Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Drama Queen

We had quite the band practice tonight. Actually, practice itself was the usual, nothing to write home about. But as we we tearing down, our bass player (who is 17) really wanted to talk to one of the other adults in the group in private. We gave him some crap about "why can't you talk to the band about it?" So he did.

He came out to his parents today.

Mind you, I was not surprised at all. There were little clues. The rainbow strap for his bass. The effeminate way he carried himself. The clothes and the look. The way he and the drummer (they're best buds) would act like they were a couple and the drummer is totally straight. One time the bass player was feeding the drummer from his plate at a social function. Our singer has a gay son and can relate to his struggle.

You see, his parents flipped out when he told them. His dad went all biblical on him and told him he was condemning his soul, blamed him for the not being able to find work since he brought this "evil" into the house, etc. Mind you, his dad is a great guy and all, but he just can't accept it right now. His mom didn't take it well either so our bass player was very distraught since he has a close relationship with his parents.

We were all very supportive of him. He's my band mate. Over the last two years, we've really bonded as a band and become a lot like a family. It's difficult to describe for me, but my bandmates really are almost as close as family to me. It's more than just the music. It truly is that God brought us together.

When he told us, we were all like, "well, duh!" Except for our drummer, his best bud. He was shocked and amazed! We found it so funny because it was so obvious to the rest of us. I even mentioned to the Wife quietly (as the kids were around) that I stayed later than expected because the bass player had an "emotional" issue we were helping with. Her first response, "is he gay?" It was that obvious.

Anyway, we were all very happy for him that he was finally at peace with himself, even with all the other drama going on. Accepting yourself is a big deal. And for a 17 year old to come out, that is very brave. Luckily, all the friends he's told are also very supportive. I'm pretty sure his parents will come around once they have time to reflect and take it all in. I'll certainly pray they do.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blah Blah Blah

I got nothing specific so I'll just ramble a little.

I spend Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday "home" with the boys. By that, I mean that the boys are off from school this week, and I was in the house, but I spent much of those three days dealing with my Exchange migration project that's falling apart. I was making calls and gathering technical information. So even when I was home I was working. Our VP of Information Systems said he would make the time up to me and the CIO yelled at him for "making" me work while on vacation. As if I had the opportunity to let it lie for 3 days. It's already behind and the CIO made it a HIGH priority.

The Wife informed me she's setting up a "visit" with a dog that's up for adoption. I've been kind of ignoring the issue. I still don't want a dog. I recall the responsibility of caring for and cleaning up after a dog from when we owned one many years ago. Frankly, I don't want the responsibility again and I'm rather fond of having a yard that does not have dog tracks in the lawn or piles to clean up before you can go out into it. Call me selfish, but I have absolutely no desire to have one. The Wife is convinced that once she gets a dog, all of my objections will melt. I'm doubtful. I wouldn't hate the animal, but I can see some resentment if I end up having to care for it when I explictly stated I didn't want one. Stay tuned.

The Wife and I went out to a very nice dinner on Saturday. They had a "Parent's Night Out" at the boy's dojo. Basically we paid for them to babysit the boys so we could go out. There was movies, games, food, and all kinds of fun things for them to do from 5 pm to 1 am. Of course, we didn't let the boys stay up that late, but they stayed late enough. I took the Wife to my favorite Italian resteraunt. I hadn't had a chance to take her there yet since I normally go there for lunch. The wait was a little long, but the food, as always, was excellent. It was nice just to get out with the little lady.

I saw a couple of interesting news items. The first involved a woman that was relieved of active duty and placed on Reserve status for posing in Playboy. She's a reservist that was called up to active duty. She posed with her uniform on (or at least, parts of it on). I applaud the Air Force for what it did. What many people don't realize is that when you join the military, you give up some rights that are guarenteed the average citizen. You have no right to free speech, free association, etc. You agree to follow the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Being in the military has certain responsibilities. Posing nude in your uniform is not the way to respect it.

