Chasing the sun westward

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As I listen to the air traffic high above Denver Center on UAL 683 from Chicago to Los Angeles, I'm kind of in a daze about starting a new gig. Leaving Troux wasn't too easy, considering I'd carved out a path, built lots of alliances, and kind of put myself up in pole position with the other deployment architects. I really believe the people that said that my loss would be felt were honest; and I kind of regret not seeing it further out. Their motto was 'engage, then adjust, adjust, adjust', but after the adjustments I could make there, I wasn't getting where I wanted to be. We'll see if this gets me a bit closer both in terms of responsibility and bringing a retirement date closer in to where I want it. I'm certainly going to be racking up the miles I've been missing due to webex and conference calls, as evidenced by already racking up 8 hours in the air within 24 hour of my start date. OOofff. Austin to Chicago for a day, then off to Pasadena for 3 more days before heading home. Only this one trip this year with this company, but dang I'm making it worthwhile.
Our annual holiday party is behind us, and I think it was a terrific success in this new house. The enormous wreath chandelier, the centerpiece that JT put together, then the food and the bartender.. it all came together pretty well. Our rough headcount was over a hundred people, despite there being plenty that I know didn't show that said they would. Noted for next year for sure. Only a few people from my prior employer made it, but I'm really happy the ones that did were there. Chaz had a great turnout from his new company, and he's taken like a fish to water with them. Neighbor turnout was a little disappointing as well. Come to think of it, we might have had fewer people than I thought.
When I get home, it'll be a quick turnaround for going to Dallas for the holiday weekend, then the holiday itself in Austin with first K&P and then Chaz's family. After that, the rest of the week will be mine in Austin, along with the new year. There aren't a lot of things we've got to do for that night, but we'll play it by ear, and I'm sure things will work out.

The Resort is Just About Ready

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From New York, I brought the Germans back to Texas for quite a bit of tourism around here, but wound up being up to my eyeballs with them and Southby happenings, and things that needed doing to keep the house in one piece with 6 adults under the roof. Chaz made it through like a champ, and everyone had a blast. After a few weeks recovery, the next house project we undertook was dressing up the backyard for the season. If we're going to build a master bathroom, we wanted a place to relax outside after working on the house. We moved the rock and concrete stones ourselves, which resulted in enough aches and pains for Bill to get some muscle relaxers, and for me to do some acupuncture again. The new plaster for the pool is beautiful, and the lighting in the evening looks really nice.


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We occupied for just a moment, then I realized that actually my retirement money is in there, so I didn't want them to get too upset with me.  We left peacefully and Manfred went to Tiffany's just down Broad street.

A visit to the September 11 memorial was accomplished as well, replete with way too many cameras and an airport screening to get into the park area. It's a masterpiece of theater and I imagine it achieves its goal of making the people from the heartland have their sense of security for all the money being spent. The memorial itself is impressive, but the overdramatization happening all around it is distracting.  From there we hiked down to battery park, had a hotdog and watched the boats go out to ellis island and lady liberty. They boys opted not to go.

Instead, after recharging, we took a train up to Greenwich Village for a walking tour there. Beautiful neighborhood, and of course the boys loved it and the history there. We saw a house for sale - 37  W. 10th. Evidently they're asking nearly 8 million for it. Quite a bargain if they hit the lottery.  After winding our way through the village to the meat packing district, we started the High Line park walk. About 2 segments in, Manfred hit the brick wall. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to the hotel for a nap. We walked until we could get a cab, and did exactly that. The two of them are snoozing away as I write, which is just as well, since we have the theater tonight, then a trip up the empire state building afterwards to see the city lit up.  We'll keep them occupied till it's time to go.

It's Not Like Munich

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The comparisons being made are pretty funny at times. Buskers in the subway stops? Never would happen in Munich.  People selling art in front of the museum? They did that long ago in Schwabing, but not now!  Those enormous potholes along Sixth Ave? There would be complaints flying to the city.

Manfred & Stefan are having a blast, and despite my limited knowledge of the city, we're getting lots of things in.  Today was Strawberry fields, more central park, the Guggenheim (which totally impressed me), and then a walk over the Brooklyn bridge.  After that, a nap was in order for me and Manfred.. we'll see if Stefan makes it back in good shape.  Dinner in Chinatown hopefully, then to the top of the Empire State building to see the city lit up!

The right tools

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This week Chaz is having the pool replastered - I have to agree that it's in bad shape.  It got drained in about 15 hours, and this morning the guys are already cutting around the tile and sharpening a chisel to get after it.

Here's a quick runthrough of the house all decked out for the holiday party we had last night, December 10th. It was the first really big party, and we counted 105 people through the door - lots of neighbors, tons of friends, and a few coworkers made it. We had food in the great room, and a couple of cocktails back in the back. So far, the responses have been great, but Chaz and I are exhausted today.

The artist at work

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Bud spent most of last night working on a backdrop for photos for our party this weekend. It's pretty amazing watching him work.

Backyard Lights

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I got lights on the backyard as well as the front.  We see the backyard more, the way this house is laid out.  I kind of like it all lit up - we added some 'motion lights' on the palm tree today before the weather turns bad.  Hopefully we'll have a few more nice days so I can get the camera higher to get the reflection in the water.

Fan problem.. deferred

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New Phan
We got the fan in there last night - trusty Dewalt driver by the ready, and 4 inch screws to go right into the beam. That sucker's not going anywhere, but there remains a slight problem.. the hole from the prior fan box. That's going to be a bit of an eyesore for a bit.  Probably next year if we get to do the master bathroom, we'll patch it with some drywall.  For this week's visitors, this will do.

Remodel Chronicles November edition

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While things mostly look good around the house, there's a lot of things that are not done. And not all of them have to be finished completely, but we're making progress on them bit by bit. In this video, a lot of work went into the trim for the steps. And a lot went into unpacking things. And a lot of things left to do are turning out to be pains in the asses, like installing a ceiling fan in the middle bedroom. The original junction box wound up shredded, and there's not enough room to get a traditional brace (16-inch on center) up there, so today we're totally baffled. My vote was to get a 'saddle' box and put a medallion on the ceiling to cover up the hole left by the other box.. Chaz outvoted me though.
Speaking of him, he's starting a new job tomorrow with a company in Austin. As good as IBM was, his 'work location' was still Lansing, and he was 'long-term supplemental' which meant after 3 years, he was out the door in any case. Having a real tangible position in Austin is a good thing. The fact that it came with a raise was even better. It's been kind of strange, as in the past 3 months, his phone has been ringing off the wall with java positions in Austin; that hadn't happened since early 2000's. My suspicion is that a lot of the java programmers that kept their skills up went ahead and started moving on to php/app/mobile web centric companies and startups, so there is some backfilling going on.
My family comes down for a visit for the turkey day meal - Chaz is really excited about having so much of his family down her at this house. I'm not quite sure how it'll work with this tiny kitchen, but between him and his mother, they'll figure something out.

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