Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Midway, Day 46

Jesus Monkeys, it's been another week.  Is time flying, or am I losing track?

Ok, I summup: Wednesday and Thursday were totally uneventful.  Except for doggie acupuncture where Gaia kind of got anxious again, but didn't totally freak out, and the climbing gym where I tried the pink V4 and landed HARD on my knee instead.  Thursday evening I took Gaia up to George's in anticipation of Florida this week and she immediately found the squeaky toys and I was forgotten.  All guilt I had about leaving her was erased.  George's Golden (Moose) was still a little weary of this 10 year old puppy, but seemed just fine. 

Friday I flew to Atlanta, then Jacksonville and then drove to The Villages to stay with Carol, my grandpa's second wife, for the weekend.  Carol is great.  And a stream-of-conscious kind of person.  Lots of chatter, lots of let-me-do-that-for-you-because-maybe-you're-not-capable.  There's certainly no chance that you'll run out of things to talk about.  The best news was that she's crashing the Potter family reunion next summer.  She had me at church with all the old folks Sunday morning... between that and the three instances of gluten over the weekend, I was ready to get out.  Made it back up to Jacksonville Sunday evening and got a workout in before the FNG got out of class.  I always feel awkward in hotel gyms because I'm not doing an hour on the elliptical or on the treadmill.  Let me tell you what kind of sideways glances burpees and swings commanded today.  At least with the headphones I don't have to talk to anybody.

Anyway, FNG and I are three drinks and dinner in at the hotel bar, really getting into the good gossip we can't get AT work, and Charlie strolls through.  So we both yell CHARLIEEEE!!!! just as the same time the Michigan Tech guys all see him and yell it.  Don and I didn't even know the MTU guys were two tables over.  Charlie goes "Oh hello!  I figured I'd find SOMEONE I knew at the bar!"  So we got all caught up.  I haven't seen Charlie since he retired in May.  I nearly knocked him over when I hugged him - guess he wasn't expecting it.  Got to chit chat a bit with Chuck, my prof from MTU too.  Monday morning began IMAC - the International Modal Analysis (Super Nerd) Conference.  I think the first lecture I sat through was by one of my favorite prof's from Purdue, Doug Adams.  His lecture style hasn't changed and FNG (who was totally jealous of my undergrad experience) and I decided that it didn't matter what Doug was talking about, it would be interesting.  I went to say hi after the talk, and the really cool part was that he remembered me and was legitimately interested in what I was doing and where I ended up after Purdue.  Monday evening FNG & I escaped the social stuff and found a surf & turf place that called a third bottle of wine a "single glass."  Jackpot.  So a couple of glasses of wine there and we were in good shape.  Charlie joined us for the second and even got to talking about when he and Diane first started dating.  He might be one of the most adorable people on the planet.

Today feels like it was much further along than only the second day of this conference.  Plenty of good information, even lots of good entertaining talks, but these days are long.  They start at 8 or 9a and go through until 6p.  And it's constant on-your-toes stuff.  Either absorbing technical info or schmoozing with vendors or using up the remaining people skills you have with whomever you run into in the hall.  FNG and I met with a vendor today and he was half an hour late, and I used up all I had trying to fend these guys off for thirty minutes.  It was fine just talking to the couple of technical guys from Belgium, but as soon as the sales guys showed up, it was Hell.  Good news is that FNG and I won a CAN OF CINCINNATI CHILI - and a rental credit with one of the Cincy based vendors.  In the raffle they called my name, but I had left already. By the time Don had tried to call me back, they moved on - and immediately called his name.  Team effort.

Tonight's social gathering was at the local country bar, where the big draw was the mechanical bull.  FNG and I intended on making an appearance and getting the F out of there.  Turned out that we were both starving and the food was pretty good, so we ate - and the booze was free, so we had a couple of drinks.  But then the UMass - Lowell kids declared Mechanical Bull War on every other college rep there, and we took that as a cue to exit.  Made out way back to the Over Pour Bar and got some dessert and more wine.

