Our cats continue on, Scout is out and about, but with not quite the Bravado he once had hobbling around on three good feet and occasionally using the fourth with two toes. Tessa continues to eat and sleep.  

Karen was asked to play Mrs. Claus at her bookstore.  She and the lady across the street came up with a nice "old-woman" style getup that would be fitting for Santa's wife.  Karen sat and received letters for Santa and held kids on her lap for several hours.  One little girl saw her and ran to her as fast as she could and then leapt from about three feet away right into Mrs. Claus' arms, startling the be-Jesus out of Karen.  Even the Dork had to have a sit on Mrs. Claus' lap.

Christmas brought Karen jewelry and other needed items, the Dork got Karen a new makeup mirror as the old one was dead after a decade of service.  The Dork received a new coat and a nice diamond charm bracelet and Cameron received the biggest haul, again.  This year Santa brought him a battery powered Mini-Cooper that he can ride around the street and sidewalks on.  It is no little crap ride either, it can go up to 12mph and the little rat can go like the wind.  Even his mommy got into the act of riding it! 

Christmas brought Chuck a new weather station to play with, this one updates data to the main console in the house via a wireless link every couple of seconds.  With this came some new software for publishing the weather data up on the Internet.  The latest weather observation for the Rott'n Paws observatory can be found here and is updated about every five minutes on the web.

My mom was convinced to not spend the winter on the Ranch, so she is staying in a small home in Canon City, which is about fifty miles from the ranch.  This is the first year in over a hundred years no one has wintered on Verde Mont Ranch.  She has plans to return in the spring along with her horses if she can.  She steadfastly refuses to come visit or spend time with either myself or my sister, afraid of travel I can only guess.  She has given up on using her computer and did not bring it to the winter house. It is quite pitiful in reality she won't accept any assistance from my sister or I, except money which is quickly converted into horse provisions, and refuses all attempts from us to help make things easier for her, she accuses us of meddling in her affairs.  She accepts help from her horse friends, but not us.  I am sure that all of her horse friends believe her children have left her alone and unattended.  But what she doesn't relay to them is how hard we try to help her and she continues to refuse.  I am sure she is somehow blaming her not being on the ranch directly on Rhonda and I.  It is sad that she would rather sit alone, except for a cat, in that house all winter by herself instead of visiting her children.

Cheryl is once again without a boyfriend, the fellow "across the pond" who was supposed to come over for a visit and see Cheryl and his family decided not to come.  Then he wanted Cheryl to come spend a couple weeks with him.  Then when he figured up how much it was going to cost for her to come over for a two week visit, he decided it wasn't worth it.  Cheryl made the same basic decision, he isn't worth the time & effort and now she is strikingly single again.  I just need to hook her up with one of our engineers we get out at Dam Neck every now and then that are about her age.

Karen's parents are doing well and Frank is actually starting to lose a little of his mass to keep the doctor's happy, while Nana is puttering around looking after him.  That man doesn't know how lucky he is, if Carol wasn't there, Frank would be in an Odd Fellows home for sure.  Karen's brothers are doing OK as well.  Her younger brother Brian will be seeing his oldest starting to drive this coming year, with two more not far behind.

All in all a good year.  Let's just hope the trend for improvement continues into 2008!

Thanksgiving table 2007.

The bird is cooking along nicely.

The "tired" Thanksgiving Chef.

Mrs. Claus and her court.

This little girl literally landed on Mrs. Claus!

Mrs. Clause deals with a big BRAT!

Karen and her friend who organized the event.

The Jagow 2007 Christmas Tree.

Christmas eve's full moon.

The Dork riding the Mini-Cooper.

Ratbert picking up speed!

Goat in a new coat!

The new weather station.

That's all folks!


What was I saying about procrastination?  Anyway here it is almost Halloween so I figure it is time to get busy.  The only devastating news that has occurred since April is that Cheryl has a new boyfriend.  Actually an old one is back in her life, and it may be for good.  The professional basketball player from the UK has re-emerged and they have been quite chummy.  I guess we will see where it leads when he flies over for his visit this holiday season. Michael seems to be doing well after bouncing around a bit and has found refuge with a new girlfriend named Summer.  Summer has three children and this seems to keep them both pretty busy.  Michael is busy working with a heating and air conditioning company he found through his Uncle David.

