Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tonight was the family christmas party. It's getting big. There were at least fourty people there when you count all the uncles, aunts, cousins and their kids.

This is a family tradition that's just catching on. Fifteen years ago, most of the uncles and aunts would attend, but it was never more than a dozen people.

As we grow older, my cousins are making more of an effort to stay in touch. I didn't realize it until years later, but there was once infighting between my grandparents and the uncles and aunts. My parents made a good effort to keep me out of the feud, but in the end I didn't see certain people as often as others.

The feud is over now that my grandparents are dead. Everyone talks again. And I get to enjoy the company of people who look, sound and act a lot like me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm at my parents home in Ontario, then land were deep snow is taken forgranted at this time of the year.

It was along day of traveling. I got up at 5am in Seattle. I arrived at 9pm in the Valley.

Christmas Eve was rackus. When had the neghbors over, so we drank too much and talked until late.

Christmas day was quiet, but nice and romantic. RO and I spent an hour in the hot tub with the snow gently falling on us.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Years!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last night it snowed another four or so inches.

Everything is a bit dreamy. Work is kind of open. The roads have kinda been cleared. Stores are kinda open. Life goes on at half speed. Every one knows the normal rules don't apply.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It snowed again last night. At least six more inches.

This is getting weird. Seattle is running in a low gear. Most people are staying home from work. Some stores are open but operating with half the staff. The freeways are quiet. People are driving, but at half the speed limit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow day...

Seattle shuts down when it snows. I'm trying to work from home, but the work network is so overloaded that I can only do email.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Parties. Christmas Parties. RO and I have been attending at least two a week since December started.

It is fun and nice, but I am eating way too much bad food. This year vegi trays appear to be out of style.

It's also nice to see everyone. I'm suprized how many "Twice a year" friends I now have.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas sales for the store are poor. We are down 40%. The initial boost whe had after the election is long gone.

This puts us in a bad position. With sales down by 40%, we will only earn enough to pay our bills. We will not have a reserve for next year.

All sales since September have been down by at least 40%. We have burnt up what little cash we had left.

In Janurary we must cut way back. We are going to cut back on store hours and we will lay off all of our employees. I would like to keep one employee so that RO isn't tied to the store at all times, but we may not have the cash for that.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Last night was eventful.

An old friend of RO's was in town on business. He spent the night at our place. The friend is a nice guy.

RO forgot to mention that he is still pining for this friend.

The three of us went to a holiday open house and then out to bear night. As RO drank more, his inhibitions went down. Eventually RO told me how much he wanted to have sex with the friend... and he wouldn't let it go. Fortunately, the friend kept RO off of him despite ROs advances.

Eventually RO and I fought and slept in separate beds and talked through though everything and made up.

But, this still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm in a new building at my day job. I begrudgingly like it. The 'new' building is physically older then the last building. Its walls and furniture are scuffed. The whiteboards are screwed into the walls, not modular and easy to rearrange as they were in the the last building.

I like the layout. I am closer to my team than I have ever been. As a result I'm working with them more closely. It's so easy to stop in and say 'hello' or to ask a question.

I can keep my window blinds up all the times. They were always down in the last building since the sun would shine in and overheat things.

Finally, I can park right outside my office. I'm suprized how nice it is to leave work at night, and be in my truck in 30 seconds.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Of course Portland would not be the nice easy getaway that I was hoping for. On Wednesday, RO found a hutch at an antique mall that he said was too great of a deal to pass up. However, we took the train to Portland, so we couldn't take the hutch with us. However the mall needed the space and was unwilling to let it sit for a week.

We ended up renting a one-way from U-Haul and skipping the train ride back.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mathew and I had dinner together. I wanted to see if I could help Sandy and he smooth things over. I'm not sure they have any relationship left to smooth over. They both have issues that affect the other and neither cares enough to make amends.

Essentially, relationships only work because you put the work into them. If you don't do that, then you have nothing.

RO and I are heading down to Portland for a few days. Taking the train and staying at a nice hotel.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Last night RO and I went to see a musical put on by a local high school. K, one of the store's employee's, here daughter is in the musical.

Well... they certainly don't make high schools like they used. This school auditorium had very comfy seats and a great sound and lighting system.

A few of the songs were very well done. The co-ordination was also strong as at least one hundred students were on stage at times, singing, dancing, performing.

But, there were weak spots.

At intermission, when K asked DR what she thought, DR responded "This is the work thing I've had to sit though in my life! It's so irritating." She went on much longer than that.

There were microphone glitches. A wireless mic on one of the lead singers kept making loud popping noises and cutting out.

Several of the leads just sang poorly.

At there was too much transtion and it was too long-- three hours long.

Oh well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

For the first time in a long time RO and I took a full day off. We went to the Cougar Mountain Zoo. It's a small zoo, but very none-the-less, very nice.

We also walked through Gillman Village-- a little shopping center in Issaquah. Gillman Village was depressing. Many shops were closed for good.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Last night we filmed our first TV commercial for the store. A suprizing number of our customers wanted to be in it as a result, the commerical has 15 extras.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

And things get better.

So far in November, sales at our store are just as good as they were in November 2007. I hope it's not a fluke. But, the new president seams to have calmed our customers nerves.

I am very thankful for this. October was very bad. Sales were down 60%. If things hadn't picked up then we would have needed to lay people off at the worst possible time-- just before Christmas when we need them most.

All is not perfect however. The money we lost in October meant that we couldn't buy an important shipment of inventory.

But still. We will surivive 2008.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I am happy with the election-- especially with Congress and the House. Republicans retained enough seats that they can filibuster. The Democrats may have swept the elections, but 46% of the population still voted Republican. The ability to filibuster should ensure that their voice is heard.

I like checks and balances. Especially against people who want to govern me.

As for Obama himself-- we'll see. In some ways he has been handed a stacked deck. Due to the timing of the market crash, any improvement to the economy will be attributed to him. O's bar for success is low-- make the economy suck less. Compare that to W. who was handed peace, soaring markets and a strong economy. W's bar for success was "Make the worlds best country even better." A very tall order for anyone.

My biggest beef with W-- he was too reactive. Yes a lot of shit happened on his watch; shit that he had no control over-- 9/11. the market crash of 2002, Katrina, terrorism, but he didn't handle these situations in a way that inspired confidence.

He's also made it very hard for any new president to control the debt. When you use over a trillion dollars in debt to finance the war on terrorism and another $700 billion for a bank bail out, you create the impression that you can solve any problem by throwing money at it. That is not responsible. It ignores the future-- the inevitable inflation that too much money creates and the interest that must be paid on the debt, forcing taxes to rise in the long run.

It will now be impossible to fix Social Security by cutting costs or boosting revenues. After you use $700 billion in debt for a bank bail out, refusing to go in debt for an additional $500 billion to fix social security would get you booted out at the next election.

Thanks to this charge-it mentality, there will now be no debate on fixing Social Security. We will silently add its costs to the national debt.

So, I'm not expecting Obama to return to the smaller government, fiscally conservative polices of the 90's . His hands are tied.

In any event, I still have to run my business like no one cares for it but me. I don't get to generate debt on demand. Every month we survive it's because we earned enough to pay the bills. That's the most regretable part of this election and of politics right now. We may be in historic times, but I can't waiste time thinging about it, dwelling on it. Keeping the store open and running it profitably is the thing that matters most to me.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

One of the quirks of sending out 5000 postcards is that many will be returned to you; usually because the address is wrong.

This time we are getting post cards back for a new reason-- "Return to Sender. Address is Vacant. Unable to Forward."

It's sad and scary.
We went out for Halloween. A friend of our invited us over to watch a scary movie and then to hit a local club.

We'll, it turned out he had made costumes for all of us. Little Bo Peep. Three Sheep. Little Red Riding Hood and a Wolf.

RO was the Wolf. I was a sheep.

It was fun and crazy.

We won second place at the club's costume contest. $250.00! Not each, but for the group.
For the first time in a long time, the store is having a busy day. It's a combination of many little things.

We are advertising much more-- post cards to all our customers and local TV ads on HGTV.

I moved one of our big store signs today. Construction next door had cut off it's view from the road. I moved it to another side of the building where it has a good view of a different road. Or, rather, the road has a good view of it.

I think the shock of the market collapse and the bank bailout is over. People are now a little more comfortable spending some spare cash without worrying that their bank would collapse.

Finally, it's started raining regularly. People from Seattle don't like to stay indoors when it's sunny. When the rainy season hits, at first they will stay at home. After a few weeks, they start to venture again.

This Christmas can't come too soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What is Matt up to?

All year, Matt has been telling Sandy that he has no money because he is paying for his mothers medical expenses. Matt's mother has diabetes and has been in and out of the hospital.

Last week Sandy talked to Mom. Apparently Matt hasn't beeing paying for her medical expenses.

