Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my eye doctor to see how the scratches on the cornea on my right eye were doing. The scratches were caused by my own eyelashes of all things. In the interium since my previous appointment, my eyes have been just a disaster. They have been red, irritated, gooey and crusty. There is nothing like waking up to find your eyes sealed shut by the crud from your eyes. I think the problem with my eyes is somewhat related to the bad flair up I had with my eczama since they both began around the same time. The good news is that the scratches have pretty much healed. However another offending eyelash had to be removed as it was starting to rub against my eye again. I'll have to start making regular visits to get the eyelashes monitored. That is so weird. The bad news is my eyes are a mess. My eye lids are swollen besides being red and irrated. Turns out most of the small ducts under the lids which produce an oily substance to mix with your tears are clogged and need to be cleared. The Doctor outlined the treatment to clear up my eyes including antibiotics and ointment for my eye lids. He also prescribed hot compresses as often as possible to help open up those clogged ducts. I did hot compresses twice yesterday and my eyes feel a lot better. It's a bit impracticle to do at work, but I'm looking forward to doing it tonight. I have another appointment in two weeks to see how things are going. He did mention steroid shots into the lids if the hot compresses don't work. I'd really like to avoid that.

Its a busy day at home even though I'm not there. The groomer is cleaning up the dogs so they should look cute and not smell. A plumber is also dropping by The Son's condo to see if a leak in his bathroom can be located. Hopefully that won't be a big deal.

Congratulations to Anyabeth who had a babygirl on Monday.

LOST is back tonight. I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A January Weekend Update

The past weekend was a bit more hectic than most of our weekends, not counting rowing regatta weekends of course. Friday was our day off. Ann had scheduled appointments with our Dermatologist for our annual check -up. Our Doctor's office is downtown so we drove up to Pentagon City to catch the Metro into town. It was a bitterly cold day and the three block walk from the Metro to her office left us freezing. It turns out that the practice had been sold since our last visit with new partners and staff. We had to fill in the all new medical histories, etc. In addition they only had me down for an appointment and not Ann, but they manged to squeeze us both in. The exams were fairly routine. No suspicious looking moles or anything, but we each had something frozen. I had a very small mole on one of my fingers that was more a nuisance than anything and I wanted it gone so she obliged. An impressive blister has formed around it and hopefully it will clear up soon. One of the reasons I go the Dermatologist is that I have eczema. I've had it as long as I can remember. Its more annoying than anything and makes my skin very rashy looking in different areas. Since it can't be cured you just learn to live with it. Sometimes I can control it and other times it will flare up. I treat it with a long list of medications so leaving her office I carried an impressive quantity of new prescriptions. Heading home we Metroed back to Pentagon City where we had lunch at Sine in Pentagon Row. It's an Irish Pub type place and I enjoyed a Shepard's Pie along with some tasty Irish Red Ale. Almost as good as what I made.

Saturday morning Ann dragged me out of bed at 7:00 to walk the dogs. It was cold, but there was no wind so it wasn't too bad. We were scheduled to meet Daughter#2 for lunch. She had traveled up from Harrisonburg with friends to attend another friend's birthday down in the District. As we waited for her to call us and make arrangements, I started working on our 2007 taxes. I managed to get the software loaded and our Federal taxes done, but not filed by the time she called. We agreed to meet in Pentagon Row for lunch at Lebanese Tavaverna. We didn't arrive to almost 2:00 so it was more a late lunch/early dinner type get together. I'm usually not very adventuresome when it comes to food so I ordered lamb chops, potatoes and stuffed grape leaves. Where I'm conservative when it comes to food, Daughter#2 is not hence us eating at a Lebanese restaurant. However, when she arrived it turned out the birthday party celebration had taken its toll on her delicate digestive system and she wasn't up to eating much of anything. In fact she came home with us after we ate to shower and take a nap. She ended up staying the night to recover for the trip home the next day. We ended up the evening watching the Miss America pageant. Given daughter#2's tomboyishness and feminist leanings, I'm always surprised when she wants to watch shows like that. Miss Virginia did well making it to the finals before losing out to Miss Michigan.

