Second Tree Blog

Semi-regularly updated musings from the Tim, Julie, Benton, Carson, and Alana Wilsons.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Working for one of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S.

While I was out last week, the announcement came out that Bulldog Solutions had been named to Inc. magazines Inc. 500 list -- 500 of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. That's kinda' cool. We'd known about it for a while, but it's now public knowledge:

Interestingly, Inc. changed the list from the Inc. 500 to the Inc. 5000 this year. But, doggonit, we're in the top 500 (came in at 363):!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Elders these Days...

It seems as though the elders in my family are in cahoots to cast off the norms of their generation. What kind of example are they setting? At top is Unc (aka Bill Love), my maternal great-uncle. At bottom is my dad (aka Larry Wilson). My dad sequenced things as follows: 1) facial hair (strictly banned by DuPont during his working years, and, as the genes that he passed on to me can attest to, not something that can be achieved overnight...or ever if the desired end result is a "full" beard, then 2) pierced ear, and, finally, 3) hearing aids. There is a raging debate in the Love family right now as to whether Unc, who has had intra-aural amplification for some years, was at all inspired by his nephew-in-law to add facial hair to his visage.

What I want to know is, "Is a pierced ear to follow soon for Unc?" And, are these two going to hook up and a the tattoo parlor together in the coming weeks?

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Then and Now

Not actually the comparison photo I was looking for, but it'll do:

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1 Head + 2 Arms + 2 Legs + 2 Feet = 3 Kids?

Count 'em!

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Pickin' Tomaters at Grandpa Bob's House

The kids got the chance to go out and search for vine-ripened tomatoes in Wadsworth. I can only hope that Alana doesn't get confused, in that the same type of bag apparently gets used for collecting tomatoes that gets used for picking up dog poop. The same type, mind you -- not the same bag!

Alana started out with an empty bag:

She even paused long enough for a picture with her brothers:

Things were a little chilly, and it took a little improvising to get her in a warmer outfit. She looks ready for Hogwarts, doesn't she?

Since this post seems to be awfully Alana-centric...I'll throw in another anecdote that I did not witness (but my editor/boss/manager has strongly suggested should be included at some point).

Julie, her mom, and Alana were out running errands of one sort or another. Alana had gotten out of the van and was heading over to the sidewalk -- just out of the view of Julie and her mother. They heard her little voice exclaim, "They fell down!" Julie responded, "That's okay. Go ahead and come over here." Several seconds of shuffling feet on the pavement ended with Alana appearing. With her pants down around her ankles. You see, she's very big into picking out her own outfits these days, and the fit of the clothes is not a factor in her decisions. The pants she selected were some that her Aunt Kim bought for her shortly before she left Austin -- purchased with the intention that they would really get used in the winter, when long pants were needed and after Alana had grown some more. Needless to say, Alana now insists on having a belt every time she wears pants!

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Doesn't the Prospect of a Swim Make Any Kid Happy?

One of the kids' many trips to go swimming at various places over the past month. And...heck...they actually stopped and smiled at the camera! A rarity!

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A Boy and Some Suction Cups

Julie has indicated that I have been slacking on the "kid anecdotes" front, so I'll try to correct that.

During the course of the move -- packing and unpacking -- the kids consolidated their collection of Nerf suction cup missles/bullets. They have any number of devices that shoot these things. Carson, was inspired to make a bit of performance art:

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Finally, real progress today...but my back is sore

Julie took the kids to the Columbus Zoo today, which is very close to our house. It's actually Jack Hanna's base of operations, which is pretty cool! I hung around the house waiting for the cable guy. This was the specialist who was going to do a couple of tricky drops in the house. He was to arrive between 8:00 AM and noon...and arrived at 11:45 (of course). The key drop he needed to run was the dedicated data line from the basement to my office -- we'll use wireless for the family stuff, but I'm shooting for the highest possible bandwidth for work, which requires a hardwired connection. In the end, we wound up with a small hole in the ceiling in the basement that I'll need to patch, but I'm still somewhat in awe of how he pulled both of the drops off. He wandered around muttering things like "air return," "one step," and "I-beam" for a while before he got started, but then he clearly had a plan and executed it (he asked me about the hole in the ceiling before he put it there -- explained the wherefore and the why and got my approval).

