Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Chimney Works!

Walter waited until I go home last night to build a fire in the newly repaired fireplace. So here it is two months after our move in we were finally able to enjoy a warm fire on a cold rainy night.

video

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Week's Worth of Happenings

It has been an extremely long week, as are most weeks that lead up to one of our two day conferences. This week was just a wee bit longer, since on top of the usual preparation necessary, I was working two teleconference calls on the Thursday evening prior. One at 8 p.m. Eastern then the 2nd at 8 p.m. Pacific (11 p.m. Eastern). In the end I didn't get into before until around 12:30 a.m. this morning.

I was surprised this morning, as I headed out for downtown Richmond, with the blanket of fog that was covering the area. Leaving the house it was almost impossible to see further than a car length in front of me. The fog certainly didn't clear out any the closer I got to the river, however things did improve by the time I made it to Cary Street.

There have been some of the usual snafu's along with a few that have been a tremendous hassel. I tried to access the office remotely (usually not a problem) and wasn't able to find the office computer. Turned out that the office router was acting up, all it needed was a reboot and things were back to normal. Yet it took a couple of hours to figure this out.

I'm exploring going back to school to get a Masters Graphic Design Certification. It is a 17 class program and would really do some back filling on what I've been doing. Since I've never really 'taken' any classes in the work that I do. I've managed to slip in a few phone calls about school during the day today and am pretty sure that this is something that I'll be doing. I'll be able to get a student loan for this and that'll definitely help get things underway and give me a way to manage it without a huge chunk out of pocket at the start.

The little squirrel was hanging out next to the fence behind the office this week. He was having a grand old time munching on Cheerios. There was a Blue Jay too, but he was much more elusive, by the time I'd get him in focus he'd fly off. Maybe next time.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day:
(Fortune cookie wisdom) "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there."

Cleaning Poem

I asked the Lord to tell me
Why my house is such a mess.
He asked if I'd been 'computering',
And I had to answer 'yes.'

He told me to get off my fanny
And tidy up the house.
And so I started cleaning up...
The smudges off my mouse.

I wiped and shined the topside.
That really did the trick...
I was just admiring my work.
I didn't mean to 'click.'

But click, I did, and oops I found
A real absorbing site.
That I got SO way into it.
I was into it all night.

Nothing's changed except my mouse
It's very, very shiny.
I guess my house will stay a mess.....
While I sit here on my hiney.


Public Restrooms
This is hilarious

When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants! The dispenser for the modern 'seatcovers'(invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty.. You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there was one, but there isn't - so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume ' The Stance.'

In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold 'The Stance.'

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, 'Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!' Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck, that now, you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest w! ay possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet. 'Occupied!' you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT . It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late.

Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat beca use YOU never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try. You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, 'You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get.'

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl that sprays a fine mist of water that covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes. The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe! with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting.

You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe! (Where was that when you NEEDED it??) You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, 'Here, you just might need this'

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used, and left the men's restroom. Annoyed, he asks, 'What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?'

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with a public restrooms (rest??? you've GOT to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked questions about why women go to the restroom in pairs.

It's so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door!

This HAD to be written by a woman! No one else could describe it so accurately!

A Friend Is Like A Good Bra...

Hard to Find
Supportive
Comfortable
Always Lifts You Up
Never Lets You Down or Leaves You Hanging
And Is Always Close To Your Heart!!!

FINALLY, SOMEONE HAS CLEARED THIS UP

For centuries, Hindu women have worn a dot on their foreheads. Most of us have naively thought this was connected with tradition or religion, but the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. has recently revealed the true story.

When a Hindu woman gets married, she brings a dowry into the union. On her wedding night, the husband scratches off the dot to see whether he has won a convenience store, gas station, donut shop, taxi cab or a motel in the United States . If nothing is there, he must remain in India to answer telephones and provide us with technical advice.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Conversation with the Sheriff

Walter wanted me to make it perfectly clear to everyone. That when the Sheriff walked up to the car he wasn't poised to give him a ticket. It was just a conversation. The Sheriff only asked for his driver's license, no registration or anything like that. The jist of the conversation was hi how you doing, where you headed, and did he realize that we had just gone through a 25 mph zone. He was telling us this as we sat at the speed limit sign indicating 35 mph.

He wasn't even carrying a ticket book with him. He never told us exactly how fast we were going, so I'm presuming there was no radar involved. He just said we were going a little fast and wanted him to know.

