Sunday, December 31, 2006

Am I losing it?

My friend Mike called me Thursday to invite me and the boys to go skiing with him and his family this Sunday. I said as long as the weather clears up that would be great. MS is taking her daughter to the Bronco game, then coming over that night with her son to start the New Year with us (including spending the night).

Mike called today to confirm if we were going. It looked to me like the weather was clearing, but would be too cold and windy to have too much fun (I worry about my kids freezing to death). He suggested we move it to Monday. I figured "GREAT!" and we planned on meeting at the Woodland Park McDonalds on the way to Monarch.

When I got off the phone I realized that if MS and son spend the night on Sunday it would be rude of us to leave to go skiing the next day. I had to call Mike back and cancel. With all the travelling and storms these last couple weeks I have not seen MS (just her and me) since the 16th (I think). I felt I shouldn't let her down.

My kids both had a fit about it. They keep coming to me with ideas of what they think would be a win-win situation for all. None of those ideas are truly any good. There are other days that we can go skiing.

All of this makes me wonder and debate within my own head about where I see MS and I. To be honest, I can't figure it out.

The last night that MS and I were together she was just getting over being sick. She was sleeping in my bed and snoring to the point where I could not sleep anymore. I tried every trick I knew to get her to stop, but I know how it is when dealing with a cold or sinus problems. I had to get some sleep, so I went to my son's room and crashed there.

I was having an incredible sex dream that seemed to last forever. One of those that when you wake up you try your damnedest to get back to sleep to continue it. Well, that finally happened, but instead of trying to get back to sleep I was worried that I might have shouted out someone's name... the dream did not include MS. I guess it's probably a good thing I was in another room.

How would you interpret that?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It Just Keeps Getting Better

The initial plan was that we would be heading back to Colorado sometime on Thursday, and arriving late Friday. We didn't need to rush too much, but Mike was going back to work Saturday night.

As typical whenever Mike and I are in Michigan, we were recruited to take a look at my Mom's and also my sister's computers.

My brother-in-law John bought Mom a decent Dell laptop and got her hooked up with DSL and a wireless router after we moved her there last Spring. When we got there Mom was complaining about how slow it was. Mike and I was both puzzled since she was used to dial up on a relatively slow computer we built for her. Our initial assumption was that it was probably because of some malware of some sort. What we actually found was that this laptop was seriously lacking memory. It only had 256MB. We ordered some memory from Crucial to be over-nighted, but even with that it wouldn't get there until Tuesday or possibly Wednesday.

As for my sister's computer it was more for her husband Bruce, who can be such a pain. We build them this computer a year or so ago, and it sounded from the description like the DVD burner we installed was not working properly. After I ran some tests it was confirmed. The drive had gone bad.

We had shopped around a bit for a cheap replacement. I ended up buying one at CompUSA in Ann Arbor on Tuesday evening. I decided to pay for it because the last thing I wanted was for him to bitch about our quality of work. I wouldn't get a chance to install it until Wednesday or possibly Thursday.

So we had been enjoying a few days in south central and southeastern Michigan and then the news came Wednesday morning. Another large storm is heading for Colorado. All I could say was "FUCK!". I think my mom is finally giving up on trying to get us to clean up our language.

Mike and I decided to head back that day as soon as we could get ready. I jumped in the shower, and right then FedEx arrived with Mom's laptop memory. Mike had it rolling within minutes. I took care of some stuff with the car and Mike and Mom told the rest of the family what was going on.

I got the oil changed in my car and picked up some things at the grocery store for the road when I ran into Bruce and my nephew. He heard we were heading out and was thinking we wouldn't get a chance to install that drive. I told him we would come by when we were ready to leave town.

We loaded up the car and headed over to my sister's house. It took me a whole 10 minutes to install the drive. I know I could have walked him through it over the phone, but that can be very aggravating.

Off we went at around 4 p.m Michigan time. I started off again, and drove for about 3 hours before wanting a break. Mike took over, but that only lasted about 2 hours and he was having trouble staying awake, so I did another longer run, but I took some Vivarin to keep me awake. Mike took a shot at a driving again in the early morning, but could only take it for about 90 minutes. I was hardly getting any real sleep since Mike needed the volume up so loud to help him stay awake.

We debated about crashing there for a bit, but I decided I was alert enough to take another run. Surprisingly I had enough to get us well into Kansas. That was about a 4 hour run. I pulled into a rest area and we crashed for a bit just past 5 a.m. After an hour of trying to sleep and actually only sleeping for about 30 minutes max, Mike was awake. The sun was going to be coming up and he thought he could drive, so off we went. We took a short breakfast break in Goodland Kansas and continued on into Colorado.