While I was waiting for him, and while he was here, I tackled the garage. I made pretty good headway, in that there is now at least enough stuff on shelves to provide some floorspace and maneuverability. A lady is coming by tomorrow morning to pick up the moving boxes that are in a large pile in the garage (craigslist, I've noticed is a great way to get rid of anything that you're willing to give away for free -- I had two people e-mailing me within a half hour of posting that we had moving boxes to unload), and we've still got a refrigerator that we need to take over to Julie's second cousin's house. So, there is still plenty of work to be done there.

I made a Lowe's run this afternoon for some pegboard, as the workshop still has a bunch of half-empty boxes that contain pegboard-oriented tools. That should be a fairly quick task, although I may not get to it until this weekend.

Julie tracked down a manager with Graebel Moving to talk through the claims process. She came away from that discussion feeling much better, so she is optimistic about how that process will go. She also talked to a Delta Tools authorized service technician about the spill my Unisaw took (courtesy of the Graebel movers). The service center is 15 miles away...but the guy she talked to lives fairly close to us and offered to come by after work or on his day off to have a look at the saw. He said that, while the power switch mechanism is a likely culprit, there's also a chance that things got sufficiently out of whack that I shouldn't run the saw at all until it's been thoroughly looked over. We're crossing our fingers that Graebel will play nice and I'll have a functioning saw within a few weeks.

Later in the afternoon, we made a two-vehicle family run to the northeast side of Columbus where I bought a desk for the office (off of craigslist, of course!). It's a monster -- L-shaped, particle board, and definitely has signs of wear. The main part of the desk easily weighs 300 lbs, but we managed to get it loaded into my truck and transported back to the house. Julie took the kids to dinner and swimming (except they didn't get to get in the water due to thunder), while I returned home and unloaded the desk. With the help of a piano dolly. Probably not the wisest move on my part, but I heard rumbling thunder, too, and was worried that the rains might return. It's going to be a great desk, in that it's got plenty of surface area and is a good configuration for the space that it's in. Brett should be returning tomorrow so we can finish up the office. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

One other task from this morning was getting some netting anchored to the handrail upstairs. The spindles are a 1980s distance apart (read: wide enough for Alana to fit through), and Julie caught Alana hanging on the railing and swinging out over the stairwell. That, needless to say, caused her some alarm. So, getting the netting installed was a key safety update.

Random Microsoft Tip du jour: In MS Excel, if you highlight a set of cells, the sum of the values in those cells will display in the lower right of the window. Bonus: if you right-click on that sum, you can change it to be some other simple math function, such as the average, max, or min.


MIT has excellent taste in writing, if you ask me...

Talk about getting an e-mail out of the blue! I received the following today from Curt Newton, the Publication Manager for the MIT OpenCourseware project:

Dear Tim,

I’m working with Prof. Brody to publish some materials from 21M.785 “Playwright’s Workshop” in OpenCourseWare. We’d like to include several examples of student-authored plays, including your script for Afterlife Shoes. Would you be willing to have this published in OCW? Your participation is voluntary – please let me know one way or the other, or if you would like to discuss further, by early September.

To participate, you only need to grant us permission to publish the script by approving the attached IP license text – simply reply to this email with:
I approve the terms of the 'OCW Intellectual Property Notice and License Form' pasted below.

Prof. Brody has a printed copy of the script. We will scan it with optical character recognition into a PDF, and you can review the file before it would go onto the live course site.