Sunday I skipped my erg class to run Daughter#2 out to Manassas so she could hook back up with her friends for the ride back to the Shenandoah valley. She must have been feeling much better as she manged to consume a good sized breakfast. Upon my return from dropping off Daughter#2, her twin, The Son called and asked about lunch. This was about 1:00 and Ann and I had already eaten. He wanted us to drop by and get him set up to pay what few bills he has on line. So we loaded up the car with his paperwork, stopped at McD's for some lunch for him and traveled the few miles to his new place. We killed some time while he ate. He's been having trouble with his sliding glass door to his balcony not shutting properly. It won't close the final inch or so. The door has definitely seen better days. I manged to wrestle with it and finally get it closed all the way. I told him not to use it until we can get it replaced and if he had to go outside to smoke, go out the front of his condo unit. His place is slowing coming together. he and his gf painted one of the bathrooms and it looks good. We spent the rest of the afternoon going over his bills and getting him set-up to pay most of them on line. he also invited himself over for dinner. I think he was getting tired of eating left over spaghetti. He showed up around 5:00 and we cooked up some steaks as we watched the UMD vs Duke game. It was pretty exciting game until the last few minutes when Duke finally managed to pull away. It was entertaining though.

It was a bit of a different weekend for us and I'm sure we'll enjoy a slower one this coming weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Winter Break

The cold has left us for a few days and more seasonal temperatures have returned. It's still cold, but not so numb chilling cold. We can at least walk the furry kids and not dread the entire experience and yell at them to hurry up because it's COLD.

It has been a fairly quiet week. Having Monday off was a nice treat. I spent most of the day catching up on my rowing club treasurer duties. I have to send out tax forms to our coaches. I completed those, but I didn't have the right size envelopes to mail them. I also renewed our club membership with US Rowing and paid the club's insurance bill. Not very exciting, but the IRS gets picky when you don't meet deadlines.

The saga of The Son's mailbox continues. The lock was changed out and lasted all of one day before the lock broke. The management company hasn't been back out to fix it yet. The post office won't leave his mail with the broken lock so they're holding his mail for him. Trouble is he can't be bothered to drive to the post office to pick it up. There is always something more important to do. Wait until he misses a bill or two. Maybe that will motivate him a bit more.

Speaking of his condo management company, they did call him to let him know that the owner of the unit under his had called about a leak that appears to be coming from The Son's shower. A plumber is suppose to be dropping by to see if we can figure out exactly where and what is leaking. The Son is really enjoying being a home owner. Luckily he has a home owners warranty that should save him from any big bills.

I had an appointment with my Doctor on Weds. I've run out of refills on all my meds and needed to get more. Normally I get my prescriptions during my yearly physical, but I was unable to get an appointment for that until April. So they had me come in and I met with the Doctor for about 30 minutes while he wrote them all out. Ann mailed them out for me, but it will be another week or so before I receive them. I should survive until then. When I went to pay the co-pay for my visit I reached in my back pocket for my checkbook and lo no checkbook. I checked my other pockets and my jacket. No checkbook. I checked the exam room and waiting areas and still no checkbook. I paid using a check card and left. Once I got to my car I searched it and the ground around the car. No checkbook. I drove home wondering if it had fallen outside the car and someone had picked it up. When I got home I searched the house. Still no checkbook. I looked in the garage and our front walkway. No checkbook. I finally called the Credit Union and put stop payments on the nine checks that were still in my checkbook. After that I walked outside to get the mail. There on the front lawn was my checkbook. It must have fallen out of my pocket when I took the dogs out right before leaving for my appointment. I'm out $10 for the stop payment, but now at least I know I have the checkbook and not some thief. Tomorrow Ann and I are off to see our Dermatologist. I think I'll let her carry the checkbook.

