Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Not success, but not failure either.

Back from my weekend hunting trip.  Saw a few cows, and a bunch of mule deer does, and even 2 mule deer bucks, but no Bull Elk.  So, from that view point, I guess the trip might have been a failure.

But...I refuse to call any trip involving views like is as a total failure...

It just means maybe I should have invested all that money in a camera instead of a rifle and a scope...

Settling in for the night to get some clothes washing, and to watch AMC's new series Walking Dead...flat out freaky so far. 


Heading out

Gonna be off-line for a few days...heading up into the hills south of Naches for my attempt at Elk hunting.  I have gone from not having enough stuff to bring hunting to having WAY too much stuff for what is two days worth of hunting.  And I still need to stop at Wal-mart on my way out of town...need to get some beer(I think PBR), some snacky foods(Pop-Tarts!) and a package of cheap nasty cigars(Swisher-Sweets are the normal choice). 

Hopefully, I don't forget the guns...my primary elk gun is a Remington Model 700 chambered in .35 Whelen...a kind of goofy caliber choice, but as a kid something about the cartridge intriqued me, and as an adult, I don't often scratch my 'Just for the Hell of It' itch.  Granted, when it's time to buy ammo, I DO wish I had gone with something a little more conventional, like a .30-06. 

Sooner or later, I might actually get to shoot an elk with my rifle.

One thing to leave you with.  I am recently digging the Hell out of this song AND video.  It's dirty as all hell, but allow to present Cee Lo Green....F#&k You(yes, it is the UNcensored version.)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc0mxOXbWIU


My sensitive side

Being an eclectic man of many interests, it only seems fair to talk about hunting preps one day, than expound upon my love of Glee the next night.

Love might be a strong a strong word.  My wife and I never really watched most of the first season...I really didn't give the show much of a chance until the 'Journey' episode, so I can hardly be considered a 'Gleek'.  I am continually blown away by the talent of the the kids(well, they are in the 20's for the most part) on the show...it kills me to think Kesha has the career she does, while these folks are...well, doing okay for themselves on Glee. 

I am also a pretty big fan of Rocky Horror, so I was looking forward to last nights Rocky Horror episode, and I thought it was really well done.  I understand they have to change some things to keep it okay for the 8PM slot on TV, and I thought the choice for Franken-n-Furter was inspired, even though having a girl play the part means it's not really a transvestite anymore, but....whatever...that girl can sing.

My favorite scene from the show was  'Toucha, Toucha Toucha, Me.'  It was very well played, tribute to the original, and I also thought that Jayma Mays sounded more like Susan Sarandon then Lea Micheals did...breathier...plus, she is a red head(Yes, Jayma Mays does it for me...but I think SWMBO knows that already)


 Let's also go ahead and add John Stamos to the list of people who are too good looking and too talented to continue to exist.  He once had Rebecca Romjin, and now he gets to hang out on TV and sing and do dance numbers with Jayma...shame on him.



Ranch and Home

Got out of training today, and rather than go look at tumbleweeds blow through empty farmers fields like I did yesterday, while pretending that counts as hunting, I decided to take some time to get ready for the opening day of Elk season, which is this Saturday.  Typically, I take about 7 days off for elk hunting...I head out on Thursday to help my buddy set up camp, we sleep in and do some shooting and a little scouting Friday, and then I commit fairly thoroughly to hunting Saturday-Wednesday, or even Thursday, before heading home to have a relaxing three day weekend with the family before reporting back to work, so I can fly to New York for 7 months.(sorry...that was just last year).

This year, due to the whole 'starting a new job and not having earned any time off yet' thing, I am heading over after work Thursday(or maybe Friday morning), then hunting Sat/Sun before heading back to the Tri-Cities Sunday night.  The shorter drive to our hunting area in Naches makes this less of a chore.  It does mean I am sacrificing driving back to Belfair to see my wife and kids this weekend.  Which makes it doubly and triply nice that my wife drove out here last weekend, and is thinking of doing it again the first weekend in November, so I won't have to go three weeks without seeing my favorite three girls.  

Anyway...since I am usually going hunting for a week or so, I go loaded pretty heavy for clothes...figuring  less showers cancels out with more clean undies.  This time though, since I am only going up for about 2.5 days, I am less prepared than I should be...I feel kind of like I am going to be heading down the road with nothing more than a spare pair of underwear in my back-pocket if I don't get on the planning. 

One of the things I am lacking is a water-proof coat.  The past two years, I had a nice, light, water-proof camouflage outer shell layer. Well, last year in my rush to get to New York, I left it in my old Ford Ranger, still somewhat damp...and the resulting science experiment caused me to get rid of my nice coat.  Today I hit up Ranch and Home in Kennewick looking for a new coat. 

It was my first time going to Ranch and Home...nice store...part hard ware, part sporting goods...plenty of shoes, clothes and work wear.  I found exactly the coat I was looking for...the same coat I had to throw away!  Minus the fungus.  Water Proof is a must hunting in Washington, and I like the fact that is light, because I would prefer to layer up underneath instead of just having a bulky out-layer. 

I also picked up a new pair of work boots while I was there...my company covers up to $150 for boots, once a year, so I picked up a nice pair...Converse work boots?  Why thank you very much: 

I like the composite safety toe instead of steel...lighter, and hopefully won't pass the cold straight through on winter days around here. 


I had been previously warned that fall weather here is not always as perfect as what I had been experiencing.  I have been pretty in love with the weather the last few weeks...mostly upper 60's to low 70's and sunny, which is what I love about a Western Washington summer.  But now, it looks like fall is settling in. Upper 40's to Upper 50's, and WINDY.

