Tuesday, December 3, 2013

RIP Julian Bashir Herring 1996 - 2013

I took Julian to the vet after I got home from work and found him hiding under the day bed upstairs in the loft. His breathing was labored, and he'd been bleeding from his nose. The vet checked him out, and the diagnosis was a tumor in the sinus cavity that had started affecting his brain. That accounted for the convulsions that he went through this morning. At his age, and with the prognosis being that he'd go down rapidly, with more frequent and more violent seizures, I had the vet end it. I held him on my lap til the end, which came quick and easy.

It was almost harder coming back to the empty apartment. At least when I went through this with Mikey, Jules was waiting for me when I got back. When you're separated from you wife as I've been for over 3 years except for the occasional weekend, the guys gave me someone to talk to, to vent to without comment back, and (most important for me) someone to keep me relatively sane.

For anyone with pets, what I did today is the hardest thing you'll ever do. No matter the need, no matter that its the correct thing to do, you are intentionally ending the life of a critter that you've shared your life with for years. They will generally still be aware, still interacting with their world, and with an injection and a few seconds all of that stops. Regardless of who wielded the syringe, you just killed your pet.

So, I'm sitting here occasionally in tears,with a candle and a stick of incense burning in honor of a small gray cat that never took shit from anyone.

Vaya con Dios, little man.

And then there were none...

Jules has taken a turn for the worse, and I'll be surprised to find him still clinging to the mortal coil when I get home from work today. He had either an epileptic seizure or a stroke this morning, and I left him sleeping when I came in to work. I really find myself hoping that nature takes care of this...having to make end-of-life decisions with 2 cats in a row, especially having lived with them for so many years, is just about too much.

More on this story as it unfolds....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dragon*Con recap

Well, Dragon*Con was as fun as always. Here's a look at my parade costume:

And yes, it was as bloody hot as it looks. The parade route was longer this year, and the wait to start was draining. But, I was actually able to keep the costume on for a few hours after the parade ended, which was fun. 

This year I didn't make it to as many of the panels as I have in the past. But, since we've already gotten our room reservations for next year, I guess I can make up for it.  I spent one day as a character from the Dresden Files, and didn't get a single person to guess who I was supposed to be. Next year it'll be with a good staff and the cloak of the Gray Council (lets see if anyone gets THAT reference!).

The Arlington house is now officially in our name. I managed to get the mower working, and fixed the chain saw. So, guess what I get to do until winter...

So, here's to Fall, cooler temperatures, and a new set of kittens in Arlington. Who knows, maybe they'll learn to like humans...though they sure don't right now!

And now, more Con pics!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

If it's August, it must be Dragon*Con Time!

In 10 days my craziest sister and I will be on our way to Atlanta to participate in Dragon*Con. I'm still trying to figure out how she convinced me to go the first time (this will by my 3rd year), and even more impressive she's managed to get me to actually dress up in costume. If you think it strange that a couple of near 60 year old siblings spend a weekend playing dress up, then you've never been to a science fiction / fantasy convention. For more information, go to HTTP://WWW.DRAGONCON.ORG.

This year, the same as last year, we'll be in the Saturday parade through downtown Atlanta in the Steampunk group. I've souped up the costume from last year to something that doesn't look like it was purchased from a cheap costume store. I just hope it's not as hot as it was last year. My costume didn't last past the parade, as it was soaked in sweat by the time we finished up.

As one of my favorite authors is scheduled to be at the con this year (Dresden File's Jim Butcher), my Friday costume is an easy one.  I'm going as Blackstaff Ebeneezer McCoy. That means I'll be in overalls, t-shirt, boots, a gnarly staff, and a grey cloak. I'm just curious as to how many people figure it out!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The gods have a twisted sense of humor....

In our last episode, we learned that the intrepid duo are bagging their long held plans of retiring to Arlington, in favor of moving back to the best side of Tennessee.

Last Monday, after all the decisions had been made, I got a job offer from the company doing the IT work at the old gasseous diffusion plant in Paducah. It was the kind of offer that you don't turn down easily...good money, great benefits, etc. However, since we'd decided to drop the west Kentucky stuff, I turned it down (if through gritted teeth).

