November 2004


Well, that was fun.

The annual holiday throw-down included at least eight pies of one sort or another. Yes, that was too many but we've been eating pie for the last four days so it's not a total loss.

We had lots of people in here and used every table of every sort we had plus one borrowed card table. My sister and her husband came along with everybody in Mel's family except her itenerant younger brother. We also managed to see a movie and get the Christmas tree up although all the decorations are not yet applied. This year, I let the kids take over and they assembled the tree and put on most of the ornaments. I had to fix a string of lights and so I put those on – the kids having long since lost interest. Darn those video games – every kid has about a three second attention span.

Anyway, there it is: a holiday success wherein we managed not to have to drive anywhere.

Today I head off to Washington DC for meetings. Bummer – I wish it hadn't been immediately after a holiday.

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Anyone who is coming for Thanksgiving: no more pies!

Friday, someone from the software group brought donuts to the office and left them on the kitchen table. My cubicle-mate found them and went for one of them. The software guy came in and said:

“Hey, those are software's donuts!”

This prompted a barrage of responses of which the following are noteworthy:

“Does that mean they're full of bugs?”

“No, It means they aren't done!”

Note to all who are coming to my house: it's clean now so you'd better hurry on over if you want to see it before it gets messy again. I've been at the carpets with the Resolve to remove the spots we put there last Thanksgiving. Evan and I have been raking leaves like there's no tomorrow. Darn the weather last night – now we have to do it all over again. Mel has those bathrooms so clean you could eat in there – and somebody may have to if I can't rustle up another card table and chairs.

We're looking forward to it – and don't worry about going away hungry either. I hope you like pie.

In light of the above, I guess anyone who reads this is welcome to come eat. But bring your own chair. And another pie!

TheMan took his truck in to be repaired. It's pretty old and its manual transmission is on the fritz such that it won't do second gear. Since it's old, he tried to get it fixed on the cheap and so called around until he found what he thought was the right place. The following conversation apparently transpired:

TheMan: “I'm here to drop off my truck.”

Mechanic: “OK”

TheMan: “I have an appointment.”

Mechanic: “Well, nobody ever tells me about that stuff but what's the problem?”

TheMan: “Bad second gear.”

Mechanic: “We don't do transmissions!”

Other mechanic from the garage: “Uhhh, we do now.”

Mechanic: “Oh, OK.”

TheMan: “You want my keys or what?”

Mechanic: “Just throw 'em on the table.”

TheMan: “Don't I get some sort of ticket or something to prove they're mine when I come back.”

Mechanic: “Huh?”

I hope he gets his truck back one of these days.

Note to self: don't patronize this particular garage.

One thing I like about the church we attend is the fact that they can organize so many things to keep kids busy. There's something for everyone. Evan's thing has become playing guitar in the praise band. Actually this is one of many praise bands. In this context, “praise band” means a rock band that plays music at the church. Usually, you'd find them playing some sort of God-praising music but Evan's band conductor feels no such limitations – they play pretty much anything that is not overtly inappropriate.

They have the same problem that all musical groups always have in Methodist churches: the audience is too laid back. They can play their hearts out and put huge amounts of energy into their performances but the audience of middle-schoolers will only stand there with their hands in their pockets as if they're too cool to clap.

Evan noticed this after his first performance. During their second performance, I stayed in the back (usually parents vacate the place) to hear them since I wanted to see my illustrious son performing on the stage (and wish to heck I had been able to do something similar). During the performance, the conductor (my guitar teacher) walked over to me and said:

“Look at this! They're just standing there! What is it with these kids? Nothing I can do seems to make these kids look excited or anything. If you're playing in the band, you look out there and you can't tell if they're enjoying themselves or not. I've tried everything – I just don't know…”

He really has tried everything. The next week after that, he had the band play the “Oompa Loompa” song from the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. The week following, he taught them to play “The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything” from the Veggie Tales series of childrens videos. I don't know if it's made much difference. The kids will laugh and say they enjoy them but you have to wait till they tell you – they don't jump, clap, or dance at all.

I've noticed this efore. It must be a Methodist thing. But Evan still enjoys himself.

I finally, after months of procrastination, called American Airlines with my old iteneraries in hand and asked to be given credit for those flights where I never got any frequent flyer miles. Wonder of wonders, they did it right then and there.

I now have almost 18,000. Woo hoo!

Now what do I do with them?

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