The pictures are of a sunset during our cold snap. The first is of the full moon rising around 5:30 or so looking northeast from our house. The next two are taken from the back of our house looking southwest. They just look wintery to me. I was hoping to get more of the sun in the second two, but it sank out of sight before I could get the camera.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

We're currently experiencing our first real cold snap of the winter. When I got up this morning, around 7:00, the temperature was a brisk 17 degrees with a wind chill of 13. When I got home from my erg class just after noon, the temperature had climbed to a balmy 19 degrees, but the wind chill had dropped to ten. Now as I watch the start of the AFC Championship Football game, it is 22 degrees, but the wind chill is 8 degrees. To add to the misery, the air is extremely dry. The dew point is a minus 6. My poor skin is screaming it's so dry. Definitely a day for curling up with a nice warm quilt.

The erg class was completely filled today. Over 24 rowers. We even had to turn 4 rowers away as there were no more ergs. Part of it is that our instructor is a crew coach at South County High School and several of her rowers are now attending her class. That's enough to completely fill the class given the large number of Master's age rowers that show up to every Sunday. The high school season starts the end of February and I assume the high school rowers will drop off at that point. It's not a bad thing to have them in the class. They bring a certain level of energy and enthusiasm that the rest of us feed off. I managed to get my 10,000 meters in during class so it was a good day of rowing. Not as good as being on the water, but it will do for now.

I've been on the verge of catching a cold. Not quite there, but right on the edge. My nose as been producing impressive quantities of snot for the past three weeks. Now my eyes have decided to join in and are currently zombie red and tearing like crazy. As a final act, the congestion is moving into my chest. Now I can cough up the same amount of phlem that I am blowing out my nose. Sweet. Thank goodness Monday is a holiday so I don't infect the van pool.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A New Season Begins

Today marked the start of my rowing club's 2008 season. Our first day on the water? Not by a long shot, but rather our first meeting to start planning our 2008 season. It lasted an incredible four hours. Yikes. One thing about the Board of Directors, of which I am a part, is everyone loves to have their say and their say and their say. Granted this was our first meeting and had a lot to cover, but still. Hopefully future meetings will be a bit shorter. Having been a Board member for five years now, I can't say I'm optimistic. Still come May it will all come together and boats will be on the water.

Daughter#1 is currently enrolled in a Certificate Program given by UMass in Event Planning. One of the requirements for the class she is currently enrolled in is to plan and execute a dinner party for ten people. Given that a certain percentage of people invited won't be able to attend, Daughter#1 invited 16 people figuring she would get her ten. All sixteen accepted. Ooops. It definitely ratcheted up the stress level for it, but apparently it all went off ok last night. She did the invitations, seating chart, menu planning and cooking a four course meal. Apparently a good time was had by all.

Today, now that my meeting is over, is just relaxing and watching some basketball. The Son's alma meter, Radford, is making a rare TV appearance today so we're watching that at the moment. Radford is in what might be politely called a rebuilding year so they aren't doing to well this year. They're also playing Winthrop, the perennial Big South Conference winner, so to find Radford behind by 11 at the half isn't really a surprise. Hopefully they can build for the future with their new coach.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow Day

I decided to stay home today and work from home rather than make the 80 mile commute to work. The weather forecast was calling for snow turning to sleet and freezing rain before turning to all rain. When I woke up this morning at my go to work time of 3:30, the snow had not yet begun. In fact, it wasn't suppose to start until mid morning so getting to work would have been no problem. Getting home would be the problem. I could easily see sitting in traffic and taking upwards of three hours to get home. We Washington drivers love the drama of bad weather and we drive like it too. The thought of spending three hours in a cold van or worse having to be the driver for those three hours was more than I cared to endure. Luckily, I have the ability to work from home (thank you Internet) and thank goodness my management is enlightened enough to let me do so even on an emergency basis , like today. So after calling the van to let them know I would not be riding in with them today, I went back to sleep for another two hours. Bliss.

