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



I like to think I have a pretty good sense of judgement and common sense, and that I am usually making good contact with reality.

Then, you see a story about a guy like this:

Issaquah baseball coach bilked league to pay for porn, online psychic

How does someone like this convince himself to do what he is doing?  How do you convince yourself you can raid the Little League team fund and that A. You aren't going to get caught, and B. If I do get caught I will go on the offensive, and tell them they still owe ME money!

Jail(if he does time) will be too quick and easy for this...this is a clear case where he needs to do millions of hours ofcommunity service(related to cleaning under the bleachers at little league games) then set him up on a dunk tank, and charge people to dunk him to help raise money to pay back what he thieved.

I'll pay a considerable amount for a few balls if the dunk tank was full of Draino...

Where the heart is.

Managed to survive my first week at my new job.  Since I hired in in the middle of the pay period, it meant I only had to survive a 4-day week instead of 5 days.  Says one and two were indoc and general training...very painful.  I can't say I learned much...it was a lot of stuff I had heard before, they just rounded off the corners and re branded it.  I am sure it is the same 99% of places.  Everyone has a sexual harassment policy, everyone knows drugs are bad...that kind of stuff.

Days 3 and 4 I actually got to go to my office and start meeting people.  A lot of people, and, well, the training continued.  The fact is, the training will continue for quite some time...a time that will be easier to measure in 10's of weeks, or a few months before I am dangerous enough to be left on my own.

It's a different type of job than I had in Shipyard...I am still considered a supervisor, but in my new position it seems I am more resource and technical help than actual runner of work.  As an SRCT in the Shipyard, I assigned a name to a coverage position, and assisted that person in making sure they were ready to do their job properly.  For some senior techs, this was easy.  For the newer techs(and some of the senior also) this job could have meant a lot of handholding.

In my new position, I fight for resources, and get the number of bodies to cover what is supposed to be covered in my Area of Responsibility.  Then the lead tech(a position that does not exist in the Shipyard) matches names to jobs, and makes sure the tech covering the job understands his expectations.  I then attend the brief to make sure things sound sane, then make myself available for technical assistance if required, while going to meetings in between.

Different.  Not sure if it's better yet...it will be a long, long time before I can deliver that informed opinion, if ever.

After work today, since Friday is off, I headed west to get back to my wife and kids. Made it home prior to bed time, and was able to read the girls a story and give them kisses.  The kitchen, living room, and bedrooms looked very nice.  SWMBO did a good job of getting them photo ready so we can get pictures taken to put the house on the market.  The family room still needs some help, but we will get it there.

Tomorrow is some lawn mowing, then some errands for me.  Need to get a battery to fit my old Ford Ranger so I can get it out of the yard, and then go find a lawyer to write a power of attorney for SWMBO.  When we bought the house, she wasn't working, so my name is on EVERYTHING.  Getting her a POA should make it so she can actually sign things for the house sale while I am over working.

And I will wake up to get the girls ready for school.  Which means their hair will be unimpressive.  One thing daddy is no good at is little girl hair. 


Holy Moley!

I may just have to buy my tickets to go see this now...

Skyline Trailer

This movie looks like Indepence Day without the overacting and free advertising for apple. 

Needless to say, I am there.  I would be okay if they got Bill Pullman to give some kind of speach. 


My failings

After work today(more training...tomorrow I may actually get to see what my job is supposed to be!) went and did a little bit of apartment hunting.  While my friends are kindly letting me stay at their house for now, sooner or later(well, no later than mid-December) SHMBO and the girls will be moving over also.  If the house sells/closes sooner, it will be prior to mid-December, and that would be a GOOD type of panic to have to go through.

Rather than have to rush into buying a house, the Wife and I decided it makes sense to rent an apartment for a few months while we learn the area and wait for the right house to become available.  I am not always able to fully understand everything SHMBO desires(verily, because she is a woman, and I am but a man), but as for me, having decide dot undertake this life path, I want to buy THE HOUSE and THE LAND which will see us unto death.  Or my death...since I am older and men live shorter amounts of time, I have no idea what she has planned for later on, nor do I need to care!  It's just my responsibility to make sure I leave her enough money so she can hire someone to wipe her bottom when she can't reach it.

So, apartment hunting invariably leads to having to talk to people, which is one of my biggest failings.  Not talking to people...often times I can be just as charming and free-flowing with the spoken word as with the written word...in friendly-type situations.  Put me in a shopping/sales situation though...and I get bad.  Shakey.  Very willing to roll over and just take what is offered to make it all stop.  This applies whether it is sales in a store, door-to-door magazine/girl scout cookies, survey takers at the mall EVERY THING.  This gets even worse when the person I am dealing with is female and attractive.  It just so happens that most apartment complex managers know this, and put attractive females into their reception/rental agent positions. 

Minor digression here:  Why does our society ever try to act like looks DO NOT matter?  I understand...tell your children they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, but also be upfront with them...if you are an attractive member of the human race, things might occasionally be easier for you then if you are an unattractive member of the human race.  I am 100% certain that all of the ladies I dealt with today were fully qualified for the positions they held...I'm just not certain what those qualifications were, other than what I could see...which was enough, because it was 88 degrees here today, and the ladies where wearing short, light and loose(or tight as the article of clothing required.)

The end result of all this is that instead of just picking up brochures and price lists from several apartment complexes, I actually went and toured three 'display' apartments.  And was made sad.  After 6 years in an 1800SF house, a few months in an 850SF apartment is going to be tough.  Almost like being back on a submarine again, except I might actually like the people I am with(low blow...I loved most of the guys I was on the Seawolf with.  Especially when we were in port and away from one another.) 

