Saturday, April 18, 2009

29 Years of Catching Up

We hung the panel on Thursday. I tried to get some photos of it but I had a difficult time getting the blue glass to show up as anything other than the color white so I won't post a picture. Instead, I have a video of the final assembly phase and our initial view and reaction to it after the install. We're very pleased with the outcome and intend to begin cutting more glass tomorrow for the next panel. Here's a link to the video in HD. For those who'd rather not watch the full six minutes, skip forward to the 5:00 point in the video for a look at the final result.

It's been another full weekend and I'm looking forward to slowing things down over the next few weeks. I wonder if that's possible?

We took Mom to see The Thorn at North Heights Lutheran Church last night. The play replaces the Passion Play they've done for years. You can't help but be impressed by all that goes into the production and the play itself. It's based on the Gospel of the Disciple, John. Mom had a nice night out although I think we got her home later than she's used to. We tend to forget that she's in her 80's and doesn't have the stamina she did just a few years ago.

I spent a few hours on my bike today getting somewhat lost in and around St Paul Park. I'm quite sure I'd never ventured that way on my bike before and I'm fairly certain I won't be going back anytime soon. Not that I didn't enjoy my time on my bike because I did but the roads left a lot to be desired. Highway 61 north out of Hastings is easily the worst road I've traveled on in the metro area. With the exception of a couple areas where it's been repaved, the shoulder is full of chunks of crumbling asphalt, debris and rocks. I couldn't take my eyes off the road directly in front of me for fear I'd hit something that would cause a flat. I was glad I was on my red Serotta which is still sporting Specialized Armadillos from winter riding. The ride isn't as nice as the Michelin Pro Race 2's I ride in warm weather but they're a lot less likely to puncture because they're beefier.

I got off highway 61 at Summit Avenue where it became a freeway. I crossed back over thinking I could find a road to take me west and across the river but there was no such animal. I should've known better but I'm not familiar with all the river crossings. I spent at least a half hour looking for a nonexistent bridge while running into dead end roads before I got back on 61 and took it north to 494 where I crossed over on the bike path.

It was nice to get on the other side and into Inver Grove Heights where I've done my share of riding. I felt a bit like I'd broken free of the Bermuda Triangle when I finally crossed over. I quickly found Lone Oak Road and took that west while calculating whether or not I had time to squeeze 80 miles out of the day. I was worried that my aimless riding across the river would put me behind schedule to meet with a friend tonight who I hadn't seen in over 29 years since leaving the Navy in December 1979.

I got home 82 miles later with time to spare but one look in the mirror told me that I really should've turned back when I realized 4 miles into the ride that I'd forgotten to use sunscreen. I've got to be more disciplined about that.

I met Paul at the Bloomington Holiday Inn and after greeting each other and taking note of how 29 years can't change the unique look of a person's eyes or smile or simple mannerisms we headed less than a mile down the road to David Fong's for dinner.

I had two distinct memories when I drove into the parking lot. I recalled that my high school girlfriend's dad used to hang out here and I also remembered the last time I was in the parking lot 27 years earlier. It was the spring of 1982 and it was there that I saw a new charcoal colored, Mazda 626. I loved the lines of the car as they seemed a sleek European style rather than the boxy look of so many American competitors. I'd own one of my own later that year after graduation from the FAA academy. Still, my favorite car ever.

Paul and I took our time getting through dinner and a couple of tall beers. I left our ship, the USS Fresno, a little less than a year ahead of him. He told me how morale had deteriorated badly after I'd left and that his tour of duty on the ship was a difficult time for him. It was the opposite for me. I think that maybe Paul wanted more from his enlistment than I did. I knew I was done when my four years were over whereas Paul remained active duty for nearly ten years before finishing out his career in the Reserves.

Paul can tell some stories and he had me laughing for a good part of dinner. He's got a keen memory for many of the finer details that I'd forgotten.

I thought back to the first time we met. Our ship was deployed to the western Pacific and he came on board in Guam in I think October, 1978. I brought him up to CIC (Combat Information Center) where he'd be working as an Operations Specialist (radar man) to show him around. It was evening and we sat up there and talked just the way we were tonight.

Paul is an interesting guy who can easily discuss a lot of different subjects. Our conversation focused a lot on the economy when we weren't reminiscing about shipmates and sea stories. He currently works as an Administrative Assistant for the FDIC in Chicago.

We left the restaurant and I brought him by to the house to meet Tammy and Rachel. We settled downstairs in the shop and chatted for another couple hours. Tammy slipped out to pick up some beer as I'd totally neglected my duties. We got online and Paul pointed me in the direction of a couple links to check out later to better understand the makings of the financial mess our country is in: Frontline, Inside the Meltdown and CNBC, House of Cards.

It was interesting talking politics with him as he isn't owned by one party in particular. Neither of us made excuses for our votes in the last election although we voted for different men. Sarah Palin's name came up at one point and I think we both may have rolled our eyes.

I'd planned to bring him by 'the office' but we never got there. We agreed that the next time he came into town I'd show him around the facility with the understanding that we can't wait another 29 years if that's going to happen. The facility may not last that long.


Jackie said...

This is so cool Kev! You guys did and awesome job! The colors are really nice. I know you were a bit uncertain at first. Now that you have one done it will make you crazy not to finish the rest. I know people like you!

Kevin said...

I know that Tammy wants to keep working on it through the summer and so do I. I'm excited to continue so I'm pretty sure we'll be able to. Whenever we watch tv I turn the light on behind the window and it gives me motivation to get the others done.

Yes, we're very happy with the colors too. Thanks for the kind words.