Fast forward to Wednesday. I noticed the voice mail indicator was showing on my phone. I thought that weird, since I'd not gotten any calls that day. When I listened to them, I discovered they were from the previous week, and from the guy at the plant. He wanted me to call him back to offer me the job. Now, if I'd actually gotten the message the day it was left, I'd have taken the job and turned in my notice at the clinic. I'm starting to believe that somebody out there really wants me back in east Tennessee, as this is the first and only time that voice mail messages didn't show up on my phone as soon as they were left. Since then, I've actually gotten messages, with no delay.

Funny, huh?

Gayle told me today that Stoopid managed to get out of the house last night, and hasn't been seen since. I hope he's ok, but figure he just had a lot of business to catch up on. After all, he's only been a full-time indoor cat for a couple of months.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What do you mean it's August?

It's August 4th. I'm looking at another shot at upgrading our Exchange environment next weekend, but this time the entire department is going to help.  Hopefully we can get that knocked out, and start enjoying the benefits of Exchange 2013.

Gayle and I (well, mainly me to make it possible to live with Gayle) have decided that we'll be selling the house in Arlington. We'll put it on the market once we've gotten it in our name. The problem is that Gayle doesn't want to live in Arlington, hasn't made any friends there in the 2+ years she's lived there, and wants to get back to her friends in East Tennessee. As I've not made any bones about not being fond of the west end of either Kentucky or Tennesee, I'm not exactly bummer by the decision, but there's this:

I've spent the last 2 years looking for work in the Paducah area, having turned down headhunters from the Knoxville area. Now, I'll have to eat crow and get them working to find me a job there again. On top of that, getting away for interviews in Paducah envolved a 3 hour drive...Knoxville is 7 hours away without risking life and license to get there. Oh, well, I've a ton of vacation time, so we'll just have to see.

I plan on bringing Stoopid down from Arlington in 2 weeks. I'll have him neutered, get him checked out and immunized, and introduce him to Julian. Won't that be fun!

23 days til I head to Oak Ridge on the first leg of the Dragon*Con adventure this year!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Birthday to the United States

It's the weekend before the fourth of July, and Exchange 2013 has me on the ropes.

I started our move from Exchange 2007 to 2013 three weeks ago. That didn't go that well, mainly because I didn't give everyone enough notice that email would be unavailable during the weekend I was upgrading. So, after 8 hours of work, I was asked by the chief of staff to get the old server back up, which I did. So, I gave weeks worth of notice for this weekend, and gave options for getting mail. Then, I couldn't get things working correctly. I got about 3/4 of things working on the new server, but the 1/4 that didn't work were deal breakers. So, as per my project plan, when I got to 1pm today, I backed everything back to the Exchange 2007 server.  This mainly tells me I need to talk to somebody that's already been down this migration road, and can tell me where I'm screwing the pooch.

I'm hoping to be in Arlington for 4 days this week. This is dependent on the boss letting me have Friday off. My fingers are crossed. It's just so much better to be with Gayle for more than 42 hours during a weekend. Since I have to try to keep the yard up, that means that Saturdays are spent on the mower and using the weed whacker. And that means that the actual time I get to spend with Gayle is pretty minimal.

Ok, now we'll have to see if I can average more than one post per 3 months. As a nod to my sister, we're under 2 months away from Dragon*Con!

Bummer! Less than 2 months from Dragon*Con! I've got to get cracking on modifying my SteamPunk costume!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring is in the air...

and in Memphis, that means it's either too damned cold or too damned hot. We've already been up to the mid-80's, and back down to frost warnings. Gotta love it.

Work is the same old thing. I've been convincing the kids that I'm over being the person to build all of the workstations, and that they're going to have to pick up the slack. I'm in the middle of redoing our network, and upgrading our exchange infrastructure. In other words, I'm finally concentrating on what I'm supposed to be doing, and leaving the lower level stuff for the support techs.

The search in Kentucky is still slow...though I think that I've stirred up some tech headhunter firms towards moving into the Purchase area. Maybe that will shake things up. I know it's pretty rural there, but there are some large firms that need IT support.

