October 20 2007


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Susan's family ailing

Susan called this morning to let us know that her husband, Dan, came home from his trip to Washington, DC with a bad cold, ant that she has also caught at least a part of it. Cali, on the other hand, has recovered nicely from her high fevers of last week, with no apparent lingering effects.

At any rate, their planned visit to our house today is off.

The Birds

I don't understand birds. Yesterday evening, on my way to Lake Zurich, I saw a telephone line along Route 22 that was so crowded with birds, sitting shoulder to shoulder, that the telephone line looked like it was made of birds. There wasn't room for even one more bird. I pondered about why these birds would all choose to sit on the same telephone line, and it occurred to me that they were migrating from some place far north of here, and on their way south for the winter. They were resting, before starting the next long leg of their flight. No doubt their leader had picked the place where they could all roost and rest up.

As my car passed the telephone wire, the birds all took off in a huge flock. But, they didn't head south for the winter. They flew east, past the next section of telephone wire, to the one beyond that, where they all landed, filling the telephone wire so there wasn't room for another bird.

Mike and Lisa newsBob, Jon, Marge, Jay and Lisa

Lisa writes that her dog Niko continues to have urinary tract problems, and may be in need of more blood tests and x-rays to find out if he has additional kidney stones, or what.

Lisa is doing well on her search for a new job, and has two very good prospects; Sunbelt Rentals and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  She is expecting offers from both.

Michael has organized a golf tournament/fund raiser fo the Women's Commission, which will take place on tomorrow. This is to raise money for helping the victims of domestic violence. Lisa is going to be photographer for the event. She doesn't like golfing, but does like driving golf carts.

No, I don't know what kind of bird they were. What they looked like was a very fat telephone wire.

Katie Jackson and the JFRF walk

Katie sent some photos taken on the Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes, which took place a couple of weeks ago.

On the left is a photo of Katie with ... We do not know what it is she is doing to him at the moment the photo was taken.

At right is her group, which includes Katie ...,


Paul, William and Aidan visit

Paul brought William and Aidan out for a visit this afternoon. He also had Dominick, the German exchange student who is living for a year with Paul and Diana.

Diana didn't come this afternoon. Paul says she has been generally depressed since the trip to Puerto Rico to bury he grandfather, with whom she was especially close. The burial and formal period of mourning are apparently quite elaborate in Puerto Rico, and the nearly two weeks she was there with the kids were stressful ones.

AidanThe kids have grown a good deal since we saw them last, and developed considerably in the language skills department. As usual, Janet got the bulk of the attention from the kids, who recognize who it is that furnishes the toys, games for them to play, and especially the cake frosting, sprinkles and such stuff, so that while she is cooking cookies, they can make a glorious mess on the kitchen floor.

Paul was incensed that Dominick, who was attending the most prestigious high school in Germany, and was doing well in advanced classes there, was assigned to remedial education classes for the most part when he started to high school in Palos Park. Diana, whose working career involved dealing with high school teachers in the area of handling kids with special educational needs, was equally incensed, and wound up giving the school administrators what for. Apparently, it did some good, as he now seems to be in classes more appropriate to his abilities.

Paul is not pleased with the low volume of work available in the architecture business these days. Apparently, as the housing market has slowed down, the house designing market has slowed down also. If anyone needs a house designed, or better yet, an industrial building, Paul says he could squeeze you into his schedule somehow.

John pays surprise visit

John called just after Paul and the kids arrived, to ask questions about Janet's new house, like, "Is the front door painted red?" I thought it was. "OK, John said, I am out in front of the right house." He was phoning from his car, and sure enough he was sitting in front of Jan's new house, which is just about a mile from here. He was on his way over to visit, and used his GPS to find it.

So, the visit with Paul and Dominick and the Kids was shared by John.