The snow finally began about 9:30 and now at 11:00 we have about an inch so far and it continues to snow fairly hard. The woman who grooms the furry children has called and cancelled her appointment for today. She operates out of a customized van and and comes to our house. When she called she told us the roads were really slippery and icy and she was heading home. The Son is also being sent home from his job. Looks like I made the right decision.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Short Visit

Daughter#1 rolled in about midnight on Friday night with her bf. They had left Connecticut a bit later than they planned, but still seemed to make pretty good time. Ann and I tried to stay awake until they arrived, but we both fell asleep pretty early. What can I say, but we're old! Daughter#1 woke us up by calling when they were close so we were awake to greet them. We stayed awake long enough to say Hi, show them to their respective bedrooms and and say Goodnight. The following morning we all enjoyed some french toast dripping in melted butter, confectioner sugar and cinnamon. Quite tasty. Alas it was just a short visit as they were headed to Harrisonburg to spend Saturday night with Daughter#2 and to see some friends of the bf. The bf is a James Madison graduate and still has friends in the Harrisonburg area. They made a night of it by taking in the JMU basketball game. They had to make an early departure from Harrisonburg Sunday morning to beat the forecasted nor'easter that was suppose to hit early Sunday evening. They arrived home safe and sound, which every parent loves to hear.

After Daughter#1 left on Saturday, I spent the rest of the day parked in front of the TV first watching basketball. Auburn was playing Florida and then Maryland was playing Virginia Tech. Tech won and Auburn didn't. After the basketball games, but before the football playoff games started, we did make a run to the grocery store so we could eat this week. It was fun watching Green Bay and Seattle play in the snow. I enjoyed watching Seattle fall after Seattle had beaten the Redskins the previous week. A little payback. I manged to watch about a quarter of the Jacksonville - New England game before falling asleep. Too much of a good thing.

Today was much of the same. I did get off my butt and go to the erg class. I managed 11,000 meters, which surprised the heck out of me. I'm lucky if I make 10,000 meters usually. To tell the truth, I wasn't feeling that excited about going so it was good to see I cranked out some meters. After class Ann and I met up with The Son and his gf at Bar J for some lunch. I got some Texas chili, but couldn't finish all of it. I'm still tasting it tonight, but it was good. After lunch, Ann and I settled in to watch the Sunday playoff games. Upsets both. I love me some upsets. I hope it snows in Green Bay next week. I need to get a cheese head hat.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Delurking Day

Apparently yesterday was delurking day. Delurking day is an opportunity for those that drop by and read, but never leave a comment or send in an e-mail to reveal yourselves and say Hi or whatever. I'm a day late, but you all are still welcome to leave a note.

Its rainy and cold today. This morning as I walked the dogs is was just misting and the fog was still hanging around the tree tops. Definitely a day for a nice afternoon nap. For now I'm off to go shopping at target and to eat some BBQ. Darn Marines are at it again today.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

And the Rockets Red Glare

Today has been a day of rolling thunder. Not from the weather Gods, but courtesy of the Marine Corps. The Corps must be running a live fire exercise down at Quantico today. All day long we have been subjected to the sounds of artillery fire and explosions. Some loud enough to rattle the windows. It's not an uncommon occurrence, but today seems a bit more intense than usual. It must be quite the exercise. Lets hope they're learning their lessons well. Rosie, right, does not like the sound of cannons.

The first week back at work wasn't too bad as work weeks go. It wasn't nearly as crazy as I thought it might be. Busy, yes, but not crazy. Today was my treat day for the office. Unfortunately I didn't get to partake of it. Family matters kept me working from home today instead of going into the office. As I had already purchased the goodies, I did meet the vanpool at the usual time and handed them the treats to drop off at my office. They were happy to do so. I think.

