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(07/31/10 - 11:26 PM)
Golf outing at work today, followed by the company picnic. In all the years I've worked at Sugar River Machine, I have never gone golfing.
This year, another homicidal golfer and myself decided it might be fun to get a cart, bring some beers and good cigars and just watch the show. I can't believe I didn't think of this before.
We tooled around from group to group, watching the 'action', along with cartoons on my iPod™ which I managed to perch in the cupholder with its' speakers.
We just hung out in the breezy afternoon, and had an absolute blast doing nothing in particular.
The golf finally wrapped up, and we made our way across the street from the golf course to my Boss' home (talk about convenient!), where we proceeded to have a great time at the company picnic. There was a phenomenal turn out this year, and he even had an impropmtu fish fry while we waited for all the grilled items.
Played some pool and horseshoes, where I was summarily teased for my horseshoe throwing style (I stand back about ten feet further than you're supposed to, it seems) which works just fine for me.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, and most everyone was still there at 8:30 when Wanda and I called it a night.
I was so full, I didn't think that I'd ever eat again, and I came home and just relaxed the remainder of the evening away.
All in all, a good picnic, with a fun group.
(07/30/10 - 06:32 PM)
Went to the grocery store today for the first time in 6...7...8 weeks: I don't even recall, but it's been a long time.
Spent a small fortune re-stocking all the cupboards and pantry, and now we're all set for at least another month.
I had everything in one cart, but apparently the bagger couldn't match me on that front, as I had two upper carts, and one lower full when I was ejected from the lane. Oh well.
The cashier was a matronly white woman who appeared to be about fifty, and had a bad perm and too much make up. I considered what she might sound like in my head, only to be surprised to hear her speaking in full-on wigger to the woman in front of me who was apparently a long-lost acquaintance as they bantered back and forth.
As they were talking in street-speak, the cashier was lazily bagging in paper as though it were merely an aside. On the third bag, her friend reminded her that she wanted plastic, so she began the slow process of unbagging, which was clearly hindered by her inability to talk and do anything else at the same time.
Some five extra minutes later, the line was moving again and, since I didn't know her, things for me went fairly smooth.
Again I say to all cashiers out there: Do your job. It's alright to talk, but don't hold up everyone behind you with reminiscing about days past. Get their phone number if you must, but shut the hell up.
(07/26/10 - 09:37 PM)
Finished Dan Brown's latest offering, "The Lost Symbol", and was greatly disappointed.
The book was interesting in its exploration of the arcane and occult, but really felt like it lacked the energy to be a page turner. At least, for me, it wasn't.
While I appreciate where he was trying to go with the book, I just wasn't all that engaged throughout the entire read.
To be fair, it has to be phenomenally difficult for an author to have to come off a world-wide success with a new offering. For that, I do give him credit: he could have just hung up his writing hat and called it a day.
On the whole, not a read I would recommend: It's too long, too disjointed, and sort of... boring.
But I once again applaud Mr. Brown for his initiative, and look forward to his next work.
(07/25/10 - 07:22 PM)
I saw something funny today. It read:
"There is no theory of evolution... there are only the animals that Chuck Norris has allowed to live."
(07/17/10 - 07/24/10)
You're getting a cluster entry, because I'm lazy.
We're finally back from vacation!
We drove down to Hermann, MO (I know, you're all saying, "Where, now?") to stay at the Hermann Hill Bed & Breakfast. Specifically, we opted for the cottages. More specificaly, we opted for the top floor, of the highest cottage on the bluff, overlooking the Missouri River. And the view was just amazing (photos available on my FaceBook™ page.)
We had an amazing, modern room with cathedral ceilings, complete with 20' dormer windows, a pass-through fireplace, two flatscreen HDTV's, a full stainless and granite kitcken, jacuzzi, two hot tubs, deck and patio area, steam shower, rainfall shower, and body sprays. It was beyond relaxing.
