11 February 2018

A Birthday Amidst Fluctuating Weather

Last Sunday (4 February) was spent at home. Rather quiet. Did work a bit on a couple of scale models I'm looking finish so I can enter them in the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) contest on 20 February.

Back to work Monday morning and we had lots of vehicles to clean up and ready for the many customers that passed through our door that day. The same was the case the next day, with the added concern for freezing weather. I had some snow to clear off windows that morning, but easily handled. Concern with the weather did force postponement that Tuesday night of this month's Mark Twain Model Club in St. Charles. That meeting has been rescheduled for this Tuesday night.

My birthday in Wednesday (7 February) passed rather quietly. No mention of it at work. After work, I came home to dinner with mom, along with cake and presents. The latter included three casual shirts, which were most appreciated, along with a motivational book mom found, and a movie on DVD I had ordered, "Russian Ark." That night, I chilled out at home watching on DVD one of my all-time favorite movies, and one that was the top movie at the box office the day I was born: "Dr. Strangelove; Or, How I Learned to to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."

Off work Thursday, I went to Jiffy Lube (https://www.jiffylube.com/) to get my Corolla's safety and emissions inspections, as its state registration was due at the end of this month. After finding that my usual location in Mehlville was closing in three weeks, I headed a Jiffy Lube in Concord Village. They were able to do the safety inspection--it passed--but computer problems prevented them from doing the emissions inspection, even after rebooting the computer a few times. They folks there apologized for that, and promised they would get this fixed in the next day or two. I told them I would return in a week to try to get the emissions inspection done.

Home after that, I worked on my 2017 federal and state income taxed. Using TurboTax online (https://turbotax.intuit.com/), I followed the step-by-step instructions to work out my taxes. I ended up getting a nice refund from the federal government, and paying just a bit for the state. I successfully filed my taxes electronically, and printed off copies for my files and to mail to both the IRS and Missouri Department of Revenue--the latter with my payment. This was done during my lunch break the next day.

After getting my taxes done, mom took me out to Red Lobster (https://www.redlobster.com/) in Concord Village for my birthday dinner. I had a nice dinner featuring stuffed tilapia with langostino lobster. Yum. I washed that down with lobster lovers punch, a cocktail of Captain Morgan, Bacardi, and Malibu rum, shaken with berry and pineapple juice and served in a Red Lobster 50th Anniversary glass that I could keep. Very nice.

Back at work Friday--after buying doughnuts from Krispy Kreme (http://krispykreme.com/) for my colleagues--and we had a day that started off rather warm for this time of the year, only to get much colder later that day. Assistant manager Miranda got a big decorated cookie for my birthday, and I had a bit of that after getting lunch from Penn Station (http://www.penn-station.com/) in Ballwin. I helped get it all done by the time we closed up Friday night.

Yesterday, I was home during the day, doing a bit of work on my models and getting some preliminary work done for the IPMS/Gateway newsletter, The Arch Scaler News, which I need to get out this week. I also relaxed at home, mindful of the worsening weather coming that night. A wintry mix--ice and a bit of snow--was coming our way. That night, I learned by email that two soccer games I was to have officiated the next morning were cancelled, due to weather concerns.

Thus, I slept in a bit this morning, relaxed at home, then headed at midday to C4 at Creve Coeur Racquet Club (http://www.c4stl.com/) for boys futsal matches. I was scheduled to work four high school age matches; however, this past week, I was asked to yield my place in the third match of the set so a colleague could be assessed for upgrade. I agreed to this and so I watched that match from near the scorer's table. I trust my colleague passed his assessment. My three other matches went well, though they were a challenge at times and I had to pull out my yellow card a couple of times in these matches. Overall, though,they were fine and all was well at the end.

Watching the Winter Olympics (https://www.olympic.org/) from PyeongChang on TV tonight. I always enjoy the great smorgasbord of sports that is the Olympic games, and these games are wonderful to watch so far.


