Archive for October, 2001

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2001


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Kennedy Center, State College and

Tuesday, October 30th, 2001

Kennedy Center, State College and Cow-a-Hen Farm

Big weekend. Friday evening I went into work around 4pm for the last Tech Beer Fest. The tech group used to gather every friday afternoon to drink beer and socialize at the office. Sometimes there were announcements, but mostly it was just a forum for us to all hang out before migrating to bars that evening. A wonderful tradition. Anyway, with the Fool’s financial woes (TMF paid for beverages, snaks) and Dwight leaving (Dwight was head of the tech dome) this last friday marked the end of the tradition.

Friday evening Heather and I went to see the Washington Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Tim and Christine got us the tickets as a wedding gift. We had 3rd row center seats. This was a pops concert, and the WSO played a bunch of Broadway tunes. The three singers were pretty corny, but the show was great nonetheless. I couldn’t take my eyes of the violin section – the first violin was amazing. We were close enough to watch the finger movements of the musicians and to watch the sweat drip from the nose of the conductor. We had a great, great time. Heather and I used to go to the Kennedy Center to see musicals pretty frequently (used to have subscriptions) – we should do that again when we have the $$.

Saturday morning around 7:30 we hit the road for State College, PA to see the Ohio State vs. Penn State football game. Several members of Heather’s family are Penn State alums and have season tickets, and Joe Schaeffer is an Ohio State alum, so there’s a good bit of friendly intrafamily rivalry. Heather and I had tix way up at the top behind the south end zone. They were good seats, but we were surrounded by Penn State fans and it was freezing up there. We actually got hailed on. At halftime we met up with Bob, Linda, Mindy, Janet, Lance and Cathy and all had hot chocolate to take the bite off the cold. We went back up to sit with Mindy, Joe and their friend Jeff for the rest of the game.

It was a close game, and Penn State ended up winning 29-27. With that win Joe Paterno (Penn State coach) broke the record for most career wins with 324. The broke the record of 232 held for many years by Ohio State’s former coach Bear Bryant. After the game we tailgated for a while waiting for the traffic to clear out. After that was dinner at a restaurant on top of Mt. Nittany. Dinner was nice, and afterwards a bunch of us spent the night at Bill and Patty’s home, about an hour east of State College.

Sunday morning was great. We walked around the farm talking to Bill about his operation and saying hello to all the animals. I learned how to pickup a turkey (look out for the wings and beak), we fed Levi the Bull a bunch of apples (Levi loves apples), fed turnips to some of the cows, admired the Japanese Fighting Hens with their long, colorful feathers and watched Nelly (1 year old Jack Russel Terrier) chase chickens and stand nose-to-nose with the bull. Bill and Patty sent us home with some ground beef, chicken breasts and fresh eggs.

Yesterday morning rode to Mt.

Friday, October 26th, 2001

Yesterday morning rode to Mt. Vernon again with Thom. Had a great ride. Got into work around 1:00 for a meeting that didn’t happen. Lunch at Bittersweet – mmmmmmm good. Drove down to a new mini-golf course on Van Dorn St with David Gardner (not the founder, a techie). Probably the best mini-golf course I’ve ever seen. Dave owed my 1/2 of a lunch from a previous game up at the Eisenhower course, so we played double-or-nothing. Was an exciting match, and on the 18th hole I tied it up and we had to play another 9 as a tie-breaker. I got a few lucky breaks and ended up winning. Much, much fun.

Not bothering to go into work today. Nothing to do there except clean off my desk anyway. I’ve been submitting a lot of resumes to different companies yesterday and today. Nothing I’m too excited about yet. I still haven’t heard back from Digital Harbor, so I’m assuming that’s not good news there. I’ll probably get in touch with them today sometime to see what’s up.

Heather and I have tickets to see the Washington Symphony Orchestra play the Pops at the Kennedy Center tonight. Tickets were a wedding gift from Tim and Christine. Tomorrow we’re driving up to State College, PA to see the Penn State – Ohio State football game with some of Heather’s family. Maybe we’ll get a chance to see our buddy Jay who lives up there too.

Bike RideRode my bike down

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2001

Bike Ride

Rode my bike down to Mt. Vernon with Thom this afternoon. Beautiful day. Stopped and had lunch at the newly renovated facilities down there. It’s about a 22 mile round trip between home and Mt. Vernon, and it usually takes Thom and I about an hour in each direction. It’s a beautiful ride, but there are lots of small hills and sometimes the trail can get congested on weekends. We’re going to do the same ride again Thurs. morning.

Time Off???

Got an email this morning from Max, who is the new lead of the TechDome here at the Fool. Basically it said that if I help wrap up a couple small things I don’t have to keep coming into work through the end of the WARN period (the 60 layoff notice period.) Wow, I could have the whole month of November off while still getting a paycheck. I’ve been thinking some of what I could do with that time. Hmmm….. more on this later probably.

So on Thursday I had

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2001

So on Thursday I had an interview with Digital Harbor. The interview seemed to go prettty well. I met with 4 different people. The first interviewer was another one of the team leads. That interview went okay, though I wasn’t too familiar with some of the technical questions he asked. Next was the guy who had interviewed me on the phone (he would be my supervisor in this position.) That went decently. The discussions with the next two folk went very well. The last guy I spoke too indicated that from what he’d heard things had gone well overall. I should here from them sometime today. If they’re still interested then the next step is an interview with the CEO.