Yesterday after work , I took a little joyride out southwest of the Tri-Cities.  Theoretically, I was deer hunting...I had a gun, and I was wearing orange, but realistically, I was just joy riding and looking at some country I had never seen before.  Big sky country...farmers fields as far as you could see, and from the posted signs, about 60% of it was open for hunting.  I didn't see any deer, but it did look like pretty good Upland Bird hunting country. 

Meanwhile, at work, I am stuck in training 3 days this week.  Painful, redundant training to learn how to be a Radiological Worker, which is something I have been doing for 17 years now.  I asked if I could just challenge the class, but alas, I just need to suck it up and 'punch the ticket'.  I did learn a few things about local requirements, maybe half-an-hour out of the 8.5 I was there...and we watched an interesting video about Chernobyl.  Scary stuff.  The worst/best of it was watching guys run around with your typical cloth face mask in situations where we wouldn't allow guys without full Self-Contained air packs. 

It was a bad situation though...those first few weeks, they had to do some bad things to people to keep things from getting worse...there were some brave scientists who knew the risks who sacrificed themselves to save others. There were also a couple of hundred poor schlub soldiers and firemen who didn't know the risk, or were flat out lied to about the risk who are now dead.

I'm not getting all preachy...I have zero doubt that similar things would happen here if the same type of thing happened.  Our first responders ran into the World Trade Centers aware of the risk...and I am also certain that OSHA requirements would go out the door if overlooking them could minimize a potential ecological disaster. 


Nice weekend with the family

So, since it doesn't make sense for me to destroy the environment driving home for just a two day weekend, my wife hooked me up and drove out to the Tri-Cities to visit me with the girls.  It was a great pleasure to come home(well, come back to my friends house where I have been squatting), and have hugs and kisses waiting for me.

Saturday we piled in the car and spent the day looking at new residences, both apartments for the short-term, and houses for the long-term.  Granted, the way the calender lays out, I don't expect any of the actual houses we looked at to still be available when we are ready to buy, but it gave me a chance to show SWMBO some of what I had learned about the area, and get a feel for different neighborhoods.

IF any of the houses we looked at are still available in a few months, I hope it's this one:  http://www.johnlscott.com/propertydetail.aspx?IS=1&ListingID=300707659

It's the one my wife and I both liked the best.  I figure sharing that will ensure it is gone, and that maybe our number two choice will still be available.

Sunday we went to http://www.countrymercantile.com/

Neat store, but the also have a corn maze and pumpkin patch.  We have a few rituals each year...one of them we try to do each year is hit up a corn maze.  It was a good time.  Raining when we got there, then we had two hours of sun before the rain came back in again.

The rain gave me a good excuse to whip up a HUGE batch of soup. I make a pretty fair imitation of Zuppa Tuscana(potato, kale and sausage soup from Olive Garden).  If I do say so myself, it was pretty tasty.

Sunday night, the wife and kids came to check out my new temporary housing.  The company I am working for has a generous relocation package, part of which is covering temporary housing...in this case, they will reimburse me to stay in corporate housing...essentially a 1 bedroom furnished apartment.  It's nice...made my friends sad when I told them I was going to move out on them, but I think it was time.

My hosts told me I was welcome to stay as long as I wished, and I believed them...but, the fact is, I like to sit around in my underwear and pick lint out of my belly-button sometimes, and I didn't feel comfortable doing that in their living room.  Now, in 'MY' living room, I can do that.

In fact, I think I'm gonna get going on that right now. 


The PTC Strikes again!

A few weeks ago, the Parents Television Council recently made some headlines when they protested most strongly against the beautiful and semi-talented Katy Perry being on Sesame Street, for being too sexy. 

Now the PTC is raising heck about some pictures which some of the easy-on-the eyes cast members of the show 'Glee' took for GQ magazine.  The pictures show two of the shows actresses, and one of the actors in a series of sexually provocative er somewhat explicate  or just plain HOTpictures. 

This is the cover photo:

Yeah...that actor does have his hands apparently placed right on two firm bottoms.  Other than a mild case of jealousy, I am not offended.  Until, the PTC says this:

“It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on ‘Glee’ in this way. It borders on pedophilia."
Hold the phone, yo.  Talk about getting carried away to seldom seen heights of Hyperbole.  Both actresses in this picture are 24 years old.  The actor is 28.  Just because they all happen to be best known for playing high school characters on TV does not make this 'border on pedophilia' 

If that is the case, since Molly Ringwald was best known for playing High School girls, does her husband know he is a child rapist? 

Sad, but...

This is why you never see me eating celery:  Four killed by celery

Since alcohol is a preservative, you will see me drinking whisky and beer, sitting on the coach where I can't accidently be run over by a bus full of nuns. 


I don't get it.

Appeals Court Keeps Military Gay Policy For Now

So...here we have a Democratic President, who I believe all along has run with the position that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is a bad policy, and it should go away.

We also have a judge who is finally taking a stand, saying that DADT is Unconstitutional, a violation of peoples first Amendment right to Freedom of Speech.  District Court Judge Virginia Phillips did all the dirty work for Barry, saving him a fight in Congress and saying it's gone...no need to discuss it. 

The Pentagon, seeing the writing on the wall, has already issued clarification to it's recruiters to stop excluding openly gay recruits, and stop processing openly gay people for discharge.