Ok, twist my arm.

I present tomorrow afternoon and still need to get my act together.  And somehow there are still two more days before I can go back home.  The "sports equipment dynamics" section Thursday afternoon is my carrot.  And another trip to the Over Pour Bar, of course.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Midway, Day 39

How has it been six days already?  snOMG! kept me indoors Thursday too.  Another long walk with Gaia (and Richard!), but it wasn't too long before cabin fever was setting in.  I was determined to go to work Friday, even if the roads were bad because I had to get out.  The roads were fine, we got about three inches of rain and all the snow was long gone by Saturday.  Friday I ended up doing TM duty, along with everyone else in SDL.  Apparently Miller thought he, Phil and Jason would all be out, so he called every TM-capable warm body in the group to get coverage.  And we all showed up (including Phil).  After a less than notable preflight, two of the guys retreated to the lab and Phil told my Angry Cubemate (here on out known as "Homeslice") that he could only stay if he sat at the table in the back where no one could hear him curse into his headset.

Friday evening I had a pretty successful go at the gym - knocked out a few routes that had been spitting me off since they went up.  So I felt pretty good about all that.  Then I met Dana and Suzanne at the Fir, where I intended to do some Barcelona research, but didn't really get any done.  Not all my fault though!  The Fir shares a building with the Ballard old folks home, and apparently it's not uncommon for the latter to set off the fire alarm.  And they did, Friday in the freezing rain.  So we all had to haul outside until it stopped going off.  I guess three tables ditched their tab in the process, and another girl almost made a break for it, but Ellen practically tackled her on the way, so she came back in to settle up.  But that pretty much cleared things out though, and we practically had the place to ourselves.  So much so that Ellen AND Rick came to sit with us for a solid chunk of time.  Ah, the life of a regular.

Saturday I worked.  There was actually a lot I did not get done at home on those snowdays - go figure.  So I put in nearly a full day after an aborted morning row.  Then I had a reiki session with Krizten (my spiritual and sexual chakras are in great shape), and then she tried to convince me to adopt a puppy.  She's had them posted up on Dorkbook for a week or so and I came to meet them.  They were unbelievably cute, but I am so not prepared to be a responsible puppy owner.  I feel guilty enough for leaving Gaia all day long.  A puppy is not a good idea.

So tiny.  Such chewing teeth.

Sunday I was so productive you're not even going to be able to wrap your head around it.  I was up fairly early, and did a massive clean out of the fridge and freezer, which then resulted in making stock from the turkey carcass that's been freezing for two Thanksgivings.  Two more batches of the cookie project, a run to the drycleaners, the fabric store and retrieving my crockpot from Adam's.  I had another "I'm becoming my mother" moment when I went in for half a yard of white and came out with $150 in fabric, kits and patterns.  I had grand plans of getting a quilt put together in time to do the hand stitching en route to Midway, but I'm not sure that's gonna happen.

Tonight is a break from the cookies to make a birthday cake.  I think this cookie project may turn into just going through the book in order instead of going through the book in order in 50 weeks.  Otherwise December may not be a lot of fun.  I've had three suboptimal results and I have determined that I wouldn't make a very good 1940's housewife.  Adam pointed out that since I've never simultaneously worn a dress, heels and apron that I was probably right.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Midway, Day 33

snOMG! 2012 has arrived.  I've got just over four inches out back.  The city has shut down.  Pretty much all of the lab stayed home today, myself included.  Gaia and I went for a walk, and a run, and threw the crack ball in the alley (until it hit a tree and took an unfortunate bounce over the neighbor's fence).  That dog LOVES the snow.  I can't deny her, she's too cute.  And currently completely passed out.  Working from home isn't all that conducive to actually working, but it is really great for things like organizing your kitchen cabinets.

There will be no outdoor dining today.

