Friday, August 20, 2010

Gift giving ideas

It's still the dog-days of summer, and I am writing about gift giving ideas, as in Christmas gifts? Why, yes I am.

First, this is an infrequent post in conjunction with Dad Blogs which is well-worth your time to visit.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

As I've written before, I am a bad gift receiver... I don't tell people, such as my family, what I want for a present for my birthday or for Christmas.   I am of the mind where if I need/want or something, I get it -- provided the item in question fits into the budget against the need.  Case in point, I really wanted an iPhone 4, but I got an iPhone 3G, because the cost ($50) was far more reasonable.   My thinking is if I want something, and it's reasonable, I'll get it.  If I need something, the cost is then measured against the need.   

Where gifts are concerned, I don't really enjoy getting them, because it's likely something I deem too expensive or something I don't want.  Yes, of course, there could be things I haven't thought about getting for myself, and someone like my much-better-half may be fortunate enough to pick out, but that's not something very common.

Mind you, it's not a two-way street: I do pretty well picking out gifts for others, such as my much-better-half, although I will spend many hours stressing over the choices.  So far, I seem to have done well with my choices.

I have been called insensitive by some because I don't make lists of things I want for birthdays or Christmas, but it's something I've never thought was comfortable or necessary.

But I am getting better.  I need a wallet.    Really I do:

I've been using a Sharpie to help stretch the life of the wallet, but as you can see it's time I retire this appendage of mine.  But instead of seeking a new one on my own, I'll sit back and wait out for December, since I know my sons, for example, will want to get me something, and I figure this would be a reasonable item for my youngest son, in particular, to give me.

So here's hoping this old wallet lasts another 4 months.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Where I stand

Well it’s been a week of changes. For some time I knew my job would be placed at risk in a few years. In 2009 I learned that the funding for the defense project I’ve been working on since 1997 would likely run out by 2013. Even as the economy has gone from mediocre (in ’97) to where it is today, I didn’t do much about that prediction. Yeah, I know…. Lazy.

Compounding the fact that the project funding would be reaching its sunset, my program is based out of Fort Monmouth, NJ. The Fort is among many sites that have fallen victim to BRAC - Base Realignment And Closure – a program with a dubious purpose at this time. We were told that our project, a legacy logistics operation, was essential but not off critical mass necessary to require relocation to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

This week the first shoe fell: our corporate location would be shuttered by September 2011, and moved t o Maryland.

The other shoe will drop when I learn whether or not I am invited to relocate. I’ve got to wait less than 53 weeks to learn how that will play out.

Relocating to Maryland would not be a horrible idea, but one that couldn’t come at a worse time: whether it’s the impact on my kids and their activities or the depressed housing market, I am not looking forward to uprooting the fam in the next year. But the alternative – not being offered to relocate – would be far worse.
Readers know I drive 110 miles, each way, every day now. Commuting to Maryland would add an estimated 30 miles to that ride, and Google Maps estimates the commute time to increase 50 minutes… that’s upwards of a 3 hour drive, each way. So my much-better-half and I discussed the matter and the decision is clear: should I get offered to relocate, I’d make a test-drive to see if 3 hours is a legitimate estimate, but most likely I will be living locally and commuting home on weekends.

Not at all a good plan, but unless I can score suitable employment closer to home, that’s my fate. IF I get tapped to relocate.

Hey, it could be worse… I have what amounts to a one-year heads-up. Best I make suitable plans to improve my own situation in the mean time!

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Odds and Ends

A continuing series of posts covering various topics that are too short to warrant an entire post unto themselves.  Also called Quick Hits.    In reality, I am so out of the loop to post anything serious entries...

  • Comments are back:  A big thanks to Mrs.4444 for pointing out to me that my comments had vanished more than a week ago.   Blogger offered new functionality that I mindlessly approved, and that killed my Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo comments.   Back in the day, my first website (pre-blogging days) was hand coded using notepad.exe and raw HTML.  After looking about for 30 minutes trying to reverse what I did to my own comments, I relented and contacted JS-Kit tech-support.  Their tech found the switch that my mindless-approval had activated.   Could it be I am getting too old for this crap?

  • TMI - Extreme Edition:  A gal I know is expecting (see previous posts about her here and here); her due date was yesterday, and being her first, it could be any day now (or next week).  She is an exec director of a group that helps some very deserving kids, so she is known by many people in the community.  Fine.   A mutual acquaintance of her and I - and by mutual acquaintance I mean this woman knows the soon-to-be-mom and knows that I know her, too, but is an utter stranger to me, personally - asked me if I knew if the baby was born yet.  I replied Well, last I had heard, she's still waiting for the big day!   

    The mutual acquaintance then asked, dead-pan and in all seriousness: Really??? Well do you know how dilated she is? 
    I swear to you all who read this, I blinked.  Twice. 

    Well, far be it for me to assume, but I think that's a discussion better left for Mom and her obstetrician, don't you think??        Later on, after the shock wore off,  I thought of an amusing retort along the lines of I've got my stirrups in the trunk, so I'll check with her and get back to you, but I don't think even I could have been so bold to say that out loud.  

    Am I that disinterested, or is this woman way out of line??
  • E-Z Pass annoyance - I have 2 E-Z Passes, and with my commute its no wonder.   My much-better-half's pass, however, stopped registering when she last used it, so I called the PENN DOT office about it.  They explained that the batteries in the devices are good for 4 years and since both of our passes were 5 years old, it was time to replace them.  Fine.   They sent me two passes, with instructions to mail back the old ones.   Annoyance?  They didn't include pre-paid mailer or label... I'm on the hook for $3.25 (apparently) in postage.  Gee, thanks.
  • George Carlin once opined If you have a bunch of odds and ends, and you get rid of them all except one, what's that one thing called?

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