Comic Book Project Finished (for now)

I started collecting comic books my senior year in high school when Superman died.  At the time I just thought that that issue would be an interesting collectible and I never expected to actually read it and enjoy it.  Of course, as with most things, once you start, it’s hard to stop.  Superman led to Batman, which led to lots of other titles over the years.  I think at one point I was reading something like 30 titles a month!  I did at some point realize that I was simply reading a book because I hadn’t stopped, not because it was good.  This caused me to cut out a good number of titles and really focus on stuff I was enjoying.  This allowed me to add in the occational new title to check it out and see if I liked it.  However, towards the end of last year, I really didn’t have enough time to read them anymore.  I started to have a box that was filled with unread issues, which I really didn’t like as it started to become a mountain that would be too hard to climb.  I’d always want to read it, but probably never would.  So, I cancelled all of my titles.

As you can imagine, having started in 1996 and collecting all the way until 2007, I had a great many comic books.  Add to that moving from college to Colorado, to Alabama, to Japan and to Connecticut, I had quite the mish-mash of organization going on.  So, one of my goals was to get them all sorted and documented so that I would know what I have.  The problem is always time.  When we first moved in, I knew that the game room in the basement would be perfect for this task.  However, our first big goal when we moved in was to get the house in order.  Painting, new flooring, etc.  The game room was finally finished early in the summertime and I was able to start my project.  Of course, this is where the time factor came in.  I could either have fun in the evening after work, or work on comics.  Or, I could do work with Sharron or work on comics.  I’m sure you can see a pattern in there some where.  :-)

This Wednesday, we’re having our house re-appraised.  This will hopefully enable us to get rid of our Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and allow us to have some more equity in the house.  What I’ve learned from that show on one of the home improvement channels called, “What’s it worth” (or something like that) is that if your house is a mess or cluttered, you won’t get the same value as if the same house were clean and un-cluttered.  These two things don’t change the house at all, but it’s all perception.  So, Sharron and I have been a whirlwind of activity the last 2 weeks or so trying to get the house comepletely in order.  Last weekend I managed to finally get all of the comics at least sorted by title, back into boxes and then I labeled all of the boxes so I know where to find everything.  I did not have time to complete the spreadsheet part of this project, that will have to wait for another day.  So yay!  That’s done for now.  :-)

Weekend

Saturday’s lately have become out out and about day.  This weekends was the longest yet!  We left home at like 9:30 and headed to the Harvest Cafe for breakfast.  We only recently tried it for the first time, but they have crazy good breakfast.  Then we headed down to Newington for some shopping.  We went many places.  Lunch was fast food:  Arby’s.  I only ate curley fries.  :-)  Our last destination of the day was Linen and Things since they’re going out of business.  We wanted to get a stool for the guest bathroom, but they were all gone.  Dinner was at Outback.  Ever since they come up with the $10 outback special (8 oz steak, 2 sides) we’ve been hooked.  I mean, who can pass up dinner out for $25?

Sunday we did this!:

It only took us like 10 hours!

It only took us like 10 hours!

Scared

When I was in Iraq, I read a book by Dean Koontz called Odd Thomas.  I really liked it.  Last year, I discovered on accident that 2 more books (now 3) have been written about Odd Thomas.  Keeping an eye out for them at used book stores, I finally found #2 and recently read it.  Not as good as the first, but definitely interesting enough for me to want to jump right in to book 3.  I picked that one up at the library earlier this week, so you know I must have really wanted to read it.  :-)

At one point in this book there is a very suspenseful chase.  I was actually scared because of it.  The last time I remember being scared by a book was WAY back in 7th grade when I was 13!  That time it was by a book called The Dark is Rising.  Not very scary by my standards today.  :-)

Thinking about this, I was reminded about how I read.  I talked with Sharron about this and she doesn’t think this is the same for her.  When I get in to a book, the words go away.  I know I’m still reading them, but in my head the images of the book are like a movie to me.  I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but when I was reading the description of what Amazon is trying to accomplish with the Kindle, they mentioned a similar phenomenon.  So, just like with a scary movie, this book caused me to be scared.  :-)

Just for the curious, the last movie that scared me was 1408.

Drink Heavily

I can’t remember which of my friends I’m quoting, but I think it was possibly Ben.  The thought was that on everyone’s calendar on election day, the caption reads, “Vote!”  Then the day after the election the caption reads, “Drink Heavily.”  :-)  For better or for worse, the election is over and we can now look forward to seeing what our newly elected officials will do.  I’m definitely curious.

From a personal perspective, yesterday was the first time in my life that I voted in person.  For every other election I voted by mail on an absentee ballot.  It was a pretty interesting experience.  As I said yesterday, Sharron had to wait in line for 30 minutes before voting.  I left work at 4:00 to give myself enough time to wait in the expected long lines.  However, when I got there I found the place mostly deserted.  It only took my 5 minutes!  It was a nice surprise.

