Monday, December 26, 2011

Dec 26

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It’s Monday again. I would say it was back to work, but you have to have a day off in order to come back to work. Since I haven’t had one this month, let’s just call it a continuation of a loooong week. But, I can’t complain. It was Christmas this last week and even though I really wanted to have it off so that I could spend the day with the family, it was still very nice. Let’s start on Christmas Eve. I had had to be at work at 10, so naturally my wife started getting stuff ready at six in the morning when I got off work. She started with making Christmas cookies and candies. (Yes, I am still working my way through them) I don’t know what she did after that because I was asleep. But, since Christmas dinner was at three and it was ready, I’m assuming that was what she was doing. Everyone was supposed to wake me up at a little before three, but I woke up a little after noon. I had a bunch of presents I still needed to wrap, so I worked on that until it was time to go downstairs. We’re talking about my wife’s side of the family, so naturally no one showed up on time. (If it would have been my side of the family, only half of them wouldn’t show up on time, and I would probably be included in that half) But, eventually the house filled up. We have a bunch of Cowboy fans amongst the family, so we watched the Cowboys get trounced as we ate. Afterwards, we got all the kids together to decorated cookies. When they were finished, it was the adult’s turn. (They made more of a mess than the kids) During the decorating, I was supposed to announce that I was going to work so that I could sneak upstairs and put on the Santa costume. I forgot to let anyone know I was going, but no one noticed anyway. When I came down, I handed out candy canes and let everyone take pictures with me. My granddaughter, who is deathly afraid of anyone in a costume, wouldn’t come take a picture with me by herself, but she got really close to me and just stared. She even let me touch her nose. After I left and came back downstairs, she kept coming to me all night telling me that I was Santa. I tried telling her that I wasn’t, but she didn’t believe me. Then, when the kids took her home, she stayed up until two in the morning. They tried to get her to go to sleep, but she kept asking them if I was Santa. She didn’t want to take no for an answer. But, back to Christmas Eve. After decorating cookies, it was time to open presents. When I first married my wife, twenty years ago, her family opened all their presents on Christmas Eve at midnight. It only took me a couple of years to show them that my way of opening them on Christmas morning was better. So now, we open the presents to each other in early evening so that all the separate families can go home and have Christmas with their families. Halfway through the gift exchange, (There are a bunch of people on my wife’s side of the family, so it took a while) I started falling asleep in the chair. So, my wife woke me up and sent me off to take a nap before I had to go to work. But, it was still fun.

I got off work at six and woke everyone up so that they could get ready. It took four trips to load all the presents into the car. (I should have gotten a big box or a basket) Then, we drove down to my son’s house. Since the baby stayed up very late on Christmas Eve, she didn’t want to wake up on Christmas morning. It was about 8:30 when we arrived and like me, they went overboard getting the baby gifts. The tree was very full and looked wonderful. It took the baby a while to get into it, but eventually, she started opening her presents and waking up. We spent a couple hours at my son’s house and then we went to Dennys. It’s a restaurant that is open twenty four hours a day. Since most everything else was closed, it was packed. Still, we got a seat right away and the service wasn’t too bad. The food on the other hand wasn’t the best for me. Everyone else liked it, but I thought I would try something new and as it turns out, I should have ordered something that I knew I liked. Oh well, next time. After eating, I had to go home to go to sleep so that I could go to work that night. It was only a little after noon, and I had a lot of time to spend with the family, so even though I had to work, it was a fun Christmas.
The Christmas dinner for my side of the family hasn’t happened yet. For some reason, time snuck up on us and by the time we started organizing it, we didn’t have any time left. Then, after we had it all settled, I learned that I was going to have to work straight through New Years and wasn’t going to make it. So, it’s my fault that we didn’t get together. But, we’re going to have a Christmas in January dinner this year. That gives us a paycheck to recover from the real Christmas and hopefully I’ll get a day off.
My youngest daughter started working this year. When she first started, she said that she was going to save all her money to buy a car. But, she didn’t take Christmas into consideration. She is very generous and wanted to get everyone something. So, she spent at least two whole paychecks buying presents. She even got half of her class at school something. Then, on Christmas, she was kind of disappointed that her brother and sister didn’t get her anything. But, she understands that it isn’t what you get that’s important. And, she still had a good Christmas.
I got my wife a Wii with the Super Mario game. We went to one of her cousin’s house one time and saw them playing with one and ever since, she’s wanted one. She’s even talked about getting one a few times, but something always came up. So, I thought it was about time to get her one. She was very surprised when she unwrapped it. After dropping me off to go home and sleep on Christmas, she was going to take it back to my son’s house to play on his big screen TV. Well, as they were setting it up, they discovered that the sensor was missing from the box. It said that it was included on the box, but it was missing. So, they were going to take it back to the store today, but for some reason, today was just as busy as Christmas, even though she only had to work half a day. So, hopefully we can get her a new one tomorrow.
Well, I better get to work. It’s been a few very sleepy nights for me at work, so I haven’t been working on anything. I guess it’s time to get back into the grind. However, I might start working on one of the other books tonight. I’m only a few chapters away from finishing the River of Magic, but I haven’t been very excited about working on it lately. Other books have been creeping into my brain and I’ve been thinking about them more than the one I’ve been working on. So, it might be time to shelve the River of Magic for a week or so and see which other one starts working out. I think I want something loud to listen to for background music so I’m putting Tesla, Cinderella, Twisted Sister, and Def Leopard into the playlist tonight.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dec 19
Let’s start off with the Broncos. Yes, we lost to the Patriots. We came out like gangbusters in the first quarter, but then we fumbled three times in the second and they took advantage of each of them. We never recovered after that. There was an opportunity for another fourth quarter comeback, but it just didn’t happen. The good news is that the Raiders also lost. That means that we are still in first place in our division. We play the Bills next and then KC. KC should be an interesting game. Kyle Orton moved over to them and he was playing very well. They spanked the, until Sunday, undefeated Packers. So, it should be a shoot out between our quarterback and our former quarterback. Either way, I’ll probably have to work and miss it. That’s what happened this week. I don’t know what it is about Christmas time, but everyone at work loses their mind. They always seem to take that time to quit or get fired. (Can you believe it my bosses fired someone the week before Christmas) Then, I get stuck with working through the holidays. I think I’m going to request next Christmas off now because I don’t think I’ve been off for one in about six or seven years.

I tried to get a little Christmas shopping in today. But, I couldn’t seem to find anything I was looking for. I did manage to spend a bunch of money, but I still need to get a bunch of stuff. I wanted to go shopping over the weekend with my wife to get the main things and then spread out a little more over the week to get the stuff she doesn’t know about, but work botched that idea. I get paid on the Thursday before Christmas and I think I’m going to skip sleeping that day to go out again. Then, after that I work twelve hours on Friday and both days of the weekend. Nothing like waiting to the last minute.
I managed to see my daughter after she got back from the army. She’s doing very well. She’s talking about going to school, and also going to another MOS class in the army. It would broaden her prospects when she goes active as an officer after college. It’s only six weeks, but it’s in Sacramento. Out of the cold and onto the beach, it must be nice. But, she also did something this week that helped my youngest daughter. The two of them brought one of their friends down to the recruiting office and began the process to get her signed up for the air force. We had checked out the air force when my eldest was looking at a military career. The recruiter began explaining the benefits and opportunities and it lit a fire under my youngest. She had heard it before and was excited about going in when she graduated, but over her school year, she had lost interest. Now that she had a refresher, she became excited about it again. She asked me to take her to the recruiter the next day to get the process started for her. We did, after a long talk to make sure that was really what she wanted to do. She was a little disappointed when she found out that there are some things she has to do before they’ll sign her up. But, she’s still excited about it. Since she doesn’t graduate until May, we have plenty of time to work on the requirements. Hopefully, we’ll get it done. Can you believe it? I might have two kids following in my footsteps. Now, all I have to do is get my son to join and that will be everyone.
My granddaughter is still freaked out by people in costumes. The kids tried taking her to sit on Santa’s lap. They got the picture, but she was crying. Then, one of her cousins had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. She likes going, but the whole way up she makes sure to tell everyone to make sure that Chucky doesn’t come over near her. She’ll have a birthday on January 1st. My wife wants to have it at Chuck E Cheese, but the baby flatly refuses. She’ll be four on the first, maybe next year she won’t be as afraid of costumes.
The kids might be working on a new baby. They’ve been talking about it for a while now. (Personally, I hope they hurry up, but my vote doesn’t count. I want a bunch of grandchildren.) I hope they decide soon. I think it is better to have the kids close to the same age. I think big gapes prevents them from being as close. When they are young and going through the same things, I think they can relate more. But, that’s just my opinion.
I’ve slacked off on the River of Magic last week. But, I expect to pick it back up this week. It’s coming along really nicely. I just need to get past these lazy days that just jump out at me. It might be the holiday season, but I thought of a really good Christmas book. That might have been part of the reason I’ve been slacking off. I was going to work on Gremlin Planet after I finished River of Magic, but I think I might squeeze the Christmas one in first. I’ll have to give it a few pages too really make the decision though.
Well, I guess I better get to work. I’m putting Chicago, Quiet Riot, Motley Crew, Prince, and Rush into the playlist for background music tonight. I’ll see you next week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dec 12
Well, it’s another Monday. The last week went by pretty quickly. Not a lot happened except for me being stuck at work. I had to work both days of the weekend and it looks like I might have to work next weekend too. At least that will give me some extra Christmas money and then some Christmas recovery money.