Best regards,

Curt Newton
Publication Manager, MIT OpenCourseWare

I responded immediately granting them whatever IP (intellectual property) they needed. The OpenCourseWare project is a pretty cool example of MIT embracing Web 2.0. MIT has decided that they're going to post the actual course materials for as many of their classes as they can. This is much, much more than the syllabuses (syllabi?) -- it's the actual content for the classes. That material is then available -- totally free! It doesn't even require registering with the site or the school. It's a fairly bold experiment. After all, if the course material is available for free, why would someone pay the steep price of actually attending MIT? It's obvious, if you think about it -- there is much, much, MUCH more to a college education than the reading materials.

Afterlife Shoes is the play I wrote in Professor Brody's class going on 15 years ago. I entered the play in a school competition and actually wound up having it produced on campus and directed by Professor Brody. That was a kick in the butt, if ever there was one. The premise was pretty simple -- three good high school friends get in a car accident the night of their high school graduation and all die. That's the opening scene, which occurs in total darkness. They then find themselves in a vague and ambiguous afterlife...with a little bit of a twist, in that each of them is in the afterlife body of one of the others. The idea was that they would be forced to "walk in each others' shoes" and learn something about each other in the process. The main thing I remember about writing it was that it was damn confusing to keep track of whom was who from scene to scene. (If I actually got the "whom" and "who" usage in that sentence correct, then my hats are off to Mrs. Martin and my mother; if not, well, then they can at least be relieved that I'm not a professional writer.)

I always sort of suspected that one of the reasons that the play got selected to be performed was that the set was obscenely easy -- it was bare and dark with three spotlights, basically. I actually felt a little guilty, seeing as how most of my theater background to that point had been in stage management and set design! But, apparently, Professor Brody has occasionally dusted off the manuscript and used it for teaching purposes. Or, he might. I don't want to know more, frankly. For all I know, he's using it as an example of what NOT to do!

Regardless, it's pretty cool to be part of the OCW project, and even better that it's through one of the professors whose class I really enjoyed. I feel so hip and cutting edge!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What Does It Take to Get Julie to Tie a Dog Up in the Backyard?

Molly found out today.

Julie, her mom, and the kids headed to the boys' school this morning while I made a Lowe's run. We left the dogs inside, since our new house does not have a fenced backyard. That is, our new house with white carpet in many of the rooms (this becomes important shortly) does not have a fenced backyard. They were unattended for maybe an hour-and-a-half. Molly proceeded to pee in my office. On the white carpet. And took a crap. On the white carpet. And found some sort of plastic bag to destroy.

When I returned home, Molly was staked to a leader in the backyard, where she spent the better part of the remainder of the day. Julie announced that we would be scrubbing out Molly's kennel, as she would, henceforth and forthwith, be crated any time she was left unattended in the house!

I did, with Benton's help, successfully add a new circuit in the basement to run 220V for my table saw. Unfortunately, the table saw does not seem to work. This may be related to the movers dropping it on its side when they were unloading it. I'll be dismantling parts of that shortly to see if I can find the source of the problem -- the easy check was that I'm getting 220V to the new outlet, so that's not the problem.

We had a "new family orientation" at the kids' school this evening and went from there out to dinner. With luck, Julie's brother will be arriving on Thursday to finish up my office. So far, the only change from the shape it was in when I arrived on Saturday night is the office chair we picked up off of craigslist yesterday. There are entirely too many un-doored openings to make it functional as of yet. But, the monsoon that has been blowing through northern Ohio has kept Brett homebound, so I'm hoping for better weather soon!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Google ROCKS!

Tim's departure from Dripping Springs: 1:55 AM (CDT), Saturday morning
Arrival in Dublin, OH: 10:22 PM (EDT), Saturday evening

Google trip time estimate: 19h 42m
Actual trip time: 19h 27m

That’s a variance of 1.3% by my reckoning, which ain’t bad!

