Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

We made it to Kansas City yesterday and were welcomed by a snow storm. It alternated between those big, fluffy, wet flakes and hard little ice particles that sting like hell when they're driven into your ear by 20 MPH winds when you're trying to scrape the ice off of your rental car having just emerged from a warm airplane bringing you from 65 degree southern clime.

Oh, and to top it off 3 of our bags were lost by the airline. Two (both my son's) were found, flown in and delivered this afternoon. Mine was found this evening and, according to the lost luggage website, is to be delivered sometime between 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM. Uh huh.

Laura's winter coat was packed in my suitcase. As was all of my stuff, including my meds. Luckily I have been using wally-world's $4.00 prescriptions and they will fill it wherever you are, so I called it in and picked it up this morning. Tonight is our 23rd wedding anniversary. For a while our dinner choices were limited to Wendy's 'cause all I had to wear were the khakis and golf shirt I wore on the flight here. But - I remembered that I get lost baggage insurance anytime I buy a plane ticket using my am-ex so I get $200 per passenger for any luggage delays over 6 hours. So - I went shopping for an outfit (inside and out) and we went to a Japanese steak house and ate way too much.

Tomorrow is the big get-together here with all of Laura's family. A HUGE dinner is planned, gifts are exchanged and mayhem ensues. It should be a blast.

I wish for you all a Merry Christmas. I'll try to send a little snow your way.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

oh, the weather outside is frightful

3 days before we take off for Kansas City and Laura is in her usual pre-trip "ohmygodthiswholehouseisamessitneedstobecleanedtoptobottomorIwon'tcomehome" panic. This means she alternates between full-bore cleaning mode to oh, what's the use it'll never get done.

We do this every time. I admit, it takes a good bit of patience on my part. I do what I'm told, stay busy when she is, and when she bounces the other way I jolly her out of it and keep on working. It makes the week before we go anywhere, ah, hectic, but I will admit that we come home to a clean slate.

Up until the clean-a-thon began I've been mostly working on cars, stuff that Laura's been saving up for me. I guess I left the last of Bahrain behind me Saturday when it rained all. day. long. (The last thing I fixed was the windshield wipers). AND - they're predicting snow for Saturday in Kansas City.

Things are back to normal.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snort, slurk, snerk.

*** edited because I can't spell and ONE PERSON WHO WILL REMAIN NAMELESS pointed it out***

This week has been surreal, if only because it has been experienced through the haze of cold medicine. I am in the grip of the ague and there are doubts as to my longevity.

Thank GAWD for Nyquil.

I am now on vacation until January 2nd. It actually started yesterday but I don't know if it should count as I certainly don't feel like I'm on vacation. I have actually accomplished something, though - I've been getting car problems fixed. 1.5 down, .5 to go. (A part has been ordered, it will be installed Monday).

We are having TWO Christmas' this year. This Sunday we are going to my parent's. We are supplying turkey and dessert. (So I do kinda get my missed home-cooked Thanksgiving after all!) Next Saturday we are flying to Kansas City and are celebrating Christmas yet again - on the traditional date - with my wife's family. Everyone is looking forward to the trip. It will be a bit of a challenge, though, as it will be our first trip back since Laura's mother passed away last December. I was in Bahrain on the 4th, the 1st anniversary of her mother's passing and I couldn't be here with her. She won't have to face this one alone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I am home!!!!!!!!!

It felt a little surreal, leaving the airport after that 15 hour flight and trek through customs, seeing trees, pine needles, orderly traffic (well, as orderly as traffic in the ATL gets - which is NOTHING compared to the rally island traffic is) and wet ground (it had rained earlier). I am still a bit jet-lagged and i have A FRICKIN' COLD. ARGH. Even still, I am SO happy to be home.

I am getting used to normal workdays, fighting the cats for my supper, and being able to reach out and touch Laura whenever I want to. In some ways I didn't realize how much I missed her, in others I was never in any doubt. Going to the store, deciding how to deal with the car that won't start, helping to cook supper, all the little things we do for each other I am constantly being reminded of now that I'm home and she is next to me on the couch again. It was a good thing I had 80+ hour work weeks while gone, I don't know how else I could have dealt with being away from Laura for so long without all of my time being so thoroughly occupied.