We toured six vineyards and wineries ( Stone Hill, Adam Puchta, Bias, Hermannhof, Oak Glenn & Röebling) and found that it wasn't size that mattered when it came to the quality of the wines. The winner, hands down, for best assortment was Adam Puchta. Nearly everything we tasted there was amazing.
The biggest disappointment (for us) was Stone Hill. They're the second largest winery in Missouri (St. James being the largest) and their wines, for us, just fell flat.
The worst thing I personally tasted was at the Bias winery, where they had infused walnut and hazelnut flavors into a Riesling. It may be for some, but it just wasn't for me. The other strange thing about this particular winery was the aromas their wines offered. On all that we tried, the aromas were very nearly overpowering, and somewhat off-putting to my nose for reasons inexplicable to me.
I will say, however, that their 'Sweet Ambrosia' offering was one of the best we tried at all six wineries, so kudos on that one!
All in all we purchased some 42 bottles, 34 of which made it home. That should stock the wine rack for many months to come.
Hermannhof winery was the best value of the six. We purchased a case of their "White Lady" wine (truly an amazing wine, by the way) and they had pricing that reflected the softness of the market, which no other vineyard seemed to have caught on to. Suffice it to say, the price was amazing for the quality of the product, and we therefore went nuts come time to purchase.
The whole time we were at the cottage complex they were working on the common area below where weddings and receptions are held. There were a great many workers, and each day we would return to see some new thing that had gone in to make th area even more spectacular than before. I really wanted to stay and see it finished, but it could be a year or more with the scope of the project.
The grounds were stunning, though not as stunning as our private view of the Missouri River. This alone made the stay worthwhile. We had a huge wall of windows looking out onto the big muddy, then the flatlands beyond, and finally the rising hills of the Ozarks. The expanse was broad and deep, and we could see literally for miles in all directions. Astounding, really.
We explored the little town of Hermann, which had its surprises, and also its disappointments. We did get to see what the offspring of a teacup poodle and a toy yorkie looks like (totally cute, by the way) and meet some interesting and friendly folks along the way.
I let go of a couple copies of the book to folks that I met, as well as leaving a copy in our cottage amongst all the other reading materials provided. Wanda might also have left some bookmarks in those books, but I saw nothing >grin<. She's so keen.
Food was hit or miss, but all around enjoyable. We found a little Mexican hole-in-the wall restaurant that turned out to be a four-star dive. Conversely, one of the fancier restaurants in town turned out to be a lot of buck for a little bang. The food was great, but the pricing for the simple fare was bordering on outlandish.
We walked a great deal, and on some days we just drove to see what we could get into. Mostly, we were disappointed.
There was, as is the case here, a TON of real estate for sale in all shapes and forms. I felt bad all over again for all those folks who had lost their jobs and found themselves selling the homes that they thought that they would always have.
We took Tuesday to drive further southwest to visit our property in Blue Eye, Missouri on Table Rock Lake (photos available on my FaceBook™ page.) Two years ago, we bought the property from my Father, once we found out he had it up for sale. He had originally purchased it to build a home on and retire down there. When retirement finally came, he and his wife made new plans that did not include the property, hence the sale.
In the two years since purchase, we had yet to go and see just what in the world we had bought. So, we figured that now was as good a time as any.
After a four-hour drive through Branson (and it's myriad billboards advertising everything from early-bird specials to has-been country artists), we arrived in our little secluded subdivision.
We drove around twice, and were unable to locate our two building lots. Instead, we found our way to our boat slip in the private dock (photos available on my FaceBook™ page) where were eventually met by Ed. Ed is one of the two individuals whom I routinely get e-mails from regarding the meetings of the owners association, etc. He is someone who I have spoken with on the phone, and through e-mail, but had never met.
We talked with Ed for a few minutes, when another man approached. This man was Charlie, the President of the council of owners down there. Within one minute, he had asked about me selling my property, and then my slip. I politely declined, wondering what I was missing.