I got the new Boeing-issued crackberry mostly setup, but of course, in fine form, per usual, the "help desk" was less than helpful.  I called to say the software didn't install right, and the guy goes "oh no, it's fine" and then proceeded to skip steps in the setup process and now I still can't get encrypted email.  Ah well, it was a nice activity to do from the kitchen this afternoon.  We're suppose to get more snow tonight, so tomorrow may be a late arrival kind of a day.  With a stop to Harborview to visit our software guy that crashed his bike over the weekend and is now recovering with pins in his pelvis.

In other help-desk-fail news, I booked tickets to Barcelona and Paris today.  Yahoooo!  I tried last night, but British Airways has the WORST website on the ENTIRE internet.  I got all the way through the booking process, the payment process, and even the verify you're you process and then I got an error message saying something went wrong and my booking may or may not have been completed.  Since BA's customer service was shut down for the day, I called this morning.  No record of the booking, but they thought I should call Visa too - just to be sure.  Then I tried to book online at least a half a dozen more times before calling back.  At least they waived the phone booking fee, but only after I told them I tried to book online about a billion times.  Anyway, tickets are confirmed (eeeeeeee!) and Adam and I both went back in to add passport info and what have you.  My attempt was successful, but when either of us tried to change his, we got another generic failure from the website with no logical explanation.  You'd think a company like that would have a flawless website, since that's where it gets a lot of business.  But you'd be wrong.  Oh so very wrong.

I cut out fabric today to (finally) start on Bridget and Lisa's baby quilts.  And I am officially old.  Not because I'm making baby quilts, but because I'm going to have to put ice on my lower back from bending over the table for an hour.  Holy hell.

I also drank a fair amount of tequila this evening.  I think that's a totally independent data point though.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Midway, Day 31

Welcome to the one month mark.  I'm still feeling overwhelmed, so not sure how much this post has to say.  But I feel like a month is noteworthy and should be acknowledged.  I was telling Adam earlier that when he was getting ready to go, three months was like an eternity.  And I had SO MANY plans.  But so far, I've really just been interested in sitting my ass on the couch.  The cabinets are up (and surviving so far), but I don't feel like the kitchen is done because I'm working off the card table right now.  But maybe that's close enough.  I've got at least one baby quilt to do - I've given up on anymore than that.  And now I feel like I'm behind the 8 ball and need to be at the lab to make up for all the hours I'll miss between Midway and France (and apparently Spain).

The other problem may be that I'm spending an hour sitting on video chat with the boy and not doing much else.  I had grand plans of working on the fabric tonight, but now I'm just going to clean the kitchen and go to bed.  Whoops.

Definitely worth noting is my trip to the outlet mall on Sunday.  More details to come, but I am officially a Le Creuset owner.  I feel so grown up!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Midway, Day 28

I am damn near positive that Midway is a GO.  Or, at least I have a ticket to Honolulu for next month.  Adam called Monday to confirm dates.  Then when I asked about it Tuesday he said, "oh, I didn't check."  WHAT!!!  Then today I get an email requesting to fill out some travel info, and 20 minutes later a travelocity notice that I will be arriving in Honolulu at 1:35p on February 9th.  I did multiple jigs at my desk.  Then some more up the hall to tell the FNG and Pat.  Then a few more becuase otherwise I'm pretty sure I would have just exploded with excitement.  I haven't actually talked to the man yet, so if this is still only a "maybe" I will need to prepare myself for an epic fall on to very hard concrete.

Gretchen has decided to do the cookie project with me.  Well, from Pittsburgh, and as much as her two little girls will let her.  But it will be fun to have someone to compare cookie notes with.  And interesting to see how they differ between the gluten content.

I've been a total zombie this week.  But not the kind that wants to eat people and take over humanity.  The kind that wants to just sit and drool in the evenings.  This kitchen project is still looming, and the card table that's set up in the dining area is totally useless because it's covered in tools waiting to be used to put these shelves up.  My excuse is that to cut the shelves to length, I'm gonna need daylight and I haven't been home for any of that lately.  So Sunday.  Sunday will be shelf hanging and kitchen cleaning day.  And then maybe I'll get a picture embedded in a post.

