13 January 2019

Snowstorm 2019

While taking care of business this past week--including work at the rental branch--I was made aware of a possible snowstorm coming to this area. I was glad I was able to finish up the IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) newsletter, The Arch Scaler News, this past Thursday night (10 January). The next afternoon, the snow started to fall.

At the rental branch, my colleagues and I worked hard to get as much done before the weather hit hard. When it started to snow, we had plenty of vehicles to process from customers wanting to turn them in before the weather got too bad. I made several trips that afternoon to return customers to their residences--while traffic on the roads got much heavier. As the snow increased, we were not concerned about washing the exterior of the vehicles. Things wrapped up about closing time at 6 pm.

It was then that the real trouble began for me and other commuters. Streets were jammed with traffic and vehicles had problems with the snow and ice on the streets and highways. After nearly an hour of being stuck in traffic, I rerouted my way home using the Maps app on my phone. This involved taking side streets for the most part. They had very little traffic, but were tricky to drive on due to the snow that had not yet been plowed away. It took me about an hour on this route, but I arrived home safe and sound that night.

Waking up the next morning (12 January), I got dressed after breakfast to begin shoveling snow off the driveway. I first measured the snowfall to that point on the driveway. We had 7 inches (17.8 cm) here; other parts of the St. Louis area received up to 12 inches (30.5 cm). Then, I began to shovel the snow, and it was hard. The snow was wet and heavy, so it was a greater effort to move it than if it was a light powder type of snow. I took frequent breaks to rest up and reduce stress on my heart.

Sometimes, I came inside to rest, including having a cup of hot chocolate. That was most welcome on this day. I took some time to rest that afternoon, watching "The Grand Budapest Hotel" on DVD in my room. (The satellite TV was out until mid-afternoon, due to the weather.) Finally, I completed shoving all the snow off the driveway late that afternoon.

Because of the weather, three events I had planned to attend that day and night were called off. They included the Missouri Professional Communicators (http://www.mpc-nfpw.org/) meeting at the St. Louis Artists' Guild (https://www.stlouisartistsguild.org/) in Clayton, and the Cabin Fever festival at the Schlafly Bottleworks (http://www.schlafly.com/events/cabinfever/) in Maplewood. These will be held this Saturday (19 January). Also, a party for area Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) rental employees at Start Bar (https://startbarstl.com/) in downtown St. Louis was called off; it will be rescheduled for another time.

Just taking it easy at home today. Roads should be much better for tomorrow in getting to and from work, and Tuesday for the IPMS/Gateway meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/).


06 January 2019

On the Pitch as a Player

After a quiet New Year's Eve and New Year's Day at home and some busy days at work, I very much looked forward to being at World Wide Technology Soccer Park (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/SOCCERPARK) for the annual soccer match between the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/)--supporter group for Saint Louis FC (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/)--and the St. Louis Chapter of the American Outlaws (https://www.theamericanoutlaws.com/chapters/missouri)--a supporter group for US national teams.

Admission for all participants was in the form of food and personal care item donations, which will go to the St. Louis Area Foodbank (https://stlfoodbank.org/). In my case, I brought some toilet paper, protein bars, and a can of peaches. We went to one of the fields there for the match.

I was originally thinking of just watching this match, but this past week decided to play. So, I dressed the part, wearing a green St. Louligans supporter jersey. Quite a change of pace for someone who normally is on the pitch to referee a match. I got in a bit of warm up with the other players before the match began. All of us had plenty of refreshment, thanks for cans of beer donated by Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (http://urbanchestnut.com/).

The match was played in 30-minute halves, with free substitutions. I came in about midway in the first half and played about two minutes before asking to be replaced. I came on again late in that half, and ended up on my back trying to defend against an American Outlaws forward. Fortunately, I wasn't really hurt and I got back up and into the match.

I played two shifts in the second half, but in the entire match, I did not get one touch of the ball. Maybe that was a good thing. I was happy at the final whistle as St. Louligans won the match, 3-2. We were all a tired, but happy bunch of players who posed for pictures after the match. It was a lot of fun, nobody was hurt, and some hungry people in Metro St. Louis will get help.

(Team pictures courtesy of St. Louligans.)

I then went to the refreshment stand for lunch. I had a bratwurst, then had turkey chili. I had drunk three cans of beer, and it showed. I took it easy before going home, which I made safely.