Speaking of Christmas, I’ve only bought a few things so far. (I’ve been working so much that I haven’t had time) It’s still too early for me to go really Christmas shopping. Right now, my wife wants to go with me. We’ll get the presents we planned on getting. But, when it gets closer to Christmas, I’ll do my real Christmas shopping. That’s the fun part. I’ll sneak around and buy everyone an extra little something. I won’t put in here what I’m planning because someone might read it. But, after Christmas I’ll let you know what I did.
My daughter is coming home from the army on Thursday. She was supposed to get here on Wednesday, but now it’s going to be day later. That’s ok, it’s just a day. She’s planning on taking December off and then she’ll start work and college. She has mentioned a little concern that she didn’t really want to get into over the phone. It might be because she has already made arrangements with my son to move into his place when she gets back. He got a bigger apartment so that she will have a room. The problem with that is that she has an opportunity to go to West Point. Can you believe it? A kid of mine going to West Point, I can barely believe it. But, that’s on the other side of the United States. If she takes it, she can’t fulfill her responsibility to my son. Or, she might not want to give up the money she’s making as a soldier. If she begins school and takes a meaningless job, she won’t have a lot of free time and not as much money as she has had for the last six months. So, she might want to go right into active duty. Or, she just might want to take some time off from everything. But, she does have responsibilities so, that would be even more difficult. I am just speculating, so I guess we’ll find out when she gets here. I am sure that she’ll make the decision that is right for her. She’s a smart kid. (Or I should say a smart woman now)
Everyone has been sick over the last week or so. (Everyone except me, he he he) I shouldn’t have said that, because now I’ll get sick. My granddaughter and daughter came with me to go visit my mom last Monday. They ended up sleeping in her bed and got her sick. But, it looks like everyone is recovering from it nicely. Hopefully, no one will be sick on Christmas.
We bought a little tree to fit in our little apartment. We got some lights and decorations, but we haven’t put them up yet. I think we’re going to get that done tomorrow. Then it will really start looking like Christmas. Whenever I drive around, I see all kinds of houses decorated and one of these days one of them is going to me mine. I plan on having all kinds of lights and an inflatable Frosty and Santa Claus out in the yard.
It’s football time. The Broncos did it again. We beat the Bears. That makes it six in a row. We’re like 8-5 now. We went from last place in our division to first and when we beat the Patriots next week, we’ll clinch our spot in the playoffs. This was a very weird season and the only bad thing I can say about it is that it is almost over. It seems like it just started, but we only have three more games left in the regular season. After the Pats, we have the Bills and then KC. I hope Tebow and the team can take us deep into the playoffs if not all the way. The only good thing about the football season being nearly over is that baseball is right around the corner.
Well, I better get to work. I’m nearly done with the River of Magic. But, (Bad News) I won’t have it ready before Christmas. So, that means that I’m not going to hand out copies of it and my last book for Christmas presents. It’s my own fault. I took about six months or so off from writing anything. This year coming up will be a good one, or a better one. By next Christmas, I should have three or four books to give away as presents.
That means that it is time to get busy. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to put a bunch of disco music on tonight for background reading. Shhhh.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec 1
It is the first day of December and I have been negligent again on updating my blog. I’m getting to be really bad at this. So, I am going to blame it on the turkey. I ate too much turkey over Thanksgiving and because of it I’ve become lazy. But, now that it is over, I’m back to normal.

Since I’ve already brought up turkey, let’s get into Thanksgiving. The big news was that my daughter came home for the holiday. It was great seeing her, even though it was only for a few minutes. Just kidding. She did spend some time with us, but she also had to split her time between a bunch of people. I guess I’m just being jealous. I got off at six in the morning on turkey day and had to pick her up at the airport at ten. So, at nine, I rounded up everyone that was coming and we set off. My granddaughter had a cold, but she still wanted to come. So, she wanted me to hold her the entire time. We waited by baggage claim carrousel number four and it took her forever to get there. We were out by eleven, so it wasn’t really that long. She looked good in her uniform, but she had some problems getting out. It turned out that her company wasn’t going to sign her out in time to catch the ride she arranged with the other soldiers because her flight was later than theirs. She was pretty upset, she spent a lot of money on the tickets and she really wanted to come home. Without catching the ride, she would have had to come up with taxi money all the way to Atlanta which for one person was over $260.00. She couldn’t afford it. But, her friends came to the rescue. They all pitched in and she made it out.
We spent Thanksgiving day with my wife’s family. After dropping everyone off, I went to get a few hours sleep. Thanksgiving dinner was at two O’clock, so it really was just a couple of hours. It went really well, everyone showed up. I fell asleep after dinner in time to go to work again that night. I had to work the next night as well, so I really didn’t get to see my daughter very much. We had Thanksgiving for my side of the family on Saturday. It was also very nice. Everyone was there except one of my sister’s daughters. She is fighting with the rest of the family and we didn’t think she would make it.
The Broncos are kicking butt. We’re in second place and now the rest of the city is on the Tim Tebow bandwagon. He still struggles throwing the ball, but he’s managing wins. Our defense is really taking up the slack. We’re holding the other teams to very low scoring games giving Tebow a chance to get the offense fired up. I missed last week’s game because I had to work. But, I’m off this week, so I get to see them on Sunday.
Speaking of work, it looks like we’re going to get screwed out of our bonus this year. The new company said that they were going to grandfather us in so that we didn’t lose our sonority and it would be as if we had already been working there for all the years we’ve been here. Well, when I took my vacation, I didn’t get paid for it. Now that it is Christmas time and the one year mark has passed, the company is supposed to give out a yearly bonus. But, they are saying that we’re not going to get it because we have to work for them for a year before we’re eligible for it. So, it looks like everything they have promised us so far was a bunch of crap. On the brighter side of work, one of the guys is taking three weeks off to go out of country to spend Christmas with his wife’s family. So, that means overtime. Without the bonus, I’m going to need it. If anyone read my blog entry about last Christmas with this company, you’ll know that I was screwed over then as well as this year. At least this year it wasn’t as badly as last year. Hopefully that is a trend and it will get better next Christmas. If not, I’ll probably be fired or something next year.
My youngest daughter is still working at the movie theater. She still likes it. She got her first paycheck the other day and I took her to the bank to set up an account. If it was my first paycheck, I would have already spent it. But, she still has more than half of it left. She worked a lot of hours over Thanksgiving, but she’s only part time and doesn’t have very many hours this week. She’s saving her money for a car and we’re going to go halfsies on it.
My granddaughter seems to be getting smarter and smarter every day. She’s using big words I wouldn’t think a four year old would even hear much less use and use correctly. She’s also started using the phone a lot. She knows mine and my wife’s numbers and has been calling us a lot lately. When she first started I thought it was her mom or dad calling us and then just handing her the phone. But, she grabs my wife’s phone and calls me and I’ve seen her grab my phone and call my wife. The other day, she was sitting on my lap while we were playing on the computer and she had my wife’s phone. She called me and we spent about half an hour talking to each other even though we were right there beside each other.
I have been really pounding out pages on the River of Magic. It’s going to be done this month, but I don’t think I’ll have time to include it as a Christmas present to everyone. We’ll see.
Well, I better get going. I’m just putting the internet radio on today for background music because I have a lot to do. So, next week, I’ll try to remember to update my blog on time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nov 14
Ok, I’m not sure what the problem was, but it was our 20 year anniversary this last week. Twenty years is a long time and I wanted to do something special for my wife. We were talking about it and we were thinking about going to Vegas or going up into the mountains. We would have liked to take a week off and go to somewhere special like Hawaii or something like that. But, a lot of things happened this year and we had limited funds. Every time I thought about putting some money aside, something would come up. So, on our anniversary, I took my wife to spend the day at Walmart and to make it extra special for her, I let her go by herself and stayed home watching football. After she got done shopping, I wanted to take her out to a nice restaurant and then maybe take her to a movie or something since we didn’t go anywhere. So, I got free tickets from my daughter who works at the movie and bought her a hotdog at the theater and a diet coke. (It was a large diet coke) I’m such a romantic.
Actually, we didn’t do anything for our anniversary. When we first got married, we attempted to go places on our anniversary, but something always got in the way. So, over the years, we stopped trying to go anywhere and just bought each other presents. This year, a lot of stuff really did happen. So, we’re going to put off celebrating it until early next year. We need to survive Christmas first and then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do.
My eldest daughter couldn’t wasn’t able to keep her surprise in. She told us that she is going to fly in for Thanksgiving. She’ll arrive on Thursday in the mid morning and doesn’t have to return until Sunday. So, we’ll have a big Thanksgiving at the in-law’s house on the day and a big Thanksgiving on Saturday with my side of the family and she’ll be able to attend both. It should be pretty nice.
The Broncos won again against the Raiders. That’s two games in a row. We haven’t won two games in a row in years. The whole town is excited. We play the Jets on Thursday night. My son thinks he might be able to get tickets to the game. It will be nice to see another game. I won’t be able to stay for the whole thing. I have to work that night so I’ll have to leave early. Still, half a game in person is better than no game.
I had to take CPR training again. My card hadn’t expired, but when I received them in the mail, I just threw them away. I only got them in the first place for work. When the company switched over to the different company, they required us all to be CPR compliant. So, since I couldn’t produce the cards to prove I’d taken the class, them made me take it over. The company instructor was very adamant about the class taking anywhere from seven to eight hours. He said that there was no possible way for him to reduce the class to anything less than seven hours. The company didn’t want to pay all of the employees seven or more hours and pay for the class, so they have been putting it off until they could get a new instructor and force the guy to reduce the length of the class. It only took eleven months, but they finally got him to assure them it would only take five hours. They signed us all up for eight o’clock in the morning on a Sunday. Most of us were a little upset because it meant that we were going to miss the Bronco game. So, when we got there, the guy was complaining and told us that he was mistaken on the time and it would take us at least six hours if not seven. But, he announced that anyone that was re-qualifying could test out of it if they thought they could pass. I really didn’t want to stay for the whole day, so I volunteered. (I was the only one) There were four tests and I whipped through the first one. There were a lot of questionable questions, and I really didn’t remember most of it. So, naturally, I missed about half of the questions and failed the first one. I took my time on the other three and only missed two questions. So, the instructor said that I was going to have to stay for the portion of the class I failed. He said it should only take about two to two and a half hours and then re-take that portion of the test. That still got me out at the beginning of the game, so what else was I going to do. The instructor tried to start the class. He pulled out his little remote control, aimed it at the DVD player, and hit play. Nothing happened. Twenty minutes later, he couldn’t figure out how to operate the equipment and decided he would just read us the information from the book. I’m sure he knew his material, but he stumbled quite a bit as he tried to relay it to the class. He read a lot of it from the book and then just grabbed the tests and started asking questions from it. When he ran out of stuff to talk about, he had finished the class in two and a half hours. I got home right after the kick off.
My brother called while I was in the CPR class. His computer got a virus and he wanted me to pull it off. So, I went to his house and picked it up. I started messing with it tonight and I think I got it completely pulled off. I rebooted it several times and left it sitting. So, if it wasn’t completely gone, I should know by tomorrow morning. I also installed a malware remover so he can run it once a week. He has five kids and if they were anything like mine, he’ll need it.
I saw two very disappointing movies this week. The first was the Immortals. It looked like it was going to be really good. It was a good action movie as long as you didn’t pay any attention to the story. They really pushed the limits of the myth, but that’s expected in movies. But, the main premise of the movie was totally irrelevant. I’m glad that I didn’t pay to go see it. (My daughter got us free tickets because she works there) Then, I took my mom to see the movie In Time. Its storyline was also really weak. It wasn’t what I expected. The characters did illogical and stupid things and there wasn’t enough action. So, that’s two strikes at the theaters. I hope my next one is going to be a good one.
Well, I haven’t put a lot of time into my book, so this week I’m going to buckle down and get going on it. I only worked on it one last week and the week before. So, I’m putting Night Ranger, Pink Floyd, Eagles and ZZ Top into the playlist for background listening and I’m going to get started.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov 7

It’s Monday again and time for a blog update. Like always, visit my website at and let me know what you think. I have changed it up a little. I think I’m going to add some stuff this coming week.I should probably do this tomorrow, because it will be my 20th wedding anniversary. Wow, twenty years, that's a long time. But, that will give me something to talk about next time. So, here goes.