Daughter#1 and her bf will be dropping by tomorrow night on their way to hang out with her sister in Harrisonburg for the weekend. We get to provide lodging for the night. It will be good to see her and I know she is looking forward to the weekend road trip. She called earlier today to let us know that her workplace had given her a nice raise. Congrats to her. Now maybe she can pay for her own car insurance.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tis the (End of the) Season

Today officially marked the end of our Holiday Season as we took down the tree and our outside lights. To me this is always the most depressing day of the year. I hate taking the tree down. Not so much because of the mess of needles that always occur, but it's so sad to dismantle what was once so beautiful and looked like this:

To it lying in the gutter waiting for the garbage men to haul it away. Actually I think there is a poem or story that tells the sad story of the Christmas tree. Alas poor tree, we will miss you in all your lighted glory and your sweet pine smell.

I had a problem with my outside lights this year. They worked fine until the weekend before Christmas when about half of them failed to come on at dusk. The ones that wouldn't come on were all linked to an extension cord I run from the back of the house. In a brain fart designing the house, the builder did not include any outside sockets in the front of the house. Brilliant. Anyway, I discovered that a circuit breaker was tripped. Every time I reset it, it would immediately trip off again. I even tried a different outlet, but the same thing happened. I assume both outlets must be on the same circuit. Finally I just gave up and they stayed dark until I took them down today. In dismantling the various connections and extension cords, I discovered this:
At first I thought it was just covered by mud since it rained yesterday. Closer inspection revealed that it was burnt and had melted some of the rubber insulation. I couldn't separate the two cords since the melted insulation from both cords had made them one. No wonder the circuit breaker would trip. I suspect that when Daughter#1 arrived home and used her hair dryer that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I swear half the house is wired into that one circuit. I'm glad to see the circuit breaker did what it was suppose to do.
I watched the Redskins exit the playoffs on Saturday. It looked so promising after they had rallied and scored 14 points to take the lead in the second half. They then recovered the ensuing kickoff on the Seattle 14 yard line only to come up empty missing a field goal. I think that was the defining moment of the game. After that it was all Seattle. Time to wait for next year.
I made my erg class today. I got in my goal of 10,000 meters and lord was it hard. There was a good turnout today. Every erg was taken, which means we had 24 (I think) people rowing, including the instructor. It's amazing the energy that group will generate. It's really hard for me to plant myself on my erg at home and rattle off 10,000 meters. It would take me about 43 minutes and the boredom that would ensue boggles the mind. Not to mention the exhaustion in rowing that far on the erg. It's much easier doing it as part of a group. Shared misery and all that.
Tomorrow is my first day back at work after being off for two weeks. The idea of getting up at 3:30 is not very appealing and I know it will just be crazy at work with everyone coming back. I just want to survive the day. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Teeth and a Movie

The last two days have been uncomfortably cold in the morning. So much so that we haven't been taking our furry kids for their morning walk. Yesterday's temperature (Thursday) it was 18 and this morning (Friday) it was 17. It wouldn't be too bad if our dogs actually walked, but most of the first 15 minutes outside is spent smelling every possible blade of grass to find just that right spot to go on. I'm just getting too old to stand out in the cold while they sniff around. So we've just be letting them out the door and then right back in. We're suppose to be getting a warming trend over the weekend so we can go back to our old routine. Here are the furry kids - Rosie, on the left with the alien eyes, and Winifred on the right.

I slipped away at lunch time for a dentist appointment. Actually my dentist is a periodontist. Not that I have bad gums or anything gross, just bad genes. My back wisdom teeth didn't come in properly (do they ever?) and caused some damage to my back molars. I've been seeing a periodontist since I was 24 years old. Seems like a long time now, but really its been pretty unremarkable 99% of the time. Today's visit was pretty typical. I go in, get my teeth cleaned and polished by hygienist. The dentist will come in at the end for a quick look see, tell me things are looking well and we'll keep an eye on those back teeth and see you in four months. Frankly, I prefer keeping the visits boring. Now my periodontist is in Friendship Heights and for those of you familiar with the area you know its a pretty hoity-toity area. There's a Tiffany's next door to the building that houses my Dentist just to give you an idea. Upon leaving after my appointment I had a celebrity sighting. George Michael, the long time local NBC sportscaster and host of the Sports Machine got on the elevator with me. He retired in 2007 after GE/NBC ordered him, in a cost cutting move, to dismiss a large portion of his staff. Good for him although he is sorely missed. Photo by Washington Post and NBC Channel 4.