YAY!!!!!!  Huge victory for gay rights!  Except wait...the Justice Department(run by the President eventually, right?) has filed an appeal against the hold on Dont' ask, Don't Tell. 


The claim by the Government is that the lifting of DADT has to be done in an 'orderly way' because we are at war right now, and that allowing openly gay service members could harm troop morale and unit cohesion when fighting two wars. 

You mean, kicking a highly trained professional out of an integrated combat or support unit would harm unit morale and performance LESS than letting him stay!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!!

STOP!!!!!!!   When I was on the Seawolf....we had a guy that was gay on the boat.  I am pretty sure everyone other than the Captain knew he was gay.  And he was an okay guy...very personable, good guy to share a beer with and watch football with, AND, most importantly, he was half-way competent at his job.    Maybe because I'm not very hot...I never felt him undress me with his eyes(Heck, in the crews berthing area he wouldn't need to undress people with his eyes....we were running away half naked).

Having him kicked off the boat for being gay would have had a much larger effect on moral than allowing him to remain 'openly' gay.

I guarantee you that AT LEAST 75% of the gay people in our military are KNOWN to be gay to at least their peers in their unit.  People work too close together not to know.

I am so tired of hearing about this.  What it is really about is the bureaucrats.  They NEED us to think that complete chaos will erupt when we overturn this lame-ass policy because they NEED to justify their jobs!  If a judge could just overturn this policy with a stroke of her pen, and cat's and dogs just started living together calmly...we would be able to do away with half of the policy writing Human Resource leeches on the government pay-roll.




I like to think I'm a pretty okay dad...I spare not the rod, but I also spoil my girls every other time I get the opportunity to. 

One of my favorite ways to spoil them is by cooking them breakfast when I get the chance because frankly, cooking is something I am more than half-way decent at, and it's easy to impress my daughters by making the pancakes fancy by putting cocoa powder or chocolate chips in them.  Sometimes, I will go all out and do macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. 

Then there is this guy: http://www.jimspancakes.com/

Talk about making a dudes ego shrivel up and blow away...I feel like the lamest dad in the world. 

It never dawned on me to make to make
a cheeseburger and french-fries out of pancakes. 

In fact, looking at some of his pancake designs makes me feel a bit like this:

I don't know how a guy can be both hero, and make me want to hunt him down and kill him at the same time.


Nationalized Healthcare is good!

Recently this story broke from Greece:


Long story short, the folks running Greece's National Healthcare System have done some number crunch, and decided that rather than specialized orthopedic footwear and continual check-ups to monitor how the feet of people with advanced diabetes are doing, it would be cheaper just to amputate.

This is terribly sad, but the truth of the matter is that Greece is broker than broke, and when there is just no more money left to spend, this is the type of hard decision that has to be made.

What made me really sad is how two chuckleheads on the radio were giggling about it the other day, 'Ha ha..stupid backwards Greeks(never mind that Greece is the cradle of Wisdom and Civilization, the last great hope for civilization;...just ask the guys from 300).  That would never happen in a civilized country like America.

Really?  Everyone laughed at the folks(like me!) who were worried about 'Death Panels' being established under the new Obamacare bill.  And while even I can admit that Death Panel's are a little far fetched, sooner or later, under any system, someone with a degree in Bioethics, and someone else with a degree in Economics are going to get together with a layer and an accountant, and they are going to have start doing the hard math on what it is worth spending money on.

NO ONE who is expects to be elected this year(or any year) wants to talk about this, but the fact is....Sooner or later, someone the bullet is going to have to get bitten, and for the majority of people, life will have to get much worse before it can get better. 

Debt can not keep growing forever, just like a diabetic with their feet cut off can't walk a picket line by themselves. 

Long Weekend

       Got to piss all over the environment again this weekend, driving to Belfair and back for the purely selfish reason of seeing my wife and kids.  That's right just me, my F-150 and 31 gallons of unleaded gasoline, just for a little huggy, and kissing and giggling.  And since The World revolves around me my world revolves around my wife and kids, yes it was worth it.  Especially since I am choosing not believe in global warming this week. 

        By making the decision to destroy the Earth for future generations, just to see my wife and kids, I feel it obliges me to do certain things...like actually spend time with my wife and kids.  Which means less time to sit on the computer alone and type long soliloquies about how jacked-up my life is.  Don't feel bad though.  Saturday was opening day of deer season in Western Washington, and I actually rolled over at 5:30 Saturday and thought about getting up to go hunting for a few hours, before I decided the right thing to was snuggle back in with my wife and then be there to make pancakes for breakfast for my girls.

I'm a softy like that. 

The weekend home was okay...got a few small things done, like spray painting the numbers out on our street pole to match the trim of the house, mowing the lawn, spreading some more seed to fill in dirt areas, spreading chemicals to kill weeds where they were starting to come up through our bark, and ripping out another 40 pound container of bamboo runners.  I hate them...next time I will have to take pictures of them...they look like huge alien centipedes I have to dig up out of the yard. 

Saturday night a friend of ours was having a house warming party up in Poulsbo, so we went to that.  One of SWMBO's friends was nice enough to watch the kids overnight.  Our friends have a nice place...a 2600SF log cabin...we were there the night they moved in, and now get to see it decorated.  Having a log cabin DOES rope you into a certain form of interior decorating.  I am not certain I could handle 2600SF of that  style for the next 20 years.   I know my wife couldn't handle it...she breaks out in hives if she can't repaint a wall every 6-months. 

