Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Know You Are Too Wrapped Up In Work When...

I have not slept well all week. I don't know if I have too much on my mind or something like that but every now and then I just can't get my mind to settle down and stop thinking.

Last night was one of those nights. I turned out the lights and instantly my mind started racing, thinking about appointments I needed to make and emails I needed to send the next day and all kinds of other things on my to-do list ( a wise person once told me that to-do lists are overrated and after a night like this I'm leaning towards agreeing).

I got hot and threw off the covers... I got cold and needed them. I was uncomfortable in one position so I switched and then got uncomfortable in that one. It was just one of those nights.

I finally drifted off to sleep and had very weird dreams. One of them sticks out.

I was at a chapter I visited recently (no names here). A truck pulled up and dumped a gigantic pile of mulch in the front yard. Everyone saw what a mess the truck had made and got upset. I tried to rally everyone. I told them how if everyone did a little but of work they could have it all moved in no time. I held meetings with people individually and showed them how it could be done. The guys started to buy in to it and I left feeling good about them and looked forward to seeing their brand new, landscaped yard.

I check back in and the mulch is gone but not in the yard where it is supposed to be. I walk into the house and the guys have taken the mulch and packed it into their bathroom. I get mad and begin to shovel it outside. The guys start yelling at me to stop and grab my shovel. One of them asks me to leave because they were doing just fine without me.

 I don't need to be a shrink to figure out the meaning of this dream. This one hit pretty close to home. It pretty much sums up my job.

Going back to 1973

Welcome to 1973. The Arab OPEC countries have placed an embargo on the United States and it is a time of gas shortages and high prices. Okay, maybe we aren't as bad off as in 1973, but it sure felt like it.
I flew into Atlanta today and I read this week about gas shortages across the Southeast. As I sat there I thought "how bad could it really be?" It was worse than I thought. I landed and had about 60 miles before I ran out of gas. I normally do not fill up my tank before I leave my car at the airport because I am afraid of someone syphoning my gas. It normally works out great, but not so much today. Who really expects a gas shortage? I decided to drive a little bit away from Atlanta to improve my chances of finding gasoline.
After I drove about 30 miles away from Atlanta, I stopped for lunch at an exit with plenty of restaurants and 5 gas stations. As it turns out, four of the five stations were out of gas. They had notes stuck to the pumps that said "No Gas." Finally I found a station that had gas.
The notes are hard to read but the station had no premium or mid-grade gas and limited people to around 10 gallons. I got my 10 gallons and figured it would at least get me to Auburn. As it turns out, there is some gas in Auburn, but I am hearing rumors they are running out too. Word on the street is that a gas shipment came in to one station here tonight and I need to run out and get some before its gone.
How ridiculous were those last two sentences? I feel like I'm in a bad horror movie about the end of the world. We are running out of gas and people now share rumors of new gasoline shipments. How did things get so bad?

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm Hoping This Doesn't Keep Me From Voting

Today, among other things, I wanted to make sure I registered to get an absentee ballot for the November 4th election. I do a quick google search and find the Washoe County voter page. I registered to vote in Las Vegas when I moved to Nevada and then changed my address to Reno so I wouldn't have to vote through absentee ballot. If it sounds complicated now, just wait.

So I see a number and call to see how I can get an absentee ballot. A woman answers the phone and this is how I remember our conversation going:

Her: Hello, Washoe County Register of Voters

Me: Hi, I looking for information about getting an absentee ballot.

Her: Do you currently live in Nevada?

Me: Uh, I am registered to vote in Nevada and am currently in Ohio.

Her: Do you live in Nevada?

Me: Yes, but I am out of the state for the next few months and would still like to vote.

Her: What is your address in Nevada?

Me: (Silence... and then I semi panic. Oh crap... I think I'm registered at my fraternity house and now I have my mom's address, the address here in Oxford, and my dad's address all running through my head.) Um... hold on a second. I use several different addresses.

Her: (in a condescending tone...) You mean you don't know your address?

Me: Well, I am in Ohio and have that address stuck in my head. Oh ok I remember... (I gave it to her)

Her: OK, what is your physical address? Where do you lay your head at night?

Me: (In my head...Okay, first of all where I lay my head is none of your business and second, I just gave it to you). Umm...Its the one I just gave you.

Her: But you aren't there anymore?

Me: No, I will be out of the state until after the election. (and in my head... No, I am not in the state, that is exactly why I need an absentee ballot)

Her: Okay well to download the form simpy go to our website.

