20 May 2020

The First Post-Quarantine IPMS/Gateway Meeting

Last night (19 May), the Gateway Chapter of the International Plastic Modelers' Society (IPMS) (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) met for the first time in two months; the April meeting having been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic-related closings of public facilities. This meeting was the first at the club's new meeting venue, Affton Elks Lodge 6235 (https://www.elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?LodgeNumber=2635).

There were 14 members in attendance at the meeting, and with the large meeting hall, there was no problem maintaining social distancing. The facility got raves from all of us there.

This meeting had a People's Choice Contest for models members built during the quarantine. I had completed two models in that time--a 1:48 scale Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis, and a 1:306 USS Fletcher. They were among six entries in this contest, in which attendees voted for the three best models in the contest. My Fletcher got the third-most votes, and my prize was a roll of toilet paper and a cloth mask.

Besides the contest and the show and tell--which included my 1:32 MiG-21PF, a work in progress--I mentioned the Missouri Professional Communicators (https://www.facebook.com/MissouriProfessionalCommunicators) awards for the club's newsletter and press releases that I had received the day before. We also had a demonstration of Tru-Color Paint (http://trucolorpaint.com/), with samples of the paint and literature about the paint line.

I know that several club members stayed away because of lingering coronavirus concerns, which I understand. Attendance should improve as conditions improve for all of us.


19 May 2020

2020 Honors from Missouri Professional Communicators

Yesterday afternoon (18 May), I checked my mail at home and found a large vanilla envelope addressed to me. After noting the return address label was from Missouri Professional Communicators (MPC) (https://www.facebook.com/MissouriProfessionalCommunicators), I carefully opened the envelope to remove its contents. Clipped together were a cover sheet and four awards certificates from this year's MPC Communications Contest.

Earlier this year, I submitted four entries to the contest, which was open to MPC members. All entries were reviewed by a panel of judges, who then evaluated the entries and gave them awards in their respective categories. I have participated in this contest for three years now, and it has been most helpful for me, not just for the honor of the awards and how they would look for my career in this field, but also for the judges' constructive comments about each entry. I have sought to take these comments to heart in my subsequent work, and the chief judge noted this in her cover sheet.

All four of my entries this year (for work done in 2019) were honored. I earned a First Place in Writing: Publication regularly written by entrant--newsletter or other non-newspaper for The Arch Scaler News, the member newsletter I edit for the Gateway Chapter of the International Plastic Modelers' Society (IPMS) (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home). The judges noted "The newsletter is well organized and looks clean. For an organization that must be small, it is well-done and easy to read. The writing is very accessible. The minutes are a bit dull, but seem like standard minutes. But the other writing is much more lively." With this First Place award, The Arch Scaler News is eligible for an award from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) (https://nfpw.org/) 2020 Communications Contest. Those awards are normally presented at its annual Conference; however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFPW will present the awards virtually early next month. That organization contacted me yesterday for my photograph, which I sent.

Two press releases I wrote last year for IPMS/Gateway earned awards in Information for the Media: News or feature release--single release. the release announcing our club's $500 donation to Toys for Tots (https://www.toysfortots.org/) in Metro St. Louis earned Second Place. The judges noted "It's always wonderful to write a press release about an effort that brightens the lives of children! Again, this release was well-written and thorough. I liked how the release included information about the history of donations from the club and the mission and purpose of the club."

Taking Third Place was my release announcing IPMS/Gateway's Invitational model contest and swap meet held last September. This was praised for being "well-written and thorough."

Finally, a post to this blog from last 22 May earned Second Place in Web and Social Media: Personal blogs. The entry was "Scale Modeling and Soccer: One Saturday in Louisville," and talked about my visit to Louisville on 18 May. That day, I attended the Military Modelers Club of Louisville (http://www.mmcl.org/) model contest, a brief visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (https://www.sluggermuseum.com/), and joining the St. Louligans (https://stlouligans.com/) in supporting Saint Louis FC (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/) against Louisville City FC at Louisville Slugger Field. The judges noted "Easy, conversational tone/readability. Detailed, informative chronicle of journey, events, and points of interest with enlightening facts and abundance of photographs. 'I chatted with...' leaves the reading wanting more."


Needless to say, I am honored and most happy to be recognized by my peers for this work. It gives me greater confidence in my abilities, and encouragement to improve my skills in this field.


14 May 2020

Still Sheltered in Place

It's been nearly a month since my last post here, but not much has happened. I am still on furlough from work, but hopefully of getting recalled as soon as next week. So, all this time I have been--with rare exceptions--holed up at home with my mom.

A good side to this shelter in place was allowing me to clean up my living spaces. I did my bedroom late last month, and earlier this month began to clean out clutter from my office. Still some work to go, but progress has been made and much trash thrown out.