Sunday was back to Richland...a very picturesque drive that anyone who ever considers Washington 'boring' should make.  Take from me as someone who has driven cross-country twice...Washington is as beautiful of a state as there is.  Other states or locales might have a stunning vista or two, but from end to end, there is more to see here than any other place I have been. 

Monday(catching us back up) was back to work.  And it was a trying day.  My two friends most responsible for luring me here(one my boss, the other my mentor) were both gone all day at training and meetings.  So, I was kind of on my own with a bunch of still unfamiliar faces.  It was the first day where I kind of found myself questioning if maybe I didn't make the move for the right reason.  The feeling was compounded sitting in traffic trying to get back to my friends house, where I have been gratefully staying the last several weeks.  It is a nice house, and they are great people...but there are no hugs and kisses waiting for me when I get home. 

On the home front, my wife called with good news(or at least progress) from our real estate agent.  Saturday he is planning an open house from 12-3, and next Tuesday he is having some kind of broker showing.  Hopefully, this will get our place some quick exposure, and a happy couple, looking for the biggest square footage for the dollar return, will buy our house.  YAY...happy ending everywhere! 

Wait a minute..is that flying monkey's I feel crawling out of my butt?


Setting Guys back 1 Million years

First things first, it is my Humble Opinion that there is a world of difference between cheating on a woman you are married to and have kids with, and cheating on a girlfriend. 

Cheating on your wife is wrong.  No real debate about it.  If you have an open marriage...good for you.  Really...good for you...if it works for you, you are a lucky guy.  I'm not sure it would work for me, because for it to work, it would have to go both ways, and I am too selfish to share. 

Cheating on a girlfriend is something that falls on the scale between a normal activity, and a dumb activity...the scale is a sliding scale because 'girlfriend' is a term with a wide range of use.  One guys girlfriend is another guys booty-call.  'Wife' has no such wiggle room in it.

Guys do dumb things all the time.  Occasionally, we compound one dumb thing by doing additional dumb things.

This: Man hits Street for Redemption is one of those times. 

What a tard. 

Okay...you were silly, and for some reason cheated on a girlfriend.  So what.  If she was really the one, you would not have cheated on her.  I did not cheat on my wife when she was just my 'girlfriend'.  It did not feel worth the risk.

One of the things I have not been able to find are any pictures of The Girlfriend making him do the tasks...but you, know...it doesn't matter...she could be Katy Perry, Aishwarya Rai, Bill Gates and my wife all rolled up in to the Greatest Thing since fork split English muffins, and it wouldn't matter.  Either she is going to forgive you, or not.  If she is going to forgive you, she will do so without destroying your dignity in the process.

Grow some juevos Man!  Good Gravy...I have a wife and two kids...even if she ever did find out what I did that one night in Vermont with an ewe(hey, I refuse to believe I am the only one who ever misunderstood the term 'Animal Husbandry'), I would not do ANY of the things(well, maybe the timeline one, because that could be 'sweet') this guy supposedly has been asked to do. 

And there-in lies the other bone in my craw with this story....the guys girlfriend SHOULD have come forward by now, to show us what is so special about her that she can make a not horrible looking 22-year old soldier do this stupid stuff.

My guess is there is a 95% chance there is no girlfriend, and this guy is just trying to pitch a Romantic Comedy story to Hollywood in a new and interesting manner. 


Travel Preps

Packing up my suit cases(one for clean, one for dirty) so I can bring my stuff to work with me tomorrow and hit the road right after work.  Using the 'Yakima' Gate on the west-side of Hanford and then taking a few smaller roads to I-90 up through Vantage instead of heading back down into Richland will save me something like 45 minutes.  So, it's a nice advantage.

Looking forward to seeing my wife and kids, although depending on what time I am actually able to hit the road I might not make it home until after my daughters bed times.  I am also curious to see how amazingly nice my house looks.  From the pictures my real estate agent took, things look very nice indeed.  I am very proud of my wife for keeping it ready for people to come and look at it.  Now if they just would.  Compared to other houses for sale in the area, ours is certainly the best Square Foot/dollar deal...by a pretty huge margin...and stick built to boot.  I'm sure it's just  a matter of time...kind of like the watched pot never boiling.

While I have a little bit of yard work(mowing, weeding, sweeping up pine needles) to do, for the most part my job while I am home for two days is going to be to enjoy my time with my wife and children, and not be a pain in my wife's ass the sand in gears of the well-oiled machine my wife has been running while I have been gone.


Apartment price differences

On previous apartment hunting adventures, I have seen some very nice apartment complexes.  Too nice gosh darn expensive also.

Prior to me starting my job over here, my wife and I had discussed that when her and the girls come over in December, we would like to find a 2-bedroom apartment for our family to shack up in while we take our time to find the right house.  Fine and dandy...no reason to change the basic plan.  But we have adjusted some of the details.

One major difference is that instead of signing a 6-month lease as we had originally planned to do, I feel that the available housing inventory would make that a waste.  There are a ton of houses on the market, and I no longer think we will need multiple months to narrow down the search to acceptable neighborhood while waiting for The One House to end up on the market.  Quick non-detail obsessed wife searching the last couple of days has turned up at least 8 houses that would please me.  I think SWMBO would find at least one of the acceptable.

Problems from this are not all apartment complexes are very eager to go month-to-month.  Those that do go month-to-month usually charge more for the convenience. 

