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29 July 2016

Transitions at Work; Dinner with a Group

After a relaxing weekend at home, it was back to work for me this past Monday (25 July). It was warm and humid, though not as bad as it was the previous two weeks. Tuesday marked the last day for Liz as our branch manager, as she is taking over the branch at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Area employees gathered at Double D Karaoke (http://doubledstl.com) in Brentwood after work on Tuesday to celebrate. I could only stay briefly, as I had to drive down to Bill Wagner's house in Oakville for the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) business meeting. Liz appreciated my stopping by, though. The IPMS/Gateway board planned our August general and business meetings, and discussed other club business.

Wednesday (27 July), I started to contact some recruiters about help in finding career opportunities in marketing communications and publishing. Hope to get some action going soon in that area. Any assistance that you can give me in this regard is much appreciated.

Off work Thursday, I got my hair cut at Great Clips (http://www.greatclips.com/) in Tenholder Plaza in Mehlville. The stylist did such a good job getting about two months' growth of hair cut from my head. I bought some hair color on the way home and applied it myself, covering my gray hairs.

After a personal appointment, I shopped a bit at CRM Hobbies (http://www.crmhobbies.com/) in south St. Louis, buying two bottles of paint for models I'm working on now.

That night, I was at Yemanja Brasil Restorante (http://www.brazildining.com/) in south St. Louis' Benton Park neighborhood for dinner with the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group (https://www.meetup.com/Ethnic-Restaurant-Fans/). Approximately 12 of us attended, and it was my third visit to this restaurant. Yemanja is one of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis and the experience did not disappoint. After an appetizer of Empanadas de Bife and a cup of soup, I did into the main course: Xin Xim de Galinha, a spicy chicken dish. Dessert was Pudim de Coco, mainly bread pudding, all washed down with a Caipirinha cocktail and water. A great time was had by all at this dinner, and I highly recommend both Yemanja and Ethnic Restaurant Fans.

Today at work, an electrician came by in the morning to install two oscillating fans in the wash bay. When the fans were up and running, they blew plenty of cool air inside the bay, which made conditions much more tolerable. It was challenging at times to get vehicles parked on our crowded lot, but things got taken care of in good order. By the way, a new manager reports to our branch next week.

Relaxing at home now, but an interesting weekend awaits. More on that in my next post.

Later.





23 July 2016

The Heat is (Still) On

This past week saw a heat wave hit the St. Louis area. Daytime highs reached at least 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), with heat indices getting up towards 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). It's not fun to be outside or in the wash bay at work, so I stayed inside the air conditioned lobby as much as possible, drinking as much water or thirst quencher as I can. Fortunately, I am fine, though tired at the end of the work day.

I flexed out Tuesday afternoon (19 July), and came home to chill out (literally). That night, I helped run the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/). We had a good turnout for our beauty contest, plus a nice demo on attaching windshields and other clear parts to models. All of us attending stayed cool inside Calvary's Fellowship Hall.

After taking care of some personal affairs on my off day Thursday (21 July), I drove to Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/) for this month's meeting of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/). This meeting featured a tribute to former McDonnell Aircraft lead test pilot Bob Little, including the debut of two new documentaries on him. One was about Little's life and career, which included service in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, and the McDonnell aircraft he piloted on its first flights (F2H Banshee, F3H Demon, F-101 Voodoo, and F4H [later F-4] Phantom II). The documentary climaxed with Little's meeting last May with Col. Ronald "Elvis" King, the last USAF F-4 pilot at the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo. A second video screened for us was an extended version of the interview with Little and King. The Bob Little documentary began airing today on HEC-TV (http://www.hectv.org/watch/hec-tv-live/legendary-wwii-and-test-pilot-bob-little/24325/).

Jacqui Poor, the Society's vice president, produced the Little program for HEC-TV, and she was helping screen the program for our meeting. Because of that, I was asked to man the membership table in her place, and I made sure attendees signed in and also accepted some membership forms (both new and renewal memberships), plus directing members to their name tags on the nearby table. We had a very good turnout at the meeting, despite the heat outside. (Due to that heat, the Society asked Little--who's in his early 90s--to stay home; we'll have him at a later meeting.)