03 February 2018

Good Days at Work and at Home

Since a week ago yesterday (26 January) was pay day, naturally I stopped by Krispy Kreme (http://krispykreme.com/) in Fenton to buy a dozen doughnuts for my co-workers. It was a good day at the branch, busy as usual late in the day. I also was working the next morning.

After work, I spent a bit of time at my model work bench, getting going on some models I'm hoping to finish and enter at the February IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting. I worked on two kits during the next few days. I will definitely get going on all those models later this weekend.

Back at work Monday morning (29 January), it was busy as usual that morning before leveling off. The week went well, and we had plenty of vehicles to rent out.

Off on Thursday (1 February), I got a haircut at Great Clips (https://www.greatclips.com/) in Mehlville, then treated myself to a hot beverage and a pastry at the nearby Saint Louis Bread Co. (https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/home.html). That night, with help from my mom, I applied hair coloring to cover my gray hairs.

That afternoon, I began scanning work samples onto my computer for use in a PowerPoint portfolio that could be sent to prospective employers. I started the effort with public relations items; I will do writing and edit8ing items in due course. I hope to get the public relations work samples assembled onto the PowerPoint presentation in the coming week. By month's end, I plan to start contacting current and former co-workers and other contacts to let them know I am seeking positions in those fields.

Back at the branch on Friday morning, we were visited by our new area manager, who I met. He and the overall manager for St. Louis area branches were making the rounds of our branches, touching base with branch management and seeing how we were doing things. Hopefully, we made a very good impression on our visitors. Before leaving work last night, assistant manager Miranda said they had hired a new vehicle service agent that will start with us next weekend. I was working this morning, but with the new person coming aboard, I won't be regularly working weekends after today.

I went to Pizzarelli's Pizzeria (http://www.pizzarellispizza.com/) in Ellisville after work today for lunch. Two good sized slices of pizza--spicy sausage on cheese--were my meal, and they really hit the spot. I came home after lunch to chill out.


25 January 2018

State of Aviation Kickoff; Getting a Cold

One week ago tonight (18 January), I was at Creve Coeur Airport (http://crevecoeurairport.com/) for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. This had been postponed by one week due to weather on its scheduled night. A packed house took in a "State of Aviation" event, in which local and regional aviation groups briefly addressed the membership and guests on their plans for 2018.

These groups included: The Aero Experience (http://aeroexperience.blogspot.com/); the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum (http://airandspacemuseum.org/); the St. Louis Section of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (https://info.aiaa.org/Regions/MW/SL/default.aspx); the Gateway Chapter of the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (https://armyav.org/st-louis-missouri/); the Boeing Historical Council (http://www.boeing.com/history/); the Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (http://cafmo.org/); Gateway Squadron, Civil Air Patrol (https://www.facebook.com/CivilAirPatrolStLouisMoGatewaySquadron); the Defense Contract Management Agency at Boeing (http://www.dcma.mil/); Fair Saint Louis (https://www.fairsaintlouis.org/); the Greater St. Louis Business Aircraft Association (http://www.gslbaa.org/); the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum (http://www.historicaircraftrestorationmuseum.org/); the Saint Louis Science Center (https://www.slsc.org/); the Space Museum in Bonne Terre (http://www.space-mo.org/); the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo (http://spirit-airshow.com/); the Association of St. Louis Area Archivists (http://stlarchivists.org/); Saint Louis Regional Historical Societies (https://stlregionalho.org/); the National Museum of Transportation (http://transportmuseumassociation.org/); the TriStar Experience in Kansas City (https://tristarexperience.org/); and, the Transportation Club at the University of Missouri at St. Louis (http://www.umsl.edu/~cts/Transportation%20Club.html).

My friend Linsey Daman (http://cacstlouis.com/index.html) and her mother Anne were there, and it was great seeing them. Linsey is in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and she got a military discount from the Society.

Work at the rental branch has gone very well the past few days. With the weather warming up after the sub-freezing temperatures earlier last week, it was great to be able to wash the vehicles' exteriors without fear of the water freezing up on them.