So...time to look for something a little cheaper, which adds it's own set of complexities. When all you are looking for is a dry roof over your head until you can move into your house,  outdated and little tired looking is much easier to accept than $250 more a month than the hard-wood floors and vaulted 9-foot ceilings that I was looking at a few weeks ago.  The pain comes in trying to tell the difference between outdated/a little tired looking and Seedy/run down. 

Also, as I have been discovering, the cheaper apartments(by their nature more easily acceptable based on price for a wider range of people) are usually running closer to full capacity, and finding an availability in one of them is more difficult. 

Yes...a $750/month apartment looks much different than a $1000/month apartment.  Depressingly so...even when you know it is temporary.  What I didn't expect was such a marked difference in the aesthetic appeal of the rental agents at the apartments.  A few weeks ago, I could barely contain myself while traveling from one nice shiny apartment complex to the next, excited to see not just the vaulted 9-foot ceilings on display, but the other things being lifted and separated and displayed by the young ladies.

Not so much, yesterday.  Oh...nice and polite enough females...just...well, about on par with yours truly.  I'm sure I made THEIR day too when I walked in all frazzled looking from training. 

The most shocking moment of the day for me occurred at one of the last complexes I visited.  I heard that the place was 'Rent Controlled'.  Prior to owning a house, at one point my wife and lived in a 'rent controlled' apartment complex.  At that place, the average rent of all the people staying there had to fall inside a certain range for the apartment complex to qualify for whatever it qualified for with the State.

No problem...it doesn't hurt to ask, so I went and checked out this rent controlled place yesterday.  The lady working the Welcome Office says that they go off of individual incomes, and that for a family of 4 to qualify to stay at their apartment complex, the family can not make more than $39,000 a year.  Folks...I haven't made less than that since I made 1st Class in the Navy 10 years ago. 

Luckily she blinked, so I don't think she saw my jaw bounce off the floor...I do need to work on my poker face more though.  I politely thanked her, said we would keep that in mind, and left.  On my way out, I did a look-see of cars in the parking lot.  They looked a lot like the cars my wife and I drive...used but not decrepit.

Just shocking to me.

Anyway...nothing decided or certain yet about an apartment, other than in June, when we are still in an apartment because our house in Belfair has not sold yet, or we haven't found the One Right House, I am going to feel silly about the month-to-month vs. 6-month lease argument. 



Had a day full of training today.  Not very interesting training.  Theoretically, the topic of the training was 'On-the Job' Training, and on 'On-the-Job' Evaluation.  I was unaware that ANYONE wouldn't know about these things.  I tend to forget though that I am now in a situation where there are kids walking right in off the street.

To me, it was all stuff I had done in my previous life as a sailor...walking people though hands on plant ops, then signing qualification cards...even down to the same initials for 'Discuss', 'Observe', 'Simulate', and 'Perform.'  To make things better, the guy teaching the class was a former nuke submariner(Electrician...no one is perfect). 

A positive of some of our training is it is contracted out....for instance, everyone that works at Hanford, regardless of which contractor they work for, goes to the same training, saving the expense of each company having their individual training divisions.  Why is that  a positive?  Well, the training site is located right out-side of town instead of 20-minutes outside of town.  Meaning I didn't have to pack lunch...I could check out some local cuisine instead, and start working on finding a new favorite restaurant. 

Today it was Brick House Pizza, and I'm here to tell you, it was a pleasing lunch.  I can not as yet vouch for their pizza, but their toasted sub sandwich was good.  Lunch deal was for a 6" sub, a bowl of salad, bag of chips and soda...$11 with tax.  It was a filling 6" sub.  Not a grinder, but nice toasted bread, turkey, pastrami...shredded lettuce, melted american cheese...num, num, num.  They also had about 12-13 beers on tap.  Being on a lunch break from work, I choose to be a good boy and not have beer with my lunch.  Since they had Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewing, it was a big sacrifice, but I did it.  There will be other times.

I also didn't feel the need to increase my chance of dozing off in training...still new enough I need to make a good impression.

After work, I was also close enough to town that I was able to swing through a few more apartments complexes to look at the options available to us.  All I really learned is that the females working at $750/month apartments DO NOT look the same as the young ladies who work at $1050/month apartment complexes. 

There is probably a lesson to be learned here, but my initial theory's on the subject would be labeled misogynistic, so doubtless more meditation is needed. 


Joy Riding

Went for a ride today with my boss and one of my coworkers.  It was a pleasant drive through some beautiful country, and made even more pleasant by the fact that we were burning my bosses diesel instead of my petrol.

The reasons for the drive were twofold.  First, to get me out in about in an area of Washington I am not very familiar with.  Up to 3 weeks ago, I had very little experience(none) in what joys South East Washington held.  Second, and kind of tied in with the first, we were going to swing through some of the fields north of Walla Walla, and get up in to the Blue Mountains a bit to see if we could find any fields with an excess of deer in them.  Currently, we are in between deer seasons, with muzzleloader wrapping up last week, and modern not opening until next weekend, so while we couldn't shoot anything, seeing deer and getting to learn where they hang out is always worthwhile. 

Due to too much imbibing on the part of myself and my coworker last night, we didn't really get on the road until 9:15.  We then headed out of the Tri-Cities due east on route 124, heading through the burgeoning Metropolis's of Prescott and Waitsburg(I am maligning these fair towns...both very cute, very well-maintained Small Towns).  and then getting on US 12 north of Walla Walla and heading into Dayton, Washington.

Dayton was also a very cute town, and has a few antique stores I feel I am destined to bring my wife to.  We then headed southeast out of town, and were very quickly into wheat fields, and then a short time later into the northern foothills of the Blue Mountains.

