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23 July 2017

Really Hot Days, Aviation History, and Soccer

This past week at work was a tough one in one sense: the weather. We had a heat wave in the St. Louis area since at least this past Tuesday (18 July), with temperatures topping 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) throughout the week. Yesterday, it hit 108 F (42 C). Making it rougher was the heat index, combining temperature with humidity. That hit as high as 115 F (46 C), and that's most uncomfortable. I needed to take frequent breaks at work, going inside the air conditioned office area to cool down and drink iced Gatorade I bought on the way to work at QuikTrip ( Fortunately, my colleagues at the branch understood this need of mine. Despite the heat, we got things done well.

Right after work Tuesday night, it was off to Calvary Presbyterian Church ( for this month's IPMS/Gateway ( meeting. We were open early, due to this being our annual Slam Fest, in which we had two hours to assemble and finish a model kit. I took a 1:144 scale F-14 Tomcat kit and got it done in about 1 hour 45 minutes. Mine was one of six models completed and judged by a popular vote of meeting attendees. Mine did not get into the top three for prizes (hobby shop gift certificates), but it was not a bad effort under the circumstances.

Off work Thursday (20 July), I had my annual physical examination. Everything checked out fine. I then treated myself to an iced beverage from Starbucks (

That night, I was at Creve Coeur Airport ( for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( meeting. Our guest speaker, Doug (Vasilchin) Kennedy, spoke about flying the F-111 in combat missions late in the Vietnam War. A video about the F-111 and some information on the aircraft's development--including escape pods built in St. Louis by McDonnell Aircraft, later McDonnell Douglas--were also presented.

I had been working on a model to enter at this week's IPMS/USA National Convention ( in Omaha; however, problems that developed during decaling Saturday morning caused me to not complete it in time for this show. I'll work on it for IPMS/Gateway's September contest. I did make rental car and hotel reservations for the trip, but need to confirm with my travel mate regarding his coming along.

Late Saturday morning, it was back to Creve Coeur Airport for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's annual member barbecue. It was a very nice turnout of members and guests and we enjoyed a good lunch. This event was livened up by the visit of two World War II era fighter aircraft making a fuel stop here. They were a P-51D Mustang and a P-63 Kingcobra, both of the Commemorative Air Force ( Dixie Wing ( based near Atlanta. The aircraft were on their way to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for this week's EAA AirVenture. I and others in our Society got to meet the pilot and to walk around the Mustang and Kingcobra before they departed for their next stop. I then went back to the barbecue lunch.

That night, I was at Toyota Stadium of Worldwide Technology Soccer Park for the Kings Cup darby match between Saint Louis FC ( and Louisville City FC. The two teams played to a scoreless draw in Louisville at the season's beginning. I joined in the St. Louligans ( tailgate, which was visited by the Coopers, supporters of Louisville City. We raised over $1800 for the Greater St. Louis Food Bank, which helps needy people.

The match itself started off well, with Saint Louis scoring just before halftime. However, a Saint Louis player was sent off early in the second half for a vicious foul on an opponent (at least the screen shot I saw this morning looked vicious to me), and Louisville City took charge. The visitors ran off 4-1 winners.

Stayed home today. Working tomorrow and Tuesday, then it off to Omaha for the IPMS Nationals. Going Downtown. More on that next time.


16 July 2017

Work in High Heat, and Meetings with Friends

Working with my colleagues, I do my part at the rental branch to make sure we exceed customer expectations. We ended a good first full week of July with a good showing.

One week ago (9 July), I went to the Starbucks ( in Fenton for coffee and conversation with my friend and Enterprise ( colleague Melissa Needles. She was a management trainee at the Ellisville branch two years ago; now, she works in field support at our corporate headquarters. Mel and I spent a nice time getting caught up on things. She also brought the dog she and her boyfriend have to the outdoor table we were at. Such a nice dog.

Back to work the next day, and the whole week was a challenge. Not so much due to customers, but to the heat and humidity this past week. By midweek, we hit 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), with heat indexes reaching up to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). It was a challenge to stay capable under those conditions, but I followed common sense by taking short breaks inside the air conditioned lobby and sipping Gatorade thirst quencher--which I bought in the morning at Quick Trip ( on the way to work--between car cleanings.

