Thursday, April 30, 2009

Running the Show

I was really nervous about going back to work today, not because of drama going on in our shop and not because of a base-wide inspection, but because we had a Booster Club meeting. And the President (aka MSgt Young) is in Germany so the meeting had to be chaired by the Vice President (aka Me).
The Booster Club was pretty much in shambles when we took over, and we've worked very hard on re-writing our Constitution and By-Laws, coordinating fund raisers, gathering volunteers, and several other projects. It's taken several months, and today was our first real meeting. And several people that severely out-rank me were present, adding to my anxiety.
Luckily, things went off quite well. We had clear, organised discussions and progressed through our agenda with no problems. Our new Chief even shook my hand and told me I did a good job. Total warm fuzzies!
Now the hard part: going through everything we discussed and trying to encourage participation throughout the rest of the squadron. We have several activities this summer, and I'm praying we can pull everything off.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Squeaky Clean

Days off during the week are so much better than days off on the weekend. I feel like I get so much more done when everyone else is at work and I can kinda do my own thing. Coincidentally, when I work on the weekend, I feel like I get more done without everyone else in the shop around to distract me. Kinda funny how that works out.
I don't have to go back to work until Thursday, so I'm using these three days to clean my house before the 'rents get here on Saturday. I'm pretty good about keeping my house tidy, but this time, it's gonna be, like, super-extra-clean. Vacuuming, scrubbing, and lots of dusting. I'll never understand how I room that never gets used still gets dusty.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

State of Flux

There are a lot of changes going on at work, some good, and some not-so-good. Since our career field is combining with liquid fuels, we've been integrating our management. It's definitely a time of growing pains, but I think, in the long run, things will be much better. Everyone is still way behind in our training, but that's really the least of our worries.
The long-term plan is for my shop to move to the other side of the flightline. We're currently housed in a very old building that sits at the start of the running path. We like it because we're away from the rest of the squadron, and nobody every comes over to bother us. But apparently, certain people can't leave well enough alone, and they want to move us into a big garage. It has no windows, no utilities installed, and is currently being used for storage by the power production shop. We've told the bosses that if they want to move us over there, they'll have to fix it up nicer than our current shop. So far, they say okay, but we'll see what happens when the time comes for them to spend some money.
Also in my shop, we've been trying to make things easier for weekend duty. The idea is to keep us from having to constantly turn wells on and off, thus prolonging their use. Our Italians changed a lot of stuff around this week, and since I'm working this weekend, I'm kinda the guinea pig. Luckily, things seem to have gone off without a hitch. Of course, the second I publish this post, I'm going to get a call saying the fire department is flooding or there's no water in the dorms or something.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I rely on the Oxygen

We had a few weeks of warm, gorgeous weather, but the past week has been cool with sporadic showers. When it was warm, I opened all my windows, and the Spring air flowing through was amazing; but even though it's cooled off a bit, I haven't closed my windows. I wear sweats around and keep the extra blankets on my bed, but I don't care. The smell of nature is just too addicting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Like A Drug

Last week, after I went on my little online spending spree, Joann and I were talking about reasons we buy clothes and how easy it is to spend money online. I thought it was odd how I didn't suffer from buyer's remorse, most likely because I've been really good at saving money the past few months, and felt I deserved a little treat, as well as something to help me forget about my body fat percentage. But even if I would have, I would have forgotten about it today when I opened my mailbox to see those wonderful yellow slips of paper telling me I had packages waiting.
But now, it's back to saving money again. I've decided that if I get my body fat down to a certain level, I'm going to reward myself big time. Shaun just bought himself a new MacBook Pro, and it's one gorgeous computer. It might take a few months, but if all goes well, I plan on having one by year's end.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hard Day's Night

I'm working swings this week, including stand-by. I'm not supposed to go in until 1 PM, but I've had meetings every morning, forcing me to go in much earlier. It's a pain in the butt, but I can deal with it.
Yesterday morning's meeting dealt with some drama between our shop and the fire department. The fire department has a history of breaking fire hydrants, which they don't seem to think is a big deal, but Joann and I certainly do because we're the ones who have to replace them. We met with our Major concerning this and another issue regarding flow testing. Joann totally had her shit together, and we presented accurate, convincing arguments for our cause. The Major has our back, and I doubt we'll be getting any lip from the fire department any more.
As for the shift work, it kinda works out in my favour because I'll work the weekend, then have next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off. I'll use these days to clean and prepare because Mom, Dad, Sharon, and Don arrive next Saturday. We'll be spending two weeks travelling all over Italy, Austria, and Germany; vacation time well-deserved.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dishing It Out

