Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Are We Moved Yet?

Spent all day at the new place again yesterday and more to follow today.  This is getting a little depressing trying to haul all this junk.  It sort of seems like a lost cause to box it all up and move it across the driveway, un-box it and try to find a spot for it.  It's not like moving a couple states away where you put everything in a truck and don't see it again for a week.  Some of it doesn't even make it to a box at all, just the back of my pickup and right off again.  The stuff doesn't even have a chance to get cool.  We just haul the empty boxes back and reload.  I grow weary of cardboard.
I've at least got my tools where I can locate them in the garage (wow...a garage) which is good because there seems to be quite a lot of things that require tools.  Chris and her crew have painted damn near everything from one end to the other and in the meantime, I've been tinkering on assorted revelations that have come to light in their wake.  A variety of water leaks, wiring oddities and a non-whirling whirlpool promise to keep me in projects for the foreseeable near future.  I knew there was some stuff but...

Well, chalk it up to not moving for 20 years.  We'll get through it eventually but for now the rain is pouring down and the heavy lifting is just getting started.  Wonder if we'll ever make it to Christmas?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day...One For The Record Books

Gaaa...moving (still, endlessly, repeatedly).  It's Thanksgiving Day and it's going to be boxes from one house to another for a good share of it.  I'll mostly be thankful for getting through this.  You'd never know it but we have moved and packed an awful lot of stuff.  Where did we get all this junk?  The living room looks like a minor plane crash and we haven't even packed a lot of it yet.

We decided against doing the usual big bird and trimmings this time around because quite frankly, we can't find the kitchen easily or anything much to cook with once we locate it.  Everything is half packed and partly moved so to try the turkey route is pretty much out of the question.  We're ok with it though...we've never been too much of a traditional bunch around here.  With me coming and going all the time, it's sometimes pretty doubtful that I'll be present for the big meal at any particular hour most years so we just have the holiday when we can.  Last year for example, I worked outbound Wednesday night and didn't make it back until about 4pm on Thursday.  I just barely remember dinner and was probably lucky not to fall asleep and face-plant in my apple pie.  We've learned to adapt to stuff like that (mostly) and it's more important to me to be home with my brood than to do the feast anyway.  Good thing because this year, it's one-pan lasagna with packing on the side.

I know this too shall pass and once we actually get moved, things will settle down.  Until then, it's mayhem and madness, stress and worries mixed with relief and anticipation, a little fun and a new view from the kitchen window...a fine recipe for Thanksgiving no matter how you slice it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rolling With It

Short and fast again.  We've been moving like mad and now it's off to the races for another 'round trip.  Will we ever get this stuff all moved?  Will we ever do this again?  Why did we wait this long?

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Facebook, With Reservations

So let me say something about Facebook.  I resisted it for a long time; stubborn I suppose but I finally succumbed and opened a page for the Thoroughbreds team.  I was hoping it would help with recruiting and fundraising and it may yet but by doing so, I also acquired a personal page and an instant bunch of 'Friend Requests' to go with it.  Strange that I hadn't even posted anything yet but there they were.  Some were from family and some from people at work so I confirmed a few and skipped the rest.  I guess that's what Facebook is supposed to be about so I figured I'd run with it and see what happened.
Well, as it turns out, I'm having kind of a hard time on the biggest-thing-that-ever-hit-the-planet-or-at-least-the-internet network.

See the problem is, there's just not that many people I know or am looking for.  How do you socialize with nobody?  The first thing I noticed once I got a page was an ad over on the right that offered to search for long-lost classmates.  Chris found a bunch of people from her school when she got on and re-connected and that's great.  I on the other hand, didn't really hang with a whole lot of kids back then so I'm not sure who I would search for.  I wasn't on any sports teams, wasn't in the band or plays, never made academic honors, didn't get in trouble or party much and never moved on to college or the military.  The long and short of it was; I hated high school and couldn't get out fast enough.  Hence, my circle of friends had a very short diameter.  There were a very few I ran around with I guess but when I got to be a senior, I went to work and they went to parties...we didn't have much in common to reminisce about.  Besides, I haven't seen or heard from a single one of them in the 30 plus years since I graduated.  I don't see why I would look for people I hardly spoke to in the hall.  A couple of my good friends that I do miss are dead and even Facebook doesn't claim to be able to find them.  I guess there are limits...