I helped my son move into his new apartment this week. They’ve had their old place about a year and a half. When they moved out of our place, they only had a room full of stuff. Now, they’ve accumulated an entire house full. It’s amazing how that stuff adds up. They did most of the work. I was just helping with the big stuff, beds, dressers, washers, etc… I was supposed to go down there at the beginning of the week, but one thing led to another and I didn’t make it until Friday. So, they moved stuff over little by little over the week. One day, I was dropping my granddaughter off and she saw them taking a load over. She went crazy telling me to hurry and help her out of the car seat because they were moving without her. I barely got the door open and unstrapped her when she was running for the new place.
My wife had to work some overtime shifts this weekend. The Saturday one was a graveyard and the Sunday one had her coming in at three in the morning. So, her sleeping schedule was thrown all out of whack. I tried to give her the house on Sunday so she could get some rest by going over to my son’s house to watch the games. He was having some trouble with Comcast, his cable company, but managed to get it working before the game started. At first, it was close. It seemed like it was going to go like the last couple of weeks. But, they started running an offence that was more conductive to Tebow’s quarterback style. He still has trouble throwing down field, but they gave him more short passes and screens. We managed to stay neck to neck with them for the first two quarters. That was when I had to go pick up my daughter from work. So, I didn’t get to see the entire third quarter. But, that didn’t matter because in the fourth quarter, they kicked butt. We ended up winning by a couple touchdowns. It was a very good game and it was a divisional game that, even though we are in last place, we are only one game out of first place. Yeah, I know how that sounds.
When we got home, after picking up my daughter from work, we tried to be quiet. It didn’t work. My wife woke up and didn’t get a chance to go back to sleep until late in the evening. I was surprised that she didn’t just come home and crash. Instead, she went out with her sisters and had a few drinks at the restaurant with them. I’m sure she’s asleep now. She probably dropped off as soon as her head hit the pillow.
My daughter started working at the movie theater. Her first day wasn’t very glamorous. She had to clean out dirty toilets and maintain the women’s restroom most of the day. But, her second day was much more satisfactory. They taught her the background part of the concession stand. She didn’t get to work the register, but she got to make the food. After that day, she said that she wasn’t sure if she ever wanted to eat at a theater again. She said that it wasn’t disgusting how they made things, but they ripped people off. Her first duty was filling the nacho trays with chips. They gave her a whole class on how to arrange the chips so that it looks fuller in the tray using as little as possible. Then, she graduated up to hot dogs, chicken wings, bagel bites and other prepared foods. She didn’t even get to popcorn until she was almost off. She said that she likes the concession stand part of it, but it isn’t as busy as maintaining the theaters. She said that there was constantly a movie ending where they had to go and clean up the seating. She said that the usher part was what kept her more busy than anything else. But, she likes it and I’m sure she will like having a paycheck.
Our computer woes are continuing. My son’s laptop stopped booting, so he brought it over for me to look at. It ended up he had some kind of virus that wiped out his entire hard drive. I ended up having to do a complete restore. So, everything he had on it was gone. He said he didn’t have anything really important except pictures. I think we’re going to get him an external hard drive for Christmas this year. That way he can back up all that stuff onto it in case his computer crashes again. That is what we did with our computers. The kids were always downloading music and movies and stuff. I would come home from work all the time to find out they had inadvertently downloaded a virus. In fact, the girls didn’t have their laptops for more than a few months before they started getting viruses on them. So, I have two externals because we have ten gigs of music and I don’t know how many thousands of pictures. (About ninety percent of which are the baby) We need a new baby we can spoil and take pictures off. But, that might mean that I would have to get another hard drive just for him or her pictures. (My wife goes crazy with the camera and babies) My youngest daughter has been hinting about wanting a Kindle for Christmas. There is a new one out there for only seventy nine dollars. We might think about that for her. My eldest daughter will be home for Christmas, but she’s been gone for so long I don’t know what she’s going to want.
But, the cat is out of the bag. My eldest daughter lost her wallet in Georgia last week. She started carrying it around in a little backpack instead of a purse and left it in a taxi. She called to let us know so we could help her cancel credit cards and request new SSN and driver’s license cards. So, my wife naturally went into her account to make sure that no one had started charging stuff on it. While she was in there, we saw an airport charge. My daughter has been telling us that she was going to stay in Georgia for Thanksgiving because the army wouldn’t let her come out. But, from the amount of the charge, it looks like a round trip ticket. We figured that she was either going to come out and surprise us or she was going to fly her boyfriend out there for the holiday. But today, the cat came out of the bag. Her boyfriend let it slip that she was coming out. We’ll still act surprised, but it is going to be very nice to have her back even if it is just for a few days. She’ll have a four day weekend, so I hope she can spend the entire time out here.
Well, I better get back to work. I’m nearly halfway through the River of Magic. It is coming along very nicely. If I continue to work on it, I should have it finished by the end of November. But, like today, I didn’t get much sleep and don’t really feel like working. Last week I only managed to write one day out of the week. So, I’ll have to put in twice as much effort tomorrow and not let it turn into another week like that. I’m putting Cinderella, White Lion, Scorpions, and Dokken in the playlist tonight. I need something loud to keep me awake and I think those should do it.
Until next week,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nov 1
Yes, it’s Tuesday again. I’m going to blame the lateness of this blog on Halloween even though it didn’t have anything to do with it. I was just being lazy on Monday and didn’t even think about it until it was already Tuesday. But, speaking of Halloween, I have a couple of cute antidotes. The first one was when I was taking my granddaughter out trick-or-treating. We had been building it up for weeks. We had her costume about a month in advance. She was beautiful. Naturally, she dressed up as Cinderella. She is a Disney Princess freak. She was Belle last year and she will probably be one of the other ones next year. The kids took her trick-or-treating at the schools. My daughter’s high school was doing it for all of the neighborhood kids and they went to the college. I usually go over to visit my mom on Mondays and then sleep in the evenings so that I can stay awake all night at work on Monday night. So, I cut my visit short so that I could go to sleep in the afternoon and go trick-or-treating with my granddaughter in the early evening. So, I was asleep when they went to the schools. About six o’clock, my daughter and I head down to my son’s house so we could take my granddaughter out. She was still excited. She got a lot of candy already, but she was anxious to get some more. We took her to the very end of the apartment complex and up to the top floor. Our plan was to go around the whole complex in order and hit every door. We trudged up to the top floor and knocked at the first door. A guy with a scary clown mask came to hand out the candy. My granddaughter took one look at him, screamed and started running away crying. She was so upset she wouldn’t go to anymore doors. In one fell swoop, I traumatized my granddaughter for Halloween and clowns, a very productive evening.

Today, my granddaughter came over so that the kids can begin moving stuff over to their new apartment. She woke me up and we were playing for a while. Then, she wanted to watch some cartoons. So, I put them on and went out into the living room. She had a small bag of Halloween candy sitting on the table. I resisted for a loooong time. It had to be at least ten minutes. I started rummaging through it looking for something chocolate. I found a couple of good ones before I heard her little feet bounding toward the living room. Quickly, I threw the bag back onto the table as I stuffed the candy into my pockets. She saw me trying to hide them and knew I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. She faked me out by asking for something to drink. As I was pouring her some tea, she went for my pocket. I almost dropped everything trying to catch her little hand. The only way I could get her to forget about what was in my pocket was to bribe her with a Popsicle. It’s bad when you get busted by a three year old. But, in my defense, she is almost four.
I guess it is time to get the Broncos out of the way. Last week, we suffered through three quarters of booooooring football before we got to the last seven minutes where Tim Tebow pulled off a miraculous comeback to win the game in overtime. Well, this week, we had to suffer through four quarters of bad football to come away with a 45-10 loss. It was so bad, I took a nap through a whole quarter of it only to discover we were farther in the hole than we were when I started my snooze. If you can name it, the Broncos couldn’t do it on Sunday. I don’t want to say Tebow is a bad quarterback, but with his college success, he should be a better quarterback than what he has displayed so far. I know he hasn’t had the practice with the first string guys like he should have had and they threw him in earlier than they would with a normal quarterback. But, come on. We need to do something before next week’s game.
In baseball, the Cardinals took the World Series. The Texans had the series won in game six, but allowed the Cardinals to come back every time the pulled ahead. They took it into extra innings and then lost it. Both teams are really good, and I can hardly wait until next year. (Especially if football is going to be this disastrous)
It looks like everyone is going to be able to call me four eyes again. Yep, I’m going back to glasses. I started wearing them about six or seven years ago. Then, they either stopped working or I broke them or something. Since the kids and my wife all need glasses or contacts, we concentrated on getting them. My wife has worn them since she was a kid and the kids were in school and needed them more than I did. So, it worked out. But now, I have to hold a TV dinner box way out at arm’s length in order to tell how many minutes it needs to cook and what sections I have to cut the film off of. I’m a big reader also, and I’ve had to hold the book farther and farther away lately. So, since we’re paying for the insurance anyway, we might as well use it.
Speaking of glasses, (This is probably why the issue of my glasses came up in the first place) my daughter went on a camping trip over the weekend. She came back with her only pair of glasses broken. She got new ones today. We would have gotten them for her on Monday, but it was Halloween and my wife had to work late. Besides, it was a lot of fun watching her search for something. But, she has some new ones now and she looks good in them. I, on the other hand, am sure I will look like a dork when I get my new ones.
My son and daughter in-law started moving to a new apartment today. I was supposed to go over and help, but my granddaughter woke me up early and my wife had to go get my daughter glasses, so I ended up sleeping in late. They have until Friday to be out of the old place, so I’ll go over and help them tomorrow. I’m sure if we get the big stuff moved, they can get the little stuff. The biggest trouble is getting moving boxes. No one wants to pay for them, so they’ve been hitting up the fast food restaurants. My brother works in one and said he would save him some. But, it was Halloween and they forgot to go get them. (Man, that Halloween is a good excuse for almost everything)
Well, it is snowing out tonight and I don’t really feel like doing anything. So, I better get to work. I’m putting in a bunch of different songs into the playlist. I’m choosing them on the basis of if I would put them in a list of my top one hundred favorites. (That is a hard thing to come up with by the way)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oct 25