Right after work that Monday, I headed to Dado's Cafe ( in south St. Louis for dinner with the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group ( Six of us had wonderful conversation and enjoyed very delicious Greek cuisine. I went with The Big Fat Greek Combo Platter: Pastitio, dolmades, and spanakopita, with Greek salad. Very nice and I highly recommend the place.

I did flex out Tuesday afternoon (11 July), as I would be working the following Saturday morning. That was most welcome with the heat. I did rest at home and did a little work on a model on my workbench.

Off Thursday, I did my annual eye exam at Crown Vision Center ( in Tesson Ferry. The optometrist said my eyes were fine, but I did pass on new glasses. The spectacles I got one year ago were fine (apart from having to repair en eye frame) and I didn't want to spend money on new glasses. I then treated myself to a coffee beverage at the nearby Saint Louis Bread Co. (

That night, I went to a happy hour at Corner Pub & Grill ( in Chesterfield, which was put on by our area manager. It was for the Enterprise branches in our area for a great June. It was nice to hang out with my colleagues and enjoy some beer and appetizers.

After work yesterday morning (15 July), I got home to work a bit on my model, then got ready for soccer. I first drove to Smugala's Pizza Pub ( in Sunset Hills, where I enjoyed a beer before boarding the Pub2Park shuttle bus for Toyota Stadium in Fenton. There, I joined with the St. Louligans ( in their tailgate before marching into the stadium with them for Saint Louis FC's ( against Charleston Battery, the top team in the Eastern Conference of the United Soccer League (

It was a hard fought match played before a packed crowd, but Saint Louis FC prevailed, by one goal to nil. It should have been 2-0, but an apparent goal was called off due to a foul. Still, a great effort by the home side and we St. Louligans were so happy.

Today, I spent time getting my model ready for the main painting, which will start tonight. I also met my long-time friend from school, Tim Popp, at Rich & Charlie's ( in South County for beer and conversation. Tim's in town for a while, commuting here for a his work part of the month. It was nice as always to get caught up with him.


06 July 2017

Quiet Independence Day For Me

Friday morning (30 June) was payday, so it was off to Krispy Kreme ( in Fenton for a dozen doughnuts to take to the branch. It was quite busy that day for us, with the holiday weekend upon us, but we got things taken care of very well.

This past weekend was rather quiet for me. I did not feel like going out at all, but I did work on a model I have on my workbench now. It's Trumpeter's 1:72 scale JH-7A Flying Leopard. It's coming along well and I hope to have this done in time to take to Omaha for the IPMS/USA National Convention ( later this month.

I watched some movies and other programs on TV during the weekend, including a few videos I had.

Back to work Monday, we had a rather busy morning, though not quite as hectic as most Mondays. I guess with Independence Day the next day, not as many people wanted or needed to run before then, or had done so the previous weekend. Still, there was plenty of work for me to take care of during that day.

Off on Tuesday (4 July), I spent it at home, mostly watching TV. That night, my mother and I saw my brother Brian drum for Melissa Etheridge ( when she played with the Boston Pops Orchestra ( on their annual 4th of July concert on Boston's Esplanade. Brian had texted me early that night that the show would be telecast on Bloomberg, so I was able to record it on the DVR and for Mom and I to watch Etheridge's three-song set live. That was quite a show, in front of about 500,000 people that night.

Back to Work the next day, it was rather busy. Not easy working with the high humidity of the place, but frequent sips of Gatorade--which I bought at QuikTrip ( on the way to work--and short breaks in the lobby helped.

Right after work, I was off to Worldwide Technology Soccer Park for the match between Saint Louis FC ( and Rochester Rhinos. This was the match that was scheduled for 6 May, but postponed due to flooding at the Soccer Park that time. I joined up with the St. Louligans ( just before kick off and joined in the chanting. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, as Saint Louis FC had few chances against a good Rochester club. Fortunately, Saint Louis' goalkeeper kept them in the match.

Just after getting home from the match, I proofread Leonora Gregory-Collura's column for the new issue of Naturally Autistic magazine ( and sent it back to her. That--and a piece her husband Charlie Collura sent me to proofread the day before--were the last items for this new issue, which is out soon.

Off work today, I did my laundry and some personal matters. This included checking on messages I sent out Tuesday night to some of my contacts on LinkedIn ( I asked them to look over my profile and make some suggestions on improving it as I seek a full time position in public relations or publishing. I gave them until the end of July, taking into account vacations they may take, but already got a few bits of feedback. A few items I am already putting into practice. I will await hearing back from others before making further improvements to my LinkedIn profile.

