Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Whining Pays Off - For Once

I whined my butt off about the last minute trip to Atlanta. It worked, but I don't know how. Who cares, I'm not going. The trip was dished off to someone else. Whew!!! The Rocky Theme is playing in my head again. The sod chore is back on (now I gotta rearrange delivery). Vacation starts with a smile Friday afternoon. I plan to get lots of writing done in the next several days. Getting psyched. A quick trip to Clearwater, a few days at our beach, a few days on the back porch beating the keys on another book. Sounds like a plan. Green Side Up Baby!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Best Laid Plans (or sod)

We busted our tails this past weekend to save ourselves from busting them during future weekends. Our house has lots of landscaping & this includes huge mulch beds with plenty of 'stuff'. The problem is, mulch beds have to be weeded. Very time consuming, not to mention back breaking. One 'bed' the size of some yards, runs from a point in the front yard, wraps around down the side of the house & widens between the neighbor's fence & our brick patio. Emptied that bed - at least 200 loads of mulch, cut out roots, transplanted 'stuff', raked & loosened soils. It's READY now for sod. I ordered the sod for delivery Thursday or Friday of this week. I scheduled a week off so we could get the work done & then spend some much needed time away for a few days. Everything is set to go. Getting myself mentally prepared. Rocky Theme is playing in my head..... & then... I got an email at 6PM that may screw it all up.

My project is essentially finished - which justifies a vacation. Everything tied up in a neat little bow. Did I mention I got an email that may screw everything up?

The email says that the company needs me to be in Atlanta Wednesday night to fill in on another project through - get this - Saturday. Saturday! I only work Saturdays when absofreakinlutely necessary - rarely in other words. This arrangement may mean I won't get home until Sunday. That means I'll have a bunch of sod sitting in the driveway for at least a few days before I can start. It also means, that without mulch, weeds will grow in the beds, leading to a duplication of prep work effort. It also means that the 'vacation' will get off to a totally crappy start. Instead of driving home with a smile on Friday afternoon looking forward to 9 consecutive days of no work, I'll be in the air feeling shortchanged. Vacation time for me ranks right up there with OXYGEN. Work hard - play hard - enjoy life - give n' take. The idea is always to sandwich 5 vacation days between 2 weekends.

I fired off an email suggesting they (my company) try to make arrangements for someone else to pinch hit, explaining my great plans & intentions (all totally true). It probably won't get me anywhere. Maybe I'll postpone my vacation so I get my 9 days & just pay somebody to put the damn sod down. The hard part is done.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I coached baseball for a long time & enjoyed it thoroughly. One year I coached 4 teams simultaneously, that wasn't so fun. My oldest son Michael sent me a message on myspace today that brought back some good memories. Jack (my grandson) started Tee Ball. He's a bit young, won't be 5 until the season is over & is competing with some kids who have been playing for a few years. Michael, being the proud Papa that he is (& should be) explained that Jack is doing well hitting the ball, as good as the some & better than most. (You should see the little bugger hit a golf ball.) Mike proceeds to comment that Jack is a little slower as a runner (he's only 4 Mike!!) prompting me to remind Michael that his nickname was refrigerator back - because he ran the bases like he was carrying a refrigerator. I, by the way, did not give him that nickname. If Jack can hit, throw & catch half as well as his dad & Uncle Chris - he'll be terrific. You don't have to be fast when the ball is "outta there".

Mike - If you ever read this - Think a bit about why you & your brother played catcher. Center field just wasn't in the cards.

So it all starts again. My kid watching his kid play ball. I hope Mike & Christine enjoy it as much as Deb & I did.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Had To Post This

I received this from a friend via email & decided to include it here. The formatting doesn't quite work, but the story deserves the space - properly formatted or not.

It's called - Will you give this to my Daddy?

As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.'

Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the
airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me I'm not alone. I'm not theonly red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who
are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of ourservice men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.

The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and thenkissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As themom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the
young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney,
bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you. He thenhugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Hefinished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more thananything and he is coming home very soon.'

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank
God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

'Just Do It'

I like to take advantage of certain TV nights (American Idol? gimme a break!) & write or edit. I started the night with the best of intentions but allowed myself to be drawn into visiting some of my favorite blog sites. Now it's almost 10PM & I've accomplished nothing. The whole day was one of those kind of blah, torturously long, boring days - nothin' much goin' on. To start with, I overslept. Only a handful of guys showed up at the job, no visitors, felt lousy this afternoon. I was stressed out for absolutely no reason & kinda crashed when I got home (OK I DID read for an hour). Maybe I'm just getting lazy (or old). My book (the title keeps changing - another source of annoyance) is soooooo damn close to being 110% but I can't seem to make that last push to wrap up my part of the editing. It's been like that for 2 weeks.

Guess I'll have to lock myself away for 2 days &, as Mr Nike would say, 'Just Do It'.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

When Schedules Get Screwy

My real job requires me to be a scheduling freak. Sequence - order - deadlines. Lots of parts & pieces to move around the board all to be used to assemble a finished product - in my case buildings. I get to SEE the progress each day as the project takes shape, so there's a certain amount of instant gratification. When we hit bumps, such as weather, equipment delays, AWOL workers, etc, everything gets reworked, tightened up & jockeyed around. The end dates never change. I've been doing this long enough that this doesn't really phase me. (Never let 'em see ya sweat!) I'm finishing a project now. Made lots of money. Done in plenty of time. Happy client. A cakewalk. Friday was going to be a cruise control kind of day.

AND THEN THURSDAY AFTERNOON HAPPENED.... Tomorrow's schedule - is all screwed up. How did this happen? Somehow I now have 3 meetings in the morning - 2 at the same time (in different places, no less), 1 is with the owner of the company that I work for - just him n' me. Guess which meeting I won't be missing. The architect emailed me TONIGHT that he & his team will be on my project tomorrow AM. I won't be there. The building inspector will be on site for 2 inspections. Requested him for afternoon - he's taking 1/2 a day off tomorrow so he'll be there in the AM. I won't be there. Busted my butt preparing a presentation (a few days in advance so I wouldn't work on the weekend), finished it this afternoon - 20 minutes before a notice by email that that meeting has now been postponed. Tomorrow I will have to fit 2 days into 1.

Friday Cruise Control - set at 95 mph.