23 February 2017

Busy Nights and a Mini Road Trip

Back at work on Monday morning (21 February), I welcomed a new crewmate to the Ellisville branch. Jesse, our new Vehicle Service Agent (VSA), reported for work. He is new to the firm, and I showed him where everything is in the wash bay, how to clean and park the vehicles in an efficient manner, and where all the repair locations in our area were located. I think he will do very nicely in the job. Having a second vehicle prep sure would help us out in some peak times during the week.

I spent that night after work at my model workbench, finishing up my two model contest entries: a 1:32 scale 1963 Studebaker Avanti, and a 1:72 scale ZiL-157 fuel truck. The next night, I took them to the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/). My models were among many entries in the Out of the Box Contest, the first of four to determine Modeler of the Year. Neither was judged good enough to place in their respective categories, but each entry earned me two points towards Modeler of the Year: One for entering, and one for the contest's Special Category (Out of the Box). The next contest is in May. Our meeting also featured a demo on basic modeling techniques. There were five first-time meeting attendees, and I (in my capacity as Vice President) gave each a sanding stick as a thank-you gift for coming.

After a full day of work yesterday (22 February), I changed from my normal work clothes into a suit and tie, then made my way to The Country Club of St. Albans (http://www.ccstalbans.com/). The clubhouse hosted a lecture and dinner program, La Culture Francaise. The speaker, a French linguist, spoke about the French region of Brittany and its distinct culture and language, with assistance from her PowerPoint presentation, a doll of a Breton woman in native costume, and books and postcards from the region. Following the lecture, the crowd of about 12 people sat down to a three-course French dinner. I chatted over dinner with several attendees, including a magazine publisher. He asked me to send me some work samples in the coming days. It was all a very nice evening.

My off day today was quiet at home, but it started on the road. I left the house early this morning to drive to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After getting some doughnuts from a Dunkin' Donuts (https://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en.html) in town, I drove to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) branch. There, I gave the doughnuts to Liz, the branch manager who previously managed the Ellisville location. She was very happy to see me and to accept the doughnuts, and she introduced me to the staff. Liz and I chatted for a few minutes, getting caught up on things, before I left to drive back to St. Louis. It's always great renewing acquaintances with people you worked with, as they can come in handy down the road.


19 February 2017

Two Meetings, Two Dinners, and an Exhibit

Late in the afternoon one week ago Saturday (11 February), I drove to the Schlafly Tap Room (http://schlafly.com/tap-room/) in downtown St. Louis for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/). The supporter group for Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) met to discuss their plans for the upcoming season and to hear from the team. Saint Louis FC officials--including my Saint Louis University classmate, team CEO Jim Kavanaugh--spoke about how they are most optimistic about the upcoming season, and about the latest on the effort to get a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team in St. Louis. I and the approximately 350 people there had a real fine time.

Right after this meeting, I headed to Sanctuaria Wild Tapas (http://sanctuariastl.com/) in the Grove for dinner with the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group (https://www.meetup.com/Ethnic-Restaurant-Fans/). Five others from the group joined me for dinner at the Latin American restaurant, which features small plates for sharing. I ordered some Papas Croquetta for the group, and sampled from other plates our group ordered. A cocktail washed down the good food. We had a real fine time at Sanctuaria, and can highly recommend the restaurant.

The next day, I drove to Taqueria el Bronco (http://www.taqueriaelbronco.com/) in south St. Louis for lunch with six others from the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group. We enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine in a no-frills setting, with most reasonable prices. I ordered two tacos--one with carnitas, the other with chorizo--with beans and rice. Another very fine place I can recommend. After lunch, I walked with three others from our party down Cherokee Street to Diana's Bakery (https://www.yelp.com/biz/dianas-bakery-saint-louis) to buy some freshly baked pastries. This is another wonderful place to go.

Back at work on Monday (13 February), we had a rather busy week for the most part. Plenty of work, and plenty of customers for our vehicles. I did my best to stay on top of things, and to help our branch exceed customer expectations.

I flexed out of work Tuesday afternoon, as I would work the following Saturday morning (18 February). Off on Thursday, I headed to the St. Louis Public Library's Central Branch (https://www.slpl.org/locations/CENTRAL/). I was there to tour their exhibit, "50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers--A Tribute to the St. Louis Blues and their Fans." The Grand Hall included a manekin of Blues goaltender Glen Hall making a save in front of goal, with the goal judge box behind it. Dash boards from the Arena were also displayed there, along with an all-time Blues roster, a list of Blues award-winners, and portraits of Blues greats. An exhibit hall on the third floor featured 50 years of Blues memorabilia: Player sweaters, sticks, programs, tickets, posters, photos, pucks, and souvenirs. There was a timeline of Blues history along the wall, and a speaker played a loop of Blues radio play-by-play calls. I also got to take a selfie in front of a green screen there, with the image added to one of three backgrounds celebrating Blues history. The exhibit runs to 4 March, and I highly recommend it to any Blues fan.

I came home to sit for a webinar on job search strategies aimed at the older job seeker. Some information I had heard before and others were new to me. I left the webinar after I learned that the presenter's fee for her fully helping out job seekers was in the four figures--too rich for me.

That night, at Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/), I attended the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. It was an aviation open mike night, with attendees invited to tell their aviation-related stories. I led off with tales of my first airplane flight as a 12-year-old Boy Scout and a flight to Europe some years later.

Well into Friday afternoon at work, my assistant manager Cayla asked me to take keys for some vehicles on our lot to the traffic center in Berkley, east of St. Louis-Lambert International Airport. I needed to get the keys delivered by 5 pm, so the traffic people could come the next day to take the vehicles off our lot. I did, and then went home; Cayla told me there was no point in returning to the branch for just a few minutes at day's end.

After work yesterday morning at the branch and lunch, I came home to work on a couple of model kits I'm looking to finish in time for this Tuesday's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting. It will be a push on one kit, but the other is virtually done. I also worked on the models today.

Last night, mom took me out to dinner at TGI Friday's (https://www.tgifridays.com/) in Concord Village. We had a coupon I received for my birthday that was used there. I ordered the Jack Daniels grilled chicken and shrimp, which was most tasty.