Karen found that working for the florist was quite a challenge, not physically but mentally in putting up with the long time staff's petty games.  By late summer she was getting pretty tired of it and the paltry wages.  This prompted her to seek negotiations with Barnes & Nobles, the folks who had bought out the lease of her former employer and were planning on re-opening a major bookstore sometime in the mall.  As good fortune would have it she managed to contact them at just the right time, about a week or so before they were planning to open and they were in dire need of seasoned help.  They offered her a non-management position for a $1 an hour more than what she was making at the florist with a promise of a promotion up the ladder as soon as possible.  Needless to say, Norfolk Florist was soon looking for a new florist shop manager.   When she walked in the first day she found out she was not on the regular employee schedule, she was on a management schedule!  The guy who hired her went ahead and hired her as some kind of floor supervisor.  They worked their tails off getting the store ready for opening.  And after less than a month they gave Karen another $2 an hour raise bringing her back to where she was when she was with Waldenbooks as an Assistant Manager.  She is pretty happy being back at the mall working in a bookstore, here schedule is again hectic but I would rather have a hectic schedule and a happy Karen, than a regular schedule and an unhappy Karen.

My work continues as it has for the last several months, slow and boring.  I managed one trip to San Diego to straighten out some problems on a ship for some sailors.  It all ended up being a case of RTFM.  Read The Freaking Manual.  Meaning that if the sailors would have been able to read the manual they could have fixed the problem on their own.  So I sent a rather blunt email explaining that fact to a few choice people.  I ended up receiving the wrath of my Division Head for it, but I just politely let him rant about how I should not have sent the email.  When he was done, I simply suggested I should have sent another internal email like one of these, as I showed him a list of emails in a folder addressed to the logistics folks of our command, and then waited for them to take care of it.  which has been so effective that the ship has had the equipment on board since 1999 and they still have the preliminary technical manuals that were delivered in 1999 despite all these emails informing them that they needed new manuals.  He just stormed out madder at me than when he came in.  This guy is a real piece of cake, afraid of his own shadow.  His hands were shaking so bad he had to grasp his trousers to keep them from shaking because he was so mad at me.  I ended up having to send an apology email instead of us looking into the manual problem.  I am sure we will have another CASREP to that ship and they will again have the same manuals.

Tinkerbell has just been spayed and is not a happy camper.  She is sleeping quite a bit and that is good.  Bronco and Ninya want to lick her to make her better, but those big Rottweiler tongues would probably tear those stitches out.  Tink officially weighed in at just over 10 lbs. which is more than Scout the outdoor cat and about half of what Tessa weighs.  If you noticed I referred to Scout as an outdoor cat again.  He is back to being an outdoor cat with his gimp paw.  The half paw has grown a callous or pad like structure that seems to do fine.  He still favors it when he walks but he does not seem to stray to far from home.  I usually let him out every morning when I let the dogs out and he is wanting back in the house before I leave for work.  So the number of overnight prowlings has decreased significantly.

Cameron turned six years old with the usual birthday style bash at a bowling alley.  It was chaotic to say the least, but the kids had a blast, the in laws had plenty to complain about and we didn't have to clean anything up.  What could be better?

I have managed to go on two star parties this year, one to West Virginia and one to Maryland.  The West Virginia one was expensive, and clouded over and needless to say a great disappointment.  The Maryland one was much more affordable and a while one night was awash, literally, the other nights more than made up for it.  One more star party for the year and my star party hopping is over until spring time.  Notables for myself include finally getting fed up with Sony corporation who ultimately purchased the Minolta camera line.  Their new line of Cameras and software were a bit "soft" and the software incompatible with controlling my high dollar Minolta digital SLR I bought just two years ago so I just sorted everything out and made a list and put it all up for sale on Ebay.  It all sold to a fellow in Romania and I acquired enough to buy a newly released Canon 40D digital SLR.  It has all of the "bells & whistles" in software that Minolta had promised two years ago but never delivered on.  So I am quite happy with it.  Now I just need to get some really good nights and some experience with it.  I have a 5" refractor telescope with a motorized focuser just for this camera.  I have no excuses now, I should be able to pluck some real good images out of the sky soon.

