Saturday, June 30, 2012

I am feeling a bit of travel envy. My kids just arrived on an island off the coast of Scotland (Iona) for the week.  Funded by a generous donor from from church, there are 20 in the group (15 kids). They left at noon yesterday and arrived almost 24 hours later traveling by car, plane, train, 2 ferry crossings and bus, and that is the direct route. The eldest came back a few months back from 3 months in Italy.  I also have been following the f/b car journey of a friend relocating with his family to western Canada and he is driving the family dog and car cross country and posting pictures of the stops along the way. They'll meet up with him later.

On my home front,. I've been mowing the lawn, planning my final few days of training before the 4th of July 5k, making Gazpacho for dinner and obviously hanging out on line and tonight we are planning to go the movies. Tomorrow, after doing church "coffee hour", I'll help a family member move, make dinner and then be strategizizing about having 2 kids in college in the fall work.

See the disparity between the first paragraph and the second.

It is also high tourist season with people all around on vacation. It's tough watching people on vacation, when you have chores and work. I expect that is the same when we are on vacation.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This past weekend, in between trips to Home Depot, we hit ball park. Pittsfield, which is about 15 minutes from here has one of the oldest baseball parks in the country, Wahconah Park. For years its been minor league and now the players are part of the Futures League, which is made up of college players. The Pittsield Suns is the local team.  The game was fun with about a thousand in the stands and a big picnic area and bouncing playground for the kids and tickets only $7. Between each inning there are games for the fans such as chase the pizza slice, races or one-dance comtests - all with tickets as prizes, except of course for the pizza. One of the funniest is that "stolen bases" are sponsored by a local security company which gets an ad each time it happens.  The people at the game are so different from the tourists we see for Tanglewood and the theater. Just regular folks enjoying a fun game at a fun park.

On this night the home team won, pulling out 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth. Forth of July game includes the biggest fireworks around. Another thing that is fun about living in this area.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer is here. The heat wave is on us. As I left work yesterday the car thermometer read 99. This morning in the Berkshires it's around 70. It is always a little cooler here and being up on hills there is usually a breeze. Since moving here 15 years ago we haven't pulled out the air conditioners that got moved to the basement. Don't even know if they'd work= and it usually isn't worth the effort for just a few days of heat. The fans to fine.

Running in this kind of weather is tough as much from the motivation perspective. Last weekend I did my longest run, 13.6 miles, proving to myself that I could do a half-marathon if I chose to and could find one local. So taking a few days off and training lighter after such a  distance is ok.

If things weren't crazy enough, we are scheduling renovations on a bathroom and installing flooring in a family room. The carpenter had been going to drop off the parts list a couple of weeks ago so that we could make all the choices and do the ordering.  He got tied up and dropped it off a couple of days ago and still wants to start next week sometime. Eeek!! Being a the scheduling mercy of tradespeople is a pain. I easily get in over stimulation mode at Home Depot with all the choices and options and all the little pieces that need to be bought for such a project. The good surprise was that his bid included demolition, which is a first for us. It is usually me who is the demo crew.

Stay cool!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reality Check

So...every once in a while life comes up and bites you in the butt and gives you a reality check that puts your issues back in perspective.

Last night I go an email that someone I had volunteered with several years on school drama program died of cancer. He was in his early 50s, someone who was there every weekend and heavily involved. He and his wife were one of those super volunteers and he was also a nice guy, liked by the kids and parents. He was diagnosed last fall with cancer of the esophagus and pancreas.  I have no reason to see him other than in this setting as we live a distance apart and when I saw for a few minutes this spring he was in a wheelchair and was recovering from a lung infection and was a shadow the person I knew.  That was 2 months ago. Many of us who knew him and worked with him are numb.

He has two kids the same ages as mine, the oldest will be a senior in college this year, the youngest just started college.  I can't even imagine what they have been going through or what is going on with them now.

 So a little perspective on my rants and what has been going on with me.  My issues pale in comparison.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

systems overload

It has been an overload past few weeks and I still feel like I am on that delicate balance between overload and totally fried. The week before last it was the floor refinishing and last week it was senior day followed the next day by prom the a day in between and then graduation. A lot going on. Throw into the mix a tree partially falling down in the backyard and hanging against a main tree mid center of the yard. It had been leaning but the big wind and rain last week was too much for it. But to keep it not so simple, we have a graduation party coming up next weekend using of course the back yard and in order to get a machine back there I had to star taking down the wooden swing set / structure but can't put it someplace permanent until I know which direction around the house the machine can come, so it sits in large pieces on the lawn. And did I mention that I am at the vortex or a division restructuring / reorganization at work that I am facilitating but not-because I am delegating much of what I have been doing the past 10 years, and while no one clearly knows the outcome,  I am expected to figure out how to implement a vaguely defined but graphically visual [only to the head person] of what the outcome is to achieve and on even more center stage I am coaching and tempering personalities in a major 2 year software implementation that hit one of it's major peaks this past month all the while also having to field and negotiate a major contract negotiation that has been rushed to a crowded forefront in the past month.

So, it is that seemingly run on stream of consciousness that is me at the moment. A seeming blur in the mind that reminds me of playing an old game of Asteroids where the object is to knock off the incoming asteroids before they knock off you. 

It may seem like I am complaining, but I am really not. The tree and the house stuff are annoying and complicate things and the work stuff is stressful because of its lack of clarity and direction and while I often deal ok with that, this has been going on for over a year and I am just tired and I dream more and more of hat winning lottery ticket.

But the family stuff is wonderful and I am trying to soak it in. I think life is crazy at time for most of us. It just sometimes ramps up and things collide more than usual. I had someone look at me today and say that I seem to be disappearing before their eyes.  It was a compliment of sorts. To control all of what is going on, I've increased the running miles which usually translates into a little more fat coming off.I still have plenty to spare so they is no concern over me fading away.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yesterday as we were leaving the seniors awards day my wife I were recounting that for the past 16 years we have been transporting someone to school. At first it was across town, because the 5 minute car ride was 45 on the bus, then to the local middle school 2 minutes away and for the past 7 years to high school several towns away. While we occasionally split some of the earlier years, she has been doing the high school trips back and forth sometimes multiple times a day. That has all ended and Sunday morning will be our last high school trip as a "connected family"

Over the past year and especially the past few months we have been profoundly aware that this was coming and cherishing the events as they were occurring and the small things like me making a breakfast to be grabbed as the youngest runs out the door to school or the last lunch packed for a half day or the last basketball and baseball games. Of course we can see more game, but as many of the kids we know and have known are moving on it will never be the same.

Thirteen years ago I remember so vividly riding the kindergarten school bus with my youngest as a parent escort. Last we when she drove off for a the last final exam I got a little teary. Where did the time go?  Tonight is prom and Sunday is is the community breakfast and graduation.

I expect over the next few days I be even more teary, confirming that dad is a real softy.