I'm usually the first to complain about wild children and how their parents probably don't discipline them at all. Of course, this is easy for me to say because I don't have any kids. I can understand how hard it must be to punish someone you love so much, even when it is for their own good.
Lately, at work, I've been put in a position where I have to discipline a certain troop who can't seem to make it to work on time. I'm the guy who wants to be friends with everyone, so it's not easy for me. I'm not sure if the choices I make will solve any problems, or just make people dislike me. Regardless, I've made my decision, and I have to stick by it, right or wrong. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spare Tire

As part of my intent to lose weight and get a little more fit, I went to the Health & Wellness Centre yesterday to get a body fat percentage estimate. I had one done back in 2004, and figured it couldn't be much worse now. Boy, was I wrong.
The trainer used two separate kinds of tests. The first was an electronic test that was accurate to within 7%, and the second involved using callipers on my skin that was accurate to within 3%. Both were higher than I expected, and the callipers placed me in the borderline obese category.
The trainer commended me for my running program, but said that if I wanted to get my body fat down, I'd have to supplement with some strength training. I've never been a fan of lifting, but it seems I might have to if I want to avoid being a disgusting fat-body.
All this depressing news has sent me down a shame spiral, and all I really want to do is lay on my couch and binge on cheesecake. To ease my pain, I did a little online shopping last night. (Damn you, J. Crew and your overpriced preppy casual wear!) I'm starting to empathise with all those fat women who are always crying on Oprah.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Fond Farewell

The day after Easter is an Italian holiday, so we got the day off, as well. I hadn't planned on doing much, but ended up getting a lot of work done around my house, plus running the base perimeter.

Me & Alec
Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Last night, Cheyenne threw a going-away party for Alec, who leaves tomorrow for San Diego. The rest of his family is already there, and he'll be starting school in the fall as a nursing major. One of the hardest parts of this job is continually saying good-bye to good friends, but I'm sure our paths will cross again eventually. Best of luck, Alec!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Buona Pasqua!

I got up extra early yesterday morning to make it to the Sunrise Service, which was great if for nothing else than the fact I got to sing "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today," a staple hymm for Easter. Afterward, I came home and started cooking. Cheyenne, Chelsea, and Nate came over for brunch. I made two quiches and some home-made bread. The girls brought fruit and espresso. And just to make everything extra brunch-y, we drank mimosas.

Then, last night, I went over to Stan's house for a barbecue. The weather was sunny and warm all day, but once the sun went down, it got a little chilly. We moved the party over to Heather and Shawn's house because they had an outdoor fire pit. We sat around the fire and talked and even made s'mores. Definitely a happy Easter.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday Night Special

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
Yesterday afternoon, Cheyenne, Chelsea, and I went to a photography exhibit in Pordenone. It wasn't as big as we thought it would be, but it still had some pretty interesting stuff.
Afterward, we went to a little bar in Gorgazza that sits right at the source of a small river called the Livenza. It comes from a series of caves beneath a big mountain. The water is extremely blue, and some days, you can look down and see a statue at the mouth of the caves.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg
We relaxed with a drink outside for a while, then went to dinner at Vecchio Borgo, one of my favourite local restaurants. Cheyenne and Chelsea have been friends for years. Chelsea is only in town until the 20th, and it's fun to see those two interact with each other.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shock and Awful

The flies around here get really bad in the summer, and in anticipation of that, our boss picked up an electric fly swatter. It looks like a small tennis racquet with little metal rods running across it horizontally. It's powered by only two AA batteries, but it packs quite a whallop. It's also turned everyone in the shop into eight-year-old boys, sneaking up and shocking each other on the ear. It sure does a number on insects, though. If you put a dead one on the rods and hold the button down, they'll start smoking and sometimes even catch on fire. Yep, eight-year-olds, I tell you.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Call Me

The phone store called last week and told me my old phone had been repaired, so I picked it up a couple days later. The old phone is a Samsung and my current phone is a Nokia. I really liked my old phone, but I still haven't switched back to it, yet. Now that I'm used to how everything works on the Nokia, I think it would be more of a pain to switch back to the old one. The first day I do, though, I'll probably inadvertently send Shaun a handful of blank text messages and possibly dial the Carabinieri on accident.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wedding Wager

Joann and Jake have are in an interesting situation. Jake just got back from nearly three months of training in the States. He’ll be here for about 10 days, and then he leaves for a year-long tour in Iraq. Their baby (It’s a boy!) is due in August, and due to Jake’s training and deployment and various other circumstances, they were unable to get married. Therefore, they’ve decided to legalise their union using a method called “marriage by proxy.” Basically, they send in all their paperwork, two people stand in for them, and their marriage is legal. Joann still wants to have a big Church wedding, but it’s going to have to wait a year or so.
Never being a group to miss out on an opportunity, everyone in our shop has taken bets on when Jake and Joann’s wedding date will be. They sent in their paperwork last week, and the window is sometime between April 18th and May 4th. I put money on the 27th. Now, we’re all just waiting to see when they get their marriage license back.
The baby is due in late August, so I'm sure there will be another pool on when that little guy pops out.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Thievery Corporation