I have also spent more time on my model workbench. I completed one model late last month--a 1:48 scale Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis--and am nearing completion on a second one, a 1:306 scale USS Fletcher. It was good to make such progress on my model kit stash.

Last Sunday (10 May) was Mother's Day. That night, Mom and I enjoyed a very tasty seafood dinner--featuring lobster tail and salmon--that my brother Doug ordered from Red Lobster (https://www.redlobster.com/order?msclkid=0b206397fe061f978a653d2a12afaf92) and delivered to our house.

This past week, I sat in on some job search workshops held on Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/) by RockIt Career Consultation Services (https://rockitcareers.com/). (My friend from college, Cindy Hensley, recommended them to me after having taken in some recent workshops RockIt had done.) I sat in on one Monday on overall job searching, one yesterday on networking, and one today on interviewing. (They had one on resumes and cover letters Tuesday, which I passed, since I already have those done.) The last one tomorrow is on negotiation They have been most informative, and I hope to put much of what I learnd to use before too long.

I have also used Zoom for my weekly sessions with my life coach, Kit Maxwell (https://www.kitmaxwell.com/), which has been most helpful for me in dealing with recent troubles in my life.

Today, I got out the latest issue of The Arch Scaler News, the IPMS Gateway Chapter (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/contest). Our meeting last month was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with meeting place restrictions easing this Monday (18 May), the club plans to meet this Tuesday night at its new venue, Affton Elks Lodge 2635 (https://www.elks.org/lodges/ContactUs.cfm?LodgeNumber=2635). Looking forward to meeting the club and talking scale models in person. (A week ago Tuesday, the club's e-board met at Rick Keasey's house in Edwardsville to discuss club business.


22 April 2020

Continuing to Shelter from COVID-19

It has been about five weeks since I was furloughed from Enterprise Rent-A-Car (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html). I was informed this morning by my area manager that I can expect to stay on furlough until early next month at the soonest. I am now using my accumulated paid time off for compensation in the near term.

Last weekend, I checked my credit union account and found that I had received my federal and state income tax refunds, and the federal stimulus payment. I should be financially fine in the near term.

However, I am looking out for other opportunities--both interim and long term. Any assistance others can give me in this area is most welcome.

Except for an occasional walk around the neighborhood or driving with my mom to get lunch or dinner, I have been staying inside. I have been watching TV, playing videos off my DVD player, and watching videos on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/). I have also been active on my scale modeling workbench. This past Monday (20 April), I finished my latest model, the Glencoe Models (http://www.glencoemodels.com/) 1:48 scale Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis, the aircraft Charles Lindbergh flew non-stop from New York to Paris in May of 1927.

A little over a week ago, I finished painting a model car body for my friend Mark Catalana. He came by the house to pick up the painted body and the paints he gave me for it. I also gave him a flyer for IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) and for the Regional Contest Gateway is hosting this September. In return, Catalana gave me a gift card for Rich & Charlie's Restaurants (http://www.richandcharlies.com/) as thanks for doing this job.

Recebtly, I started work on another model, a ship; specifically, the old Revell (https://www.revell.com/index.php) 1:306 scale USS Fletcher destroyer. I should have this done by mid-May.

Last week, I put out the IPMS/Gateway newsletter for this month. The club's meeting last night was cancelled, due to the pandemic; hopefully, we will be meeting next month at the new venue, Affton Elks Lodge 6235 (https://www.elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?LodgeNumber=2635).

Everybody take care and stay safe.


07 April 2020

Riding Out the Pandemic

I am still sheltered in place at home, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last Friday (3 April), I notified my area manager at Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) that I wished to applied my accumulated Paid Time Off (PTO) this month. This would apply after the next pay period, when the paid furlough would otherwise end, and should run through the rest of April. Hopefully, I will be back to work at month's end.

I helped my mom around the house--specifically, mowing the front lawn and picking up leaves with a vacuum in the front and back yards.

Additionally, I have done some more work on my scale modeling workbench. Last weekend, I finished the majority of painting, plus decal application, for the Glencoe Models (http://www.glencoemodels.com/) 1:48 scale Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis" aircraft model I started on late last month. I just need to do a bit of paint touch up and then final assembly (propeller, landing gear, struts) and the Spirit will be done.

Earlier tonight, I also did a bit of sanding on a car body I will be painting for my friend Mark Catalana. I should be ready for priming the body tomorrow. Hopefully, I can get this project done by the end of next week at the latest. I also started work on my next project, an old (1962) Revell (https://www.revell.com/index.php) 1:306 scale destroyer USS Fletcher. I should have that ship done by mid-May at the latest.