Michael's kids Reagan and Sabrina are doing well out in Nebraska.  Their mom Katrina sends us pictures as often as she can.  Reagan started school this fall and is real cute.  Sabrina really looks like Michael to me.  The following onslaught of images should keep everyone amused for a while...

Cameron missing something!

Chuck & Bronco waiting for Karen to come home from work.

Karen's new doo!

The Dork preparing for Cam's birthday party!

The spread at the bowling alley!

Say Cheese Cameron!

Look at me, I'm six!

Thanks for the "bite" mommy!

Cameron's BFF, Skyler Gauge!

Cameron's cousin Rachael!

See my new Bike!

Ninya and Bronco wrestling around.

Tinkerbell is not happy about this new coat.

Ratbert climbs up on the roof!

Rat on a roof!

That's all folks!


Bad habits are hard to break, especially procrastination.  Quite a bit has transpired so I guess I will try and start somewhere around the middle of March.  After coming back from Canada I had a bit of a cough and stuffy nosed for a couple of weeks.  I managed to get well enough to meet my commitment to take my 16" telescope to Camp Skimino and let about a Gazillion girls scouts look at Saturn through it.  We had hoped to spend the night and observe all night long tracking down Messier objects, but there were too many offending streetlights in the camp to make a serious run at a Messier Marathon.  The Girl Scouts as well as their leaders and accompanying families really enjoyed it.  The week after the Girl Scouts I became ill with a nasty stomach flu and was sick for over a week.  A really nasty bug for sure, luckily no one else in the house came down with it as severe as I did, it must have been a combination of something I ate while at Camp Skimino, Thank You Wendy's, and a flu bug?

Karen finally found a new job, though not without the usual amount of stress for our family.  After the "false starts" that Karen recently experienced, she let the interviewer for Norfolk Florist know in no uncertain terms what her minimum salary requirements were, and that to please be decent enough NOT to waste either of their time.  The lady agreed and indicated that with Karen's experience it would not be a problem.  Karen again advanced through the interview process, always being assured that they were intending fully on hiring her as she was the number one candidate.  At the final interview, to which she was told to come and be ready to start work, the owner in a pure "power-play" told her the job offer was exactly 25 below her stated minimum salary requirement.  He was expecting her to "cave" because she needed the job.  Like a consummate professional, Karen gathered herself, finished the interview and then politely explained that the offer was below her salary requirement and left.  Later she left message for the lady who had been "stringing her along about the "low-ball" offer and told her it was too bad, as she really wanted to work with their team.  Several days later after the weekend, the lady contacted Karen and said that she had worked the offer back up to Karen's minimum.  Karen accepted the position and has been working since.  She is glad to be back working but does not like their cash register system which is based upon a PC.

The Dork has not managed to scare off Antoinne yet, that is a good thing!  He is starting a new job next week at Smithfield packing.  Maybe he can get us a deal on some good hams!  I will include a good picture of him and the Dork and Ratbert for all to see.

Three weeks ago we were sleeping rather soundly around two or three in the morning when our phone rang.  It was the Dork, she was calling us on her cell phone from across the hall in her room.  You're starting to understand the reason why I call her Dork.  She was scared, there was a man outside tapping and scratching at her window.  Karen woke me up and told me what was happening, I jumped up with adrenalin pumping and grabbed the trusty .357 magnum revolver from its hiding place and stepped over two hundred pounds of soundly sleeping Rottweilers and headed down the hall.  Karen was already at the front door???  The individual had moved from under Cheryl's windows and had advanced toward the door.  Lucky for him the motion detector light went on and illuminated him enough so that Karen could recognize him, it was our son Michael.  I un-cocked the .357 and gave him a little tongue lash about how close he came to being a dead wet dude.  I put the gun away while stubbing my toe on Bronco's teeth which finally awoke the Rottweiler team.  So that is how after a hiatus of nearly ten years our son came to stay with us for a couple of weeks.  If anyone has been a reader of this tome, the one thing they may know is that my son and I don't see eye to eye on anything.  Because it always ends up costing me dollars and tremendous heartache for my bride.  In fact the last words I had with him were a year previously at the Chesapeake City jail where we exchanged F-ck-ng laced terms of endearment for about five minutes before I walked away swearing that I never wanted to see his mug again.