I’m not going to say who I voted for, but I will say that I voted right down the middle.  Of the 4 candidates we were electing, I voted for 2 democrats and 2 republicans.  My friends and I have talked about this a lot.  To me it seems that these party lines that seem so important to the news media are not as important to people my age and younger.  Looking at how the democrats will soon control the Senate and Congress and Obama is president elect, perhaps this is not as true as I thought.

Vote Day

Sharron and I both got up early today to make sure we could go out and vote.  She made it out of the house early and arrived at the voting station about 10 minutes after they opened.  She had to wait for 30 minutes!  After she told me that, I changed my plan to vote after work instead of on the way to the bus stop.  With wait times that long, I would have missed my bus!  My co-worker Michael told me he tried to vote on the way in as well, but that he couldn’t find a place to park!

Last night I did my final bit of research into the candidates and have made my decisions as to who I’m voting for.  Sharron said she felt a greater peace about the day now that she’s voted, but I’m already a lot more peaceful now that I’ve finally made my decisions.  I’m going to head out early, probably on the 4:10 bus this afternoon to go to the polls.

Thinking about all of this, it’s hard to not get discouraged.  My biggest problem is not with broken campaign promises, but instead with voting records.  Many of the sites that talk about the candidates talk about if they’ve voted with their party or not and how often.  I think I’ve decided that that statistic is pretty useless.  What I really want to know is if the candidate will or has voted with what their beliefs are and what they campaigned that they are.  Instead, if they stuck with the party line and didn’t vote like they felt they should, I don’t want them in office.  I instead want someone who’s willing to stand up for what they belive in.  If it happens to be with or against the party, who really cares?

Morton’s Steakhouse

Thursday night I had a business dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse.  My boss, Keith, had asked our 3 vendors to come in to town for a strategy meeting on Friday and wanted to have dinner the night before.  Jokingly, as I was setting it up, had suggested Morton’s.  The vendors thought this was a GREAT idea though, so I set it up.  Only later did I find out that it’s traditional for the vendor to pick up the tab in this type of situation.  I had been to Morton’s once before, back in July of 2002 when I’d taken a trip to Vegas.  I remember paying something like $150 for 2 people.  Being young and not having much money at the time, I probably didn’t order anything extravagant either.  I spoke to my vendors about this and they assured me that it was no problem.  Apparantly we are giving them enough business to cover this sort of thing.  :-)

So anyway, with a party of 12, we didn’t qualify for either of the private dining rooms, but were still able to get one when there was a last minute cancellation.  Working ahead of time with the staff, I was also able to get all of the companies logos printed on the menu as well.  This was a HUGE hit.  Of course, in these situations, to be polite you’re supposed to go in knowing what you want to order ahead of time and to not really order anything extravagant or extraneous.  When my vendors starting ordering several appetizers and bottles of wine not seeming to care what anybody ordered, it was hard not to really enjoy yourself.  We ended up staying from 5:30 until around 8:30 – 9:00.  As I’d learned after my last visit, you simply MUST order a dessert souffle.  I made sure mine was chocolate.  No one else seemed interested as I don’t think anybody knows what they are.  I did convince Mario, who was sitting next to me, to order one though and he agreed with me that they are quite exquisite.  For my steak I had the double filet mignon.  It wasn’t as good as the souffle.  :-)

So anyway, I had a REALLY good time and I wish that Sharron could have gone with.  Next time I go it will be with her!

Busy!

Looking ahead between now and Christmas, it’s hard to see any time during the next couple of months for any relaxation.  Next weekend I’m probably going to have to go down to New York city for a Saturday night dinner with a lot of Todd’s.  A bunch of them have organized a mini-reunion with some newly discovered Todd’s from Cuba.  My father and sister are flying in from Tacoma, so that’ll be nice to see them.  They’ve asked to come see us next Monday night.  Ugh, that’s going to be strange since I have to work Monday and Tuesday.

We didn’t go all out in our decorations for Halloween, but we did do a pretty good job.  If we have any time next weekend, we’d like to begin decorating for Christmas.  Sharron’s Mom and her husband Bill are going to be joining us for Thanksgiving and we’re also going to have our Christmas with them while they’re here.  That should be a good time!

For Christmas, Sharron’s father will be joining us along with his girlfriend and her two sons.  Wow, that’ll be interesting to see how it works with that many people in the house.  At that same time, Sharron should be flying out to Spokane for Hiromi’s wedding.  She’ll only be gone 2 days, but it’ll be pretty hectic with the house so full.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working on organizing my large comic book collection.  It’s no easy task as I really haven’t bothered to try and keep them in any kind of order over the last few years.  Add to that the fact that I’d left a whole bunch at my parents house for a few years and you can begin to see how large of a task this is.  So, I’ve been working on this project in my spare time (ha ha) and it’s been a lot larger of a task than I originally thought.  So our game room in the basement is completely covered in comic books and I need to have them all straightened out by the end of the night on Wednesday.  Ugh.  On top of that, we need to make sure that the office, guest bath and guest bedroom are ready for my Dad and sister to visit next Monday.  Double Ugh.