All I know is tomorrow is supposed to be just as warm, and I am looking forward to more apartment hunting. 


Way to go Katy

Seizing on the moment to keep her name(and assets out there) Katy Perry turned the tragedy of being barred from Sesame Street into a Triumph for teeneage boys EVERYWHERE(including 35-year old teenage boys in the Tri-Cities) on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

You need to click on through...but it is worth it. 

Long Day

Had my first day at the new job today, but it doesn't really count.  The whole day was spent at headquarters going through indoctrination training.  The first half of the day was spent in a conference room with 5 other new hires, going over hand outs and filling out paperwork.  2nd half of the day was more individual, being spent in front of a computer screen going over different training topics, none of it overly shocking or unexpected.

My previous job at the PSNS was a Department of Defense site, this one is Department of Energy.  For the same Federal Government, they sure don't use a lot of the same terminology.  Safety seemed to be the big picture item for them here.  Seemed to be...until I'm out working for a while, I will attempt to refrain from forming any strong opinions.

I'm also facing a challenge trying not to let being separated from my wife and girls draw me down into a general malaise.  It's only nights the 1st time...I just got done doing 7 months in New York, this should be easy.  It's just when you say you are taking a job for a better family life, and the first thing you do is drive 250 miles from you family...it sends conflicting emotional signals.  I knew it would be this way though, and that I would go through a few distinct phases.  1...me moving , no family.  2...waiting for house to sell.  3...looking for perfect house!

For now some very good friends are letting me stay at their place the first few weeks, then I will transition to furnished corporate housing for a month or two, before selecting an apartment in preparation of my wife and girls moving over.

I do have some things to keep me busy...the already mentioned house/apartment hunting, getting to know the areas, and find a lawyer.  When we bought the house, SHMBO was not working, so our agent told us it would be easier to just do all the paperwork with my name on it.  So, 6 years later, the paperwork still just has my name on it, so we think it will make our lives easier, since I am here and she is there, if we just get a Power of Attorney for my wife to do things with the house. 

Full speed ahead

Got the truck loaded with packed boxes and plastic containers in the beginning of efforts to de-clutter, and hit the road about 1:30...rolled into Richland at about 5:30.  Much faster drive without potty breaks for the girls. 

Now I'm just trying to settle in at my friends house, and figure out how late I can sleep in in the morning, and still make it back to the Ship Yard by 7:20AM.   Kind of late for those thoughts now.  I just feel like a kid before his first day of school.  It has been a LONG time since I have gone into a totally unknown situation like this.  Even when I transferred for the Navy, at least I knew it was still the Navy on the other side.


Open Sesame!

The latest 'We Must Protect the Children From the Real World' moment is brought to you by the Parents Television Council, who championed the cause of keeping Katy Perry of Sesame Street this week. 

Katy Perry reworked her song 'Hot and Cold' to sing a song with Elmo.  The clip posted a day early on You Tube and 'some parents' complained about the outfit Katy was wearing in the sketch.

Katy and Elmo sing and dance

I am a Katy Perry fan...I think most of her songs are fairly catchy, and she puts a slick product out there.  There is no real need to discuss her great physical beauty, and yes, she is a well-endowed young lady. 

The outfit in question is quite tame for Miss Perry.  The green top part of the dress is low cut, but she also has mesh/lace...stuff...much like the material which makes up 50% of your average figure skaters outfit.  If this material was not present, I being a red-blooded American male would still have no problem with the way she was dressed, but might be able to see the other sides position. 

The lower part of her dress is short, exposing several inches of well-toned thigh above her knee...but so what.  It is no different than wearing short, which they do on Sesame Street.  At no time during this video does Katy Perry act as anything other than a wholesome, positive and somewhat quirky young lady, and that is what is important. 

To test the target audience, I had both of my daughters watch the video with me on You Tube.  Both of them highly enjoyed it, and there was much giggling.  Neither of them made any comments about Katy's outfit...in fact, when I questioned them on it, they mentioned it was green and sparkly, like Tinkerbells.

Strange that a show which still portrays Bert and Ernie co-habitating bows to the complaints of 'some' parents to not show this clip.  I would LOVE to see just how many parents 'some' is.  As for this parent, I had to watch the video about 16 times to properly research things. 

Late Start

I have few regrets in this life, because if Science Fiction has taught us nothing else, it is that messing with the past can have very unforeseen results on the present.  For instance, I would love to have lots and lots of money...but let's say I went back in time and was able to convince my father to take out a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mortgage on the house to buy stock in this Microsoft thing...well, then I would have lots and lots of money growing up, but the probability approaches certainty that the exact chain of events which led to me meeting my wife would not duplicate itself, and I would never have met SHMBO.  Instead, I would have had more money, and probably have met a richer, hotter girl...

You know, this is probably a bad example.  Suffice to say, I am generally pleased with the life I have for myself, and since there is no way to know how deciding to accept a job working for an Oil Pipeline in Bemidji, Minnesota 9 years ago REALLY would have turned out, why pine for it.

What I do know though, is that I really should have listened to people 4 years ago when they started whispering that the Airport Diner, at Bremerton National Airport, is an 'okay' place to go for dinner, especially if you want fish and chips.  Instead, I ignored them, thinking that there is no way a diner at Bremerton National Airport could be better at fish and chips than a dedicated seafood restaurant. 

Well, finally about a month and a half ago, based of a more pointed recommendation from a co-worker, SHMBO and I finally stopped at the Airport Diner for fish and chips, and it was WAY better than anything else I had had in the last 10 years.  In fact, it is very close to what is trapped in my memory as the Best Fish and Chips EVER, which you used to be able to find at Spuds Fish and Chips, down by the beach in Juanita.(a later review, but the Worlds Best Mother and Nana, has said that the quality at Spuds has been decreasing, and in her opinion, the Airport Diner was better). 

