April 2005

Sometimes I surprise myself. I've been walking around lately talking about “My project” and “My Sensor” and what “I want to do” on the next mission. Almost as if I'm in charge. Wait… I guess I am in charge aren't I?

I tell you, I've had folks from all over the country calling me and the message is generally along this line:

“Who are you and why are you wanting to use my airplane and by the way who said you could use it EVER?”

And there is the problem in a nutshell. All legitimate questions to be sure and I guess it's to my credit that I've been able to successfully answer them all and thus am scheduled to have the aircraft fly me and my sensor next Thursday – at least if the government folks say it's OK on Monday. My fingers are crossed.

But still, people calling me demanding information and other things that I have no idea what the answer is… eek. It's been stressing me like nothing since Evan was born. That was an overwhelming event that bowled me over with the responsibility and project management has hit me in much the same way. I hope that overwhelming thing doesn't last long; I can't handle that feeling for very long. I've had a constant headache for a week now. On Friday, I escaped to Border's Bookstore during lunch and could barely concentrate due to the fact that it felt like someone was pounding a nail into my forehead.

I guess it's that I wanted to jump into it and accomplish something very quickly. I've wanted the project to do that for quite some time now and here's my chance to make it happen. If this goes well, I can really show some important results – if things don't go well, we look dumb. I don't want to look dumb. I've already sent two guys to White Sands to work the other end on the ground so money is being spent as we speak.

OK, my head is hurting again – I'm off to read the Harry Potter books again. Escape… that's what I need.


I wrote this last Friday but only now found time to blog it.

My friend and coworker finally flew the coop. His last day was last Wednesday and he left me holding the bag (or budget actually).

TheMan asked me to take over the management of our project from him and so now my role has changed substantially.

I started off well enough, the the phone has started ringing and I'm mucho stressed out.

I need to figure this gig out soon before I make myself sick.

It's hard to update the journal these days what with having a teenager in the house constantly updating his own journal. I also have a fledling daughter blogger coming up too. Needless to say, they have no interest in using my service provider – they use what their friends use no matter how lame it is.

I got up and did something new this Saturday morning – I went up to the church and joined in with a bunch of other old guys (most of them older than me) in what they call the “Home Improvement Ministry”. Our church seems to have adopted the generic philosophy of “Don't just come up here on Sunday mornings and forget about it the rest of the time – get involved with something so that the messages will stick.” It's not a bad philosophy. So these guys meet up – form teams and them go out and fix up the houses of widows and single mothers in the church. They have long lists of work orders – usually the sorts of odd jobs that women hate to hire someone to do since they hate having strangers in their houses.

My three-men team got two houses: one older woman recovering from dual knee replacements and a single mom. I personally installed a ceiling fan and then replaced the guts of a trickling toilet. There's nothing like a fully functioning toilet to bring a smile to the face of just about anyone. Men try to impress women in so many silly, fruitless ways; perhaps all of us should just go fix toilets for free – we'd probably make a much better impression.

These jobs were all drawn from church membership so these houses were bigger than mine and in nicer neighborhoods. These women also made donations to the men's ministry which was a bit awkward. I was there to do something for someone else who needed the help and didn't want to even see any money but our team leader graciously took the donation and passed it on.

One strange custom – each team gives the woman a flower. That sort of makes the whole thing seem like a date or something but I don't make the rules. So I presented the flower and the other guys and I started work. I'm not sure how I got to be the flower guy; these things just happen.

Still, it was fun. I got to know some other guys and we got to tinker around with tools. I got home to find that Evan had mowed and weed-eated my yard so I didn't have to do it. Sweet! He was working on some requirements for a merit badge but one way or the other, I got my lawn mowed for free.

Then my brother-in-law needed me to drive him to the sod store to get some rolls of sod in my pickup. Apparently, it was prom night and he didn't want his daughter having to step in the dirt near his front porch as she left. So he rolled out a green carpet for her.

That means I got to just enjoy the rest of the sun-shiny day. I wish spring would last longer than it does – it should get hot soon. And, I think my mole population has dwindled. Perhaps my poison is working. I like days like this – simple, no complex issues – just things that get done.

We find ourselves with both kids out camping – each to different places. This hasn't happened in many years it seems and here we are at opposite ends of the house reveling in the quiet and privacy. In a few minutes, we'll get out some stuff and do the chores that require the both of us and then go shopping and to dinner.

This is nice – how long until these kids graduate?

What's the best place to buy tunes online? I don't mind paying but I don't want to be:

a) limited to a specific device like the Ipod (I used my PDA)
b) limited to a specific player (like Windows Media Player or God Forbid, Real Player)
c) limited to one computer (where a license is kept on file somewhere)
d) limited in time (where the song rots after awhile or if I don't resubscribe to a service)
e) forced into a monthly subscription just to download two or three tunes

Any advice?

Evan's geometry that is. That kid has more geometry homework than I've ever seen. More's the pity since the teacher seems to do little more than assign every stinkin' problem in each section and then zone out. If she teaches anything at all, I have not seen the evidence. If I didn't go over it with him and explain stuff, he'd have a D in this class now instead of the skin-of-the-teeth A. Not every kid has a scientist for a dad and the class average shows that in grand dismal fashion. I of course can't say anything to the school since that would embarrass him. But I can certainly tell everyone who can read this blog. Of course nobody does (except my sister and ) so no harm done.

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