Browsing around a little more, I looked at the search box at the top of my page and kind of wondered whose name I could type in.  There must be someone.  I ran the old memory back a few years, looked at the box, looked at the keyboard, went back a ways further and looked at the box again.  It stayed empty.  The circle is apparently still pretty damn small.

Maybe I'll come up with some names eventually or I suppose someone might show up and surprise me (other than the total unknown that popped in this morning with a generic 'Hi there' message and a prominently well-endowed, clothing-less profile picture).  I might be a noob but nothing screams "SCAM" to me quite like an unsolicited personal message from a big-breasted blonde who 'only wants to be my friend' but doesn't have a name.  I thought Craigslist had the corner on the phishing spammers but at least Fb let me block this one with only two clicks.  I'm trying to keep an open mind and give it a chance.

It isn't all bad news anyway.  I've exchanged some posts with a few people, put up some pictures, sort of poked my way around the gadgets and that's been pretty cool...a strange way to interact with people but kinda cool.   I'm not sure about it yet but it might just turn out to be a pretty quiet place on my laptop with an empty box at the top and a really small circle on the wall.

Thought For Today

A simple quote from my all-time favorite book...Fate Is The Hunter

"Tell me what ends does a man ever partially control his fate?  It is obvious from the special history of our kind that favorites are played, but if this is so, then how do you account for those who are ill-treated?  The worship of pagan gods, which once answered all this, is no longer fashionable.  Modern religions ignore the matter of fate.  So we are left confused and without direction.
Let us admit, then, that the complete answer may only be revealed when it can no longer serve those most interested."

E.K. Gann

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Moving Day Sneaking Up

I'm almost beginning to believe we're actually going to move.  The countdown is running to the day when we'll pack out of 'Old Drafty' and take up operations in our new digs once and for all.  I can't say it's going to be easy to leave this place.  We've invested 20 years of our lives in the old barn, raised our kids here, made it our home, loved it and hated it.  It's been a project that I'm just running our of ambition to work on anymore.  But no matter what, it's the first and only house we've ever owned and so I'll miss it.

The reality of it all comes down to the fact that sooner than we think, Chris and I will be empty-nesters.  The guys are sneaking through being teenagers on us and already looking out the door and down the road.  They've grown like the proverbial weeds and emptied the refrigerator twice a week for the last year.

Even Connor is almost looking me straight in the eye these days.  The desperately sick baby who only had about a 50/50 chance of ever walking or talking is now my jazz man and calls me 'Dirt' because to him, that's how old I am.  I think of that awful day when we handed him to a surgeon and wondered if we'd ever see him again in this world.  He became our 'Miracle Child' when the tumor came out and my son came home to live and grow up.  He can call me anything he wants as long as he calls me Dad once in a while.

Seneca passed me in altitude long ago and is on his way to being a big man in more ways than one.  He came home from the maternity floor to a screaming Nor'easter that buried our old house in more snow than I'd seen in a lot of years.  The snow was over the top of my van and kept two brand-new parents pretty worried about being stranded in the creaky house with a newborn.  I shoveled for days to dig out and wished for global warming.  I still wonder every time his birthday rolls around if we'll get a repeat of 'Seneca's Blizzard'.

There's a million memories kicking around here but ours are only the latest.  Who knows how many kids have passed through this place in a hundred years or how many more will follow before it's gone?  We're hoping another young family will move in like we did and make pencil marks on the door to chart their kids on the way up.  Someone to fill it with dogs and noise, fresh paint and piles of laundry.  It's a big and quirky house and it needs a new brood to keep it loud and alive, full of comings and goings so it never has a chance to get too old.  It needs a fresh blast of baby cribs and stuffed animals, a new batch of local musketeers to parade to the 'fridge and another late winter storm to go down in the record books.  The change will be good for all of us.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cold...With Fog