Also, a woman is suing a public school district over her son's Halloween costume. She's a Christian who doesn't really believe in Halloween, but if she didn't send her kid to school in a costume, he would have missed the party and parade, and have to stay in the computer lab for not participating. In order not to have her son feel excluded, she sent him to school in a Jesus costume. They would not let the kid wear a crown of thorns or tell anyone who he was supposed to be. So mom is suing the district claming discrimination. Good. This was a 4th grader. I don't think the school is really advocating one religion over another because a kid decides to wear a religious costume on Halloween. Schools just keep going to far in this seperation of church and state.

With everything going on at work and home, I've been kind of absent on the internet. I haven't really even been in the mood to blog or surf. I have been finding some time for music, but I've been almost too tired for that as well. But not THAT tired. Hopefully things will get more "normal" soon.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

No time for the internet

I've been really busy lately and have had minimal time for the internet. Usually I check blogs at work, but I've been wrapped up in a MAJOR project that is taking all my extra time. It's already a week behind and now I'll be off for the next three days to stay home with the boys for February break. I'll be checking in to work and possibly going in the office a couple of time to keep it moving. It's got visibility all the way to the CIO who's asking that we get it done as soon as possible. And I've run into "technical difficulties". If I make this happen relatively smoothly, I'll be a big hero. We'll see how it goes.

I did my taxes today. Tax Cut software rocks. In about an hour, I had the whole thing done. Cost me $30 and I'm getting a HUGE refund. I'm most pleased. We'll probably use it for landscaping and decorating. Though I'm pretty sure some of the extra will go on the principle of the mortgage. It would be great to pay it off early.

At church today, we heard the story of how David could have killed Saul but didn't and also about Jesus asking us to love our enemies. The priest was talking about how hard that is, about taking someone who hates you and making them your friend instead. He also talked about how David, in telling Saul that he had the chance to kill him but did not, was actually trying to convert Saul and essentially make a friend out of him. I couldn't help think of our esteemed President and how he professes to be a Christian. I just can't see him doing things in this mind frame.

I think of how perhaps things in Iraq might have turned out differently if he'd taken the high road, and tried to convert Saddam. Not to Christianity, per se, but to being a progressive leader that cared for his people. Granted, there probably would have been no chance of success. But think about how this would have affected Bush's and America's reputation. How would the international community have responded to the US if we tried to be peacemakers and diplomats. Of taking a strategy of containment of Iraq but doing everything we could to give them the opportunity to "do the right thing". And how could this apply to our relations with other countries?

Imagine what we could do with a real Christian President. One that actually follows Christ's teachings about loving your enemies and praying for those that persecute you. The other thing that struck me that our priest said was that loving your enemies doesn't mean going out and looking for situations where you find enemies or letting your enemy walk all over you. But strive to do good to your enemies. What could we possibly achieve then?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What a Day

If you live in the Northeast, then you've probably been snowed in today. I expected to have about a foot of snow in the driveway, so I got up early this morning to snowblow. There was about a foot of snow in the driveway. So I clean it out and find out from the Wife that school's out. She also tells me that the house is 57 degrees. The intakes for the furnace were covered in snow so the furnace wouldn't light. I cleared it out, but no joy. So I went out again and cleared more. There was the tense few minutes while the furnace ran through the cycle, SCORE! It lights.

I ended up taking the Wife's SUV to work for the all wheel drive and heated seats. I took a little while to get there, but I made it ok. I was figuring on being one technician down since my lead guy texted me early to say he was snowed in. I get to work and there's an email from my other tech that he was staying home with the kids since school was canceled. So I'm left by myself to support 700 people. Granted, a lot of them were probably home as well, but still. Much running around for me today.

So the day goes pretty decent. We decide to shut down shop a little early, so I go out to warm up the car and shovel off the snow. So I toss my stuff in the car, lean over to get the snow brush, start the car, close the door and start clearing off the snow. Can you see where this might be going? I finish cleaning off the car, go to open the door, and it doesn't open. Yup, while leaning over to get the snow brush, I must have hit the lock button on the key, which is one of those remote keyless jobs. So here I am, stuck outside the car with it running and the keys inside. Just great.

I check with our security guys and of course they don't have any kind of Slim Jim to try and unlock it. And we don't have AAA. So I'm left with my only option. I have to call the Wife to put the kids in the car and drive out to where I work to unlock the car. I've been feeling guilty about it all evening. I felt terrible to make her drive in the messy roads, especially with the kids. Of course, she's been milking it for as much as she can. Still, I feel like a complete idiot.