End result, we have eaten at the Airport Diner 3 times in the past 6 weeks, and I am going to miss it, and I regret not trying it sooner.

After dinner, we headed to a friends house for a night of visiting and Rock Band on the X-Box, bearing gifts.  The gifts might not have been recognizable as gifts to the untrained eye...a 50-gallon rolling trash can full of Ivy I have pulled up out of my yard.  Hey...THEY asked for it.  SHMBO found a new favorite drink last night also...A Dark and Stormy...you mix some dark rum and some lime into Ginger Beer(which has only been found locally at Cost Plus World Market).  Add some ice and Stand By to Stand By.  I was drinking beer(wide variety...Mens Room Red, Rogue Ale, and then a PBR to water it all down).  I did have a sip of my wife's drink, and can confirm that it is very sweet and tasty, and as SHMBO found out, you don't realize how strong of as drink it is until you go to stand up, and reach for a chair for support.

So, it was a very fun evening...luckily, we found out about the 'No fail' setting on Rock Band, because that allowed people to try things outside their comfort zone.

Everything has it's price though.  Today, the price of the late evening is a late start around the house.  As of 9:15, SHMBO and younger daughter are still in dream land.  Older daughter is slowwwwlllllly  making her way through a bowl of cocoa puffs, and I am on cup of coffee number 2, making a list of what to get done today.  Mostly, it revolves around cleaning, then packing my suitcase and loading a few non-water sensitive items in the back of the truck for my run to Richland tomorrow.  I start indoc training bright and early Monday morning, and one of my first non-work related tasks is to find a storage unit so we can start getting clutter out of the house one F-150 load at a time on the weekends I come home to play father.



Mom goes crazy, shoots 4. 

Now the easy route would be to say:  Man, guess I had better go to http://www.ftd.com/ and order some more flowers for my mom.  I recommend you do the same. 

More subtle would be for me to say : Man, I'm glad I bought my mom pepper spray instead of a gun. 

This being Liberal Central Seattle, I am sure it will be blamed on the gun any time now.

All Done

Went in to the Ship Yard this morning to turn in my badges and say one last round of goodbyes.  Although with the whole 'Social Networking' thing, it doesn't always feel like goodbye.  Due to facebook and this blog here, people will still have the opportunity to find out WAY more about my life than they may want to.  Like there are some things you can't unsee, there are like-wise things you can't unread. 

The house is looking good.  What I really need to do is find a way to get HGTV disabled at the house.  SHMBO is pretty good at making me see the truth...that our goal is returning this house to some kind of neutral, boring base state, and then trust that someone will come in and recognize the house for the opportunity it represents.  Some things are still beyond me though. 

Replacing the three overhead light fixtures in our family last room all by myself caused me to believe I might be some kind of electrical genius...but after looking at our fan in the bathroom, with the goal of replacing this fan with a fan light combo over the commode...I might not be that good.  It's not the electrical part of the job scaring me, it's going into the crawl space over the bathroom...I went up there yesterday for five minutes to look at things, and it almost did me in...I was hacking up fiberglass for the rest of the night. 

Might be time to break out the check book...again.


Surely, you can't be serious.

Well, let's see, choices for the night are snuggling with my wife on the couch up stairs, watching Project Runway and the new season of Grey's Anatomy, or working on a few more small projects, and folding clothes downstairs while sneaking the occasional peak at Airplane, which is on AMC.

Tough, tough, tough.  Oh look, they are talking about Turkish Prisons! 

And if you are ever bored, you can rely on this Jive Translator to provide hours of entertainment.  I used to like to put e-mail from work into this for updating.

Well, let's see, choices fo' de night is snugglin' wid mah' mama on de couch down stairs, watchin' Project Runway and da damn new season uh Grey's Anatomy, o' wo'kin' on some few mo'e small projects, and foldin' clodes waaay downstairs while sneakin' de occasional peak at Airplane, which be on AMC. Tough, tough, tough. Lop some boogie. Oh look, dey is talkin' about Turkish Prisons! Right on! And if ya' is eva' bo'ed, ya' kin rely on dis JIBE Translato' t'provide hours uh entertainment. Man! ah' used t'likes t'put e-mail fum wo'k into dis fo' downdatin'.

Another one to put in a hole in the Ground.

In case you didn't already know, I'm a big believer in Capital Punishment.  Not only do I feel it's proper justice, but if properly done, it should be less expensive than keeping someone in prison for 20 or more years. 

Case in Point

There is a lot sad with this story, as some of the commenter's on the newspapers website pointed out.  She was obviously an overwhelmed young woman, left alone in a country she might still be unfamiliar with(the article doesn't say how long they have been in the U.S.) 

But like someone else pointed out, the uncle is quoted as saying what a tight community they are...well, if they were that tight of  a community, someone should have helped this girl before now.

Part of me has to worry if maybe things are THAT messed up in Somalia, if maybe life just has different meaning to the folks from there.

What really chaps my hide in the story is this quote from the mothers lawyer:

'Ebyan Farah hopes the media will be sensitive to the Somali community's sense of privacy and will not intrude in an effort to provide sensationalism in a manner that will ensure Ebyan Farah cannot receive a fair trial, not only in Marion County, but in the state of Indiana.'

Dude is already trying to set the stage for his first appeal, saying she won't be able to get a fair trial.  I hope she gets as fair of a trial as the 3 and 5 year old child got before she trapped them in the closet by placing two beds against the door.