Saturday night (20 January), I went to the Marcus Arnold Cinema (http://www.marcustheatres.com/theatre-locations/marcus-arnold-14-cine) to see "The Post." Really good movie. I was seven years old when the Pentagon Papers case went down, and this movie brought back my memories of that period.

Over last weekend, I got my entries and supporting materials prepared for submission to the Missouri Professional Communicators (http://www.mpc-nfpw.org/cpsiteframepage.lasso?-token.lpuserref=113815.113118) Communications Contest. The entries--the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) newsletter The Arch Scaler News, press releases for IPMS/Gateway's Invitational and Toys for Tots donation, and my blog--were submitted Monday (22 January). This is one day before the deadline. Results will be known in April. Wish me luck!

Also over that weekend, I got a chest cold. I made it into work, but was slowed down by body aches and a fever I felt that afternoon. Still, I persisted during the day. I rested at home right after work, and fulled a full day Tuesday and the partial day Wednesday.

I rested at home much of the day today, but I also did my laundry and drove out to Mark Twain Hobby Center (http://www.hobby1.com/) to get paint for a car model I'm working on for the IPMS/Gateway contest next month.


18 January 2018

Big Chill, and Scale Model Kit Dealing

It really got cold here in St. Louis, with high temperatures down to about 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) last weekend. Despite this, we at the rental branch carried on as best as possible. I worked a full day last Friday (12 January)--after bringing my mates some doughnuts from Krispy Kreme (http://krispykreme.com/)--I worked the next morning. Because of the cold weather, we weren't washing vehicle exteriors. (No need to have ice covered windows and doors locked shut.)

After work, it was chilling out at home this past weekend. Nothing special about my weekend at home.

Back to work Monday morning (15 January) in some biting cold. The temperatures started off around 0 degrees F (-17.8 degrees C), with wind chills of about -15 degrees F (-26.1 degrees C). Brrr! Despite the biting cold, my colleagues and I were able to take care of our customers.

After work on Tuesday, it was off to Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) for this month's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/). This was our annual Swap & Sell and Kit Auction. The former had several members selling kits and related items to fellow members (I bought one kit each from two vendors). We also had kits auctioned off, with proceeds going to club activities this year, including our Picnic in September. I won four kits and a book from my bidding efforts. Additionally, the club presented its annual Bob Stroup (Member of the Year) and Modeler of the Year awards from 2017. The night was a success.

After flexing out yesterday afternoon, I went home to rest. (I haven't had that much sleep lately.) Off work today, I did my laundry and ran some errands. Tonight, I am off to the rescheduled Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting at Creve Coeur Airport (http://crevecoeurairport.com/). It's the Society's annual Kickoff meeting, with representatives from various aviation organizations talking about their plans for this year.

The weather is getting warmer. Today, it hit 46 degrees F (7.8 degrees C), and it should hit just shy of 60 degrees F (15.6 degrees C) by Saturday.


11 January 2018

Besides Work, Going to Press

It was work last Saturday morning (6 January) at the rental branch, despite the sub-freezing weather. Marvin and I got the vehicles cleaned on the inside, but held off on washing the outsides due to the cold temperatures. The morning went very well for us.

Back home that afternoon, it was time to relax and start work on this month's issue of The Arch Scaler News, newsletter of IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/). I did some work over the weekend, selecting and editing photos and composing copy. Then, it was time to relax at home.

The week at work has gone well. There was plenty to keep me moving around, getting vehicles cleaned as well as picking up and dropping off customers. After the usual hectic Monday (8 January), things settled down by mid-week.

I flexed out yesterday afternoon, then went to Mark Twain Hobby Center (http://www.hobby1.com/) in St. Charles. After browsing for a few minutes among the shelves, I bought two model kits--a Vostok carrier rocket, and a 1957 Chevrolet convertible--to build for next month's IPMS/Gateway Out of the Box Contest. Actually, before checking out, I had to head to a convenience store and get cash from the ATM, as Mark Twain's credit card processing system was down. It was making purchases the old fashioned way.

