My Blog

Smoke gets in your eyes….

It’s Wednesday, and it seems that I’ve just been able to catch my breath today. It’s been a busy week.

The trip home from Brasil was uneventful. The planes arrived and left on time, more or less. The six-hour layover in Miami on the way home was the usual boring wait. There was a little drama, though. Chicago’s O’Hare airport was cancelling flights due to a snow storm. Flights from Miami were being canceled.comix.jpg You should have seen some of the people at the gate! The passengers were really upset, and treated the gate agents as if the cancellation was their fault. Weather affects air travel. People should understand that. Just because one has a ticket doesn’t mean that you will arrive at your destination on time. I should know…

I arrived at PHL on Friday at 1:30 or so. My son was not available to give me a ride home (he didn’t have enough gasoline to get to the airport), so I took the train. I arrived in Wilmington at 4:15 and walked home. I had just enough time to walk Bonnie and take a quick shower before going to work. duck.jpg Here’s the sun setting on a lonely duck. I worked 12 hr night shifts on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Yesterday was my day off, but I slept until after 1pm. Today, I had to get up early to drive to Allentown (about 90 minutes) to pass my semi-annual smoke reading test. More about that later. Although I have much to do tomorrow, chances are that I will goof off all day and try to recharge myself a bit. I’ve also resolved to make my future blog posts shorter and post more often. I often think of things to write, but I neglect to make time. I plan on typing an entry every day or two to keep that from happening.

Down comes the tree…

tree.jpg My small backyard is going to get some improvements soon. I’m thinking about adding a deck. The yard between the kitchen and the garage would be perfect for a deck. Also, the house is so darn small that we need the living space. I had a very old tree back there. Sunday was a nice day and I used my afternoon time before work to take the old tree down. Nearby phone wires made it a bit of a challenge, but I dropped it in small bits that would not take down the wires. As I was cutting through the trunk, I discovered that it was almost completely hollow! This was a good thing, as it is SO much easier to saw through a hollow tree than a solid one. Monday, Andrew took the tree bits to the landfill, leaving us with a more-or-less empty yard. I’ll likely start on drawing the plans for a deck next week.

More ring stuff..

loja.jpg Monday, I took Monica’s ring to the jewelers to have our really nice stone mounted to the setting that we picked out. The jeweler liked the stone and said that it was a quality diamond. They also have some sort of probe that they stick on diamonds to make sure they are real – I suppose that it works on conductivity. In any event, I’ll have that work done by next week – in planty of time for my next trip to Brasil. Monica is arranging for a dinner on Saturday night, where I’ll make our engagement official. That should be neat.

img_0300.jpg Kate has gone back to work. She returned to Washington on Sunday morning. I suppose that Uncls Sam needs her back, but it was nice seeing her. She’s a good kid and I’m proud of her. I let her use my Explorer while she was here, and it started to give her a little trouble. It seems that it will need to visit the transmission shop trans.jpg sometime soon. The check engine light was on, and the OBDII code indicated trouble with the transmission’s valve body – it also seems to be slipping a bit. I will NOT get another transmission (eBay has them for $600) and swap it out myself. I am tempted to, but I am too busy (and getting too old) to spend all day on my back underneath a car doing that sort of work. Just because I can doesn’t mean that I should….

Trouble in the ‘hood..

hood.jpg Sunday, a young man was shot to death a few blocks from our house. This is pretty unusual in this part of town. I live in a poor part of the city, but because the neighborhood is so small, we seldom have this kind of thing happen. Everybody knows everyone, so you can’t get away with anything like this. This was not likely done by anyone living here. The young man did not have a spotless history and I suppose that the shooting was not a random one. Still, it’s a bad thing – especially when it happens just around the corner. I was walking Bonnie just before work and came upon the scene as the police were just arriving. I took this picture with my phone. Local Newspaper article

This morning, I had to drive to Allentown to re-certify as a smokestack reader. Yes, that’s right. I am certified by ETA as an official legal-type smokestack reader. I have been doing this for about three years now. I have to be tested every six months to maintain my certification. It is something that I have to do for work. We stand out in a field (yes, it’s cold) and watch a smokestack. smoke.jpg The operators of the test give us 50 different readings and we write down what we think that they are. We turn in the test and if your score is good enough, you can go home. If not, you have to stay for another test. smoke2.jpg If you continue to have trouble, you can come back the next day for more testing. It is more difficult than it sounds. The wind changes as the test is going on, the sun comes out from behind clouds – all of these change what you see. Even if you’re really good, only ONE reading more than 15% off means that you have to take the test again. This happened to me today. I had really good scores, but I was 20% off on one reading on the first two tests, so I had to stay out there in that windy, cold field and take more tests. I usually pass on the first one. Not today, but I did pass eventually. 26032008051.jpg

All for now,


Monica, eu te amo.






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