The further west we went the thicker the clouds got. We did not see any new snow falling until we got to Limon, and that was very light flurries. We gassed up for the last time and Mike continued driving because he felt bad for making me drive almost all night. We were on the outskirts of Colorado Springs when the snow finally started. A few minutes more and the flakes were getting big. I kept thinking to myself how lucky we were to have left when we did.

We got home around 10:30... and really tired. Mike headed to his house and I rested a bit before getting in the shower and eventually taking a nap. By the time I woke 3 hours later about 4 inches had fallen. I got dressed and picked up my kids. We went to dinner, and then picked up some groceries for the next few days. I had no idea what I needed, but I figured it doesn't hurt to stock up if the storm is going to be bad.

My stomach is not feeling too good, which is probably from all of the caffeine. Something is keeping me awake... I wonder what it is?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Didn't mean to make you worry

OK, Here is what I have gone through...

I drove to the Denver airport (DIA). The parking stucture only had space on the top (uncovered) level. I then had to stand in a huge line to check a bag. Yes, I had liquids in bottles more than 3 ounces. I haven't travelled in a while, and this trip came up kind of fast at a busy time of year.

I flew to Des Moines with my boss to assess how F-ed up their Software Configuration Management system is (I am not going to explain what SCM is). We already knew is was bad, but we wanted to see how difficult it would be to get it up to our standards (which we don't even meet, but that is why I am so damn busy).

The people I talked to were nice, but there was this feeling of paranoia in their undertones. Their whole software development organization is being reorganized. Change can be scary, I guess.

So our meetings went .... well

But during all this, the weather in Denver went to shit. I was only to stay In Des Moines for one night. My boss was staying an extra day, so he was going to take me to the airport. I had been keeping track of flights to Denver. My flight was still going, so I started getting ready to go. I checked one last time before shutting down the laptop... CANCELLED!!!!

I went through Expedia (our corporate travel crook) to get my flight rebooked. The only thing they could get me was the next day (Thursday) to Milwaukee, then from there to Denver. So then I called the hotel to let them know I would be staying another night. She said that since my first resevation was through Expedia I could get them to extend me on their rate, but if I wanted I could just do a new booking for $99. I called Expedia, just to stay within the rules of work travel. After taking a while to get through they said they could do it at the same rate of $210. Yes, that's right $210. I told them "nevermind". Can you believe that shit?!

My new flight was to leave about an hour before Bob's flight, so he was going to drop me off and take the rental car in. Again we checked right before leaving for the airport, and again my second leg of my flight was cancelled. Bob's flight was still on, but then it was cancelled just a few minutes later. Now I had to decide whether to take the flight to Milwaukee and hope for a different flight.

I decided to get to the airport and deal with it. Bob was on the phone trying to reschedule his. He got a really nice lady that was trying just about anything possible to get him home by the next day. He dropped me off at my airline check in area. I went over options with the ladies at the counter about whether being in Milwaukee was better than maybe being in Chicago or maybe Atlanta. I held off on checking in.

I called Bob to check on his luck. I went straight to voice mail. I got on the phone with Expedia (what a worthless bunch of idiots). I was having a hard time hearing this last one so I had my head stuck in this little barrier between a wall and the outside window. Then I got a tap on my shoulder. It was Bob.

He said we're screwed. He said the next flight he could get into Denver was for the 25th. That didn't work for either of us. He said let's go rent an SUV and drive it. "OK!" Fifteen minutes later we were on the road. We tried to get a large SUV, but all they had was a KIA. I don't remember the model. It was ok.

We headed west on I-80 in Iowa and were making pretty good time. Once we passed the Nebraska border the variable highway signs were saying that I-80 was closed about where we would be connecting to I-76, unfortunately not quite to I-76. When we got to within an hour of the closure we hit a Holiday Inn. It's nice to be able to surf the web from my phone on the road.

The news later that night made it sound like I-80 was now open. We decided to hit the highway at 5 a.m. and pass on the free breakfast. After a screw up with my room alarm clock being set to the wrong time I ended up awake and ready about 45 minutes before Bob. Just my luck.

We got rolling in the dark and cold. An hour down the road and we saw nothing. No snow at all. Why was it closed? We continued on and got into a little snow on the edges of the road. I kept thinking "This is it?", but then all of a sudden the roads started showing more signs of snow and ice. Then there was not, one, not two, not three, but FOUR semi trucks in the median and the shoulders of the road. Two of the trucks were over turned. Some serious ice must have caused this. I would bet that once they cleared the wreckage from the highway and laid down some sand they opened it back up.

