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15 January 2017

Strange Weather

A week ago Friday night (6 January), I went right after work to Helen Fitzgerald's Restaurant and Pub (http://helenfitzgeralds.com/) in Sunset Hills. I was attending a Lock and Key Dating Event (http://www.lockandkeyevents.com/) for singles in my age range. The men got a key and the women got a lock, and the men were supposed to find women and try to open a lock. After finding such a match, we would get a new lock and key and start the process again. I was able to open 10 locks in just over 90 minutes. I was able to chat briefly with the women taking part, but did not get anyone I would talk to after the event. It was fun, though.

I was at work the next morning at the rental branch, and we busied ourselves with getting vehicles prepped and rented out. It was a busy, but successful morning. I then chilled out at home for the weekend.

This has been one strange week for weather. It's been said, "If you don't like the weather here in St. Louis, wait a few minutes." The past seven days were proof of this statement. Early in the week, we got as warm as 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) and sunny at times. That changed drastically later in the week, as it went down to 15 degrees F (-9 degrees C) at night.

The week at work was busy, but went well. Finding space to park our vehicles on our lot was a major challenge at times, even with a backlot in play. Still, things were handled very well as expected.

My off day Thursday (12 January) saw me go to Berry Park in Eureka (http://www.eureka.mo.us/departments/parks-recreation/park-locations-amenities/), where I took a brief walk with a friend. It was brief, as the temperature got colder. Then, I got my hair cut at Great Clips (http://www.greatclips.com/) in Tenholder Plaza in Mehlville, followed by a hotc hocolate and bear claw at the nearby St. Louis Bread Co. (https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/home.html). I got home in time to beat a Winter Storm Warming for our area. Starting that night and into the next few days, we got freezing rain that started making travel most hazardous. At work that Friday morning, it was a rush to get vehicles prepped and spotted ahead of the worsening weather. Fortunately, many people stayed off the roads, which made it easier for the highway crews getting anti-freezing materials laid onto the roads. I was sent home early that afternoon, as the branch had all the vehicles ready that it would likely need that day and Saturday. After stopping for lunch at Penn Station (http://www.penn-station.com/) in Ballwin, I made it home fine.

I stayed in the house throughout the weekend, venturing outside only to get the mail. The ice storm came in three waves over the weekend, dropping up to 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) of ice by mid-Sunday morning. Fortunately, the temperature warmed up late this morning and the ice melted, so it should not be too bad to travel tomorrow morning.

Later.




05 January 2017

2017 Begins

I stayed home to welcome the New Year. I don't like going out to New Year's Eve parties. Never have any fun at them. Just sat around the house all day Sunday.

It was back to work the next day, though quite a few people were off on Monday in observance of the New Year. It was a quiet day there, with not many customers, but we kept things humming. At least we had enough free time in stretches to follow the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium that afternoon, as the St. Louis Blues (https://www.nhl.com/blues/) defeated the Chicago Blackhawks. A few of my friends were there, and they had a great time.

Tuesday (3 January) was busy, as we had customers returning cars from the Holiday break and quite a few renting from us. (The latter included customers needing loaner vehicles after their vehicles were damaged in last month's ice storm.). After a rather busy morning and early afternoon, I flexed out. After chilling out at home that afternoon, I drove to Mark Carroll's house in St. Peters for the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) business meeting, delayed by one week due to the Holidays. We planned out the special categories for the 2017 Modeler of the Year contests, and discussed other club business.

Wednesday was another full day at work, but I did squeeze in some time to do some housekeeping around the branch. This included vacuuming the lobby floor, taking out the trash, and washing dirt off the wash bay floor. I was able to get off work about 5 minutes early, as we had everything well in hand. I was hoping we would have everything in hand due to the threat of snow coming that night.

The snow fell late last night and early this morning--about 2 inches (5 cm) of dry powder. It was no problem shoveling snow off the driveway this morning. I also did my laundry and got caught up on financial matters. Relaxing at home tonight, watching the Blues game on TV.

Later.