In recent days, I applied online for a job listing I saw on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/), plus messaging some of my contacts there to let them know I am looking for work in public relations, marketing communications, or publishing. A few of those contacts replied back so far, offering encouragement and saying they would help where they can. Anyone reading this post can contact me on my LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rsdelaney/).

More of the same semi-hibernation for the coming days.


30 March 2020

At Home Due to Coronavirus

As you now know, the world is dealing with a pandemic of coronavirus; specifically, the strain called COVID-19. Here in St. Louis and around the world, non-essential work places have been closed and workers furloughed or laid off.

I am one of those kept at home lately. Eleven days ago (19 March), I reported for work at Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) in Ellisville. After getting the wash bay ready and cleaning and spotting the first cars of the day, my manager told me that I was going on immediate furlough for at least two weeks, due to the outbreak. After I made sure my manager was up to date on the wash bay materials situation, I clocked out and headed home.

Later that day, my area manager called to brief me on the situation. Several non-essential branches were closed and there was limited office hours and fewer staff. He said he would keep me posted on any further developments.

About one week later, I touched base with my manager via text and he told me the Ellisville branch and most others were now closed and he and the other staff were at home, awaiting developments. With the shutdown of non-essential travel and the need for people to stay inside as much as possible, this made sense.

This afternoon, my area manager called me back to say my furlough was extended to 30 April, and that only a few rental branches were open in the St. Louis area. He added that I would be paid for two weeks, and could use my paid time off for the remaining days until month's end. I should make a decision on that by the end of this week.

In the meantime, I have been home occupying myself with other pursuits. For one, I have been working on my scale modeling workbench, putting together a model of the Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis, Charles A. Lindbergh's Atlantic-spanning aircraft from 1927. I have started to paint the outside of the model, beginning tonight with a primer coat. I should have this done early next month. Having this model done would accomplish two things: 1. Have an entry in the "Roaring Twenties" special category at the May meeting of IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) meeting--assuming it is held; and 2. have a model to contribute to the club's display at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (https://www.flystl.com/) later this spring.

Just today, my friend Mark Catalana came by with a model car body he wanted me to paint for him. He told me the other day via Messenger that he greatly admired my work and said I would do a better job than he could, at least on the outside. (Mark said he could do the interiors quite well.) I will work on that this week, in between my Spirit of St. Louis model and a ship model I plan to start on later this week.

I also have kept in touch with family, friends, and other connections during this time--mostly online. I have also viewed TV program and played DVDs to keep my spirits up. (Today, I played "The Blue Brothers.") I am also helping my mom out around the house as much as I can.

I am also keeping my options open regarding my career. Last week, I applied for a corporate communications position in Kansas City, and today I contacted a staffing and recruiting firm to get some help with the process. I also plan to contact people in my network asking for their help.

Overall, I am trying to keep my chin up and feeling positive. Not easy with all the news around the world relating to the coronavirus, but all I can do is my best. Stout hearts.


21 March 2020

IPMS Gateway Meets at Calvary One More Time

Tuesday night (17 March), I was at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) for this month's IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) meeting. It was the club's last meeting at Calvary, before moving next month (we hope) to Affton Elks Lodge 6235 (https://www.elks.org/lodges/ContactUs.cfm?LodgeNumber=2635). Concerns about the current coronavirus outbreak limited the meeting's attendance to 14 members--usually attendance is closer to 30.

Early in the meeting, club president Rick Keasey presented my mother Joan Delaney with a $50 Target (https://www.target.com/) gift card, in appreciation for her work opening the Fellowship Hall for the club these past few years. She was pleasantly surprised by this gesture, and thanked us for the card.

After discussing other club business, we had Show & Tell. I told of my T-34/85 model taking a Bronze in Armor at KC CON (http://www.ipmsgreatplains.org/KCCon2020.aspx) in Kansas City, Missouri the previous Saturday. There was some other interesting items shown off by a few of our members.

After Show & Tell, Jim Triola, with assistance from Jim Victor, presented a demo on photo etched (PR) metal parts. They used ship models they are working on--Triola, a 1:200 scale USS Hornet (CV-8); Victor, a 1:200 HMS Nelson--to show the PE parts installed to this point, and the tools, techniques, and adhesives they use. It was quite an interesting demo and welcome by club members not experienced at all in PE parts.

The next day, word came that the Affton Elks Lodge is closed for now, which means we may not meet there on 21 April as planned. Hope to hear back on this soon. Already, several IPMS/USA (http://ipmsusa.org/) contests have been cancelled or postponed, and many chapter meetings have been cancelled due to their venues being closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. It's the right decision under the circumstances, though not welcome for those who worked hard to get these shows on and to meet their fellow modelers.

Stay safe everyone.