Snow is supposed to end tonight, but then the lake effect kicks in with high winds. So I'm sure there'll be more snow to come.

Monday, February 12, 2007

What's new?

I feel like a slacker. I haven't been posting very much lately, but then, I've really had nothing to post. Or at least nothing that really makes me want to run to the PC and shout out to Blogland.

Grasshopper had a fever this weekend. He was totally out of it on Saturday. It spiked at 102, but my yesterday it was mostly gone. We kept him home from school today just to make sure he's all right. He was totally himself and is feeling all better.

Maverick got a pleasant surprise today. He's going to be joining a boy scout troop associated with our church. We didn't hold out much hope that any of his cub scout den mates would join the troop, as it wasn't really close to any of them. We thought perhaps one boy would join with him. Turns out that 5 other boys joined the troop! And we like them all. You may recall me mentioning PIMA in a previous post. He's joining a different troop. Great boy scout news all around!

I did get to spend some quality phone time with Katey today. We've been emailing back and forth on her PC issues. She needed to wipe her PC clean and start over. I mailed her an OS disk and we spent some quality time on the phone tonight rebuilding her system. Which now runs SWEEEEET. Of course. I must say, Katey was so awesome to talk to. She was bright and funny and laughed a lot. I must say I've got to meet her one of these days. She would be so much fun to hang out with. If you're ever in the Chicago area, you should look her up. I'm amazed she doesn't have men falling all over themselves to be in her presence. I would have loved to chat with her longer, but she's an hour behind me and it was getting late. However, I left her with minimal work to do to finish up her system.

I would probably post more little things going on, but I need to go to bed. I'm a tired boy. The Wife has been sleeping in her chair since about 9 pm so she's got a head start on me.

Friday, February 09, 2007

News item

This article was on ABC News website and on their telecast last night. It talks about a study by the CDC that shows incidents of autism appear to be on the rise. Autism now affects on average 1 in 150 people in the US. It's higher in some states such as New Jersey. It mentions that some if the rise may be due to new classifications of autism and better reporting. But even with all that, they think the numbers are just too high for that to take all of it into account. 1% of New Jersey's population has autism.

This story gave me mixed emotions. This study hopefully will raise more awareness and help to provide better services and support. But the numbers don't matter. I have an autistic child. Whether statistically it's 1% of the population or 0.05%, it doesn't change that fact. One of my good friends has two autistic boys. I fully understand her challenges.

I've got it kind of easy. There are times when I forget that Grasshopper is autistic. You might never know if you watched him and talked to him. However, there are other times it's glaringly obvious.

So what's my point? I don't really know. Whenever the Wife or I see articles and stories about autism or autistic children, we check it out. My biggest concern was something brought up in the article. What the hell happens when Grasshopper is out of school, whether it's high school or college? We're supposed to raise our kids to be self-sufficient. Granted he's only 8, but I worry that he won't be able to properly care for himself. I do simple things like just crossing the road, and I think, will Grasshopper ever think to look both ways before crossing? He can get into his own little world so easily. Things we take for granted I don't with him. I guess I can only pray that we can teach him the skills he needs.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sucking up 101

The boys were extremely polite today and got along really well. They were all "please" and "thank you" and helping each other out. At dinner, Grasshopper got a drink out of the fridge and not only offered to give some to Maverick as well, but poured for him. Each one was going out if his way to help the other.

Their motiviation? Of course, they wanted to play Game Cube together. I was not very pleased yesterday when all they did is argue. Now, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I milked this for as long as I could, letting them be as helpful as they wanted. However, at some point I had to reward them and actually let them play Game Cube, since they were indeed behaving very well.

So finally, I let them play together, expecting the ususal arguing and complaining. To my surprise, they both played quite well together. They spoke loudly as they played, but volume control is not their forte. They didn't fight with each other and only complained a little when I told them their game time was up and they hadn't finished their level yet. But they did turn it off before I had to force the issue, so all around they had a good evening.

Now if this could only continue.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Working from home - updated!