31 December 2016

2016 Ends

After the Christmas holiday, it was back to work Monday morning (26 December). The week as a whole was rather quiet compared to most weeks, primarily due to the Holidays and with customers wanting to keep their vehicles longer during this time. Things went well for us at the branch, and we stayed on top of things. So much, in fact, that I was released from work about 35 minutes early last night. Not that I was complaining.

Off work on Thursday, I took care of my laundry, and had some shopping done.

Late this morning, I drove to the Church of the Immacolata (http://www.immacolata.org/) in Richmond Heights to watch final day action in the Mary McDermott 3rd Grade Basketball Tournament (http://www.glennon.org/mary-mcdermott-basketball/). I caught one full game and parts of two others in this 8th annual tournament, whose proceeds benefit SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. I bought my lunch from their concession stand, and I looked at the sports memorabilia offered up in the silent auction. (I passed up on the latter; this was too rich for my blood, unfortunately.) At the tournament, I saw my friend Bill McDermott, Mary's father, who acted as public address announcer and as a guiding light for this event. (Mary McDermott died at age 24 in December of 2004; a new Hybrid Cardiac Catheterization Suite at Cardinal Glennon is being named for her.) I was very happy to help in at least a small way in this most worthy cause.

Home that afternoon, I turned on the TV and watched the NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Black Hawks at Busch Stadium. It was neat to see all those legends from those teams playing at least one more time, and before a packed crowd. The Winter Classic is Monday afternoon at Busch. I just hope the weather isn't too bad; there's a strong chance of showers that day. (I'll be at work that day, but I'll record it on the DVR to watch later.)

I'm home tonight to welcome 2017. Nothing special. There were good things that happened to me in 2016, and some not so good things. I hope for all of us a great, prosperous, and above all Happy New Year!

Later.





25 December 2016

Christmas Day 2016

This week started very cold. At work on Monday (19 December), I was spending time warming up cars and scraping ice off their windows so I can get them to the customers. We had a lot of customers, due to the ice storm the previous weekend. It was hectic, but we got things done and our customers satisfied and in rental vehicles.

After flexing our Tuesday afternoon, I brought cookies to the Enterprise Car Sales (https://www.enterprisecarsales.com) location in Manchester, then dropped off some cookies at the St. Charles Enterprise Car Sales location, along with a newsletter for my friend Anthony, who worked there. I also shopped at Mark Twain Hobby Center (https://www.hobby1.com/), where I bought a car model to build for the February IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) contest and dropped off some IPMS/Gateway flyers for the shop.

That night, I attended the IPMS/Gateway meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/). We had final nominations and voting for the 2016 Bob Stroup Award for Outstanding Service and for 2017 club officers. I was reelected vice president by acclamation. We also had a drawing for several kits; however, I did not win. Club president Bill Wagner mentioned our donation the previous Friday of $560 to Toys for Tots. I mention the publicity this received on local online media. This meeting also had our annual recognition contest; I scored the best, with 20 or 25 correct.

Off work Thursday (22 December), I finished my Christmas shopping, ordering some skin care products for Mom from my high school and church friend Lisa Campise, a Mary Kay (https://www.marykay.com/) representative, and an Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/) gift certificate for Brian.

Friday, we had a fairly busy day at work, and I met our new management trainee, Melissa, who just started the day before. This is her first assignment with the firm, and I think she'll do very well for us.

That night, after dinner at home, I met my good friend and Mehlville High classmate Tim Popp at OSP Tap Haus (https://www.osptaphaus.com/) in Oakville. Over glasses of beer (one for me!), Tim and I got caught up on things. He lives in Oklahoma City and was visiting family over the holiday weekend. Always great to see Tim.

I worked at the branch yesterday morning. We had some customers and everything was settled by noon, when we closed--one hour earlier than usual, due to the holiday. After doing a bit of shopping for myself, I came home. I went with Mom to Christmas Eve service at Calvary, where I saw my high school and Sunday school friends Susan Shrum and Lisa Crain. After the service, Mom and I came home to open our presents. I told Mom about the source of the skin care products when she opened the package, and she was very impressed.

