Well things are going to be a lot different for me starting yesterday. I was released from employment. It was a good ride – 13 years and 3 months. It was my job that brought me to New Hampshire, and for that I am thankful.

I bear no ill will to them. They were a good company to work for, and there were a lot of good people there, all the way to the top. I will miss them.

This sort of thing, though necessary, is still very painful. I am glad that I have put my trust in a Higher Power, and I will continue to lean on Him. Certainly a little harder now though!

My mind has been drawn to this text from Jeremiah.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:11

I know in my heart that the Lord has something better in store for me. I just don’t know what it is yet. I do wish the rest of my being would catch up with that thought sooner rather than later.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Tonight I will give you a month-old photo of some Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) that grows in my backyard.

While we were eating dinner tonight the power went out. It was raining, so I presume that might have had something to do with it. I had downloaded a couple of blog pages and some email to read, so I went ahead and read that. Then I took Penny outside in the rain and threw sticks for a bit. Then I came in and realized it was the perfect time to do something I had been meaning to do for some time – untangle all the power cords in the “IT” corner. It was a mess!

That kind of work does require light though, so I fished out my camping lantern. This is a solar/crank charged LED lantern, so there are no carbon monoxide fumes to worry about. When it gets dim I just crank it for another minute and we’re good to go for a while.

I found five cords that were plugged in only on one end. I don’t know what they used to power, but I’m guessing two of them were for the old desktop, two were for charging hand-held gaming systems, and one must have powered the old wireless router that we no longer use. I freed an entire surge protector and put the unused cables in a box of old computer parts down in the basement. I also disconnected our old very reliable HP LaserJet 5. That printer was a workhorse, and it still works perfectly. I think we got it in 1995. Unfortunately, we no longer run a computer with a parallel port, so it just sits there gathering dust. I ought to buy a USB-to-parallel converter. That thing is a tank.

About the time it got dark, we all loaded into my car and went to DQ for dessert. While we were out we noticed that the outage is pretty limited. They have power over on the next road.

When we got home, I rounded up a 60 watt inverter and an extension cord. I plugged them into Va’s car and routed the cord through the kitchen into the family room. We now have enough juice to run the essentials. And by “essentials” I mean the cable modem and wireless router. Forget the fridge and well pump! We must have Internet!

Actually, 60 watts doesn’t come close to running either the fridge or the well pump, but it does run the Internet OK. So we do what we can.

Ah! Power’s back!

Back when we lived in Virginia and my sons were somewhere between maybe seven and ten years old, David (my younger son) had the idea that we should try to make some chocolate soup. I thought that sounded intriguing, so we hopped in the car and drove to a grocery store. We bought hot chocolate, chocolate syrup, Hershey kisses, M&M’s, and maybe six other types of chocolate candy. I can’t remember what all we put in it, but it was over $20 worth of chocolate.

Then we melted some of the chocolate in a pan, added the hot chocolate and syrup, and stirred in the various candies. Once it was done, with “done” being defined as “a little melty” we ladled it into some bowls, got out some soup spoons and sat down to sample our creation.

It was waaaay too rich. Not a one of use was able to eat more than about a half cup of chocolate soup, and believe me, I tried. So did the boys.

Turns out, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Whodathunkit?

This blog reached a milestone today, by reaching the 20,000 hit mark. That’s not very impressive when you factor in the amount of time it’s been “alive” – three and a half years. That’s about 15 hits a day (though these days, I average about triple that per day). This will be the 941st post, and the blog has generated 879 comments (about half of which are mine).

I still enjoy blogging, so this will continue into the foreseeable future. I also enjoy reading other blogs, and the ones I read regularly are over there on the right in the blog roll.

Thank you for reading. And since most of my readers are also writers, thank you for writing too!

My Tilley

My Tilley

Today I mailed my hat back to Tilley to claim my free replacement. I have had this hat since Christmas, 2006, and have worn it almost every day since then. Inside the hat it says it is “insured against loss and guaranteed for life (replaced free if it ever wears out).” Looks like this might qualify.

I washed it (as per the instructions) a few months ago, and when it came out, it had developed a couple of holes – the biggest of which was about the size of a US quarter. I did not want to send it back then, because I had two camping trips coming up. But since those are over now, I knew it was time to claim the guarantee. Their instructions are that I should wash it and air dry it before returning it, so it was chucked in with the towels last night. This is how it came out.

Not only will Tilley replace this hat for free, they will also return the old friend when they ship the replacement (if requested). I did make such a request. My original plan was to sew a large Pathfinder patch of some sort over the holes, but I don’t think I have a patch that big. Still, I’m going to try to rehabilitate it somehow.

My hat not only keeps my balding head from getting sunburned, it also serves as an umbrella. It has accompanied me on many an outdoor excursion.

I dropped it in the mail a little while ago. I don’t know how long it will take to get the replacement. I have several lesser hats to use while I wait, but I’m not terribly inclined to do so. Unless it’s rainy. Or sunny. See you soon buddy.

In the morning I need to get up early. Beth and I are headed to Freeport, ME so she can attend Music Clinic. Va and the boys will stay home.