We made it to I-76 and started the southwestern trek through Colorado. Once we were a few miles into Colorado it was clear that things were just going to get worse. We saw dozens and dozens of cars and trucks buried in the snow, some flipped over, others just stuck. The roads were very hard snow packed. Traffic was not too bad. I think we beat the rush.

We came upon one panel truck that must have just crashed. It was on its side and there were people there climbing on the vehicle trying to help the driver out. I didn't see anyone on a phone so I called 911. They dispatched rescue vehicles, and we just kept on rolling.

Another truck we saw in the median had just spun out. Steam was pouring out from under the hood. So we knew that even though we were getting through this, we had better be careful. We continued on.

About 10:30 a.m. as we got to our connection to E-470 we stopped to gas up the car before returning the rental. This was our first time getting off the highway in the snow. The gas station was a mess. A semi was stuck in the driveway. A woman in a 2 wheel drive pickup was tring to get around the semi, and was just spinning. We got around the building and came in through another entrance. It felt like we were cutting in line, but I was not going to feel guilty about it. Ten the lady that works there informed us that the only fuel they had left was premium and that was close to running out.

Gassed up, and back on the road we headed toward the airport. We dropped off the car and got on the bus to take us to the terminal. ABout a third of the people getting on the bus we just going to the parking structure. We weren't the only ones that drove in. Flights were supposed to start taking off in the next hour or so.

I got to my car and this is what I saw

It took me about 10 minutes to dig out enough snow from behind the tires to pull it out. Driving out of DIA was kind of surreal. I was the only car driving out of their. It felt like I was in a zombie movie.
It took me about 2 hours to get home. I immediately finished wrapping gifts, but got word from my kids that my ex wouldn't be bring them over right away. Some choice words entered my mind, but I held my tongue. I called my brother and MS to let them know I was home. I took a shower and started packing for driving to Michigan.
The kids arrived as well as MS and her son. We exchanged gifts and hung out for a bit before my brother pulled up. He and I loaded my car. MS took the boys back to my ex's house since my car no longer had room for them. Mike and I got on the road, but had to pick up some food for the road and get gas. We had a real problem finding gas in town. I guess the blizzard cause a gas shortage. We found one gas station with only half of it's pumps open. We were in line for about 30 minutes waiting for our turn. Then off we went... at 5:30 p.m.
Believe it or not I drove the first stretch. We decided right then to try and drive straight through. We traded off every few hours. We finally had to stop in Illinois at about 5 a.m., but we just pulled into a rest stop and slept in the car for about 2 hours. Then we found a shitty little greasy spoon for breakfast. It was pretty bad and we had to wait 45 minutes for our food.
We finally arrived at mom's apartment. Our drive time was 19 hours.
Now some time to relax

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I'm on my business trip, and was supposed to return to Colorado today, but as you all know we got a blizzard. That is 2 this year already. Awesome for the ski areas, but damn it, I need to get home. I am supposed to have Christmas with my kids Thursday night and hit the road with my brother heading for Michigan.

Needless to say, I am frustrated. I want to go home.

I hope that all of my friends in Colorado are safe and warm.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Tired and ready for vacation

Can you believe 2 posts in one week???

I've hired 2 guys and STILL trying to hire that guy in Oakland, but that whole situation is F-ed up.

My boss decided yesterday that I needed to go with him to Des Moine on Dec 19th to assess their situation as far as software configuration management and process goes. I'll only be there a day then come back. Then on the 22nd my brother and I leave for Michigan. Then while I am in Michigan I'll be working a bit to make sure things are running smothing at work. I feel guilty because the 2 new guys are going to be stuck holding down the fort. I am guessing that there won't be any issues the week of Christmas, but you never know.

I am puzzled. How much do I spend on a Christmas gift for my girlfriend? She was talking about buying a couple of things recently including what I wanted to get her, a Sirius Stiletto 100 (portable satellite radio). I told her not to buy anything the month of December if she can help it. HINT HINT! She is a gadget freak like most guys are. Well she figured out what I was planning on buying her, and told me it was too much to spend on her. Is $350 too much to spend on someone you've been dating for 8 months (I know, 8 months... hard to believe)?

My finances are great now. With my severance from Agilent I paid off all my credit card debt and am making a dent in my home equity line of credit. I think I need to refinance that before rates go up to much more. I am just so lazy about that shit.

I am not sure why, but I am feeling depressed still. Other than gaming night I have been very anti-social. MS has been out of town for work a lot lately, but I was kind of releaved by her absense. I guess I kind of feel like I need to be entertaining her more. Other than going to see the new Bond flick (which we loved) we haven't really gone out much. I can't quite put my finger on why I am feeling down about things.