Ok, since you can’t say it on my blog because I’m the one typing it, I’ll say it for you. Happy Birthday Thom!!! Yes, it’s my birthday. I purposefully didn’t update this week on Monday because I wanted to do it today. I am officially 46 years old. It’s funny, because all this year I thought I was already 46. But, my wife and my birthday pie (we had pie instead of a cake) told me today that I was actually 45 all year and I turned 46 today. So, either I’m losing my mind or I’m weird and trying to sound older than I actually am. Since losing my mind sounds pretty crappy, I’m going to go with me being a weirdo.
I had a pretty good birthday. My wife made me my favorite dinner of spaghetti. It was delicious. She made garlic bread to go with it and I am a huge bread eater so it topped the meal off very nicely. She got me a pillow as a present. It was what I wanted. When we went to Georgia a few months ago, my pillow was left behind in the motel. I don’t think I had a good night’s sleep since. It wasn’t a special pillow or anything. It was just big and comfy. I haven’t had a chance to try out my new one, but it looks big and it was definitely soft.
We were talking about birthdays with my granddaughter over the weekend. October and November are big birthday months for our family. And, when my wife asked my granddaughter how old grandpa was going to be, she said I had to be about sixty. Of course when I asked how old grandma was, she said that she was only twenty two. Anyway, for some reason the concept that I was sixty carried over to my birthday pie. When they were putting the numeric candles on it, my granddaughter was sure that the numbers were supposed to be in the 64 order instead of the 46. So, I’m going to have to start having un-birthdays so that I can go down in age instead of continually going up.
It’s football time. The Broncos played the Dolphins on Sunday. It was an incredibly boring game for the first three quarters. The Broncos had a bit of success running the ball, but that was almost all they tried doing. On the few pass attempts, it looked like Tebow was throwing to invisible players. The dolphins were also doing as well, but they kept accidentally scoring. So, with about seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter, we were down fifteen to zip. I have to tell you, I was considering changing the channel to the other game or playing on the computer or even mowing the lawn. But, I stuck it out and watched the last quarter hoping that they would at least put something up on the board. To my utter amazement, we ended up winning the game. Tebow decided that it was time to step up the action and he started throwing to our players and everything just started clicking together. We made a touchdown and then a successful onside kick. Then, we drove down the field and made another touchdown. Tebow himself ran in a two point conversion to tie the game. With seventeen seconds on the clock Miami decides to sit on the ball and go into overtime. They got the ball first and didn’t do anything with it. We got the ball and didn’t do anything with it. Then they got the ball and fumbled. We kicked a field goal and won the game. If all of the action was stretched out into the entire game, it would have been an exciting game. This Sunday, we’re taking on the Lions. They have lost their last two games, but they came out of the starting gate like gangbusters. They are going to be a tuff team to beat and I can hardly wait. It’s a two o’clock game and I have to work 6-2, so I have to get off work and rush home. Or, actually, I’ll rush over to my son’s house. He has the big TV and his birthday is on Halloween. So, we’re going to have a birthday dinner for him and watch the game at the same time.
The Texans have taken a 3-2 game lead over the Cardinals in baseball. Game six is tomorrow. I would like to see a game seven, but I would be ok if the Texans win it all tomorrow. I’m not really crazy about either team. But, Yorvit Torrealba, the catcher for the Texans, was a former Rockie and he was great. I was surprised when we traded him. I like our catcher now, but back then I thought the Rockies were crazy. The Cardinals have Holiday, who was also a Rockie, but I didn’t start watching them until after he was gone, so he doesn’t count. So, I guess we’ll see what happens.
We got a flat tire on our SUV today. I guess it has had a slow leak in it for a while. I didn’t notice it, but my wife told me that she has been complaining about it for a while. (I think she’s been complaining about it to someone else) so, we’re going to have to get new tires tomorrow. The tire went out tonight. It was ninety degrees yesterday, but it is snowing today. I think the tire knew what the weather was going to be like and it waited.
My daughter called today to wish me happy birthday. She is about a month and a half away from coming home. She had her last PT test yesterday and passed with flying colors. She said that she is trying to get her application for college filled out while she is out there so as soon as the army lets her go she can start up. She’s also looking to set up interviews to start working as soon as she gets back. She is going to school for communications with the army, so I told her that she should try getting on with Century Link. It used to be Quest and I know a buddy that started on their help desk and is now a bigwig there. She could do the same thing. It would be better than getting a minimum wage job and trying to kill herself with hours while she is trying to study.
I’m still working on the River of Magic. It is coming along nicely now. I should be finished with it in about a month. That will put it at Mid November sometime. So, I’ll probably just go right to self publishing instead of sending out query letters and trying to get it published the right way. That way, I can hand them out as Christmas presents, because this year Christmas is going to be a little tight. We are still recovering from our trip out to Georgia. We have caught up for the most part, but we just can’t seem to get a little ahead like we were. But, it will come.
Speaking of my book, I’d better get started. I’m kind of feeling something easy tonight. So, I’m putting ELO, Chicago, Crystal Gale, and ABBA into the playlist tonight. (Yes, I like ABBA, deal with it.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct 17

Not a whole lot happened this week.

No football game this week. It was the Bronco’s bye week. I did watch the Jets/Miami game tonight, or at least most of it. I didn’t get to see the ending because I had to come to work. But, if the Dolphins play against us as well as they played against the Jets, we have a very good chance of winning. Coach Fox announced that Tim Tebow was going to start next Sunday, so a win on his first full game would be a huge confidence boost. He will also have the chance to practice with the first string players for two weeks so, he doesn’t have an excuse not to be ready. I think their biggest challenge will be to not go in expecting to win because of Miami’s record.
My youngest daughter dropped out of JROTC. She put in three years of hard work into it. She didn’t get the battalion commander like her sister earned last year. In fact, they passed her up on other rank as well. So, she decided to hang it up for her senior year. She has so many other school and after school projects going on that she didn’t need the added headaches of JROTC.
My eldest daughter had a birthday on Friday. My wife was trying to see to the feasibility of sending her a cake. But, it was too much trouble and expensive. I tried to have her contact one of my daughter’s friends out there with her in Georgia. She could have sent her some money and have the friend buy a chocolate cake. Then, they could have put it in the middle of the squad bay, gather all of her friends around, snuck up on my daughter in the early morning, threw a pillowcase over her head, drug her out to the table with the cake, Whipped off the pillow case and sung her happy birthday. But, my wife didn’t like that idea. So, we went to Build-a-bear and made her a stuffed animal. It had a little voice recorder in it where we could all sing happy birthday and tell her that we loved her. We mailed it out on Wednesday, and as of the starting of the Jets/Miami game, she hadn’t received it yet. (Stupid post office)
We took my daughter’s boyfriend with us to the mall when we made her the bear. When he got in the car, everything seemed normal. About half way there, he and my youngest daughter were making jokes about him throwing up. We didn’t realize that he was really sick and really about to throw up. We made it to the parking lot before he Ralphed. He felt slightly better after that and made it into the store. After about five minutes, he could barely stand up. We really shouldn’t have taken him out. We left right away after we made the bears, and of course the traffic was so bad we could barely move. We really shouldn’t have taken him out. But, if we would have known he was that sick, we wouldn’t have.
On Thursday or Friday, I came home to find the computer not working. My wife was complaining about it, so I rebooted it. It started to come up fine, but then it stopped and the screen went blank. I rebooted it again and it stopped again at the same place. I should have investigated further, but I had just gotten off work and was hungry and sleepy. So, I decided that the operating system had a corrupt file. I went to sleep and when I woke up, I started reinstalling. I got about half way through the install when the monitor went blank again. (It wasn’t the operating system) It also wasn’t the monitor or the monitor cable, because both were working up until a specific point before everything went blank. I opened up the computer and pulled out the video card. Part of it was broken and dangling. I pulled out a video card from one of the other computers and stuck it in. I restarted the reinstall. When I finished, I tried to get onto the internet so I could download the critical updates. (I have an older version of XP) Well, I couldn’t get on the internet. This time I checked the cables and the modem and the router. I hooked up the computer directly to the modem, but still nothing. So, I looked at the hardware and found that the PCI bus and a few other components didn’t get their drivers loaded. I spent about a two days trying to download a network driver but couldn’t find one. So, my wife asks my son for the computer we gave him back. I plug it in and of course, a screen saying the system file is missing or corrupt. I put in the operating system disc and bring up the dos repair screen. I try to copy the file, but it won’t let me. So, I end up reinstalling on this computer. It takes forever because the format didn’t want to format. I ended up using the quick format. Then, as I was installing the updates, the explorer 8 wants to load. I let it load and let it reboot and then try to get back onto the internet. It connects but when I try to type in a location, it gives me an error. I end up having to back out the explorer 8 and I load the Google chrome. Now, my wife doesn’t like the Google Chrome and wants me to go back to explorer. I’m going to load explorer 7 tomorrow and see if it has any fits.
Texas and the Cardinals are going to the World Series. I said that I wasn’t going to watch it because none of my teams made it. But, I think I’m going to give it a go. It’s still baseball.
Well, that’s enough for now. I’m making all kinds of progress on the River of Magic. But, I’m going to do a Great Detective today. I’ve been slacking off on them over the past few weeks. And, my daughter called today saying that she only has seven more weeks to go before she comes back. I wanted to send her all of them before she came back. So, if I’m going to meet that goal, I need to get cracking on them. I will try to do two a week, and spend any other free time with the River of Magic.
Today, I’m putting in Night Ranger, Boston, and Joan Jett in the playlist for background music.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct 10
Let’s get it started with football. My son and I went to the Bronco Charger game yesterday. It was great. We had seats that were twelve rows from the field. We were farther toward one of the goals than I would have liked, but I’m not complaining. We could still see everything. The stadium must have been sold out, because we were crammed in there like sardines. And, we had a stupid Charger fan right behind us. But it just made for a good game. We were down at the half when the coach put in Tim Tebow. The stadium went crazy. Orton is a good quarterback, but he wasn’t getting anything done. We had a defensive touchdown and a field goal, but our offense wasn’t able to do anything the entire first half. When Tebow came in, he scored a rushing touchdown and he threw for another. We had possession at the end and we got the ball all the way down to their thirty yard line. We spiked it with one second left on the clock. Tebow scrambled around and for a minute it looked like he was going to go down, but he got the throw off. It went into the end zone, but no one came up with it. We ended up losing by five points. 24-29. All of the previous times they allowed Tebow to play, they always had him run the ball. Sunday, they gave him an opportunity to throw and to hand it off. He didn’t do great, but he did better than Orton and he drove the ball down the field three times to score twice. We have a bye week coming up, so that gives us two weeks of practice with the first string players if they are going to start Tebow next game. I think they should. The marginal plays that he preformed yesterday could easily be attributed to the fact that he practices with the second stringers. At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t going to jump onto the Tebow bandwagon, but I think after a 1-4 start, we need to give him a chance. If nothing else, it will give him eleven and a half games of experience for next year. Unless Paton Manning or Tom Brady are traded to us, I don’t think there is any way that he won’t be starting next year. Finishing out the season would get him some salt under his fingernails and if he can bring us back from the deficit that we were in yesterday, I’m sure he can win us a few games to build up his confidence. We’re playing Miami in two weeks. They are 0 and 4 and then we have the lions. They are still undefeated so that will be his big test. It’s getting exciting. I got us a couple of beers to enjoy the game with. I’m not a big drinker anymore. In fact, it has been a few years since I’ve had a drink. My son finished his before I was even halfway through mine. So, he bought a round. I was already feeling it with the first one, by the second one, I was having a great time. We ordered one more and I had to nurse it until the end of the game. We didn’t park in the stadium parking lot. If we would have, I am sure that we would still be stuck in the traffic trying to get out. So, my wife dropped us off a few blocks from the game and we walked. When my wife came to pick us up after the game, she was expecting me to drive and was already in the passenger’s seat. There was no way that I was driving. I wasn’t falling down or anything, but I wasn’t going to spoil the day by getting into a wreck. It was nice taking in a game with my son. We’ve never really had a chance to do much together. I was always working when he was growing up and now he has a family of his own. I hope we make the time to have more days like that. While we were at the game, my wife took the girls out to see the Lion King movie in 3D. My granddaughter has been dying to see it. But, when she heard that I was taking her dad to the game and not her, she was very offended. I was supposed to take her to stuff. She wasn’t happy. But, the Lion King put her in a better mood. The girls went to the stores afterwards and had a good time. My eldest daughter in the army had a four day weekend this week. It was her first time being able to go off of the base and wear civilian clothing. She and a bunch of her friends were planning a lot of stuff. But, I don’t know what she actually did because she didn’t call us. Usually she calls almost every evening. But, I’m sure she was just having a lot of fun. She call us the Thursday night after she was released to liberty. She was at McDonalds. There is a Burger King on the base, but she is a McDonalds’ girl. My brother in-law’s daughter died this week. It was drug and gang related. She didn’t live with them. It was a daughter from his first marriage. They buried her this morning. I guess I have seen her before, but I had never spoken to her and didn’t know her. My youngest daughter was friends with her and she was my Goddaughter’s stepsister. So, it has been a rough few days. My wife’s boss has been getting in trouble quite a bit lately. It started with him trying to take all of the overtime and not sharing it around with the other employees. Today, however, he was reprimanded because of some weekend activities. The first was a door was left open in a huge law firm. But, the second was directly his fault. One of the duties of the security guards at my wife’s building is to sell stamps. Yes, I know, that isn’t the first place I would go if I needed stamps, but I guess they have been doing it for years. It was originally set up so that only the daytime people, 2 people, had access to the stamps and the money. When the new boss took over, he decided that everyone should have access to it. I mean, you never know when someone is going to need a stamp at three in the morning. For some strange reason, eighty dollars worth of stamps and money turned up missing. Who would have thunk it? So, in the next few days we’ll see what the repercussions are. I’ll keep everyone informed. Well, I guess I better get started. I’m on Chapter 7 of the River of Magic. It is coming along very nicely now. Chapter 5 and 6 were much longer than I intended. They could have been separated into two chapters each, but that wouldn’t have fit. So, Chapter 7 is going to be shorter but it will still get everything in it that needs to be there. I’m putting the internet radio on today. I don’t have time to go through and set up a playlist. I actually have a new project that my boss expects me to get done. Man, don’t you hate it when you are trying to goof off at work and your job gets in the way? -Thom

