Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving thanks, since it's about all I can give right now...

Once again, in the United States, Thanksgiving is almost upon us.  It's a time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for and reflect on the blessings of the time that has passed since last Thanksgiving.  I guess the biggest thing I have to be thankful for is the fact that I'm not spending it at a truck stop in Stockton, California, like I did last year.

I haven't blogged a lot here, because I have had nothing of interest to say, and I really don't think anyone really wants to hear my whining and complaining about every little thing in my life.

This Thanksgiving, I'll be making a maple and mustard glazed pork roast with bread stuffing, glazed apples, and a berry pie for dessert.  We're not big turkey eaters here.  I guess I've never really thought of a turkey as anything more than an over-inflated chicken, and we can have chicken any old time, so I never understood what all the fuss was about.

So, for those of you that read this, whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I wish you the best and thanks for sticking around.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anniversary wrap-up

Music playing, coffee nearby, having finished breakfast, I sit here and reflect on last night.  Last night was the anniversary celebration that we had put off, because we've both learned that making plans in the middle of the week is damn near impossible, and at times a complete waste of time because something always arises to disrupt the plans.  Weekends are more laid back, more open for getting things completed, and thus we set Saturday as our celebration day.

My day started earlier than I would have liked, having gone to bed way too late the day before, and begrudgingly I answered the shrill call of the alarm clock and set off to the laundromat.  My weekly chore, getting the laundry done. goes a lot quicker if I get there just as the place opens at 7 am.  This way, I don't have to struggle to find an unoccupied washer and dryer.  It's times like this I miss not having a washer and dryer of my own, but I've had to make do with this in the past, and hey, it's only once a week anyway.  I put my headphones on and listen to my music while I sit and read a book on my Kindle app for my phone.  The television doesn't interest me all that much, showing either music videos from groups I've never heard of, playing music I really don't care for these days.  Or, the channel will be set to a local Spanish-language station, and since I can't follow along I don't give it another serious look, raising my head only to let my neck relax for a moment.  About an hour later, I have the clean laundry bagged and I'm heading home.  One hour out of my day, and one more chore complete.

Saturday is also our shopping day, so we had to go out earlier than we normally do.  We got what we needed for the week, and after it all got put away, we had a little bit to relax before we had to get ready.  Our dinner reservations were at a fondue restaurant that we'd heard about, and we finally had the money to give it a try.  Our strategy is to save our pocket change fro the year, and when anniversary time rolls around, we cash it in and use the proceeds from that to pay for a luxurious dinner.  Last night was not a disappointment.  I never knew fondue could be so good, and so filling.  The amount of food that was served didn't look like a lot, but it sure filled me up.  From the cheese course right through the dessert, it was small bites of fresh vegetables, wonderfully seasoned meats, and rich, decadent chocolate with luscious sweet treats.

Our only problem was the meal didn't take as long as we were figuring, so we had close to two hours to kill before we were to go see a comedy show at the Improv club.  There was a coffee shop in the same general complex, so we nipped in for a frozen hot chocolate, which I can only describe as pure, concentrated evil in a glass topped with whipped cream.  So good.

About an hour before we needed to check in at the box office, we went to the car and watch the sudden rainstorm roll through.  Made me kind of glad we didn't wander far, as sudden as it came on.  We saw the ominous-looking clouds heading our way, and since we had time to waste, it was kind of neat watching the rain and the other people coming in trying to fond a place to park.  That was the one benefit to getting there early.  The show started a bit late, but that didn't matter.  I don't think I'd laughed so hard in quite a long time.  This was the first comedy club we'd been to since we left the Frozen Tundra, and the first big-name, national comedy club we'd ever been to.

We went back to the coffee shop to let the traffic thin out and grab a snack before we finally headed home around midnight.  I hadn't had a night out like that in a long time, too long by my estimates.  I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old.  Clubbing has lost its allure, I'm not a big drinker in public being as risky as it is these days, and I usually don't have the money.  Last night, however, was worth every penny I paid for it.  And, it's nice after eight years to have someone that shares the same interests I do and that I can have a great time with.  Here's to lots more nights like that, and even more days together.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Running in circles and dodging hailstones

The last time I posted here I mentioned something about "whatever crazy weather we happen to get." Last Wednesday didn't disappoint.

