Friday, December 28, 2007

More Snow

I've seen more snowfall this year than any year in recent memory. Of course "recent memory" is a relative term... I can only remember a couple of years back with any clarity. I've got a love-hate relationship with winter and snow. I love the rugged beauty of a winter landscape, but I don't like the reduced amount of daylight. I like driving around in my 4X4 during and immediately after a fresh snow, but I don't particularly care for shoveling my driveway. I like playing in the fluffy white stuff, but detest being cold.

I think the best part about this year's snowfall is that the kids got a white Christmas, and it's always snowed during my time off, so I don't have to rush home only to clean my driveway after dark. Another really cool thing has been the snowplow guy. He's not your stereotypical city worker who takes sadistic delight in filling the end of the driveway with snow right after you finish shoveling. In fact, I've seen him take great pains to ensure that he does NOT do that.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dropping the Ball

A few weeks back, a co-worker reported an intermittent email problem to me. . I was in the middle of something and asked him to send me a reminder. A couple of weeks, another co-worker reminded me about the guy's issue, but I was again neck deep in other work and asked for an email as a reminder. "Email is my short-term memory," I said, half-jokingly. A week later, I got a third request to fix the issue and realized that I had totally dropped the ball.

Today, my manager asked me what happened and I freely admitted that I failed to handle things properly. The manager asked me what I could do to prevent it from happening again. I offered to take a pen and paper around with me. Here's the thing... I failed to follow up. I'm the one who forgot. But does this totally abdicate the people who told me about a problem in passing? I asked them for some sort of reminder. Seems like a reasonable request to me. They didn't send the reminder, and then got bent out of shape and emailed my boss when I failed to respond. I'm not trying to skirt around or minimize the fact that I didn't follow up, but Jeebus, where's their portion of responsibility?

I guess it's time to adjust my expectations. The person who complained to my manager is one of those people who just can't be trusted. I see how she works now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

The kids are at their mom's place for another hour or so, which means that my beautiful wife and I are getting a nice and easy start to the morning. We even had a little extra time to, ummm, snuggle under the covers.

A little later, I had a round of sneezing and told the Mrs. that I was going to get a Claritin...

"Are you trying to say that you're allergic to me," she playfully questioned?

"No, you're just a mild irritant," I responded flatly.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Several months ago, I re-potted a plant at work. If you refer to this earlier post, you will see that it was an anemic little plant, severely in need of some TLC. Take a look now. All I did was move it to a new pot, add some soil, and every now and then, I gave it coffee and/or coffee grounds. A co-worker recommended the coffee, and it really seems to have worked, don't you think?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maybe I was Wrong

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you may remember me looking into my crystal ball last month and making some predictions. It looks like a couple of them may be a little less accurate than I had hoped, once again proving that fortune tellers are full of shit.

I'd like to specifically talk about my economic predictions, and clarify where I may be wrong. I still believe that pundits are seriously underestimating the trouble our economy is facing, and I am firmly convinced that we're in for a severe, long-lasting recession. The area I missed is how the international economy will react to our problems. My initial thought was that the global market is well-insulated enough to tolerate a downturn in the U.S. economy. After watching my own 401(k) performance though, I'm no longer so sure. I have two overseas funds... one invests in larger overseas companies, and the other focuses on smaller companies. I fully expected my domestic stocks to tank, but figured that by reallocating a greater portion of my investments overseas I would mitigate my risks.

Not so fast. In the past few weeks I've watched my returns plummet to virtually zero on my small company overseas fund, and my large fund return has dropped by 50%. It's still giving me a hefty return, but it's significantly smaller that a couple of months ago.

It's still far too early in the game to know how it's all going to play out, but considering what I've seen so far, I'm going to throw out my mea culpa now and freely admit that I don't have all of the answers. But then again, this may be a blip and I could be right over the long haul. Face it though, predicting the market is like forecasting the weather. When you're wrong, you're simply giving the people what they expected, and when you're right, you're a hero.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Older Daughter has a Boyfriend

Yep... you read that right. My older daughter has a boyfriend. You probably expect me to write a post about how I'm freaked and how I'll kill the boy if he breaks her heart or if he even looks at her with what could possibly be mistaken for lust. Well, you're wrong. Believe it or not, I'm proud of and happy for her. Hey, the kid's 15 and in high school. I knew this day would be coming and I'd like to think that I've done a fair job of psychologically preparing myself for its pending arrival.

More specifically, I've kind of known that this day was right around the corner, and with this boy. My daughter and Neighbor Girl have been talking about "Hot French Kid" (meaning hot kid from French class, not hot kid from France) since school started. Soon they started talking to him at school, next came the IM chats and phone conversations. The kid even told me point blank that she liked him and hoped that he'd ask her out, so yeah, I knew this day was coming.

One evening in particular, she was IMing with him and talking with me about nothing in particular when she suddenly said "Oh, wait! I think he's going to ask me out." I walked away to give her some space. Later on, I asked her what happened. "That butthead," she responded.

"What?" I asked.

"It's easier to just show you," she answered. So she pulled up her IM conversation with Hot French Kid...

HFK: What would you say if I asked you out some time.

Her: IDK, I don't think I'd say no.

HFK: Ok. I may do that some time.

I was amused. She was too, but at the same time she was a little miffed. (Understandably)

I said "Look, if this happens again, you can say 'I'd probably say yes, but the longer you wait, the less likely you are to get a yes.'" She liked that idea.