Yeah, so this is me today, trying to get 5 years worth of stuff done.  We have completed/written checks for most of the big things...so I am currently running around trying to get three or 4 things done at once, and succeeding at none of them. 

I did get the toilet seat in the bathroom replaced, and all the about to expire canned food we stocked up on when it was on sale and then forgot about is loaded in the truck to donate before it goes bad.  SHMBO and I have committed to setting up AND maintaining an excel spread sheet of canned goods and other supplies when we finally get set up at the new place.

Now it time to go play in the sogginess and load up the truck with another load of things we decided we can live without. 


The View

No, not talking the TV show...talking about the view I get of the Olympics on my way home from work...and it is one of the things I am going to miss.  Had a decent view today...the clouds were coming in, but the ceiling was high.

This view of the Olympics, looking over the gravel and topsoil shops that make up the classy north end of town always let's me know when I am just about home.  Since the road is straight at this point, I'm usually able to split my attention between driving and spectating, and it helps relax me.  Might not look it, but that is a pretty fair amount of snow up on The Bothers for this point in September.  Usually they look kind of bare from here until the end of October, when new snow starts falling and sticking up there. 

Even SHMBO admits that the horizon looks pretty boring on our trips back to the east coast.  It will be one of the things that takes getting used to in the Tri-Cities...it's not a long drive to be able to see Rainer or Adams, but it's not a path I will take every day on the way home from work. 

Ooo...I can't wait

So, as I was driving home today, a man on the radio told me I must tune in tonight  to see an classic reunion on Cougar Town, which is apparently not about a town in California in which random hikers and bikers are eaten by Mountain Lion's, due to a failure to keep predator populations under control with responsible hunting.

The 'classic reunion' in question is not The Beattles, or the Eagles, the girls from Facts of Life, or the cast of the Breakfast Club or Red Dawn...it's Courney Cox and Jennifer Aniston.  Friends has been off the air for just over 6 years...I didn't realize this now qualified us for classic status.  And while Friends was enjoyable, it wasn't MASH, The Cosby Show, Cheers, The Simpsons, The Family Guy or even South Park.  In other words, not a classic. 

Leaving the 'classic status' of the show out of the loop...let's look at the quality of the actresses in the reunion.  Jennifer Aniston, for a good portion of her run on Friends, was a top 5 babe, which would have qualified her for inclusion on The List, if I had been married at the time.  Her acting skills, as the ability of her movies to make money prove?  Not so much.  Courtney Cox, while having a few attractive years on Friends, never did it for me.  The most I have ever enjoyed her was when she got roughed up in the different Scream movies. 

So...in summary, about the only thing I am looking forward to less than watching the Courtney/Jennifer reunion on Cougar Town tonight(especially since the commercial doesn't even show them kissing), is the show with the fat people on it(not The Biggest Loser) Mike and Molly. 

If I want to watch a fat guy do funny things, I'll look in the mirror

Spelling Error...Minus 1 point.

Not much to say really. 


Hi-Lo's 15th Street Cafe

Had a good day today with the family.  Both of my daughters had doctors appointments, and so I had a legitimate excuse to use some of my 480 hours of sick leave that I am going to lose. 

Now going to the doctors office might not sound fun and exciting, but with the girls appointments being an hour apart, it was a nice opportunity to play tag with the wife...I was able to take the spare kid to run errands in Silverdale, then bring the spare kids back for her appointment, and run more errands with the daughter who had already completed her appointment. 

First stop with younger daughter was the Verizon Store...previously The Man had provided me with a cell phone due to my exalted position as a Supervisor.  It was sooooooo old it had a green and black screen.  The tax payers should be proud that whatever the Federal Government might be wasting money on, fancy cell phones are not one of them.  So, earlier this week, I had to return my phone, which is hopefully going to be retired to a cushy job as someones paperweight.

The new job requires me to have a phone, but does not provide one...instead, there is a stipend to off-set the expense.  I used this as an opportunity to join the late 20th century...didn't come all the way modern..I think I would be too easily distracted by a droid or I-phone.  Instead I just got a Samsung Reality.  It has a full key-board so I can text, a camera, does music, and has limited Internet. It is everything I think I needed, and nothing extra.  I am not the type to worry about 'The Apps' or 'The bigger GB's'.

Then rush back to the doctors with perfect timing to get younger daughter to her appointment, and take older daughter to the lab for a blood draw.  Once upon a time, she had a mild case of Chicken Pox, so my wife wanted to get her blood drawn for a Varicella Titer, where they basically look at the blood to see if there is enough anti-bodies present to consider you 'immune'. 

She was a trooper.  As far as I know(being a crappy dad I can't be 100% certain), it was her first blood draw she is old enough to remember.  No fuss, no muss. She was quite fascinated watching the blood 'from out of my veins daddy!' go into the vial.  After that, it was quick like bunnies to the tea store, to get something to surprise SHMBO, then the bank to deposit checks, and finally to Albertsons, where I was finally successful in finding Men's Room Original Red in stock.  The Men's Room is a local talk radio station, and they got together with Elysian Brewing to sponsor a beer.  Got a lot of good press on their show, so I bought 4 22oz bottle.  It's good...a bit hoppsy for my taste, but good. 

Back to the doctors for the Worst Experience of the Day...younger daughter needed 3 shots to catch up her vaccinations.  We try to space them out, but with the impending loss of my current health insurance, we decided it would be better to get everything up to date just in case something went wrong getting the insurance set up at the new job.  Things didn't go well...to put things mildly, she freaked the %^$&^ out.  Even with ice cream being offered up as a bribe.  My wife, and LPN in Pediatrics said she wasn't the worst ever, but she was a top 10. 

