Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Only Constant; Change

We went out to what used to be our favorite Indian Casino Destination this weekend. The place is called Apache Gold and sits on the San Carlos Indian Reservation about six miles outside of Globe. We have been going to this Casino for a few years. Vicki liked the bands and the dancing that they provided in their lounge as well as slot machines that took their time taking our money and sometimes even gave some back.

We hadn't been out there for 18 months so we knew there would be some changes. The problem was the changes were not for the better in our view. The management decided to remodel and remove the lounge with the weekend bands. Now they have a large sports bar area with a big screen projection TV and several flat screens as well. Where once the dance floor lay filled with moving couples there is now an area with pool tables, stools and tables and even a dart board. 

The local community now uses it as a local sports bar. They have bands once a month or so; we were told they even move the pool tables out and leave a little room for dancing. We stopped in to sit and eat munchies. It was not a good experience. Too much noise, too many drunks and way too loud for humans. 

So... things change. The old style slot machines have all but disappeared, replaced by video screens and animations and lots of colored lights. Instead of ding, ding, dings, you may hear a lion roar, or an old song, or any number of sounds. I find it humorous that these machines tend to make a lot of sound and fury for a win that may amount to a couple of dollars at most. As one machine went to extraordinary measures to assure us we had won a great big bonus (of $3.80) I commented to Vicki that I still felt like a winner because they used more than $3.80 worth of electricity to announce and stage our grand winnings. And these new machines don't waste any time taking your money either.

The 18 months that had passed since our last visit did bring a lot of change to the casino and to the drive up there as well. The towns of Superior, Claypool and Miami are doing road construction making some of the route a little bumpy and tight. Still, we have always enjoyed the scenery going up into the hills and I like the the turns and convolutions of the highway through the rocky terrain. So we still managed to have a good time overall.

We're back home now. Vicki is snoozing on the recliner next to me and I'm watching a movie and blogging. Change may be the only thing constant, but we still find a way to get back home together and that's something that's been a constant in lives for over 30 years.

Hope you and yours had as nice a weekend as we did.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

1st Week of spot Radiation

The actual name of the treatment is Steriotactic radiation, but I didn't want to put that in the title and have it confused with stereo components. The treatments this week were Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They give you a day off between them. The treatments are also pretty short, no longer than 30 minutes usually and very focused.

There are only two small masses in my lungs being treated and there will be 5 treatments per mass. It still remains a somewhat surreal experience though the machine and the noise it makes when radiating me is different from the first one.

I am not in chemo now so any side effects I am feeling are probably due to my body's reaction to the high level of radiation, intensely focused as it may be. I have been a little dizzy and tired this weekend along with some nausea. Otherwise OK.

We had our granddaughter Bailey with us this weekend which is always a great pleasure. We watched music videos, movies and ate Pizza. 

A very nice weekend indeed. 

Hope yours was as good.


Friday, January 8, 2016

A week of Mishaps

It started Tuesday when I cleaned my cubicle. After having severe sneezing attacks for the  previous few days, I decided to clean out the dust bunnies behind my two monitors and the small computer tower. I was doing OK till I accidentally knocked over the computer tower while cleaning up the dust bunnies.

The computer worked fine for a while, but then crashed later that afternoon. Our IT guy looked it over and diagnosed the problem as a scratch on the hard drive from the tower being knocked over. The only solution was to replace the hard drive (all my desktop stuff was lost) and that took all of Tuesday and half of Wednesday. 

The worst was yet to come. Going to pickup Vicki at work on Wednesday afternoon my car was attacked by a piece of a large truck tire that split my front bumper, knocked out the passenger side foglight and broke some plastic cover plates under the front end and engine compartment.

I was able to get the car to a Geico appraiser on Thursday, though he had to look at the car in the rain. His first attempt at documenting the damage failed because his camera refused to work in the rain. I suggested we pull under a covered parking space and he did his thing. The result being an appraisal to replace the front bumper, the grill, some wiring and some other stuff on the front end. The total for the repairs was over $1500 and that's before the front bumper is removed to see if other damaged is found.

Since I already had an appointment to have some warranty work done on the car at the dealership I decided to let them do the repairs as well. 

So... I got the car in to the shop this morning and am awaiting a call from the body shop about the repairs. I am hoping to get a different grill with this repair. The stock grill is a little boring and they make a variety of aftermarket grills that are less money than the stock one. We'll see.

I'll be driving an arrest me red Dodge Challenger for the next few days. I am hopeful I can avoid being ticketed on the interstate till we get our car back. I like to run pretty fast on the I-10 in the mornings on the way to work.

Wish me luck,


Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016

So, the ball has dropped, Gwen Stefani just sang and now it's officially 2016 Arizona time. We didn't go out for New Year's Eve, but I did get a chance to watch Alabama win a place in the championship game on  Jan 11th. It almost looked like Michigan State would make a game of it in the first half, but that didn't pan out for them.

I look forward to seeing how the Crimson Tide does against Clemson. I will be rooting for them as always. Once an Alabama boy always an Alabama boy.

I had a chance to talk with an old friend this evening as well. I haven't seen or heard from him in some time and it was great to hear he is still kicking. We commiserated on the state of businesses post the financial collapse of the previous years. We both agree that company owners and corporations have made themselves profitable again, but at the expense of their employees.

It seems that benefits and salaries have diminished while profits have increased. Both of us are making less money today than we did in the 90s and early 2000s. We both have a lot experience in our industry and have made our employers a bunch of money. Unfortunately little to none of that has come back to us.

We agreed that if we were younger we'd start our own company and show these dillweeds that run things now how it's done. Alas we are both old and in my case less than a couple of years from retirement. We're resigned to hanging in and watching the comedy of errors that our 30 and 40 something managers make of a business that we once knew as highly profitable and fun. Somehow this new generation of bottom liners, bean counters, e-mail senders, i pad and smart phone users have managed to take what was once a good thing and screw it up. 

They have managed to take the personal contact and relationships out of our business and replace it with e-mails and website downloads. What a bunch of crap.

If I sound like a dinosaur then so be it. I know how much fun we had and money we once made doing our jobs just a few years ago. Now the big brains have attempted to commoditize our talents and experience in the name of  efficiency and process.

It all seems quite soulless and pathetic to me.

On a happier note, I am extremely hopeful that 2016 will bring good health and prosperity to my family. We've paid our dues in that last few years. It's time to start enjoying the fruits of our labor, even if they pale in comparison to what could have been. That's history and I am a believer in living in the moment and making the best of whatever comes my way.

So.... The ball has dropped and the not so fat lady has sung. Let's have great 2016.