Santa was very nice to me. Among other gifts, I got: an emergency flashlight, suitable for my car; the books "General Ignorance: There's a Lot of It Out There" and "The Nation's Hangar: Aircraft Treasures of the Smithsonian"; thermal underwear; a flannel shirt; the DVDs "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and "The Fugitive"; and, a Bluetooth music hat. (The latter gift was from my Aunt Suzanne and Uncle Harold in Fircrest, Washington.) My brothers got me a ticket to an upcoming St. Louis Blues (https://www.nhl.com/blues/) game.

Mom picked up her friend from church, Michael Knuckles, and brought him here for dinner with me. We watched some DVDs of Bob Hope specials this afternoon, before Mom took Michael back to his home. I'm back to work tomorrow.

Later.













18 December 2016

Work, More Branch Visits, a Party, and a Concert

Work at the rental branch this past week has gone well. We had a real busy last Monday (12 December), due mostly to the car repair facilities calling us for loaner vehicles for their customers. It was a bit stressful, but we got it done. The rest of this week has gone well, though the cooler weather did have its challenges (such as scraping ice off of car windows and salting the pavement). We're doing good, though.

My Portuguese Language: Beginning II class ended Wednesday night (14 December) at St. Louis Community College-Meramec (http://www.stlcc.edu/MC/). We learned some more pronouns, and we were treated to Brazilian delicacies by our instructor, Elizabeth Bittencourt, from the Viva Brasil Association of St. Louis (http://www.e.vivabrasilstl.org/home). I enjoyed this class, and plan to sign up for Beginning III after the first of the year.

Off work on Thursday, I spent the morning visiting my colleagues at other branches. My travels took me to three in Illinois (O'Fallon, Highland, and Glen Carbon), plus one in Florissant, Missouri. I chatted briefly with the people I knew who were there (including Meggie at Highland, Leah at Glen Carbon, and Dan at Florissant), and they greatly appreciated the holiday newsletters I gave them and the cookies I gave their whole staffs. It was great to see them, and to see how they and their branches were doing, and to help their morale just a bit.

That night was party time for members of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/). Instead of the regular meeting, the society's members and guests had a Christmas party at Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/), which featured a catered dinner with a custom decorated cake. It was nice having time with other society members and their guests.

The weather went bad Friday afternoon (16 December), as temperatures dipped well below freezing and freezing rain fell, which caused roads to get slick. Pavements were like skating rinks, and roads were parking lots at times. We at the rental branch did get our customers taken care of, and we were able to leave not too long after closing time. Things were brighter there earlier in the day, as it was ugly sweater day at the company. I wore one I made the day before, using a kit I bought at Target. Also, two of my colleagues were saluted by Enterprise Car Sales (https://www.enterprisecarsales.com/) for recently referring customers to them, with the subsequent customer purchases meaning my colleagues get a bit more cash in their paychecks.

Right after work, I dashed off--as best I could under the road conditions--to River City Casino (https://www.rivercity.com/). Melissa Etheridge (http://www.melissaetheridge.com/) was in concert there, with my brother Brian Delaney on drums. I met my mom and our friends and neighbors, Rick and Diane Holtz, at the casino, and we then went to the Events Center for the show. (Brian left us tickets at the Will Call desk.) It was a wonderful concert, with Etheridge playing a mix of Christmas-themed songs, music from her latest album, MEmphis Rock and Soul, and some of her hits. There were a few empty seats, mostly likely due to the weather and traffic conditions. Mom, the Holtzes, and I had a great time, and we got to chat with Brian for a bit after the show, before he joined the rest of the group to head to their next tour stop.

Late yesterday morning, I drove to the PetSmart (http://www.petsmart.com/) in Sunset Hills, where Needy Paws Rescue (http://www.needypaws.org/) was holding a Stuff The Bus For Pups dog care product drive. My friend and Enterprise colleague Brittany Mohrman was there with the group, and we were very happy to see each other. (Mohrman, under her maiden name Becker, was a management trainee at the Ellisville branch three years ago; she's now in corporate human resources.) I bought about $50 of merchandise on the group's wish list--including a dog bed, rawhide bones, a collar and a leash--which I donated to Needy Paws Rescue. Mohrman greatly appreciated my gesture and I told her I was very happy to help her group out.