Finally, we got to go to lunch.  One of the bummers about moving is The Last Time.  As in, this might be the last time I get to do something I really enjoy about this place.  Today, it was taking advantage of the opportunity to eat at Hi-Lo's 15th Street Cafe in Bremerton.  Good, good food.  Cute little place. 

Now, as Eric Cartman would say, it's run by a bunch of dirty hippies, but that does not change the fact that they make THE BEST Chorizo and Eggs I have ever had.  Perfectly scrambled ooey, gooey cheeze and sausage scrambled together...warm tortillas to put it on, perfect potatoes on the side.  Calgon take me away. 

On the other side of the spectrum, my wife likes The Grateful Bowl...brown rice with cheese and salsa, with  a fruit cup and muffin on the side.  See...Hippie Crap.  But, when momma's happy, everyone's happy...besides, my sausage and cheese and eggs had enough cholesterol for us both.

And that was a good day.  Plenty of time with the family...time enough alone with each girl to let them know daddy loves them, and finishing it with a snuggle on the couch with the wife while we watch the Season Finale of Warehouse 13. 

Sad...Sad and Unnecessary

Suspect in High Profile North Carolina Murder Arrested in Niagara Falls

This is the newest, most recent case to make the nationwide news of a Registered Sex Offender that slipped his leash, and re offended.  In this case, because the offence involved the rape and murder of Police Chief's daughter, it is possible that the case received a little more attention than some similar cases receive.  It's also possible that the fathers position as a fellow officer of the law, a more vigorous pursuit was mounted against the offender...I don't want to think that way though...I have no doubt that Law Enforcement Agencies across the country take a dim view upon rape and murder and give as much effort as they can to catching the animals that commit these crimes.

It is also totally unnecessary. 

Time to get on the High Horse of My Opinion.

One of the few places where both empirical data and psychological theory agree is that sex-offenders CAN NOT BE HEALED.  The urge to perform the acts that got them in trouble in the first place will ALWAYS be there.  It's only with medication and continuous monitoring that they can be released back into our society.  And then every few weeks(sometimes it even feels like days), one of them does something to remind us why this was a bad idea.

So, why do we even try?  Why are we wasting increasingly hard to come by tax-payer resources to try to rehabilitate that which can not be rehabilitated.?  PUT THEM IN THE GROUND!!!!!  Stop throwing my money away on them...if you cannot trust them out in the real world without monitoring, and bracelets, and not letting them live within a certain distance of a school because you are THAT worried about them doing unspeakably bad things to someone else's daughter, wife(or even son, the sicko's), then put a bullet in them and GET RID OF THEM.

Okay...for a clarification, I know there are an unfortunate percentage of 'sex-offenders' out there, who were in fact found guilty of Statutory Rape.  Statutory Rape does not a sex-offender make.  Picking up some cute thing at the mall, and either not asking her age, or asking her age and then late finding out she lied to you, does not make you a molester.  I saw this once or twice in my Naval career, where young sailors picked up even younger(but older looking) girls, and were later punished and labeled sex-offenders, for life.  Obviously, there does need to be a younger cut-off, somewhere around 13-14 would please me as a father of girls, where it changes from Statutory Rape to Molest...

Sigh...it's just so unnecessary.

Glad we cleared that up!

Officially, the recession is history after 18 months


In somewhat totally related news, I was hanging at the hardware store on Sunday, where I have become an increasingly familiar face while stumbling through home improvement projects. A couple of the employees were discussing a recent offer mangment made them.  Either the employees all agree to extend their unpaid lunch from half-hour to a full hour(lossing .5 hours of pay a day in the process), or they let 2 people go.

Watching them them try to call the Great Recession over based on this 'jobless recovery' is no different than when G. W. Bush landed on the Abraham Lincoln in 2003 and declared Mission Accomplished. 


More Sophia

Just because there might be some of you out there who don't remember who Sophia Loren is, let me take this opportunity to introduce you.  And thank you for letting me use you as the excuse for additional gratuitous beauty. 


Happy Birthday to Sophia Loren, who must be included in the discussion for Most Beautiful Woman EVER, Unlimited Class. 

I am a Happily Married Man.  I know this because my wife tells me so.  And because it is true.  That doesn't mean we can't all agree to put on our Hypothetical Situation Hat.

The picture above was taken earlier this year, so she was only 75-years old vs. the 76 she is today.  Yeah.

If I was not a Happily Married Man, and I found myself at a jazz club, enjoying a relaxing night while smoking a cigar and sipping some scotch, and this lady started hitting on me...well, yeah! 

There will never be another...although Raquel Welch, who is over 70 herself now, is trying. 

Check out!

I have reached the point where I have decided I am no longer going to be useful in my current positional description.  My only real goal in life anymore is completing by my Seperation and Extended Absence Clearence/Checkout sheet.  Kind of interesting...after nine years I have finally visited the Shipyard Legal Office and found out there was a Shipyard Library.  With actual books...not just pictures like you would expect most Shipyard bubbas to want.

Wandering around with my check-out sheet also gives me an Official Cover for the unofficial checkout I am doing...drifting aimlessly, shaking hands and saying good bye to pretty good people.  I have known some of these people since I moved back to Washington...almost as long as I have known my wife.

No tears yet though, so I guess that is a good sign that I am doing the right thing.  I am not so macho that I will not admit to an occasional tear leaking from my eye...but I am macho enough to usually try blaming it on dust.  When I left the Seawolf, a place where I had spent 5.5 years and done a lot of growing up, things got a little dusty...felt like I was leaving something behind.  Haven't felt that emotion yet in the Ship Yard, so, it reinforces that whatevr short-term pain and consternation I could be experiencing, I am doing the right thing.

