They'll give a blog to anybody.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Party Central

One night down. One to go. Last night's reunion activities were probably more fun than tonight's will be. Tonight is the official reunion and more of my classmates will attend. Last night was more like a party with a bunch of friends. Basically, because it WAS a party with a bunch of friends. I just hadn't seen this group of friends in a few years. I think I need a nap to recover from last night's fun so I'm ready for more fun.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Class of 76

I'm off to my 30th high school reunion this weekend. It should be a hoot. We had a great group of people in our class and lament that we only get together every five years. The list of activities goes something like this:

Tailgate party
Homecoming football game. (Get in free if you wear a jersey or letter jacket. Where's my seam ripper?)
After game party.

Real reunion dinner and dance.

Rest of the weekend:
Probably lots of unofficial parties. I'm sure someone will have a keg.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Degrees of Separation

This whole contract renewal thing has shaken things up around here. I was talking to Mrs. Dirpus at dinner the other night and she said that 2006 has been closer to worse and sickness than better and health. It seems I haven't done a good job of leaving the stress of this contract renewal thing at the office. This came up because I am still trying to decide whether to incorporate and work for myself or continue working for someone else. She is afraid if I work for myself, I will be in a constant state of "will I have a job next month". I can see her point. I don't do well with change.

It's looking more and more like the company that bid against us (let's call them "The Empire" and us "The Rebel Alliance") is going to get the contract to do our jobs for the next three years. Our big boss has said not to worry, there will be something for everyone. I don't see it. This project has been the only new contract we've gotten in the last five years. I think I would have to travel a lot for whatever they find for me. I also think I might be one of the lucky ones, because I may have the most seniority of anyone in our local office. I've been there about eight years and with the company almost ten years. From the company's perspective, I'm good to have around because I can do almost anything and I have one of the lower salaries. Those last two things seem to have the opposite relationship from what I would expect. More and more, I'm feeling taken advantage of. I have accepted it because of some semblance of stability and because I am the sole wage earner in our family.

In the last year, my senior project manager left the company and started his own business and I got a new senior project manager that has HER own business. I've talked with both of them quite a bit about, well about everything. I think I'm starting to get a better idea of what I am actually worth to a business and think it's more than what I'm getting. Mrs. Dirpus has been telling me this for years, but I've always been afraid to do anything about it. Circumstances may have forced me to reflect and take action.

So yesterday, I had a meeting with Darth Vader (gratuitous Star Wars reference). He is one of the senior people at the company that bid against us. I recognized his name and it turns out he used to work at one of the local military bases at the same time as me. I actually knew him back then. He flew the jets I programmed (although he was retired from flying by then). We talked about jets, people we used to work with, the Australian Air Force (RAAF), and other non relevant things. The RAAF is the only country still flying those jets. He told me they recently won a bombing competition with those old jets, beating all the USAF's new whiz bang planes. HA! Serves the US right for getting rid of them.

But, I digress.

It seems his company has other opportunities in this area besides the contract they just beat us in winning. It sounds like they have a growing operation locally where I think ours is dying. I told him I was looking to get a significant increase in salary and he thought that was reasonable. We just talked in generalities with no commitments made by anyone because we both have to wait to see how this whole contract thing plays out. We each respected the ethics of the other. It's that old military attitude of avoiding "the appearance of impropriety".

I may have to make a decision as to whom I work for, myself or someone else, fairly soon.

So, the title of this rambling has to do with the fact that I keep running in to people I worked with at the Air Force base twenty years ago. It's funny how that happens. The moral is to be nice to everyone. You may see them again and want them to give you a job.

Does the flow of the Star Wars references make me Luke Skywalker?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Proud Papa

Last night I had a glimpse of what I thought being a parent would be like. I love my kids and they are both unique. They just aren't into the same things as me. I had always thought my kids would play sports. I imagined them going to college on sports scholarships, not art, science, or whatever they might be good at and want to pursue. Anyway, about last night...

It's homecoming week at my oldest daughter's high school. She decided she wanted to play in the powder puff football game this year. Last year she didn't play. After watching the game she thought it looked like a lot of fun.

All the girls have been practicing after school for the last two weeks, and last night was the big payoff. The Freshmen and Sophomores played against the Juniors (they'll have seniors next year). You could tell they were all excited out there on the field of the big stadium, under the lights, with the stands full. some of their classmates were shirtless and had painted themselves blue and red. Some of the boys were the cheerleaders and had pink shirts and black skirts. They are braver men than I.

The game started and K got on the field as the starting cornerback for her team. She was intense and focused and stayed right with the girl she was supposed to cover all night.

She broke up a few passes and dove to try to make plays. I told her before the game that even though I had played football for three years in high school and one year in college that after the game, she would have more playing time in career than I did in mine.

After the game, I could see in her eyes that she is now a football player. I'm so proud.

Oh, you probably wonder how the game turned out.

The Soph-men (they picked it out) ran a 52 yard reverse for a touchdown with 6.7 seconds left to win the game 7-0 (I took the picture before the extra point was kicked).