When I got in my truck to leave for work this morning, some of the papers from my glove compartment were laying on the passenger seat. I thought this was rather odd, and then I realized I must have forgotten to lock my truck last night—something I never do. The first thing I did was check to see if my camera was still there. It was. Same for my GPS. I went through every compartment on my truck to see if anything had been taken, and the only thing missing was a half-empty book of gas coupons.
It was just such a random thing, and I’m not nearly as mad about it as I should be. Budoia is such a quiet little town, and it’s the last thing I’d suspect. Regardless, I’ll definitely be making sure my house is secure any time I leave and my truck is locked whenever I go to bed. Lesson learned.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Central Italy was struck with a 6.3 magnitude earthquake early this morning. At latest count, there are 92 dead and thousands injured. Oddly enough, I didn't feel a thing. I'd like to thank everyone for their concern. Please take a moment and send up a prayer for those affected.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Easy Like Sunday Morning

I woke up early this morning, had some toast, and decided to sit and read on my balcony before I had to get ready for Church. As I sat there, my neighbours were emerging from their houses, walking toward the Church in the middle of Budoia. It was mostly elderly couples, and I thought it was cool how the ladies were all carrying palm branches.
I sat there, reading, thinking, and listening to the Church bells, and before I knew it, I'd missed Church. As a sort-of penance, I decided to go for an extra long run. Afterward, I came back and made myself a huge breakfast, and then napped on my sofa. I went back on my balcony this afternoon for more reading, and it seemed everyone in Budoia was out walking the streets. There were couples strolling along, Dad's helping their daughters ride bikes, kids kicking soccer balls. It all had such a great feel, and all I could think was how I didn't want this day to end.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Travel Agent

It's getting warmer, and vacation season is upon us. Friends frequently ask when is a good time to come visit, and the truth is any time is good. All I need is about a month's notice, and you and anyone you bring will be welcome to crash at my place. Guided tours are included, but drinks are extra. Just be advised there are a few things you need to do before you come visit me in Italy:

1) Watch "Big Night," starring Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Isabella Rossellini, and Minnie Driver. Great depiction of how Italians feel about food and family. If you'd like to pick up an Italian film, I recommend "The Bicycle Thief," "La Dolce Vita," or "Heaven" (which is only partly in Italian, but it's got Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi, and who doesn't want to watch them?).

2) Forget everything you thought you knew about wine. It's all over the place here, so stop being so damned pretentious and just drink it.

3) Learn to drive like Italians:
A) Treat traffic laws as mere suggestions. This includes road signs and the centre line.
B) Keep the gas pedal down until right before you come to the intersection, and then slam on your brakes. It's a great way to freak out the guy driving on the cross-street.
C) Blinker? What's a blinker?
D) It doesn't matter if there's oncoming traffic. Go ahead and pass.
E) Be aggressive. Even if something is clearly your fault, always act like the other guy's the asshole.

4) Let me know what kind of cheesecake to make for your arrival. Be as traditional or adventurous as you like. If you're worried about calories, then you're obviously coming to the wrong country to begin with.

5) Learn a little Italian. This Wiki article is a good place to start. If you get here and you speak like you're ordering at Olive Garden, I'll have no problem correcting you.

6) Do some research and have an idea of what you want to see. There are several things I can recommend, but if there's something you definitely want to do, say so. That said, I find the best way to experience Europe is without a strict schedule. Plans don't always go as expected, so flexibility is the key.

Also, I only have so much vacation time, so if you'd like to coordinate with anyone else planning a trip out here and come together, it would help me out immensely. I look forward to your arrival.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Box Office Boil

Last night, a few friends and I went to see I Love You, Man at the base theatre. It's rated R for language, but for some reason, there were no less than 40 kids way under 17 in there. What's worse is that the most of them were just dropped off by their parents.
If I had my way, movies rated R would be no different than those rated NC-17. If you aren't of age, you don't get in the theatre, even with your parents. Not only is it ridiculous to have to put up with raucous teenagers, listening to screaming infants isn't on my list of favourite things to do. That's why God invented baby sitters. We all paid good money for our tickets, so how about we all let each other enjoy the movie?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sun Appetiser

Today was the most gorgeous day we've had all year. We've had some nice days in the past few weeks, but today was exceptional. It was so clear, I felt like I could just reach out and touch the mountains. Even someone as cold-natured as me had my windows down. And to make it seem even more like summer, I just mowed my lawn for the first time since November.
Corey and I joked that this is just God's April Fool's Day joke, and tomorrow will be 40 degrees and raining. The forecast supports this view, but I don't care. Summer is getting closer, and I can't wait.