A mellophoneJohn brought us a present. He gave us the single cup coffee maker for Fathers day, and an assortment of cartridges of various exotic coffees to use in it. This time, he brought some additional coffee cartridges, and also a fancy rack to hold and display the array of coffees available to be brewed in the coffee maker. This is not only a handy gadget, it is also making money for us. John says that Green Mountain Coffee, the vendor of both the machine and the cartridges for it, constitutes the biggest holding of his hedge fund, which he sees as having a very bright future. They have a unique product, and have it pretty well sewed up. And, they have John giving their coffee makers as presents.

Cindy didn't come with John because she was home helping Anna with high school homework, and Alex was off in Sandwich, Illinois playing with the band. This left John pretty much at loose ends, so he brought us the coffee maker, and also brought a CD taken at one of the football games where Alex played his French Horn in the marching band. He didn't actually play the French Horn, as they are difficult to operate while marching, but instead played an E-Flat Mellophone. When I played French Horn in my high school band, we couldn't afford two instruments, so we played the curled up French Horns while marching.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Final instalment of Pat's cruise

Pat sent another l installment of cruise photos from her and Tom's trip through the Caribbean two weeks ago. In particular, I enjoyed the photos she took of Tom, obviously enjoying himself as the leading actor in the musical production the Cruise Director put on using passengers for all the roles. When these pictures came, I thought they were the photos taken during the actual performance. However, Pat called this morning and said there was another group on the way, with the actual performance, including costumes and an audience.

There are too many photos to include them all here, so I put them on a separate page under Photos. Pat's description of the photos is included, or will be if I can get to it soon.

I will substitute the photos from the real performance as soon as I get them.

Pat coming for extended visit

Pat called this morning to say she was driving up to see us, and would arrive along about 7:30 or so this evening. She plans to stay through Friday, and in the mean time, will give Janet the freedom to go shopping for stuff for her house, etc., while Pat tends to the chore of taking care of Dolores and me.

Pat called with a progress report on her tirp up. She has been driving in the rain all the way (it hasn't been raining here) and is running behind schedule. She hopes to be here by 9:00 PM, rather than before 8:00 PM as she had planned.

The burned out light bulb riddle

Janet noted that I had burned out light bulbs in the fixture in my den, but that they could be changed until spring, because of the Canada geese in the yard. Her logic is sound.

She figured that my desk is not under the light fixture and cannot be easily reached from the floor. You can't stand on the desk without moving the computer monitors. So, the step stool is required. However, the step stool is currently in the garage because it got goose poop on it when the kids had it out picking apples. The goose poop requires the step stool to be taken out in the yard hosed off before it can come inside again, and the current weather is too cold for hosing things off outside now.

I did not have the ambition to hose the step stool off during the cold weather, nor the courage to defy her and bring it in, goose poop and all. So, I used a technique recalled from my childhood, from before people could afford step stools. I stood on a chair.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FAA Efficiency

Kathy Lincoln called at 10:00 AM to say that she had not received the package I sent via UPS last Thursday, guaranteed to be delivered by 10:00 AM on Friday morning. I recalled that she gave me more address than would fit on the UPS label, but thought there was enough to get it there OK.

I immediately got out the UPS reciept with the tracking number, and was on the UPS web site, typing the tracking number into their form when…

Kathy Lincoln called back to say that someone had just handed her the package. Apparently it was delivered to their offices as promised. But it took them two full working days to sort it out and get it to her.

Apparently, it took from 10:00 AM on Friday until 10:00 AM the next Tuesday for my package of data to make if from the Federal Air Surgeon's mail room to Kathy Lincoln's desk.

Boat Removal Scheduled

Ed Dowd called to say that the mechanic who is going to store our boat for the winter wants to schedule its removal from Lake Michigan for this coming Saturday at 3:00 PM. Ed wants to go fishing in the morning (last chance to catch a coho), so this will use up much of the day on Saturday, and I won't be home before dinner time. Probably the newsletter will get done on Friday or Sunday.


Dinner a la Jan

Jan took advantage of the nice weather to do dinner on the grill again. We had hot dogs, hamburgers (good Bubba Burgers) and one New York strip steak in the freezer. Because the steak might not have another chance at the grill this fall, Jan elected to cook it even though there were two steak-eaters (Pat and me) present. We negotiated an arrangement wherein both Pat and I would have half a steak plus half a hamburger.