So where has the money gone? Sandy and Matt's mom want to have a good talk with Matt. They aren't returning RO's and my calls. I hav been getting some text messages from Sandy though...


Matt's mom and I need to have an important talk with him tonight.

Matt's mom wouldn't come out of her room last night, so I'm hoping we can talk tonight. Thanks for the support.


Things are not going well. We won't be able to have dinner with you soon. I miss you guys. Sorry.

Sandy emailed RO after this. Matt is not talking to either his Mother or Sandy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

At my day job, the company is talking about lay offs. It may be contingency planning. It may be reality. I won't know for sure until it happens.

My boss and I have identified one person on my team who could be laid off. This fellow is on the cusp of being fired anyways. If he improves he'll stay. He'll be fired if he does not.

The unintended consequence-- I no longer want to coach him to improve his performance. I am hesitant to spend much time with him because I'm not sure my effort will pay a long term dividend. I have many things to do. I can only afford to work on that which will grow in the long run.

And thus I doom him. He'll either be fired for not being good enough, or he will be laid off.
RO is getting the store ready for the holidays and hurting his back badly in the process. It is very frustrating to watch him do this. He feels very responsible for the sucess of the store. The economy ways heavily one him. And the only thing he knows he can do for free is to work harder.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We made apple crisp last night; from apples we picked off the tree in the back yard.

And we met the new neighbours. They seam nice, though we didn't talk long.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Porno Story...

On Thursday, RO invited a couple of people he met on Bear 411 over for dinner. It was very nice. I knew one of the couple from way back when I played softball.

A few years ago this couple was at a gay resort. One night the resort held a contest where one lucky fellow could win $500.00 and star in a porno filmed by Chi Chi LaRue. Chi Chi is an aging drag queen and director of porno is about as famous as one could be if one were to be famous for being a drag queen that directed porno's.

The winner was a handsome young man. They filmed the next day at the resort's pool. Chi Chi showed up-- bald and with a towel wraped around this head.

As they started filiming, Chi Chi barked out orders in gravely and nasally voice "Stand over there! Your arm is in the way! Bend over more!" Order after order. There is a reason they play lots of music in porno's; it's so you can't hear the director.

At one point the film star slipped and hit his head on the cement floor. You could see the bruise. Chi Chi shouted "Let's keeping going! We are on a schedule. If you want your $500.00 you're gonna have to finish filiming."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Last night, RO and I toured around the gay bars of Kent. We were originally going to go to bear night at a bar in Tacoma, but everyone we invited to come along essentially said "You will be very disspointed. Only druggies and the homeless go to that bar."

Instead we went to the local bars. The first bar had very bad service. Rumor has it, the lesbian bartender doesn't want men in her establishment. She certainly treated us that way. At one point, I wanted another beer. I waved my empty glass to the bartender who was no more than five feet away. She looked right at me for several seconds, or rather, she looked right through me. I never got my beer.

The second bar was much more friendly, although we know the owners. They had a drag show on. RO and I watched a while.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

RO is back and C2 is gone. Fall is here. It's cold even when you are in the sun.

For the first time in years, we went to Van's breakfast kitchen. Bruce, C2 and I used to go there for breakfast every weekend. That was so long ago.

The weird part about being in my late thirties is that it has started to hit me what it means to be old. I see that I'm turning into my father. Amost an curmugon, but not quite. I notice waste more, of time and of money, and I try to ride it from my life. When I see people being foolish, being young, I sometimes think "One day you will have goals so big that they will push you to the limit. Then you will wish you had used your time more productivly."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

RO is off to AZ for a few days. A client hiered him to design her house. He's very nervous. This is a very rich client and he really wants to wow her.

Last night we bought RO a few new and nice dress shirts for the trip. This morning as he was packing he discovered that the anti-theft devices were still attached to all the shirts! He tried to remove them from two of the shirts, but ended up getting dye all over.

RO was very pissed. I'm sure the store will get a blast when he gets back.

RO just called. He lost is wallet on the way. I hope nothing else goes wrong.
C2 is in town from Iraq for a few days. With all his savings, he's looking for property to invest in. And with the market beeing what it is, now is a good time for him to buy.

RO and I took a day off work and we drove out to the Hood Canal with him and looked at a few places. The homes were nice-- all were on the water front, but none of them screamed "Buy me now."

In the evening we met up with Matt, Sandy and Steven for dinner at Siam's. It was a fun evening. That part of town is going through a lot of development. Old buildings are now ten story condos.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Saturday night, RO and I went to a nice mexican restaurant. The owners of this restaurant are good customers of ours. They treated us well. They upsized our margaritas. I'm sure the margaritas were 90% booze. RO couldn't finish his. I was very tipsy after mine.

We started talking about the store and what needs to be done. RO isn't ready to take action. This is risky. Some day soon, in the next six months, the money runs out. If we don't take action now, then our hands will be tied next year.

RO's point is that if we lay people off just before Christmas, then our customer service will be bad and that will hurt Christmas sales. He doesn't want to make layoffs till next year.

So we gamble on Christmas then. 2009 will be a very interesting year.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

And how is Gordon? He is OK now. He is very quiet around me and he usually doesn't look me directly in the eyes. He was always a quiet man, but never this quiet. Fortunately, he still is doing a good job.

I'm hearing much more about what he wants. He desperately wants a promotion. He desperately wants people to tell him how to get ahead. That's the problem. His career is as high as it can be without being a leader. To get his next promotion, he has to turn his question on its head. He has to decide what needs to be done and work with the team to make that happen.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The store is hurting.


The store is hurting.

RO and I need to do some serious planning. If Christmas is not great, then we are in trouble. We need to figure out how to make Christmas great.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bitterness Part III.

Gordon is off work today-- sick. I hope he is sick for real. He says he has a headache and neck pain. Which could be stress sickeness.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bitterness. Part II.

The re-org was announced this morning. All is not well. Gordon, the most senior of the new people, is bitter that he doesn't have my job-- I think. It's all hearsay and the stories don't line up.

On Friday, before the official announcement, my boss talked with Gordon about the re-org. My boss says they agreed that Gordon would report to me because Gordon's work is heavily used in one of my projects. Gordon says they agreed that Gordon would get that project and people from me and become a new manager in the process.

Right now I need to listen and not pass judgement. I don't understand how such a misunderstanding could occur. I also need to be careful about what I say to Gordon in private.

It's good that I'm a fresh face that Gordon can't blame for what happened in the past.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It turns out that I have a secret management power and I didn't even know it-- I'm nice and people like to work for me.

My boss and his boss are going to to take advantage of this.

Some of the managers that report ot my boss have a few bitter employees that are threatening to leave. My boss is moving these employees over to me and my team. If I can make the bitter people a little less bitter, convice them to stay just a little bit longer and get a little more work out of them, then every one wins.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I know that it's my job as a manager to make sure the company gets value from its employees and I don't disagree with that task. It's just that, I can no longer smile and say "Hello!" to someone without thinking "I'm being nice to you so that you will work here longer and harder!"
Steven was over for dinner last night. It was the first time that he's been to our place in over a year.

He recently, regretfully, signed his divorce papers. He still wants to get back together with Vic, but Vic no longer trusts him.

Other than that, we talked about the market and economy. Steven is a real estate agent so he very senstitive to such things. It's going to be a lean year for both Steven and RO.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bad Genes and Family secrets.

On one side of my family, I have a few married uncles and cousins who never had kids. They didn't want kids they said. With a little disappointment, the rest of the uncles and aunts accepted this. There was no shortage of children anyways-- their brothers had faimilies of 3 to 7 children.

Now my brother wants a baby. He and his wife are having problems conceiving. For answers, they went to a doctor for tests.

The test results are back. It turns out my brother has a bad gene; a gene that makes him sterile. The Doctor also said that about quarter of the relatives on one side of the family should also have this gene, should also be sterile.

My brother now feels closer to the cousins and uncles who don't have kids and is tempted to confide in them.

I'm wondering about myself. Am I shooting blanks? I've never wanted children, so the answer is academic. But still... so much of a mans ego is tied up in his virility.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I had lunch with Steven today. He is adjusting well to single life. The extra freedom has allowed him to work out regularly and now he looks great.

He is a bit lonely though. And his new job has a realestate agent is taking up many hours, so he isn't spending as much time with friends as he wants.
Gossip. Work Gossip.

I don't know why he does this, but occasionally BK will stop by my office and tell me too much information about the powers that be.

It's interesting when his information aligns with other gossip, I end up learning more than he knows.

In this case, a few months back, I heard that the a couple in our division, CE and DE, were having marital problems. CE was having an affair with our VP.

Then, today, I hear that DE is promoted to partner. Many people in the higher ranks are livid. Partners earn seven figures. While DE is a great guy, great isn't good enough to be a partner.

