Back in the 80’s??

I should have known this would happen – it does every year. Just when I thought we were finally done with warm weather, it’s back in the 80’s again. I even heard “highs near 90” on the radio this afternoon. 90?!? Nooooooooo!!!!!!

It won’t last long, though. I think that by Saturday the high will only be in the 60’s. I may have mentioned this before, but I heard somewhere that the Farmer’s Almanac predicts a very cold winter this year (hopefully, with lots of snow to make up for getting ripped off the last two winters).

I had lunch today at Flemings Steakhouse, and it was oh-so-good. The reason for the lunch was a presentation by the investor group at Morgan Stanley, who has handled the stock options plan at my company for a number of years. With the pending acquisition, they know they are going to lose our business, so it was a “let me buy you a steak so you will remember to call me when you need financial advice” type of lunch. Hey, thanks. I’ll call you when I need some advice – maybe we can do lunch again!

Speaking of lunch, tomorrow is my second “Lunch & Learn” at work. The first one went pretty well. The topics were “Domains, Hosts, and Virtual Hosts”, and “The HTTP Protocol”. I had intended for these to be seperate sessions, and only prepared both in order to get ahead, but once I got close to it I realized that there really wasn’t enough material to cover the time given with just one topic, so I did both (they are related, anyway). Don’t get me wrong – I could probably go on about either one of these for hours, but I’m trying to keep it interesting and concise.

This week’s session will be “HTTP Cookies & Security”, as well as an overview of the architecture of the single-sign-on system we use. If that doesn’t get you excited, well… you’re just not geeky enough!

Whirlwind Visit

As usual, we had a great time with my parents and grandmother visiting the past several days, and it flew by very fast. Here’s a summary:

They arrived on Thursday, and we spent most of the day making sure we had everything we needed for Owen’s party that evening. The party was a great success (as I mentioned), and we were exhausted by the end of the night.

Unfortunately, the next day, my dad was very sick. We assume he got some sort of bug on the plane or something, because no one else got sick at all. The good news is it only lasted about 18 hours or so. He was in bed most of the day, but the rest of us relaxed around the house and played a few card games and watched Owen enjoy his new toys.

Friday evening, Mary and I went up to Bowling Green, KY, for a church retreat. We stayed at a hotel up there for the night, heard some great teaching, and spent some time with some other people who are involved in our church. The retreat was over by lunchtime on Saturday, so we headed back to the Rivergate area to meet up with our visitors for lunch.

Owen was glad to see us again, but he had a great time with my parents while we were gone. Mom had bought him some new shoes, which he enjoyed showing off to us. He especially seemed to feel that he could run faster in the new shoes.

Stones River GreenwayWe had lunch at Logan’s Roadhouse, and everyone enjoyed it. Owen was getting pretty tired, though, so we went home after that to put him down for a nap. Before I knew it, I was the only one not asleep! Once the naps were over, we decided to go take a walk on the Stones River Greenway. The weather was really nice, and Owen did a lot of running in his new shoes. With sufficient exercise, we headed home to eat dinner and watch some movies.

Sunday was church, and then Dad and I went to the Fadelys’ house to watch the Titans whip the Texans while Owen went with the women to the Cool Springs area to shop some more. After the game, we headed down that way to meet up with the women and we all went to Genghis Grill for dinner. It was good.

Proud Grandmothers and Cute GrandsonsMonday was pretty laid back – the women went to a few antique stores in the morning, and then we ate some pizza for lunch. Later in the afternoon, my cousin (Michelle) came down from Clarksville, with her son (Gabe) and her mother (Jan – my mom’s sister, who was also visiting from Florida). Owen and Gabe got to play together for a couple of hours and we of course took some pictures.

After they left, we went to get a few things at Target and then had dinner at Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que. It was good.

This morning, we packed up the car and I took them to the airport on the way to work.

The Party

Birthday CakeOwen’s 2nd birthday party could not have gone much better!

The playground was a big hit with the kids (and many of the adults). They ran and climbed and jumped and slid for about an hour or so. I was crawling around in there with a camera, and managed to get a few good photos of the kids playing, although it’s hard to get good pictures in the close quarters with low light and so much movement. The playground was built to be big enough for adults to get in there with the kids, but there are still some tight spots to get through. I think just about all of the parents at the party (even mine) made it in there at some point, though.