I did a bit of Christmas shopping at several stores after that, but did not find anything I was looking for. Not much shopping time left until Christmas.

The weather got worse that afternoon, with more sleet coming down. I stayed at home rather than chance the weather and streets to attend a Christmas party in south St. Louis, which was cancelled anyway. The overnight weather, which included a dusting of snow, also caused Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) to call off this morning's service.

Later.







11 December 2016

Busy Nights, Branch Visits, and Make & Takes

Work this week has been good, and plenty busy. Quite a few customers came from the car repair shops in our branch's area, and we scrambled at times to get vehicles ready for them, but all our customers were taken care of in good order. We also welcomed Andrew, the new vehicle service agent, who will be working part time at our branch. The early indication is that he will be a good addition to us.

After a very busy Monday (5 December) at the branch, I went to Firehouse Pub & Grill (http://www.firehousebarandgrillstl.com/) in Mehlville for the annual Eastern Missouri Soccer Referee Association (EMSRA) Christmas party. It was nice seeing my colleagues and enjoying a nice buffet dinner, but I was so tired from work (and from a traffic jam on the way to the party) that I left for home after awhile.

I flexed out of work Tuesday afternoon, then visited four nearby branches with cookies for the staff and my annual newsletter for several friends and close acquaintances at those branches. They appreciated the goodwill gesture I was providing. After dinner at home, I went to St. Louis Community College-Forest Park (http://www.stlcc.edu/FP/) for the annual soccer referee recertification clinic. We sat through an overview of Law changes now in effect, plus reviewing procedures for dealing with concussions by players and seeing video clips of game situations that referees should be on the watch for in their matches. We also got some tips on dealing with unruly fans in youth matches. After all that, and having previously providing proof of registration payment and passing online tests, we each received our new 2017 referee badges.

It was a full day of work Wednesday (7 December), with my reading about the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor during lunch. After work, I was at St. Louis Community College-Meramec (http://www.stlcc.edu/MC/) for my Beginning Portuguese class. Our class had more practice on pronouns and on tenses. The class ends this Wednesday night. I may go for the Phase III class after the first of next month.

My off day Thursday included visiting five branches in mid, north, and west St. Louis County bearing cookies for their staffs and newsletters for friends and acquaintances. Just as with Tuesday's visits, my presence and gifts were well received. I also did a bit of shopping at the Boeing Store (https://www.boeingstore.com/) in Hazelwood.

That night, I drove to the Deer Run Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library (http://www.youranswerplace.org/deer-run-branch) in O'Fallon, Missouri. I joined three of my IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) colleagues in running a make 'n take model building session for children. This was the fourth of seven make 'n takes being held at St. Charles County libraries from mid-November to late this month. We had 25 attendees this night--children and their parents. The children were given a snap-together scale model kit (either a car or aircraft) to assemble, with parents there to help where they can. My club mates and I went around helping the children with these kits, which they got to take home when assembled. Best of all, there was no charge to these families; IPMS/Gateway donated the kits and their members the time.

I worked at the branch yesterday morning (10 December), then went to the Kathryn Linnemann Branch (http://www.youranswerplace.org/kathryn-linnemann-branch) in St. Charles for another make 'n take. This event drew 34 children and their parents, plus myself and three other IPMS/Gateway members. (One member present at all of these make 'n takes is Mark Carroll, who organized this series.) My experience in scale modeling came in handy, as I was needed a few times to help with problems a few children had with their kits. Overall, however, it was a another triumph for us, as the club got much great feedback from attendees.

Last night was at home, as I watched the MLS Cup match on TV. I was happy that Seattle Sounders won on penalty kicks over Toronto FC, as I was pulling for Seattle. (Having relatives in the Puget Sound area gave me a dog in this fight.)

