Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Just for the record

I feel my wife is my perfect soul mate and my marriage is the best thing that's ever happened to me. Any perceived criticism of my wife or my marriage exists solely in the mind of the reader and you should be ashamed of yourself for even thinking that way.

No kidding. The plain truth. Nuf Sed.

The things I don't have time for right now

My life is moving forward again, and although I'm happy as I can be about that, I've lost the time to do lots of things I love doing. I mean, TV-wise, I haven't seen Smallville at all this year (well, twice) nor have I seen any Battlestar Galactica. I've never seen a single episode of 24 or Alias, ever. TV consists of a couple of hours a week watching a show with Bernie. I just bought a new PC with my bonus money from work, and I haven't touched it except to set it up to make sure it runs. I got a new car stereo for Christmas that plays MP3s off the CD, and I want to rip every CD I have and condense them to MP3 format so that I only have to keep 4 or 5 CDs in the car (Haven't even gotten started). I've hardly had any time to blog, so I'm doing it during lunch today.

For those of you who are wondering, the new house is going great. We've got all the furniture in, and we've emptied the storage unit into the garage and nearly got all that stuff put away. We have a room that a friend lent us in their house that is full of more boxes that needs to get moved, so that's next on the list. Once the cabinet maker returns to fix his unfinished work, we can move in kitchen stuff and then bring in the bed and actually start living in the house for real.

Bad news, the custom blinds don't fit. We measured twice before ordering just to be sure, and last night, after we discovered the bad fit, we re-measured and it was different. I think the painters/sheetrock folks did something after we measured, but bottom line is that the $300 custom blinds for the living room won't fit. Hopefully, Lowes can trim them for us when we buy the rest of the blinds for the house. This really bummed me out last night, I can tell you.

Bernie has pretty much decided that every stick of furniture I brought into the marriage must be chopped up and burned, then she wants to scatter the ashes. She is grudgingly allowing most of my stuff to go into the house for now, so that we have something other than the floor to sit things and ourselves upon. I think we're going to buy a new bed for the master bedroom first thing. After that, we start replacing things one at a time. My parents (and wife, too, I think) are on a witch-hunt to get rid of my comfy chair in the living room. Darn, I love that chair. I think my comfy sofa is next on the hit list after that.

My next project that I'm looking forward to is to re-terminate my phone jacks to make them into ethernet jacks so we can have a wired network in the house. Then I need to put a wall plate on the surround-sound pre-wire, so I can just plug in components. This is guy stuff, and it's something that no one else in the family can interfere with, so I'm really excited to get started on it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

You tawkin' to me? Do I AMUSE you?

Big Pauly

People Iced:Forty One
Car Bombs Planted:Nineteen
Favorite WeaponSwitchblade
Arms Broken:Thirty One
Eyes Gouged:Four
Tongues Cut Off:Fourteen
Biggest Enemy:Smuggler

Get Your HITMAN Name

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pencilling in a butt-kicking for tomorrow

Went to the house tonight. Nothing's been done in the past 2 days. The vanity mirror was delivered and is sitting on the front porch since no one worked there today and unlocked the place.

The builder gets a call from me at 8 am tomorrow. I ain't happy.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

It's curtains for you, Lefty...curtains, I say...

We closed on the house on Friday, and despite some things not being totally complete, it's all ours.

We spent the day today hanging curtains, putting a floor in the attic, getting a garage door opener installed, and having the appliances delivered. Tomorrow, I epoxy the garage floor.

You may have noticed that none of this includes moving furniture. As usual, I'm doing this backwards. We move the furniture next weekend, after all the add-ons are done. Not that we have much furniture anyway. I have my old couch and chair, my mom's old dining room set, a futon, a chest of drawers, and a couple of TVs. The bed is a select comfort mattress, so it deflates and packs in a box. We're going to have to buy new stuff to fill the house, and we are NOT in a hurry.

I'm hoping this goes down as the easiest move ever. Wish us luck! Pics of the house will come next week after we get moved in.

Friday, February 17, 2006

No time to post right now

No time to post today. Everybody's over at Elizabeth's blog talking about her kid's penis.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

L'Morte d'Jeep

Today was a good day until 1:30 or so. I was taking care of all the little personal to-dos that needed to be done before the house closing on Friday. Last item on the list: Get the brakes on the jeep fixed.

A little background: My old 1979 jeep that I've had for 7 years in hopes of slowly improving it to something other than a rust-bucket has been in storage since I moved to Charlotte. I dusted it off in December in order to get it inspected and it passed, after I got a muffler replaced. No other problems. A month later, I started it just to keep the battery alive, and I noticed the brake pedal went straight to the floor with no resistance. This usually indicates the master cylinder is dead and needs replacing ($35 + labor). So I called Pep Boys who has a great deal on towing where you get a rebate if you get repairs done there.

So I have the jeep towed to Pep Boys, and they call me at 1:30 with good news and bad news. Good news: The master cylinder is the problem. Bad News: They can't get it on the lift.

"Why can't you get it on the lift?"
"Because the frame has rusted through and if I lift it, it will break in two."