Nice area...more of a dry pine forest feel to them instead of the thick pine forests of the west Cascade slopes.  Some very nice views...unfortunately, my cell-phones camera is very inadequate at taking picture of sprawling grandeur, so you are going to have to take my word for it.  We actually got out and walked around a bit.  Saw no deer or elk, but did see some poop, so they are at least in the neighborhood.

Headed back into Dayton for another pit stop, and then headed north on 12, up across the Snake River, then caught 26, heading back west to Route 395, and then back south to Pasco.  It was a very nice drive...rolling wheat fields where farmers were hard at work trying to get their Winter Wheat plots in, vineyards...very nice.  Kind of what we are lead to believe is 'Gods' Country.  Lots of big sky. 

I continue to be amazed by how varied things are in Washington.  As some one who spent a number of years in New England, it is very tough to believe as I go from Belfair to the Tri-cities that I am in the same state.  Just so much amazing, different, and all beautiful in it's own way terrain.  We are truly blessed(and spoiled). 

Many of the areas I saw today will require further investigation as deer hunting areas.  This year, due to having to drive home every other weekend to see my wife and kids, because I am blessed with a job that allows me to drive home every other weekend to see my wife and kids, I am not going to get much deer hunting opportunity, but it is never too early to start thinking, especially because I have always approached deer season far less seriously than elk season.

The final stop for the day on my bosses fuel was a store called Country Mercantile 

Terribly interesting store.  Kind of a farm stand on steroids.  Huge variety of chocolates, fudge, different pickled things(asparagus and green beans are what I bought today), salsa, dips, meat, produce, some knick-knacks.  This time of year there is a pumpkin patch and corn maze. 

I can see this store costing me a pretty penny in the foreseeable future. 


Reality Bites

It's not just the name of a movie...it's also sometimes the truth.

While I am not already full of 'I made the wrong choice leaving the Shipyard' Doom and Gloom, I am encountering isolated pockets of doubt.

I am 100% certain that a lot of this doubt is coming from the lack of my wife and kids.

Even under the best of circumstances, my wife would tell you I am on the jagged edge of depression.  Actually, depression is a bad word for it, because that would imply I should see a doctor about some medicine.  Melancholy is probably a better word for it.  And I tended to think it was brought on by my occupation.  I was increasingly worried that by turning off my 'care' factor at work to keep from being overly frustrated, I was going to have a hard time turning the 'care' back on to enjoy time with my family.

Another way of looking at it is that I require quality time with my wife and children to recharge the battery that allows me to deal with the stupidity present in the world at large.  And that is probably even more correct than blaming it on work. 

And so now, I find myself working a new job, dealing with a whole new bunch of melancholy inducing situations, without any chance to get better each night. 

Perhaps the biggest thing currently effecting my mood is some reality about where I am going to be able to look for a house out here.  SWMBO and I were looking in Benton City, West Richland and South Kennewick as a possible location where you can find a house on 2+ acres in our price range.  Well, the reality is, that the drive in the morning to my actual work site is longer than I thought it would be.  By about 10-15 minutes meaning that instead of the South Kennewick houses being 40-minutes drive, they are really closer to the 1 hour point if traffic is not ideal.  Which, once you are working scheduled 9 hour days(7-4:30), it means 4 days a week I would be LUCKY to get home prior to 5:30.

I am not sure I want to deal with that.   I like to cook...and that means dinner will be 7:00, which is LATE. 

All is not lost...the areas in Benton City and South-West Richland are still out there.  But while are wise that still leaves over half of our hoped for space for property available, in terms of total available house inventory...well South Kennewick accounted for well over 50% of the available inventory.

I handle changes in plans very poorly also.  My amazing wife knows this, and given a week or so, I will start to adapt to the new reality of where we can look for a house.  It also increases the chances that we might just look for a normal house in a neighborhood.  And there are some cute neighborhoods.  I just need to be able to change my stubborn Taurus mind and roll with the punches.


Actually had to study a bit on this one.

Alright...the Washington state ballot this fall has two fairly similar initiatives:



Getting to the bottom of these two initiatives actually required 'research' on my part.  Oh bother...I even went to the Washington State Secretary of State website.

Similarities 1st:  Both of these initiatives get the State of Washington out of the liquor sales business, and will allow private retailers to sell  'hard liquor' and 'spirits' in addition to the beer and wine they can already sell.

That is really all the similarity.

The two major difference revolve around taxes on liquor, and the approach each initiative takes to the 3-tier system of alcohol sales in Washington State.

The 3-tiers approach as it is currently used in Washington means you have an Alcohol Manufacturer, an Alcohol Distributor, and an Alcohol Retailer. 

Initiative 1100 would maintain most of the taxes currently in place on alcohol, but would do away with the 3-tier system, allowing individual retailers to make deals with individual manufactures.

Initiative 1105 does away with all taxes, but instead requires retailers to pay a percentage of their profit to the State for the first 5 years, while authorizing the Legislature to pursue new taxes to make up lost revenue.  It also maintains the 3-tier requirement. 


The concerns most commonly heard for BOTH of these initiatives is 'Oh my God, Alcohol will sold EVERYWHERE, and the streets will run red with the blood of drunk drivers.'  And teenagers will be drunk every day.

Bunk.  Or true...it could happen.  I don't think so though.  People already drunk drive, and teenagers already drink.  Hard Alcohol being at AM/PM and Safeway(where they already have beer and Boone's Farm) is not going to cause people to do things they wouldn't already do.

