Friday, May 29, 2009

The Wedding - Part 1

I'm currently in Connecticut in order to marry off my first born otherwise known here as Daughter#1. The wedding takes place tomorrow in Westport with reception to follow at the Sagatuck Rowing Club. Currently Ann and the two daughters are out getting pedicures and having their hair done. The fiance is picking up myself, The Son and The Son In Law to go out to lunch in downtown Norwalk in a bit. I think we're getting the better of that deal. We drove up yesterday and the hardest part of the drive was getting out of the Washington area, particularly over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. As what seems the norm in ceremonies like this, there was a last minute problem with the wedding programs. The ones delivered were unusable and had to be redone. That required Daughter#1 badgering Kinkos into doing a quick turnaround, which they did, thank goodness (Kinkos didn't do the originals just FYI).

Daughter#2 badgered me into getting up early (7:00AM) to work out with her. The fitness center in the hotel is pretty ghetto with just a treadmill, a Liftmaster, a semi-functional weight machine and 2 thirty pound dumb bells. I did the Liftmaster for 30 minutes and the treadmill for another 20. As I was finishing the Liftmaster, The Son joined us. After returning to my room and showering, The Son and I headed out to Wal-Mart to get him some t-shirts and some contact lens solution for Ann. On the way back to the hotel, we hit Dunkin Donuts. That should offset the benefits of working out.

Just got a call from my sister saying her and my Dad's flight out of Orlando has been delayed and Southwest has to bring in a new airplane from Norfolk. Never a dull moment. More to come.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Red Eye Home

I took the red eye back from California and landed at Dulles about 6:30 this morning. It was one full flight. Every single seat on the plane was taken. They were bribing people to give up their seats before take off. I don't remember any of the flight as I was fast asleep. I'm lucky that I can sleep on a plane, which is part of the reason I take red eyes. The idea of spending a whole day flying east just seems a colossal waste of a day. By taking the red eye, I have all Friday at home rather then on a plane landing just in time to hit afternoon holiday traffic. No thanks.

Before my flight home, I finished my long week of sitting in a conference room listening to such interesting subjects as work packages, COBRA reports, basis of estimates, resource loading, earned value management, etc. Made for some very long days. I so looked forward to getting out of there. I had a small hop from Sacramento to San Francisco on a commuter flight. Despite the hearings on the commuter plane crash in Buffalo, I get a kick out of riding the smaller planes. The single flight attendant we had was a a hoot. Telling us she hoped we never smoked period let alone not doing it in the bathroom. Or if we ever planned future trips in a pressurized metal tube, think of her airline. So thanks Kathy for the levity.

The majority of the day after getting home was spent just resting up. I took a nap. Woke up and showered and unpacked. Just relaxed the rest of the day and enjoyed the great weather we're having. The Son came over for pizza in the evening. Better yet, it appears that The Son may have a job! He goes in on Wednesday for a final meet and greet, but he has been told that the job is his. Lets hope so. It certainly lightens the mood around here.

Hope everyone has a fun Memorial Day weekend. I know I'm looking forward to some rowing on the Occoquan and some biking on the W&OD Trail. And for those who serve and for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great country, we salute you. We can never thank you enough.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunny California and an Unexpected Road Trip

I'm spending the week in sunny California, in the suburbs of Sacramento, CA, being an observer and babysitter for a bunch of engineers and program management types.  Today was the first day of meetings and OMG can we say boring?  Lord I'm glad I don't do this kind of work (financial management) for a living.  The only good thing I can say about the meeting is the food is good, especially the afternoon cookies. While we are on the subject of California can I talk about the weather?  It's sunny and quite pleasant.  The locals are complaining on how hot it is. True it is in the low 90s, but I laugh at their misery.  Why you ask?  Their 90s is nothing.  The dry heat feels more like the 80s.  Back in Virginia, the 90s comes with matching humidity. You literally sweat standing still.  I think Californians are a bit spoiled.