I must say that whatever he has been doing for the last year has been beneficial to him, he appears to have quit smoking and seems to have become a Southern Baptist.  One discussion on one Sunday afternoon ensured that neither of us will ever discuss that subject again.  He does seem a somewhat changed person, however, I have my reservations.  Time will tell, he is to move in with David, Karen's oldest Brother and work part time with Dave for room & board and get a full time job to start earning money to pay off his fines and such to work toward getting a drivers license.  I have heard that one before, maybe this time he will succeed, I hope so, Michael is 27 and should be able to stand on his own.

Easter went off without much fanfare.  The biggest scare was that Karen bought two eleven and three quarter pound hams and put them in one big pan.  I lowered the entire tin-foil covered affair into the oven just after eleven in the morning.  I asked her what the cooking time on the hams were since I knew they were not precooked.  She pointed to the wrapper the hams came in and said it was over there.  I read it and quickly did the math, then I went and acquired my trusty little calculator and had Karen type in the total pounds which was 23.5 and then had her multiply that by twenty three and then had her divide by sixty.  According to the calculator we would be dining sometime around eight that night.  She got this horrific look and said no, that can't be, she told everyone dinner by five.  So out came the hams.  Luckily for us we have a nice big convection oven and one of the hams was small enough to fit into that oven.  Now with the hams split between the two ovens dinner by five was much more feasible.  Dinner went off without a hitch, we had nearly twenty people here including all of my bride's family and her best friend Chris and my good friend Dick who retired about a year ago.  The kids enjoyed an Easter egg hunt at our park near the house with the kids finding most of the eggs.

Cameron has started his little league career in T-Ball.  T-Ball is for the five and six year olds, it is not real competitive, it is more about just trying to teach the kids the basics first and having a good time.  Cameron's coach is a real nice lady named Sabrina who is more interested in the kids having fun than if they become all-stars.  Their team is named the Cardinals and they have some real colorful  uniforms and hats.  At the first game Cameron was on third base ready to come home.  When the batter hit the ball, Cameron ran right to the dugout, forgot all about home base!  The coach had to dig him out of the dugout and get him to run across home plate!  Grampy was there to capture the whole event on tape to be played back for his kids someday!.  I took a bunch of pictures, you never get another first game.

Oh the last thing of minor note, I turned forty nine years on Easter Sunday hoo-wee! Another year closer to the grave!  With that lovely thought enjoy this group of images!

Cameron and John hunting for Easter eggs.

Sarah and Amanda.

Cameron found an egg.

John and Sarah.

John Lauren and Cameron.

Karen and Chris.

John found one.

Cheryl & Cameron waiting to feast on ham.

Sarah, Mandy and Mike.

Mike "hunting" on the computer.

Cameron's first T-Ball practice.

Sarah the coach helping Cammie hit the ball.

Good practice!

Game Day!

The Cardinals all ready to go!

Cameron walks up to bat.

Cameron nail it to center field!

Your supposed to run home Cameron first!

"Little" Tessa sunning herself.

Tinkerbell just up from a nap.

Ninya wondering what that flash was.

Scout getting along just fine.

Bronco holding down the floor.


Uh-oh, starting out bad this year with way too long between updates to this page.  I actually started updating this page twice since January, but never managed to finished.  Health wise everyone is Ok, with exception of a cold here and there, I can count on one cold or flu hit in the colder months and one cold in the summer usually.  Most of the time they are just an annoyance and only last a short while.  So far this season is seeming to be a mild one, I am keeping my fingers crossed. 