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oct 03

This once a week updating of my blog isn’t working very well. It’s been two weeks since I posted. I really meant to get it done on Monday last week, but one of the guys here at work needed to switch days with me. He had a friend from out of state come in. So, I worked his weekend shift and he worked my Monday and Tuesday shift. It really screwed up my whole week. The working seven days straight didn’t bother me at all. I’ve worked entire months without days off before. What threw everything off kilter was having two days off and then only three days on before getting two more days off. It wasn’t natural. But anyway, I slept most of the day on Monday last week and then, since I didn’t have to come to work, I didn’t feel like doing anything. But, we’re back on schedule today so here’s the update. A lot of stuff happened over the last two weeks, so it might be a long one. Let’s start off with baseball. Towards the end of the season, we went through a long stretch of bad luck. We lost every game in out last set of home games. It was like seven or nine games. It sucked. What made it even worse was that we were losing on the road too. On last Sunday, I watched the Bronco game instead of the Rockies and they picked that day to win 19-3 against the Braves. They set a team record for hits in a game. But, I missed it. We did close out the season with a win against the Giants, but it came off of a shut out the day before. Over all, we ended the season with a 73-89 record. It was a very disappointing season especially after such a great start. But, there is always next year. I am making plans (Saving money) to take a trip out to Arizona next season for spring training. We’re going to get this team to the World Series even if I have to drag it there. The Broncos haven’t had the stellar start we were looking for either. It is Coach Fox’s first year, so we can’t expect miracles right off the bat. The first three games were all within three points. We lost two and won one. Even though that’s not a winning record, they were very close games, I didn’t like it, but I could live with it. Yesterday, however, we played the Super Bowl champs from last year, the Green Bay Packers. They walked all over us. The score was 23-49. It was an embarrassment. Yes, they are one of the only two undefeated teams this year, but we should have been able to put on a better show. There is a huge movement by the fans trying to get Tim Tebow in as the starting quarterback. People have put up billboards and stuff. But, if they put him in too early, it could be just as disastrous as having a losing season. There have been several quarterbacks that have gone straight from college to the NFL, but those are rare cases. You can’t just expect him to be awesome no matter how much you want it. So, personally, I’m still fine with him easing into the position. The only thing I don’t like is that when they do put him in, they run him every time. If they’re not careful, they’re going to get him hurt. They need to let him get some experience passing it so he can work on his accuracy. My soldier girl was sick for several days last week. It was so bad that she had to go to the infirmary. They put her on bed rest for about three or four days. She ended up missing a test on TCP/IP that could have set her back into the class behind her. She is feeling much better now. She took the test and missed a passing grade by two points. She’ll have a chance to make it up and I’m sure she’ll do better. We picked up her contact lenses the other day, and we still haven’t sent them. I hope she hasn’t run out. I’m sure my wife will get them in the mail tomorrow. My wife went on a trip to Arizona over the weekend. Her mom flew down there to visit relatives. But, she doesn’t speak English that well and there wasn’t anyone that would be able to take her through the Arizona terminal to get her onto the correct plane to come back. So, my wife, her sister, and my father in-law drove down there to pick her up. They left on Friday evening at about six thirty and didn’t come back until Sunday night about nine thirty or ten. So, that meant that I was a bachelor for the weekend. I had plans to do a bunch of stuff, but ended up doing nothing. Since they took our car for the trip, they left us my father in-law’s truck. I took it to work on Friday night and brought it home on Saturday morning when I got off. The funny thing about the truck is that the gas gage doesn’t work. So, I had no idea how much gas was in it. And, it was very lucky that I got home on Saturday, because when my daughter woke me up to take her to get something to eat, the truck didn’t want to start. It was out of gas. So, that put a hamper on stuff I wanted to do. As it ended up, my granddaughter came over and spent the night. So, we had fun playing and watching football on Sunday. My daughter even cooked for us. She made hamburger helper on Saturday night and then omelets on Sunday morning. She even baked a cake. It was very good. My wife’s trip went very well. She did most of the driving and they spent an enjoyable day with relatives in Phoenix on Saturday. My daughter’s friend had her baby on Sunday. It was a little girl. My daughter wanted to go, but with the car situation, it wasn’t feasible. She also wanted to go to spend the night at a different friend’s house and attend a quinceanera. (Yeah, I can’t pronounce it either) She had a ride and everything, but ended up not going. For a while I thought I caught her doing something bad, like sneaking a boy over. She stayed downstairs while I was upstairs. On Friday when I was going to work, she called up and asked if I would bring her phone charger down as I was leaving. Well, I agreed and after getting ready, I headed downstairs. When I went inside the house, all of the lights were off. I stumbled my way through the kitchen and into the living room. My daughter was sitting up in a chair with all the lights and TV off. It seemed very strange to me at the moment. I asked her what was going on and she said that she wanted to sleep in the chair. I thought it was strange and went to work. After an hour or so, I started wondering if I might have interrupted something. She could have easily snuck a boy in and hid him when they heard me stumbling around at the door. So, I snuck in at six in the morning after I got off. She had moved a bed into the living room and was asleep alone. I’m sure she could have gotten rid of him before morning, but I choose to believe that she didn’t have anyone over. When I got to work today, there was a memo informing everyone that there is a mandatory meeting on Sunday at two o’clock. It specifically announced that the graveyard people must attend. Well, I have Bronco tickets for Sunday. The game starts at 2:15. My wife got them for me and my son as birthday presents. They are $95.00 tickets. I am not going to lose them to go to some stupid meeting. So, I left a message for the big boss. He’s not going to like it and I’m sure I’ll get a call tomorrow. He usually calls about mid morning a few hours after I have just fallen asleep. He can yell all he wants, but I’m not letting those tickets go to waste. I’ve been working on the River of Magic over the last few weeks. It’s been slow, and it is turning out different than the other books I’ve written, but it is going to be good. I’m going to continue with it this week and try to work on it more than one or two days. If I keep going as slow as I have been, it’ll take forever to finish. I have been thinking a little bit about Gremlin Planet. I might lay down a few pages of it if I get the chance. And, I need to make another Great Detective to send to my daughter. So, if I can get off of Farmville, I have plenty of stuff to keep myself occupied. I’m feeling kind of drugout today, so I’m going to put something upbeat in the playlist. I’m thinking Def Leopard, AC/DC, Twisted Sister, and Metallica. Speaking of Farmville, they introduced a new Lighthouse Cove about two or three weeks ago. There were ten levels of enhancing that you had to accomplish along with all of the other projects and stuff that had to be build finished. On the ten levels, you had to collect three different things and every level they wanted more and more of each. Towards the end, they wanted 45 and then 50 and then 60 of each thing. Overall, it was hundreds that you had to collect. I didn’t go crazy trying to get it finished. But, I did move along with it fairly quickly. When I got to the end of it of it this weekend, I felt pretty good. It was an accomplishment. So, as I was about to click on the last item they wanted, I assumed that there was going to be a really good prize at the end. They always give you something and this was a major thing they wanted us to finish. I thought the prize was going to be spectacular. To my utter disappointment, the prize was nothing. I did all that work for absolutely nothing. I am so disgusted at Farmville that I was seriously thinking of just not playing anymore. It has turned into more work than fun anyway. So, even as I am writing this blog, I am still debating with myself if I should continue or not. There are some fun things. I actually like collecting the animals and I have a bunch of them. So, I am leaning toward continuing, but I’m not going to stress over any of their stupid projects anymore. Well, this has become a three pager. I’m sure there is still a lot of stuff I’ve left out. If I can think of it, I’ll make another posting later on this week. But, if not, I’ll talk to all of you next Monday. -Thom