Owen with his GrandaddyThere are a couple of really big twisty slides that go from the 4th and 5th levels all the way down to the floor. I made it one time to the top level (there’s a lot of obstacles to get up there) and went down the longest slide, which was much faster than I expected. It turns out, our children’s pastor waxes the slides every month or so! It was almost scary, but I don’t think anyone got hurt.

I was worried that Owen would be a little scared of the size of the playground and wouldn’t want to climb up in there, but he went right in. There were a few areas he didn’t like too much, but he found the smaller slides and other spots he liked and just stayed in those areas.

Opening GiftsAfter a while, I had to round everyone up for cake and ice cream (fortunately, there is a PA system), and then Owen opened his presents. He was so tired at that point that he didn’t react much to his gifts, other than wanting to sit down an play with a couple of them while he still had more to open. I don’t think he has ever gotten that many gifts at once, so it may have been a little overwhelming. He did pretty well, though, and we got them all done and sent the kids back to the playground for about 10 more minutes while we started to clean up.

We told the woman who was working there that it was a great place for a party, and well worth the price we paid to use it. Everything went very well and she was very helpful, and I would definitely recommend the facility to anyone else wanting to have a party like that.

Owen's cousin, LandisThe only real problem we had was that we had about twice as much food and drinks as we needed. Anybody want some leftover pizza?

Special thanks to Eric and Tisra for letting me use their Digital Rebel XT.

Owen crawling to his Grandaddy

Owen with his Grandma on level 3Eric and Dean

Travis

Happy Birthday, Owen!

On Their Way

Somewhere, about 30,000 feet above sea level, my mom, dad, and grandmother are in an airplane en route to Nashville International Airport, where I will pick them up in about 30 minutes. They’ll be here until next Tuesday.

Since we recently bought a new bed for ourselves (have I mentioned that?), our old King Size bed is in the guest room, and we moved the double bed (that belongs to the Fadelys) from the guest room into Owen’s room. Owen will sleep in the old pack-n-play in our room, and that way no on has to sleep in the bonus room (or the “play room” as we call it with Owen, because that’s where all his toys are).

And speaking of Owen and toys and family coming to visit – today is Owen’s 2nd birthday! Woo-hoo! I don’t think he fully comprehends what is going to happen today, but he has been singing “happy birthday” and talking about birthday cake for about a week, so I think he is starting to put it together. We’ve told him that we’re going to have a party for him at the church playground, and I tried to run off a list of all his friends that will be there, but it’s hard to know if he really gets it.

In case you don’t know, our church has built the largest indoor playground in the Nashville area – it’s in a 2+ story enclosure, and it has 5 levels of stairs, slides, tunnels, and all kinds of things to climb on and run around in. There’s even a slide from the viewing area on the second floor balcony going into the playground. It’s pretty cool. The playground is open to the public during the day, with areas for parents to sit and read or whatever, and they rent it out for parties and such in the evening (members get a discount, of course).

In order to make this party successful, though, he’s definitely got to have a good nap today, and that’s going to be tough with more grandparents arriving (Mary’s dad has already been here for about a week). I really hope he has a good time tonight, but I’m trying not to build up in my mind some perfect and unachievable event. It’s just going to be lots of kids playing on a playground, and parents standing around eating pizza and being social. We’ll do cake and ice cream and let Owen open presents, but we’re not going to try to make all the kids watch or anything – I’m sure they’ll just want to play a lot.

Well, I’ve got to run – it’s time to go get them!

The Saga of the Sleep Number Bed – Part 6

It’s been a while since I wrote about this, so I thought I should give all the curious readers an update (and conclusion) to the story.

The smell of Odornix is gone, for one of three reasons:

  1. It has dissipated over time
  2. The mattress cover blocks the smell so that I don’t notice it anymore
  3. I have gotten used to it

I really hope it’s reason #1. I may have to bring in an outside party with a sensitive nose to verify that it’s not reason #3.

A friend of mine bought the second (California King) mattress topper from me, so I didn’t have to deal with returning it to Overstock. He has a queen-size bed, so it fit well length-wise, and he just cut off about 8 inches from one side to make it the proper width. And that’s when I had an idea…

I took the piece he cut off his topper, and trimmed it to fit at the end of our bed. Cutting it was not easy. I used scissors, and had to make an initial rough cut and then “clip” off ragged edges the way you would trim a hedge. It took a while, but I got it fairly straight, if a little bumpy.