I'm doing some work from home today. Why? Because today is Snow Day. In a shocking move that I have not seen in the 13 years since moving back to Rochester, the Gates-Chili School District closed today and declared a snow day. So I'm home with the boys. I'm also logged in to work so I can in good conscience only take a half day instead of a whole day of vacation. But since nearly all the school districts are closed, I'm pretty sure half the people aren't at work today anyway.

Unfortunately for the boys, it's still colder than a witch's tit outside (one of my fave lines the MIL used to use). So there's no fun in the snow on Snow Day for the boys. Ain't no way I'm letting them out there with sub-zero wind chills. Forecast calls for a balmy 20 degrees tomorrow! I'm so looking forward to the warmup! Then after a few days in the 20's, back into the teens.

So if you don't hear from me for a while, it's probably because I'm trapped in a big ice cube like the caveman on that episode of Scooby Doo. But then again, maybe I'll wash ashore somewhere warmer, like Miami, and escape the cold. Again, stay warm all of you out there!

Update: The reason they canceled school was because none of the buses would start. It turns out the Federal Government mandated new diesel fuel that is much cleaner but was never tested in cold temperatures. At the temperatures we were experiencing, the fuel turned into sludge. Kind of difficult to run the buses that way. Another great example of our Fearless Leader in action.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Deep Freeze

It's just damn frigid outside. Rochester is going to be cold for about the next two weeks, with temps expected somewhere around the teens the whole time. Right now it's blowing like crazy. In just a few hours, I went from a clear driveway to about a foot of snow. I could go out and snowblow it but it's too damn cold and windy. I'll mess with it in the morning.

We saw something tonight we've never seen before: lightning. There was a flash outside and both the Wife and I looked at each other and said "what the fuck?" A moment later came the thunder. That's the first time I've ever seen lightining in the winter. There's some serious weather shit going on tonight. Thankfully, we all toasty in the family room with the fire going. We had a nice family game of Scrabble while the cat lounged in front of the fire. The cat is at the point now that if she's cold and the fireplace isn't on, she'll lie in front of it and give us the "look". She trying to apply that kitty Jedi mind trick that makes us get up and turn it on. We dissapoint her sometimes, but too bad. If the fireplace isn't lit, she'll go between the heat register and the curtain to stay warm.

Anyway, if any of you are in the Northeast, stay warm this weekend. We're going to Sis' house tomorrow for the nephews' birthday party so we'll see how it goes. My sister's boys can be quite the little hellions if they want.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jealous yet?

I sit here now typing this post on a brand new laptop running Windows Vista Enterprise. Yes, peeps, I get to play with the latest and greatest. Of course, it's not actually my hardware, it's a work laptop, but it's new and fast and I get to spend the next 6 to 12 months testing on it. Unless, of course, we get newer, faster hardware, then I'll test on that.

I had a great experience at work yesterday. I was in a meeting with the new CIO concerning migrating email. Interesting to me, but I'm sure the details will bore you so I won't discuss. But what really matters is that I pretty much took on the project and am running it for the new combined organization that includes Rochester and Schenectady. The CIO wanted to make sure our plan was sound, and I felt at the end of the meeting that I had aquitted myself well and sounded confident, in charge, and on top of things. This morning I come in and there's a note on my chair from the new CIO saying what a great job I did and how I everything I discussed made sense. Nothing beats making a positive impression on the new big boss in your first meeting. Hah!

I'm still getting over my cold, but I think I'm mostly better now. The last couple of days I'd be decent during the day, but by about 6 pm I'd be dead. Today I woke up feeling myself again. I did wear down a little by about 7 pm, but it's more of a headache than the dead tiredness I'd been feeling. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be all better.

I've begun calling my sister Last Minute Sis (real name here). Her two oldest boys were both born in January. She normally has a single family party for both of them. In her now classic last minute fashion, she called me yesterday to say she was having a party for them on Sunday. Mind you, this is the third year in a row the party has been both late, and last minute. But, she's my sis and I love. I'm going to make her make it up to us by hosting a Longaberger party for the Wife.

I did get a chance to call Nanner last night. She's doing as well as can be expected. I had to cut the conversation a little short as I was still tired as hell and it was bed time for the kids, but I just had to see how she was doing and my minor misery was nothing compared to what she's dealing with. You gotta be there for your friends, after all.