Karen was chasing a lead on a position at Sam's Club for a job in one department and they asked her back for two interviews and then told her they were waiting for a background check to complete.  She spent several days trying to track the fellow down by phone resulting in many, many minutes on hold just to finally be told that they hired someone else.  She was a little pissed, that the guy would not just tell her that instead of just playing phone tag as he did.  Then a couple weeks later Sam's called her back and wanted he to come in to interview for a part time cashier job for a fraction of what she was earning before and she politely declined stating that she requires a full time job, just like it says on her application.  Recently she has had interviews with a company that sells alumni album books, they have been in business here for over forty years, and it sounds really good.  It would be working as a customer service agent, Monday-Friday, 9-6, with weekends and some holidays off.   Not quite as much as she was making at the book store, but we can work it in to the budget easily.  Karen really is hoping to get the position too.  At the same time, good old Sam's Club is knocking again with another opening, this time a full time job, kind of a floating sales position where Karen would be in charge of promoting an upscale membership at Sam's club to its members.  She would be responsible for encouraging the cashier's to promote and sell the upgraded memberships and to wander about the store and/or have a kiosk set up at the entrance to explain the benefits of the upgraded membership.  Karen was one of the top people at Waldenbooks for convincing folks to buy the Waldenbooks discount club cards so she might be very adept at this as well.  She is fretting about who will offer what when!  And that "fat" (hahaha) severance package that Waldenbooks promised, has still yet to be seen...

My mom continues to tough it out up on her horse ranch high in the mountains in Colorado.  She swears this will be her last winter up there.  I do believe this year is the is the first we have heard her say that with such conviction.  If there was a single word in the dictionary that said determined, strong, smart, stubborn, clever, thoughtful, sharp, funny, horse-sensible all in one word you would have a picture of my mom right next to it.  So for her to make that statement, this must have been a pretty bad winter so far.  The hard part will be setting something up for next winter.  We have offered her temporary "snowbird" quarters here, but it is a long way away from the horses and she steadfastly refuses to fly.

Cheryl and Cameron are doing fine, Cameron is doing well in school and is pretty good with spelling simple words.  I don't ever remember my kids doing spelling in Kindergarten but they are doing it now!  He can count very high and has the beginning skills of adding and subtracting as well.  I can't wait to see what first grade brings.  Cheryl has a new boyfriend, Antoine Bond. He seems like a nice guy, we met him for the first time yesterday afternoon before they left for the evening. Time will tell how as to whether or not he is a keeper. He works for a company that does independent auditing of a store's inventories, what ever that entails.  Being that he is employed and does not have any kind of weird attitudes or forty pounds of gold chains around his neck is a very good thing. He is of a slender strong build and about 6'1" or 6'2" in height. We will have to have him over for dinner to pump him for more information as pulling info from the Dork is like squeezing sunshine from a snowball.

Scout's paw is doing very well. He is still a house bound cat, and he is still not happy about it at all. He howls, and tries to sneak out at every opportunity. We have not been covering his wound now for about three weeks much to the Dork's chagrin. The vet said it would do better and close quicker if we let it heal that way. It has taken some getting used to seeing the carnage up close at first, but now it is only about the size your little fingernail. He will end up with only two toes, the two on the outer part of his paw, it is kind of funny looking. We don't know if his pads will re-grow or not. Once in a while he will lick it a little too much and he will leave a small blood trail where he had been walking. I figure another month and it should be closed up and maybe he can start going back outside sometime in late April and his howling will be over with.