This is the first time I recall ever eating steak and hamburger as a mixed grill, but it was pretty darned good. Both the hamburger and the steak were nicely done and tasted very good.

Our only problem was that Pat likes her steaks medium well done, and I like mine medium rare. This problem was solved early on by cutting the steak in half. I ate my half while hers continued cooking. The hamburger was split after the cooking operation was complete.

Jan's house purchase moving along

Jan got her money's worth in the lawyer she hired to represent her in the purchase of the house. The lawyer is handling the negotiations of repairs. The owner wants to make a settlement for cash, but Jan would prefer that he repair the leaking sewerage pipe and remove the small areas of mold before she takes possession, and the owner wants to rent the property back from her for a month and a half after the November 15 closing. On Janet's behalf, the lawyer has written a couple of terse letters, making Janet's case succinctly.

As of right now, things still look good

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Janet's Birthday

Janet was born in 1961 and is the youngest of three daughters, the other two of which are both older than she is.Janet with her "Unwelcome Mat" birthday gift.

Janet does not love to have parties, so we kept the size of hers down to a minimum. Pat was here for the week, and Susan came in the Janet blowing out the candles on her birthday cookieevening with Jimmy and Cali. Susan brought Halloween decorations, so it wouldn't seem too much like a birthday party, and an apple pie, which she had baked using apples from our tree. She prepared the apple pie by baking it to about 50% doneness before she left home, and baked it about 25% more of the way to completion at our house. At least this is Dolores' appraisal. I thought it was a pretty good pie, even if I made the apples myself (I planted the trees, 25 years ago or so.)

It is always hard to find appropriate gifts for Janet, as she is not much attached to material things. However, Susan found her a door mat at Bed Bath and Beyond that she said she was sure Janet would like.

Airplane Annual finished

I haven't been using the 414 much lately, due partly to the FAA making it inconvenient to do on an impromptu baiss because I need to have arranged a baby sitter in advance, and partly to laziness. It takes a certain amount of planning, which I haven't done.

So, there was no major event when the 414 went in for its annual inspection an expensiveness.

Apparently, there wasn't much wrong with it this time. I don't think I remember a time when there was less to be fixed.

Basement repairs start

The project involving removal of some of the wallboard in the basement, to get rid of the mold that was forming there, started at 8:00 AM this morning. It is expected to take several days (hopefully contiguous days) to get the moldy wall board cut out, a new vapor barrier installed behind it, and new wall board put up, taped and painted.

The problem arose when we had a really record breaking rain during the night of August 24. Even though our foundation drainage system is in pretty good shape, it was overwhelmed. Some of our neighbors had serious problems, as did Marge Burrell, who had deep water in her basement.

Secret of golf success

I golfed with the last two of the UOP golfers to wuss out this season.

We had a very pleasant day at Settler's Hill, the garbage dump that was converter to a golf course (and a fairly nice one) by Waste Management Corp. The golf course has outlived the company by a considerable margin, as Waste Management hit the skids several years ago, and sold themselves to a little waste disposal company in Texas, who changed their name to Waste Management, Inc.

I had a good day. Not only did I not lose any balls, I found one so I ended up with one more than I started with. I didn't use up any tees, as the ground was very soft, and none of them broke. And, I golfed pretty well. I was able to remember the secret of success for more than two or three holes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pat leaves early

Last night the WGN Weather Person was painting a very bleak picture of the weather we were to expect for today. Literally painting the picture. He had a big animated map that showed an area of thunderstorms passing over St. Louis and headed our way that covered most of the state of Illinois. Not only were there supposed to be thunderstorms lasting throughout the day today, they were supposed to be severe thunderstorms with a strong possibility of tornados scattered around. The northeastern tip of this was supposed to reach us early this morning, and the residual thunderstorms would last into the night.