At home that night, I finished work on The Arch Scaler News, and set it aside to proofread it this morning. After making final changes today, I printed off the newsletter and ran off a few copies at Office Max (https://www.officedepot.com/) for those few members who can't get email. I then addressed and stamped those newsletters before putting them in the mail. The rest of the members (including myself) were sent The Arch Scaler News via email late this afternoon.

Also this afternoon, I had a pleasant telephone conversation with my friend Linsey Daman (http://cacstlouis.com/index.html). We chatted and got caught up on things.

Glad to be home right now. It was strangely warm, hitting 60 degrees F (15.6 degrees C) early this afternoon, but it going down to about 26 degrees F (-3.3 degrees C) overnight. Looks like subfreezing temperatures for the next week. We are still in the midst of winter here.

The Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) was to have met tonight, but the weather threat has caused it to be postponed until next Thursday night (18 January). This month's meeting is the annual State of Aviation program, with area aviation organizations discussing their plans for 2018.


05 January 2018

Frigid Start to 2018

I worked at the rental branch last Saturday morning (30 December)--the final work day of 2017. It was quite busy, despite the sub-freezing cold. Because of that cold, Marvin and I kept the vehicles in the wash bay for a few minutes after washing, to prevent freezing of the doors and windows.

After work was done, I headed right away to Immacolata School (http://www.immacolata.org/immacolata-school-about-us.cfm) in Richmond Heights for the conclusion of the 9th Annual Mary McDermott 3rd Grade Basketball Tournament (https://www.glennon.org/mary-mcdermott-basketball/), which began the previous Thursday. This tournament for boys and girls Catholic Youth Council (CYC) teams raised money--through admissions, concessions, and a silent auction of sports memorabilia--to fund a Hybrid Cardiac Catheterization Suite at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. This tournament is named for Mary McDermott, an Immacolata parishioner, who died in 2008 at age 24 from a heart condition.

I arrived as the girls final was ending, and caught the boys final--a game that went into overtime. While there, I chatted briefly with Mary's father, Bill McDermott, a graphic designer and soccer commentator, who I have known for many years. I told Bill I was very happy to help out, in at least a small part, for this cause in her daughter's memory. There was a great crowd for the final game, and it was most supportive and positive of the action on the court.

After the final game, I got home as soon as possible to warm up. I basically stayed at home all weekend, including New Year's Eve. When the clock struck midnight, Mom and I walked out on the front porch to yell "Happy New Year!" I also rang a bell. After about 30 seconds of this, Mom and I got back inside and were in our respective beds soon after.

The next morning, I woke up for breakfast and to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade on TV. I spent much of the day watching episodes of "The Vietnam War" that I received for Christmas.

Back to work early Tuesday morning (2 January), it was one real busy morning. Vehicles jammed our lot when my colleagues and I arrived, and it took a while to warm them up to remove ice from the windows so we could move them around the lot. Eventually, we got a good handle on things and we took care of business very nicely. Because of the sub-freezing temperatures, we held off washing the vehicle exteriors, to prevent freezing of doors and windows.

After a not quite a busy Wednesday at the branch, I flexed out in mid-afternoon and came home. Off on Thursday, I took care of some chores in the morning before going out to two branches that afternoon. I first went to Kirkwood, where I left a greeting card and gift card for its manager, Hannah. She was out sick, but her assistant accepted it for her. This was celebrating Hannah and her boyfriend Justin recently moving into a new house.

I then headed to Ballwin branch, where I presented the same items to manager Tessie. She recently moved into a new home with her boyfriend, my former colleague Alex. Tessie really appreciated the gesture. (Alex told me the same tonight, by phone as I was driving home from work.)

That night, I was at Marion Morris' house in Maplewood for the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) business meeting. (This was technically the December business meeting, held off until now due to the Holidays.) We planned our upcoming meetings, discussed some business, and agreed to the special categories for this year's Modeler of the Year model contests. I also officially took over as club secretary at this meeting.