I also rotated our topper 90 degrees, so that the widest part was going side-to-side, and it was shorter from top to bottom, since I had a larger-than necessary piece to make up the length. The end result is a mattress topper that fits our bed just about right width-wise, and is a tad long (purposefully) from head to toe.

The only question was how to stick the two pieces together. I didn’t want to use any kind of glue, for fear that it would damage the topper or create hard spots that I would feel on the bed. I ended up deciding to leave them separate, and hope that once the fitted sheet was on the bed, the two pieces would stay tightly together and you wouldn’t notice the seam.

I was right. The seam can be found if you are looking for it, but is otherwise unnoticeable. The bed is now very comfortable, and my feet don’t hang off the edge of the topper anymore. Finally, I have satisfaction!

Fly-in Recap

Powered Para-GliderThe MTUG Fall Fly-in on Saturday was a great success! The weather was awesome, and probably could not have been much better for this kind of event. We had about 30 planes when I took a quick count at one point, but some had already come and gone, so it’s hard to say how many were actually there. I believe there were well over 50 pilots registered by mid-morning.

The mix was pretty diverse, with a lot more GA (General Aviation – meaning non-ultralight) planes than I expected. We had several genuine WWII-era planes that were very interesting to see, as well as some replicas that looked old, but weren’t. We also had a group of PPG (Powered Para-Glider) pilots. These guys basically strap a engine and propeller on their backs, and fly with a big para-glider fabric wing. They were fun to watch and got a lot of attention from the visitors.

I left my house at 6:00 AM with Mary’s dad to drive down to the airfield. There was already a lot going on by the time we got there, with several planes in the air and most people enjoying breakfast. Later in the morning, Mary and Owen drove down and they stayed until mid-afternoon, and then headed home with Mary’s dad. I stayed until just after sunset.

UltralightsI did get to fly for a little while, in an ultralight called an X-air (second from the left in this photo). It’s a lot like the Flightstar (first one on the right) that I had my first ride in several months ago. I spent most of the time on the ground, though, helping direct planes coming in to park, as well as attending the seminars and visiting with friends that came out. A couple from my Sunday School class was there, and one of my co-workers brought his wife and their son. I also continued to get to know more of the club members, and figure out who has what experience and where all the knowledge and skills are.

We did have one “incident”, but no one was hurt. A pilot had just landed and tried to turn sharp off the runway to go down the taxiway. He was still moving a little fast, and probably should have just continued to slow down and then doubled back, but he thought he could make the turn if he hit is brakes hard enough. He ended up putting the ultralight up on its nose, and damaged one of the propeller blades. We had to tow it off the taxiway, but another pilot was able to bring him a spare blade and he got it fixed by the end of the day and didn’t have to tow it home.

WWII PlaneI took some pictures, but in retrospect, not the right ones. I kept trying to get a photo that would encompass the whole event, showing lots of planes and people, but it was too spread out. Most of them ended up being far too wide without a lot of detail. I should have just taken more individual photos of the planes and pilots themselves. I also wish I had gotten someone to take me up in the air during the middle of the event, so I could get a picture of the airfield when it was full. By the time I got to go up, most of the planes were gone.

The sun wore on me a little, and my legs were tired from walking all over the airfield, but I had a great time. By the time I got home, I was wiped out and went straight to bed. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Owen is not feeling well again. He has had a temperature all day and is very warm this evening. He’s still a very good boy, though, and I’m thankful for that. Since we can’t put him in the nursery at church when he has a fever, I am staying home this evening to rest with him.

It’s probably good for me, too, since I’ve had “the crud” for about a week or so. “The crud” is that build-up of slimy green stuff in your throat, which makes you cough regularly and sound like a bass singer who smokes about two packs a day. I get it almost every fall, and I hate it.

So, before Mary left her two pitiful men to head to church, she put on a pot of chicken noodle soup for us. Owen didn’t want it at first, but once I got him to take a few bites, he was eating it up and saying “I love chikin noonle soup”. He’s so cute.

I decided to let him watch a movie so that he would sit still and rest. Right now, he’s watching Robin Hood, which is a cartoon version that’s older than me. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid, but as far as I know, this is the first time Owen has seen it. So far, he seems to like it. It’s so cool when your kid enjoys something you remember from your childhood.