Unfortunately, Molly didn't take off either time that I let the dogs out of the truck for a potty/water break, so she is now a resident of Dublin, Ohio, along with the rest of the Wilsons. She did manage to scatter dog hair and drool throughout the interior of my truck, which further endeared her to me. Elwyn might have contributed to that as well, but I didn't have his wet snout on my elbow periodically throughout the day, and whatever drool he spread was on the dog bed he was lying on in the back opposed to the center console!

Julie's hoping to keep the dogs restricted to part of the first floor and the basement, due to the white carpet the previous owners put in to help sell the house. Molly has never been one to adjust where she goes and what she sits on to fit the whims of her owners, so I'm not holding my breath there. Elwyn will likely be self-restricted to the first floor. He headed down to the basement last night...and then couldn't make it back up the stairs. His back legs are really getting pretty weak, but at least don't seem to cause him any pain.

I'm at a local coffee house running through the 8 different things I need an internet connection for. How on EARTH did we survive back before the mid-1990s??? Julie suggested I fire up the laptop at home to see if any of our neighbors had unsecured wireless networks. I commented that, if they did, then it would be a shame, as I simply would not be able to respect them! When I started up my laptop...there were NO wireless networks in range! What sort of backwoods, unwired place have we moved to!

Tomorrow, we're slated to get Roadrunner hooked up, as well as our home phone. I'll be in better shape to use craigslist to track down furniture for my office!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Signing off for a few days

T-minus two weeks to some semblance of normalcy in the Wilson household. I hope.

I'm heading out at the pre-crack of dawn on Saturday morning with the dogs and a truck bed full of miscellaneous stuff that the movers did not or could not take for one reason or another. Google says it's 19 hours and 48 minutes doorstep to doorstep. I'm estimating somewhere between 21 and 24 hours. If it's closer to 21, I might make it in one shot. If it's closer to 24, I'll probably wind up stopping along the way for some shut-eye.

Either way, I've got an MP3 player loaded up with music and podcasts, and I've got an additional CD cued up in the CD player: Driver's second album. How appropriate! With luck, Rob "Sticks" Solomon, Driver's drummer and the CEO of Bulldog Solutions will bring in their first album for additional drivetime listening.

Julie is bouncing around between Wadsworth, OH; West Virginia; and Dublin, OH, during the latter part of this week and the weekend. Her great-aunt Gertie died earlier this week, and the calling hours are Friday evening with the funeral on Saturday. Since her dad can't make it to his farm in West Virginia this weekend, he took off Friday and Saturday. Marilyn kept the kids in Wadsworth while Julie and Bob headed to the new house (in Dublin) on Wednesday evening. Julie was going to register the kids for school and get some other chores knocked out on Thursday morning before heading to West Virginia with her dad. They were going to do some mowing on the farm on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning before returning to Wadsworth/Akron for the calling hours and, Saturday morning, the funeral. Then, she's loading up the kids and heading to the new house in Dublin. Did you follow all of that?

I'll be arriving late Saturday night or some time on Sunday morning, if everything goes as planned. Then, it's a week of everyone getting permanently settled in before school starts the following week. Hopefully, by the end of that first week of school, we'll be starting to feel like a normal family with a normal home again.

I'm certainly looking forward to seeing Julie and the kids. As are Elwyn and Molly. Old Man Elwyn has gotten to where he's following me around when I get home at night. They're seeming awfully attention-deprived this week, as my parents have been chasing a Himalayan snowcock out west. They arrived home late last night (after I'd gone to bed), so I don't yet know if they were successful in their quest to add another notch to their life list.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Purple Toes, As Promised