We had just been keeping pace with the vehicle in front of us and hadn't seen any change in speed limit signs, so it really was a surprise to both of us. We did make a point of checking out the street signs on the back through. Turns out that the North bound side of the road was heavily marked with 25 mph sign, while the South bound side only had one! Hmm, can you say speed trap.

Spontaneous Road Trip

This morning (Saturday) Walt & I went out to Target to pick up a few things for the house. Curtain rods, sheers and such, when conversation turned to taking pictures and me wanting to go to the Eastern Shore. Well, much to my surprise, Walter had been harboring a secret desire to find an excuse to head off to Ocracoke. So from the time we left Target to the time we pulled into the driveway at home it had been decided that we were off on a road trip to Ocracoke! Packing took less than 20 minutes and that included getting hotel reservations.

Thus began the adventure for the day. Miss Carla hopped in the backseat and settled in for the ride. We hit 460 and headed East to 17, thru the Dismal Swamp and on to Elizabeth City. We got checked into the hotel then headed off to Ocracoke.

Some where on 460, after Wakefield, I spotted several hogs near the side of the road. One sow even had piglets. I hadn't seen pigs in years, of course a picture was absolutely necessary. While going thru the Dismal Swamp we saw no less than seven hawks sitting on fence posts near the road. The rain made it difficult to get photos, but I did manage one of a hawk in flight. We hit Ivor and saw something that I had seen since Italy! Three wheeled little trucks! They were so cute. I called back to the dealer and found out that they are classified here as motorcycles! Hmm... This could be a interesting turn of events.

On the way to the Outerbanks we passed by Grave Digger and got the obligatory photos. Walter had to stop at Hatteras Hammocks to pose for a picture next to the world's largest hammock. We stopped by the Bodie Island lighthouse for photos and then headed on towards Hatteras.

We made a stop at one of the walkovers and took Carla over the dunes to the beach. I don't know who was funnier, Carla or Walter laughing at Carla. She was so excited. When we got to the dunes she had to stop everywhere to smell everything! On the beach she was so hyper, running everywhere, not quite seeming to know what to do. Walt ran down to the edge of the water and she followed right along. Until....the water chased her. That's when she took off back up toward the dunes. She was having no part of water that moved, no way!

Our ferry ride over to Ocracoke was uneventful for Walt & I, but for Carla it was another matter. We had her out on deck to stretch, but she really shied away from walking too far. She did look much more comfortable once safely ensconced in the backseat of the car, and even more so once the wheels hit dry land.

We continued our trip onward to Howard's Pub. This was the goal of the whole trip, dinner out! Having never dined there I had no expectation other than what Walter told me and the fact that it was good, amazing in itself. I definitely wasn't disappointed. The oysters, shrimp and scallops were fabulous. We even had a bowl of crab corn chowder which was flavorful and really hit the spot on a rainy evening.

The only thing that I should have done before leaving was try to get a cup of cofee to go. The coffee would have really hit the spot while riding back on the ferry. Turns out that, what we would have known if we came this way often, virtually everything on Hatteras Island closes down before 9:00 p.m. I don't know if it's that way during the Summmer or not. We did find one place in Buxton that was still open at 10:00 so we were able to stock up on coffee and a couple of other things for the 2 1/2 hour trip back to Elizabeth City.

That drive turned out to be one of the oddest things I've experienced in quite awhile. There was no traffic on the road. From the time we got off the ferry at 9:30 p.m. to the time we arrived back MilePost 1, Walter counted five cars traveling North. Of that five only 1 car ever passed us the others were just headlights in the rearview mirror. The number going South was markedly higher - giving Walter the creepy feeling that they were 'running away' from something that he was driving right into.

We got back into Elizabeth City around 12:30 a.m. It was nice to be out of the car, dry and able to stretch out for a good rest. Carla definitely seemed grateful as well.

I've posted photos on Facebook and you can see them by click on this link.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Winding Down the Week

Here it is the end of a long week. It has been quite eventful. The big snow, a snow day, a teaser snow day, adventures in ice driving, late work nights, a couple of teleconference, continued on and off construction in the house, window delivery, all to be topped off with the two-day conference.

The conference which was the big build up for the week has gone very well. Our doctors arrived on Friday morning all in good spirits, having come in from all parts of the United States (Connecticut, Florida, California, Minnesota, and even Hawaii). Our group is ever expanding, It was great greeting them all, they have become more like friends rather than just 'clients'. There were several doctors in the group that weren't in attendance and they were greatly missed. I trust that they will be here in June at our next meeting.

Yesterday, during our meeting, I had a conference call and was able to get near a window on the 10th floor of the Omni here in Richmond. The view was quite interesting. It was the reflections in the windows of the neighboring building that were of particular interest.