Despite all that has been going on, I have managed to acquire another telescope.  Before I started working for the government I occasionally did work as a consultant for other contractors under my business name Jagow Data Systems, which has been a valid legal business since 1987 complete with business licenses and paying taxes and such.  For a number of years I made a pretty good secondary income from it then after becoming a government employee it diminished to a break-even or usually a tax write-off affair.  The activity from JDS was sporadic since I have been working for the government, mainly from helping setup a computer system here and there.  Then this last December I received an email from a fellow up in Canada who was working on a project for the Canadian Air Force.  He had done a search on the Internet for a particular military computer type and one of the "hits" included my online resume on my web page.  We began corresponding and it became clear that I might be able to help them out.  Before I could commit to anything, I had to ensure that I could legally do so.  So I checked with my ethics folks at my command who in turn put me in touch with our parent command's lawyers whom I spoke with at length.  And from that conversation I came to understand that it was OK for me to pursue this endeavor.  Basically I was to spend a week up in Nova Scotia to help them solve some issues and that would probably be it, unless they required some additional consulting in the future.  The trip to Canada was set for the week of February 19th for which I took annual leave from work.  Around the second week of February I awoke very early in the morning to go to the bathroom and found that I could not go back to sleep so I sat down at my computer to waste some time before heading back to bed.  I wandered over to Astromart (like Ebay for astronomers) and began perusing the ads for big telescopes, kind of like the wish book I used to scour before Christmas as a kid.  And I ran across a 16" Newtonian telescope with  computer assisted pointing (manually positioned) for a couple thousand dollars less than a new one similarly equipped.  I immediately shot the guy an email and asked some questions about the scope including if he would consider a motorcycle (Karen's) in trade (worth a shot) and then went to bed.  Over the course of the next few days the fellow and I posted back and forth many times, he wasn't into motorcycles, but he wasn't really into a real big hurry to actually seal the deal on the scope either.  So I explained my predicament with doing the Canadian work and that I would have X amount of income at some point in the very near future.  I asked him if he would hold the scope for me until I had an official Purchase Order from the Canadians and he said he would.

As luck would have it, the signed Purchase Order was faxed to me on Monday the 12th so we made arrangements to buy the scope on Tuesday the 13th to avoid a storm that was being predicted on the 14th.  We were to meet the seller in Trenton NJ as he was driving down from NH.  Karen rode up with me and it took us about five hours to drive up there.  We met in a restaurant parking lot, made the deal and got back on our way back to Virginia.  Remember I said we drove up to avoid a storm, well the storm didn't listen to the weather guessers at all.  We were smack in the middle of it most the way back, and it was mainly ice and icy rain.  At one forty mile stretch the road was covered in black ice and we could just creep over it at about five mph.  There were vehicles off the road all over who had hit it at higher speed and just went sailing off the road. We did not get home until nearly nine thirty that night, almost a nine hour return drive.  The next week I flew to Canada.

The trip to Canada marked my first trip ever to Canada.  I did not know how cold it would be or how the people would be or anything.  I flew from Norfolk to Boston and then into Halifax Nova Scotia where I learned that my luggage had NOT accompanied me on the flight.  That is just great, I am going to show up for my first day of work on a new consulting job in an old Harley T-shirt, jeans and old work boots, two-day old underwear and socks Peeuuu! Of course Delta Airlines apologized and said they would try and get it on the next flight from Boston which was due around 11:30 PM and they would have some one bring it to me as soon as possible.  I asked the local baggage lady what exactly that meant, and she said I would be lucky to see it sometime Monday.  So off to Canadian customs, who wanted to know why I did not have any luggage, am I a transient? They have to call the Delta luggage department now to see if I am lying to them, so they can let me into their country with no clothes.  I have to show customs that I have credit cards so I can buy clothes if I have to.  What a nice bunch of people.  Finally at the rental car counter, they don't have my reservation but they do have cars left.  Not at that silly rate I was quoted, I demand the rate - point out that I have a confirmation number and start dialing the 1-800 number for Alamo customer service right in front of the rude dude and all of sudden he "finds" my reservation with my quoted rate.  Hmmm, friendly Canadians are shaping up not so friendly so far, I am looking for a shark fin on this fellow's back.  I find a Canadian Bank ATM and withdraw some Canadian money from my ATM card - neat trick we learned from our European cruise, better conversion rates. Now outside outside to the rental cars, grandma Helen used to say, "its not cold until the snot in your nose freezes".  With my first full breath, I could tell her it was cold there that afternoon.  The drive from Halifax to Kingston was about 132 kilometers or about 82 miles and it took me about two hours to drive.  Once I found the Aurora hotel and checked in I inquired about a store where I might be able to buy a change of clothes.  The hotel clerk excitedly told me of there shopping mall that was now open on Sundays and gave me directions.  The shopping mall consisted of about a dozen stores, one department type store named Zellers where I managed to find a shirt and some suitable toiletries.  The shirt was about the ugliest green you could ever imagine, but it did not have any holes in it and it had a collar so it was at least two strikes above the Harley T-shirt.  The rest of the week went well, I managed to get my errant luggage and we struggled through the Canadians issues to a successful resolution, I don't think they minded the horrible green shirt as much as I did.  I flew back to the states WITH my luggage on Friday without incident.  My invoice for work has been submitted and awaiting payment. 