The VP apologized and admitted that DE was promoted too early.

One has to wonder why DE was promoted early. Why would our VP decide to highly reward him?


This is why I try not to gossip. One bit of information is innocuous. Two tidbits start a story and end with questions that have obvious, but potentially wrong, answers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

RO and I spent muc of the weekend on LCN and Brewer's boat. It was fun, but, I am not convinced that I don't want to own a boat. I want friends that have boats.

Pleasure boating is mostly about hanging around and drinking. The crowd is a little more successfull than your regular bar crowd-- since you either have to own a boat, or be friends of the boat owner-- however, it's still a heavy drinking crowd.

It may be different if I got a sail boat. That, however, is a life of it's own. I wouldn't have time to work around thouse.

Back to boating. There was a lesbian there who took off her bra and gave it to RO. RO and she danced together.

RO has always wanted to know if I have bi tendances. He convienced the lesbian to cuddle up against me, topless. It didn't do anything for me, althought this lesbian was mid 40's and a smoker.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My day job is going well. For the first time in a long time, I feel caught up, I feel like my team is in control. I want to use this time to stay ahead, but I'm sure someone will notice and give us more work to do.

Not that that would be a bad thing. My boss likes to remind me that anyone can manage a team that's all caught up and under control. Great managers get more done. That means taking on tasks are within your reach, but slightly outside of your grasp.

I took a good walk at lunch and noticed that fall is close. The weather is still very warm, but the sun is low and the shadows are long. It looked late late afternoon even though it was noon.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I think I am officially full of the Internet. For a few weeks now, most everything that I have seen on the internet is either a joke that I saw a few years ago, a rehash of a joke that I saw a few years ago or vacuous opinion.

I can work now without wondering if I'm missing something wonderful.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RO and I spent had a good long weekend. Saturday we a couple of trellis's and benches for the front yard.

We finally used the chop saw that I got RO for his birthday last year. It is a very nice saw. All the cuts were precise. This was the first carpentry project I've ever done that didn't look amature.

Saturday evening Steven had an end-of-summer party.

Sunday RO and I headed over to the sound, to Harstene Island. One of RO's employees owns a cabin over there. We renteded it for the night.

Harstene Island is very quiet. We fished, kayaked, ate, drank and had a few cigars.

Back to work now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's been raining often here. August is usually bone dry. The rain isn't supposed to return to Seattle until late September or early October.

Oh well...

RO and I are building Trellis's and Arbours in the front yard. Yesterday's work was cut short by the rain. So we used the time to plan things out.

As I grow older, I find that I have less patience for "Just get in there and do the work. Deal with the problems as them come up." style. It can be so wasteful.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trouble at the store...

That's cement pouring out of the toilet at the store.

One of our sales people was in the back doing some paperwork. She heard gurgling in the bathroom. When she opened the door she saw cement pouring out of the toilet.

There is construction going on behind the store. The crew found an old sewage pipe that they thought was no longer in use so they decided to fill it up with cement.

You can figure out the rest.

Thankfully our sales lady heard the cement pouring early enough that there is not much damage to the inside of the store. Also, thankfully the construction crew decided to pour a lot of cement down the sewage line. It would have been very bad if they poured enough to block up the line, but not enough to fill the toilets.

The construction foreman is being very nice to us. They have offered to replace our sewer lines.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our neighbours, Clem and Ross, are having a big party this weekend. People from all around the world will be there. RO and I are hosting some of the friends.

I'm looking forward to it.

We had dinner with Clem and Ross on Wednesday evening. It was good to see them. They are considering selling the house and buying a condo. As much as they enjoy their house, they both work long hours and the house is a lot of maintenance.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

To those of you who got here by googeling "Carpenter Ants" "Hear Them" and "Borax," this is for you...

For everyone else, a while back my house, the roof above my bed, was infested by carpenter ants. At night we could hear them scurrying around, eating the insulation.

We tried many things, starting off gentle; vacuuming them out, flea bombs, borax and sugar. That didn't work.

We solved the problem with gallons of strong ant killer. "Bayer Powerforce" if you want to know the brand. We've been spraying about a gallon a week of the stuff around the house; into every crack and crevice and all around the base.

Finally, after the fourth spraying they stopped. I'm sure the soil and wood around our house is now very toxic. But we don't have any small kids or pets that play in that area.

I'm very happy this worked. The professionals were quoting us thousands of dollars to fix the problem. I can't afford that right now.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My sofa bed is gone. Long live the sofa bed.

I've had this particular sofa bed since 1994-- two homes and one country ago. There were many memories in it, but ultimatly, it became a piece of old furniture that we didn't want to use and that was taking up too much space. RO has never liked the sofa bed and has wanted me to get rid of it for years.

I put an ad on Craigslist; free sofa bed if you move it yourself. In the first two hours there was only one response; a nice Mexican family. They came, they looked at it and immediatly said "Yes."

Even though the sofa bed is heavy, it wasn't difficult to get it out of the house. The hard part was tieing it to the top of their SUV. Their winches kept getting jammed. In the end we cut the straps off the winches and tied the straps with knots.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The weather has been wonderful here in Seattle. Last night RO and I went to the beach to swim and watch the sun set-- nice and relaxing.

My day job is very full. A project that I picked up in the spring has become very important. However, finishing it as well as many people want means that I will have to take resources away from my other projects. That sends alarm bells off in my head, because the surest way to get nothing done is to keep hopping between projects and never finish anything off.

So, is my new project just trendy, or is it of vital long term importance? That's a hard call.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Today is my last day alone. I feel like it's my last day of vacation. I'm cleaning up the house a little bit, but mostly I'm loafing; watching TV, eating crap food playing with the computer. I'm enjoying this time off with no expectations and no strings.

This week I've slept soundly every night. I haven't done that in months.

I did fix the drain in the fridge.

RO arrives back at 9:30 tomorrow morning. Back to reality then.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

RO is away shopping for the store. My parents have left. For the first time in a long time, I'm spending my evengings alone. I'm enjoying it very much.

Last night I watched lots of TV and only my favourite shows. No negotiating over what shows to watch.

I found that I'm a little nervous in the dark. Any unexpected creak or groan makes me jump out of bed to investigate.

Aside from that, I am sleeping well. RO frequently wakes up in the middle of the night. If he gets out of bed, or fidgets, or turns over, it often wakes me up. With RO gone, I am sleeping through the night.

I do miss RO. I'm glad he'll be back soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My parents are back in town. Last week they left for a tour around the Olympic Peninsula. They spent five days seeing the sights.

My parents traveled with my uncle and aunt who brought along their dog-- a little shih tzu. They dog is very well behaved, but it prohibited them from traveling deep into the park.

Dogs are not allowed in Olympic National Park, not because of what dogs do to the park, but because of what the park can do to the dogs. My uncle and aunt tried to sneak the dog into the park in a little puppie bag, however the wild life did not take kindly to the dog. The elk were very aggresive around the dog. They act as if they are around lone coyoties or wolves.

Aside from that, the spent a few days in at Port Townsend and Port Angeles and a day along the Ocean proper.

My parents stumbled uppon what they described as a "welfare" RV park. Usually when you go to an RV park, the park is clean and full of nice RV's and trailers. People with RV's and trailers are generally not poor (because the can afford the RV in the first place) so they have high expectations of their parks.

This park was different. The manager at the gate told them so. "You probably don't want to stay here. There is another park two miles down the road." My parents had to drive through the park to turn around. The trailers were covered with moss and mold and looked poorly maintained as if they had been there for years.

This is not the first time they've run into these types of parks. I'd like to learn more about them. I don't understand the thinking. If you are poor, why would you choose to live in the middle of nowhere? There are services, no place to get cheap food, no way to get a day job. Maybe they live off the land. If that is the case, then why would they live in an RV park?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I see that Red Bricks is enjoying his new career. I hope he keeps writing about it. I can learn from him.

Yesterday he wrote how, in management, the big dogs hang out with the big dogs. They don't go to the puppy pen. I've vaguely known that for a while. But I haven't heard it expressed so clearly before.

My boss likes to say it a different, less eloquent way-- dealing with the leaf nodes (puppies) doesn't scale. There are too many of them. And what then are their bosses paid for?

Anyways, I hope to read more of Red Brick's take on his new job.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My day job took us white water rafting. I think RO is a little jealous.

While the trip was very fun, the day was long and I now feel that I've done enough white water rafting to last me a few years.

One of my co-workers injured him self. He probably broke his foot though I don't know the details. I saw it happen. It was one of those fluke accidents where you twist something wrong and pop!

Monday, July 21, 2008

My parents are still here. My uncle and aunt just left. Over the weekend a cousin and his wife were over. It's been a very family week.

I love them all very much, but I am looking forward to getting back to my routine.

