Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I am happy

It's been a very good last couple of days. Three new accounts this week so far.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Housekeeping

Today's been spent doing a small amount of billable work, and a lot of end-of-month maintenance. I paid the bills and mailed out a couple of invoices (which helps pay them...). Picked up a job through Apple for Wednesday that should take up some time and be useful. The Apple affiliation has been muy productive.

The weekend was hectic. Jane's store is opening this week, so she had her last day of training Saturday. She's been training in Newton, which has made the commute a pain it the butt, though that part's now over. Meanwhile, I did a 28-mile bike ride with Robert on Saturday (we headed up to Essex and back) for exercise before Jane left to go work that late shift. I took David to a birthday party that afternoon right down the street - he was in a pissy mood while we walked over and finally came out of it after we'd been there around 20 minutes. Then he had a blast. Basically, he's going through a stage where he doesn't want to be independent anymore - he wants to be carried everywhere ("carry you?"). If we resist, he has a meltdown. And on the way to the party we fought that battle and I won.

Can you win, yet lose, a battle like that? Yep.

After the party (he was felling much better after that and pretty much skipped home), we had dinner and went out to do a few errands. We got back rather late, so I had just enough time to give him a bath and put him down by about 8:30 - he was exhausted.

Jane called me on her way home a little grumbly due to traffic problems - an accident had all but closed down Route 128 and she was stuck. I was able to steer her home via the side streets and solve the issue. Thank goodness I have a good navigator instinct!

Then yesterday we all slept late, which was nice. We only left the house once - to go pick up the keys to Jane's store at the mall and check out a going-out-of-business sale at Wayland Golf, a fine golf shop that tried to get too big, too fast. Picked up a nice shirt for real cheap, and bought the kiddie club set so when David begs me to let him golf with me next year, I can call his bluff.

Today, he's over at a friend's house all day instead of at day care - we're doing that whenever Jane works 5 weekdays. Our friend's son is an only child who doesn't go to preschool yet, so it's a chance for David to get a change in the routine and for the other child to socialize a little more. Works out for everyone. And my sinus infection came roaring back over the weekend, so we can now strike Zithromax from the list of Stuff Josh Can Take For A Surefire Cure. It worked for a few years, which is all you can expect of an antibiotic nowadays.

I know, waah.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Software experimentation

I'm trying Thursby's ADmitMac right now. It's a more sophisticated AD client over the Samba-based client that ships in MacOS X, though it can also use Directory Access to draw info. So far, it's interesting enough that I can see some customer use for it. The Network Utility included with it is a nice tool for basic Windows network troubleshooting - worth the $119 SRP by itself if you're a Mac person trying to help manage a Windows network. It's going to be a fun tool to get familiar with.

On another note, I'm having a very poor sinus day. It may be allergies from the weather changes, it may be leftover glop from my sinusitis (I took my drugs according to recommendations, though), or maybe David's cold was different enough from the one I had that I'm getting a little bit winged by it. Either way, carrying around extra tissues is no fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Yes, dad-blummit

I am, in fact, working today. Jane is not. She has some stuff to do, though, so David's at a friend's house for a little while while she attends to things.

I had a Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting this morning that got me out of the house rather early. After which I had a couple of phone calls to make (developing some leads I've gotten for new business), and then a visit to a nearby client to solve a printer issue. Because it's an absolutely glorious day out, I walked over to their place and it was nice to do so. I need go head downstairs next, and do some work for another customer.

Billable hours rock.

This evening, Jane has to go in to work briefly for a new hire orientation (they've hired most of their staff now), and so I'll be toddler-wrangling for a while. Yippee!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Notes from afoot

- Today's grandest spam title: "See the hottest male stars topless!" Somehow I think that an "R" rating doesn't ensue when films have topless male stars... Yet another place where equality doesn't rule!

- David's starting to feel much better, thank you all for asking. He doesn't sound like he's coming from an echo chamber when he talks, and he slept pretty well (only a few coughing moments).

- Previously unmentioned highlight from Saturday: When I arrived at Club Cafe, I was one of the first to show (it was a traffic-free ride to Boston), and I noticed a familiar-looking fellow helping to set up the breakfast. After a few minutes, I placed him - his name was Dana, and he was one of the homeowners from my all-time favorite episodes of Trading Spaces - the "Dartmouth Street, Boston" episode last year featuring two gay couples, a beautiful brownstone building, Doug and Christy as the designers, Amy Wynn as carpenter, and a hysterical visit from a drag singer. Dana told me they had an absolute blast during the shoot.

- Today I resumed getting my fitness from walking - I did a little over two miles around the ponds and through the back of the complex. I should be able to do walks right through November at least. I'll keep riding my bike for another month or so, then put it in the basement for an occasional spinning session (I have a stand for it). I haven't golfed in almost a month, but I hope to play a few more times. I have no clue if the bowling league will be back this year or not.