Yesterday, my high school and church friend Susan Shrum appeared on KHOU TV's program "Good Day Houston." She has lived in Houston for some years now and helps run a casual dining restaurant there, Happy Fatz (http://happyfatz.com/). Today is National Hot Dog Day and Susan and her colleague Rebecca Hernandez Sanders showed off their hot dogs and desserts to the host. The segment video is here: http://www.khou.com/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-houston/celebrate-national-hot-dog-today-07222016/279768573

I worked at the rental branch this morning. It was a busy one, but we got our customers taken care of with our usual dispatch. Our manager Liz will be leaving after this Tuesday, as she has been promoted to manager our Cape Girardeau branch. Best wishes to you, Liz, and thank you for your service at Ellisville.

Chilling out at home, then brazing the heat to attend tonight's Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) match against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. More on that in my next post.

Later.

The Heat is (Still) On

This past week saw a heat wave hit the St. Louis area. Daytime highs reached at least 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), with heat indices getting up towards 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). It's not fun to be outside or in the wash bay at work, so I stayed inside the air conditioned lobby as much as possible, drinking as much water or thirst quencher as I can. Fortunately, I am fine, though tired at the end of the work day.

I flexed out Tuesday afternoon (19 July), and came home to chill out (literally). That night, I helped run the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/). We had a good turnout for our beauty contest, plus a nice demo on attaching windshields and other clear parts to models. All of us attending stayed cool inside Calvary's Fellowship Hall.

After taking care of some personal affairs on my off day Thursday (21 July), I drove to Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/) for this month's meeting of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/). This meeting featured a tribute to former McDonnell Aircraft lead test pilot Bob Little, including the debut of two new documentaries on him. One was about Little's life and career, which included service in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, and the McDonnell aircraft he piloted on its first flights (F2H Banshee, F3H Demon, F-101 Voodoo, and F4H [later F-4] Phantom II). The documentary climaxed with Little's meeting last May with Col. Ronald "Elvis" King, the last USAF F-4 pilot at the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo. A second video screened for us was an extended version of the interview with Little and King. The Bob Little documentary began airing today on HEC-TV (http://www.hectv.org/watch/hec-tv-live/legendary-wwii-and-test-pilot-bob-little/24325/).

Jacqui Poor, the Society's vice president, produced the Little program for HEC-TV, and she was helping screen the program for our meeting. Because of that, I was asked to man the membership table in her place, and I made sure attendees signed in and also accepted some membership forms (both new and renewal memberships), plus directing members to their name tags on the nearby table. We had a very good turnout at the meeting, despite the heat outside. (Due to that heat, the Society asked Little--who's in his early 90s--to stay home; we'll have him at a later meeting.)

Yesterday, my high school and church friend Susan Shrum appeared on KHOU TV's program "Good Day Houston." She has lived in Houston for some years now and helps run a casual dining restaurant there, Happy Fatz (http://happyfatz.com/). Today is National Hot Dog Day and Susan and her colleague Rebecca Hernandez Sanders showed off their hot dogs and desserts to the host. The segment video is here: http://www.khou.com/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-houston/celebrate-national-hot-dog-today-07222016/279768573

I worked at the rental branch this morning. It was a busy one, but we got our customers taken care of with our usual dispatch. Our manager Liz will be leaving after this Tuesday, as she has been promoted to manager our Cape Girardeau branch. Best wishes to you, Liz, and thank you for your service at Ellisville.

Chilling out at home, then brazing the heat to attend tonight's Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) match against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. More on that in my next post.

Later.

17 July 2016

In Print; In the Dark

I worked at the rental car branch a week ago yesterday (9 July), and it went well. Not real busy. I grabbed some lunch after work, and washed my car at Martian Car Wash (http://www.martiancarwash.com/) in Ellisville. The place opened up a few weeks ago. They did a great job cleaning my Corolla, and was a good value for the money.