We've been keeping busy seeing the sights and attractions of Seattle; the water front, the Smith Tower, the Underground Tour, Snoqualmie Falls, The Hyak Tunnel, Tweedys.. The list goes on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This past weekend was Kent Cornucopia Days-- the local street fair. It was a *very* busy weekend for our store because it is located right in the middle activities.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday RO put, me and my parents to work around the store. The days were long. Hell, RO and I slept over at the store Friday and Saturday night. Why did we do that? Security. The store is on the path between the rides and the street fair. Many rowdy teenagers show up during the evening so RO and I like to stay around to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Though it's not always under our control. Saturday night a teenager was shot about three blocks from the store.

Aside from that, it was a very successfull weekend for the store. Sales were significatly up over last year.
I have my bear skin rug. My parents brought it along for their trip accross the country to my place. It is beautiful. It sits on the floor in front of the fireplace.

The fur is excellent quality. This bear was very healthy when it died.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

My parents and an uncle and aunt of mine will be in town soon. So, RO and I are cleaning up the place. We hired a gardener to clean up the front yard and a carpet cleaner to deep clean the carpets.

It's soo much work to make your family think you always live in a clean and beautiful home.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It was a busy weekend for RO and I.

Friday and Saturday, we dug a hole for a new pond.

Saturday evening we went to Bear & Behr's place for a BBQ. It was a big event.

Sunday evening we went to Steven's for dinner. He invited about a dozen people over. Steven is still on the rebound from his last relationship. Also, it looks like RO and he have patched things up. This is good as we'll be able to spend more time together.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Last night RO and I saw Cyndi Lauper, the B-52's, Rosie O'Donnel and a few other... uh... up and comming artists whose names escape me. Let me look... Joan Armatrading and some guy who used to be on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

I was surpised how good the B-52's were. Especially since I've never been a fan. Yeah they had a couple of fun songs back in the 80's, but, now, twenty years later, they sound and perform great.

Cyndi Lauper was also excellent. She is a great musician, but not the best speaker. Her stories between songs tended to ramble on. Her performance was almost perfect. Although at one point she screwed up the lyrics to "Time after Time." The band had a good laugh at that and Cyndi apologized to the audience, especially to anyone who was proposing marrage at the time.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

RO and Steven had lunch. Steven is going through a tough time right now. He and his boy friend have split. He is very shaken.

This past year has been tumultous for him His Father died. A great friend died. He ended his five year relationship with Vic. He was laid off from work. Found a nother job at the same company, then quit and decided to work for himself.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm going to rave about the Roomba a little more.

I'm supprised how much dirt the Roomba picks up considering how small it is.

The Roomba has forced RO and I to pick up a bit more. The Roomba really can't vacuum a floor that is covered with dirty laundry-- no one can. So, to help the Roomba along, RO and I had to pick the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom... you get the picture.

It returns to it's charging station after it's finished with a room. That's very nice.

It's short enough to vacuum under beds.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I bought a Roomba; a vacuuming robot. So far it's very nice. Just set it down and hit clean. Thirty minutes later that room has been vacuumed.

This house isn't the most Roomba friendly. There are three or four paces where the Roomba can be trapped. But, you can program the Roomba to stay away from those.

That and any other complaints are offset by the fact it does the vacuuming for me.

C2 said I'm getting very domestic. He's right.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My boss and I talked about the recent calibration. We discused the fact that it is easier to be promited as a manager than it is as an individual contributor. I'm not confortuable with that and for good reason-- the work gets done because people do it, not because managers manage them.

The reality isn't so fair. A weak manger with a good team will look great. Any manager with a bad team gets to blame the problems on the team-- for a year at least. So a manager with a weak team gets to blame and fire someone else.

Also, rewards trickle down from the top. My VP will give his direct employees the most money. What's left over goes to the next layer of management. What's left over after that goes to next layer. Finally what's left over after that goes to the individual contributors.

More rewards trickle down from the top. Less blame purcolates up from the bottom. It makes management a gravy train.

At least I'm on that train.
Some good news. Our rent at the store is going down by $1500.00 a month.

We currently have a sublease and pay rent to the original lease holder who pays rent to the building owner. The original lease owner is charging us $1500.00 per month more than he pays the building owner. We didn't know this when we signed our sublease but found out much later.

The sublease is expiring soon. We are negiotiating directly with the owners. The owners only want their current rent plus a small increase.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This week has started out stressful, but is ending up OK. I had two important deadlines. I couldn't miss either without major consequence.

The first was calibration. I, and all the other managers at my day job get together and compare employees-- rank them and bucket them. Who did a good job? Who is too helpful, but never gets their regular job done? Who is a super star?

The discussions have consequences. Words are chosen carefully.

"This projects shows that..."
"You don't get promoted for doing projects."
"Did I say project? I meant completed scenario."

"I've heard lots of good things about this employee, but nothing bad. Are they being insulated from the day to day realities of the job?"

"He helps so many people and is always willing to answer questions."
"Our product doesn't ship because we answer questions. Our product ships because everyone does the work and carries their own weight. Perhaps he should be writing a book or document about this so that he never has to answer a question again."

All in all, the debate is fare and thorough. The two most senior people in the room keep it that way. I still have lots to learn. I feel personaly responsible for my employee's evaluations. I have to distance my self abit. I'm not a bad manager if all my employees don't get gold stars.

Gold stars. That's what it comes down to. I am not giving out gold stars. I'm giving out stock and cash. And that is what makes calibration so stressful.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yesterday was a yard work day. We pressure washed the house; the roof, the eves, the walks, the driveway. The house looks great now. The gardens are still weedy, but everything else is clean.

RO found a wasps nest in a bush along side of the drive way. He spent a lot of time blasting the nest to oblivion. The wasps kept coming back, searching for the nests. A few times they tried to attack RO, but he used the power washer to find them off.

I found a big hole in the metal roof. It's at least 1''x3''! Last winter, during a wind storm, a large branch fell on the roof. I guess the branch punctured the roof. I checked for water damage but didn't find any.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Today, for no particular reason, I made a list of all that managers that I've had at my day job. In the past eleven years, I've had nine managers. Five of those managers have left the the division, or company for somewhat murky reasons.

One for sexual harrasment.
One for never saying no to any request, but never delivering anything. That one got away with it for years before someone realized his team was a black hole of work.
One for promsing to fix an important problem, but never fixing it for years. That one was the guy who promoted me to manager.
Two left for having a bad relationship with their boss and being on the loosing end of the argument.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last night RO and I stayed up late, until 9:30, to play a game of Scrabble. The winner got to be called "The Scrabble Master." The loser, "The Scrabble bitch."

RO is the Scrabble Master. He's milking his victory for all it's worth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

RO and I have started getting up at 5:30am and going to bed at 9:00pm. It's a fresh change, though it makes me feel... not old, but adult-- getting up at the crack of dawn and working hard till the end of the day. It may sound odd that a 38yo man has only just accepted that fact that he is an adult, but hey, sometimes I'm a slow learner.

I have also accepted into my role as "The man that runs the system that youth rebels against." I kind of like it. Not that I think of my self as "the man" It's just that I have goals that don't allow me to give opportunities or money to people that don't work hard and smart. Money is tight and I there is no room for me to be a sugar daddy.

Getting up early allows me to do chores and exercies each morning before I go to work. So, even though I go to bed at 9:00pm, my evenings are extra relaxing. My day is done when I get home. There is no laundry to do, no cleaning, no maintenace. I can cook a great dinner, relax with a glass of wine, then hit the hay.

Friday, June 13, 2008

RO called and told my co-worker, J, about me hiding the good TP from him.

J came to my office and scolded me for being so selfish. I told her I did so because I had an allergy to the bad TP. She acted like she had a little more sympathy then. I'm not sure if she really believes me.

I do have an allergy to the bad TP. I really do. You believe me, don't you?
I guess the moral of the following story is that I can sometimes be selfish. But not that selfish. And only in a funny way.

I have an allergy to some brands of toilet paper. I don't always know which brand until it's too late, so I didn't find out I was allergic to the Costco house brand of TP until after we bought a case.

Since using TP I'm allergic to is a bad idea, I went out and got myself some allergy free TP; thick, soft and infused with aloe.

I put my TP on the shelf next to the toilet, but RO start using it. I didn't want him to use it because I didn't want to be wasteful. We had a case full of the Costco TP and my TP was expensive.

So, I put the TP in the cupboard across from the toilet. My arms are longer than RO's and the cupboard is just out of his reach when he is sitting on the toilet. So, I could count on my easy access to the allergy-free TP and his continued use of the Costco TP.

This went on for weeks. RO used the Costco TP and I used the allergy-free TP.

Yesterday he figured out what I was doing. He was looking for a towel. He looked in the cupboard opposite the toilet. He saw the case of the allergy free TP and a half used roll. He put two and two together and figured out that I was hiding the nice, allergy free TP from him.