Tonight, my mom and I went to Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken ( in Arnold for dinner. Today, I'm told, is National Fried Chicken Day, and the chicken we had was delicious. We then shopped at a couple of places in Arnold before coming home.


29 June 2017

Circus Flora, Pride Parade, Festa Junina--and My Car Has a New Bumper

Last Saturday night (24 June), I volunteered once more for Circus Flora (, on the next to last night of this year's run. I served as an usher for the performance of "Time Flies," which drew a nice crowd for a Saturday night. After turning in my volunteer apron and badge, I told the house manager, Harald Boerstler, how much I enjoyed helping out for the fourth year, and he greatly appreciated my help again this year. I added that God willing, I will be back as a volunteer in 2018.

I was in downtown St. Louis late the next morning, assembling with other Enterprise Holdings ( employees and family members to march in the St. Louis Pride Fest Parade ( About 400 of us, joined by three cars from Enterprise Car Sales ( and a truck from Enterprise Truck Rental (, walked the parade west on Market Street. A very good crowd lined the parade route and cheered us and the other parade participants. This was a sunny day, but not too hot and humid. It was such a good thing for me to do, knowing some Lesbian-Bisexual-Gay-Transgendered (LBGT) people I have run across in my life.

Right after the parade, I headed to the Kirkwood Community Center ( to help out at Festa Junina, a Brazilian folk festival presented by Viva Brasil STL ( I was put to work clearing dining tables as guests finished eating, and being able to step in where and when needed. I was able to walk around the rest of the festival, which included food and drink booths, information on Viva Brasil STL and its Portuguese language classes, children's game booths, a photo booth, and Quadrilha (square dancing). Right after the Festa ended, I helped to tear down the tables and booths and to clean up the center. It was a lot of fun to take part in this event.

Back to work Monday morning (26 June), it was busy for me most of the day. This was not easy with the heat and humidity we had this week. Still, I did my best to help our branch exceed customer expectations.

Midday Tuesday, the Dave Sinclair Ford Body Shop ( called me to say my Corolla's rear bumper was replaced and that my car was ready for me to pick up. I was able to get off work a bit early to drive from Ellisville to Mehlville, dropped off the Ford F-150 pickup loaner vehicle by Enterprise's satellite office at Dave Sinclair, then went to the body shop. There, I settled my account with them, dropped off the pickup's keys, and drove off in my Corolla. It was nice having the F-150 for a few days, but I really like having my regular car again.

After that, I drove to Bill Wagner's house in Oakville for this month's IPMS/Gateway ( business meeting. I was first to arrive, well in advance of everyone, and Bill and I talked while he started grilling pork steaks for dinner. Those of us attending the meeting enjoyed the dinner before we got down to business. We planned next month's general meeting and discussed other club business.

Off work today, I did my laundry and mowed the front lawn. I bought some doughnuts at Krispy Kreme (, then took them to the Enterprise branch in Mehlville. It was to thank them for doing such a great job on my recent rental, and to thank Kevin, the branch manager, who I knew when he was at Ellisville with me. I then got my hair cut at Great Clips


24 June 2017

Meeting Melissa Etheridge; Getting a Rental Car; Circus Flora

Monday night (19 June), right after work, I headed to River City Casino ( in Lemay to see Melissa Etheridge ( perform in concert, with my brother Brian on drums. He got tickets for myself, my mom, and our friends Jim and Pat Cook to see the show. It was a marvelous show--the third time I've seen Etheridge in concert in the last two years--and Brian got a very good greeting from the crowd when Etheridge introduced him late in her set. During the encore, she joined Brian on the drums. That was great!

After the show, Brian met us in the showroom's foyer, then he took us to the stage door to introduce us to Etheridge. A great thrill. She noted the Enterprise ( shirt I was wearing, and mentioned that she was going to be renting from Enterprise during a break in her current tour. I told her how much we (Enterprise) greatly appreciate the business. I also mentioned to Etheridge--a lesbian--that I would be marching with Enterprise colleagues this Sunday at the St. Louis Pride Fest Parade (, and she was very happy to hear that. After posing for some pictures with us, Etheridge and Brian got ready to board the tour bus and head to their next stop: Springfield, Missouri. I bought an Etheridge T-shirt from the souvenir vendor, but it was on the vendor.