After finishing up work for the day, Ann and I headed out to catch a movie. We saw Charley Wilson's War. Very entertaining and pretty remarkable what one man was able to do to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Tom Hanks was good as was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Amy Adams is pretty cute as Wilson's (Hanks) Administrative Assistant. There is nothing more enjoyable than watching a good movie with a large bag of popcorn. Yum!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back to Work

Yesterday was my first day back to work since before Christmas. First day of work, but not in the office since I worked from home. Things were much quieter than normal and certainly not what I suspected. I assumed almost everyone would be back and the e-mails would be flying. Not so. I didn't get a single e-mail directed solely to me. I got a few that were sent to the whole Department,but that was it. I guess most people are still off. Even my industry counterpart was missing in action. The silence did allow me to catch up on a few items. I'm sure it won't last. I was off today using up the last of my 2007 vacation days so I'll work from home again tomorrow. I'm hoping tomorrow will be as quiet as Wednesday.

The Son is having a few minor repairs done to his condo that we discovered since he moved in. I spent this afternoon at the condo to let the handyman doing the work in. He had his bathroom regrouted, and his linen closet door repaired. His sliding glass door also popped off the track and almost fell in on him and his gf. It's an old door and needs to be replaced. The Handyman got it back on the track and adjusted it a bit, but its still marginal. While the work was being done, I just played on The Son's computer and watched tv until he was finished. The work seemed to be well done and not expensive. We'll probably have the handyman come do some things around our house.

I erged again this morning after taking yesterday off since I was working. I did a 30 minute row and did just ok. I'm still rebuilding my aerobic base and its coming slowly. I didn't get the distance I wanted or I'm capable of. Since I'm working tomorrow and I also have a dentist appointment, I'll probably skip rowing tomorrow and row Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully I can improve on my performance during January.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Day

Today was not atypical from almost everyday since I've started my Christmas break. I get up around 8:00. I walk the dogs. Some days I feed them and most times Ann feeds them. I'll get on the computer while enjoying my morning Coke and a breakfast bar. I'll check my e-mail, read some blogs, listen to the Junkies, although they've been off most of the time too. They've been running best of shows. After being on the computer, I'll row sometimes or sometimes Ann and I will go out to lunch. It's actually getting a bit boring. Makes me wonder about retiring, although Lord knows I don't want to work forever either. As it turns out, I did row today. 5,000 meters. My heart really wasn't in it so the time was just so so, but at least I did it. I'm trying to get on a 3 to 4 time s a week schedule.
Today after I had made myself a late breakfast, Ann and I watched football most of the day. I fell asleep on the couch, but managed to wake up in time to catch the second half of the Florida vs Michigan game. I expected Michigan to go down the way most Big Ten teams do against SEC teams, but they hung in there and won. I suspect the combination of Florida taking Michigan too lightly and Michigan wanting to upstage the Heisman Trophy winner and send their coach out with a win tipped the game Michigan's way. The Rose Bowl was a rout and boring. The Sugar Bowl looks like much of the same even though I was hoping Hawaii would do well. Oh well at least Auburn won last night.
The Son dropped by for dinner. It's the first time he's been back since moving into his new place. He seems to be doing well. We'll see how often he becomes a dinner guest.
Tomorrow is actually a work day for me although it will be from home, which is a nice way to transition back into it. I suspect there will be a ton of phone calls and e-mails as everyone tries to get back on track after being off for the Holidays. It might actually be enjoyable. Even better is I have Thursday off before heading into the weekend.