He told me what he thought of the situation last night. He accused me of being selfish, of hiding the nice TP from him. He had a big smile on his face the whole time.

I don't that bad for what I did. But I do need to make amends with RO. This morning I put a roll of the nice TP out for RO to use.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm not sure how well RO's new diet is going. He doesn't want to give up the good stuff.

We have to have steak, because we have steaks in the freezer and he's not going to throw anything out.

We have to have whipped cream, because he's been good all day and he wants chocolate and whipped cream.

We can't eat vegetarian tonight because he doesn't want any more beans. Why was the last time he had beans? He's not certain. A few days ago.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

RO went to the doctor for a checkup, his first in years. RO has been suffering from a few persistant aliments-- he has problems sleeping though the nights-- joint pain, back pain-- stuff like that. The checkup was the first step to deal with that.

At the appointment, the doctor gave RO a some advice and suggestions. At first RO didn't want to tell me what the doctor said. He said "You might make me do it." Over the evening, he told me the advice.

The big suggestion offered by the doctor was was to give up coffee. Yes, I made RO do that. I'm doing it as well. We stopped cold turkey on Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon we both had headaches. Now we are trying a more gradule approach. Today we only coffee in the morning at breakfast. A few days from now we will switch to half caf. No caffine will come a few days after that.

The doctor called RO today. His blood work is back. RO's bad cholesterol is 280. High risk is 240. Less than 200 is lower risk. 120 is normal.

The doctor was already worried that RO was working himself into an early grave. Now they now both know the truth. RO will see the doctor again tomorrow. I hope RO follows the doctors advice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I hired a plumber to fix all the drips, quirks, breaks and leaks that my plumbing as accumulted over the years. My shower head was dripping, kitchen drain was leaking, garbage disposal was dieing and the instant-hot was dead.

I tried to do some of the fixing my self, but as I got deeper into the project I realized that it would take me two days and half a dozen trips to Home-Depot to do a job that I couldn't be trusted to do right.

The plumber did a great job. Over the years, a succession of amature plumbers has worked under my kitchen sink. He cleaned all that up-- moving the drain and the connections so that I now have more space under the sink.

For the first time in months the space under the sink is dry.

Also, I now have an instant-hot that doesn't make funny tasting hot water. It's very nice.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The carpenter ants are still be in the house. We can hear them russling the the ceiling.

I'm giving the house a second treatment with different chemicals.

The first thing I did was to tape the vacuum cleaner house up to the crack that the ants use as an entrance. I vacuumed the crack for a few minutes.

Next, I saturated the area with different, hopefully more powerful, chemicals.

If that doesn't work, I'll call in the profesionals.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Last night we had a small party at the store. It was on the quiet side for store parties, though, it being memorial day weekend, I'd expect many people to be out of town.

There is a lot of left over dessert-- cakes, cupcakes, cheese cake. Bleah.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It was my birthday yesterday.

Matt and Sandy gave me a bottle of Absente, the safe American stuff, not Absinthe of the olde days.

Two of my employees gave me a pressure cooker. We had a good laugh at that. They did not give it to me so that I would hurt myself. They both regularly use pressure cookers. A couple of weeks ago we talked about presure cooking and I off-handedly said I wanted one.

After dinner we headed over to Bates and Clem for drinks.

All in all I had fun.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The ants apper to be dead. I'm still going to squirt more chemicals around the house though.

RO and I now frequently walk into a room, and listen to the silence, trying to track down any traces of noise.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ants and Mice.

Saturday was a beautiful day. Warm, sunny, gentle breeze. There are blooms everywhere-- the rhodie across the street, the apple trees in the back yard, the rosemary in the front. RO and I were going to go to a street fair, but when we walked outside, everything smelt and felt so wonderful that we decided to work in the yard, weading and landscaping. It was worth it our yard is finally coming together.

By late afternoon it got so hot that stopped working, sat by the pond and drank pino collatas.

Later on we had a wonder full dinner. Watched some TV. Then went to bed.

While I was laying in bed, I heard a gentle scratching noise. I couldn't tell where it was from. I walked around the room, listening to the walls and roof. Finally I spotted it. It was coming from the north east ceiling.

I walked outside to take a look. I took a flashlight and looked around the eves. That's when I saw it-- flakes coming down from a crack in the boards under the eves. I pointed a flashlight at the crack and looked in-- carpenter ants.

Not good. I live in a log cabin. Wood eating bugs are bad news.

There wasn't much I could do in the middle of night. RO and I turned up the music to down out the sound of the ants. Then we went to sleep.

Bright and early next morning I went to local home supply store and invested in chemicals; bug foggers, ant and termite sprays and spikes. RO built a plastic tent around the crack, put a couple of foggers in and then sealed it up.

I placed the trap all around the house. The sprayed all the eves and the house perimeter

I heard once that a mixture of borax and sugar can kill ants. I went for the borax and poured a cup out. It was full of mouse shit. A good cup of mouse turds was on top of the borax.

That really confused me. Maybe the mice were hiding in the borax box.

Now I have to lay out mouse traps.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Last night we had drinks at the neighbors, Bates & Clem. It was good to see them.

Bates is a train engineer. He told us that so far this year there have been two cellphone/train deaths in this state-- people walking on the train track, talking on the cell, not realizing that an 80mph train is about to run over them.

We also talked about gardening, the maple blight, and summer plans. We are havinging beautiful weather right now. It was good to sit out side with a glass of wine and friends.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Since Mulligan's dog has cancer, C2 wants me to offer Mulligan a 'sympathy cat.' I like the idea but will not offer up my cat.

I am trying to teach my cat to use the toilet. It may just work. Right now the litter box is next to the toilet and about six inches below the level of the seat. If I slowly elevate the litter box, say an inch a week, he continues to use the box. If I move the box much more than that, the cat abandons the box and shits on the floor.

Once that box is at toilet level, I will move the box over to the toilet. Once on top of the toilet, I will cut a hole in the bottom of the box, then slowly enlarge the hole over a period of weeks.

What could possible go wrong?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"'Collectible' like 'eatable' or 'drinkable' is not high praise."-- Roger Ebert

RO spent a thousand dollars at an estate sale on Royal Daulton figurines. I am a bit annoyed with him because money is tight. But, I've looked through eBay, and he is probably right in that we can sell them quickly for a profit.

At first he tried to keep the figurine purchase a secret. He has many boxes of treasures and collectibles. A few days ago he told me he found a box of figurines and decided that it was time to sell them. I was kind of happy with that decision. I would love to have fewer of his collectibles They just sit there, get dusty, take up space and make me feel bad when one becomes chipped.

Today while I was doing the books for the store I found the cheque used to pay for them. When I asked him what it was for it broke out in his "I'm busted" grin and fessed up to the purchase.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The business. The business. What about our business....

We have an opportunity. There is a new mall opening up in more upscale part of town. We are talking with them about opening up a second store in this new mall.

It has risks. The rent is two and a half times our current rent-- sales will have to be big from the start otherwise there will be trouble. That is a big leap of faith, especially in a recession.

It also has an opportunity-- the mall is offering us six figures to build out for our space. We can have a great store for that amount.

I think that by this time next year we will either by very successfull, or very broke. There is no middle ground.

I have a well paying day job. With our current store, the budget is such that I can affort to loan some extra money when the store needs cash. The new store will require so much money that it must pay for its self from the start.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mulligan's dog is very sick. C2 told me about this. I sent Mulligan a symathy email...

From: Barry
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 9:39 AM
To: Mulligan
Subject: Your dog...

Hi Mulligan. I understand that your dog is not well. I hope
things work out. You have my sympathies.

Mulligan replied...

From: Mulligan
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:49 PM
To: Barry
Subject: RE: Your dog...

Thanks, she is not in any pain
because of the morphine, but the cancer is spreading – our main worry is that
her leg bone will fracture because it is so weakened and she runs on it normally
because she can’t feel any pain.

Thanks for your


Monday, May 05, 2008

It was a nice day yesterday. RO and I worked at the store. There was a Cinqo De Mayo celebration at the park just down the street. All the parking lots around us filled up People were parking in our lot and walking away, so I had to go on parking duty.

It was kind of fun to chase these people away. Most of the time all I had to do was to stand near their car and watch. When they saw me, they would pull out of our parking lot and drive away. A few people would ask permission, which I had to deny. By that time we only had three empty spaces.

One guy tried twice! He pulled into a space, saw me, then pulled out his cell phone and started talking on it, watching me the whole time. When I didn't go away, he pulled out of our lot. Then, five minutes later, he pulled back into our lot! When he saw me he immediately pulled a U turn and left.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Last night was Sandy's birthday. We had dinner at Benihana and then drank and sang at the Crescent, a karaoke bar on Capitol Hill.