It's also reassuring to see that I have lived my life and carried out my career in the proper manner so far.  People seem genuially upset to see me go, whether they are over me, below me, or a peer.  Which is nice.  From the managment and peer side of things, it is nice to see that the long hours of semi-competent work spent away from family was appreciated.  For the techs working for me...it is a sign that I must have done something right.  As a Supervisor, I often viewed it as my job to act as a poop shield...pass along the good, and do what I can to make the lives of the people working for me better/easier.

Of course, it also mean the technicians I sad to see me go because I have low standards, and now they will need to work for a hardass.

Either way, it's nice to know that maybe I made a little bit of a difference. 


Reality setting in

I am at least 61% certain(Super Majority!) that the career change I am undertaking is the right thing in the long run.  The little pie charts, graphs, and pro/con lists I made prior to saying yes convinced me that in terms of job satisfaction, family time, increased self sufficiency, and maintenance of sanity, that taking this leap was something we had to do, and would pay off with a richer, more rewarding life.  Eventually. 

I even knew(and warned SHMBO) that in the short term, there would be days like this.  Days when I would question the neccessity of this move.  As stated previously, there was nothing that wrong with my job at the Ship Yard.  Good pay and good long-term security...95% of the population would say that is what work is for.  You aren't supposed to worry about actually liking your job...that is why it is called a job! 

And days like today, I would agree with them.  Days when the upstairs TV is turned to HGTV, and every house looks perfect and dazzling, which is not how ours looks.  Stupid HGTV...if women complain that Playboy sets unfair expectations of female beauty, then what about HGTV ?  Who is going to want to buy this house? is the familiar question out of my mouth.  SHMBO replies, we did!  Yeah...but we were dumb, is the only thing I can think of to say.

Her responce?  'And there is some other dumb couple out there right now, looking for their first house, who won't see any of the problems you see with this house...all they will see is opportunity for a new life.'

The fact that she is right didn't fight off the growing funk. 

Neither did the way my Patriots rolled over in the 2nd half.  Ick.  Baseball and Baketball, all I really pay attention to is the playoffs...so, watching the 2nd half of that game added to the blackness in my soul. 

Sitting down to dinner, it came to a head when I realized that next Sunday, I won't be having dinner with my family...next Sunday I will be driving to the Tri-Cities to start my new job the following day.  I will be an every other weekend husband/father until either the house sells, or we figure we can cover both the old mortgage and rent on a new apartment in the Tri-Cities.  Looking across the dinner table at two sets of beautiful blue eyes completed the funk.  SHMBO noted the 1000 yard stare at the dinner table, and tried to snap me out of it, but it was too late. 

Just wish 30-year from now me had a time machine to PROVE it is all going to be worth it. 

'When the ship lifts, all bills are paid.  No regrets. - from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long.   

Entertainments where you find it

Was too cheap to spring for one of those little edging tools to ensure the new silicone caulking is pushed neatly into the corner of the kitchen backsplash...fingers work just as nicely.

Plus, I have gotten to spend the last half hour briskly rubbing my hand and peeling little silicone balls and strips out of the hair on my knuckles and out from under my fingernails. 

Sunday Diversions

It's Sunday, which means for the most part, my TV will be showing professional football, and I will be connected to in by a tether barely long enough to allow me to reach the fridge for a fresh carbonated beverage.  Today's choice will probably be Killian's Red.

But only 'for the most part'.  Since we have too many trees to have gotten Direct TV, my football choice are limited to what is on regular cable, which means this morning there is only one game on for my viewing (dis)pleasure.  Miami vs. Minnesota....not yuck, but yawn.  So, in the interest of displaying my motivation, I will sacrifice watching most of the first game to run some errands.  Then I can concentrate wholly on the Patriots game this afternoon, although I did commit to crawl around on the living room floor with a can of DAP during the game to patch nail holes in the trim. 

Besides, I was already motivated this morning...used the little shovel to clean all the ashes out of the fireplace, then used shop vac belonging to The Worlds Greatest Mom and Nana to get it clean enough to eat in, all ready for my wife to stage flowers, candles or some such stuff in.  I also tried a new recipe for breakfast, courtesy of my new Rachael Ray Magazine...Cannoli French Toast...just mix some ricotta and powdered sugar, put it in bread, fold it in half, and cook like you normally would french toast..sprinkle some more powdered sugar on top, and semi-instant goodness. 


araneus didemathus

Ah...September in the Pacific Northwest...the heat cools of from the blistering low 70's where it spent most of the summer and the hated glowing orb in the sky gives way to a pleasing variety of shades of grey.

But it's not all fun and games.  Because September is also the time of year when our native spider population gets OUT OF CONTROL!!!!

Meet the Cross-Spider.  I know...spiders do a good thing, keeping other bug populations under control  They also freak me right the *#@# out, and are one of the primary reasons that I have had a hard time getting yard work under control. 

Tarantulas really don't bother me...what freaks me out the most are spiders like our friend here...big enough to notice, but small enough that if you eat a web on the way to your truck in the morning, you won't find the spider for at least 5 minutes, when you finally feel it tickleing it's way up you arm. Invariably by this time, you are also doing 55mph by this point, and noticing the spider crawling up your arm could cause you to squeal like a girl and swerve back and forth across the yellow line while you try to find a place where the shoulder is wide enough to pull over and jump out of the truck into oncoming traffic, trying to shake the spider off.

Hypothetically speaking of course.  