That was it. The jeep was dead. Getting a new frame and getting it installed would cost $3000. The jeep isn't worth 1/3 of that, and I don't have the money to invest in it since I'm buying a new house, furniture, and a new car for Bernie this month. I'm having it towed to the junkyard tomorrow.

One of the many things I was looking forward to this spring was driving my jeep again. Now I'll never be able to. I loved this thing enough to haul it down to Charlotte on a trailer when I moved from Raleigh and to store it indoors for 16 months, and now all that effort is wasted. My mother mentioned that there are only two items of my former life before moving and marriage left: The jeep and my cat. Now there's only one.

I'm pissed off, depressed, and sulky. This was an unkind cut, and even though it isn't truly important to my life and plans, it hurts.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Gearing up for the big week!

OK, this week is a biggie. I've got V-day on Tuesday, and closing on the new house on Friday. I went out to the house today, and folks, it ain't ready yet. They've got quite a bit of work to do to have it complete on time. We are walking through on Tuesday to put together the punch list, but at this time, there are several doors without knobs, missing appliances, wires hanging from ceilings, paint-sprayed windows, uninstalled fixtures, no electricity, etc. Good luck, P&N builders - you're on the clock!

Meet Bernie's new ride! We got a 2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS fully-loaded with only 18,000 miles on it. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the speakers for the sound system were 90% non-functional on the left side, and the brakes were a bit mushy. They are taking care of both for us and we pick it up on Monday evening. After I signed the deal, I handed Bernie the keys and told her "Happy Valentine's Day! Isn't this better than flowers?" She's pretty happy with it, but wishes she had it here today to show off.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The trap has been set

Ahhh...yes. Valentine's Day is just around the corner. So, being the conscientious, loving husband that I am, I ask the wife "What do you want to do for Valentine's day?"

The answer: "Nothing. Just make sure I'm happy that day."

As Admiral Ackbar would say, "IT'S A TRAP!"

Here's the pitfalls with that statement:

1. It's a workday. She hates her job. How can I keep her happy at work all day? Think I can convince her to take the day off?

2. She's sworn off chocolate - says it makes her heart race. She's not into stuffed animals or flowers. The easy answers have been ruled out before the game begins.

3. The rest of my family is dieting - this makes going out for dinner problematic. Plus, we're having our family 'cheat' meal out on Saturday at a pretty fancy place. That being said, having dinner out is part of the plan.

I've got a few days to think about how I can pull this off. I just wanted to state for the record that I know there's a trap here somewhere. I've just gotta avoid stepping in it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The suckiest week...

I've been on the road this week. The company put me on a project where we are installing our new Drive-thru timer product in a bunch of (name deleted, but they have pretty good roast beef sandwiches) stores. This is a pilot project, meaning we expect problems to occur and to have to resolve them, taking extra time to do so. I'm in charge of the software installation and configuration, and the company that we contract the hardware part to sent along a nice fellow to travel with me and hang all the monitors and run the wires. Unfortunately, we allowed the other company to schedule the travel, and so we are doing 4 stores in 4 days in 4 different states. We started by flying on Sunday to Richardson, Texas, working a 12 hour day on Monday, then flew to Indianapolis.

On Tuesday, we were supposed to install a store, then drive 6 hours to Middleburg Heights, Ohio to install a store on Wednesday. Instead, the other company asked us to install a second store in Indianapolis (one that had not had a site survey, so we didn't know what to expect). We protested, but they had of course already committed to the customer, so we had to do it (what are our opinions worth, anyway?). Well, as you might expect, we ran into serious problems. We had disconnected the existing system, so there was no going back, and no way we could leave until we had it resolved. We ended up on the phone to the programmer and developer until 2 am. Driving to Ohio wasn't possible, so we checked back into our original hotel and slept for 6 hours and hit the road the next day.

We got to Middleburg Heights at 4pm and ran into more problems. I couldn't get the Win2000 back office PC to connect to the SQL database on the WinXP drive-thru PC. We have run into this before and after wrestling with it for about a half hour, it tends to miraculously give in and connect. Not this time (of course). I spent another couple of hours on the phone trying to resolve it, and this time we had to give up. We got on the road at 11:30pm and drove about half the distance to the next site by 2am and got a hotel to catch some sleep. We cancelled our flights home, as there is no chance to get to Baltimore by 5pm. I called Hertz and told them we'd be driving all the way back to Charlotte and I'd return the rental car there.

Luck was with us, though. My wife found us flights back to Charlotte from Harrisburg, PA, which is just 30 minutes away from the job site in Shrewsbury.

Today, we got up at 7am and drove 4 hours to Shrewsbury, PA. At last, we had an install go easy! We got there at 11am and got the install finished by 3pm. Now I'm sitting at the airport in Harrisburg (there's a free wireless hotspot!!!) waiting to go home. I'll get back to Charlotte at 11-something, and I'm ABSOLUTELY NOT going to work tomorrow.

Add it up, and I worked (driving included) 68 hours this week in 5 days. This doesn't include air travel time. Putting it another way - I've averaged about 5 hours of sleep each night, and those are the only hours I wasn't working or travelling, so (5 x 24)-20= 100 hours of work. I'm going to sleep all day tomorrow.

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