The next morning, I delayed going into work to take my Corolla to the body shop at Dave Sinclair Ford (, so my damaged rear bumper could be repaired. After signing the car over to the body shop, I walked over to the Enterprise satellite office at Dave Sinclair. After a few minutes' wait, one of their management trainees saw me and got me into a Ford F-150 pickup as my loaner vehicle. My insurance firm, GEICO ( is paying for the rental; I just cover the taxes and protection packages. After the walk through and sign off with the Enterprise MT, I got my things from my Corolla into the F-150 and headed to work.

After work Tuesday, I was off to Calvary Presbyterian Church ( in Mehlville for this month's IPMS/Gateway ( We had our Model of the Month "Beauty Contest," and a good presentation on model photography by our Jim Roeder. I also showed my award-winning models from the recent shows in Crystal Lake, Illinois and Branson, Missouri. A few guys in the group, upon seeing my F-150, wondered if I had traded in my Corolla for the pickup, but I explained this is only a loaner for a few days.

Work has gone well, despite the heat and humidity that made it tough in the wash bay after just a few minutes. Temperatures topped 90 degrees F (32 degrees C); however, the humidity (especially in the wash bay) pushed the heat index past 100 degrees F (38 degrees C).

Thursday (22 June) was my off day as usual. I did my laundry and generally relaxed at home during the day. That night, I was at Circus Flora ( in Grand Center. I helped scan tickets as the audience members came to the entrance, then helped as an usher during and after the show, which had a very good sized crowd. Earlier that day, I volunteered to help out at tonight's performance. The current show, "Time Flies," ends tomorrow (25 June).

Our manager Cory treated us at the branch yesterday to quesadillas from Global Quesadilla Company ( He texted me the night before asking what one I wanted, and I asked for something with chicken--which was what I got. It was most tasty.

Tomorrow will be a busy day, with marching in the Pride Fest Parade in the early afternoon, then helping out at Festa Junina, a Brazilian folk festival Viva Brasil STL ( is presenting at the Kirkwood Community Center. Hope to see you at either of those events.


18 June 2017

Air Show and A Modeling Trip to Branson

A week ago last night (11 June), I joined with others from the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group ( at Anis Hyderabad House ( in Creve Coeur for Indian cuisine. It was a good time for our group as we enjoyed our dinner and conversation.

The next day, my Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( colleague Marion Moen came to pick me up at home, then he drove us to Scott Air Force Base ( The base hosted an air show to celebrate its Centennial. Marion and I staffed our Society's table in Hangar 1, in which we gave out info on our group and showed a pair of documentaries we had a hand in on a television screen. I did go out for awhile to view the aircraft on static display and to see the US Air Force Thunderbirds ( perform. It was a hot, but satisfying day.

Work at the rental branch went very well this past week, despite the heat. Temperatures reached 90 degrees F (32 degrees C), with heat indices (heat plus humidity) topping 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). It was busy early in the week and leveled off by mid-week, then picked up again on Friday.

I was off to Toyota Stadium at World Wide Technology Soccer Park right after work to help cheer on Saint Louis FC ( against Chicago Fire in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup ( I marched into the stadium with fellow St. Louligans ( to cheer on the home side, but Chicago escaped with a 1-0 win. It was a game effort by Saint Louis FC witnessed by a standing-room-only crowd.

Off work Thursday, I took my Corolla in to Jim Butler Collision Center ( to get the damage done a week and a half before hitting a telephone pole evaluated by a GEICO ( claims adjuster. He gave me the figure and cut me a check to give to the repair shop I would go to for repairs. I arranged to have it taken this Tuesday morning to Dave Sinclair Ford's Body Shop for the repair work, and for Enterprise ( to have a loaner car for me.

That night, it was off to Creve Coeur Airport ( for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting. This was a debrief on the Scott Air Show, with several members presenting their pictures, videos, and stories from that weekend. I came early, to bring in the Society's gear from the Air Show booth.

As work ended Friday, I checked into a rental car at Enterprise, then drove home to pack up. Early yesterday morning (17 June), I set off for Branson, Missouri and MOSS CON, a model contest hosted by IPMS/Missouri Ozarks Scale Specialists ( at the Branson Convention Center ( I took nine models to enter in the contest, and some flyers for this September's IPMS/Gateway ( Contest. I shopped among the vendors there, bought some raffle tickets, and had lunch at Famous Dave's ( at Branson Landing ( I won two model kits in the raffle, and one of my contest entries--a Kuebelwagen--took Third Place in its armor category. I had a great time there, and hope to be back next year when IPMS/MOSS hosts the Region 5 Contest.

