Monthly Archives: November 2009

A face from the past

I think it is interesting when someone from the past reaches out with a touch. With the amount of moving around we have done over the past several decades, we have left a lot of friendships behind.  Late last week I had a “face from the past” get in touch courtesy of Facebook.  Ann is a former high school friend with whom I’ve had but a single contact since the mid 1970s; we ran into each other at her (and my brother’s) HS class reunion in 1991.

I haven’t lived in my hometown of Pittsburgh since I was 18, so I never casually run into old high school classmates in the grocery store or the like. As I have written earlier, I have stayed in close touch with one old friend, and became reacquainted with another over the past few months. All of that is just a way of saying that a reconnect with someone from that time of my life is a rare treat.

Fortunately, Mrs. Poolman is not the jealous type, because Ann could be categorized as a “former girl friend.” We dated for about six months after I graduated from HS. She was the first girl I could actually describe as a “girl friend.” We had a fun time and when we broke up, we remained friends. No hard feelings on either side. She was quite smart with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor. She went on to become a tax attorney.

Snipe

A "Snipe" sailboat

I also remember her parents fondly. Her dad had her same sarcastic wit, and while he didn’t spare me, he was generally pretty nice to me. They had a small sailboat, and he taught me how to sail. Her mom was a real sweetheart. I think I was nearly as fond of her as I was of Ann.

So in the course of six months of dating, I had some fun and received an introduction to both relationships and sailing. Ann also took up knitting during that time, and she made me two sweaters that I wore for several more years. All told – a very positive experience and a pleasant memory.

Thanks for reaching out, Ann!

Monday rambles…

We had a busy weekend. We left for Florida Friday afternoon and didn’t get home until late Sunday afternoon. 48 hours of travel for a three-hour football game. Oh well.

Apparently, the controversy with this game (Florida-Vanderbilt), according to the announcers, was the stadium noise, or lack of it. Not counting my time as a student, I have been going to Florida home games since the early 90s. There is no problem with the noise. The fans get up and make noise to disrupt the opponent’s offense when there is a reason to do so. Sorry, ESPN guys, Vandy just wasn’t an opponent to really get everyone screaming themselves hoarse. The one time they actually did get into scoring position, the crowd got loud. Otherwise, the UF ‘D’ didn’t need the help.

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I got a call late last week from one of the organizers of a local charity event, the Chili Bowl.

Chili Bowl 08 W

Chili Bowl III 2008

Mrs. Poolman and I have helped with this event for the past two years. It is an outdoor chili cook-off and multi-band concert in a large downtown park in early December. The idea is to raise money for one or two specific individuals who have serious medical issues and need help with the bills. Each year they pick a different person(s). We got involved two years ago when the beneficiary was the son-in-law of one of our friends, and a co-worker of Mrs. Poolman.

I can offer some assistance in advance publicity through my contacts. Mrs. P and I both go down the help out on the day of the event. The beer truck is the most popular work station. Wonder why? More on this as it develops.

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I talked with the middle of my three sisters last night. She and her family live in South Carolina. I have been considering a short run to see my Dad in Pittsburgh sometime around Christmas. I didn’t want to fly due to the expense, which means driving, roughly 11 hours each way.

Mrs. P was not looking forward to making the drive at all. “After eight hours in the car, I just want to cut my throat,” she said.

I said I would just go on my own, to which Mrs. P said, “No way, are you going to drive that much in four days by yourself. I may cut my throat, but I’ll come with you.”

Knowing how unpleasant this would be, not to mention messy, I have been looking for alternative plans. So I asked Middle Sister if she would like to come along. Mrs. P can stay behind and keep the home fires burning, and I would pick Middle Sister up along the way. It looks like that is going to work. We’ll talk in a day or so to confirm.

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I heard a report on Georgia Public Radio this morning that the state mental health folks are going to make all the state mental hospitals smoke-free in January. I don’t smoke and never have, so I don’t really understand the problem. However, a person-who-shall-remain-nameless, to whom I am very close, is a rather enthusiastic smoker. Judging from her reaction when she is deprived for as little as a couple of hours, I suspect if those mental patients weren’t nuts before they gave up their butts, they would be afterwards.

Maybe this is a job-security program for the mental health folks.

Let’s order lunch!

We are having a pizza lunch at work tomorrow as a way of saying “thanks” to all the folks who volunteered their free time to help with our open house event a couple of weeks ago.

Pizzas

So this afternoon, I drove to a new chain-pizza place that just opened in a nearby (8 miles away) strip shopping mall. Since we are ordering for lunch, I wanted to get the order in plenty early. I also wanted to be able to look someone in the eye and make sure they…

a.) Got the order right

b.) Actually understood where to deliver it.

The second part can be an issue. We’re not that difficult to find, but we are a little out of the way. Usually directions to our lab can include the phrase “Just keep going until you think you are lost, and then drive a couple more miles. Oh, and be sure not to hit any of the deer that are running around the woods this time of year.”  Huh???

Deer 1-30 crop W

A couple of our local "fawna" 🙂 out for lunch themselves. "Did you say 'Pizza?'"

Sometimes the response is, “Don’t worry about it, I have a GPS.” The next conversation with those people is on their cell phone and usually begins with, “Hello? So where are you guys located? My GPS doesn’t seem to recognize your address.”

The guy I talked to was middle aged and had “management” on his name tag. He also seemed to comprehend my hand-drawn map. I am cautiously optimistic.

