Another Week In The Life Of    September 12, 1999
Sunday September 12, 1999 - 10:30:45 PM

Friday night before last (Sep. 3), Ruth and I dropped Isaiah off with his Grandma Joanne (my Mom) and went out for a nice dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. You know, it's funny how we never seem to get to do that very often now that the Boy is with us... Anyway, Ruth's brother, Mark, works at Blockbuster video rentals and was recently transferred to a new store we'd never been to before that was not too far out of the way of our trip home so we decided to pay him a visit on our way back. It turns out that I was extremely glad that we did so. Due to an astounding discovery on the previously viewed clearance table, my video library has taken on an addition of positively earth-trembling proportions!

"The Hobbit" and "The Return of The King" were out on the PVT (previously viewed tape) clearance table each marked $6.99, but all PVTs were $2 off so the regular price would have been $4.99. Would have been, that is, before Mark's 15% discount. I was stunned and elated but was not satisfied. Hoping against rationality I asked Mark if they might happen to have "The Lord of The Rings" laying around in a similar state of availability. "Man, I sure don't think so, but I'll check.." He said. In a flash it was in my hand. Within the span of a few moments I had scored the televisual totality of the quintessence of fantasy animation. I was filled with childlike excitement similar to that I felt when my Mavica was delivered by a big brown truck. Ruth was rolling her eyes at my delight and I really couldn't blame her but I was very happy.

Saturday I had wanted to put the new ignition parts I had bought the previous Thursday evening on the Scout, but I never got around to it. Instead I got new glasses and contact lenses. Only someone who has worn the same pair of contact lenses for two+ years can understand the rush induced by fresh, new optics. Not only were my new lenses marvelously more comfortable than the scratchy, gunky, far overdue for replacement old ones, but I could see. I could see much better than I had been able to for a long time. Of course, that is the kind of thing I never notice except under situations similar to this one. Nobody says "Hey, my vision has degraded overnight... I need new lenses!"- especially not someone like me who puts things like that off far too long. My new glasses are far superior to the old ones, too. They are almost stylish, in fact. They aren't perfect, but then, to me, no glasses are. They are far more comfortable than the old ones, though. My old ones would give me headache when I wore them very long because the frames were tortoiseshell-ish plastic which was slick and would slide down my nose. When this happened my ears would subconsciously try to pull the stems back up and the tension of the muscles I didn't realize were tensed would give me a horrible headache. Dispelling that particular "feature" is the best thing about the new glasses.

Monday was the holiday called "Labor Day". I know not the origin of this moniker, but I do know it means a day away from labor (off work, anyway) for me and that is good enough. We had planned to celebrate in the traditional (for us) way with a big cookout at Ruth's folks' house. They have the best yard of any of our local family- the best for a cookout anyway. Before the cookout, however, I installed the new parts on my Scout while Ruth cleaned the windows and interior of the (running much better after the replacement of the oil-soaked air cleaner) Oldsmobile. I enjoy working on cars. I like to put on new parts and hear them run better, to know that they are running more efficiently. I especially get a kick out of working on my Scout. Its a big thing, the Scout. You can't really stand next to it and reach in under the hood to work on it. You pretty much have to either stand on something to reach in to get at the engine or do what I did: climb up the big tires and sit on the side of the fender. When I finished putting on the new plugs, wires, cap, and rotor, I was rewarded with the smoothest start the Scout had ever given me before. I hit the key and staring button and without the least tap of the gas it roared to life. Then for good measure I climbed back up into he engine bay and sprayed some carb cleaner down it's throat. Maybe I'm a little odd, but it sure felt good to stand over the engine (345 ci v8), push back the throttle linkage, and be engulfed in the mighty, roaring, rush of air. Then I buttoned it up, put our grill and charcoal in the back, took a needed (I get filthy just opening the hood) shower, and followed Ruth and the Boy (both in the Olds) to the Denby's house. The weather was nice and we spent the whole afternoon out in their back yard. Isaiah had great fun- he loves to be outside. Good food and family fellowship was had by all.