- I did something the other day I probably should have a while ago - I copied my MacOS boot files over to my iPod and made it bootable. I also moved backups of a lot of my stuff as well. Still have about 15 GB free on top of that, so I can keep loading tunes. Cool.

- My TiVo is developing a serious Rescue Me backlog. It's a great show, but so intense I can't watch more than one episode at a shift. So I'm six episodes behind right now - hopefully the season is almost over so I can start catching up.

- In the not-too-distant future, I'd like to add another hard drive to said TiVo. Even though when we add HD cable service the box includes a DVR function, there's no replacing TiVo.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Glub.

As most of you will recall, yesterday was the Harbor to the Bay charity ride that I've been training for all summer.

It was also, unfortunately, the day that Hurricane Ivan's remnants decided to show up in New England.

So initially, on Friday the decision was made to shorten the ride to 68 miles, start later in the day, and simply ride from Bourne to Provincetown in the hopes of avoiding the extreme weather. I headed into Boston yesterday morning, bike in tow, hoping things would be able to proceed.

The weather, alas, remained uncooperative and the ride was cancelled entirely. Given people's plans, though, we wound up all heading en masse to P-town anyways in the rain. I sent my bike out there by truck (so it did make the trip in the end), and drove myself and three other guys out there as well. We made good time despite the weather and arrived around 12:15 - had a nice lunch at Bubala's (as thanks for driving, none of my carmates would allow me to pay for anything - a nice gesture), and we all went our separate ways until meeting time at the Boatslip at 5. As I left the restaurant, I saw the truck arriving up Commercial Street, so I trudged through the rain to the Boatslip and helped unload all the stuff and put the bikes away at the pool bar (it was pretty obvious no drinks would be ordered at poolside that day).

After that, I wandered around downtown and took a stroll through the little mall there (snapping a few cellphone pictures),


then I headed down towards the Lobster Pot and took this pic from just out front.

As you can see, it was pretty deserted most of the day. On my way back to the Boatslip, I went out behind Bubala's and took this photo of the harbor:

And then went back for the party. The party and check presentation was a bookend to the popular Tea Dance, a must-attend among those in the GL scene - it's a party from 4 to 7 every night that opens up the night's revelries in town. Provincetown is, as you all know, the GL capital of the Northeast, but it's a perfectly friendly place for straights like me, too - we're just in the minority here. The Hat Sisters were there, with bicycle pumps adorning their festive chapeaux for the occasion, and a good, if soggy time, was had by all.

Anyhow, I had a wonderful time that evening, and grabbed a quick dinner from the buffet laid out for the participants. It was a very nice crowd of people, and though we were disappointed by the weather, the decision to cancel was a wise and safe one to make. Sometime in the next few weeks I will embark on a "makeup ride" with a friend or two of the same distance this would have been just to pay the Karmic Tax, and update this adventure.

I left around 8:30 or so, car re-loaded in my van, for the drive home. The rain had departed a couple of hours earlier, and as I raced home (hardly any traffic the whole way), I may have seen a couple of stars peek out.

Or maybe they were aircraft. But regardless, I made it home about 10:45ish, and washed my soggy clothes before passing out. Jane let me sleep until almost 9, and life resumes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

We have cognition!

It's remarkable, watching David develop from day to day. Today, I went to Boston for an ACN meeting. I picked him up around 5:15 - he wasn't too put off by it, because he'd only been there since lunchtime (Jane worked the late shift today, and she's en-route as I type this). Anyhow, on the way out he waved at everyone, hollered "Bye!" a few times to people, and blew Miss Ashley (one of his teachers) a kiss. He's also starting to talk about his fellow toddlers as well.

Anyhow, I drove the back road out of Beverly in the hope we might see a train. David loves trains. So I spotted one in the station and pointed it out to him, and we continued onwards. As I arrived at the crossing just before the bridge, the gates descended and the southbound train we'd seen came rumbling down past us. David was excited. But then, the gates stayed down, and the northbound train passed us by - I swear David's eyes were the size of saucers when it went past. Because it slowed to a stop right in front of us before proceeding up the track. He was in awe.

Afterwards, I asked him how many trains he'd seen. I expected him to say "two", but he said "nine" instead.

Then I played back my memory. Between the two trains, there were nine cars. Nice.

And when we were on our way to pick up Jane last Saturday afternoon, he read his first road sign out loud. It was on the front of a store in Vinnin Square.

The word was "liquor". He pronounced it "lee-kwor".

My kid, the boozer.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I got something goin' on...

But I don't know what it might be.

The last few days have been a whirlwind. I had solo David duties on Saturday, but I decided that Jane could use a breather so we drove her to and from work that day as bookends. But us guys had some Quality Time inserted between trips. Sunday was a relaxation day for all involved, Jane included.