Resting at home last Sunday afternoon, I got a pleasant surprise in my email. The long-delayed, long-awaited latest issue of Middle Marker, journal of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) arrived. It was the first issue put out in two years, and included my story I wrote then about Charles Morley, a Missouri airman killed during the Vietnam War. My article told of Morley's story, including how his F-4 was shot down over Laos one night in 1970 and he and his crewmate were listed as Missing in Action. The remains were found in Laos 25 years later and Morley was buried with full military honors. The story also included some photos of Morley and of an F-4 displayed at Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Station that is painted like Morley's plane. (Two of my photos are included in the article.) I am very happy to see this issue of Middle Marker out at last, and for my work to appear in print. I am hoping to write more articles for this journal in the coming years.

Work went well this past week, although it got very interesting on Wednesday afternoon (13 July). A thunderstorm with high winds blew through the Metropolitan St. Louis area. Power went out at our branch for about three hours, so we had to resort to using tablet computers to process rental transactions (thank goodness for tablets!), cell phones for communications, and flashlights for seeing in darkened areas of the lobby. The power was restored just as we were closing for the day.

However, power also went out at my house, and my mom and I were left in the dark until late Friday afternoon. We had to resort to candles, flashlights, battery operated devices (radios, cell phones, and tablets), and not moving around much at home due to the heat. Ameren (https://www.ameren.com/) reported that over 100,000 metro area residents were without power, and the last were not restored until today.

Fortunately, power was restored at my doctor's office on Thursday morning, when I went for my annual examination. I am in very good health overall, with no problems apart from lingering tendonitis in my one heel. I should get some blood work done in the coming week or two.

Friday morning (15 July), I brought in some doughnuts from Krispy Kreme (https://www.krispykreme.com/) for my colleagues, and they greatly appreciated the gesture. My branch mates look forward to my bringing in doughnuts on every other Friday morning, which coincides with pay day.

Yesterday starting with catching up on my laundry, then I was at Caleco's Bar & Grill (http://www.calecos.com/Calecos%20Downtown.htm) in Downtown St. Louis for lunch with the St. Louis Historic Sites Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/St-L-Historic-Buildings-Meetup/). About 19 of us got together for a fine lunch. It was my first time at Caleco's in Downtown, and enjoyed meeting with the group, which had come off touring some Downtown landmarks.

On the way home from that lunch, I stopped by Crown Vision Center (http://www.crownvisioncenter.com/) in Tesson Ferry to pick up my new glasses. They fit great and I can see great with them on.

After time at home including dinner, I drove to Stone Spiral Coffee and Curios (http://www.stonespiralcoffee.com/) in Maplewood for the StL Tea Club Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/StL-Tea-Club-Meetup/). About ten of us attended and we enjoyed sampling several teas while we conversed about tea and other things. It was a most pleasant outing.

Home today, I attended service at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) this morning, then rested at home this afternoon.

Later.






08 July 2016

Into July with Writer's Block and Soccer

Last Thursday (30 June) had me at Circus Flora (http://circusflora.org/) one more time this season to volunteer at a performance of "Pastime." I was helping customers find their seats and helped make sure the safety net guidelines were not interfered with during the trapeze act just before the show ended. It was a great time to help out again this season, my third doing this. God willing, I will be back next season.

Saturday (2 July), I was co-hosting this month's episode of "Writer's Block," the monthly online radio show from Autistic People (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autistic-people-/2016/07/02/writers-block-10am-pst-radio-drama--the-princess-part-four-11am-pst). Tim Pylypiuk and I discussed epic poetry, with examples from John Milton ("Paradise Lost"), Homer ("The Iliad" and "The Odyssey"), and Virgil ("The Aeneid"). It was quite a fine discussion. The program is now available to access online, including downloading for podcast.

The Independence Day weekend was pretty low key for me, not really venturing out. The rainy weather much of that weekend had a part; so did not feeling really up for going out. I did go to a friend's house on Monday night (4 July), only to be told the party she and her husband were to have hosted was called off due to lack of interest, so I left after a few minutes.