There was even a view of the James River and train tracks running beside it. Looking a little closer we were even able to see the rapids near the middle of the river.


Driving into Richmond this morning I noticed on the Wachovia Securities building sign that the DOW was sitting near 6650. Wow! Where have I been for the last few weeks/months? The last time that I had heard or noticed it was sitting at just under 10,000. It must be all the hours that I'm keeping at the office (and away from the news media in general). If they aren't talking about it on 107.3 (this is what we have piped into the office) I'm not hearing about it.

As I pulled up to the stop light at the end of the road, the daffodils in the median were in full bloom. It's hard to believe that just five days ago it was nothing but a big pile of snow. On top of that I was plesantly surprised this evening when I arrived back home. There are crocus' blooming in the front yard. It is going to be a Spring full of surprises, since we haven't a clue as to what's actually planted in the yard.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought For the Day:
"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. ... I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere." - Thomas Jefferson

Hot and Cold Sex

After his exam the doctor said to the elderly man:

"You appear to be in good health. Do you have any medical concerns you would like to ask me about?"

"In fact, I do," said the old man.

"After I have sex I am usually cold and chilly, and then, after I have sex with her the second time, I am usually hot and sweaty."

After examining his elderly wife, the doctor said:

"Everything appears to be fine. Do you have any medical concerns that you would like to discuss with me?"

The lady replied that she had no questions or concerns.

The doctor then said to her: "Your husband had an unusual concern. He claims that he is usually cold and chilly after having sex with you the first time, and then hot and sweaty after the second time. Do you know why?"

"Oh that crazy old man," she replied.

"That's because the first time is usually in January and the second time is in August."

The Importance of Correct Punctuation

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours?
Gloria

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever.

When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours,
Gloria

Monday, March 2, 2009

SNOW DAY!

Today is my first official 'Adult' Snow Day, in over 25 years. It is a very odd feeling. Way back in the early 80's I had one or two when I was working for Liberty Mutal, but since then...I was always home with the kids. When the kids had a snow day it was a double work day for me. Cleaning up from all the running in and out.

Now that the snow has almost ceased falling, I am in a slight pickle. No snow shovel. I'm not sure where it went from the move two years ago to the apartment, although who really needs one in an apartment. I really should have bought one on Saturday, but I was in denial...it just doesn't snow in Richmond. We get teased, just never enough to be more of annoyance. Until...you're not prepared and get taught a lesson. Looks like that will be an after the fact purchase sometime next week, that won't be used for another five years.

This afternoon...

I headed outside when there was a lull in the snow to dig out the car. I was used a dust pan (necessity is the mother of invention). It did a really nice job, but I wouldn't want to go for a long stretch doing it. Just when I thought I'd gotten things going well I started to go back into the house only to find the utility room storm door stuck. The storm door got too cold and became firmly stuck.

I didn't have keys, but I did have the cell phone. Which turned out not to be of much use since Walter wasn't answering his phone (he was inside the house). I pounded on the door some more then finally had to call Christine to get her to let me in. That's when things really got funny. The door wouldn't open for her...so she tracked down Walter so that he could open it, but then it wouldn't open for him.

He finally resorted to going out the back door, getting a shovel (albeit a very small one) and digging a path for me to the back door so I could get in. By the time we got to the backdoor and were all ready to come in, the backdoor was locked. The little guy in the house locked the backdoor after Walter went outside. After pounding on the door and trying to get the little guy to unlock the door (without success). I gave up and called Christine again to let us into the house.

I'm FINISHED with being outside. No more going out for me, being locked out is absolutely no fun.

I lied. I did head back out, but only with supervision. I wanted a few more pictures, before things got too mushy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March Snow!

Here it is March 1st and we have our 1st, more than a flurry, snow storm. We started out with a bit of sleet then progressed on to actual snow.

Walter had us order in some pizza for dinner. It was getting late and he noticed that traffic was not moving up the road, so he walked down to pick up the pizza from the driver at the road. It seems that the little hill up to our house is giving a whole lot of people difficulty.

It looks like we have about 3-4 inches of snow on the deck railing. Carla went out to potty, and immediately turned right around and came back into the house. She's not interested in pottying in the cold wet snow. She's not that desperate yet.

The scenery is lovely. I wish I could get photos at night. It is beautiful. We don't get that much snow that looks great. I'm sensing an early morning with the camera outside, I do want to get photos before it melts away.

I snapped these out the side door of the house, they are more of the neighbor's yard than ours, but I was trying to get the snow.