When I got back to our office, we got to talking about tips. How much should you tip a delivery guy/gal? In a restaurant, the total of the bill is usually a reflection of how much work went into the service, so a percentage works. But what a pizza delivery? If you use a percentage of the bill, is it fair to tip the guy who delivers only one pizza 90% less than the guy who delivers 10? How much more difficult is it to carry ten boxes to the door than just one?

Please understand, I am thinking of decent minimums, not maximums. I figure I should tip at least $5 for an order of $15 or less (33% if you are thinking of percentages), no matter how much less. Then move the scale up from there. I haven’t seen too many rich folks delivering pizza and wings. I just don’t think that is a place to pinch pennies. If you can’t afford a decent tip, you really can’t afford to have your food prepared and delivered to your door.

What do you think?

By the way, our tab tomorrow is $156 for 11 large pizzas. I’ll add $30 to that for a tip. That should help account for the extra gas he/she burns driving around in circles and getting lost on the way here.

A good read

I stayed up too late last night finishing a book. Both Mrs. Poolman and I read for pleasure, she more than I. Mrs. P can knock of a standard paperback book in a single off day.

The book I was reading, The Time Traveler’s Wife, was not my typical fare. I tend to lean more towards action fiction and historical non-fiction. I enjoy authors like John Sandford, James Patterson, W.E.B. Griffin, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. I also have a spot in my heart for Andrew Greely. On the non-fiction side, I consume history, especially military history. And if it flies and shoots, I’m all over it.

Time Travelers WifeAll of that is just a way of setting up that I really enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have always been intrigued with the fictional treatments of time travel, starting with HG Wells’ The Time Machine and working on up through Michael Crichton’s Timeline (another really outstanding time-travel book, by the way). Before reading it,  I suspected The Time Traveler’s Wife was a literary version of a “chick flick.” You know what I mean – a movie that deals mostly with relationships and emotions and one of the endearing characters dies at the end, usually of a long lingering illness. (See Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, Fried Green Tomatoes, and others.) While The Time Traveler’s Wife does have many of those characteristics (I won’t spoil it by being more specific.) those are balanced out by the fact that it is still an interesting, well written story that moves along.

The story is about Henry and Clare. Henry has a genetic abnormality that causes him to involuntarily travel in time. One moment he is here, and the next, he is stark naked in another place and time. The author, Audrey Niffengger, avoids the cliché of many time-travel authors by not inserting her  character into any historical settings. This is not a story in which the protagonist performs any great or historical acts. Henry’s time travels are much more personal.

Very early on, Henry and Clare meet. Clare is a stranger to Henry, but Clare has known Henry all her life. An older Henry was repeatedly transported back in time to Clare’s childhood. So when they meet, Henry is Clare’s long-time visitor and friend, while Henry has yet to meet Clare in his “real life.” The book develops their relationship, more or less following the chronological pace of Henry’s “real life.” There are lots of adventures and a couple of mysteries.

All told, it was a good book and I’m really glad I read it. It is definitely worth the effort. We didn’t see the movie when it was at the theaters. I’m looking forward to it’s release on DVD in a few months.

A punny day

Is it November already? How did that happen?

Nothing much shaking today,  so I’ll offer you a silly little joke, courtesy of my friend,  Pam.

Two brooms were hanging in the closet and after a while they got to know each other so well, they decided to get married.

One broom was, of course, the bride broom, the other the groom broom.
The bride broom looked very beautiful in her white dress. The groom broom was handsome and suave in his tuxedo. The wedding was lovely.

After the wedding, at the wedding dinner, the bride-broom leaned over and said to the groom-broom, “Honey, I think I’m pregnant. We are going to have a little whisk broom!”

“IMPOSSIBLE !”  said the groom broom.

(Are you ready for this? Brace yourself; this is going to hurt!)

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“We haven’t even SWEPT  together!”

Safe for another year…

Well, we get to live in Georgia for another year and don’t have to move. The Gators beat Georgia 41-17.  We’re safe for awhile.

Georgia wore black pants and black helmets for the first, and probably the last, time in their history.

uga.1101

Uniform gimmick doesn't work.

I’m not a big fan of uniform gimmicks. I thought UGA would have learned. Last year, they pulled out black jerseys for their home game with Alabama and were trounced in an embarrassing fashion, down 31-0 at the half. I suspect those black pants and helmets will be put away somewhere they won’t be found again.

We’ve had a busy weekend. Friday was a furlough day, so I was at home to help Mrs. Poolman prepare for our weekend company and the Saturday afternoon viewing party. We ran errands and then I handled the yard clean up and some of the house, while she focused more on food. It worked well. Patty’s youngest sister and her gang arrived around dinner time. It was nephew’s birthday, so she made chicken parmesan for dinner. It was loved and devoured by everyone. Both our kids made it over. The younger generation stayed up much too late. I hit the bed around 1230 am and things were still going strong. Must live to fight another day.

We had between 40 and 50 people here for a viewing party for the Florida-Georgia game, and fortunately, the Gators did not let us down.

We set up TVs both inside and in the courtyard.

Fla Ga View

We had a ton of food.

Fla Ga Food

Some guests were less interested in the game than the party, especially some of the Georgia fans, so they played bean bag toss and beer pong.

Fla Ga Bean

Bean bag toss

Late night beer pong.

Beer pong

Of course the party for the afternoon game lasted until around midnight.

Our house guests were all gone by around 12 30 pm today. At least one of our cats was not sorry to see them go.

Fla Ga Berta

Berta being anti-social.

She spent most of the past few days under the bedspread on our bed.

Cleaning up today. I think Mrs. Poolman is making crab cakes for dinner. Oooo good!