Nope, not complaining about dogs...just getting ready to head out to pick up another yard of Medium Red Bark...given the lack of a summer here this year, bark seems an easier solution to cover all the ground we are clearing then waiting for grass(or moss) to make it look green.



Escaped cobras strike fear into Chinese town


As it so happens, Snake Shot for my pistols is one of the few things I have never stocked in great supply...leave it to the Chinese to point out the flaws in my preperation. 

The House

Also known locally as My Nemisis.

Previously I had refered to the house as 'Run Down'.  Not the type of terminollogy that my pending real estate agent would prefer I use.

A more correct phrase would be ignored and taken advantage of.  And it's no ones fault but my own.

We purchased the house roughly 6 years ago, luckily making it in before the peak.  Not that there ever was much of a peak in Belfair, Wa.  One of the reasons we bought it there...housing prices were low, tax rates in Mason County were lower than in neighboring Kitsap county, and the are had an in general quieter feel. 

Like most first time home buyers, I felt rushed by the whole purchase process, more so because my wife and I convinced each other that rates were never going to get lower than the 5.75% we qualified for at the time, and we didn't buy a house RIGHT NOW, we were going to wake up to Carter type interest rates the next day.  I do remember looking at the house prior to buying it, but not with the critical eye of a home buyer, but rather the frenzied eye of someone who wanted to get a home, ANY home, in what was very much a sellers market...Ah the heady days of the long ago early to mid 2000's. 

Initially, we did things right...replaced the carpet in 4 rooms, and installed snap-laminate flooring in the kitchen over the 1978 linoleum prior to even moving in .  But it didn't take long for me to begin cutting corners.  I started calling myself 3/4 man...I would get the easy 3/4's of a given job done, then save the ending touches for later.  Moving the clock forward 6 years, trying to get ready to put the house on the market, it is now later.  ARGHHHH!!!

Inside, the house is dated, but not falling apart...some trim to fix, a hand rail in the stairs to replace, and closet doors to hang(that's right...the closet doors came down to re-do carpet and never went back up...the originals are LONG gone...see...like I said, it's stuff I allowed to happen...lazy).

Outside, when we purchased the house, it had what you would call a 'mature landscape' if you were advertising the house for sale.  Me, I would call it over grown...and over grown with Satanic Ivy and Bamboo.  ARGHHHH!!!!!  Clearing a patch of ground just to have the ivy grow in in three weeks if you didn't already have something else back in.  Having black berries from my neighbors yard go under my drive way to pop up in the middle of the moss field I call a yard. 

And, did I mention I hate spiders.  We have lots of spiders in the Pacific Northwest. 

But, I am not alone in trying to get 6-years worth of work done in 2 months(well, two weeks now).  My wife enjoys the inside stuff, painting and redecorating(staging).  Outside to lend a hand(be the driving force actually), I have the Worlds Greatest Mom and Nana.  My mom has been here 3 weekends in a row from when she gets off work until she has to head home Sunday to get her laundry done.  This invaluable help being rendered despite the fact that she is not very keen on us moving!  Oh, she understands the reasons behind it...she's just more than a little bummed because it is taking her Grand Kids and my wife further away.  But, she has been 100% supportive, no matter what her feelings.  Things are going to be tight to get the house on the market when I want it to be...without my moms help, it would never have happened. 

Not without me throwing large amounts of money at contractors and yard work folks anyways...which I have been doing a little bit of.  Watching a guy come in with his Kubota mini back-hoe and crew of guys to clear a 30 X 10 sections of ivy and black berries, and then having to write them a check is much less painfull than spending a weekend ruining my back pulling said ivy by hand. 

In the Beginning


Yup...just what the Internet needs...another blog.  Well, even if the Internet doesn't need it, She Who Must Be Obeyed says that I need it.  And you KNOW that you need it. 

So, for those of you coming into this cold and totally unprepared for the experience, a little background.

Child of a modern(divorced and remarried, maybe even divorced again) middle-class family.  I can claim nothing even approaching abuse anywhere in my childhood.  My parents both loved me, and my step-parents were attentive and affectionate where appropriate.  Fairly normal upbringing in the suburbs, living in a variety of houses and apartments. My father was in The Navy, and so we did a fair amount of moving in my younger years(a few years in Massachusetts,  4 in Texas where my dad was a recruiter, then 4 more in Rhode Island)before settling down in the Pacific Northwest for my formative years(age 10 on). 

Early on in my high-school years, it became readily apparent that I was not college bound. Not that I wasn't smart enough...I did fairly well on the SAT and ACT's, and always scored well above grade level on the standardized tests(hence my hearty approval of standardized testing as a way of measuring progress).  My two problems were motivation and money.  Lack of motivation to get homework done or fill out financial aid paperwork which lead to a lack of money for paying for school.  Plus, to be perfectly honest, I had never seen myself going to college, other than on an ROCT scholarship to be an officer...and since Motivation Problem Number One prevented me from getting an ROCT scholarship, my decision was easy.  Join the Navy!

So, I ran off and joined the Navy to See The World.

Like Hell.

I did join the Navy, with full blessing from my parents, and spent the next two years a prisoner of the Navy's Nuclear Power Program.  There, I found the motivation I had been lacking in High School(since now the alternative usually involved Captains Mast and both short and long term financial pain).  It wasn't all that bad, being motivated.  I'm not going to say I breezed through the Nuclear Pipeline...I did have to study, but not as hard or as long as some folks.  Then, I learned a lesson...be careful what you ask for.

