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!


21 December 2017

Christmas is Near, and Winter is Here

I joined with two others from the Single in the City Meetup Group (https://www.meetup.com/STLSingleInTheCity) for a tour of the Brewery Lights (http://brewerylights.com/) at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in south St. Louis Sunday night (17 December). It was my first time going through this display and the three of us had a wonderful time admiring the light displays, posing by one of the Budweiser Clydesdales (http://www.budweiser.com/en/clydesdales/history.html), and sampling beers along the way. Our wristbands had five numbered tabs that we would remove, one at a time, to redeem for a free cup of beer. It was nice trying out the various beers from the AB InBev (http://www.ab-inbev.com/) family. One of those I tried is Budweiser 1933 Repeal Reserve (http://www.budweiser.com/en/our-beers/1933-repeal-reserve.html), an amber lager brewed for a limited time and based on a recipe last used just prior to Prohibition (1920-1933). I really liked this beer. Overall, it was a very nice night.

It was back to work at the rental branch bright and early Monday morning, and it was one busy morning. Perhaps, the busiest in my time with Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html). We had a line of customers in the lobby at times, waiting to either pick up or drop off their vehicles. It was a scramble, but we of the branch got it done and kept our customers most satisfied.

Great news came on my computer that night, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website (http://www.stltoday.com/) approved my press release and Julie Vaughn's photo from Friday morning's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) check presentation to the Marine Corps Reserve in Fenton for this year's Toys for Tots (https://bridgeton-mo.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx) campaign in Metro St. Louis (http://www.stltoday.com/pr/lifestyles/gateway-chapter-ipms-donates-to-toys-for-tots/article_e63d9d82-e28b-11e7-8cee-5cb9017bb5c0.html). I also posted the story on Mehlville Patch (https://patch.com/missouri/mehlville-oakville/gateway-chapter-ipms-donates-661-toys-tots) and on IPMS/USA's website (https://news.ipmsusa3.org/news/gateway-chapter-ipms-donates-661-toys-tots).

After another busy day Tuesday (19 December), it was off to Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) for this month's IPMS/Gateway meeting. It was a busy meeting, as we discussed the proposed revision to the Constitution and By-Laws (C&BL). After much debate, the members decided to not vote on approving the C&BL until the February 2018 meeting, to allow more time for members to study and discuss the changes. We did have elections for next year's executive board (eboard), and I was selected as Secretary by acclamation. (I was the only candidate left for the office. Members also voted for the Bob Stroup (Member of the Year) Award, which will be presented at next months' meeting. We then had our annual recognition contest, in which we had to guess the subjects of images projected on the wall. I got 15 of 25 correct, a low score by my standards. (I usually win or are in the top three finishers in this contest.) Finally, we had our big raffle of kits and some hobby knife holders. I had the last ticket drawn, so by default, I got one of the knife holders, made at home by our outgoing president, Bill Wagner.

Plenty of work yesterday at the branch, as we and our customers looked ahead to Christmas this weekend. Looks lie the same for tomorrow. Yesterday, by the way, was my fifth anniversary at Enterprise. During the week, I received brief congratulatory emails from two higher ups in the organization, which I was very honored to receive on this occasion.

Off work today--the Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere (Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere)--I did my laundry, helped remove leaves from the front lawn, and made my last deliveries of newsletters and cookies to my colleagues. After delivery to the area office, I stopped by the Manchester car sales location to give its manager a newsletter. I now feel I have accomplished my mission of spreading holiday cheer among my colleagues. I then did a bit of Christmas shopping before coming home.