Before I left Bahrain and disappeared from blogland Liv tagged me for a twist on the 7-things meme.

  • Sloth - I do have a tendency to procrastinate, and have been known to do things at the last minute. Critical items are completed but it will take a while sometimes to complete the hit list.
  • Lust - I defer to President Carter, I have lusted in my heart - only - and as such those instances go with me to the grave. There have been one or two temptations but I have not acted upon them. Should I meet any of you in person that tally may increase.
  • Gluttony - pretty much only in the literal sense of the word - I CANNOT walk away from a buffet without having tasted of everything. In a wider sense of the word, I have an almost insatiable appetite to travel without the means to do so. I take my opportunities as I get them.
  • Anger - They say that depression is suppressed anger. In that case, I must have a mountain of it! These days I do not get really angry any more, at least to the point where I explode. I try to maintain an even keel and have only the occasional flare-up. However, if I am to achieve my goal of being a crotchety old man I have some cutting loose to do.
  • Vanity - I was extremely self-conscious as a teenager - who isn't? - but these days I could pretty much care less. I never did fancy myself as attractive nor did I preen. Today I like to dress for the occasion and will feel uncomfortable if I miss the mark for the occasion, but that is mild and I get over it. My best friend likes to tell people about the time in college when I wore a suit to metals class and although I spent the hour turning a knurled key holder on a metal lathe I didn't get a spot on my clothes. Those days are long gone.
  • Greed - I wish I had more money - again, who doesn't - but only so I could do the things I want (travel, financial peace of mind). I don't want a lot of money, a big house, a fancy car (but would love to drive one once in a while!) or the headaches that come with them. I have accepted where I am and what I have and don't want the greener grass (it is often gained with liberal applications of manure).
  • Envy - like above, I don't really want much so I don't have much to be envious of. I guess if I had to pick something, I am envious of those who have the financial freedom to do what they want when they want.
I hope I have been honest with myself (and you too) in the writing of this list - I think I have. We all have a certain degree of fiction we tell ourselves so that we will be happy with who we are. I know that I could be a better person and I can hope for the day when I have the wisdom and ability to get there. Until then, this list will have to do.

In any case, feel free to correct me on the list above, my rose-colored glasses may be a shade or two too dark for me to see myself clearly.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

take note

take note
Originally uploaded by greens n cornbread
I'd been nominated chauffeur for the accounting guys that came in last weekend - kinda fell into it, actually as I'd been driving while everyone was gone. I had been relegated back to rider status when they returned and reclaimed their vehicles, but when the accountants came in the head honcho here dug out an extra car (it had been parked in his garage since his wife went home) and gave it to me. Pretty much with the understanding that I would accomodate them. And actually, I've had a good time taking them places (despite the parking ticket) and have seen more of downtown this week than the 5 weeks previous. Of course, I haven't had much time to do this in the last 5 weeks, but them needing a ride gave me the confidence to tackle down down traffic and to find places. I've decided next time I'm here I'll spend more time doing that - heading off downtown, finding the places I wanted to go this trip but didn't feel comfortable asking anyone to take me or brave enough to do it on my own. With familiarity comes confidence.

Tomorrow is my last day at work, and if today was any guage, it will be a bitch. I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to fit in last minute meetings and training sessions. I am going in early to get some grunt work done before everyone else gets there. I've been asked out to dinner tomorrow by one of the local guys, I am looking forward to it - I just hope the head guy here isn't organizing anything or I'll have to decide which to attend.

I will admit that I am using the last of my patience, I am so anxious to get on that airplane and go home. In a way I hope tomorrow is busy, it will fly by. A little shopping Friday morning and leave mid-afternoon. And not a moment too soon.