Julian is still a psychotic little old cat. Every time I go to Arlington for the weekend, he drives me totally batshit for the first 4 days after I get back. We've ended up with 2 cats in Kentucky...the father-in-law's tomcat and a little female cat that conned Gayle into letting her in. The tom, Stoopid, is the most laid back tomcat I think I've ever seen. As soon as I can arrange it I'll be having him neutered. I'm sure he'll forgive me eventually.  The little girl needs to be spayed asap, as she's already been in heat. She has the strangest yellow/golden eyes of any cat I've ever seen. I think that was one of the selling points in getting Gayle's attention.

It's my on-call week, so of course I've crap planned for most evenings and for the weekend. It's times like this I think I need to get a life!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ok, lets catch up...

In case you were wondering if I succumbed to the ravages of influenza, sorry to disappoint. Gayle did call it correctly, and I had the nasty cough for 3 weeks after the fever broke.  As that was the first time on over 20 years that I've had the flu, I think I'll be hedging my bets in the future and getting a flu shot every fall.

Gayle's still in Arlington. Her mom's been in the nursing home since November, and Gayle's been trying to recover from the stress of dealing with and caring for her parents for 3 solid years. She was going to come down to Memphis this weekend for a break, until she got a call from the home telling her that her mom had fallen out of bed and broken her hip.  So, she's in the hospital in Paducah, with surgery scheduled to put a pin in her hip.

We've retained an attorney who is working to get the house there put into our name, so that we can finally be sure that repairs and upgrades we make won't be on behalf of the government. I've been looking for a job up there, but I'm becoming convinced that nobody uses computers there. There's not even any tech headhunters covering the area...only casual labor outfits like Kelly Services industrial division.

I'll try to keep this up a bit more often than I've been...but with working here, and going to Arlington every weekend that I'm not on call, I find that I can understand just how tired Gayle is.  And I've only been doing this for a year and a half!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

influenza attacks!

I woke up in the middle of the night last Friday feeling uncomfortable, and woke up Saturday morning with a full on case of the flu. Temps over 102, chest full, along with my sinuses. The fever finally broke Monday evening, and with only a couple of bounces has stayed down. My chest is still full of congestion, making most breaths sound like a bellows with holes shot in it. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate being sick? I've really not been this sick in over 20 years, and I really hope it's another 20 before it happens again.

Fortunately, I had Julian the sneezing cat to take care of me. Gayle mostly wrote smartass texts about how men are such babies when they're a little under the weather, and that I should not even consider coming up this weekend unless I was over everything. Well, I'm over everything enough to go to work (people at the clinic are avoiding me, and spraying lysol whenever I've been around), so I guess I'm good to go to Kentucky, regardless of how much I sound like an escapee from a TB ward.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

After the hiatus...

I was just pondering giving Gayle some grief over how long it had been since she'd updated her blog, and then noticed that I last posted to this in August. Sheesh!

Ok, lets get caught up. Gayle's still in Kentucky, but her mom is now in a nursing home, and has been since November. Gayle managed to not only NOT get rid of Stoopid, her dad's cat, but adopted by osmosis a cute little kitten. This kitten has one bad trait....she will not use a litter box. She'll go outside, but not in a box.  This is the first cat I've ever known who didn't do this instinctively. Even with Stoopid as an example (if he's outside, he'll come in to use the litter box, rather than using mother nature's) she refuses. But it's nice having a kitten around, and she gets along ok with Stoopid.

Work is still pretty much the same....long days, short weekends. We've implemented a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure project, which means that the users doesn't get a computer, but a terminal, and connect to a desktop that runs on a server.  Those that are using this don't mind, as the terminal takes up a lot less space on their desktops than a full sized pc, and desktop space is always at a premium.

 I've been pretty regular about going up to Kentucky when not on-call, which in some ways is more tiring that working all weekend. But, you do what you have to.

Last Saturday I woke up with a raging fever and have been fighting it ever since. I've finally got the fever licked, but am now working on the chest congestion and cough. This is actually the first time I've had the flu in over 20 years, and am very glad of that fact.  The flu sucks.

Well, I'll be back to work tomorrow (and hopefully non-contagious...I wouldn't wish this on anyone). I'll try to keep up with this a bit more regularly, especially as we get into spring, and work on the place in Kentucky gets going.