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sep 19

Let’s start it off with another Rockies loss. With this one against San Diego, 8-2 (We barely avoided a shutout and a no hitter with a two run homer by Mark Ellis) we officially have a losing season at home. There are only a handful of games left until we can get ready for next season. I know it is early, but I am going to try to put some money away every payday so that we can travel down to Arizona next season for spring training. I’m officially declaring that the reason we didn’t go to the World Series this year much less the playoffs was because my wife and I didn’t make it down there this year. So, this season is on us. We’ll make up for it next year. On the other hand, the Bronco’s beat the Bengals. It was a good game. We had some very good drives. And, we were out like five of our starters. During the game Eddie Royal got hurt. It looked like he pulled a groin muscle. Hopefully he and the others will be better next week. We won by two points, and it was one of those games that came down to the minute. (The best kind) Since we were short people, Tim Tebow came in as a wide receiver. They didn’t throw it to him or even in his direction. I would have liked to see if he can catch. I also watched the Kansas City game. It was a blowout. They started off with a good running game, but floundered after that first drive. The Raiders and San Diego did well again, even though they both lost. This is only the second week, but the three of us, Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers are all tied in our division with 1-1 records. We’ll see how it goes next week against the Titans. They are also 1-1. It should be a good game.
My mom got back from her trip to Arizona this weekend. I went over to visit today. She said that she had a great time except she really wished she would have had her car. She went down with my Uncle. He was moving some of his stuff from Douglas Wyoming to Wickenburg Arizona where he bought my cousin’s house and is planning on retiring. My cousin actually built the entire house. They went for the wedding of the same cousin and said that it was very nice. They had it outside and the day was perfect. My cousin actually designed the wedding dress and prepared all of the food. I had no idea he was so diversified. My mom spent hours talking about all the stuff they did. It was surprising it could all fit into a one week visit. She said that all of my uncles and aunties were there along with most of my cousins. None of the kids in my family went, unfortunately. I wouldn’t have been able to get any time off, not after taking time off to go see my daughter graduate boot camp. We’re still recovering from that.
Speaking of our trip, I took five days off and arranged it so that I worked on days off before and after. But, our pay period is funky. It ends on Thursday and starts on Friday. To make matters worse, we get paid every two weeks, and the vacation was between the two pay periods. That meant that I had two checks that were missing days of work. The first week, I was missing two and this last one I was missing only one. But, when I got my check it was two days short. Needless to say, I was a little concerned. I was expecting only one day’s worth of money being short and arranged the bills for it. I made a stink and everyone was looking into what was wrong. We get paid on Thursday, but we don’t get our pay stubs until Monday in the mail. So, all weekend, I was griping to my bosses about getting the money they owed me. Then, in the shower this morning, I was thinking about it. And, since I work graveyard, I finally realized that the hours I worked on the Thursday to close out the pay period wasn’t on the check from midnight until six in the morning. Those six hours would be on the next check in two weeks. So, I wasn’t really short. When my check stub came in, that was the problem. So, I’m going to have to re-arrange the bills again. Then, there was a memo on the counter when I came to work today. One of the office personal was fired over the weekend. It also said that if anyone was interested in her job to send their resume. She was an operations manager and I’ve done that type of work before. I think I’m going to send in my resume. It will be day work and I would be on salary. I’ve heard some horror stories about long shifts from the field managers, but I don’t think that extends to the office. We’ll see. I think I’m going to send my resume in and see what happens. If it isn’t more money, I’m not even going to consider it.
My daughter went to the eye doctor today. She has some kind of sty in the inside of her eyelid. It looks pretty gnarly. They gave her some cream to put on it twice a day. They said that if it doesn’t get rid of it, they might have to dig it out with a knife. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
On Friday, the guy I work with decided he was going to clean out the refrigerator at work. He came in on that day and I was already in. The two people we were replacing were ready to go and he came in complaining on how dirty it was. He announced to everyone what he was planning and the first thing out of the two people that were leaving were to not throw out any of their stuff. Laughing, he said he wouldn’t do anything like that. So, I didn’t even mention the brand new unopened pack of M&Ms I had in the freezer. We spend one hour in the control room and one hour out, switching all night. I was the first one in that day so, he went on his cleaning rampage. After we switched, I just happened to go down into the break room to find that he threw out not only my M&Ms, but everyone else’s stuff too. Then, he threw the full bag of trash into the dumpster so even if I wanted to retrieve my M&Ms from the wastebasket, I couldn’t get them. He didn’t seem to realize that he did something wrong. I made sure he understood that my stuff was my stuff and he shouldn’t ever mess with it. Today when I came in, I found a new bag down in the freezer. Unfortunately for him, everyone else that works here wasn’t as nice as I was. Over the weekend, he didn’t get it too bad because it was only weekend workers were here. But, today all of the regular people found out what he did. He’s not the most popular person at the moment. It looks like he might have to spend his paycheck replacing everything and I am sure that he will be replacing food that was never in the refrigerator. (That’s what you get for messing with other people’s stuff)
My son and his girlfriend might be breaking up. They had a big blowout over the weekend and it got messy. I don’t want to get into it here, but I’m hoping everything will work out between them whether they break up or stay together. He called my wife today while we were driving somewhere and they were at the Halloween store. He was going to get her her costume already. But, my wife talked him into waiting until we could go with them. I want her to be a superhero. I saw some really cute Batgirl, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman costumes. But, all she wants to be is a princess. She was Belle last year, and it looks like she wants to be Cinderella this year.
Well, I better get busy. I’m putting Boston, Journey, and Chicago into the playlist tonight. I’m going to work on The Great Detective and the River of Magic today. I got my daughter’s address, so I have to send her a detective case. She’s doing really well in Georgia. She’s out of phase 4 and into phase 5. Now, she can go off of the base and wear regular clothes when she is off duty. She might not be able to come down for Thanksgiving because of a rule about traveling more than four states on extended weekends. So, she looked into how much it would cost for my wife and I to fly down there. But, I don’t want her spending all her money on us especially when she’ll be coming home a month later. I know, she wants to have some family around during the holiday, but that’s a lot of money. She’s going to need it when she gets back here and goes into college. But, more on that later. I have to get going. My hour is almost up and I have to post this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sep 12

Ok, this is starting to become a habit. It is Tuesday again instead of Monday. I was all ready to get this blog entry done yesterday, but the Broncos were playing Monday Night Football and after the game, I had to do real work. But, more of that later. Let’s start this off with my youngest daughter. She got her driver’s license yesterday. I think I was more worried about her getting it than I was about my other daughter. When my eldest daughter was preparing for her driver’s test, we let her drive much more often than we let my younger daughter. But, then we had two cars and gas was still high, but not as expensive as it has been this year. I don’t really know what happened, maybe the year just got away from me. But, we just didn’t have enough opportunity to let her drive. Over the last few months, however, we have been giving her a lot more chances. And, she was steadily getting better and better. Yesterday, when we went in for the test, I just had a bad feeling. Then, they finally called her name. I had brought a book to read while I was waiting, and I think I only managed to read two pages before the test was done. She was all happy, telling me that she passed. She said that she really just drove around the block. There was a school zone that they went through, but she said that she didn’t get over twenty miles an hour during any of the test so it didn’t matter. I wasted a bunch of worrying for nothing. Until we get another car, I don’t think she’s going to have as much opportunity as she would like to drive on her own. But, I can already see that I’m not going to be able to drive for quite some time unless I’m going to work.
The first Bronco game of the season was yesterday on Monday night. I was all amped for it. We were playing the Raiders, our main rivalry. The last time we played them, we lost 59-14. It was embarrassing. They beat us both games last year. It really sucked. I thought we were going to see some serious payback. I had to work, so I was only expecting to be able to see the first quarter. There is a radio at work where I would be able to listen to the rest of the game. It’s not ideal, but what was I gonna do. So, I started watching the pre-game, and the more I watched, the better I thought the Broncos were going to do. It took forever for the game to actually get started. It was on a weird channel that I never watch. I had everything ready to go. I had my feet up and the rest of the family in the other room. I was ready to go. It was supposed to start at 8:15, but it didn’t start until nearly 8:30. I was getting a little upset. For a minute I didn’t think I was going to get to see any of the game. Then, right as the kickoff was about to begin, the feed switched to the New England Patriots game. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I had the wrong channel. I quickly grabbed the remote and looked up the information on the channel I was on. It said it was the Bronco game. Frantically I looked for another channel that might be showing the game. I found ESPN. It said it was showing it. I flipped it over, and it was also the Patriots game. I was getting mad now. I flipped it back, and the Patriots were still on. Then, it suddenly switched to the correct game. I missed the kick off and we were lined up for the first play. We didn’t do very well on our first possession. We scored first with a field goal, but from where I sat, it looked like we blew a couple of opportunities. We lost the lead after that and never got it back. I did manage to watch the entire first quarter. Then, I had to go to work. I have never seen the streets of Denver so empty. I think I was the only person in town that wasn’t watching the game. The radio wasn’t the best way to listen to the game. The stadium was so loud that I couldn’t hear most of the commentary. Then, I had work stuff I had to do and missed the last quarter entirely. We ended up losing 23-20. Not the start I was looking for. I am defiantly not missing next week’s game.
To add insult to injury, the Rockies lost again today. We took two games from the Cubs over the weekend. I didn’t get to see either of them because they were day games and I had to work some overtime on Saturday. That meant that I slept through both games. We were doing pretty good today against Milwaukee. We put up a run in the fourth and we had a bunch of opportunities to get more runs. But, it just wasn’t to be. Prince Fielder homered in the sixth to tie us and then we took it into extra innings trying to pull out the win. We went eleven innings before they shut us down. We’re going to play them again tomorrow. It is just a two game series then we take on the Giants. We are officially 69-78. If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year, there is no way that we would be that many games under five hundred. We should be at least a dozen games over. We had a great team and started with a bang. I don’t know what happened this season. It just didn’t go our way. But, there is always next year. I’m sure we’ll have an entirely different pitching staff and some of the new guys they brought up look pretty good. We’ll see how it goes. We don’t have any chance to make the playoffs this year, but I’m still going to root for them.
Just thinking about the games is bringing me down. So, I’m going to put White Lion, Pink Floyd, and Guns and Roses into the playlist tonight for background music and I’m going to work on the River of Magic.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sep 6