Compare and contrasting, the only concern about these bills that catches my eye is with 1105.  The Seattle PI feel that by maintaining the 3-tier system, but taking the State out of the loop, instead will allow a huge Distributor to monopolize the alcohol industry in the state, making things hard for the growing craft and microbrew industry. 

Also of concern, is what happens if BOTH of these initiatives which try to do the same thing, differently, pass.  In that case, things are in the hands of the Attorney Generals office, and The Legislature.  With a 2/3rds vote, they could overturn whatever parts of the initiatives they don't like. 

End result, for me:  Voting 'Yes' on 1100, 'NO' on 1105 will get the state out of the liquor business, but keep some of the taxes in place, and let me get my drink on with access to the widest range of alcohol choices. 

Sigh...saving the easiest one for last, lets look at:


1107 goes out and repeals the 'Temporary' taxes that the state put in effect on carbonated beverages, candy, and bottled water.  Might cost the State $352 Million over the next 5 years(5 years?  I thought the taxes were temporary?!?!?!?)

Anyway...I vote yes.  


More Ballot stuff!

Well, the Patriots thrashing of the Dolphins seems to have given me life to express my unasked for opinion about more of the ballot measures in Washington.

4.  /Washington_Tax_Initiative,_Initiative_1053
Back in 2007, the people of Washington voted for I-960, which created a requirement that any new taxes in Washington had to either be passed by a 2/3rds super majority of The Legislature, or by the people.

In Washington, after two years, the Legislature can override voter initiatives, which they have done to get around I-960.

Long and short of it, this Initiative(sponsored by Tim Eyman, so get your 'Boos' out now) would put the requirements of I-960 back in effect again. 

So, 'Yes'.  Easy one.

5.  Washington_Workers_Comp_Insurance_Reform,_Initiative_1082_2010

Mumble, mumble, legalese,, more mumble boring stuff. 

Basically, it would take Workman's Comp out of the states hands, and put it in the hands of private insurance companies. 

Or, private EVIL insurance companies.  It all depends on if you are for or against. 

Me?  The more things we can get the state out of, the Better. 

6. Washington_Income_Tax,_Initiative_1098_2010

Before I get too carried away and frothing at the mouth, when you vote on this one remember...A yes Vote is for an evil, Satanic income tax, while a no vote means 'Take your income tax proposal, fold it up until it is all sharp corners, and shove it up your rectum.'


Yes, we must punish those evil people motivated and talented enough to make over $200,000($400,000 for a married couple) and 'Redistribute the Wealth'.  And worst of all, let's disguise it with pretty language to make it go to a 'dedicated' account for Education and Health Care.  What kind of bully wouldn't want to support education and health care? 

Maybe the bully's in the Legislature who with a convenient vote can(and do) rape and pillage all kinds of 'dedicated' funds every year.  And, it is just another simple vote to lower the income at which it will take effect in the future. 

But hey, you would see a 4% decrease on Property Taxes, which is about 20% of the decrease that you should have seen(but didn't!) due to property value decreases the last 2 years during the Great Recession. 

Patriots win euphoria is fading.  We'll tackle the alcohol ones later. 

Ballot Measures

So, pretty big election cycle coming up in a couple of weeks.  A senate race, and NINE statewide ballot measures. 

DISCLAIMER:  These are my opinions.  Voting is your Sacred Right(some say duty). I am guessing that just because you are reading this doesn't mean you agree with 100%.  Heck...even SWMBO and I are going to vote differently.  If I can not convince the love of my life that I am error free, then what hope do I have for society at large.  Besides, you might not even be a Washington Resident. 

Since Washington has a heinous top-two Primary, there is no Libertarian to vote for senate, so thinking happy thoughts for Dino Rossi over Patty Murray.  As I drive back and forth between Belfair and Richland...I don't see many Patty Murray signs.  It could be a sign she is losing, or...more realistically, she is concentrating on the I-5 corridor.  If she takes Pierce, King and Snohomish counties, and breaks even in Spokane...the rest of the state doesn't really matter. 

So...State Wide Ballot Measures:

1st.  LCRA(Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment)  Washington_Judge_Bail_Authority_Amendment_(2010)

My understanding is that this is somewhat of a knee jerk reaction to the Lake Wood Police Officer Killings, where a previously convicted person, out on parole for another crime, killed a few officers.  Bad thing.  I am for it(the amendment, not killing police officers.)  Can't think of anything wrong with it...it doesn't REQUIRE the with holding of bail, just allows it. 

The only real negative voice is the ACLU, which says this could be like finding someone guilty without a trial.  Cry me a river.  As long as they don't combine this with also with holding the right to a speedy trial, I have no problem with it.

2nd.  LCRA Washington_State_Debt_Limits_Amendment_(2010)

To quote Jules: English Mother*#^$...do you speak it?!?!?!

I'm voting no.  It looks like some mumbo-jumbo voodoo speak to allow them to use weasel words to recalculate the maximum allowed debt for the state.  Stop trying to work around stuff!!!!!!!  FIX THE PROBLEM!!!!!

3rd.  Washington_Schools_Energy_Efficiency_Projects,_Referred_Bill_52_(2010)

Weaseling around not having enough money...again.  My first instinct is no, especially as SWMBO and I lean towards home-schooling. And Bonds are just another way of using money you don't really have.  Sooner or later, the bands will come due..then what? 

IN the end...no.  Not for funding an 'Energy Efficiancy' job creation package.  Smaller class-sizes and better schools MIGHT have tugged at my heart-strings, but not a job creation plan. 