Over the weekend I got to go on an unplanned road trip.  Ann and I were in the middle of cooking dinner when a call came in from Daughter#2.  She and some friends were out riding the C&O Canal from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown.  They were making a weekend of it and carrying their own camping gear on their bikes.  Unfortunately a strong line of thunderstorms whipped through the area on Saturday night soaking them and flooding the campgrounds. They were wet and cold and miserable so they called to see if I would come pick them up.  It's what Dads do so Ann and I put dinner aside and headed out for the hour and a half trip.  They were in Sharpsburg, MD. Sharpsburg is the site of one of the most famous battles of the civil war.  If you scratching your heads trying to remember the Battle of Sharpsburg, you probably know it under a different name - Antietam. It's the single bloodiest day of war in American history.  Over 23,000 casualties in a single day. I've always wanted to visit the battlefield and I've read several books about the battle and now here I was.  We crossed Antietam Creek on the way into Sharpsburg and I could see the lighted entrance to the Park.  Hopefully I'll get back to see it during the day and not in the dead of night.  Daughter#2 and her friend were hold up at a country store right off the canal.  The couple that owns the store/museum took them in and gave them some hot tea.  The place was hard as heck to find in the rainy night and we drove by it twice before they flagged us down.  They were thrilled to see us and to be picked up.  My eyes are not any where close to being 100% so I let daughter#2 drive home after a stop at the local Sharpsburg Burger King for something to eat.  Daughter#2 and her friend made us breakfast the next morning as a way to say Thanks and was much appreciated.  The kids might grow up and move out, but they still need you every now and again. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hurting Eyes

For the past month or so my eyes have been really bothering me. Watering, burning, bloodshot all the time. A lot of it could possibly be attributed to it being the height of pollen season here in Virginia except for the extreme light sensitivity. Last week I went back to my Eye Doctor for another round of removing offending eyelashes that were growing back toward my eye rather than outward. After looking at my eyes, my Doctor declared them "a mess" and banned me from wearing my contacts for a week. Apparently both corneas are scratched courtesy of the offending eyelashes and need time to heal. I was given drops and an ointment to use. Yesterday was a follow-up visit and my eyes, while better, are still in the process of healing. I still can't wear my contacts for another two weeks. I was given more drops and a prescription for some sort of eye care kit that comes complete with goggles, which should be interesting. The problem with all this is that I can't see very well at all. My glasses don't help much and only time, as my eyes heal, will I begin to see better with my glasses. I've had to change my setting on my computer monitor making everything bigger so it's easier to read. I feel like an 80 year old squinting at the computer. Reading a newspaper or magazine is totally out. Maybe I should look into large print books at the library. The only reason I bring that up is that I need to travel to the west coast next week on business and I need something to pass the time on the flight out. I usually read a book, but I don't think I could read a regular paperback at this point so I need something else otherwise it will be one long trip. Coming back, I'm on the red eye so can sleep most of the flight. My trip is to Sacramento. Anyone who wants to provide recommendations on places to eat, please feel free.

It's down to two weeks and counting for Daughter#1's wedding. Everyone is starting to get pretty excited about it(not that we haven't been along, but even more so), especially based on the great time everyone had at Daughter#2's wedding. Daughter#1 called yesterday to inform me that we had to practice for the Father-Daughter dance. I asked if we couldn't just get away with the usual slow sort of dance in one place type dancing and she said No! So we'll see how that goes. Having two left feet when it comes to dancing and no sense of rhythm despite my long time in the high school marching band.

In other news, The Son has a job interview today. Send some good vibes his way. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend

A Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the mothers in the world. I hope everyone got to celebrate with that special women in their lives. For us, Daughter#2 and her husband were in the neighborhood as The Husband had a band gig in Sterling and they crashed at our house afterward. As they had a Mother's Day dinner back in Harrisonburg, we decided to do a BBQ Brunch. We tried to contact The Son to let him know of the plans for the celebration, but we were unable to contact him. Turns out he left his phone in his car and therefore didn't receive any of our calls and texts. So he missed the brunch, but did drop by later after his twin had left to drop off his Mother's Day gift and have dinner. As far as the Brunch, it was quite tasty. Since Daughter#2 is a Vegetarian (most of the time), we grilled some portobello mushrooms and a few hot dogs. Ann also made some potato salad and Daughter#2 made some chip dip with fake sour cream,. We also topped it off with some Longboard Pale Ale and some Bud American Ale., The weather cooperated and we were able to eat out on the deck. We showered Ann with some gifts including some Fiestaware, a new coffee maker and some beef right from Daughter#2's In Laws cattle farm. While we're talking about Fiestaware and the people who sell it, can I say how frustrating it is that there appears to be no standard way to describe the size of the bowls. While trying to find a bowl Ann wanted, I came across bowls described in terms of inches, ounces/quarts and generic small, medium and large or cereal, salad bowls, etc. It made choosing very difficult and, of course, I picked the wrong one and I'll have to re-order. But its the thought that counts and it was all fun Not counting that I had to get up at the butt crack of dawn to walk Daughter#2's dog, Gracie. Daughter#2, when she sleeps over, she'll open the bedroom door to let Gracie out before crashing back into bed and leaving us to walk Gracie. Usually it isn't to bad but I was pretty tired and wanted to sleep in myself. It was either walk the dog or go to Mass. I walked the dog.