It was very nice having a week to relax after the long trip to S. Carolina and Georgia. I did as little as humanly possible. So, I guess it is time to get back into the groove of things. It’s Tuesday instead of Monday. I’ve been putting weekly blog entries instead of daily entries because most of the time I’m just boring and don’t have anything to say. But, it was the Taste of Colorado the four day weekend that I didn’t get. So, I’m doing it today.
The Taste of Colorado is a nice little party they have downtown. They shut off a bunch of streets, even Broadway, the main thoroughfare through Denver, and they set up all kinds of booths where you can do pretty much anything legal. Everyone comes over to my building, a block away, to do all the illegal stuff. We were chasing people away all four days. You wouldn’t believe how many people will just whip it out and pee right in the middle of everything. Our building was painted in pee over the last few days. But, other than a lack of bathrooms, it is a fun event. I only went once, but my kids usually go. This year, I don’t think they did. But, it’s been one of those years.
We had a family reunion on my wife’s father’s side. That meant that there were a lot of people. Only half of them spoke English. And, I didn’t know most of them. That didn’t stop everyone from trying to talk to me. This one guy with a sunflower seed shell stuck to his chest acted like we were best friends. I was pretty sure I had never seen him before in my life. Last year, we had one of these. It was a potluck. We brought potato salad and the stuff no one ever brings like plates, napkins, forks, condiments, and stuff like that. One guy brought hamburgers. Out of the other seventy five people that attended, I think one of them brought something besides chips. This one was much more organized. Whoever organized it told everyone what to bring. So, there was food. They also told every family to bring a generic gift. There was supposed to be games and they were going to use the gifts as the prizes. Everyone did bring gifts, but no one wanted to play any of the games. So, they raffled off the prizes. They sold the tickets for a dollar each and the money was going to go to recovering costs of the party. My wife is usually pretty lucky and Saturday wasn’t the exception. She won about five times. After the first two wins, people tried to enforce a rule to only allow one win per family. But, they sold the tickets and didn’t want to give the money back for the tickets that didn’t win. So, my wife kept winning. Several people shouted out that the game was fixed, but what could anyone do. Overall, it wasn’t the best party. Most people paired off in groups of families and didn’t socialize with the other families. So, there probably won’t be one next year. At the end of the party, some girl got in a screaming match with her mother and grandmother. I’m glad she wasn’t my kid with a mouth like that. You would have thought that she was a sailor. But, if it was my kid, she wouldn’t have been shouting like that.
Good news. The Rockies won today. We played the Arizona Diamondbacks. They had beaten us the last six times in a row. It looked like they were going to do it again. We were down 3-1 when the eighth inning came up. We spanked out 7 runs putting us up 3-8 for the win. We play them again tomorrow. It would be nice to take the series from them.
The Broncos play their first game this Monday against the Raiders. That should be a great game. I am anxious to see how the boys are going to do. I think they will do better than people think. But, because I am a fan, I am bias. So, we’ll see.
I took my daughter out driving this weekend. We were just going to Subway and back to pick up lunch. She was and has been doing much better. But, she went over a curb on the way out of the parking garage. Instead of pulling off the curb and correcting herself on the road, her first reaction was to release the steering wheel and cover her eyes with her hands. Yes, I did shout. We were still rolling and I expressed rather loudly the problems taking her hands off the wheel could create. I really flustered her, but she recovered and drove the rest of the way home flawlessly. Earlier today, she drove to the school without incident also. She has her driver’s test on Monday. So we need to get some more work in. We did do a little parallel parking over the weekend and she is getting the hang of it. On her last attempt it only took her two tries to get in correctly.
My mom is going on vacation this Thursday. She is driving down to Arizona with my uncle. They are going to spend a few days down there and have some fun. Of course, I forgot to give her back the suitcase we borrowed and her camera. I’m going to have to do that before she leaves.
I went over to my brother’s house and we got to talking about my vacation. When we got around to talking about the kids, they asked about my son. He has bought a bunch of landscaping equipment, mowers, weed eaters, power washers, snow blowers, etc… He is starting his own landscaping business and has already had a few jobs. But, my brother is a district supervisor for Burger King. He has also been a supervisor for McDonalds and Carl’s Jr. He told me that he could make more money with the power washer than all of the other stuff if he signs on at fast food restaurants. They hire outside contractors to power wash their drive through lanes and all restaurants are required by law to power wash their hoods every three months. So, my son is going to look into that. He will need liability insurance. I asked about how much that would cost and was told that a million dollar liability policy would only be about five or six hundred dollars a year with experience. Since my son doesn’t have experience, it will probably cost a little more. But, he could make all kinds of money with those power washers.
My wife still hasn’t gone to get her front tooth fixed. We don’t have all of the money yet, so it might be about a month so that we can recover from the vacation before we can make up the rest of the money she needs. After she gets it fixed, she is going to go to bartending school. It is only two weeks long and it only costs a hundred and fifty bucks. She has wanted to be a bartender for a long time. I always thought that she was kidding, but she was serious. So, when I talked to a bartender that works out at the airport and he told me that he makes nineteen dollars an hour and he brings home about five hundred to eight hundred dollars every day in tips, I decided to encourage my wife to fulfill her dream. She’s going to do it after her tooth is fixed. She doesn’t feel comfortable interviewing with it chipped like it is now.
My daughter still hasn’t had a full week of school yet. They got off on Friday and didn’t go yesterday for the holiday. She only has a few classes a day because she is a senior, but she has to be there for several empty periods in the morning so that she can continue to do after school activities. She is an assistant on the soccer team. They went to Colorado Springs this weekend and came in third in the competition. I haven’t heard anything about homework, but she did a bunch of make-up work while we were down south.
Well, it’s getting late and this is turning out to be a long blog entry. So, I’m putting White Lion, Ratt, and Aerosmith into the playlist for background music and I’m going to get started on the River of Magic.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Aug 28