I had asked to be assigned to a fast-attack submarine in Groton, Ct, specifically, the Seawolf, the newest fastest, quitest submarine in the world.  Lo and behold, because one of the junior guys on the boat had a late diagnosed case of asthma, there was an opening, and I was assigned to PCU Seawolf.  PCU equal Pre-Commisioning Unit...meaning I was assigned as a crew member during the final stages of the building process, before it was even officially a submarine of the US Navy.

It was interesting, the process of watching a submarine get built and commisioned...and tested, and tested, and tested, and then break something, and then tested somemore. 

I spent 5.5 years on the boat, during which time I saw the exciting ports of Annapolis, Maryland, Kings Bay, Georgia, and then Fort Lauterdale and Port Canavarel, Florida.   Exotic locations indeed(although, being a sailor I gave it my best effort to find the most exotic locations in each port, and often succeeded, especially if measured by the number of exotic dancers seen). 

As a sailor, I was not always perfect, and I occasionally experienced lack of motivation problems again, but I did do a pretty good job, and eventually proved my trustworthness and overall competence to the point where as a 2nd Class, I was able to qualify Engineering Watch Supervisor and Engineering Duty Petty Officer, which put me in some very senior positions for a junior person.  Prior to leaving the boat(more due to length of emersion than any true special abilities on my part) my opinion was often asked for, and sometimes even listened to.  This was nice.  And it lead to another major lesson in my life.

If you can't dazzle them with diamonds, baffle them with bull-shit.  You see...I was a good nuclear operator.  I was smart and generally all around competent...but one of the things I learned was importance of Key Words and Tricky Phrases.  Having the ability to come across as knowing more than you really know was very useful...the trick was in ending a conversation before your lack of depth of knowledge became apparent. 

This is getting long...but bear with me, if you care..

Anyway...left the boat, got orders to Bangor, Washington, to be and RCT(Radiological Controls Technician), at the Subbase there.  No longer an operator, it was my job to essentially watch people doing the maintenance work on the reactor plants and ensure they followed the rules for safe maintence, from a radiological standpoint.  Stand there and watch people.  And occasionally do some surveys. 

I got out of The Navy just short of the 9-year point.  Why, if I was such a smart, competent sailor earlier in my career? 

I was(am) fat.  In high school, for a few weeks in my senior year, I wrestled in the 168 pound weight class.  I was pretty fit...for that few weeks...I then put weight back on after wrestling and had to lose weight to get accepted into the Navy.  Actually put on weight at boot camp, but lost many waist inches again.  Put those inches back on after boot camp, and had a constant strugle maintaining myself in standards for the rest of my naval career.

So, I got tired of being defined by it in the Navy...Very competent, good performer and trainer...but look at that gut was how my evals usually read...and so rather than do the healthy thing and lose weight, I ran away.  Puget Sound Naval Shipyard didn't care how much I weighed!  And so, I got out of the navy and went to work for them, doing the same thing in the same location, just in jeans instead of uniform.  And I got to grow a goatee. 

Weight wasn't the only reason...another big one was my wife.  She Who Must Be Obeyed(SWMBO).  Met her a few months before leaving Connecticut, and in one of the most crazy things in my life, asked her to marry me and move across country with me after only dating for like 3 months.  So far, it seems like a good decision.  Anyway, when I got out of the Navy, the thought of leaving my wife and amazing daughter behind for months at a time did have some impact on the decision.

Fast forward another couple of years now.  Through my general competence(and the fact that people senior to me don't always want to be in charge) I find myself a supervisor at PSNS.  Now I watch the people that Watch the People do the work.  From a stability and financial standpoint, there is nothing to complain about in my job...no where in my back-story do you see anything about a degree...I don't have one...but, I make more money than I ever would have thought possible, do to the wonders of Over Time.

My first year out of the Navy, I worked 1100 hours of OT.  The next year, 1000 hours.  If you do the math, that is 3 years worth of work in 2 years on the calender.  Over time, as my salary has gone up, the amount of hours of OT has drifted down, to around 700 or so a year.  That is still a lot of OT...a lot of time not spent with the family.  But, that is what it takes to maintain the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed.  And I mean we...I do not blame any of those hours on my wife...I like to spend money much more than she does...if she goes crazy, it is at goodwill....when I go crazy, it is at Sportsman's Warehouse looking at guns. 

Which brings me to the crossroads.  I have recently accepted a job offer to go perform essentially the same job I do now, for a company working the cleanup out at the Hanford Site, near the Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington.  The salary is even more than what I make now, and more importantly, the OT is less.  Rough calculations show me I should be able to bring home the same money annually, with less time needing to be spent at work.  Like...450-500 hours less to Maintain the Lifestyle to Which I Have Become Accustomed.  Add in that they work a compressed schedule 5/4 9's, giving you every other Friday off...and that should mean a lot more time for my family...and me. 

And that really I think is the point of starting this blog.  To document this new adventure...the safe, conservative thing to do would be stay at PSNS...it is a nice Federal Job, and as close to a sure thing as there is anymore in the world.  Hanford is a contractor position...long term contract, but going over there as a supervisor exposes me to more risk.  More risk, but more reward in the form of family time, and other adventure.  I'm hoping that in addition to giving me a place to rant about everything that is wrong in the world, it will also give me a chance to document my triumphs...and look back and remind myself why I left the Ship Yard. 

The first major challenge to overcome is the thing that worried me the most in agreeing to move...selling my house.  Given the current state of the economy, I am terrified about getting my run-down house in selling shape...and the time I have used to type this, I could have gotten half the kitchen painted...so, this should be first post should be enough to keep anyone crazy enough to stick around occupied for now. 

What's past is here already, and what's future will be shorter(I PROMISE).