Assuming I don't get stuck on Midway, I will be a witness in the FNG's wedding on February 21st.  I'm kind of excited.  And considering that I beat out the bums on the courthouse lawn for the honor makes it all the more sweeter.  FNG has a new suit, and I'm sure Joan will be beautiful, so now I need to figure out what to wear!  Ack!  It probably also means that I should shave my legs.  Crap.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Midway, Day 26

A few things of note: I have decided that 2012 will be the year of the cookie.  That is, I will attempt to make each recipe out of the Gourmet Cookie Book once this year.  68 recipes, 51 weeks to go.  Better get crackin'.

Adam called last night after I was already snuggled up with Gaia in bed.  He was awfully chatty and started asking about the upcoming trip to Florida (for what is bound to be a riveting IMAC extravaganza).  He was mostly interested in dates, and such details are not normally on his radar, so he certainly had my attention.  Anyway, turns out that - he thinks - if there is an open seat on one of these Thursday flights from Honolulu to Midway, he can bring a guest.  So we launched into a flurry of conversation of logistics and when I could come out, and so on and so forth.  I need everyone on the internet to keep their fingers and toes crossed that the half dozen people that he needs to clear this with are on board.  EVERYONE.

Also sounds like France is a go, so all that hope of paying off my credit card while Adam is away has pretty  much become a lost cause.  Not to mention the 10% off booze closing sale over at Greenwood Market.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Midway, Day 24

I have attempted to get back into a routine this week, but I feel like I'm still catching up from everything I didn't get done over holiday break.  Mostly the Kitchen Redeux.  Niki and I got one of the cabinets up on the wall Wednesday.  Then we discovered the other one I had purchased had a crack in it, so we went to Lowe's to exchange it.  As we left for Lowe's, the torrential downpour started.  I don't know that it's ever rained that hard in Seattle.  And of course the cabinet wouldn't fit in the jeep.  We were soaked by the time we conceded and loaded into Niki's car.  SOAKED.  I had to put my pants in the dryer the next morning in order to be able to wear them.  Anyway, it was this evening before both cabinets were fully up and had anything in them.  Now I'm screwing around with how to put the shelves between them.  That'll take all this week, I'm sure.  Kind of because sitting my ass on this couch and drinking wine ranks a little bit higher.

Adam called while Niki and I were at Lowe's Wednesday.  He goes, "You're so busted.  You hit 69 miles an hour on your way to Skykomish.  Way to follow the speed limit."  I froze.  I had no idea he knew I took his truck.  "Um, what?"  He apparently had the GPS on and knew EVERYTHING.  I was so embarassed, and totally sorry that I hadn't told him.  I asked him if he had a GPS on Niki's car too, and if he knew where we were at that very moment.  And then I told him Niki was going to learn to drive stick by herself on the jeep Thursday and he should put a GPS on that.  Good save, I think.  It's become a big joke between Niki and me now, which is a much better outcome than me getting in big trouble.  I swear, I did it for Gaia!

Yesterday was my 30th birthday.  I'm 30.  THIRTY.  Maybe if I say it a few more times I'll start panicking about it.  The day itself was pretty good - started with a great row with Lisa in the double, then a few hours of OT in the TM room hanging out with Jason & Miller, then some cupcake baking and a night out in Ballard.  Niki, Emily, Dana, Richard, and eventually Chance met at the Walrus.  We popped Richard's oyster eating cherry, and he even insisted we order a second round of the Blue Pools.  I got to be a cocktail guinea pig, and had a fabulous "coffee flip" which won't come out on the menu for another week.  Celery salad, brussel sprouts, scallop tartare, speck, grilled sardines, smoked trout... and more cocktails.  I love the Walrus.  The only thing missing was Emily the waitress.  We ventured over to the Fir for a few drinks, and then Richard and Chance got to see the glory that is Adam's apartment to retrieve the afore mentioned cupcakes.  The snowboards-turned-shelves were the highlight of their tour, although Chance was in awe of the coffee percolator.