Not the highest quality picture, but sufficient "proof" that Alana's toes have indeed been lacquered. Come to think of it, I don't know that I can remember a time that her mother had her toenails painted. Fingernails? Maybe twice in the last 15 years?
I, of course, had my own fingernail-painting phase. But that was just one fingernail, and it was "art" dammit (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!). And I was young. With too much time on my hands. It couldn't have been too weird, as, my senior year in high school, my girlfriend's mother went in search of green nail polish so that my prom design would appropriately match her daughter's dress (she was successful)!
Random MS Windows/Office Tip: If you have a bunch of windows open on your computer, and you're trying to get to your desktop (or you're trying to work with just a couple of those windows and want the rest minimized), you can quickly minimize all of the windows by holding down the Windows key on your keyboard (the one with the little 4-part waving flag thingy) and pressing "M" (for "minimize"). This will minimize all of the open windows. Windows installs with an icon in the QuickLaunch tray for "Show Desktop" that does the same thing, but I prefer the keyboard shortcut.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back to school, back tothe farm...prep work

Julie sent me the above picture from her cell phone this morning. Yesterday, we chatted briefly, and she mentioned that she had taken the kids shoe shopping and walked out of the store with six pairs of shoes. From left to right: boots (for the farm) for Benton, tennis shoes for Benton, jungle mocs for Benton, boots for carson, tennis shoes for Carson, boots for Alana. Or so I'm guessing.

The photo not included -- Julie has not sent it to me yet -- is of Alana with her purple toenails. Yes. Purple toenails. She apparently caught Aunt Tami painting her toenails and then insisted that she get her own toenails painted. And sat patiently for the whole process. The shocker (not!) is that, now, she is not particularly interested in her new shoes...since they cover up her painted toes!

New Occasional Feature -- Tim's Random MS Windows/Office Tip: In Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, <F4> will repeat the last thing you did. For instance, if you select some text (Word/PowerPoint) or a cell (Excel) and make it bold, you can then click on another bit of text or another cell, press , and that, to will be made bold. This comes in amazingly handy.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Settling In. Or, rather, heading steadily in that direction

Julie closed on the house on Friday afternoon, then picked up the kids from the Leathermans' house and detoured back to the house so they could see their new home en route to Wadsworth. Grandma Pam had the kids through the weekend while Bob and Julie (and, separately, Brett) headed out early Saturday morning to meet the movers.

The movers arrived at 8:00 AM and "finished" at 10:30 PM that night. Rightly so, Julie was somewhat miffed, as the driver (the one guy who was in Austin as well and, it turns out, is compensated, basically, on the delta between some fixed amount based on Graebel's quote and how much he can actually get the job done for -- he has to find and hire all of the helpers, and his philosophy, clearly, was to underhire on both ends) explained that he had trouble finding movers to hire in Columbus, so he only had two of his friends with him. Needless to say, since Graebel picked the date they were going to deliver, and Julie had agreed to a Friday-through-Monday window, it did not really seem acceptable that they picked a date that they were not then adequately able to staff.

In the end, Julie and her dad wound up doing some of the re-assembly of furniture that the movers should have done. But, according to Julie, the movers were so dead on their feet by the end of the evening that she was concerned for both their safety and the safety of our stuff if they tried to continue. The "biggest casualty," of the move (not counting the hot tub, which didn't make the trip at all) were the bookshelves that Tim built with Gregg Sales back in 2000. They snapped the top completely off of it. Our guess is that they lifted it from the top -- we'd always been careful not to do that in the past, but I completely forgot that we probably needed to put a sign on the shelves to pass that information along. So, I'll have that repair job to tackle at some point.

As the movers slogged along, Julie did manage to get ~50 boxes unpacked. And, when I talked to her late this afternoon, she indicated she was surprised at how much additional unpacking she had accomplished today. She and Bob were heading back to Wadsworth this evening. Julie, the kids, and Marilyn will then be heading back down on Thursday. I'll arrive either late, late Saturday night or some time on Sunday morning depending on what kind of time I make on the drive.

For my part, I did a good amount of loafing on Saturday. My mom and I spent several hours going through her lists of questions related to her new computer, many of which required making tweaks to her system setup. She's now in good shape and relieved to have that task out of the way.