Today RO and Sandy are both hung over.

RO was exceptionally drunk. He sang several songs. He danced wildly. Then at last call, he just left without saying good bye to anyone. When I caught up to him, he was linked arm in arm with two strangers who were walking him up the hill.

The next morning RO realized that he hadn't said good bye to anyone. He said that he was too drunk to think. He knew he had to leave, so he did.

Matt said that Sandy had puked in the car on the ride home. Sandy spent most of the night worshiping the porcelain god

How do Matt and I feel? Fine! We limited our selves to three drinks. Matt and I are both over six feet and two hundred pounds-- three drinks is nothing.

The fun thing about not being hung over after a night out is that it feels good to torment those who are. By the time you reach mid life, you should know your alcohol tolerance and either not drink that much, or not need to work the next day. If you can't manage that, then you are fair game. You need to be taught a life lesson.

Hmmm. I'm getting the eurge to crank up Iron Maden on the stereo. Gotta go!

Friday, May 02, 2008

I could have written that entry much better than he did.:)
-It's all grand, like.

Very ironic since it comes from someone who updates their blog every three months! Are you still in Athens? How are things?

Last night was Stacey's galery opening. Last year she and three other photographers took a trip to India. The four of them pooled and polished their best photos.

The photos where good. Although I found myself often thinking "I could take photos like that!" I guess that's the difference between an arm chair quaterback and the real thing-- you don't get the credit unless you actually do the work.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

C2 wrote me, asking me what he should write on his blog. I told him that he should blog about him self, and what he wants to remember. That if he hasn't done something worth remembering every couple of days, then he should thick twice about how he is spending his time.

Now that I've said that, I find it's hard to apply that advice to myself. Most of my life is day-to-day stuff. Entertaining but not important.

I've re-read all my "May" entries going back to 2001. And that's confirmed my suspicians. Most of the stuff I write about is entertaining. I rarely write about my work.

Good things have happened in May though...

I got to meet Tommy Boy in May.

I bought the cabin in May.

And my brithday is in May. On the 20th.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Matt and Sandy came over for dinner last night. We haven't seen them in a long time. Their house was flooded a while back and they have been dealing with the repairs and construction.

Most of the evening was a good ol' fashioned bitch session-- who thinks they are A-list but are not, who is playing with who on bear 411, who has a big penis, who has small, who was seen at a cruisy park and who has diseases, syph, HIV, hepatitis, etc.

I stay quiet during these conversations. Seattle is small and word gets around. RO, Matt and Sandy all spend a fair amount of time chatting on bear 411. They don't have to intentionally say anything for word to spread. All it will take is for one of them to say "Oh yeah, I heard that" to someone who is fishing and a rumors will spread. In someones mind the little tidbits will add up to a story that is only remotely fact based.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The big maple is dead. Long life the maple.

Well, it's not fully dead. A couple of branches have sprouted stunted leaves. The rest of the tree is barren.

A soil fungus is going around killing maples. Most of the maples in my neighborhood are gone. My big maple was fine until last year. Then one day in mid summer the leaves turned brown and fell off. This year, with the exception of a few small branches, the maple didn't bud.

We've asked around. The soil fungus is a death sentence for maples. All you can do is cut them down, which helps stops spreading the disease.

The big maple was holding up the hill in the back yard. To replace the maple, RO and I planted three trees -- two cherry and a plum.

I'm looking forward to the fruit.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Steven is becomming a real estate agent. I guess he's left his job and is starting over. I wish him the best. These are uncertain times for the real estate market, but I think he has the skills, personality and energy to see it through.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Last night we saw McKay's film. Two years ago McKay filmed a team that participated in Race Across America. The four man team bicycled across the U.S. in just under eight days-- From California, over the Rockies, the Great Plain, the Appalachians, to Atlantic city. McKay filmed the whole experience.

It was a good film. It did have a few faults-- it wasn't always easy to tell who was who especially since the cyclists dressed the same, wore helmets, sunglasses and had the same build. But nothing that couldn't be fixed with a bit of narration or subtitles.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friday night RO and I went to Anne's wine party. We had fun.

Wend was at the party. Wend and I had an interesting conversation. We are both managers at the same company. Recently one of his employees left his group to work for me. We talked about the transfer and why our boss allowed it. It puts an important project of his at risk and it makes my group a bit top heavy-- the engineer who moved is a star performer. Neither of us are sure. It may be as simple as our director wanting to keep his star performers happy.

On the way home from Anne's party, RO and I had a fight. We were discussing possibilities about the store and RO asked me, hypothetically, about closing the store for good.

I told RO that as long as the store was closed professionally, that would be OK.

RO asked me what "Closing the store professionally" meant. I said it meant liquidating the inventory and paying off our debts.

That scared RO. It scared him because he didn't realize that I had though through closing the store. And he wondered how solid my support for him was if those were the sort of things I was thinking about.

He didn't want to talk about it. RO left me at home and he drove off to think. He returned about 4am.

He apologized the next morning and so did I, though we didn't really talk more about the incident.

He was hung over the next day. He spent most of it in bed.

Finding a balance in our relationship his hard. RO wants me to be open and tell him everything that I am thinking. At the same time often he can only stomach neutral and positive thoughts and praise. I have learnt to hide my darker thoughts from him. Not that I often have dark thoughts. It's just that there is no point in discussing them if I am only going to depress RO.

Such is life.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

RO and I are at the store today. It's quiet. Very quiet. There is definitely a recession going on. Sales are down at least 15%.

It is hard to discuss this with RO. He needs to run the store a certain way to achieve the pop and polish that we are known for. That costs though, more than the store earns.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I had lunch with Steven. He is going through very uncertain times. He regrets leaving Vic and has ended things with the man he started dating post Vic.

He is also taking a leave of absense from his work. He wants a month or two to sort things out with him self, and maybe reconcile with Vic. He is not under the impression that Vic will trust him again, but he feels that a big apology is in order.

We took a walk after lunch. The cherry trees are in bloom. The sun was out. It's a good day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My organization, in particular my boss, sometimes flexes or breaks company policy. My boss always gets away with it. The reason is he gets away with is that he breaks company policy to make things better-- to cut through red tape, to hire better people or to get more work done.

Every now and then HR will reprimand him for his actions. Publicly our VP will do the same. But, then, behind close doors, he will be congratulated for getting the work done, for hiring better people.

He also has a 'chicken' philosophy to resources. You know chicken, the game where two people drive straight towards each other and the driver who doesn't swerve wins? Another way of saying it is "Try to use opportunities that others don't grab."

He knows that most teams won't fully consume their budget for new hires or computers or patents. So he always has a few extra requests in the queue. "Oh, I'd like to patent such-and-such, but I'm out of patent budget for the year. What's that? Another team hasn't used up their patent budget? If I had that budget we'd have another patent..."

Thanks to him, I personally have earned two patents and landed two new-hires.

Is it politics of I use these tactics to get more work done?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Last night RO and I went to "Taste Washington", a large all-you-can-drink wine tasting. There was much good food there as well.

I had a great time, but RO's evening didn't go over so well. RO had to go back to our truck to get his cell phone. However, the event has a "no re-rentry" policy. It took RO and hour to get permission to leave and reenter. When we finally met up again he was very angry.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I've been going through the photos from Palm Springs. As much as I loved the sun and the partying, the photos remind me how much those vise's can age you. The locals all have bags under their eyes and deeply wrinkled skin.

RO and I took a photo of Andy and touched it up in photo shop-- made Andy look ten years younger. We printed the picture as a post card and mailed it off to Andy as a thank you note.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm back to work again. Much is happening here. It looks like I have hired two new people for my team. There is still some paperwork and HR review that needs to happen. And, of course, the new people can change their minds any time up until they start workinging for me.
lol, RO and I were actually good in Palm Springs. We talked about playing around, but never followed through with it. We saw the petty jealousies start so we didn't follow through.

Now the rest of the sights and sounds... Palm Springs has a great factory outlet mall-- the kind that has Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana factory outlet stores. We bought a lot of clothing there.

We also spent a lot of time at the art galleries.

We spent a day at Joshua Tree Park. The landscape is beautiful and otherwordly. Andy called it "Seussian"

We ate at many great restaurants. I was a little dissapointed though. Great food and service costs about double what it costs here in Seattle. Thankfully the rest of the vacation was not as expensive.

And we drank. Palm Springs is a drinking town. People go there to party and drink. Cocktail parities happy every day. The bars are hopping every night.

RO and I have stopped drinking for a while. We want to let our livers rest for a few days.

Finally, we spent much time laying in the sun by the pool, listening to music or playing with Andy's dogs.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

RO and I are back from Palm Springs. It was wonderful. Sunny and 80's every day. Andy was a great host.