He said his hellos and goodbyes, and went on his way. Ed giggled a little, and mentioned that he had heard I was in town, and had been trying for years to purchase a second slip in the dock. Ed, it turned out, was the only one with two. Further, mine was the most coveted space in the entire slip, as it is nearest to shore and, therefore, not subject to much wave action. Apparently, this is a good thing.
Ed invited us into his home, where we met his amazing wife, Marilynn. Both are retired, and we learned that Ed was formerly a scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture, specializing in weed control. Who knew?
We sat and talked for a while, and felt completely at ease with these two individuals whom we had only just met.
Eventually, we said our goodbyes, and went down the road to meet with Karen and her husband John. Karen is the emissary for the other half of the business interests down there (the dock is one entity, and the home lots are part of a separate entity).
We were warmly welcomed (and hugged) into their home, where we spent nearly an hour and a half in easy conversation with the second pair of amazing people we had met that afternoon.
We learned a great deal about one another, and it turned out that, in some ways, we has a great deal in common.
I left each couple with a book, wishing I could do more to show my appreciation for their hospitality to what amounted to two strangers. They even offered us a room to stay in, should we wish to return. How amazing is that?
So, now we have four more amazing friends in the world.
We finally left for the 4-hour drive back to the B&B at about 2:40 in the afternoon, and were much relieved to simply arrive and call it a day.
Now might be a good time to mention the food. The B&B typically works by serving you breakfast from x time to x time. In our case, as we had a personal cottage, this would not exactly work. Their solution? Since we had a full-on kitchen, complete with everything, they gave us pre-prepared foods that we could microwave on our own. To be honest, I was a bit dubious about the whole thing, but it turned out that my misgivings were unfounded. The food was nothing short of amazing (with the exception of one item), and there was so much of it we wondered who in their right mind could finish it all. And the variety was spectacular, on the whole.
On Wednesday evening, we had a major-league storm roll in. The beauty was that we had such a sweeping expanse to view it on, that we caught a great many amazing lightning strikes and funnel clouds on video. The pressure and wind changes were beyond ominous, but the funnels never fully formed into anything dire. Still, watching them drop before our eyes was astounding, and won't soon be forgotten. I just wish that the video had turned out better: but it was just too dark.
I brought with me the complete series of "NewsRadio" on DVD, and this turned out to be a surprise hit. The show is one of the best comedies I have ever seen, and the jokes and one liners just keep rolling. I laughed loud and often, and look forward to watching all of the remaining episodes that we didn't get to (there are 97, after all) in the near future.
Below our deck in the cottage, a Union-Pacific™ line ran, which at first we were hesitant about. It turned out to be an unfounded worry, as it was barely noticeable. Further, it was something of an interesting distraction watching the cars roll by. If we exited the front of our cottage (the side away from the river), and looked down-hill, we could see the tracks running into town clearly, which also made for an interesting spectacle.
From a flora and fauna standpoint, Wanda and I got our first glimpse of the Bald Cypress tree, and it's bizarre fruits, as well as meeting two different kinds of lizard. One I photographed, but the other was substantially smaller, was black with electric blue 'racing stripes' and eluded me as quickly as I had seen it. I still have no idea what these were, but they were new and interesting. Oh, and we also photographed a butterfly we hadn't seen before on a hiking trail.
The town of Hermann itself seems to be experiencing a resurgence, most likely thanks to the plethora of Bed & Breakfasts found there (we lost count after about ten or so), but more specifically to what the owners of ours were doing to expand the offerings of their own. The vineyards, I believe, are also a solid help in this facet.
It was a cute town, and I personaly would like nothing more than to return in a decade and see a great deal of positive growth and revitalization, while remaining true to the sesquintennial spirit of the town itself.
So, now we're home, and getting our normal life back in order. We still have the weekend, and we plan to enjoy the hell out of it.
The lawn has been baked to a golden brown, so no mowing still (yay!), even though the shaded areas are looking a little 'hippie'.