Pat had originally planned to stay through the end of the week, and go home on Saturday or Sunday, but Chris is going to an oral surgeon today to have four molars extracted, all at the same time. This is a pretty traumatic thing to have happen for anyone, but to someone with Juvenile Diabetes, it could be very serious. so Pat thought she ought to be heading for home today. However, the question of how to avoid driving through the statewide array of thunderstorms came up.

Much to our surprise, the sun was shining when we got up this morning. There were clouds around, but no thunderstorms. Pat decided that, if there was a patch without bad weather, she ought to take advantage of it, and leave early rather than late. So, she did. She was out of here by about 9:00 AM, driving her little black pickup truck southward.

She called at noon, halfway through the six hour drive, to say that she hadn't seen a drop of rain, and was making good progress. She called at 3:00 PM, or thereabouts, to say she was home. The sun is still shining here, and the weather people are in hiding somewhere.

Busy day for me

While Pat was getting ready to leave for St. Louis this morning, I was busy fasting. This is the opposite of breakfasting. I had to go in today for my annual blood tests, which my MD, Cardiologist, Urologist and FAA busybodies all want to see annually. The FAA busybodies don't know for sure they want to see them this year, but the other people are all insistent. For the lipid panel, which determines whether I have any lipids or not, and if so, how many, in my blood, I have to go without eating or drinking anything for something like 12 hours. It may only be 8 hours. I forget. Anyway, I was busy not eating until after Pat left, and then I was exhausted from not eating so I had to take a short nap before going to Good Shepherd Hospital and turning myself in to the Outpatient Clinic.

The visit to Good Shepherd was almost pleasant. I scarcely had to wait at all, even thought they have provisions for handling long waiting lines of people at both the checking desk and the outpatient lab. The young lady who greeted me was a phlebotomist, according to her name tag, and a darned good one according to me. She found one of my submerged, hard to locate veins and pierced it without my hardly noticing. The only thing that gave me cause for concern was that, among the tiny vials for different blood tests, there was one very large bottle, which looked like it would hold a half pint of blood. I was relieved when she said I also needed to provide a urine sample.

After the business at Good Shepherd, I had to go in for another neck therapy session. This one was heavy on the ultrasound treatment, which seemed to work better than anything else. I am still not willing to commit to a third miracle cure, but I think things are heading in that direction.

House sellers capitulate

Jan's lawyer wrote us an E-mail saying that the owner of the house was willing to up his offer to include doing the plumbing repairs and mold removal Janet felt necessary before taking possession of the house, plus give the same cash amount he had offered originally to fix all of the problems. And, he is willing to stick with the November 15 occupancy date.

Jan is now feeling like she is very inexperienced at the house buying business, as she has worried through each of the details, which, in retrospect, seem to be relatively routine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Biltmore barely playable

This morning it was raining when I got up, and cloudy, windy and somewhat cold. What a Scotsman would call a perfect day for golf. I called the course to ask if it was playable, and was told that it was, so I headed over.

While I was on my way, Fred Nearing called Dolores to asks if I was playing golf. Dolores said yes, so he got to the course shortly after I did. The RADAR looked reasonably good, so we teed off.

One thing nice about playing golf in bad weather is that the course is not usually crowded. It certainly was no crowded this morning. I played reasonably well considering the rotten luck I had with sand traps and the like. However, my good luck continued, and I did not lose a ball, and found a couple that other people lost.

Lake Michigan barely fishable

Ed Dowd and I are supposed to go to Wintrhop Harbor tomorrow afternoon to take the boat out of the water for the season. Ed wanted to go fishing in the morning, which would have meant getting the newsletter finished up this evening because I would be gone all day tomorrow.

However, while the weather is supposed to improve tomorrow, and we are expecting sunshine and the temperature to reach the 70s, the marine forecast is calling for winds of 15 to 20 knots and seas 2 to four feet.

This does not make for pleasant fishing conditions, so we will just to out in the afternoon to get the boat out of the water. We are just going to leave the rest of those fish in there until next spring.