Alright, today was not a day to be out and about in West Michigan, but I made the most of it. There was really no way I should have made the trip to Muskegon for a factory tour and a meeting with the maintenance manager there, but that happened without a hitch. I saw both buildings which constitute our MK site, had a productive meeting, and toured the production areas. Great. In the afternoon I sat down with some reports in a spare office and crunched numbers and talked with some people and made plans for tomorrow's GR site visit and the project in general.
Back on 28th Street tonight, with dinner plans scrapped due to gnarly roads and gnarlier cold, I forged out into the night in the trusty VW Golf which National gave me for Qdoba and random 28th Street throwback moments... "hey there's the MC Sports" or "oh my gosh I think that's that one place," etc. Then, back to the hotel room to work. This must be a business trip. A snow-covered, wind-blown business trip.
GRR, the airport code not the frustrated noise of a traveler wondering how the runway lights can go out at a major airport, is where I am tonight. It's raining pretty hard here, but is supposed to turn west Michigan gnarly overnight and throughout tomorrow, when I'll be in Muskegon touring our plant there.
Last night was a good one. We made mangoes and sticky rice for dessert (which seems decadent for a Monday night when we had salad as our entree) and enjoyed it while the Top Gear crew kept us laughing and wondering what could make it better. I should really have taken a picture of the scene, because it was great and because there just haven't been visual aids lately. Sticky rice will do that to a person...
We started the weekend with men's varsity basketball at WAHS. After a slam-filled, fast-paced start by Parkland, the Canaries pretty much took over. Some kid named #12 hiked his shorts up to his belly-button and buried about a half-dozen triples and, along the way, Parkland.
Saturday was a gathering in the afternoon with neighborhood friends, minus Ryan and Ava, who were at home as the younger recovered. We played "Scene It" and were pretty roundly dominated by Eric, who rules at games like that. Someday I think we will take him to the Swallow Inn and win trivia night and place the sports memorabilia that we win in a shrine to be honored for ages. Later, we did some errands that needed to be done but were not very exciting.
Today is sunny and wintry-warm. We went on a walk in the afternoon, cleaned house, and I'm going to hit Bear Creek this evening. That's all.
It's called "CRP" and that means Conference Room Pilot. Mostly it is a pretty dry way to spend a day. I think we're moving ahead with our global e-trading platform, but the progress is slow. Nonetheless I'm getting chances to be a rockstar and to make friends across the company.... and get lunches all week!
Some cooking at home has made headlines: chillaquillas over the weekend and Thai curry tonight. We're adding new recipes to our repertoire and really enjoying it. We recently received sequential wedding and home-warming gifts that rounded out our quiver of cookware, which have come in very handy for high-volume cooking and low-heat simmering. In some ways I feel like all of this paraphernalia makes us foodies, but then we see foodies on the tv and are suddenly pretty happy just to be normal people who happen to love to cook.
"No bookbags!" What, I said? "You can't bring your bookbag on the lift." Right. I consider skiing with a backpack to be one of my unalienable rights, up there with voting, free speech, and government-monitored chicken processing. So when the ski patrol at Elk Mountain said 'no' I was fully intending to have a bad day. (How can you have a good day without your TrapperKeepers, Math 8 textbooks, and Joe Montana-themed pencil set? That's what I must have in a bookbag, right?) Instead, Elk proved to be a blast - an edge-to-edge, up-and-down riot. Damn. Jenelle was out for her first day in new gear and turned many literal and figurative corners. At one point I looked up and she was locked in on both B2s, spray coming off rear tips, with a skier-brand grin on her face. That's a good day.
I should probably also say that it was 7 degrees when we stepped out of the Vibe and never crossed 20.
More and more at home; we put up our long-awaited floating shelves and got black and white photography on them and now the front room looks awesome. Putting up the shelves brought the disheartening revelation that our wall is about as straight as a Philly politician.
Speaking of Philadelphia, city of brotherly love, graft, and cheesesteaks, we were there yesterday. It was awesome. We started (and ended) at Reading Terminal Market for lunch (and dinner) and some gourmet browsing. We found a great Thai shop, a great Mexican shop, and myriad Penna Dutch and authentic Philly cheesesteakeries. In between trips through the market, we did some shopping. We found a lampshade that is, without question, the best/coolest item we've ever seen. And it was on sale. We saw most of Center City and much of Old City, then headed north, past a (we later found out) shooting scene, and up to trendy Chestnut Hill, which I think we'll visit again in the warm season.
Tomorrow is the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, which we'll honor with a little downhill skiing.
We're into a three-day MLK weekend. Today was a strange day at work; I had a pretty full docket pretty well cleared by a new slate of tasks at around 8:15 and that was that. Such a switch made the day fly, though, and pretty soon it was time to head home, where we did up some drapes in the front room. It's really nice to be getting quite close to finishing the main floor and the loft, even if this is just a sandwich around the untouched middle of our house. From the West we heard that our lights have arrived in the North and are ready for delivery with the next set of parents headed East.
posted at 10:02 PM - comments
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
An odd day that started with a long drive north into the mountains to retrieve a kitten with sore paws and a shorn belly. Maya was doing pretty well but didn't have the best trip from Germansville back to Macungie... it was sad to leave her in the bedroom with clumpy feet and sad noises, but I had to get to work.