For dinner, we met up with Kim at Threadgill's, where Driver was playing -- the CEO of my company is the drummer, and they're a fun band to go see. I then swung by Ron and Andrea's house, as there was a mini-Hardin-Jefferson reunion of sorts under way due to a confluence of circumstances. The discussion teetered on the brink of too many, "Remember when..." stories, but then seemed to get pulled back from that brink, much to the relief of the various spouses who were not Hardin-Jefferson alumni of the late 80s/early 90s...and to me!

My parents are off to Nevada tomorrow morning in a quest of a Himalayan Snowcock sighting. Their schedule allows for two ascents in their quest. With luck, though, they'll see it on Tuesday and will have some added flexibility to do some other birding and meet up with some family in Reno.


Friday, August 10, 2007

And. We. Have. TOUCHDOWN!

In Columbus, that is.

Julie and the kids arrived yesterday evening around 6:30 PM. They stayed with Andrew and Lisa Leatherman. And their three daughters. Can you spell: chaos? The Leathermans also have a yellow lab who was pretty wound up when we visited earlier this year, but has apparently started to settle down a bit. But, still, one more time: chaos?

By my count, the ratio of females to males in that household last night was 6:3 (6:4 if the dog gets included). That's a reversal of what Julie and Alana are accustomed to, but, I suspect the welcome temporary addition of some Y chromosomes into Andrew's usual 4:1 world!

Except, perhaps, for the chaos.

We (Julie) closes on our new house in Dublin this afternoon, and she's then heading up to Wadsworth with the kids this evening. She and her dad will then head down on Saturday morning in time to meet the movers. And, her brother and one of his guys are also heading down tomorrow to start building the wall that will create my office.

I'll be, uh, lounging around in Austin.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Travel update: slightly ahead of the plan

Julie got the kids up at 5:30 AM yesterday morning in McKinney (just north of Dallas) with a goal of reaching Springfield, Missouri or beyond by the end of the day.

In reality, she got a good ways beyond Springfield to Rolla, MO. Google says that's just over an 8-hour drive. And Google doesn't factor in travelling with three kids!

They got to the hotel in time to eat dinner AND get in a swim in the pool before heading back to the room for the night.

Benton did not nap all day, whereas Carson did and Alana did (twice!).

Today, it's on to St. Louis in the morning and then hitting Grant's Farm in the afternoon.


Monday, August 6, 2007

And the first user of Windows Vista in my immediate family is... mother???

What exactly is a fellow to do when he has no house (and, therefore, no yard and no swimming pool to maintain), no kids, and no spouse? That's temporarily my situation. I did get into the office for a few hours on Saturday, and I made it to Borders to pick up an atlas and some reading material.

Over breakfast on Saturday morning, my parents and I decided we would make a run to Fry's on Sunday to work our way through their list of current technology wants and needs. I've learned that it takes my mother a year to decide that she needs to replace her computer, another year to decide there is not some sort of impending chaos in her life that makes it a bad time to act on that need, and then another year to actually make a decision as to what exactly she wants. Somehow, that process got partially short-circuited this weekend, as she now owns a new laptop. And, it's not a Mac, which will likely earn her the scorn and dismay of some good friends in Maine.

That was not the only technology purchase by any means. Suffice it to say that, by the time we left Fry's, we really only had room for 2.5 adults in the Highlander, which made for a cramped trip back to Dripping Springs (not that that prevented us from stopping at the grocery store en route!).

We had hoped that we might be able to purchase a laptop with Windows XP instead of Windows Vista installed on it, as my parents had seen recent articles about driver incompatibility and other issues with Vista. I knew that was an issue early on, but had not really stayed up as to the current state. And, as it happened, buying a computer off the shelf at Fry's removed that option.

The setup went a point. The computer is up and running with internet access. There are driver incompatibility issues, though. The docking station has some audio and video issues that it looks like people have been able to work around driver-wise. I haven't gotten through that workaround process yet, though.