I did get the burning done Saturday, as it was wet out and I had two weeks worth piling up. I also got some reading in.
My attorney is still waiting for the service of papers for the planned libel/slander/defamation lawsuit by a former employee, which may very well be waiting for me at work on Monday - who knows. Even if an attorney takes the case, I can't see it making it to trial. And all of the folks who are lawyers, or who are in legal professions that I know (and there are a goodly lot of them, it turns out) all agree that I have done nothing legally wrong.
I cringe at the thought of what my desk will look like when I return to work, but of late it hasn't been too bad when I've returned. We also have two new employees who started last week that I have yet to meet, so that should be exciting and interesting. It's always refreshing for me: the moment before meeting these individuals. The reason? You just never know what they're going to bring to the table, and hopes are still set high. And often, those hopes can disappoint. But sometimes - just sometimes - you get a gem, and your life as a Manager becomes much easier to cope with.
I'm crossing my fingers for the latter.
(07/10/10 - 10:26 PM)
Went to work this morning to finish up some quoting. BORING.
Came home and napped. I must be getting old, because napping is now in the category of 'Awesome things to do'.
In the afternoon, we went to Wanda's sister's house for her nephew's graduation. It's so strange seeing him with his friends and girlfriend, when I still remember him as a small child doing small child things.
For as silly as he acts, I know that he's a great deal more intelligent than he lets on. And he'll do well in the world, so long as he applies himself. He already understands thrift, and his parents have engrained in him a good sense of right and wrong.
Now if we could just change his (and his father's) taste in music.
We gave Dena her gift today, and she seemed genuinely happy to have it. Let's hope so. I can't express in words how appreciative I am for all of her hard work and efforts on promoting the book.
I managed to even sell a copy, and got to meet a reader of said-same who truly enjoyed it. This was gratifying, and humbling all at the same time.
I may not have many fans but having fans feels - I have to admit - pretty cool. I may not ever sell a million copies, but feedback like that makes me warm and fuzzy all over.
It was also refreshing to hear someone who truly 'got' the flow of the book comment on it. I often hear that I didn't hook individuals right off the bat, which I still don't entirely understand. This young lady was different, in that she seemed to comprehend the concept right from the start. Which, in a nutshell, is what I intended all along. So, yay!
(07/09/10 - 8:22 PM)
Came home tonight from work, and was shocked to come to the realization that I - for once - did not need to mow the lawn.
It was like a little, epiphanic, Christmas.
Made chicken sandwiches with Gary & Pam's awesome garden goodies (i.e. - onions and lettuce) and they were made even more amazing than I could have hoped. Sometimes the simplest things make a good meal great.
So, thanks guys: You're gardening ninjas!
Hunkered down to unwind from a rough week of childish behavior and just forget that it all ever happened. Unwinding with your amazing wife is waaaaay under-rated.
(07/06/10 - 4:33 PM)
I received a resume this morning from a person with 'Part rime macice exprerience'.
Also, my friend and co-worker, Jason, was at a party where a young girl was mostly naked (i.e. - super-skimpy clothing), and one of his friends commented to her that she looked like a stripper, and was she anyone's daughter because he couldn't believe she was dressed like that.
She stated that she had, in fact, been a stripper, but had quit over $5 blowjobs (not entirely sure what that meant).
Then, she realized that she lived kitty-corner to Jason & his wife, Tricia. So, the ice was broken and they got to talking.
The same guy asks her now, how much for a blowjob for him. Jason says, "Oh, don't worry about him".
And she says, "Wait... That's so-and-so?"
Then she hollers back, "Hey! I'm your niece!"
(07/05/10 - 8:32 PM)
Took a day to just be. Napped like crazy, and just generally relaxed. I can't recall the last time I had such a relaxing, enjoyable weekend. It has literally been years.
(07/04/10 - 7:26 PM)
Went to see some old friends at the party at their home for the fourth. It was great to see old aquaintences, and the new additions as well.
