Category Archives: Work

A work weekend at Casa Poolman

This was a work weekend around Casa Poolman. It seems like every weekend for the past several weeks, Mrs. Poolman and I have determined that we would get a few things done around the house. And every weekend, we allow ourselves to be distracted for all or part of our planned work-time. (Funny how that happens.)   This weekend, I took Friday off so there would be no question we would be working. Here was the “to-do” list, and how successful we were.

  • Mow lawn – I’ll do it later in the week
  • Change oil and air filter on lawn mower – done
  • Rake patio area and spread mulch (big job) – done
  • Fertilize vegetables and install tomato cages – done
  • Wash outside of windows and window sills – not done
  • Dust house especially venetian blinds – not done
  • Trim low branches of oak tree over patio – done
  • Clean patio pavement – done
  • Place umbrellas in stands at tables – done
  • Clean rat “poop” in attic  (another big and very unpleasant job) – done (See earlier posts about our rodent issues.)
  • Brush and wash dogs – done
  • Cut down dead bushes in courtyard – not done

We didn’t get it all done, but I’m feeling pretty good. (By the way, I love making lists. The only thing I like more is to cross things off.)

This is what the patio area of the back yard looks like to start the summer season.

The back yard at Casa Poolman

The back yard at Casa Poolman

In addition, I removed the pool cover (86 degrees as of this morning) and vacuumed, backwashed, and adjusted chemicals. I also updated the check book and paid couple of bills.

And let’s not forget out multiple trips to Ace Hardware for more mulch.

First trip – 6 bags (We grossly underestimated.)

Second trip – 8 bags (“What? You’re back again?”)

Third trip – 4 bags (“You guys really can’t count, can you?”)

In the past, I have described my less-than-successful efforts to grow tomatoes and other veggies. Since we clearly do not learn from past experience, we are trying again this year. We bought a pre-fab raised bed kit at Home Depot to create our little 4 ft x 4 ft effort at agriculture. It contains several bags of potting and planting soil, three tomato plants and two pepper plants, and a little cinaltro. (Total outlay to date — approximately $1.5 million.)

The Poolman garden

The Poolman garden

I have it placed where it gets a lot of sun, but is shaded in the very late afternoon. I really hope we get some produce out of it this year. I’ll keep you informed.

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A busy day…

Today has been interesting, in two parts. This morning, we hosted a “state visit” by a group of roughly 65 VIPs, including the state Board of Regents, a bunch of university presidents and senior university system staffers. Most of these people have never been here so it was a pretty big deal.  I have been working to plan this event since mid-January and have fretted over the details and coordinating with the two other institutions in town. As it turns out, everything went very well. Everyone did what they were supposed to do and they did it well. No hitches and I heard nothing but compliments. Big load off.

Suits and dresses on the work deck. What's wrong with this picture?

Suits and dresses on the work deck. What’s wrong with this picture?

One of the cool things about my job is the opportunity to get out and take an occasional boat ride. This afternoon, I went along on one of our small skiffs to shoot some video for a promotional piece we are producing to market our research vessel.

Tough duty out on the water today.

Tough duty out on the water today.

The weather was gorgeous, roughly 80 degrees and sunny. We were out for about an hour which was just enough to sunburn my face. Duh. I did get one cool shot with my Canon point ‘n shoot camera. We frequently see dolphins around here, but it’s tough to get pictures because they don’t surface where and when you are expecting them. I did get this shot this afternoon, which was pretty pleased with.

A dolphin riding the bow wave of the R/V Savannah

A dolphin riding the bow wave of the R/V Savannah

On again, off again

I’m sitting here on my patio on a very nice Sunday afternoon, looking back on a hectic week, but a pleasant weekend.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, we had been planning to host a visit by the state senate higher education committee this week. Since the institute where I work is a unit of the state university system, this was a pretty big deal. Things started to unravel Monday morning, when the committee chair’s legislative assistant started calling around to make sure everyone who said they were going to come was still planning to do so. One senator backed out for medical reasons, and another, local senator started to get wishy-washy about how much of the activities he would be able to attend. This left us with just two confirmed senators, and one of those was local. We consulted with the committee chair, who wouldn’t come right out and say that we should cancel (or at least postpone) the visit, but strongly inferred it. So we spent two days calling and emailing around to make sure everyone got the word.