The bigger issue was with Earthlink. I was anti-AOL very, very early on, but I'm going to go ahead and officially announce here that Earthlink has been promoted to the top of my list of most annoying ISPs. My parents insist on running the Earthlink TotalAccess software, which has a user interface that will likely go down in history as the Ford Edsel of ISP interfaces. Not only does it throw up a persistent navigation bar on the desktop, but it plugs a bunch of crud into Internet Explorer. I think Juno was less intrusive. I can only hope that most Earthlink users never install the software, as it's not really required to use the service. But, since my mother insisted that she needed it, I bit the bullet and installed it. I found a way on their old computer, using Earthlink's proprietary e-mail client, to export the e-mails in her inbox to a .dat file. That was actually a nice feature, in that it looked like I would be able to then import that file into the inbox on her new computer, once I had Earthlink's e-mail client installed.

Except Earthlink hasn't released their e-mail client for Vista yet.

This tells me one of two things:

  • Earthlink realizes that only a small fraction of their subscribers actually rely on their software, since it is genuinely awful, so they devote limited resources to keeping it current with the latest operating systems, OR

  • Earthlink developers have been so busy focussing on coming up with a user interface that is better than DOS that they were caught unawares by the rollout of Vista

Neither speaks well of the organization.

As for Julie, she and the kids had a good time in Dallas. She was hoping to leave this morning between 5:30 and 6:00 AM so as to stay on track with her itinerary.


Friday, August 3, 2007

It's never too late to develop an addiction

I believe this is the longest stretch that I've gone without a blog entry.

The title? Referencing caffeine. Up until a year or so ago, Julie and I probably consumed 8 cups of coffee and a case of caffeinated soft drinks a year. Combined. Currently, I'm at a cup of coffee a day during the week, and Julie is at 2 or 3 (we're still not regular soft drink consumers, thankfully). Yesterday, Julie actually had two cups!

Wholly excusable, though.

Yesterday was the day the movers arrived. Honestly, Julie started preparing for the move back in February. Plotting her effort over time for the last six months would look like a hockey stick -- steadily increasing, and then ramping up massively in the last couple of weeks. Over the last four days, she's cycled continuously between "We're in good shape!" and "We're screwed!"

In the end, everything was wrapped up last night. The casualties:
  • Our hot tub -- I'd been in favor of leaving it with the house in the first place, as it's four years old, and I wasn't optimistic that it would survive the move without hastening its ultimate demise; Julie didn't think we'd be comfortable shelling out $3-4K right after buying a new house to buy a new hot tub; so, of course, the plan was to move it; I got it all disconnected, but the movers discovered that the staples holding the floor on were rusted off and there was some rotting wood there, so, while the hot tub may last quite a while in its current location, it couldn't be moved without the pump ripping away from the rest of the tub; it's not coming with us
  • My mom's sanity -- the kids headed to Dripping Springs on Monday evening and pretty much lived there for the rest of the week; Julie or I headed out here and there to help get them down to bed and such; my dad wound up spending a lot of time at our house with Julie doing move-related stuff; so, my mother was, effectively, a single mother of three for long periods of time; she's estimating it will take six weeks to recover from the experience

A near-casualty was all of the contents of a 5'x5' storage unit that was one of the first things we filled when prepping the house to go on the market. We had trouble locating the key and, ultimately, when we did find the was the wrong one. Julie discovered this 15 minutes after the storage facility's office closed for the night, and she had a trailer and a moving crew with everything from our house waiting on her. Ultimately, the right key turned up, so that part of the day is relegated to near-miss status!

Julie heads to Dallas this morning with the kids for the first leg of their trip. She'll stay for the weekend before continuing on to St. Louis. I'll be here for another couple of weeks before heading up with the dogs.

And now, I'm off to get a cup of coffee.