Then yesterday was a long day for him. I dropped him off at 9, and then went to Woburn a little later for a meeting and some training work that got me back to Beverly at 5 to pick him up. By that time, other parents had started to arrive and he was real upset because none of them so far had been me. He perked right up when I got there, though.

Today I made it up to him. Not only did I take him in late (9:30), but then I came by after his lunch and took him for a walk down to the ponds. You should have seen the look of utter joy on his face when I walked in - it was heartwarming. We hung out for about 20 minutes and watched the ducks together, then I took him back and he happily went right in for his nap. After doing a few hours' worth of customer work, I picked him up around 4:15-ish and we left to go get a prescription.

Amusingly, while waiting in the drugstore I got a call from a customer whose Internet connection was down. So David and I stopped by to troubleshoot the issue, which was amusing in and of itself. Once Jane came home, we all headed down to the Willows for a cheap dinner by the waterfront. His table manners are improving rapidly, which I think is at least partly being driven by daycare.

The bike ride may be cancelled if Ivan threatens too much. I will be doing my final two days of training tomorrow and Thursday regardless - 20 miles tomorrow and 10 Thursday. I want to do the ride, since I've trained for several months and I believe in the cause.

I'm also in grave danger of paying myself again soon. We shall see how the invoices stack up.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Not bad so far

Well, even though the Sox lost 1.5 games yesterday (they lost, and the Yankees swept a doubleheader with the Devil Rays), I still like their chances of taking the division. Here's why.

Looking at the remaining games on the Yankees' schedule, we have a weekend series in Baltimore, followed by 3 more games in Kansas City. None of these should be a cakewalk, since they're on the road - I'm expecting them to go, at best, 4-2 on the road trip. 3-3 is more likely. Then, after an off day, they have to play three at home against the Sox, followed by three more against the Jays. Then they have to go to Boston for a three-game series, followed by a final 3 games at home against the playoff-bound Twins. 12 games are against division rivals, and half of them with the Sox, who've won more than their share against New York this season so far.

Now, look at the Boston schedule. After this weekend series with Seattle ends, they get 3 games with Tampa at home, the 3-game set with the Yankees, 4 more games at home with Baltimore, the Yankees coming in for 3 more, and then finally wrapping up with 3 games in Tampa.

The Yankees are done with Tampa Bay, and the Sox still get to beat them up 6 times. Figure 5-1 as a likely record for those games. Expect them to take 3 out of 4 with the Orioles at home, and it'll all come down to the 6 games with New York.

I like those odds. A lot.

As for yesterday's NFL season opener, it was a little weird to me - football on a Thursday night in September. I'm not sure I like it. I liked the result, though, even if I couldn't really focus on the game until pretty late in the 3rd quarter. Heck of a finish. We need to keep Willie McGinest on this team for decades to come - he'll be 50 years old and still making plays against the Colts.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Followup

I just called the local Kerry for President office. They are sending me a couple more bumper stickers.

And I know what I'm doing with the extra one.

Your Republican Party

Yesterday, I went to a customer over in downtown Beverly, near the bridge. I had to park a little ways up the street, and I parked in front of a "abortion alternatives" clinic - but still on the street.

I emerged from the job two hours later. When I walked up to my car, I noticed something missing. It was my "Kerry for President" bumper sticker. Peeled neatly off.

This is what our local Republicans stoop to. And why It's going to be a long time before I vote for any more of them.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Abandonment

My neighbors are all leaving me - in the last month or so, three of the companies that are in my little corner of the complex have all left. They're not out of business, they've all moved to larger quarters within the building.

Which is good, because I was about to start double-checking to make sure I was using deodorant.

In other news, the first real day of daycare (AKA "school") went fine so far. Jane was gone when David got up this morning, so he was a little puzzled when I greeted him. He asked "where's Mommy", and I told him she was working like Daddy does. I saw the gears spinning in his head for a moment, and then he replied "OK" and let me get him dressed. Splendid.

After a full breakfast of a banana and some of my waffle, we went to school - making a couple of stops on the way. As usual, he cried for a minute when he realized I wasn't staying at school with him, but his teachers are very nice and good at stepping in. One boy in the group appears to be a little too aggressive, but they were all over it and ultimately I think David's confidence will keep the kid from being a problem for him. We'll make sure he's properly reinforced.

Otherwise all is uneventful. My class has been put off until Monday, and so I've simply done a little client work and took care of my accounting for the month. A couple of checks arrived in the mail, too, which is kinda nice.

I'm working on my next promo flyer to go around the building now. Hopefully I'll get it distributed this week. My back will thank me eventually.

Monday, September 06, 2004

How time flies...

Where to begin...