It began about 5:20 or so when I got a text from Ms. Darkstar, who was leaving work in Plano (northwest of where we live) reporting a downpour.  She told me later that the whole time it was pouring with rain, the sun was shining brightly.  Since I was home, having left work early, I checked the radar and saw a few storms working their way towards Dallas.  I didn't think any more of it until it was time to head to the train station.

There were a few rumbles of thunder, and it was just starting to rain when I left.  It got heavier as I headed west, turning the streets to rivers in places.  By the time I got to the train station, the hail started.  It was small at first, maybe dime-sized.  I parked at the (unsheltered) pickup location and waited.

I had the radio tuned to the local news station, and just west of where I was, a couple of field reporters were talking about hail the size of golf balls.  You could hear them hitting their car even as they were talking.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, the barrage started.  It lasted for a good ten to fifteen minutes, and I don't mind telling you that was the most scared I had ever been, in an unsheltered area, with no refuge available, just waiting for it to end and hoping the car windows would remain intact.

By the time the train arrived, the hail had just about ended, tapering off in size and intensity.  We drove home slowly, navigating around the flooded sections of the roads.  There was no rain by the time we got home, and when I looked at the car, I could see lots of little dimples from where the hail had struck.    I was very glad the damage was only cosmetic, and nothing was broken or needed to be fixed.  I think an errant hailstone knocked the fuel door out of whack because Ms. Darkstar said the door didn't open when she first used the lever, but after using it to pop the trunk and then pressing it again, it worked okay.  I'll keep an eye on it.

Apparently, we got off light.  There was lots more damage in an area nearby.  Here's the details.

Work's been a little crazy.  There's lots of jobs coming due over the next few weeks, none of which had a direct impact on me, but it still made things interesting.  The move is complete, so that's one less thing to worry about.  I have no idea how busy I will be this coming week, as usual.

I'm off in a little bit to obtain tonight's dinner.  Last night I made the chocolate mousse for dessert, and now I must go to the Asian market to get a couple of live lobsters.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting caught up on catching up

Whenever I get tired, cranky, stressed, busy, or overwhelmed, things like this blog tend to fall by the wayside.  I make no apologies for this; it's just the way I am, and eventually I do return, as I did now, to try to get caught up on what's been going on since my last blog entry.

One of our Tuesday night friends asked me if I was still happy with my job, because I hardly ever talk about it. The answer is yes, I am quite happy working where I am now, knowing I will draw a dependable and consistent salary and be able to go home every night.  I don't talk about it much because there's not much to talk about.  I don't do anything glamorous or exciting; I drive a tractor-trailer and make local deliveries.  Before that, I drove a tractor-trailer and made deliveries across the United States.  I talked about that more because there was usually something interesting that I saw during the day, and sharing it here eased the loneliness of being far from home.

I think I said earlier that the nature of my job was of a "feast or famine" approach as to how busy I could be at any given moment.  Last week was toward the "famine" end, especially during the latter part of the week when there was truly nothing that needed my services.  Instead, I did some minor repairs on the truck (I save those for periods like this because it keeps me occupied legitimately) and puttered around the shop looking for some busywork.

This week, however, has been the polar opposite.  Not only do I have to shuffle a trailer back and forth between two of our buildings (moving and consolidating a department), but I've had a slew of deliveries scheduled for the early part of this week, along with a few pickups, enough that some of the work was given to the other drivers and sent to outside trucking companies.

The downside to this, as hot as it's been, is I don't have time to stop and rest for very long.  If I can get a few minutes at a receiver's dock to just get a quick breather, I consider myself lucky.  We won't discuss keeping myself properly hydrated.  We just won't.

Anyway, it's back at it tomorrow, rain or shine or whatever crazy weather we happen to get.  This is just a quick update, which is about all I have time for right now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A case of the Mondays on Tuesday

I don't know what's been going on for the past couple of days, but I've really been fighting the urge to stab people in the eyeballs with a fork.  Little annoyances have been escalating in my head and becoming full-blown near-biblical-rage-inducing episodes.  I've been keeping it in check as best as I can, but thank goodness for my night out.  We're going to have another one tomorrow night, which will be an extra help.

Yesterday, while not busy from a driving standpoint, had a lot of warehouse work.  I spent the better porting of the day wrapping pallets for shipment.  It might have gone smoother had I not been micromanaged by Mr. Know-it-all.  I think I'm capable of stretch-wrapping a pallet on my own, thank you very much, now go away because I know where the forks are.