Gosh, politics is fascinating.  I think maybe three measures is enough for now...I think the Monday Night Football pre-game is starting. 

Abestos is Bad!

So, since most facilities at the Hanford site were built during the 'Win the War/Cold War' hey-days from the 40's through the 60's, it's almost a given that you are going to encounter asbestos as some point.  So, they take their asbestos training seriously.  Because, 'It's the Law'. 

Not a bad training session though.  The guy giving it did his best with a dry subject matter.  and I was flying on diet Dr. Pepper and Peanut Butter M & M's.  Yum.  If only I hadn't cheaped out and had bought a bag of pretzel M&M's to mix with the peanut ones.  The instructor had  neat story about a guided Caribou hunt he and his wife went on up in Alaska a few weeks ago...sounded like a good time, and maybe day dreaming about that helped the class to go faster.  All that matters is in the end, I passed my 20 question quiz.  Mission successful. 

It was a very nice day here today, from a climate point of view...about 74 degrees, a few high fluffy clouds.  Certainly weather I can get used to.  Not good for hunters though.  One of my co-workers attempted to head out for the opener of muzzle loader elk season this weekend, and the temperature peaked out at about 85 degrees on him.  Creating quite the visual picture, he lamented the fact that he didn't have a camo thong to wear. 

Deer season for me starts in a week, but I am not sure I will go.  I have the tags, but if it comes to choosing between seeing my family and looking for Bambi, I will probably choose family.  Now, when Elk season opens Halloween weekend, it might be I choose the elk hunting.  We will have to see how stuff is going with the house sale, and if my wife and girls get a chance to come here and visit me instead. 

Other than that, I picked up a few Papa's Murphy pizza's for my adopted family, so it is approaching time to kick back and hope the Patriots can beat up on the Dolphins. 



I can rapidly see the Belfair-Richland drive getting very old.  I tried to man up today and instead of planning to stop in Ellensburg, I packed 1 peanut-butter and honey sandwich, and one peanut-butter and raspberry fluff sandwich, but about 140 miles in my bladder turned traitor and I had to pull in to a rest stop to tinkle. 

I really think I can get the trip down to under 4 hours door-to-door, but I am worried that come the end of November, the weather at Snoqualmie Pass will start slowing me up.

First full week of work starts tomorrow, with 3 hours of Asbestos Awareness training scheduled for the afternoon, during which I can day-dream about the Patriots playing on Monday Night football. 


Chuck E. Cheese is the Anti-Christ

Bitter-sweet Saturday today, for a few reasons. 

We had youngest daughters birthday party today.  I am glad my new jobs schedule gave me the opportunity to be home for it, even if the party did take place at Chuckee Cheeze's.  Bitter-sweet because my baby is turning 5, and bitterer-sweeter because my job will have me out of town on Tuesday when it is her actual birthday. 

Chuck E. Cheeze is Satan.  And I know he is Satan because he found a way to ruin one of natures perfect foods...pizza.  I know for a fact I would enjoy anything equal to or greater than Red Baron purchased at the local store more than I would enjoy Chuck E. Cheese's pizza.  Blah...even more blah when it gets cold, which is how you will eat is as a parent at a birthday party.  And not cheap...4 single topping, card-board crust pizzas, 16 drinks and some amount of tokens cost me more than 1/10th of an ounce of gold today. 

Some folks would say the smiles were worth it.  I guess.  I do know our kids and those that were invited had fun...I had fun proving my superiority over 8-12 year old in various games of skill, and we had cupcakes...what more could a guy want? 

Beer you say?  Well, Chuckee's does serve alcohol...two flavors of wine(that comes out of taps)...'Chardonay' and 'Blush'  Riunite on Ice..so nice.  And they had two choices for beer...Coors Light and...'Ridge Top Red'!!!?!?!?!?!!  From the famed Silver City Brew Pub?  Say it isn't so...that is actually a very fine quality, locally made brew...very surprised to see it at Chuck E. Cheese, even if it being made like 400 yards away.

I was able to refrain though...luckily, the guy in front of me was tempted, and I was cured of my desire when I saw the 12oz 'large' cup he ordered for $4. 

Following the party, we had a meeting at our house with the real estate agent.  He had done more research and found out:

Good: He may have initially under-estimated how much we would be able to list our house for.

Bad: He had the paperwork to show that the average 'on the market' time for houses like ours was 180 days.  Ouch

So, instead of having to fight to put the price higher than he felt wise, I actually found myself talking to him about putting the price a little lower than we might have been able to go in an effort to move the house in a more timely manner. 

That, and he dug out the paperwork to prove our house is even bigger than we thought it was...1974 square feet.  Which explains why the 900sf apartments I was looking at last week seemed so small. 

Anyway...we signed a contract with him, and Tuesday he will come by for pictures, and then the house will list.  Officially since we are under contract already, it is already for sale...so anyone wanting to pony up $189,000 for a beautiful starter house that you have heard me complain about for the last month is welcome to it.  Get it now before a bidding war starts. 

Tomorrow it is up early to load the truck to head back to the Tri-cities...means now it is time to go snuggle with my wife and get ready to watch The Dish...dig me some Topanga...

It's not being paranoid if they are really out to get you.

So, I thought it was just me that was being overly freaked out by spiders htis year.  But, there is really a scientific basis! 


Much like the article, I prefer not to use pesticides...my preferred weapon is a butane jet lighter for any of them get to close to the house or the walkway...fizz, sizzle and pop.