As I meantioned, I had my gaming friends over this past weekend. As always we had a blast and a few drinks. MS's daughter came buy to play for a bit with us before going on on a date with a new guy she is dating. They were going to head downtown to watch the parade of lights. Well he showed up and joined in some of the games before they had to go, but when that time came they decided they would rather hang out with us. I was pretty impressed by the guy coming to a stranger's house to meet his dates mom, then joining us for most of the night.

I meantioned a few posts back about a recruiter we have at work. She and I have had more than a few talks about the hell we are going through trying to hire someone for my Oakland position. Because of this we've kind of become friends.

The other day I found a mens sock just outside of my cubicle. I was kind of grossed out by it, but figured someone must have dropped it on their way to the workout room. A few of us in the area joked about it a lot. Then I decided to be funny and send out an e-mail about it to the whole office. As expected I got a shit load of joke e-mails back. I don't think the owner would dare claim it now.

Well one of the jokers was Rhonda (name changed, just in case). Just like with other e-mails we sent to each other, we had a lot of back and forth messages to each other. She is quite funny. Did I mention she is also extremely attractive? Anyway, during all of our e-mails she invited me to come to a party she is having at her house. She said I could bring a friend, but it seemed like "bring one of your buddies". I could totally have been reading too much into this, but it seemed like she was being more than just friendly about me coming over.

I know from a previous conversation with her that she does not have a boyfriend. I thought I had told Rhonda about MS. Maybe she forgot. I sat at my desk wondering what to do. The devil and angel jumped onto my shoulders and the debate started.

"You have MS"
"Rhonda is so funny and easy to talk to"
"Don't have another office romance... remember the last one?"
"But Rhonda is so gorgeous"
"You sure you would want to risk losing MS?"
"It's not like we're in a 'serious' relationship"
"What if you're reading too much into what Rhonda said?"
"Are you and MS going to get serious?"
"You're not going to know anyone their except Rhonda"
"Why can't shit like this happen when I'm single?"

I decided to tell Rhonda that I have a girlfriend, but I am not sure she could make it because she gets her kids that night. Her next e-mail became much less playful. She said we could bring the kids with us. Some of her other friends bring their kids. I told her that would probably not work, but I could ask.

I asked MS if she wanted to go. She has a sinus/respiratory infection she is fighting, and with her just getting back to town after 2 back to back business trips she was not feeling up to it. Plus she wanted to spend some time with her kids. She told me I could go if I wanted.

I was very tempted to go by myself, but I decided that nothing good could come of it. Plus she lives in Denver, so I would have to limit my drinking because of the long drive home.

So I am sitting here writing this instead of having a few drinks with a beautiful woman and her friends. I am pathetic.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I was tagged by TME. She wants me to list 6 weird things about me. How am I supposed to limit myself to just 6?

"THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the '6 weird things about you.' People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you are tagged' in their comments and tell them to read your blog."

1. I am somewhat loud. My voice carries, and a lot of the time I don't realise how I am talking or laughing out loud at an inappropriate time. A lot of people think I am just trying to be funny, but honestly, I just don't even get it. I feel bad for the people that work near my cubicle.

2. Because I am pretty loud I think that most people don't know that I am also very shy. I have learned to force myself to be outgoing and talk to people, but for the most part it makes me nervous. I do hide my nervousness well, I guess. I think my shyness is why I had so few girlfriends prior to getting married at 23.

3. My eyes have changed color over the years. They used to be very blue, but now they are kind of a pale green. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but my optometrist once told me that I have retinas almost like an albino. You wouldn't notice that from my dark brown hair.

4. I am pretty forgetful. There are times when people remember really funny or stupid things that I have said and I don't even remember saying it. I am starting to think that how smart people are is in direct proportion to how well they can remember everyday events. I can't remember shit.

5. My ankles crack when I walk up or down stairs. It is so normal to me that the only time I really notice it is when I am going to bed and the house is extremely quiet. I like it when a person giving me a foot rub squeezes my feet and makes them crack.

6. I have no ass. When I buy a pair of jeans that fit me in the waste, they are baggy in the ass. Sorry to ruin the fantasy ladies ;)

So, that was my six weird things. OK, more sad than wierd...
Now, I tag:

Chrissie - I can never get enough of her (and I know she doesn't like being tagged).
Stacy - She thinks I'm a perv.
Terry - Us dorks need to stick together.
Grace - If I was 15 years younger... okay, maybe Stacy was right.
Jodes - She is awesome and you all need to know it.
Echotig - I miss her posts