Archive for December, 2011

Submarine pilot

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Here’s the guy driving our submarine off the coast of Oahu during our recent cruise.  Note the shipwreck in the hazy background.  Great Art courtesy of the exclusive old Minolta-cam and part of my famous Vacation and Machinery series.

Another long spell since the last post.  Sigh.  Lots has happened.  Shall we take a look at some of it?

Still no real commitment from the company on my TDY assignment.  Of course, they’ve been off for the holidays, just like me, so I haven’t really expected anything.  It’s been since mid-November, though, and I would have hoped they could get their collective act together by now.  Hopefully, we’ll get the formal offer early in the new year and get moving forward.  If not, we might just be staying in Lardville after all.  Which would be a bit of an embarrassment, since we got ourselves untangled from lots of commitments already.  But there you have it.

We’ve had a great Christmas break so far.  We went sledding at a local farm on Christmas Eve.  Also drove through their mile-long Christmas light exhibition a few nights earlier.  Both were fun.  LRN5 and Cliff joined us for sledding and for Christmas, which was really nice.  We love having them come over.  We spoke on the phone with LRN1, who is doing very well in Guatemala.  Less than two months before he’s home!  Christmas itself was quiet and peaceful, just like I like it.

On Monday, we went to see Arthur Christmas at the movies.  It was really entertaining – I’d definitely watch it again.  Tuesday, we went bowling with LRN2 and his friend Josh.  LRN4 slaughtered us all, as usual.  But it was fun anyway.  We had a pizza and a pitcher of root beer there.  There’s nothing better than bowling alley pizza, I always say.

Tuesday night, LRN2 went to LRN5’s house to see Cliff’s show and spend the night.  He appears to have had a good time.  LRN4 and I took advantage of the evening on our own to go out for our anniversary dinner one night early.  We went to the Olive Garden in Tracy for a great meal and browsed the Barnes and Noble store and then the entire Tracy mall afterwards.  Had a nice evening together.

Wednesday was our official anniversary.  We spent it quietly at home and had a nice day.  Thirty-three years of marriage.  That’s starting to sound like kind of a long time, huh?

Today is game day, tomorrow is our annual film festival, Saturday is New Year’s Eve, which will be spent at home, Sunday is New Year’s Day, which will be spent at church and home, Monday is packing day for LRN3 and me, and LRN3 and I are off for Provo and Newtown, respectively, on Tuesday.  Next holiday for me: Memorial Day.  Yikes.

And it’s time to go play games.  I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: alcoholic thieving monkeys, breaking and entering bears, and kleptomaniac cats!

See you tomorrow.

Loyal pirates

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Here’s LRN4 with one of her fellow pirates.  That’s LRN4 there on the right.  She’s the one with both legs.  Also hands.  But no beard.  Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone 4S-cam, taken in Maui on our recent cruise, and part of my famous Statue and Vacation series.

Greetings from the New Fortress of Solitude East (NFOS)!  That’s right, I’m in Newtown.  This is my second week, in fact.  Never got around to posting last week.  Sorry about that, Loyal Readers.

It’s the New Fortress of Solitude because I’m all by myself.  Poor me.  My TDY hasn’t been approved by the cast of thousands on the signature list yet, so I’m just coming out a week or two at a time on business travel.  Makes it a bit lonesome, although I do have plenty of time to myself.  The moment of silence lasts all evening long.  I’ll be home in Lardville next week, working in Sunnyvale, and on holiday the following week.  Come January 3rd, I’m back here for a three-week stint.  LRN4 will be joining me for that one.  Hopefully, the TDY will kick in after that and we can start looking for more permanent quarters.  Although I’m really enjoying the Residence Inn.  It’s just too small for the long term.  Also too expensive.  But a very nice place to stay.

I have a Ford Crown Victoria as my rental car this week.  I have always liked big cars, and I had hoped I would like this one.  It is indeed large, although the interior isn’t really roomy by current standards.  It’s moderately comfortable and handles okay.  The big V8 engine doesn’t seem all that powerful, though.  Also, there’s no Sirius radio or steering wheel radio controls.  And it just seems so … dated.  Last week, I had a Ford Flex and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’ll be fine with the Crown Vic the rest of this week, but I hope I don’t get another one.  Blasts from the past should probably stay in the past.

Besides, the car has over 14,000 miles on it.  That’s pretty ancient for a rental car.

Speaking of cars, LRN4 sold the Honda last week.  She’s the best salesperson I know.  I’ll miss it, but it was time to let it go.  I’m happy with my Taurus.

I’m certainly cranking up the airline miles and the hotel nights again.  Hotel nights especially.  Will have ten nights this month and I’m scheduled for another 17 next month already.  And there will undoubtedly be more after that.  The Marriott people are going to LOVE me!  Even though I’m going 2500 miles each way, though, I’m still not traveling enough for the airline miles to amount to a hill of beans.  Not like when I was going to Europe week in and week out ten years ago, racking up 20,000 miles a month.  Those were the good bad old days!