It was an abbreviated work week for me, with the branch closed on Monday, flexing out on Tuesday afternoon (I'm working this Saturday morning), and taking today off for a one-day vacation. It was busy on Tuesday, due to the renters coming back from the holiday weekend, but we got things done. I was most glad to a week ago today that my colleague Hannah had passed her Management Qualification Interview (MQI) the day before, which will help bring her one step closer to becoming an assistant branch manager. I was so happy for her; Hannah has been such a go-getter since she started with us about one year ago.

Our firm is a bit down this week, due to the passing last weekend of company founder Jack C. Taylor. I never met him, but I heard many great words about Mr. Taylor, and how he was not only such a visionary founder, but a great philanthropist. Enterprise has set up a tribute to Mr. Taylor at: http://jacktaylorremembered.com/.

Right after work Wednesday night (6 July), I was at World Wide Technology Soccer Park for the USL (http://www.uslsoccer.com) match between Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) and Seattle Sounders FC 2. Sounders took an early lead, but Sam Fink's 86th minute equalizer made it a 1-1 draw. I had a good time cheering on with the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/). After the game, there was a brief, but nice fireworks display. Saint Louis FC is back in action at home tomorrow night (9 July) against FC Cincinnati.

On my off day yesterday (7 July), I took my Corolla in to Weiss Toyota (http://www.weisstoyota.com/) to have them look over the car's front passenger air bag, which is subject to a recall. After a few minutes, they confirmed it and said they order the necessary parts to replace that airbag, which they said would come in about two weeks. I also got my eyes examined at Crown Vision Center (http://www.crownvisioncenter.com/). My eyes were in good shape, the doctor old me. There, I also got new glasses ordered; they should be ready in about two weeks.

I took today off as a personal vacation time. I just wanted to take it easy after some hard weeks of work recently. I went to lunch with Mom, after running an errand, and then mailed a small package to a friend. Back home, I did my laundry.

Later.




30 June 2016

Soccer, Pride, Circus, and Great Heat

Despite temperatures reaching 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) and heat indices reaching 110 degrees F (43 degrees C), the show went on at Circus Flora (http://circusflora.org/) one week ago tonight (23 June). At least the tent was air conditioned, which was a blessing for performers, staff, volunteers, and spectators alike. Another good crowd for a Thursday night, as I was an usher near the band area.

I gave it my best effort at the car rental branch late last week. That included working on Saturday morning (25 June). Fortunately, it was a light Saturday for us, so I didn't feel as rushed as I normally am on those days. A good thing with the high heat and humidity.

Home after work, I rested, then drove to Smugala's Pizza Pub in Sunset Hills (http://smugalas.com/smugalassunsethills). There, I caught the Pub2Park shuttle bus for World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for the Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) match against Portland Timbers FC 2. I joined with the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/) in cheering on the home side, including a cute one just before kickoff that trolled the visitors. Spoofing a scene from the TV series "Portlandia," we held up paper signs showing a cat with a soccer ball while chanting "Please, Please Win! Meow, Meow, Meow!" That was a nice bit of fun. Even more fun was Saint Louis FC winning the match 1-0, thanks to a second half penalty kick.

The next morning, I drove into downtown St. Louis to walk in the annual St. Louis PrideFest Parade (http://www.pridestl.org). This parade was part of the 37th annual festival, which celebrates the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgendered (LBGT) community in Metro St. Louis. I joined with some 400 other Enterprise Holdings (https://www.enterpriseholdings.com/en/index.html) employees in walking in the parade, which included a stake bed truck from Enterprise Truck Rental (https://www.enterprisetrucks.com/truckrental/en_US.html) and three cars from Enterprise Car Sales (http://www.enterprisecarsales.com/). One of them was Amanda, who I worked with earlier in my career before she transferred to an administrative capacity in the organization. After waiting about two hours in the assembly area in Peabody Plaza, our group stepped off onto Market Street for the approximately 1 mile (0.6 km) parade west towards Union Station. We were warmly received by the attendees lining the street.