Me: Okay, thank you.

And then I hung up. Did I really just have the whole drawn out conversation for her to just tell me to go to their website? Why were her questions so necessary?

So then in my infinite wisdom decided that I would not only register for an absentee ballot but also do a change of address request via fax. They are probably going to freak out at the Voter's office and not let me vote. We shall see.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Unseasonably Cold Weather and the Joys of Air Travel

Because it was a long weekend and because I had a free ticket on Southwest and because who really needs to have a good reason to get away for a long weekend, I went to Reno.
I had not been back since earlier this summer and it was very nice to take a break from travelling. I don't know yet if it's a bad sign that I feel like I need a vacation after only two chapter visits. The weather last week in Tennessee was rough because of the remants of a hurricane (there have been so many I lost track of which one it was). The weather in Reno was on the cold side but a welcome break from rain and humidity. The highs each day were in the 70's or 80's and the lows at night were in the 40's and 50's. This is the reason for the funny hat. I was freezing and only had shorts and short sleeves packed. (I mostly didn't pack properly for the weather because I stuffed all of my dirty laundry into my suitcase to do while I was out in Reno. Yes, rather than go to a laundry mat or use someone's washer and dryer, I brought my dirty clothes with me to Reno. But, I digress.
I went to Nevada's opening football game and they stomped Grambling.
The University hyped the Grambling band to sell tickets and they were as good as advertised. I thought it was funny that they would put so much emphasis on another school's band when Nevada's band is getting cut because of a lack of funding. I got to sit up in the AD's box for the game and got to hang out with Ryan and Josh as well. There were a few adventures, but all in all, a good night. I left the blackjack tables up $15 so I can say I left Reno a winner.
I played golf for the first two days that I was there and really couldn't have hit the broad side of a barn if I wanted to. There is something going on with my swing that I just can't seem to figure out. The course is a PGA course and will eat you alive if you aren't accurate with your shots... Not quite the place to be trying to iron the wrinkles out of your swing. I didn't keep score and just enjoyed being outside and spending some time with my Dad.
I also got to spend some quality time with my family, including Claire (aka Booger pictured above). This was on our way to go shopping and the song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" came one. This was ger expression after she heard my feeble attempts to sing the song. I know all of the words but was not blessed with any semblance of a singing voice. Claire was not impressed either way.
Tuesday night was make-your-own-pizza night and this is the future heartburn I made. I has pepperoni, sausage, spicy beef, and jalapenos. It turned out much better than I expected but still managed to give me haertburn. (Man, am I THAT old?)
The next pictures were when I stole Claire's glasses and wore them . I just thought they look funny so I included them.

Whenever I travel, I never cease to be amazed at how stupid people can be. On my way out to Reno, my flight connected through Las Vegas. When the plane landed in Las Vegas and parked at the gate, a guy in front of me jumped up and started to try to make his way to the back of the airplane. Apparently, he had put some of his luggage in an overhead bin several rows behind his seat. Instead of doing the logical thing and waiting or having someone pass it forward, this guy decided to try to force his way through the aisle to grab his bags. The aisles on airplanes are clearly not large enough for two people to occupy the same space comfortably but this guy decided to go full speed ahead.
Another funny note about flying into Las Vegas. You will never be on a more rowdy flight than one flying to Las Vegas. People have been drinking, they talk and laugh and are abviously very excited to get to Vegas. I have even been on several flights where the passengers clapped when the plane landed. When was the last time someone clapped when your flight landed? The part that makes this funny si when you have an early morning flight out of Las Vegas. Everyone is standing in the terminal hungover, chugging coffee, and looking like someone punched them in the gut. The flight out is as quiet as a tomb.
The other thing I am amazed about is how people seem to get dumber the minute they hit airport security. I don't think I will ever stopped being amazed by people's stupidity when it comes to the security checkpoint in airports.
On my way back to Nashville, I saw next to an older woman. We had the middle seat unoccupied between us and so I grabbed my book and settled in. The plane hit some turbulence and I woke up from a nap to see the woman staring intently at her tray table. She would lift it up like she was going to put it away and then let it drop. Then she would life it part way and begin to pull it up and down. As i watched out of the corner of my eye, she did this for a good 10 minutes before putting the tray up. Weird.
If you ever have wondered, This is what I would look like with purple glasses. More adventures to come.