While he’s been sitting quietly, I’ve been reading The Ultralight Pilot’s Flight Training Manual, which I bought from a MTUG member for five bucks (what a deal!). It’s a very interesting read – I can’t wait to actually try some of this stuff. I haven’t decided yet when I’ll start training, but it will probably not be any time this year. I want to see how things shake out with my job situation before I add any new hobbies or expenses.

Speaking of work, one of the managers there has asked me to do something that I’m a little excited about. He is scheduling a series of “Lunch & Learn” events where he will buy lunch for all of the development team (and possibly others in IS) and they will sit in a conference room and eat while I talk about various topics regarding the web and web architecture, protocols, technologies, etc. So much of what we do now is web-based, and a lot of technical people know in general how the web works, but don’t know the finer details of everything involved. I guess that’s an area I’ve built some expertise in, and I certainly don’t mind sharing it.

I’ve come up with about a dozen different topics, and we’re going to do it every other week, so it could last a while. I enjoy teaching a lot, and I think that if there was a way I could do this type of training full time (and still make a good living), then I would be all over that.

Keeping Up

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. We’ve had a pretty busy week, and another busy week or two to come.

On Thursday, I went to the new members dinner at our church, in order to look for newlywed couples that are joining our church but haven’t gotten involved in a Sunday School class yet. One of our pastors actually suggested that I do that when I started our class last year, but I’ve never been able to make it until this week (we have the meetings about every two or three months).

I got to talk to several couples, and one of them actually came to our class this morning. Two of the couples I talked to had been married over 6 years, though. I’ve discovered that newlyweds are very hard to identify. You see a young couple that look like they might fit the bill, but they’ve been married for 5 or 6 years, and have two kids. Then you see a mid-30’s couple with kids, and come to find out they have just gotten married.

Yesterday, we had a board meeting for Images Creative Group that lasted all morning and into the afternoon. Owen went with the Webers on a riverboat cruise that is designed for kids, and he had a really good time.

Tomorrow, I have a meeting in the evening, and Mary will be babysitting for the Fadelys. On Tuesday I’ll be helping Images move their office and computers, and Mary will have a technical rehearsal for the Ladies Night of Laughter at church. Wednesday is the usual church service, Thursday is a leadership dinner at church, and Friday night is the Men’s Ministry meeting and the Ladies Night of Laughter.

Saturday, of course, is the MTUG Fall Fly-In, and I’ll be helping with that pretty much all day long. Then on Sunday afternoon we’ll be helping move the Buttons into their new apartment.

Monday and Tuesday of next week, we don’t have specific plans, but Mary’s dad will be in town, and we’ll be planning for Owen’s birthday party, which is that Thursday night. I’m really looking forward to this, because we’re renting the new (very large) indoor playground at our church for the evening.

Before we get to the party, though, my parents and my grandmother will be flying in from Florida on Thursday morning. We’ll have the party on Thursday night, and then on Friday evening through Saturday morning, they will watch Owen while Mary and I go to a retreat for Sunday School Teachers and Care Group Leaders.

So, after that Sunday (October 9th), things should slow down a bit. My parents and grandmother will be with us through the following Tuesday morning, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to relax and enjoy their company for a little while.

Just Checking

I just had the following conversation with my soon-to-be-2-years-old son, while putting him to bed.

“Good night – Lay down and go to sleep.”
“Get down?”
“No, you need to stay in bed.”
“OK, just checking.”

The Secret Meeting

There was not much talk about it, but all the IS managers and directors are at an off-site meeting today at a lake house – presumably discussing matters related to the pending acquisition. That could mean that important information will be announced soon, or it could just mean that they are all at a house on a lake.

Meanwhile, back at the office, it’s pretty quiet, and I happen to know that a group of guys went to a movie. I was invited, but declined.

Fortunately, I have work to do, but not so much that I’m stressed or crazy busy. The workload has been unevenly distributed lately, with some people running around with a ton of work, and others asking for stuff to do (or going to the movies). No one can do just any job, though, so it’s not always easy to solve. I’ve had my share of both (too much and not enough), and I like things the way they are at the moment.

Sometime this month, we should be hearing more about what systems will survive the acquisition, and shortly after that we will find out what people will survive. The latest rumor is that 80-90% of IS will be retained, and there will be a significant presence in Nashville. It’s still just a rumor, though.