Ok, I was going to do this blog entry yesterday, but I was just too sleepy. I didn’t sleep at work, but I didn’t do much of anything else. We got back from our South Carolina/Georgia trip yesterday. It was just over thirty hours going, but only twenty six coming back. We arrived back in Denver at noon. I got something to eat and unloaded the car, but took a nap after that. I wanted to sleep longer, but I guess I got used to the little cat naps in the car and only slept for about an hour or two. Then, I had to watch the Rockies game. We lost by four, but I’ll get to that later. Then, I had to go to work that night. It was a looooong night. It was a good thing nothing really happened, because I was fighting to stay awake during the last few hours.
On our trip, the best thing we did was to buy a little portable DVD player. My granddaughter was so anxious to go see her auntie in the army that she didn’t go to sleep during the entire first day in the car. If it wasn’t for that DVD player to entertain her, I can just imagine how bad it would have gotten. She watched Wow Wow Wubbsy about five hundred times, but it kept her occupied. My youngest daughter and my oldest daughter’s boyfriend slept most of the time. How they did it, I can’t imagine. I tried to stretch out in the back back once, we have an SUV with three rows of seats, but it was so cramped there wasn’t any way to get comfortable. And, the car seat was in the middle row of seats so it was even worse. Anyway, around eight o’clock or so, my granddaughter turned off the DVD player and asked us if we could just go to grandma’s house because we were driving all day and weren’t getting anywhere. I tried to tell her that we were going to drive all night and she was going to have to sleep in the car, but she didn’t understand. She did end up sleeping all night, which was good. On the second day in the car, I promised her that we would stay at a motel that night. She had never been in a motel before, so I explained it as a little house. When we arrived, the only thing that concerned her was that the beds were in the living room. After picking up my eldest daughter and going to Georgia, we got new motel rooms, and my granddaughter liked them better. She was very excited to find that there was a kitchen in the new one.
We arrived in South Carolina at eight o’clock in the evening on Tuesday. We had planned on going to Ft Jackson first thing. On the internet, they said that we could pre-check-in so that there wouldn’t be any problems in the morning when all of the families are trying to get in. But, it was late and we were tired. We just wanted to get to the motel and relax. And, I was starving. I unloaded the car while my wife went out and got Arby’s. It was nice to get a shower and everything, but I crashed right after eating. When we woke up, it was about five thirty in the morning. We wanted to get to Ft. Jackson early to get good seats for family day. By seven, we were walking down to get the free continental breakfast. It was really good at the Quality Inn, but it was so hot, even at that early in the morning, that we were sweating by the time we reached the little breakfast room. We were only about five minutes from the fort, so it didn’t take us long to get there. What we should have done, was to enter the army base in the very right hand lane that was clearly labeled “Visitors”. But, there were a lot of cars in that lane and they were stopped as they were being signed in. So, we took the middle lane. At the gate, we were stopped so that we could show the guard our ID’s. We apologized as soon as we pulled up. I expected them to send us to that other line, but the guy just checked our ID’s and gave us a two day pass and waved us in. We saved about thirty minutes. It was very cool.
On base, we found our way to the field where they were going to have a small presentation before releasing the new soldiers into their families care. We were out of the car and walking toward the bleachers when someone saw the port-a-potties. No one wanted to use them and everyone seemed to suddenly needed to go. So, we climbed back into the car and got lost looking for the Burger King we passed. We thought we found my daughter’s barracks, but it was a Charlie company in a different battalion. When we returned, the field was beginning to fill up. We made our way to the bleachers again and there were a bunch of tents selling shirts and stuff. We bought a graduation DVD. Since graduation wasn’t until the next day, they will mail it to us. And, we bought some little necklace charms that said things like “Proud brother of a soldier” and “Proud cousin of a soldier” We planned on giving them out to some of the relatives that couldn’t come. I got a graduation coin and a Proud Army Dad coin. Then, we found our seats and got ready for the program. There were thousands of parents and visitors in the stands. It was like going to a baseball or football game. As the time crept up on us, I kept looking down the sides to see if they were marching up, but I couldn’t see them anywhere. Finally, out across the field, smoke grenades were set off outside of the tree line and all of the new soldiers started yelling and running out onto the field. They all formed up and my daughter’s company was right in front of us. We couldn’t tell one soldier from the other, but my daughter is a little on the short side, and we knew she was a squad leader, so we picked her out. The ceremony took too long, but they finally released them to us.
The soldiers couldn’t leave the base on family day, so we had to do things at Ft. Jackson. We started off by going to her barracks. We were able to go inside and see where she spent the last three months. I’ve never seen her bed so neat. Then, we went to the main PX to get something to eat. As it turned out, several thousand families and several thousand new soldiers also had that great idea. Squeezing into the building, we were lucky to get there relatively early and even managed to find seats to sit down and eat. Then, we went inside the store part of the PX because we wanted to take advantage of all that tax free shopping. The only thing I can say for it was that there weren’t any taxes. But, they jacked up the prices to make up for the taxes. We didn’t buy anything. We went to the base museum, the bowling alley, and the pizza hut. Everywhere we went, there were several thousand people that went with us. So, we spent most of the day at the lake park. The bugs were biting, but at least we weren’t pushing our way through people.
It sucked leaving her at the end of family day, but we knew that we would pick her up in the morning after graduation. The continental breakfast the next day was even better than the previous day. Kudos to Quality Inn. But, the breakfast must have been too good, because by the time anyone looked at their watch, it was already eight thirty and the graduation was at nine. Rushing, we jumped into the car and immediately went in the wrong direction on the highway. Turning around, we hurried even faster toward Ft. Jackson. When we got there, it turned out that everyone else lost track of the time. The line to get to the field where they were holding the graduation was like ten miles long. Not only that, everyone decided that their need to see the graduation was much greater than everyone else’s. People were cutting people off. They were fabricating driving lanes so that they could get one car ahead of where they were. It was chaos. We counted down the time as we crawled toward the field. When we finally made it, we were parked way in the back. We rushed toward the bleachers which were full. So, we went under them. We had a pretty good spot picked out where we could see all of the soldiers standing in formation. As it turned out, all we missed was them marching onto the field and people making speeches. Before they kicked us and about fifty other families out from under the bleachers, we were in time to see a captain fall backwards. When I was in the Marines, they constantly drilled into our heads to not lock our knees. What happens when you do is that the blood circulation slows down and you lose consciousness. Well, this captain was part of the color guard, so he was right out in front. It was like watching someone do the Nestea plunge into a swimming pool, only there wasn’t a pool. Since about three or four guys passed out during family day, they had people ready to run out and pull the guy to the back of the formation. We missed several others falling out, but it didn’t matter, my daughter didn’t pass out. When they kicked us out, we went to the side of the bleachers with everyone else and it was a good thing, because when the soldiers did their pass and review, they ended up at that side of the field and were released.
It was so hot in South Carolina that the first thing my daughter wanted after she graduated was to go take a shower and get out of that heavy uniform. She had to keep it on during family day. She said she was used to it, but my granddaughter wouldn’t let her put her down so my daughter carried her nearly the entire day. But, she had to check out before we could take her with us. That meant standing in a line for about an hour. To ensure that the soldiers knew that they hadn’t been released until they got their orders and signed out, several of the drill instructors ‘smoked’ (made them do pushups or any number of calisthenics) them while they were waiting in line. While I waited with her and the baby, my wife was out trying to fix the car. The air conditioner wasn’t working in the back. With it being as hot as it was and with us adding another body back there, it was going to be miserable going from South Carolina to Georgia without it. As it turned out, there is a switch next to the gear shift. We didn’t know what it did and never bothered to look it up. But, it turns off the air conditioner in the back. I was glad my wife figured it out, but why would anyone put a switch like that in a car? It doesn’t make any sense. If the owner didn’t want cool air back there he could just turn it off. Why does there need to be a kill switch up in the front?
Anyway, we went out to eat and took my daughter to a surplus store where she could buy some better boots. The ones she had were the ones they issued to her and they were kind of cheap. I am glad that my wife buys my clothes for me. I had no idea how much boots were cost. Before the trip, I decided I was going to get me a pair. I used to like the ones I had back in the corps. And, I do a lot of walking in my job and the shoes I get now seem to wear out very quickly. No shoe should give out before the shoelaces. Anyway, I was looking at the wrong number when we were at the PX. I thought that the boots were forty dollars. At that price I was being a little reluctant. I didn’t want to spend that much on shoes. When my wife showed me the real price, over a hundred dollars, I nearly dropped a load. There was no way that I was going to pay that much unless they were gold lined. When we got to the surplus store, my wife got me a pair. They were still over a hundred dollars, but they were less than on base. She told me that even the kid’s shoes were about that much and at least these would last me for a while. But, now that I have them, I have to admit that I’m glad she got them for me. They are much better than the ones I had way back when. They are Rocky’s. Don’t ask me what they are called. I’m surprised that I remember the brand name. Actually, I only remember the brand name because of the Rockies baseball team. Anyway, they have laces, and I tied them up. But, I never have to untie them. They also have a zipper that runs down the side, so I just have to unzip them to take them off. They are water proof and the treads are more like car tires. They add about three inches to my height. I might actually be able to look my brother straight in the chin now, the giant.
We took a day off in Georgia. We had to have my daughter there by noon the next day. So, naturally we were late. We got there with plenty of time. But, everywhere we took her, they told us it was the wrong place and sent us somewhere else. Fort Gordon is a huge place and we saw nearly all of it looking for the right place to take her. As it turned out, we were supposed to take her to the movie theater so she could get processed into her new battalion. (Why didn’t we guess?) There was a girl there from boot camp, so at least she knew someone. We followed her as they took her to get checked in. They said that after check in, they were going to give her a weekend pass so we could have her for another day before we left. As she filled out paperwork and they inspected her stuff, I started talking to another dad doing the same thing I was doing. I told him that the first thing my daughter wanted when she got out of boot camp was McDonalds. He said that the first thing his daughter wanted was a pack of cigarettes. The drill instructors at Ft. Jackson wouldn’t let the recruits have any type of tobacco products while they were in boot camp. They were there for three months. You would think that she would have broken her habit while she was there. But, the dad gave her a pack. And, the mom smuggled a pack into her stuff after she was inspected. (Parents of the year)
Since the new motel had a kitchen, we decided to give our checking account a break and make sandwiches and stuff that day. We would go swimming and play cards and have an indoor day. It worked out pretty good, but my daughter wanted to do something with me. She said that she probably wouldn’t have joined if I hadn’t talked to her about how it was when I was in the Marine Corps. So, she wanted to get a father daughter tattoo. Tattoos are her thing. She has few of them, a butterfly on her back, her mom’s name on her ankle, and so on. I have a tattoo of an eagle and a snake on my right arm. I got it about thirty years ago when I had just gotten out of boot camp. I never intended to get another one, but she asked. So, we went and picked out one that has two dolphins, a father one and a daughter one. I got it on my left shoulder and she got it on her other ankle. They look pretty good.
It was rough spending time with her and then having to drop her off. But, Sunday came pretty quickly. She didn’t have to be back until two o’clock, but we had to get on the road. We decided to go a different route on the way back. It looked shorter on the map, and it was. On the way down, we went the southern route on highway 20. The only reason was we wanted to go through some different states and we didn’t want to go through stupid Kansas. But, I had to work that evening and no one wanted to be in the car any longer than necessary. We did cut several hours off of the drive. But, we’re going to need to get a new gas card. The one we have, we have had for a long time. We used to use it going back and forth from Denver to New Jersey. Before, we could stop at all of the BP gas stations. There are a lot of them on highway 70. But, sometime over the years, the card changed or was bought out or something. Now, it was only good a Valero or Diamond Shamrock. There are quite a few of them here in Denver, so we weren’t concerned. Out on the road, there were a few Valeros, but that was only in Colorado and New Mexico. By the time we hit Oklahoma and Texas, we were using a Target Visa. It was a good thing we had it, because we put nearly the entire trip on it gas-wise. I put about a hundred on my debit card until I realized that I wasn’t going to have any money left if I kept up using it. So, kudos to Target on this trip too.
The baby was very disappointed that she didn’t get to see any bears on the trip. The only animals she saw were cows, horses, and one deer. But, she said that the cows were very beautiful even if they don’t go to their houses at night. They stay out way too late. On the way back, I think we were in Missouri, I found a radio station that was playing an Angels Rangers game. I was able to listen to the last three innings and the sports baseball league recap before it went out. I had bought a MP3 player before we left so that I would have something to listen to on the overnight driving. It turned out to be cheap and difficult to use. So, I burned about ten CDs to listen to. I tested some of them out in the car before we left. But, that was only on short trips to work and the store. As it turns out our CD player is about as good as the MP3 player. It plays one CD all the way through and you might be able to listen to one or two songs on the second CD before it goes out. So, I mostly only had the radio to listen to. Actually, I listened to a bunch of static while trying to find stations all night. But, the game was interesting. The Rangers won and during the recap, I learned that the Rockies beat the Dodgers that night. The announcer said that they avoided the sweep by beating them. I haven’t actually looked, but the Rockies are still in a slump. I believe we are twelve or thirteen games back. This season sucked. I did manage to watch part of yesterday’s and today’s game against the Diamondbacks. We lost both of them too.
Well, this is now a five page blog entry. That’s what I get for going on vacation. It’s one o’clock in the morning, but I’m going to put this down as Tuesday. I’m putting Billy Joel, Tesla, and Bon Jovi in the playlist for background music and I think I’m going to get started on the River of Magic. I am much more awake than yesterday so I should be able to get back into the groove.