Fast-forward to last night, when the kid happily announced that she's going out with Hot French Kid. I asked her when and how it happened and she told me. A little later, when I had her alone for a minute or two, I said "Look kid, I know that I've been teasing you about Hot French Kid, but I know you've been wanting to date him for a while. I just want to let you know that I'm happy for you." I think that caught her a little by surprise.

"Thanks, dad," she answered after a short pause.

"Oh kid, one other thing..."

"You're not going to give me the sex talk, are you?"

It was as if she read my mind, but the thing is, we've had the talk many times... she knows it very well, so all I had planned to say was...

"Sex talk." We grinned, and I left the room. Hot French Kid was calling.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What's the Real Payoff?

I read an article today that said Al Gore has completed renovations on his Tennessee home. The improvements are designed to make his home more energy efficient by adding florescent or LED lighting, solar panels and geothermal energy.

You may remember that Gore was previously criticized for preaching about global warming while having a highly inefficient house. I really don't know when the renovation started, so I'm not going to say whether or not the upgrades were motivated by this criticism. I am going to question the payoff though.

The article claims that his house is about 11% more efficient than it was before. On the surface, this is saying that it will take about ten years for the increased efficiency to pay for itself. But there's a little more to it than this...

There is the energy cost to manufacture, transport and install these upgrades. The lighting is probably a no-brainer, because the old bulbs are low-cost commodity items, and there's no real cost differentiation. But I'm not so sure about the solar stuff and especially the geothermal stuff. Specifically I'm picturing all of the contractors' vehicles, and the construction vehicles digging up the dirt and so forth. I wonder how many gallons of fuel that costs, and how much that increases the payoff time. I'm not trying to bash on Gore's decision... just curious.

Ice Storm

You probably heard about the ice storm that hit the Midwest earlier this week. Lots of downed trees, loss of power, etc. But there's always beauty with nature's fury. Witness this picture.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Drumdial Drum Tuner

Banging away on the older daughter's drum set has been a lot of fun, but I quickly realized that I didn't have it properly tuned. This makes sense because I had never tuned a drum set before. I had one lesson on drum tuning about 25 years go and I remembered the lesson, but it's not realistic to expect myself to tune a drum set like a pro the first time around. But I'm digressing...

After doing a little research, I ran across the Drumdial Drum tuner. I bought it, took it home and tuned up the set. I'm happy to report that my amateurish by-ear attempt wasn't bad, but man... that drum set sounds 1000% better after using the tuner, and it's just as easy as the manufacturer makes it out to be.

What's this all mean in English? It means that I heartily, fully and enthusiastically endorse this product.

Monday, December 10, 2007

But Wait, It Gets Even Better

You saw my last post about the Big Ozzlet's new bedroom. Check out the bling to accompany it...

I'd love to say this is because I'm an awesome dad, but the reality is that this is all Mrs. Ozzy's doing. She's the one who deserves the props.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

One Project Down...

... many to go. Yesterday, I finally finished painting Big Kid's room, and got her bed assembled. The bedroom that once belonged to the wife and me now officially belongs to the kid. Now that I've accomplished this, I need to convert her old room into a guest room, and I need to finish converting part of our laundry room into a walk-in closet/storage room. One project down, many to go.

Oh yeah, if you're interested, I did a quick before and after video. Check it out.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

You Asked!

"I'm going to take a shower," he announced to the Mrs.

"I was going to do that, but I'll wait," she replied.

Hearing her response, he gave her 'the look,' to which she answered "Oh. I'll be down in a minute."

He warmed up the shower and jumped in, waiting for her arrival. He washed her long blond locks, making sure to not miss a single hair. They hugged, snuggled and giggled... their bodies slippery from the soap, shampoo and conditioner.

"A preview of coming attractions," he said, grinning as he rinsed her warm, wet body.

They grinned and stepped out of the shower, knowing what would be coming later.

Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock, !

"You've got the robe, answer the door," she said with a slightly sadistic grin.

Damn, I'm not even dry, he thought, answering the door.

"Why was the door locked?" asked Big Kid, stepping into the house.

"Sometimes there's a reason I lock the door, kid."

"Ewwww! You two were sexing it up, weren't you!?!"

"Not quite," I replied, returning to the bathroom.

She was in and out in two minutes.

Long Winter Nap

Even if you don't live in my neck of the woods, you probably heard about the cool ice storm we had yesterday. It grounded planes, slowed traffic and interrupted our electricity; all in all it wasn't that bad though. Heck, I went out in the storm so I could go to work and pick up a gift for the kids that I'd been hiding there. But then again, I own a 4X4, so I tend to have fun this time of year... going to the parking lots and doing donuts and so forth. Oh sorry... I'm digressing.

As I mentioned a bit ago, we lost electricity for a while, starting sometime between 7:00 and 7:30 PM. I had run out of coffee, and missed my usual gallon of caffeine, so I was already tired but also wanted to spend time with my sweetie. When the power went out, I interpreted that as God's way of telling me it was bedtime. I looked in Mrs. Ozzy's general direction (I wasn't totally sure where she was because it was pitch black in the house) and said that we should snuggle to preserve heat. We were in bed by 7:30 and I was fast asleep soon after. I ended up sleeping for about 12 hours. Man, I love long sleeps in the winter, and when I woke up this morning, I had my coffee and went to work around the house... painting my kid's room, shoveling the driveway... cooking chili for dinner... and it's not even noon yet.