We ate wonderfully, drank heavily, and saw the sights and sounds.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

C2 was over last night. He spend the day looking for property on the Hood Canal. He has a lot of money saved up from three years of working in Iraq and he wants to invest it in real estate.

Tomorrow RO and I are heading to Palm Springs for a week of vacation. We are spending it at Andy's. I am very much looking forward to it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

There was another late night car crash Friday night, next door. RO heard it all-- the screeching breaks and the smash into the trees. I only woke up after the big crunch.

When RO went outside he said he saw two people run away. A few minutes later a truck drove by asking if we saw anyone. Then the truck drove off.

The cops showed up a few minutes later.

The car was very smashed up and had flipped around 180. Yet the surroundings looked barely disturbed.
C2 is visiting from Iraq. He's only in Seattle for four days. After that he's off to Chicago. Then a few days in Germany. Ahhh...the life of an international jet setter.

All is going well with him.

Friday night we had dinner with C2 at Siam's.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Matt and Sandy's had a large aquarium upstairs. Overnight it leaked through the ceiling and into the dinning room. From the photos Sandy sent us, it appears that there is a lot of water damage.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Clem came over for dinner last night. It was impromptu. He had to pick up his jacket which he left at our house last week. Our dinner was ready so we invited him in.

I'm back at work today. I'm still stiff but feeling much better. At one point I leaned back in my chair and streteched. My back let out a very loud crack. For a few minutest the pain went away.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My back is almost better. I'm still having problems looking down.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I have hurt my back again. I did it in the most stupid way. While I was brushing my teeth, I bent over to rinse my mouth and spit. Pop! Now my back hurts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Last night we had our neighbors, Bates & Clem over for dinner. Clem just got back from a two month, half way around the world, cruise.

Clem had some good stories to tell... There was a small, rich, gay contingent on one leg of the cruise. One of the couples got into an argument whereupon the daddy in the relationship cut the boy off of his allowance. The boy complained "If so and so can have a boy friend, then I don't see why I can't!" Clem estimated that the daddy was in his 60's and the boy was in his 40's.

Dinner was fun. Of course RO and Clem got to horsing around. RO also came on to Bates-- cuddling him in the hot tub. RO knows that Bates and I had sex (with RO's permission!) while both RO and Clem were out of town. I hope things don't slowly and gradually get weird between us. I enjoy their company very much.

Although, I really can't blame anyone but myself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

RO had a bad nightmare last night. Looking back, it was funny. At the time it was scary.

I wolk up in the middle of the night when RO started screaming at the top of his lungs. I jumped out of bed. It took me a few seconds to find the light switch. RO was shouting the whole time.

After I turned the light on, RO calmed down. He pointed to a sweater hanging in the window.

He told me I was talking to him, perhaps I was talking in my sleep, when he opened his eyes he assumed the sweater was me. But, my voice was coming from somewhere else. That freaked him out so he started screaming.

He was shaking for a good fifteen minutes afterwards. We slept wit the light on for the rest of the night.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Since my brother never returns my calls, my mother and I co-ordinate things so that I could talk directly to him. Basically, when he got home, my monter called me and passed the phone to him.

My brother promised me that he would ship the rug the next day, last Monday, and if he couldn't, he would make sure mom could do it for him.

Well, he got up and left at 4am the next morning. Mom han't seen him since.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My brother has conned me out of $1000.00. I'm pissed off at him, and amused. I don't think he intentionally took the $1000.00-- I gave him the money for something else. I am sure he intended to do the right thing, but somewhere along the line, bills and alcohol got in the way.

The full story.

About a year and a half ago My brother asked me if I wanted a bear skin rug. He was hunting and had killed a bear. If I would pay for the tanning, $500 down, $500 at pickup, then I could get the rug.

I said yes and sent my brother the first $500.00.

Last fall, about a year later, I asked my brother where my rug was. He said he called the tanner and it was ready to pick up. All I had to do was send him another $500.00. I sent him that and asked him to courier the rug to me.

The rug never arrived. I asked my mom to look into it. Mom visited me last week and is now spending a week with my brother his wife and and their kids.

Mom called me this morning. She said my brother didn't have the rug. She is not even certain that the bear ever made it to the tanner.

I am vdissapointed, but I'm not suprized or angry. I'm trying to figure out who to out-think my brother. The possibility of revenge, or justice, kind of amuses me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh yeah. This slipped my mind.

RO and I had a threesome last night.

When I got home, I half jokingly suggested that RO and I have a threesome with the neighbor, Bates. I really just wanted to invite Bates over for dinner, but I let my mouth rattle on too long.

Bates wasn't available, but RO found a guy on Bear411, a guy he'd been chatting with for a while.

The guy came over and we did it. It was fun, but unemotional.

We cuddled. We kissed. It felt a little dirty, but not in a good way. I don't think RO was overjoyed with the way it turned out as well.
"You are not being proactive with your health."
"It's not my fault that I'm not being proactive. It's the doctor's"

RO's arm still is not healthy. He broke it last December. It was in a cast for weeks, but he never went easy on it-- frequently lifting and moving furniture at the store.

His arm was still in pain so he went to the doctor yesterday. One of the bones has not yet healed. He is annoyed that the doctor didn't give him more detailed instructions on what he could and could not do with his arm.

I know that after four weeks the doctor clearly told RO that RO shouldn't even be wiggling his fingers. That didn't stop RO from lifting furniture.

It irriates me that RO doesn't take his health more seriously. Too many things are more important than his arm.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I talked to RedBricks on Sunday. I like him. I wish I could spend more time with him.

Mom is gone. She has left to spend a week with my brother in Alberta. I enjoyed her visit very much, but I'm glad to get my routine back to normal.

RO fawned over my mom the whole time. I almost felt like I was a neglectful son.

RO, Mom and I saw "Late Nite Catechism." Basically a very smart nun talks with, educates and insults her audience. It's very funny.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I've been learning a bit about our family history. Mom was born in the Netherlands during World War Two. She left when she was five, so she doesn't remember much.

I've often wondered about my family's war stories. Very little is said about it. No one fought during the war, which is a good thing since the Netherlands was one of the first countries to fall to the Nazis and we would have fought for Germany.

Rather than join the Nazis, my grandfather hid. Mom said he spent his time in the attic, knitting or spinning wool. One time, one of my uncles fell into a dike and was drowning. My grandfather ran from the attic and rescued him. It was one of the few times he came out from hiding.

Nazi sympathizers frequently ran into bad luck. Their barns or homes would catch on fire and no one would be around to help.

After the war many sympathizers were quietly forgiven. For example, a neighboring family, had half a dozen sons all old enough to fight. This family couldn't possibly hide all their children from the Nazis since the alternative was to starve to death. Of course some of them had to fight. That family was forgiven since their burdon was larger. Such is Dutch practicality.

Two of my uncles managed to kill a pig without making the pig squeal. They butchered the pig and salted the meat then hid the meat under the potatoes. My uncles both would have been under twelve years old.

One of my uncles was too underweight. For a period the Germans sent him to a children's camp in Denmark where the food was better.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I love Coconut Lemon Grass Soup. It tastes better the next day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My mother is in town for a week. She had a long flight out-- bad weather delayed her takeoff by a day.

But, all is well now. RO loves fawning over her. RO spent hours setting up her bedroom. Make sure the bed was made just so, with linen spray in the right spots, feature mattress topper plumped just so, new floral and polished artwork.

Yesterday I took mom shopping. She is Canadian and the Canadian dollar is strong now, so everything is a bargin.

I also cooked a good meal for her. She eats very plain-- meat, potatoes and boiled veggies every day-- so I worry a little when I cook fancy for her. I made coconut and lemon grass soup with chicken and mushrooms. Fortunatly she liked it. I think her plain diet is mostly because of my dad and that she would eat more adventurusly if it weren't for him.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Yeserday was the store's anniversary sale. It was a great success. In fact, we sold more yesterday than we did in all of January.

How did we manage that? Mass mailings, expensive signs and steep discounts. So from a profit standpoint yesterday was probably a wash. Still, it gives us a good chuck of cash that we can use to ride out the quiet winter months. It also gives the store a sense of drama. People will yak and yak about the great sale at the beautiful store, where they served wine, and people waited in line for an hour to buy things at 40% off.

We had one bad customer. She was very admiment about not paying the sales tax. Her reason was that she was shipping the gift to another state. We charged her the sales tax anways-- this took much arguing. About an hour later she called us up and accused her of ripping her off. This resulted in a long windy arguement over the phone. We still won't refund her the tax.

I'm not sure the story won't end there.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

An old FB left his business card on our front porch. I saw it first and pointed it out to RO who picked it up. On the back was written "Drink?" as the FB was as much a drinking buddy as anything.