I've scored some internet of (almost) my very own.  Splitting with my roller derby neighbor across the hall, which makes internet affordable.  This has also allowed Adam and me to figure out the Gmail video chat, and that alone is worth the money to Comcast.  The other day I even put Gaia up on the chair so she could be seen by the webcam.  It's certainly made talking easier - score one more for Google.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Midway, Day 19

The other day I realized Adam's been gone for two weeks already.  I'm not sure if it feels like longer or shorter.  It certainly feels like a world away.  Not yet reminded of just how much distance relationships suck, but let's check back in on that statement again in a month or so.  That is, after everyone is back into a routine, after all the holiday mumbo-jumbo settles down, and after I feel like I'm totally caught up with life again.

New Year's Eve was mostly a non-event, although Gaia certainly tried to turn it into one.  We threw the bike on the car and drove up to Skykomish to hang out with Sile.  This in itself is an event because Gaia cannot handle being in the car.  So an hour and a half of whining and barking later, we arrived.  Then she discovered the snow and it was like that car ride never happened.  I was forgiven.  Even better when she found the tree branch which she whittled down to stick size and chased all over Sile's yard until she literally had no more energy and had to plop down on the spot.  In those moments, she is a reminder to really appreciate the small things in life.

Dog ninja.

That was kind of the end of the fun though.  Sile wanted to get paint on the walls of the second rental, so we opted out of the bike ride.  It got dark and Gaia got scared.  Fireworks started going off and all the bangs and pops sent her into an anxiety ridden panic.  She retreated to the bathroom where she spent the next six hours shaking uncontrollably.  I called Adam because I was getting worried and he assured me that there was nothing I could do to console the poor beast.  So I opened the champange, Sile made a fire and we tried to relax.  Gaia did not even pretend to relax.  We had ourselves a little snuggle in the twin bed, and by morning she was kind of sort of a little bit better.  A long walk about town and things seemed on the up and up.  Sile and I were all ready to kit up and get out on the bikes, but then we discovered a flat tire on Lexi and no pump to be found.  So much for that - back to the painting.  Sile exhausts me.  The woman goes and goes and goes and goes and goes.  I'll bet she's on speed.

Retreated back to Seattle and started tearing down the kitchen furniture.  I forgot to take a picture of the shelving unit with all the crap in it, but the picture I got should show how cluttered and dark everything was, although you'll miss the visual of the clutter.  Stand by a few days for a solid before and after picture and the progress.  Got everything out and even got the wall painted Sunday night.  And I did all this with pizza and beer.  Delicious, pineapple covered pizza.  That might be the best thing about Adam being gone - I can put whatever the hell I want on my pizza.  Even pineapple.

Took Danger Mutt to the dog park with Dana Monday afternoon - we made it there before the monsoon hit.  Dana called me a rookie since I didn't even know where the Magnuson dog park was.  And then I only brought one poop bag and zero tennis balls, so chalk two more up in the rookie category.  Dana saved the day with an extra ball and Gaia played fetch into Lake Washington for as long as I'd let her.

Happiest Dog Ever.

I had dinner with Ms. Turtle at a Mexican place called Cactus in South Lake Union last night.  She said Sam Henry really wanted to come along, but sorry kid - girls' night.  We had fabulous margaritas, fabulous cheviche and really fabulous butternut squash enchiladas.  And of course, fabulous company.  At the end of the night Mary mentioned again that Sam wanted to come out, and mused over what a hoot Tom would have had with one of her boys having a crush on his girlfriend.  And we had a really good laugh about it.  Because Tom would have tormented that kid to no end.  And it would have been wonderful.  And then I sat in the car and cried for 10 minutes before I could even think about driving home.  One more reminder that grief is always there right under the surface and it doesn't take much for it to jump out and knock you down.

Back at work today.  Paitently waiting for Adam to confirm which day he gets off the island so that I can a) start my official countdown and b) plan for the three days we're going to spend in some unsuspecting hotel in Waikiki.