start dream sequence
Jacqui and I arrived back in the states at about the same time that Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan start doing their first shots of vodka -2:30 in the morning- which means that by the time we got home in Glens Falls, I looked about as haggard as poor old Brit does on her morning court appearances. Seriously though, I'm glad that we had a chauffeur to drive us from JFK to home, cuz I would have run off the road before we crossed the Tappan Zee. It also meant that I did actually get a few hours of sleep. For some reason I couldn't sleep very well on that last flight from Panama to JFK. So Sunday we get home and the housing is FREEZING!! Well, it felt that way at least. It was 50F, but after spending two months of 80-90F every day, I was cold
. We curled up under the covers and got back up at the crack of noon. Our neighbors (some of the nicest people I know) had been collecting our mail and checking on the house. We had about 20 pounds of mail, 19 of which was junk. 19.5 depending on how you count tax stuff(we had to pay again this year, so I'll call it junk)
We spent all of one day in the house before we left for Portland. I had to work for a few days down in Eugene (I love it when people at restaraunts ask what I'm doing in town and I get to tell them that I'm helping companies cut down forests, especially in crunchie towns like Eugene ;) We took a day trip out to the Sea Lion Caves on the Oregon coast which was really cool, and very windy. Lots of pics from that, not too many on the other stuff we did.
Then Jacqui and I headed up to Portland to visit with Chuck and his girlfriend Katherine. They were awesome and let us crash in their house. Actually, it was a house that they were renting a room out of. So they let us sleep in their room, and they slept on the futon in the TV room. Portland is awesome. We went out to eat at this Moroccan place called Marrakesh. Great food, live bellydancers, you get to eat EVERYTHING with your hands. What's not to love about it?!? We ate out at a few other places that were all good, but that place was memorable
. We also went to an adults only movie theater. NO NOT FOR PORN, get your mind out of the gutter. The place was a converted schoolhouse that serves drinks and cocktails and dinner during the movie. So they only allow 21-and over so they don't have to worry about kids sneaking alcohol. Nice place, and you get to sit on couches and loveseats, no uncomfortable theater seats that keep you at arms length from your date. We also visited Multnomah Falls, which is apparently the second highest waterfall in the U.S. And you can get all the way to the top overlooking the falls. It's 620feet up on a .8 mile long path (that's a 14.7% average incline) so it's definately not for anyone with foot or leg ailments. We are all in good shape(I climb 200ft towers everyday and Chuck rode his bicycle across the US) and even we had to take several breaks. The view was definately worth it to us though. Then we drove the Historic Columbia River Highway which was awesome. It would have been much better in the MazdaSpeed6 though. I got Jacqui and Katherine car-sick in those turns! One of the days we spent at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry(OMSI). It's one of those places where you get to play with air and water guns, magnets, pulleys, etc. We even did the tour of a US submarine. Another day was spent in the Powell's Bookstore and riding the free public transit on our own self-inspired tour of Portland. The last thing we rode was a replica street trolley with really cool old operators. They knew a lot of the recent history of Portland and gave us commentary as we rode through the city.
The next two weeks were spent in 3 ways. Time at work was spent going through the manufacturing drawings of a new project we've got in Russia. Part of the equipment is being built in China, and the hydraulics will be built here in the US. There were lots of drawings that were converted over to metric for the Russian requirements, but the drafters didn't go through the bills of material to change all the hardware to standard sizes
. So most of the bolts called out didn't exist (ever tried to by an M20 bolt that is 32mm long??) And when the bolts were changed to standard lengths, the tapped holes usually needed to be extended. And none of the o-rings called out would ever be found in a hardware store(especially a Russian one), so every single one of them needed to be redesigned. And lots of bought parts like valves and covers either needed updating because a company was bought and part#'s changed, or had enough typos so that trying to order it would have gotten a resound "Do What?!?" from the sales manager. Lots of little things that added up to several late nights and early mornings. Those should all be fixed now (hopefully!).
At home, I spent a lot of time playing with my wood. AGAIN, mind out of the gutter! While we were gone, two huge old oaks fell over in an ice storm and blocked the highway by our house. I was informed by my backdoor neighbor that the highway crew came out and cleared off the road, then people in trucks came by shortly after and hauled away what the county cut. But then people started stopping by and cutting off sections that were still on my property. So Paul and his father started chasing them away, because good hardwood is highly sought after for home heating in Glens Falls. So they equated that with stealing from me(and I thanked them profusely for that) So I took several afternoons and one full day off from work to cut the trees into 16-18" sections, then split and stack it
. When I finally got to the trees, there were 35 feet of usable trunk left from the base to where people had stopped stealing wood. From that point to the edge of the road was another 20 feet. So if those trees were blocking both lanes of the highway, then the trees had to have been over 75 feet tall. At that 35' mark, the trunk was 20" in diameter. At the base, the last section I cut was about 36" diameter (the chainsaw I borrowed with an 18" blade barely made it through. Then after cutting all those sections, I had to roll them up the ravine into the backyard where I could put a splitter. I lost 5lbs over two days moving all that wood. Then I spent a full 8hr day splitting wood. Just place, split, clear, place, split clear. I was going to sell the wood unsplit and green but I wouldn't have gotten what I felt my time and effort was worth for cutting and rolling the wood. Then I was gonna sell it split but green so I wouldn't have to stack it, but still wouldn't be worth what I put into it. So I stacked wood for about 8 hours over two days to let the wood season, which will make me several hundred extra than selling it right now would. Now it will sit for the summer with the top layer covered.
The rest of the time at home was spent cleaning the house, moving furniture to have one extra room as the designated "office" for the two of us, and the other extra room will be an actual guest room, with bedroom furniture instead of being half office.
Now we're back in Porto Seguro, for at least until mid-May. More on that in the next post.
I know, it's been one month, and the last entry kinda sucked....but it's been one very very busy month if you'll take that as an excuse. Let's see...where to start (