Participating in this parade, I thought of a high school classmate and a college classmate, both of whom are gay (though I didn't know it when I was in school with them) and how I was doing my own small part to let them know they are fine with me. I was proud to represent such a company in this event, no pun intended. Right after the parade, I got lunch and browsed the information booths near Soldier's Memorial for awhile before gong back to my car to go home.

After a brief rest at home, I headed to Circus Flora for the annual volunteer dinner that followed the 5:30 pm show. The volunteers assembled in the seating area for a group photograph, when we entered the ring for a buffet dinner with fried chicken. I sat with two other volunteers and a ring crew member, chatting between bites of dinner, and one of those volunteers was a driver for Enterprise, so we were able to compared notes on our respective jobs. I also chatted with the circus' musical director and the drummer, letting them know how much I enjoy the music during the show and telling how my brother Brian drummed some years ago for the Big Apple Circus in New York let me better appreciate Circus Flora's music.

Back to work Monday morning (27 June), it was among the busiest of Mondays for us, probably due to customers wanting to get a head start on renting before the Independence Day weekend. We got though the day fine, though, and the past two days were good as well.

Tuesday night right after work, I drove to Mark Carroll's house in St. Peters for the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) business meeting. We planned the July general and business meetings, and discussed other club business and other things. Carroll then showed us his extensive model railroad layout and his scale modeling workshop.

Helping out at Circus Flora one more time tonight. Their show "Pastime" ends this Sunday. Catch it if you can.

Later.





23 June 2016

Really Hot Time

A week ago tonight (16 June) found me at Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/) for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. This month's program was airborne law enforcement, as guest Kurt Frisz--a former St. Louis County Police Air Support Unit pilot--talked about the history of airborne law enforcement in the US, and in Missouri and the St. Louis area in particular. After Frisz' talk, a Metro Air Support Unit (http://www.metroairsupport.org/) MD 500E helicopter landed at Creve Coeur Airport, and we would look up close at the helicopter and chat with the two crewmen. It was very nice, coming right at dusk. A most fascinating program.

After a hot Friday at the car rental branch, I was back at Creve Coeur Airport on Saturday (18 June) for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's first annual member barbecue. Chris Merseal from CRM Hobbies (http://www.crmhobbies.com/) cooked the meat and those in attendance--including my friend Linsey Daman (http://singlesuccessfulceo.com/3601.html; http://cacstlouis.com/index.html) and her mom Anne--had a wonderful time socializing. Two big cakes decorated with US flags climaxed the meal.

After this event, I drove to Mark Twain Hobby Center (http://www.hobby1.com/) in St. Charles to drop off some flyers for IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/)--promoting the club and the Invitational on 10 September--and buying a kit to put together at the club's meeting in three days. (More on that later).

Fulfilling a promise, I put some photos from the Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting and barbecue on a thumb drive and got them to Linsey Daman on Sunday. I also helped her out regarding some aircraft and markings she saw at a recent radio controlled aircraft meet in the St. Louis area.

Back at work on Monday morning (20 June), we kept busy making sure we exceeded customer expectations. A bit of a challenge on this day, due to so many cars to get ready and many customers to take care of in the morning, but we got through it. Generally, things have been well. Hannah, who was at our branch last fall before going to the Airport, came back to our branch last Friday. She's a superb addition to where ever she is based. However, our assistant manager Cayla is out due to an injury sustained in a car accident the previous weekend. Wish her a speedy recovery!

After flexing out on Tuesday, I got home and prepared for that night's IPMS/Gateway meeting, which featured our annual Slam Fest. Members had two hours to assemble and finish a model kit. In my case, it was a B-70 Valkyrie kit that I bought at Mark Twain the previous Saturday. I got it done with minutes to spare, one of eight models completed. It did not win in the popular vote, but that's OK. It was fun to try. Also, my photos from last month's Invitational in Louisville were screened, and I displayed my five award winning models from that show. Additionally, I renewed my club membership for another year.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, with the temperature reaching 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), with the heat index reaching 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). I hit the water and thirst quencher early and often, and stayed inside the air-conditioned office as much as possible. Fortunately, it was not too busy.

Off to help at Circus Flora (http://circusflora.org/) again tonight.

Later.