The company does research and development for the federal government. They’re hoping to take the technologies they’ve developed and release them as commercial products. The people seemed great, the benefits are good and the position would be challenging and interesting for me. The commute was about 20 minutes,so that’s not too bad either. 3 weeks vacation, 10 sick days, 100% tuition reimbursement for job-related courses. I think I’d start work on an MBA or a master’s in computer science given the opportunity.

If this doesn’t come through then I’m going to have to start busting my behind to find a job. I still have 5 weeks left at the Fool, but I’m going to get nervous if we’re down to 3 weeks without a job lined up.

Continuing Tales of the Shed…

Monday, October 22nd, 2001

Continuing Tales of the Shed…

So our parents came out here Thursday night, bearing wedding gifts. It was nice to open them again. Our moms went shopping Friday while the menfolk picked up the shed and supplies and came back home to begin construction.

I missed most of the festivities because I was at work, but when I got home with a birthday cake for Mom, everyone seemed to be having a nice evening and the the shed floor (we don’t need no stinking floor kit) was well underway.

Saturday the floor was finished with the help of a few sledgehammers and another trip to the hardware store. The moms and I put the house together and found places for almost all of the gifts. We cleaned out the basement. We binned everything that’s going to the shed. The house is livable at last!! No more boxes!!

Sunday took two more trips to the hardware store and men eating Baja Fresh on the roof, but the shed is finished (except for painting) and it looks magnificent! The guys did a great job outside and we did a great job inside, and our little house is looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Plus, it was so much fun to hang out with the parents and visit and whatnot. We’ll see my folks this weekend at the Penn State/OSU game, and we’re looking forward to that!

Tale of the Shed, Part

Thursday, October 18th, 2001

Tale of the Shed, Part Deux

So I called Home Depot this morning and ordered the shed over the phone. Yay! Shed. Jason and the dads will have to pick it up tomorrow, which is just as well because they will have to get the accessories like shingles and whatnot, and also to get the stuff to build the floor.

I talked to a very nice man named Gary who has built this type of shed before. I told him that the future site for the shed is uneven and asked his advice on how to build the floor. He told me exactly what I needed and how to build the floor. I followed him until he started talking about cement, and asked him if he was working tomorrow so that Jason and the dads can get the real scoop instead of my garbled interpretation. Fortunately, he will be there.

The interesting part of this story should be Part III, Picking up Shed, and Building Shed.

Yay! Shed

Can I tell you

Thursday, October 18th, 2001

Can I tell you how much I love being married to Jason?!

Last night when I got home my terrific husband had wine and cheese and soothing music waiting for me. It was so wonderful! I love being married to someone who does things to cheer me up when I’ve had a hard day :)

The SuitYesterday morning I drove

Wednesday, October 17th, 2001

The Suit

Yesterday morning I drove over to the Jos.A Banks store in Pentagon City to buy a suit. The one suit I own doesn’t fit well and I’m going to need one for the interviews coming up. I love Jos. A Banks. I walk in, tell them what I want, get shown what I want, try it on, pay then leave. Total time: about 30 minutes. I’m picking up the suit Thursday before my interview with Digital Harbor.

Tale of the Shed, Part

Wednesday, October 17th, 2001

Tale of the Shed, Part I

Both sets of parents are coming into town tomorrow evening for the weekend. In addition to hauling all our wedding gifts down here from Ohio, the dads are going to put up a storage shed in the back yard. Yes, it’s not a coincidence that these two things are happening the same weekend :-)

I just spent several hours driving around northern Virginia trying to buy a shed. First to Lowe’s down on Rt. 1. Took a while looking around at their models to decide what I wanted. Pretty much decided on a Marco Regent, an 8′x8′ wooden model. However, after finally chasing down someone to help me at Lowe’s it turns out that they don’t carry any in stock right now – despite the sign on the front of the model that says “In Stock.” Grrrrrrrrr….

So I jumped in the car and drove to Home Depot out on S. Picket St. They also carry the Regent, also had a sign saying “In Stock”, and alas… also didn’t have one. Grrrrrrr….. Sales guy does mention that maybe the Springfield store would have some in stock.

So back in the car and down to the Springfield Home Depot (next to the mall.) They have several full-sized models built in the parking area, so I got to step inside several. Just reaffirmed by decision on the Regent (though a 10×10 shed would be nice too.) The cashier in the garden department paged someone to come help me. An older gentleman named Mike came over. Mike is like those employees in the Home Depot commercials: incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help. Mike checked inventory and said they didn’t have any in stock, but that that was strange because they usually keep several on hand this time of year. He did a lot of checking around and finally pulled up the inventories at other area Home Depots. Several in the area showed Regents in stock, so he called down to the Woodbridge store to make sure. After confirming they had a couple on hand Mike gave me directions on how to get down to the Woodbridge store.

The Springfield Home Depot will be the first place I shop for such stuff in the future, soley because of the great service I received. Too bad so many other retail establishments fail to understand value of good customer service.

I’ll be driving down to Woodbridge this evening probably and I’ll try to schedule delivery of the shed for Friday morning.