Anyway.  I’m enjoying the job.  It’s all quite new, so it’s a bit of a struggle to learn everything I need to know to be productive, but that will come.  I’ll also get to know the people, which I’m looking forward to.  They seem like good folks.  And east coast people just dress better than their counterparts in the west.  I don’t exactly know why they do, but it suits me just fine.

Heard from LRN1 today, rather than yesterday.  They had a Monday conference with their mission president and didn’t get to write until today.  We’re almost exactly two months away from the day he comes home!  I’m getting really excited to have him back.  And it’ll be fun to spend a couple of months together before he’s back to school.

It’s past time for me to get to bed, so I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: spaghetti spat!

See you tomorrow.

Ship tender

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Here’s a tender just leaving our ship, which was anchored off Maui at the time.  We were heading back in at the time.  The apparently very junior officer steering our tender had quite a difficult time pulling us up to the ship.  Took him several tries.  We gave him an appropriate amount of grief, of course.  Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone 4S-cam and part of my famous Machinery and Vacation series.

Pretty good week.  Busy, busy, busy.  Getting ready for the big events that start this weekend.

That’s right, folks, we’re movin’ on down the road again.  We’ve been here in Lardville for more than five years now and have loved it, but it’s time for another change.  This one is just temporary, though.  I’ve been invited to take a six-month (or a little longer, depending on who you ask) assignment back in Newtown, Pennsylvania.  Astute readers will recall that that’s where we lived just before we came here.  Well, okay, we were actually in Doylestown, which is about half an hour away from Newtown, but my office was in Newtown.  And that’s where we’re going to be too.  No more two hour commute each way.  Our goal is five minutes this time, but we’ll accept ten minutes in a pinch.  We don’t know exactly where we’ll be living yet, but there are several candidates already on the list, and I’m sure we’ll find more with just a tiny bit of looking, if necessary.

LRN4 and I are really excited about the move, including the fact that it’s just temporary.  We absolutely loved Bucks County when we lived there before and expect to love it again.  We expect to live in an apartment or a townhouse, with no gardening to do, no trees to trim and spray, no foliage to cut back, no lawn to mow and trim, no pool and pond to take care of, no broken appliances to fix, and almost no cleaning to do.  We hope to do a bit of traveling around, both locally and a bit more distant, on weekends and generally enjoy ourselves.  Also get ready for my post-retirement career and living in a much smaller place.

There are lots of things we’ll miss about Lardville, and there are also many I’ll miss about my old job.  However, that program is ending and everything is going to change anyway.  There is almost nothing I’ll miss about spending four hours a day either on crowded trains or waiting on crowded train platforms.  We’ll certainly miss the ward and our many friends.  However, we’re coming back after the assignment is over, at least for a short time, so we don’t have to spend too much time crying about it.

While we’re gone, we’re going to see about selling our house and moving into a smaller place here.  If it sells while we’re out there, we’ll come back (or probably just send LRN4 back, to be perfectly realistic about it) and move our stuff into an apartment or someplace.  I have no idea whether it will go in that period of time or not, but our realtor friend seems to think it’s a possibility.  Stay tuned.  I’ll miss this place, but I’ve missed all of our other houses too and lived to tell the tale.

Anyway, I’m going to Newtown by myself for two weeks to start the job and coming home on the weekends.  I’ll go to work in Sunnyvale the week of December 19 to clean out my office, finish my people’s performance appraisals, tie up any loose ends, and be done there for the next several months.  I also need to bring donuts to work that Wednesday, go out to lunch with friends again, go to the Dave Koz concert in Modesto that Wednesday, go to the dentist’s office that Thursday, and get ready for Christmas all week long.

Playing golf tomorrow morning with my friends Doug, Rob, and John.  Need to clean the pool and pond.  Also need to hire lawn and pool care services for while we’re gone.  Need to go through more stuff (we’ve been making that our chief hobby lately) and either sell, give away, or throw away a whole bunch of it.  Also need to pack for Newtown.  Also need to change a lightbulb and, as mentioned above, go through a bunch of junk.

Tried to sell my beloved Honda at work this week, but there just wasn’t enough time to get any bites.  That means LRN4 will give it her best shot while I’m in Newtown this month.  Sell, sell, sell, LRN4!  She’s the best salesperson in the family, so I know she’ll get it done.  I just hope she gets a bunch of money for it.  I certainly enjoyed that car, but I’ve enjoyed a lot of other cars too and lived to tell the tale.

Anyway.  Time for bed.  I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: intelligent poop-throwing chimp!  LRN3 already has his application in.

See you on Monday.  From Pennsylvania!