Midday today, Mom and I went to the hotel at River City Casino ( to pick up my brother Brian, who got into town late last night. He's drumming for Melissa Etheridge (, who is performing at River City tomorrow night. Brian, Mom, and I had dinner at Rich & Charlie's ( in Mehlville, then came home to relax.


10 June 2017

Life Amid Happy Moments and Mishaps

I was one of the volunteers on duty when Circus Flora ( started its 31st season a week ago Thursday (1 June) with "Time Flies," a show with a time travel theme. I served as an usher that night and helped our audience greatly enjoy themselves. This year's show runs through 25 June at their air-conditioned big top in St. Louis' Grand Center.

I brought doughnuts from Krispy Kreme ( to work the next day, and it was appreciated as usual by the staff. After work, I headed for Toyota Stadium at Worldwide Technology Soccer Park for Saint Louis FC's ( match against Toronto FC II. Joining with the St. Louligans (, I cheered the home side to a 2-0 victory in the first home match in over a month, due to the recent flooding.

That Saturday afternoon (3 June), Tim Pylypiuk and I hosted this month's edition of "Writer's Block," ( from ANCA World Radio. This program celebrated the life and works of the late Australian artist and autism activist Donna Williams, who lost her fight with cancer earlier this year.

Sunday morning found me at Das Bevo, formerly, the historic Bevo Mill in south St. Louis (, for brunch with the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group ( Our party had a great time at the restaurant, which reopened a few weeks ago after a slight renovation. I dined on beer cheese soup and Bavarian sausage, washed down with Uhlrich's Breakfast (a cocktail). It was my first time there in about 2 1/2 years, and I hope I won't wait that long to return.

Driving out of the parking lot at Das Bevo hit a snag (literally), when I backed my car into a telephone pole in the parking lot, causing damage to the rear fender at one corner. I will have to have that fixed soon; I have an appointment with the insurance adjuster next week.

On a happier note that Sunday, I then went to the Barnes & Noble ( store in Ladue to trade in my Nook HD tablet for a newer Samsung Galaxy Tab A Nook tablet. Doing so saved me $50 off the standard price for the newer tablet; however, I still get to keep the older Nook HD (received as a Christmas gift from my brothers in 2012) for as long as I want. After charging it up, I began transferring my Nook files to the new tablet. That includes the book I'm currently reading at lunch breaks at work, "We Were Soldiers Once...And Young" by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway. A terrific read on the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in November of 1965.

Work has been good and busy at our branch. We recently welcomed Mike, an intern for the summer, and Tyler, a new management trainee, to our staff. I change came in the vehicle prep side, as Jesse will only work Saturdays (he recently started another job), and I will continue to work four days a week, but no more alternate Saturday mornings for the time being. I can live with that.

Going to bed on Tuesday night, my bed's headboard broke off the support post, causing the bed to collapse. That forced me to sleep on the couch in the family room.

After work Wednesday (7 June), it was off to the Marcus Des Peres 14 Cine ( There, I saw the 1972 classic "The Godfather," from TCM ( and Fathom Events ( It was the first time I saw this movie in a theater, and I was thrilled from the first scene to the last. "The Godfather" is nearly three hours long, but didn't feel like it to me.

Off work Thursday, I did some personal business, then was helping out again at Circus Flora. This time, I joined with Julia, the scenic intern, in scanning tickets for that night's performance. We used bar code scanners on tickets the customers presented for admittance. There were just a very few slowdowns in the process; we got our audience members through the ticket line in good order. Then, I came inside the enjoy the show and to help with ushering duties.

It was another busy, but satisfying day at work yesterday. After dinner last night, Mom and I shopped for a new bedframe. After not finding anything suitable at two other stories, we went to Walmart (, where we found a suitable frame for a good price. After checking out, we took the bedframe home. This morning, Mom and I set up the bedframe in my bedroom. It took a bit of figuring out, but we got the frame set up and the foundation and mattress placed on it. I can now sleep in my own bed again.

I'm off to dinner tonight with the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group, then tomorrow I'll be a volunteer at the Scott Air Force Base Air Show ( More on that in my next post.