Well, we came home from the little mini-vacation we took last night around 7. The original plan was for Jane to go take David and head to New Jersey with another friend and her kids, but our schedule wouldn't let her leave at the right time.

So the plan shifted. Jane decided to still go away, but to see her folks and to take David solo. She would have been gone for a week.

But then we had to start the day care transition - David starts a regular schedule tomorrow when Jane starts her new job. Plus we decided there were smarter things either one of us could do than driving 6 hours solo with a toddler.

So I massaged my schedule a tad, and we left together early Thursday morning. A quick pitstop at my parents' house in CT later, and we were in Absecon NJ by lunchtime.

Well, we had a nice, fairly low-key weekend and left after breakfast Sunday - stopping once again in CT for lunch and some rest on the way. Plenty of pics were taken, and will be posted later this week as part of my first photo update since early July. I'm lazy. Wah.

Highlights from the trip:

- Jane's folks have a nice in-ground pool, and they like to keep the temperature right around bathtub-level. I skipped swimming on Friday (I had some work to do), but otherwise everybody was in the pool every evening. Even David. Encouraging, we got him to float a few times and get in on his own - though he was scared to go beyond the steps for the most part. I could get him into the pool if I let him cling to me like velcro.

- He really liked it when I did a cannonball off the board. And he loved watching people go down the slide. Besides that, he also went up the slide himself and rolled stuff down it.

- The only downside of the pool - greenheads. They're still in season, and they take actual chunks of flesh out when they bite. Ow.

- Jane's parents live way out on the edge of a big marsh, and there's only marshland and water between them and Atlantic City. The view was great - from a distance, AC is a cool place. Up close, less so.

- When you're that isolated, you get to see wildlife. In particular, turtles, rabbits, and an absolutely amazing quantity of deer. To go with the greenheads and mosquitos. David liked seeing the first three on the list. Especially the deer.

- We handled sleeping arrangements by staying in the small two-bedroom apartment that Jane's folks built on top of their house a few years ago. I took the boxspring off the bed in David's room to get him closer to the floor - otherwise he slept in a relatively unmodified room. It worked out pretty well.

- Friday morning we went to Storybook Land - a small-scale equivalent to New Hampshire's Storyland, but still real impressive to David. He rode on nearly every ride they had, except for the roller coaster (he asked to ride it, but wimped out when it was boarding time), and a fast spinning machine that we decided was too much for him. Otherwise he did all of them - including the spinning teacups, the train, the mini-Ferris wheel, and the truck ride. Wait times were minimal, a bonus when dealing with a toddler. He passed out on the ride home after about 3 hours of fun.

- Saturday we went into Atlantic City to go see the Ocean Life Center - a small aquarium they have. It's not much, but it was enough to make David happy. He liked watching the crabs especially. Afterwards, we ate at a nearby restaurant that was undistinguished except for one thing: David discovered the joys of eating squid. I think it might be a new contender for Favorite Food. In general, he ate pretty well on this trip.

- Our drive home Sunday was uneventful except for a couple of things: a lengthy delay due to a car accident on the Garden State Parkway and the longest wait I've ever had for a latte at the Starbucks near Toms River. Otherwise we basically flew home. We spent about an hour and a half letting him charm my parents on the way.

Today's mainly a rest and decompression day. I have to teach tomorrow afternoon, so I was working on that for a while, and Jane's been reading while David napped. We went out briefly for a couple of errands and that's been it. I'll need to get back on the bicycle tomorrow as well. Last week's training rides went pretty well after losing a few days to my cold, but I have less than two weeks left before the benefit ride I'm doing. I'll need to go 40 miles or so this weekend to make sure I'm ready.

I have a pretty busy next couple of days, so I may not get the photos done until the second part of the week. I know you'll all understand.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

All better

The Symantec firewall problem is now solved, and PPTP connections work just fine. Yay. And the Sox closed to 3 1/2 games last night. As I type this, Manny just hit a deep sac fly to right to easily score Dave Roberts - the score is now 5-2 Sox in the bottom of the 2nd.

In other events, I took care of a sticky network problem for a new customer yesterday, and will be doing more for them next week after their much cheaper new DSL line is installed. I've just about wrapped up the major work for the big account with the VPN success, so it's good to have new business coming on in place.

In other news, we started breaking David in to day care this week. He's at the center that's right in my building - real convenient and they run a first-class shop (though a little big). He likes it so far for the most part, though today was a disaster. He was fine until naptime, but then he demanded Bear and was very upset to not have him there at hand. Yesterday he'd had Bear with him, so that spoiled his expectations (he's fine going places without Bear until he has him there once - after which he expects Bear to always accompany him). So Jane picked him up ahead of schedule.

He's doing well overall, though. Day care starts for real next week, when Jane starts training for her new position. It's a pretty good one as it turns out, and it provides real good benefits. That'll help us even more.

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