Sold a few books, did some networking, and received some kind words.
We had some interesting conversations, and got to see first-hand what the ravages of Parkinsons can do. An old friend (and former boss of mine) is suffering terribly from it, and has been for the past five years. It was heartbreaking to see someone who enjoyed his freedom so much ravaged to the point where doing anything on his own was pretty much an impossibility.
Came home around seven and now it's off to enjoy some DVD's.
(07/03/10 - 9:16 PM)
Woke up this morning and went to work for about an hour and a half. Everyone else had been there good and early, so I was only there with one other guy. I worked through all the 'presents' left for me that morning, and the evening before, and finished up my quoting: Then I got out of Dodge.
Came home and decided to just go for it and work out in the yard. I trimmed the shrubs, weed-whacked and cleaned the firepit out after five years. I didn't think it was too full at all, but after two heaping cartloads of ash and dirt, was astounded at how deep the pit actually was. I had apparently forgotten.
Did the burning accumulated over the week, and swept out the garage. I was also surprised at the volume of grass and dirt that this yielded, but was glad to have had the time and frame of mind to do it.
Came in and gussied myself all up, and then Wanda and I went to my sister-in-law's parents' sprawling country home down the road for the afternoon.
My brother and his wife had invited a group of old friends over for camping and fun over the weekend, so we figured we'd stop out and see what was shaking.
Turned out that most were running late, so we spent an enjoyable few hours with my brother, his wife, her sister, and their friends Wade & Margaret who had their adorable new baby in tow.
We just hung out on the deck, had a few drinks, played a few games, and talked. And I honestly cannot remember the last time I had such a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon. I wish they could all be like that.
As the afternoon wore on, more individuals began to arrive. We re-aquainted with individuals who we had only met once before, and met individuals we had heard about before, but never met.
Everyone who had them brought their children, but they were all cute and well-behaved so it was entirely tolerable.
At about 5:30 we decided to head home and get some dinner. We both agreed that a pizza was in order, so we ended our day with pizza delivery and Millenium episodes on DVD.
All in all, an amazing day. Now I hope tomorrow goes just as well.
(07/02/10 - 9:53 PM)
Got off work a little early today, so I stopped for gas and went to drop off Dad's Father's Day gift before he came home from the lake once more. Then I came home to mow the lawn before the weekend set in.
I filled the mower with what was left of the gasoline, and hoped that it would be enough to - at the very least - finish the job.
I was nearly done, and had about 60 linear feet of lawn left to mow, when the mower ran out of fuel.
Frustrated, I tried the other mower but, it too, was empty.
Resigned to defeat, I grabbed the gas can and took my second trip of the day to the gas station. As I was seeking a pump, I came to the realization that it would probably have been an awesome idea to bring my wallet with me so that I could actually make a purchase.
I cursed my stupidity, and instead of going home, went around the corner to the shop. I picked up my still-unused hedge trimmer that my boss borrowed some three weeks ago to trim the trees at work, and grabbed three dollars out of petty cash.
After filling up the can, I came home and finished the lawn and then moved on to some other odds and ends chores before Wanda arrived home.
Then we went to the store for some supplies, and picked up something for dinner on the way home.
After dinner, I adjourned to our office to get caught up for the week on the media library, and even to attempt to get ahead for the upcoming weekend so that I had more time to relax, rather than worrying about all that I had to do. Which I'm really good about doing: If anything is undone, I treat it more like Vatican II than just dishes. I know - I'm nuts.
Tomorrow I will finish the yard and go to work for a bit. By then, I should have enough done to not worry so much for the remainder of the weekend.
(07/01/10 - 07/09/10 - 5:27 PM)
These dates have been removed at the behest of my Boss. I am honoring the request on his behalf, but I do so grudgingly. The whole point of this Blog was to be a rememberance to self about my life, not a political fulcrum for use by individuals.
Nevertheless, I respect my Boss, and have done as he has asked.
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Paper or Plastic: The Cashier Chronicles