With the weather closing in and fall most definitely upon us, I decided to make one more effort at a long ride before the snow flies.  I was due in Bingo at 10 in the morning to meet Jess, our Tour de Cure coordinator for a little presentation.  She had a framed plaque for our Thoroughbred team to recognize that we came in third last year in fundraising.  Pretty cool for the first time out and a pretty good excuse to ride in the cold.  Not that I usually need an excuse...
Unexpectedly, my announced intention to leave the house at about 6 AM in order to have lots of time to make the 42 mile push to our office was met with unprecedented resistance from the management.  I knew it would still be dark and likely be extremely chilly but I had lights hooked up on the 2.1 and had multiple layers of clothes all picked out to get me through until sunup.  Nothing like thinking ahead.  The weather forecast was for sunny and low 50's by midday so the return trip promised to be a breeze.  A pre-dawn departure was my plan and all I lacked was fresh batteries for the headlight.  Chris was watching all this preparation without much comment until she realized I'd be riding about 2 hours out of the gate in full dark.  For the first time in our married life, I actually saw her stamp her foot on the rug, cross her arms and flat out say no.  She's pretty much accustomed to my more common antics but I guess this one crossed the line in the sand.  I think the foot-stomp was the killer indication that there would be a few alterations to my itinerary.  I promised I wouldn't ride in the dark.

Instead, I hooked the rack on the van and loaded up the bike in the morning and took off on a slightly different angle.  I'd drop the van at the shop (which happens to be in the direction I was going anyway) for an oil change, get geared up and ride the 20 or so remaining miles to the yard.  By then, it would be daylight (sort of) so I could get around the prohibition on darkness and yet still get in some miles.  So good.

The guy at the counter looked at me like he was seeing an idiot for the first time when I told him I had to unload my bike before he could have the van.  His customer-service face cracked a little but he handled it without calling me a moron to my face.  I happened to glance at the thermometer on the overhead in the van as I was gathering up my stuff...27 degrees.  That's pretty cool, even for me.  Less than ideal but not unheard of in my biking escapades so a quick change into riding gear and I was on the road east in gray morning light.  Gray being the key word because I soon realized that it was not only 27 degrees out there, but hanging around the valley was a pretty thick coating of fog.
Fog is a way of describing water floating around in the air and when the air is somewhat below freezing, said water tends to solidify on whatever thing it touches, things like me.  My gloves, sweatshirt and glasses were soon decorated with a heavy layer of frost and the feeling went out of my hands.  In changing my plan of attack, I guess I neglected the extra gloves I had layed out thinking it would be warmer with daylight.  I missed them very much.  I stopped every couple of miles to defrost and take a look to see if I still had fingers or if they'd snapped off in my gloves.  Eventually though, the sun popped up and started the mercury in the positive direction.  Luckily too, the mist burned off quickly and though it stayed cold, I could at least see where I was going.  It was another hour before I could shift without actually looking at my fingers to see if they were doing what I wanted.  Note to Shimano:  You guys could make those shifter paddles a little bigger and it would be alright with me.  They work a little hard when you have to use your whole frozen hand instead of the customary one finger.

Daylight brought out the commuters and so began the dodging of vehicles.  I'm pretty used to that anymore so unless someone does something openly hostile, hustling around in traffic doesn't worry me much, I just jump right in and go.  I try to get out of the way as much as I can but sometimes lack of maneuvering space means they either have to go around or hit me.  Nobody's clipped me yet; close but no cigar so it I must be doing something right.  Potholes and broken glass are as much a problem as anything but all obstacles were avoided and there was no horn-blowing or finger-waving this day.  There's been other jaunts that included urban adventures but I'd never ridden in the city of Binghamton before.  Turns out to be like all it's concrete cousins, it's just a matter of rolling with it and getting where your going without being run down.  I got straight across the middle of town with only minor annoyances and rolled into the yard right on time.  Cold but successful.

It was nice to see Jess again even though she had her own adventures getting down from Syaracuse.  She's good people and it'll be a blast working with her on the 2011 Tour.  We had a good chat before Mark and I took off for a short ride on a local rail-trail.  A few miles with the Big Galoot and it was back on the road west to pick up the van and call it a day.  The sun was bright and if not warm, at least tolerable and the wind was at my back.  With any luck, there'll be a few more of these before I have to rely solely on the trainer.  I hate the thought of salt and snow but spring will be here eventually...