Saturday morning was spent preparing a tax return for my rowing club and getting that off into the mail. As a non-profit we don't actually pay taxes, but we still have to file. So that took a few hours. Then I went shopping in preparation of the Mother's Day BBQ on Sunday. Saturday night we grilled some ribs, which turned out really well and then watched the Caps-Penguin hockey game. The Caps lost in overtime losing the home ice advantage. I hope they can rebound tonight.

Friday was a work day and I spent most of the day to getting a draft Request for Proposal finished and posted to my work web site. I worked through lunch to get it done. I sent it off to our web gurus who have still to post it, Bah. After work I drove over to Sandy Run to get in a row and get out of the house. The weather report assured me that the winds were mild and all was well. Wrong. The wind was blowing hard at Sandy Run and the water was choppy. I looked down river toward the race course and it seemed more or less calm although a bit funny looking. I finally realized that the calm areas were actually large clumps of debris lifted from along the shoreline due to the heavy rains we had all week. I didn't relish having to turn around every few strokes to avoid hitting the debris in the river and given the wind and water conditions were marginal, I decided to bag it. In addition the main dock at Sandy Run was buckled and broken and out of service. Given that the Virginia High School State Rowing Championships were being held the next day, losing the primary dock had to present some logistical problems with launching and recovering boats. At least they had some nice weather for it

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Wet Weekend

If there was one word to describe the weekend it would be wet. It rained almost the entire weekend. That does cut down on the outside activities. It meant a lot of TV watching. Considering my faux Tivo was almost full maybe it was a good thing.

Friday was a day off and I was definitely looking forward to getting out on the water for a row. Before I leave the house I always check the temperature and most important, the wind speed. The temperature was mid 60 and the wind was around 5 mph. Both good for a row. I arrived at Sandy Run and the wind is blowing hard and the water is really choppy. More choppy then I care to row in. Its just not fun and if its not fun, why do it? There will be enough warm days with flat water where I can afford to wait. So disappointingly, I turned around and went home. By the time I got home, the wind at home had also picked up. So much so that my idea of doing a bike ride was put off too. Instead, Ann and I went to check out a pet spa and resort. I can't afford to go to a spa and resort, but apparently my dog can. Daughter#1's wedding is fast approaching and we need to board our dog, Rosie. Of course it always makes us feel guilty to have to board her. When we had two dogs, we would just leave them at home and have dog walkers come walk them a few times a day. Now that it's just Rosie, we didn't want to leave her alone all day while we are gone. So we drove out to the Old Towne Pet Resort. We got a tour of the facilities, including the pool - for the dogs. It was really quite impressive. We got to view all the various kennel alternatives, which come with a variety of walks and visits, etc We also checked out their doggy day care. We thought that might be good for her so she wouldn't be in a cage/room all day. They break them up by sizes with 50 lbs and below in one area and larger dogs off in another. The smaller dog day care had about 30 dogs running around. Now Rosie gets along with other dogs, but usually on a one on one basis. We weren't sure how she would do around so many and whether it would be too overwhelming for her at her age. She's 15 years old even though she looks a lot like a puppy. Our tour guide suggested we may want to bring her on on a Sunday when there are less dogs just to see how she does. That sounded good so we plan to do that before we head out to the wedding. We're also considering getting her a massage while she's there. Not that she's spoiled or anything.

Saturday I did managed to get out before the rain started and get in a bike ride. I skipped out on driving to the trail and just biked closed to home. It was a 17 mile trek just from the house to the end of Bacon Race Road and back. On the way home it started to sprinkle, but the rain held off until after I got home. Saturday we also settled in to watch the opening game of the Capitals-Pittsburgh hockey series. Unfortunately the Washington area is infested with a large number of transplanted Pittsburgh fans so for any local event involving Pittsburgh teams, they show up in droves and frankly they're pretty obnoxious. So it was sweet to see the Capitals win the opening game. Hopefully the Caps can send them home permanently.

Sunday it was rain all day long. By this point the rain was getting pretty old. No rowing regardless as George Mason was hosting the Mid-Atlantic Sprints and I'm not riding in the rain. Apparently that doesn't apply to crazy runners. Idiots. Anyway, I did laundry and did grocery shopping. I also dug out one of our Netflix movies that has been sitting around for a few weeks. It was The Day the Earth Stood Still. I loved the original and was eagerly looking forward to this remake. It was just ok. The little kid was just too precocious and with dreadlocks and all. Oh please. And the ending. What a crap ending. No getting the special phrase to the Robot as in the original. And the whole plague of bugs? Weak. Then its like, Oh I changed my mind, you eathlings can change and save your world. Bye. Its like they realized they were running long and need to cut the ending. Disappointing. If you want to see it, watch the original.

We're not suppose to dry out for another day or so. By then I'll have to start scrapping the mold off me.