A purchasing guy started my day with a rundown of his activities - fascinating. Talk about an art that could be a science! Somehow it was, at once, everything I thought it might and might not be. Elements of negotiations, gut instinct, widely-known facts, and random directives from on high come together to create deals.
At home with recovering kitty we put the touches on our acoustic art panels for the loft. I fixed the other truck mirror (for now) and we ate leftover sloppy joes and schemed over plans for the long weekend.
We've been project-ing up a storm; over the weekend we worked pretty hard to get a lot of little, little things done. We put up the wiring for a light in the loft stairwell but were displeased with our temporary shade so we swapped. We weather-sealed the trap door into the knee wall. We painted and mounted the supports for - and eventually the - loft counter. We dreamed up, found supplies for, and have half-made the sound-absorbing art that will adorn the loft. It feels good to be getting so much done and to be doing it ourselves. Someday soon a before-and-after photo montage to give readers in the field a sense of how far we've come.
This week is also crazy share-a-ride-with-your-spouse-cuz-your-car-got-no-mirrors week. Allentown's finest soft cloth carwash and the Jimmy's finest rear-facing optical devices didn't see eye to eye on Saturday and now, while that gets resolved, we're riding together rather than driving around in the rain and snow with windows on the Jimmy open so that the mirrors, hanging by a bundle of cords, don't smash up the paint on the doors. It's been an amazingly impactful change of pace; I have been getting to work about 20 minutes later than usual and it makes the mornings go by so fast! You're not even going to believe it! I think it is a sign of how habitual human beans are that a break of less than 5% makes a huge difference.
I'm a sucker for a spectacle, and tractor square dancing neatly fits that bill. The PA Farm Show had just such an event so we made our way to Harrisburg to the Large Arena at the Farm Show Complex last night to see the show. We found seats, high in the arena where the diesel fumes were already thickening, and watched in some amazement as eight tractors were expertly guided through a square dance while a flannel-shirted MC called the dance. Outstanding!
posted at 9:08 PM - comments
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Time to break out the imperative. You must watch Juno at the movies. We checked it out last night and laughed and felt good and kept laughing. It was really good, doubly so if you like Michael Cera. Check it out.
My new projects at work are making my brain hurt. In a good way. It's fun to feel really challenged and to have to dig into background facts, understand the politics and preferences of everybody involved, and be the one who is neutral. It's also new territory for me and I think sourcing is pretty much the crux of the manufacturing issue these days.
The last time I went night skiing was nineteen ninety high school, when Dad and Robin and I braved a nasty snowstorm to hit the slopes at Marquette Mountain. It snowed about 18 inches an hour and we were literally the only people on the hill; tracks were full and unrecognizable by the time we got on the lift after each run. (One of the lifties even offered to buy us pizza if we'd stop.) Last night I hit the slopes at Bear Creek and had the exact opposite experience. Instead of pouring snow, it rained. Instead of being the only person on the hill, there were thousands of people (think shuttle bus to the overflow parking lot). I'd considered getting a season evening pass for BC, but now I'm not sure; the hill just might not be worth it.
Not much else to report: loft painting, which was painstakingly laboriously tedious. By the end of the day, we'll have the plastic put away and our favorite room back. Then a little cooking, a little cleaning, and it will start to feel like not still the holidays.
Everybody wants to talk football - "I'm not a Michigan guy, but I was glad to see the Big Ten beat the SEC" or "You guys looked good!" or "Best bowl game of the year, and the better team won." Yes, yes, and yes.
Felt a little odd to be back at work... after 11 days. Mostly it felt odd that I hadn't been there in 11 days, not odd to be back. I am getting ramped up for my next rotation, which seems pretty strange, too. It should be a good project (or two) and I'm excited to get into it.
Reeeeecap: Trip to the UP for a white - and often foggy - holiday. Spent pre-Christmas in Esky, post in Stonington. Saw some folks but not a lot. Then home; we beat a snowstorm and were happy to get back. We were happier still to still have four days of vacation ahead of us. Our focal point was the loft, which got two coats of paint and would have gotten more if we were any good at estimating (or faux techniques).
Our New Years' Eves have been major events: since we've been dating, Boston, Cleveland, and Los Angeles. This year we were happy to spend it on the couch, with homemade ice cream, critiquing our painting and wondering who allowed Dick Clark to go on TV. Today was a trip to Conshohocken to join the 'Greater' portion of the U-M Club of Greater Philadelphia to watch the Capital One Bowl. We hailed to the Victors, gloated in a great, great, shut-your-pie-hole-Urban-Meyer romp over the defending national champs. Then we headed home for a preview of back to reality: laundry, house mess from painting, and early to bed for work in the morning.