Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pleased to Meet You...Finally

It's assessment time at work where about 10% of the workforce will be surveyed to find out how satisfied we are working for the federal government. I was fortunate enough to be one of those chosen to participate. I don't have any illusions that anything will change from whatever results they receive but I'm happy to do my part. I spent 30 minutes filling out my questionnaire leaving little doubt that I love my job but not my employer. My only regret was that there was no provision for expanding on questions with written responses.

Speaking of written responses; I got a reply today from FAA Administrator Babbitt to the email I'd sent him two weeks ago. I'm not sure whether it would be appropriate to share it here or not. I may write him again to seek his permission before doing so. I'll think about it.

I've professed here before how I love the internet; it was instrumental in bringing Tammy and Rachel into my life. A few years ago I was a regular part of an internet forum community of maybe some twenty-odd people. I still stop by the site occasionally but not nearly as much as I once did. I made a few friends there; one of them being Eugene, a Neurologist from Fredrick, Maryland. Gene was out in Montana skiing with his son last week. On their way back they had a layover in Minneapolis due to the airports being closed on the east coast last weekend because of the snowstorm. Gene sent me an email Friday asking if I'd be around Saturday night. How cool is that? We'd finally get to actually meet.

Tammy joked earlier in the day on Saturday about an old set of knives she was carrying around in the back seat of her car that she was intending to drop off at Goodwill. She said it might be fun to leave them there for later when we'd pick up Gene and his son. She said we could also tape over the handles of the inside backseat car doors. I suggested we bring along a roll of duct-tape and some rope too for affect. Hey, it's the internet...you have to expect that sort of thing.

Anyway, while driving to the airport (sans knives, tape and rope) the thought occurred to me that we may have a difficult time fitting their skis into our Forester. A Forester is easily big enough to handle skis but we've got the back sectioned off with a dog barrier which is bolted in place. I commented that maybe they rented skis while in Montana.

We met Gene and Bryan at the airport and proceeded to wait nearly an hour for the #2 carousel to spin to life with their flight's luggage. It turned out that it was all sent to #6 carousel but nobody bothered to tell those who waited patiently until Gene made a phone call to track it down. I assured them that this ineptness wasn't typical for fear they may have thought that with our slight Fargo-like accents they'd landed in some backward society of the helpless despite the expansive amount of lights they saw from the air.

The skis fit fine.

We got them checked into the Marriott then took Tammy's suggestion and headed for Granite City Food and Brewery in Eagan for dinner. If you're looking for good food, huge portions and a nice atmosphere, look no further. It was the perfect place. Gene and I talked a little about some of the personalities from the forum where we met while trading perspectives on several of them. We also touched lightly on some political subjects which made up much of the exchanges on the forum. It was an interesting discussion.

I suggested we head back to our home after dinner and continue our conversation there.

Tammy knew that Gene played guitar and sang so she was quick to bring out the Seagull guitar I bought her several Christmases ago which is in serious need of attention. She blew the dust off it and handed it to Gene. He took a few minutes to tune it then proceeded to sing and play for us. I have no talent when it comes to music other than being able to appreciate it so I stood back and simply enjoyed the moment. Charlie at one point voiced his opinion.

All too soon the e string broke which brought the music to a halt but it was nice while it lasted. We filled the rest of the evening by giving them a tour of the shop with a quick tutorial on the art of stained glass. Gene is also an artist with nearly twenty years of experience working with ceramics. The night wasn't complete without a viewing of our Judge Judy appearance of course. I dropped Gene and Bryan off at their hotel sometime after midnight.

It was a very memorable night which left no doubts that we'd get together again.

Thanks again, Geno for the visit, dinner and show!

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