I'm looking forward to this Friday night, as my brother Brian will be drumming for Melissa Etheridge (http://www.melissaetheridge.com/) when she performs at River City Casino & Hotel (https://www.rivercity.com/entertainment/concerts-and-events/melissa-etheridge-and-holiday-trio/) in Lemay.

Later.




04 December 2016

Into December 2016

It was an afternoon at the movies last Sunday (27 November), when I went to the AMC Chesterfield 14 (https://www.amctheatres.com/movie-theatres/st-louis/amc-chesterfield-14). There, I joined with seven others from the STL Screeners Meetup group (https://www.meetup.com/STLScreeners/) to see a presentation of the 1961 classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (http://www.fathomevents.com/#event/breakfast-at-tiffanys/more-info/details), presented by Turner Classic Movies (http://www.tcm.com/) and Fathom Events (http://fathomevents.com). This was the first time I saw this romantic comedy on a large screen with an audience, and it was a wonderful experience. After the movie, we gathered in the food court at Chesterfield Mall (http://www.chesterfield-mall.com/) for dinner and discussion. A good time was had by all.

Work at the rental branch this week went well, with returns from Thanksgiving holiday travelers early in the week, plus quite a few customers at the repair shops needing loaners.

After work Monday night (28 November), I was off to St. Louis Community College-Meramec (http://www.stlcc.edu/MC/) for my annual futsal referee recertification clinic. We reviewed local league policies and concerns, and saw video clips of high level game situations. I had paid my registration fee and passed the test online, so I received my 2017 futsal referee patch at the clinic's end, along with the others (some 20 colleagues with me).

I was back at STLCC-Meramec two nights later for my Beginning Portuguese class, the first in two weeks (we were off the night before Thanksgiving). We reviewed more items to help us understand the language a bit more. Just two more sessions to go in this course.

Off work Thursday, I took care of my laundry at home. That night, I was at Big A's on the Riverfront (http://www.bigasontheriverfront.com/) in St. Charles for a Pre-Dating Speed Dating (http://www.pre-dating.com/) event. I and nine other single males, in our late 40s and 50s, each had six-minute dates with women in our age range. It was a chance to size each other up and see if each was a good fit to further pursue. I felt nervous going in, not having done this sort of dating in a long while, but it went well. However, none of the ten ladies I talked to expressed interest in me. Oh, well, maybe next time.

Last Friday being pay day, I stopped by Krispy Kreme (https://www.krispykreme.com/) in Fenton on the way to work and bought a dozen doughnuts for my colleagues. They appreciate the every other Friday gesture.

I drove to Clayton yesterday morning for this month's meeting of the Missouri Professional Communicators (MPC) (http://www.mpc-nfpw.org/cpsiteframepage.lasso?-token.lpuserref=113815.113118) at the St. Louis Artists' Guild (http://www.stlouisartistsguild.org/new/). Laura Peters, director of archives at The Muny (https://muny.org/), spoke about her efforts to pull together nearly 100 years of The Muny's history. She showed (via PowerPoint) photos of the Muny's Forest Park facilities over the years, actors of note who performed in Muny productions, and advertising in Muny show programs. A most interesting talk.

Then, I headed to the St. Louis Bread Co. (https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/home.html) in Brentwood Square. I parked in the lot to co-host by phone this month's edition of "Writer's Block" (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autistic-people-/2016/12/03/connected--writers-block-10am-pstradio-drama-the-princess-8-11am-pst), the online radio show about writing and storytelling from the autistic perspective. Host Tim Pylypiuk and I talked about Christmas Myths and Stories, touching on such classic tales as "A Christmas Carol" and "It's a Wonderful Life." I had printed off the show's script and several online articles mentioned in that script, and had that with me in the car as I contributed my part of the discussion. This show (paired with Radio Drama in the second hour) is now archived online, for streaming or downloading for podcast.

After the show, I had lunch at that St. Louis Bread Co., then shopped at a few places on my way home.

Later.