Showing posts from March, 2010

Goodbye Cocoa and Road Trip to UMR

28 years ago today I reported to the FAA academy in Oklahoma City to begin my career as an Air Traffic Controller. Of those I reported with to Minneapolis Center (ZMP), only one other remains: Mike Deml. Mike will be forced to retire in July because that's when he turns 56 years old—the maximum age for working traffic. I'll be sure and catch the lights on my way out. I got some sad news last week. I had two cockatiels back in the '80s and '90s named Coocoo and Coconut—they had one offspring named Cocoa. My niece Melody has cared for Cocoa for the last ten years and she wrote to me to say that he passed away in her hands last Sunday night just shy of his 24th birthday. Odd because I had just been thinking about him a couple days before he died and wondering how he was doing. He was a real sweetheart and will be missed. The three of us headed down to Rochester on Friday for an open-house at UMR . It was a chance for students to mingle with future classmates as well as

Starting Over and Berkvam's Barnyard

I'm an animal lover—always have been, going back to 4th grade when I was one of two students chosen at year's end to give a new home to one of two lab rats that resided in an aquarium on the back counter of our classroom. My parents were always good about indulging in this part of me. On more than one occasion my mom would find snakes or skinks or whatever else had gotten loose in our home and yell for me to come to catch them. One autumn when I was maybe ten or eleven, I collected two garbage bags full of acorns from our yard and stored them in my bedroom closet intent on feeding squirrels during the winter. My mom went into my room one day before the snows ever came to find maggots everywhere on the floor coming from the bags of acorns. How was I to know? Our doorbell rang last Saturday and it was a young guy inquiring if we wanted any of our trees trimmed along the side of our house. I'd last had it done seven or eight years ago and I was unimpressed with the job they

March Melt and More

I went around our home early Saturday afternoon moving our clocks forward so as to make the loss of an hour less of a shock to my internal clock. I had the following text conversation with Rachel Saturday night while she was at her dad's house. Me: clocks get moved ahead tonight Rachel: what time? Me: you have to get up at 2 am and move them Me: set your alarm Rachel: so wait, if i set my alarm on my phone for 8 so i can leave at 9...will it still be the same time? Me: won't be Rachel: why not? Rachel: ahh so confusing Me: because it has to be done at 2 am or it doesn't count Me: plus its the law Rachel: :( urajerk Me: hahaha I spent most of my weekend down in the shop working on the 4th of 6 stained glass panels for our entertainment center . It was a rainy weekend for the most part so I wasn't feeling the tug of my bikes all that much. I got called in Friday night for an all-night overtime shift so any motivation I may have had for a Saturday ri

An Old Art but A New Endeavor

It seems just a short time ago when Rachel would sit in the back seat of Tammy's Saturn, too small to safely sit up front as Tammy would chauffeur her to wherever she needed to be. I'd taxi her at times but Tammy did most of it. She's so much more independent now that she's able to get herself around and I'm not just talking within a few mile radius of home. She drove out to St Paul Excel Center last Tuesday night to meet up with her bff Camille for the John Mayer concert. Not all that long ago we'd have probably not allowed her to drive there on her own but we're changing. When I was her age I was in boot-camp in the Navy so that thought helps me keep things in perspective. I was out the door before she got up for school the next morning so I texted her to see how the show was. She had a blast and didn't get home until just before midnight so she took the first hour off school. The senior-slide continues but her grades are holding up. She was taske

Is it Spring Yet?

Spring is in the air but the accumulation of snow from a harsh winter is preventing me from becoming overly excited; give me a couple weeks. I've got a hunch our sump pumps will get a workout once the real thaw begins. I say 'pumps' because I've got two for our basement. When we finished the downstairs 5 years ago I thought it best to protect our investment by installing an additional pump on the opposite end of the basement from the other in case one of them were ever to fail. The extra pump also has a battery backup. Long steady all day rains cause them to kick in and I'm guessing the huge snow melt we'll soon experience will also trigger them. I may have a couple rides yet on my rollers this winter/spring but for the most part I'm doing my rides on the road again. It feels so nice to be out. If I get on the road much before noon it's a bit dicey/icy with the refreeze that occurs overnight especially under overpasses where the road is shaded. I can