Now after all of that here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

Karen and Tinkerbell.

Scout with his rig about a month ago.

Scout still playful, go ahead rub my tummy!  I'll show you 
what three good sets of claws can do.

Cameron bouncing around the house!

Cameron and the svelte Dork!

New scope, actually we are the third owners.

Me & the 16" scope getting ready for an evening.

Close-up of Scout's healing paw.

Scout wishing he was outside napping.

Guard dogs, nobodys going to steal this bed!

Tessa found a safe place to hide!

That's all folks!


This period saw quite a bit of activity.  First The Dork finally managed to keep herself out of the hospital and return to work.  She is feeling better, but her tummy is still sore and will be favoring her abdominal area for quite some time.  Hopefully she will be able to keep Cameron from jumping on her belly.

As always my bride and I celebrate this time of January with our wedding anniversary, this time we celebrated our 29th consecutive year of wedded bliss.  And as with tradition, I present a picture from that glorious day.  This shot is where I am attempting to find the bottom of my wife's throat in front of all of her family.

I know those tonsils are here somewhere!

Cameron has become quite the little hit at school, it seems all of the other kids push and shove to sit next to him at lunch time, a double edge sword, but is better than kids picking on him un mercifully.  He is doing well at the public school with no behavioral issues and he really loves riding the bus to boot. 

Karen has finally worked her last day for Waldenbooks and joined the ranks the temporarily unemployed.  She had one real bright lead to start at Barnes & Nobles as a Department Head, but that has fizzled out.  She is spending an enormous amount of time online searching for a new job.  She should get a small severance package and her unemployment benefits should help carry us until she lands a new job.  We are all confident that she will find a great new job. 

Scout the cat with the messed up paw is doing slightly better.  We have been wrapping the paw with a clean dressings every day.  Part of the paw has been separating and turning bad, I feared the vet would cut it off last Friday for his checkup but he left it attached.  Last night I got a close look at the thing and just could not believe it.  That bit of his paw was completely dead and just hanging on by what looked like two white sinewy strands.  We bandaged it and left it like that overnight.  I tossed and turned all night thinking about that dead paw hanging off of that poor cat and how there was no way in hell it was going to heal.  So as soon as Karen awoke we wrapped scout up in a couple of layers of towels so his claws couldn't get to us.  I unwrapped his bandages and then put a small towel over his head so we couldn't get bit.  Then I took my sharpest set of electrical dykes and just sniped the three white thick cord like things holding the dead paw on.  I expected Scout to go ballistic because I figured I was cutting nerves, they ended up being softened pieces of bone and they just clipped right off with very minimal blood flow.  I applied pressure and little Scout was a trooper didn't even howl or try to rip our eyes out.  Once his little heart slowed down we let him out of the towels and bandaged his paw up after cleaning it with warm water.  Karen wouldn't let me image the dead paw for you all to see though.

I have been slow to update my astronomy site, but I have been busy capturing an image here and there.  Here is a link where I have some of my better images online for right now at:

That will change as soon as I get around to updating my astronomy website and upload a bunch of images and detail my exploits for the last year or so.  Until the next update, keep your head up, but don't step in the dog doo.