30 December 2018

Christmas 2018

Christmas this past week went well. After a shortened day at work on Monday (24 December), I went with mom to a Christmas Eve service at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/). This was a joint service with Affton Presbyterian Church (http://afftonpc.org/), which is co-located with Calvary. The service was pleasant, including seeing my friend Lisa Crain with her parents, sister and sister's family. Lisa and I chatted for a bit before the service.

After the service, Mom and I came back home, where she asked me to open one of my presents. It had come earlier that day from the delivery truck. It was a camera I had ordered just over a week before from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/). This is a Canon (https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog) PowerShot SX530 HS, a digital point and shoot camera with 50x zoom lens. This came with a host of accessories, including: carry case; two batteries and charger; two memory cards; lens cleaning kit; mini tripod; carry strap; and view screen protector. I charged the battery up overnight, so I could use it the next morning.

The next morning, after a small breakfast, Mom and I opened our presents in the living room. I must have been very good this year, as I received several presents. They included: two calendars; two DVDs and a few books from my brother Rick (I sent him a book in exchange); and a few other things.

Mom greatly appreciated the bedroom slippers and restaurant gift cards I gave her for Christmas. We spent the day relaxing around the house. I also did some test shots around the house with my new camera.

Normally off work on Wednesdays, I worked this past Wednesday (26 December). It was a fairly quiet day for the most part. The rest of this week went well at the branch. Late Friday afternoon, I filled in at the Ballwin branch as they lacked a car prep that day. My services there were most appreciated.

Yesterday, after helping Mom pick up leaves from the back yard, I went to the Church of the Immacolata (http://www.immacolata.org/) in Richmond Heights to catch the last day of the 10th annual Mary McDermott 3rd Grade Basketball Tournament (https://www.glennon.org/mary-mcdermott-basketball/). This was a tournament for boys and girls Catholic Youth Council (http://www.cycstl.net/) teams. Proceeds from admissions, concessions, and a silent auction of sports memorabilia will go to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation. This event is a memorial to Mary McDermott, an Immacolata parish member and athlete who died for a heart ailment in 2008. She was the daughter of my friend Bill McDermott, a graphic designer and soccer commentator. It was a pleasure for me to watch some of the action and to support this effort in at least a small way.

Back to work until mid-afternoon tomorrow, then time to celebrate New Year's Eve. This past year was good, and I am hoping for better in 2019.


22 December 2018

Celebrating with Scale Modelers and Coworkers

Tuesday night (18 December), right after work, I headed for Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) for this month's IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) meeting. This meeting began with a Christmas dinner, featuring food catered by Bandana's Bar-B-Q (https://www.bandanasbbq.com/), with drinks, sides and desserts brought by the club's executive board (e-board).

Then, we had elections for the club's Bob Stroup Award for member service (which will be presented at next month's meeting) and for next year's e-board. Yours truly was unopposed as secretary, and was reelected by acclamation. There will be a business meeting on 4 January 2019.

IPMS/Gateway also had a recognition contest, in which Marion Morris showed movie quotes and we had to guess the movie it was in from four choices. I did pretty good, missing only six of the 25 questions. Finally, we had our annual big raffle of kits. A good time.

Off work the next day, but I was out and about. This began by visiting several Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) locations--including two of Enterprise Car Sales (https://www.enterprisecarsales.com/)--where several former colleagues from Ellisville work. I delivered their Holiday newsletters, and brought them cookies to share with their colleagues. All of them I spoke to greatly appreciated the gesture.

I came home after a bit of Christmas shopping, then went to Circle 7 Ranch (http://circle7ranch.com/) in Des Peres for a Happy Hour of Enterprise Rent-A-Car's Ellisville and Ballwin branches. We had a good time in a private room in the restaurant, enjoying appetizers and drinks along with each other's company. A nice way to celebrate our successes in 2018 and looking ahead to more in 2019.

Back at work on Thursday (20 December), I had my annual review. Today marks my 6th anniversary with Enterprise. The assistant manager at Ellisville talked me through the review. Spoiler alert: I met requirements. Just a few minor things to work on improving, but overall good to great marks for my work this past year. After signing off on the review, the manager and assistant manager presented me with an Enterprise pullover. It looks and fits great, and will be greatly appreciated when the weather turns cold.

Yesterday was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day at work. I wore mine, as did my colleagues. (Most of the time, it was under my jacket.) We posed for a photo by the area staff, who took it to include on their Instagram page (@ehi_stl).

Off to finish Christmas preparations this weekend. Later.