The leaves have been falling in earnest outside, and while we purchased a backpack leaf-blower to help, there are millions of the suckers out there!  Millions!  I’ve managed to clear the driveway twice, and we cleared a 10-foot area around the house once, but after a large-ish storm this weekend, it looks like we’ve NEVER cleared leaves at all.  At some point we’re going to have to try and get all of them in order.  In our back yard there are also a lot of small to large branches that have fallen down.  We’ll need to deal with those before the snow.

So yeah, it doesn’t look like there will be much time for relaxation before January around here.

Sickness

Friday afternoon while I was drinking some tea I had quite the dizzy spell.  I didn’t really think anything was the matter as I felt great.  Saturday I was a bit more tired than usual, but still felt ok.  Sunday I work up and felt pretty crappy and had a sore throat, but I refused to believe I was sick.  Instead, I worked around the house all day with Sharron and worked outside too.  We finally finished our wood shed.  What we’d needed to finish was another piece of roofing material.  We visited a different Lowe’s than usual on Saturday and picked one up there.  Then we decided that we didn’t like it’s location, so we built up a platform from gravel at a different part of the house.

Tangent – Whilst digging out the gravel, I found a snake.  I didn’t even know there were snakes in Connecticut.  I thought it was interesting, but I’m also careful and didn’t need a bite from a poisonous snake.  Sharron immediately asked me to dispose of it, so there is now one less snake in Connecticut.  I also found a bunch of other things that looked pretty wormy, but also looked like they had legs.  Weird.  I didn’t mess with them.

So anyway, after several hours outside and a few inside I realized that I was completely DONE.  I finally gave up and lay down on the couch.  Sharron kept on working though and I felt like a slacker.  However, I used my better judgement and stayed on the couch.

After 2 days at home, I’m back in the office today, but still not feeling too great.  Ugh.

Praise

On Friday I was in a meeting with a vice president that’s in my actual reporting chain. The other military guys were part of this meeting and we were discussing the who program of bringing us in to Travelers and how we are doing. Us military guys of course want them to tell us we rock, but we also have to accept that we don’t have the experience with business that other people our age have. Basically, it went really well and the one thing I took out of it that I really liked was this statement, “We wouldn’t be wasting our time to improve you as leaders if we didn’t feel you were already really good.”

One other thing I took out of the meeting was a goal she set for us, “We want you to be so good at your job that if we ever decided to pull you off the project, people would be VERY mad at us.”  They recently tried to pull me off of my direct mail project and the Senior VP in charge of it said, “No.”  They weren’t in a position to argue, so I stayed on the project.  It just made me feel good about myself.

On Saturday, September 20th, we had dinner at our neighbor’s house.  We had a good time and even got to bring Parker along.  They have two yellow labs who are much bigger than Parker, but they all seem to get along well.  Sharron and I always consider Parker the sweetest, nicest dog ever.  However, Michael sent us this picture:

Doesn’t he look like the MOST evil dog ever!?

List of Lists of things

Ok, both Janet and Sharron did it, so here goes:

Ten things I wish I could say to ten different people right now:

1 – I love you!
2 – John thinks you rock!
3 – I’ve lost track of many of my friends in life and I don’t want to lose track of you too.
4 – Why are you mad at me?
5 – Don’t you realize all the hurt you’ve caused me?
6 –

Nine things about myself:

1 – I want to lose weight
2 – Things that make many people upset I tend to find inconsequential.
3 – I hate having a budget!
4 – I love my job (again, this seems to be completely opposite of everyone (but perhaps Urn))
5 – I love to read
6 – I hate having to dress up for work
7 – I hate my hair (I wish I could find a cool style that’s easy to comb)
8 – Survivor is my favorite TV show (Still!)
9 – I am obsessed with theme parks (and looking at pictures of them online)

Eight ways to win my heart:

1 – Listen
2 – Talk with me
3 – Be as excited about things as I am
4 – Give big hugs
5 – Smile and laugh
6 – Have self confidence
7 – Enjoy yummy foods
8 – Love going places

Seven things that cross my mind a lot:

1 – Story ideas
2 – Oh God, I don’t want to do house work, I just want to be lazy
3 – I want to take Parker for longer and longer walks
4 – Surreptitious EXcellence
5 – Games/books/shows I’m playing/reading/watching
6 – Songs that I’ve heard recently
7 – The color blue

Six things I do before I fall asleep

1 – Pee
2 – Turn my alarm on
3 – Lay on my back for awhile
4 – Roll over onto my side (usually my left)
5 – Put chap stick on (Vaseline Night Time lately)
6 – Rub my eyes

Five people that mean a lot to me:

1 – Sharron
2 – Parker
3 – Urn
4 – Tom
5 – Parents

Four things I’m wearing right now:

1 – Belt
2 – Hair product
3 – Black shoes
4 – Silk underwear

Three songs I listen to often (Lately)

1 – Handlebars – The Flobots
2 – America – Neil Diamond
3 – Let it Die – Foo Fighters

Two things I want to do before I die:

1 – See the Pyramids
2 – Write and publish a book

One confession:

1 – I don’t try as hard at most things in life as I could