Our new year started out just as many have started out, with someone going to the hospital.  Late that Monday night Cheryl began having pains in her side.  Karen took the Dork to the emergency room at Chesapeake General and they diagnosed her with appendicitis.  So they removed her un-ruptured appendix early the next morning.  Cheryl continued to have minor complications and swelling.  The doctors continued testing and waiting.  Finally they discharged her with no real explanations for the complications on Sunday the 7th.  So she lounged around the house recuperating most of last week still not feeling so well.  Then on Thursday evening she was really complaining of more swelling and pain in her back, similar to when she was pregnant with Cameron.  That turned out to be a nearly burst spleen, so off to another hospital they went, Cheryl didn't want to return to the same on,. so they went to Sentara in downtown Norfolk while I watched Cameron.  Karen came home around 4:00 AM and said that the tests indicated that there may be some infected and swollen abscesses that they would try to drain them the next day.  Cheryl waited all Friday long for the procedure,  nothing.  She didn't even get visited by the attending doctor.  Cameron and I visited her when I came home from work for several hours.  Then on Saturday morning before Karen and I could get up to the hospital, they actually went in and drained one of the abscesses and did not find any infection, only old blood.  So the doctor decided to not drain the other smaller one as he said the body would just absorb the blood.  They ended up discharging her around 9:00 PM that night.  She is still feeling poorly from all of this.  It sure seemed to be one heck of an appendix issue.

My mom has been back up on the ranch now for several months and is still working to try to get back up to speed.  I think it will be a long uphill battle which I fear she will never be back to the level that she was just a couple of years ago.  I think she is slowly coming to grips with this and it is hard thing to deal with.  But she is also the strongest person I have ever known, and if anyone can come back it will be her.  Time is what it will take.  I do believe that she needs to continue her oxygen treatment, so if anyone sees her skimping on her oxygen, scold her!

Now if Cheryl's medical issues were not enough, we have another one with our outdoor cat Scout.  He seems to have gotten into a scrape, probably with another cat and infected his right paw.  This was noticed about the same time as the Dork was enjoying her first hospital vacation of the year.  Scout's paw was swollen over double in size.  I was force feeding him and giving him water using a turkey baster, he wasn't real happy about that.  I eventually took him to a vet, not our usual one as he was on vacation, and they quoted me $977 just to treat the infection and swelling, with possible more charges later on afterwards.  I said no thank you and asked for an antibiotic shot, antibiotic pills and a saline bubble to be placed under his skin in lieu of an IV to replace lost fluids.  The vet looked at me like I was crazy and how would I know of such things.  Anyway, they did it and still managed to charge me $130.  Scout is feeling better.  His paw has burst and drained, however he has lost most of the skin from the bottom of his paw and a section on the top.  I have been cleaning it daily with dips into cups of peroxide, the wraps in non-stick gauze and then I rigged up a sock with duct-tape strap (folded upon itself, not stuck to the cat) that is connected to both sides of one of Cameron's old socks to keep Scout from chewing the gauze off, it seems to work quite well.  We are going to take him to the our regular vet tomorrow and if he says Scout will probably lose the foot, I'll just have the vet chop that sucker off and we will have a three legged cat.

Karen found out just before Christmas that her Waldenbooks store is closing its doors this January for good and she will have to find a new job.  Oh, and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...  So Karen is working at finding a new job.  She has a couple of new leads but nothing concrete yet.  Waldenbooks offered her a job in another store for a 40% drop in pay rate and a 40% cut in hours, that works out to about a 45% cut in pay - thanks for nothing...

My work is slow, our delivery schedule for some new equipment which was supposed to be going like gangbusters has been slowed to a crawl due to red-tape.  We have the funding, we have the equipment, we have the availabilities with the ships.  We just are having are hard time getting all of the bureaucrats to sign off their checklists and have their say so, can you say politics? Meanwhile the fleet suffers as they need the equipment badly.

Cameron is now going to the same school as Cheryl and Michael did when we first moved here.  In fact Karen and I had the honor of taking him there for his first day of school as the Dork was on napping in Chesapeake General.

Cameron's first day at the same school his mommy went to!

Jagow's Rest Stop