It took me a few moments to remember who it was. And I think RO is a bit suspicious. I'm not sure what's going to happen here. Maybe I'll call him up and introduce him to RO. He's a nice guy and RO and I could use more friends.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yesterday the managers at my day job did the mid year reviews-- we call it a calibration. We try to compare all the employees at a level with each other to see who is the strongest, the weakest, who deserves a promotion, and who diserves the boot.

It's very stressfull. I can't help but feeling that I am also beeing judged.

"Why isn't so-and-so shining? They have so many opportunities and a green field. Yet they are just doing a bit above average." That's a hard question to respond to.

It is competative. We all can't be above average. There are only so many dollars to go around and everytime you give one employee a bonus, you are taking away from another.

Should we give a few employees big bonuses and everyone else one nothing? This would show the star performers that we really value their work. It would also send out the message that we only value star performers and that if you want a little more, you should leave our team.

Should we give a little bit to everyone? Then what's the point of working hard? The stars are less interested, but on a team of sixty people, we all can't be stars.

Of course the answer is a balance between the two, a balance achieved through hours of debate.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I talked to my Toronot friends. They are so mid-30's and married.

One couple is about to have twins

Another's fifth child is on the way.

MD's mother in law is moving in. They bought a new house to make sure everyone has enough room.
C2 sent us "I am Legend" It's a half decent movie. Essentially a virus takes over the world, killing everyone except a handfull of immune people.

The pacing of the move is excellent. There are plot holes, but the story develops fast enough that you don't have time to think about them.

Why would a virus turn everyone into identical pasty white super fast and super strong zombies? Where are the kids? The obese? The short?

Somehow a kid and a slight woman can haul a bleeding and injured Will Smith into the safe house, at night, without the zombies noticing. A day later, the zombies find the safe house by smelling the left over blood.

All the bridges to Manhatten were blown up. How did the kid and the woman get onto, and off of, the island in that big SUV?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The store had a very bad day-- two huge refunds. RO felt very bad.

In some ways the refunds are good for our relationship. He understands that our sex my not be as hot as vacation sex with strangers, but, when things go bad, I'm still there.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Of course it would come back to haunt us. Mark had such a good time playing around in Vegas that he told me there is no passion in our relatinship. He thinks I'm only with him because I'm trapped-- I'm the major invester in the store, and if he leaves, if the store tanks, then I'm the one that gets screwed.

Yes, the store does affect our relationship, but not in the way fears. It's just more stress and more responsibility in my life. I now understand why mixing business with relationships is bad. I can't look at RO without somepart of the business popping into my mind.

Monday, February 04, 2008

"Any thing you can do, you and a bean counter can do more profitably!"
This is a silly milestone, but I feel like noting it anyways. For the first time in my life, I am writing a document, a manul & specification that the public will see and use, that has subheadings seven levels deep.

You know, sections as in.
Section 1. Introduction
Section 1.1 Overview
Section 1.1.1 External Assumptions

I keep imagining some pour soul actually trying to read and discuss this document.

"Hey, take a look at section I'll admit I was a little bored after reading section, but section really livened things up! "

I feel as if I have no soul. I don't care at all about this document or the people who read it. If it gives readers as much pain reading it as I feel writing it, then that's fine by me.

Contractual obligation writing at its finest.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

RO is back from Vegas. He joked. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except for the cigarette smoke." About a year ago Washington State banned smoking in bars and restaurants. I'm suprized how spoiled it has made us. RO and Boone complained that everything in Las Vegas smells like an ashtray.

Now, RO did play around in Vegas. He told me about it when he got back. He met a couple of guys there on vacation and they had a threesome.

I hope this is out of our system. I do not want to be one of those couples that's always out and looking for sex. It's so tiring and such a waste of time. I've got more importand things to do. And it feels shallow as well.

We'll see.

Oh yeah. Bates is about 50yo. gray hair and fit, about 5'10'' and one the thin side.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I am eating peanut butter on angel food cake. It is amazingly good. It also points to how frivolusly I am spending my time while RO is away.

Bates came over last night. We had a good dinner together. RO called half way through and we chatted for a while. RO gave Bates permission to have sex with me.

Bates and I did have sex. Not immediatly. At first we talked about how my relationship was important to me, and his relationship was important to him, and how sex could not affect our friendship. Then we had sex.

It was nice but not grand.

After Bates left, I called RO and told him. RO was very relieved. Now he believes I am open enough to tell him when I play around. He also believes my judgement is good enough that won't go to bathhouses or truck stops.

I'm not going to capitalize on this new found openness. I suspect RO will have his own little fling. But, after that everything can quiet down.

Anyways, it's time for some more peanut butter on angle food cake. RO gets back tomorrow. So I have to become the good and hard working husband again.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Since RO has been away, I have been amazingly lazy. I almost feel bad about. I'm not even cooking. If it wasn't for leftovers and cold cereal, my belly would be empty.

Tonight I am having a neighbour, Bates, over for dinner. His partner is away on a two month cruise (long story) So we are going to keep each other company.

RO is speculating that Bates and I will have sex. He thinks my type-- handsome, older & mature. RO isn't too far off the mark, but it's more complicated than that. I can't think sexually about Bates without thinking "What will RO say?" or "How would Bates's partner react?" or "Will this affect our friendship?"

On top of that, RO and I don't really have an open relationship. We have an understanding that it's OK if something happens while the other is away, provided we are open and honest about it. We haven't used that option yet and it's a big can of worms that I don't want to open.

Monday, January 28, 2008

RO is away in Las Vegas. He's shopping for the store at the Las Vegas World Market.

I never travel with him on these trip. I don't enjoy shopping for the store.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

RO has to keep his cast on for at least two more weeks. His break hasn't healed at all. RO has been lifthing things with his broken arm. Now RO's doctor has has said that RO shouldn't even be wiggling his fingers.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

RO keeps taking a dremel to his cast. When the cast itches too much, he takes a sliver off the lower part and little off the fingers.

I hope this doesn't slow down the heeling. His arm is now much more mobile.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I had lunch with Steven.

Steven has found a new job at his company. A promotion in fact. Steven is happy with that.

We talked about our boy friends, our friends, trust and friendshp and how hard those are to maintain.

Steven had me witness signing his divorce papers. It made me melancholy. I hoped Steven and Vic would reconcile. But, that is not to be. Their house has sold. The divorce papers are signed. Soon Vic will move on to the list of people I once knew-- people I'd like to keep in touch with, but never do, because time and distance keep us apart.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Saturday night, we had dinner at Matt and Sandy's. It was nice to see them. Though, to some extent, I am feeling a bit distant from them.

One thing that has occured to me over the past few months, is that I desire friends that are more upwardly mobile.

"Upwardly Mobile." That sounds too yuppie. What I mean is that I want friends who have long term goals. People who want to do more than earn money that they can spend goofing off, shopping, vacationing or entertaining themselves.

It's hard to find those people.

Friday, January 11, 2008

So, it's back to the grind for me. I'll admit, Sunday evening, after three weeks of vacation, that I didn't want to go back to my day job.

This week has been ok. I have enough work to keep me busy. Plus, a re-org is underway so no one is cracking the whip to make sure deadlines are being met. The higher ups have more important things to worry about.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Saturday night was QueenJ's birthday. C4 got his friends together and we all had dinner at a restaurant. Many of the A-list bears where there.

Many months ago RO confessed to me that a guy cruised him at our store. He met up with the guy in a parking lot and had a hand job. RO told me the guy was married and that he never saw him again.

The married guy was at QueenJ's birthday. RO pointed him out to me. I know him. He's not really married, but he is partnered.

I think RO is proud that guys cruise him. For me "guy plays around behind his partner's back" is a tired story. I think, one evening when RO and I go out, I'll flirt with the men-- just to let RO know he's not the only sexy man in Seattle.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

At Two AM in the morning, RO and I woke to the sounds of a car engine revving, wheels spinning and smashing-- over and over again. We got up and saw a car stuck in the bushes below us. The driver freed it but then smashed into some trees. It veered down the hill and hit a parked car before it came to its final resting spot in some mud next to the ravine.

The neighbors were all out to watch the commotion. The police, ambulance and firemen showed up with in minutes.

The police said it was an older man in a diabetic shock. I'd still like to know more. This neighborhood is off the beaten path. It's weird to have a stranger show up and smash into half a dozen different things.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The nice part of the new years. Last night, the trio up the hill had a New Years Eve party. It was nice to see them. I had a fun evening, though RO cut lose a bit too much.

When we are announcing our New Years resolutions, RO said that his was to have sex with one of the guests-- a handsome barber. I told RO that that may be considered rude. RO then asked the barber "Would it be rude if it was my resolution to do you?"

The barber said "No"

RO turned me to me and said "It's OK, the barber doesn't think I'm rude."

I said "I consider that resolution to be rude."

When RO realized what he got himself into, he apologized profusely.