1 day and a wake-up.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

cold store

cold store
Originally uploaded by greens n cornbread
These little stores are everywhere. I don't know why they are referred to as cold stores. This is about as small as I've seen one, the one just down the street from us is maybe 3 times bigger - which isn't saying much. They have a little bit of everything - including McVitie's Hob-Nobs (which I am munching on as I type, trying to keep the crumbs out of the keyboard). People double and triple park outside of these places, and will occasionally beep their horn to get the attention of someone inside - curb-side service? I was warned when I got here that when I get something, don't take my money out until they ring it up - supposedly things get more expensive if they see you have plenty of money. I personally think that if they were that greedy, they would be ringing things up higher for foreigners whether they see your money or not. Which maybe they do? I haven't seen it, and the prices I've been paying don't seem to be high.

two days and a wake-up.

ma salama.

Monday, December 03, 2007

ground breaking

ground breaking
Originally uploaded by greens n cornbread
Okay, I promise this is the last post about dirt - but I had to show you this. This is the groundbreaking for the new waste processing system. The machine on the right is a pneumatic jackhammer attached to the end of a boom of a back hoe. They had to use it to create some ground for them to shovel for this ground breaking.

I am on one big rock, with a dust coating.

3 days and a wake-up.

be seeing you.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

take a picture of my bear!

This is the (silent) owner of the bear.

Today was the start of the week. Worked all day on this and that, broke camp at 6:30 and headed for the villa. Tonight was italian. Most of the restaurants around here have entertainment, a singer who plays either the piano or the guitar accompanied by a beat box or better. Usually pretty good, and usually Fillipino.

Today we had a ground breaking for a major project to improve the waste treatment facility. They had tables set up that displayed the plans for the project, with refreshments. Several people took turns turning a shovel full of rock (broken up previously with a backhoe-mounted jack hammer). All major projects get at least his level of ceremony. When they broke ground for a new building here, they sacrificed 3 sheep. They were then cooked and served to everyone at a feast. I'm glad this didn't rate that level of ceremony.

4 days and a wake-up.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hard Rock Bahrain

Hard Rock Bahrain
Originally uploaded by greens n cornbread
After we left the Gold Souq yesterday we zig-zagged a block (or two) and pulled up in front of the Hard Rock Cafe, Bahrain. Several of us had had requests for a tshirt and it was about the right time, so we went in and had lunch. They had this big glass wall with different scenes representative of here (although I've seen a camel crossing sign, I've yet to see an actual camel). I take the picture and when I put the camera down I see the little boy from the table holding up his bear. His mom was telling him to get out of the way, but I asked if he wanted me to take a picture of his bear. I didn't notice until I downloaded this picture that his bear had already had his picture taken.

Today we knocked off at 1:00 PM, so I did get my half-day off. The guys who came in a day or two ago asked if I would take them out the King Fahd Causeway so we did. Afterwards we went back downtown, apparently some of the fake watches had fake winding stems that came off. So we went back to exchange them. I don't know what they did for him but I heard they got out a tool set. I didn't ask, I don't know him that well and if he got done over in his deal I didn't want to remind him of it by bringing it up. Anyway, we left the souq and when we got back to the car, I had a damned parking ticket. ARGH! My first one in 19 years. I don't have a clue what to do, I will start finding out tomorrow. I briefly considered just tossing it. Technically, the car isn't registered to me, I wasn't there at the time so they don't know me from adam's housecat. I believe the car is registered to the wife of the head man here. She doesn't live here anymore, so they can't exactly go after her either - but when it's time to renew the registration it would be held up until the unpaid ticket is cleared up. So I didn't toss the ticket - like I really would have. I feel really stupid for having got it. I didn't feed a parking meter. Well - I'm paying for that parking space now.

We grilled out tonight - beef and lamb kabob, steamed asparagus, grilled tomato halves with olive oil & parmesan cheese, potatoes au gratin, garlic bread, and fruit salad for desert. We all pitched to prep and clean up afterwards and hung around the roof deck - until the ball game started. Everyone peeled off to find a TV. So here I am, and they're all deciding how long to watch before calling it a night. Some are planning to get up at 4:00 AM to watch the "big" game. I wish them a good game, I'm sleeping through.

5 days and a wake-up (sounded better than six days).