The forecast for Friday is calling for 9″ of snow at my house, and 6″ in Freeport. I still have 18″ in my yard in most places (though it’s bare over the septic tank). I’m thinking maybe we should bring our snowshoes.

Jonathan will have to clear the driveway Friday evening, but he’s more than capable of that, so there are no worries there. It’s supposed to be a wet, heavy snow, and they are expecting power outages. I’m sure they can deal with that too.

I’m staying home for Thanksgiving this year. We’re going to have dinner at our house with just our immediate household.

I do plan to knock out a few things that haven’t been getting done, and I actually started on that tonight when I cleaned out a junk corner next to the couch where I hang out. Tomorrow I plan to change the oil in the snowblower and maybe rake the leaves (but only until I’m sick of raking leaves). Maybe Beth and I will go snag a few geocaches too.

On Friday, I might hit the leaves a little more, and we’ll work more on cleaning the house. I will not be going to any stores. I might install a little more insulation in the attic – a project I started a year ago and have neglected for far too long.

So! Excitement!

A while back David had expressed a desire to get a guitar. I told him that if he would agree to take lessons, I would buy one post haste. He finally did agree to take lessons, and today post haste happened.

Va dropped him off at my office, and when I was done working, we walked down to a music store on Main Street. The first guitar the salesman showed us was more than double my budget. So I asked if he had anything a little on the “lower end” side of the scale, and of course he did. He whipped out an acoustic six-string Fender.

David liked it, it was within my budget, and it came with all kinds of goodies for a beginner: strap, carry bag, extra set of strings, a cheapo tuner, and an instructional DVD. Then we carried it back to the office, collected Jonathan, and headed home.

I think he’s pretty pleased with it. We also picked up a promotional brochure for lessons, but I want to ask a friend of mine who teaches trumpet at the Concord Music Conservatory (if that’s the name – it’s been a while) if he can recommend a good teacher.

Or maybe we’ll just go with whomever the store recommends, I dunno.

After we ate dinner, Jonathan set out on his first solo drive. He’s taking a class in statistics for the summer term, and those classes meet in the evening. That was part of the impetus to get his license. I didn’t want to have to make extra trips to Concord or otherwise occupy myself in town while he was in class. So off he goes.

I figured that after his solo trip to Belgium, maybe I wouldn’t worry about a solo trip to Concord, but I was wrong. I do find myself worrying. After all, he didn’t drive himself to Belgium. Still, he’s a good kid, and I’m sure he won’t do anything foolish. That’s what I keep telling myself anyhow.

Today Jonathan got his driver’s license, yay! Va took him to the DMV this morning. They have a kiosk there for taking the written part of the test. It asks questions until is has either asked 40, or the examinee has correctly answered 32. Then a state trooper sat with him as he took a cruise through Concord.

He did pretty OK! He “needs improvement” in a couple of areas (checking mirrors when merging and parallel parking), but it wasn’t serious enough to prevent them from issuing him his license.

Shortly after he finished, I added him to our insurance policy. There goes most of his first paycheck, but at least he should be able to cover it with only one.

New Hampshire issues temporary licenses while they make the permanent one. The temp one is a pretty flimsy black and white job. Kinda like the temp tags they put on new cars, but small. He’ll get his real one in a couple of weeks.

This inspired David to ask me to take him out driving tonight. So I did. He did pretty OK too, but he has just barely started. He’s still not comfortable driving 30MPH on the little road we live on – even on the paved section. But that’s OK, he’s learning. We need to get out a bit more frequently though. I have already wasted about a year that I could have used for teaching him.

Today after church I took a two-hour nap. Ahhh. When I got up, I played a game of Go-fish with Beth and David. We have some cards that depict various species of trees native to North America, with four related species grouped together. When you get all four, that would be a match.

Then I went to KFC and picked up a bucket-o-chicken for supper. We ate. I knitted a bit. That’s pretty much my day! I’ll likely knit a bit more tonight as I’ve already put Beth to bed and can’t very well work in the attic above her head while she’s trying to go to sleep. Maybe I’ll do some of that tomorrow.

Today was excruciatingly slow for me today at work. Beth was off from school, so I was able to go in early. I wanted to get there an hour early and leave an hour late to make up for leaving early Monday and Tuesday. As hard as it was to get up early, it was even harder to stay there past my normal quitting time. I was about the only one in the building. I was the last one out of the garage.

Just before it was time for me to FINALLY leave, Va called me. She wanted me to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things. Normally, this is not a problem. But today is Thanksgiving Eve. There is a high-falutin’ grocery store outside my office window and across the street, and I had noted that the parking lot was packed all day. People couldn’t even get into the lot and were backing back out onto Main Street. And yet… Va wanted me to go to a grocery store.

There’s a much more blue-collar grocery store across the other street, so I went there. But I knew better than to drive there. The parking lot was a madhouse, so I walked. It was pretty bad, but not as bad as I had expected. Maybe bracing myself helped a little.

Stoopid Joke Time: This morning when my former supervisor (who is Canadian) got in, I poked my head into his office and wished him a Happy Columbus Day. He got it. If you did too, congrats (it helps to be Canadian). If you want an explanation, press “more”.

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