Sunday, June 28, 2009

Musings From A Week Off

I'm back to work after having some much needed time away. Who knew when I left that Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and even Billy Mays would no longer be with us when I returned? I found Billy's commercials to be the most annoying thing on TV but I didn't want him to die; just go away. He was the main reason for a mute button on my remote.

We hosted dinner for Rachel's boyfriend and his parents Friday evening. Rachel and Josh have been dating since the early part of last school year and I think we parents thought it would be a good idea to spend some time together and get to know one another.

I'd just put the steaks on when Meg and Wayne pulled up. Wayne hung out with me by the grill and we shared a bit of info about each other; the usual stuff; where we grew up; where we're working and such. It didn't take long for us to each telegraph to the other where we stood politically; maybe it was the Obama yard sign leaning against the wall inside my garage. I made no apologies about my support for Obama but I did frame the reasons for my decision to vote for the man by giving Wayne a brief synopsis about the goings-on within the FAA and how political it is.

Speaking of the FAA; we controllers probably sound a lot like the little kid in the back seat of a car while on vacation: "Are we there yet?" We've been patiently waiting for word on the results of contract talks with FAA management and arbitration that has been playing out the last few weeks. There's so much riding on the outcome for those of us who have gone without benefit of raises the past three years and especially for the new B scale Controller who was promised one thing but given something much less.

Part of my last day of vacation yesterday was spent finishing up an attic ladder installation in our garage. I managed to do it all solo but there was one point in the install the previous day when I was wishing I had some more muscle. Maybe it was the 125 degree heat from my position in the loft where I was trying to anchor it which took its toll on my critical thinking skills nearly causing me to drop the entire load with me following closely behind which gave me reason to wait until the next day when it wouldn't be so hot out to finish the job.

Tammy climbed the ladder and poked her head up in the loft when I finished as she'd never seen the storage space up there. I told her not to look too closely as it's where I keep my stash of Playboys. She gave me a smirk then replied "And where you smoke your cigarettes too?"

I've decided to insulate and sheet-rock the garage in the next couple months and hire Keith to build us a bunch of cabinets to go along with a work area which I'm just beginning to think up plans for. Like I've said before here, I don't have a workbench; I have the tailgate of my pickup and I'm ready for something more.

Tammy is encouraging me to 'go for it' so I think I will. It won't be the 'garaj mahal' like my neighbor across the street has but it'll be much better than what we have.

I had an exceptionally nice ride yesterday. I didn't get away until just before 3:00 pm but with the sun setting a little after 9:00 it left me plenty of time. I love this time of year mostly for the amount of daylight there is.

Had I planned the ride better I'd have left a couple hours earlier to take advantage of some southeast winds ahead of a cold front. As it was, the front was just coming through as I clipped in and I had to fight for every mile on the way out; well, almost every mile. I was able to tuck in behind a farm tractor pulling some equipment and cheat the wind for 4 miles at 25 mph which was a far cry from the 14.2 mph pace I was struggling to hold against gusty 15-25 mph winds.

Finally, a ride with very little knee pain. I was tempted to squeeze 100 miles out of the day but I didn't push it. I brought it home after 91 and felt very good about my effort.

Tammy and I made it out to the dog park this morning. With a temp in the lower 70s the pups loved it; a nice reprieve from the heat and humidity of the past week. Charlie met his match too in the likes of a 12 week old Dachshund pup named Reggie. Reggie loves to bite on ears and ankles and just about anywhere he can sink his sharp puppy teeth into. Sort of the same way Charlie is with Allie. It was funny to watch as Charlie stood there not quite knowing what to do as he's usually on the giving end.

That's Reggie in the photo to the right...the brown little guy all over Charlie. Notice the look on Charlie's face.

I love this...


Jackie said...

So at this time what exactly are your feelings about Obama and how he has helped your situation or anyones for that matter?

Kevin said...

I don't know that anybody has the ability to right the wrongs incurred during Bush's administration, Jackie. There is so much that came undone during his watch and he was given a country on very sound footing when he took over. He left Obama with an absolute mess.

If the FAA is any indication (and I believe it is) of how he delt with matters then it's no wonder we're in the fix we're in and make no mistake about it, he set the tone for the debacle which is the FAA today.

How has Obama helped my situation? He forced management back to the bargaining table to get us a ratified contract and not a set of work rules shoved down our throats topped off with no pay raises for 5 years except for those in management.

He promised us that and he's delivered. The jury is still out as to what extent his help will actually help us but there's no question that it's so much more than McCain ever would've dreamed of doing.

Krisztian said...

Hi Kevin,
Like your storage area above your garage and well done installing the attic ladder on your own. Your garage is pretty well organised too! Reminds me of the times where we used to live in the States. In St Paul Minnesota actually for 9 months. All the best! Krisztian

Kevin said...

Hi Krisztian,

Thanks for the nice comments.

The storage space in the garage is so handy to have. I'm glad there's not more of it though because I'd be tempted to keep all sorts of stuff that I no longer need.

St Paul is just up the road from us.