Tuesday and Wednesday I had to wear a tie to work. The company I work for is producing a flight simulator for the revolutionary V-22 Tilt Rotor Osprey aircraft being developed for the military. My division is making the visual system and the group I work with is converting existing military databases into our format for use with our system. These databases are actually 3-D models of part of the earth and things such as aircraft and other vehicles used by the military. On Tuesday the Marines were coming and on Wednesday the Air Force, to see a progress review of what we have done so far. The team I am on is working on "moving models", that is, models of vehicles or objects that interact with the V-22, like ships with deck to land on, or enemy tanks to destroy. Tuesday we not only had to wear ties, but also spend half the day sitting in a meeting before we actually showed our models on a projector we had set up for the demonstration. Wednesday we had to wear the ties but fortunately, we didn't have to sit through the meeting again. The Tuesday meeting started off with everyone introducing themselves. There was one Air Force representative present on the Tuesday meeting with the Marines, Captain Cunningham. He said that Major So-and-So couldn't be present so he would be taking "copious" notes. Captain Cunningham was one of those types of people that you can see across the room and say "That guy thinks he is a bigshot." After the introductions, but before the meeting actually started, the Capt. said to another dude in the room from a different branch of the parent company I work for, "Hey, did you get the email I sent last night about xyz? No? Well, that's OK. I didn't know if you spent all your time in cyberspace like I do when I'm on the road." Yeah, right, Cap, whatever. Then when the meeting actually begins, Cap reaches under the table and fiddles with his bag a few minutes and then slyly pulls out one of the new super-thin laptop computers that is about the thickness of two legal pads stacked on top of each other and about the height and width of a sheet of typing paper but still has a 12.1 inch screen. Not one of the big, old, clunky things everybody else in the room is using (everyone with enough ego and enough lack of decorum to be displaying one in the meeting where there was no real use for one, anyway). Cap then starts typing away on something. Something that I can see doesn't look much like "copious notes". I found it amusing enough to see this clown working on who knows what on his precious status symbol so that everyone can see how 21st century he is, but when he then had to get out his pocket knife to release the bottom of his mouse to take out the ball and fumble around at cleaning the rollers during the meeting I had to clamp my jaws shut to hold in the giggles. Oh, and at the first break I found out what he had been working on instead of his "copious notes". He had been feverishly laboring away at the very important task of typing up the contact information roll list everybody had passed around and signed at the beginning of the meeting. Did I mention this cat asked a lot of dumb questions using fancy buzzwords and made ridiculous requests in the form of suggestions that were far outside the scope of our contract? He almost made that meeting enjoyable. He was even funnier the next day when he was looking at our demo projector (a projector of the type that will be used on the simulator) and telling one of his Air Force buddies how it worked. They say ignorance is bliss, but ignorance of what a bozo you are is a burden to everyone around you.

Saturday at 12:43 pm, we were to pick up my Mom from the airport. She had been in New Jersey all week in training for her new job. We met her just on time and then went out to lunch. I told her that a friend of our family whom we hand't seen for a long time had called Friday night and invited all of us to her house for a celebration of September birthdays for a whole group of people we know and like, but haven't seen for a while. Well, my Mom being my Mom, we couldn't just show up. We had to make a detour on the way home to the discount card store where we (she and us) each got five cards and five small, but nice gifts. I thought it was a bit much, but small as the gifts were, I guess it means a lot to get something from someone you haven't even seen in a couple of years. My begrudgement of the $20 worth of cards, candles, and coffee mugs had already waned somewhat by the time we got home, but later at the party it evaporated totally in the warm glow of heartfelt "thank you"s.

Today was the first Grandparent's Day (a holiday which I like, but was obviously cooked up between major greeting card producers and congressmen from paper manufacturing states...) for Ruth and my parents. Isaiah had been fussy all morning in church (Grandma Joanne likes to go walking around with Isaiah after church showing him off to everybody. Today's fussiness, though, cut that short.) and at lunch (He didn't want any old baby food for lunch. He wanted whatever it was the big folk were eating. I explained to him that roast beef requires teeth and suggested he look on it as added incentive to push some out through his gums. He was, however, nonplussed by my exposition.), but he cooperated by being happy and talking when we called Grandpa Roger in Arizona. I try to do a good job of emailing pictures of the Boy to my Dad, but audio takes a mighty lot of bandwidth, so the bulk of hearing Isaiah is done over the phone. We then went over to the Denby's house to hang out with some more grandparents for a while.

So, there it is. A week in the life of- ME and my family. Nothing really exciting happened, but it was a good week all in all. Any week with a vacation day is a good week, I think.

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