One concern was a low-country-boil dinner we had planned for Wednesday evening. We had invited a fairly good number of local people. We called and emailed all of those who responded to the RSVP on the invitation. I had a little concern (but not too much) for the roughly half of the invitees who couldn’t be bothered to mark a check on the pre-printed RSVP card and place it in the pre-addressed and pre-stamped return envelope to let us know if they were going to attend or not. (Sorry. That’s still a sore point with me.) We got in touch with many of them, but not all. I half-hoped someone who had not responded showed up for the dinner anyway.

“Oh, gee. Sorry, but we cancelled the dinner. We didn’t know you were coming or we would have called you. Have a nice evening.”

Snark!

Monday blues on Thursday

We’re back to work today after the Fourth of July holiday. I’ve heard a number of conversations about the mid-week holiday.  Most would prefer the three-day weekend, but it’s one of those half-empty, half full comparisons.

I mentioned to a friend that now we have just a “two-day work week.”

“Yeah, but it also means this week has two Mondays!”

But it also has two “Fridays.” That’s good, isn’t it?

We really don’t have much of a life…

…but I feel the need to post something anyway. We have been busy, but not real exciting.

We have spent the last few weekends mostly cleaning up our back yard and pool. The trees in our back yard dump an enormous amount of biomass and pollen in late March through mid April. It takes few weeks to get the yard and pool ready for warm weather use. The sad part is that there are a bunch of cool weekend activities in Savannah this time of year. Two weekends ago was the SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival. This past weekend, 11 sailing ships came to savannah for a “Tall Ship Challenge.”  We were raking, digging, planting, spreading mulch, etc.

We finished up on Saturday and the back yard doesn’t look too bad. We still have some more planting, but the basic work is done.

The pool

The patio

We had a few friends over for our first “open pool” of the season. With the warm and early spring, along with our solar blanket, we have the water temp up to the high 80s and are swimming several weeks earlier than in previous years.

Our friends, Lynn and Sam, came over with their 20-month old twin daughters, Helen and Brittany. Those two just get cuter every time we see them.

“Brittany, show us your ‘surprise face.'”

New year’s resolutions and science jokes

This morning the alarm clock rang at 6:15 am for the first time since December 22. It could have waited a while longer, in my opinion. I was getting used to those sleep-ins.

It’s January 2 and time to return to work. Things are slow today. Officially, it’s not a holiday for us, but most of our staff is taking a vacation day to say home and watch football (I guess.) I have set my DVR to tape the Gators in the Gator Bowl and will watch it tonight when I get home. The game is between two 6-6 teams, so who really cares if they see it “live?”

Looking back on 2011, it’s been a pretty good year. Our family has been, for the most part, healthy and happy. The year had few down spots, and many good times. My trip to Europe in the spring was a great experience.

Myself and my brother at the Cathedral of Notre Dame

I hope to make another trip soon, his time with Mrs. Poolman (although the trip with Mrs. P will not entail the military history focus.)

In catching up on some news-related Web sites, I came across all kinds of “New Year’s Resolutions” topics. One really rang a bell with me. Take a look at this column. It’s worth a short read. I wonder if he would mind if I just adopt his as mine also.

One of our scientists sent me an email with a joke voted the funniest by a group of scientists.  “I thought this would give you some insight into the people you work with,” he said.

A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line. He says: “OK, now what?”

I had heard it before. Not great, but not as bad as it could be, like maybe something like this.

Q: Why are quantum physicists so poor at sex?

A: Because when they find the position, they can’t find the momentum, and when they have the momentum, they can’t find the position.

If you don’t “get it,” that’s OK. Most people not familiar with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principal wouldn’t either.

On that weak note, here’s hoping everyone reading this has a great 2012!

The time-change strikes again!

Where I work, most people bring their lunches. The closest restaurants are a 10-15 minute drive away, so that makes it a hassle on a daily basis. I typically see the same group of people gathered in the small kitchen between 11:45 am and noon. It’s a regular little gathering.

So on Monday, I was a little surprised to see one of our accounting guys, John, fixing his lunch in the kitchen around 11 o’clock. I didn’t think anything of it until he stuck his head into my office around 12:15 pm, as I was finishing up my lunch.

“I wish you had asked me why I was eating lunch so early,” he said.

“Huh?” asked I.

He said he had forgotten about the semi-annual time change over the weekend. So he hadn’t changed the wall clock in his office back to regular time when he got to work in the morning. At 11 am, his clock told him it was actually noon.

“I had been working and I just looked up and saw it was lunch time. Gee, I thought — the morning sure had gone quickly. I also wondered why I wasn’t very hungry, and why the usual crowd wasn’t in the kitchen.”

John said that when the time changes again in the spring, he will organize a clock-changing party so he won’t have to eat lunch alone again.  Good idea.