Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Much activity lately!

It's been a very busy couple of weeks!

Monday 3-Sept - Labor Day we went to the Shore, splashed in the ocean, laid on the beach, and went to dinner at PF Chang's in Atlantic City. I get to eat at PF Chang's from time to time because of business trips, and I love the food, but it was more enjoyable this time because my mom & husband had never been there before.

Tuesday & Wednesday 4-5 Sept - Quick trip to Winnipeg for a business trip. It went great, after solving a technology disaster. I needed a serial connection to demonstrate the equipment I had brought but it turns out that my laptop has no serial port! My testing had all been done at my desk at work - where the docking station has a serial connection - so I never noticed that the laptop itself was serial-free. We drove around Winnipeg trying a few different solutions, and after 90 minutes we had a USB-to-serial cable that worked.

My travel was smooth, despite being booked on Northwest Airlines and being forced to connect through Minneapolis. On the return trip, while sitting in a Minneapolis airport bar for the two-hour layover, I finished the paperback I had brought with me. I was so disgusted with it by the time I was through - after finishing the last page I slammed it closed and dropped it on the bar. I didn't even want to take the book home with me. So I told the bartender that it was such an "exciting" ending that I was too exhausted to take it home, so he should give it away to someone. I was afraid if I told the whole truth he wouldn't want to offer such an awful book to anyone. The book was Bee Season, by the way. It started out so normal (which parallels the storyline, which starts out as a normal life for all of the central characters) but devolved into some kind of spiritual-searching-craziness. There were elements of it that I really liked, such as the family members who are each searching for meaning in their disconnected lives without realizing that the other family members are searching elsewhere. Though not a main part of the storyline, the discussions of sex were unnecessarily graphic. My bartender said he would give it to his wife. I'm glad I paid only five dollars for it at a used bookstore.

Thursday 6-Sept - When I got back to the office, my computer couldn't get an IP address --> means I couldn't connect to the network. After a few attempts at solving it myself, I was forced to call our MIS guy for help. He decides the best thing to do is uninstall all unauthorized applications because they could be interfering. Excuse me, but I've had those apps for months without a problem. I changed two things while in Winnipeg, and we've already reversed one of those things. How about we try reversing the 2nd thing first, before resorting to drastic measures? At this point he was frustrated by my defiance and he left. A couple minutes later his underling tech guy came to carry out the uninstall orders given by the first guy. I made him wait while I tried my solution, and it worked! So my unauthorized apps are safe, and my shiny new USB-to-serial cable is not. Well I'll keep it for the future offsite demos, but I'll have to uninstall its nasty driver every time.

Saturday 8-Sept - Two congregation picnics to attend, one for my current congregation and the other for my previous congregation. Both were fabulous fun. The first one was a pig roast (yum!) and was mostly friends gabbing with each other. I napped in their hammock for a short while, played catch with a football until I got tired, and participated in the gabbing. The second picnic had baseball (great photo ops) and other sports, including a pool. I joined in a late volleyball game only after I saw that I was equal to everyone else in my lack of skill, and had a bunch of odd sore muscles for two days.

The drive home took us past the town's "Community Day" festival, which I skipped only because of the picnics. By the time we drove by, around 8:30 PM, the party was kickin' with food, music, crafts, crowds, and fireworks. What a shame to be too exhausted to go! When we turned onto our street, we saw fire in someone's backyard -- thought it was a bonfire at first, until we got closer and saw it was clearly not on purpose. Flames were 15+ feet high! The SUV in front of us slowed down to study the situation too, and we decided to call 911. One of the questions they asked was whether anyone was at home -- so they'd know whether to send help for burned people. We didn't know - so hubby and I walked to the door and I banged on it and rang the bell with urgency: "bang bang bang, ring ring ring, bang bang bang, ring ring ring," and so on until someone opened the door. The lady looked annoyed, and I found myself speechless. My husband coolly stated "there's a fire behind your house" just as her husband joined her at the door, so he ran out the door to check it out. The fire department took a long time to arrive because the trucks weren't at the station a few hundred feet away, the equipment was all at the Community Day festival several miles away. We got to chat with the young family while we all watched the fire submit to the professionals. We all speculated that someone must have dropped a cigarette or something while they traveled on the railroad tracks that run behind the yard. The fire-woman sprayed for a long time to make sure it wouldn't re-start from an ember later. When it was all over, the family's winter woodpiles were burned up along with a 10-foot section of fence. No damage to the house thankfully, but it could easily have gotten out of control quickly and spread through the wooded yard if nobody had called for help. Our area doesn't have fire hydrants (everyone has private wells) so it was my first time seeing a fire-department tanker truck. We were all wound up from the excitement and it was very hard to wake up the next day.

Sunday 9-Sept - Went to church in the morning, where we had some fun visitors: the family who sold us our house! They had been in this congregation for 20+ years so they were very happy to visit. They had come back to the area for his dad's wedding -- at 80 years old he surprised everyone by getting married again! My mom was exhausted from the night before and didn't wake up in time to come -- she was so disappointed that she missed the fun.

Tuesday 11-Sept -- Mom made Indian food, and we all loved it. Her best efforts yet!

Our wedding anniversary is this Saturday the 15th. We have reservations in a happenin' restaurant in Old City area of Philadelphia - the same place we went last year. Since hubby didn't reserve our seats until last week, we have a 5:15 dinner date. Oh well, the bright side is we won't be exhausted at the end of the evening! I wonder if he'll want to see King Tut exhibit while it's still in town.


  1. Wow, a fire an everything.

    I heard King Tut was awesome. I think I was supposed to go with someone but the plans never worked out. However, everyone had good things to say.

    I saw that your anniversary was coming up when I looked at my Google calendar. How exciting.