It was a pretty busy Friday at the branch today, but things still went very well overall. I'm back at work tomorrow morning. Time to relax and stay warm.


29 December 2017

Christmas, and 2017 Nears Its End

It was a busy Friday (22 December) and Saturday morning at the rental branch, with a lot of people renting vehicles for Christmas vacation journeys. It was quite a bit of extra work involved, but my colleagues and I were able to meet the challenge and keep our customers most satisfied. My manager Cory gave me my annual review on Friday--two days after my fifth anniversary with Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html)--and he had nothing but high marks for me. Cory had little to say but to appreciate the great job I'm doing for the firm, and I had hardly anything to add.

Home after work that Saturday afternoon (23 December), I took care of the last presents to wrap up and put under the Christmas tree at home. Mom and I chilled out at home. I viewed the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) presentation of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," which was the only way to see that awful film. Plenty of campy fun with this movie, as presented on MST3K. It was a good day to be inside: The morning before, we got about 2 inches (5 cm) of snow, to make this a White Christmas. (Cue Bing Crosby.)

I went to Sunday morning service on Christmas Eve at Calvary Presbyterian Church's sanctuary (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/), though it was actually a service conducted by Affton Presbyterian Church (http://afftonpc.org/), which began nesting with Calvary a few weeks ago. (Affton normally holds Sunday services in the Fellowship Hall.) It was nice and I stayed around in the Fellowship Hall afterward for refreshments.

After time at home, I took Mom back to Calvary for the Christmas Eve evening service. It was very nice, and Mom and I were called that night to help serve Communion, which we did. It ended with the sanctuary lights turned off and our individual candle lights (actually electric lights) on during the singing of "Silent Night, Holy Night," which made this more moving.

After the service, Mom and I came home and we each opened a present before retiring to bed.

The next morning, we opened the rest of the presents. I especially prize two pairs of shoes Mom gave me: a pair of black dress shoes (which I hope to wear to some job interviews in the coming months), and a pair of cross training shoes, to replace the worn pair I had. I also got a replica St. Louis Blues sweater, and a necktie from my Uncle Harold--Mom's brother. My brother Doug, teaming up with my brothers Rick and Brian, gave me the DVD of the recent PBS documentary series "The Vietnam War," along with its companion book and soundtrack album. Very nice items, indeed. Mom really enjoyed the necklace and matching earrings I gave her.

I basically chilled out at home the rest of the day.

Up early the next morning (26 December), I drove to work and had a long and very busy day with cleaning cars and picking up and dropping off customers. Mostly, these were customers coming off the holiday weekend. We got through the day fine. It was also the last day for my fellow car prep Jesse, who stepped down due to his arthritis. Sad to see someone go, but I can fully understand his situation.

Since I am working this Saturday morning, I flexed out Wednesday afternoon. That came after a long (distance and time) road trip to ferry a vehicle to our Washington, Missouri branch, then to ferry a passenger van to the Manchester branch, and finally getting a getting a ride back to the Ellisville branch.

That night, after getting dressed up with the new dress shoes and tie, I came to Double D Karaoke Bar (https://doubledstl.com/) in Brentwood for our area's Secret Santa party. After getting beer and appetizers, we received our presents. The person I was buying for wasn't there to get my gift card, but I received an Amazon gift card from my Secret Santa from another branch. I added that card to the one Brian gave me for Christmas. Looks like I'll be getting into my Amazon wish list in the New Year!

Off on Thursday, I headed to Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis to ice skate at Winterfest at the Arch (https://www.archwinterfest.com/). It had been at least two years since I last ice skated, but I did well in the hour I had at the rink. After that, I walked to a nearby Saint Louis Bread Co. (https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/home.html) for a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie.

It was another busy day at work today, but things went well. I got word that afternoon that I had been voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the branch for this week. That's an honor that usually goes to management personnel, so I was most pleasantly surprised to get the MVP Award. I must be doing something right at the branch!

See you next year!