Today had me going out more, so I felt a little less stabby, but idiot me forgot to clock in when he got to work this morning and ended up doing so about two hours later.  I got that fixed before I left for the day, so I am not going to worry about it for the moment.

Here's hoping the rest of the week improves.  Maybe the vodka tasting tomorrow night will help.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mutual of POSSLQ's Wild Kingdom

It's not often that something happens at work that makes me feel good for the rest of the day, but when  it does happen, it's a doozy.  This is something that could have taken a completely different twist, maybe even had a different ending.  I am glad it turned out the way it did.

This being Ms. Darkstar's day to do her volunteer work with rescued kitties,  I took the bus in to work.  I grab the first bus because there's no issue with making all of my connections, and the buses that I ride are usually fairly empty.  So, I got to work early, and since there was nothing for me to do that early in the morning, I just went to the truck and sat for a little while.

Around 7, I fired up the truck and rolled slowly through the parking area.  As I made the turn from where I was parked, I saw a couple of dark shapes sitting about where my truck tires had been.  I stopped the truck,  set the brake, and went to investigate.  At first, in the early morning light, I thought they were a couple of big toads.  Nope.

It was these.

Three little baby rabbits, the two were closest to the driver's side of the truck, and the single was over by the passenger's side.  I was very glad I let the truck roll straight for a few feet before turning the wheel.  

I approached slowly, the rabbits remaining immobile, eyeing me warily.  I looked them over quickly, talking to them in what I hoped was a reassuring voice.  I snapped a few pictures, and then ... 

I petted each one lightly on the head.  Only the lone rabbit started to hop away, but stopped to watch me a little more.  Other than that, they didn't move or flinch.  It was more to see what kind of reaction I would get or if they would hop to safety in the grass, under the trees.  No one moved.  I took a couple more photos.

I got back in the truck and went to see what work I had waiting for me.  As it turned out I had to come back up to get the other trailer, and when I returned, the rabbits were gone.

And then I saw this:

I would like to think that all of the rabbits made it to safety, although evidence I found leads me to believe at least one of the cute little critters became a hawk snack.  Circle of life, baby.
Sidenote: All the time the hawk was there, and the hawk had moved from its original position when I approached, it was being divebombed by a smaller bird.  I got the above picture in between attacks.  The hawk didn't even appear fazed by what was going on, and when I attempted to get closer to get a better picture, it flew up to a nearby utility pole.

Such ends my little drama for the day.  Work went as usual from that point, but for the whole day, no matter what I was doing, or how dull things seemed, I could tell myself that at least this morning, I got to pet baby bunnies.

And that's something.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back in the swing of things

It's Tuesday night, and once again, I'm out at our usual place, after a couple of weeks off due to general ennui and last week's bout of Ganesha's Revenge.  I'm glad we could make it as we're celebrating the birthday of one of our friends.  We gave presents and brought cupcakes, we received a glass of a lovely prosecco, and now I get to sit and relax for a little bit.

Work progresses as usual, although a little slow this week.  I have a run scheduled for tomorrow morning and I think I'll have at least one more guaranteed run by the end of the week, but other than that there's a lot of scrounging for something to do.  I'm not overly concerned because at least I can get my basic forty hours, and while overtime is nice, I'm sure it will come later on.

You may have gathered form reading this blog, but in case you weren't aware, I am a bit of a bonehead.  At work, we have special keycards that we use to get in and out of the building and parking areas.  Because I'm jumping in and out of a truck fairly frequently, the safest place for me to keep my keycard is in my wallet (also because I am so much of a bonehead that I will forget the card at home).  So, today I used the card to get the tractor parked inside the fenced-in area, which meant I had to take my wallet out of my pocket and place it in front of the reader.  I parked the truck, grabbed my stuff, went to the main building to turn in my paperwork, and realized when I went to get in to the building that I left my wallet in the truck.  Great.  Luckily, I was able to get in to the building through the loading dock, and once that was finished I went back in the vain hope I might be able to get back in to the parking area through the pedestrian gate.  No such luck.  I did find, however, that there was a  damaged section of fence that had a hole just big enough for me to fit my big, fat posterior through so I could get to the truck and retrieve my wallet.

Anyway, all is well and I have my wallet and once again there is cake and ice cream and unicorns pooping rainbows across the sky ...

So, for now I will close and hope everyone else's week goes well.