January 1, 2009


What a crazy, crazy couple of weeks.

Short version: 9000 miles of air travel, being in every time zone on the Contiguous US, more nights in strange beds than my own, cooking dinner for 20 people, and working at least three days in the office.

The long version:

I was in San Luis Obispo, for work, for two weeks of December. Flew out the 7th, returned to Denver the 12th. Returned the 15th, and back home on the 19th.

That second week I was sick with a nasty chest cold, and my mucus factory was apparently working triple time because I went through an entire box of tissue in two days. (I will mention, though, that I only use a tissue once. Grab tissue, honk my schnozz, and discard tissue. Repeat P.R.N. I do know some people who reuse a tissue: blow into a corner, fold the tissue up, and place in pocket -- to be retrieved later for repeat blows in the other three corners before one final snot rocket into the center. If you're one of these people, you are really quite gross. If you're hard up for funds, I'll give you a couple bucks to buy more tissue, but for the love of all that is sanitary quit putting your snot covered tissues in your pockets. Yech.)


Returned from SLO, and got to work on the 22nd, filling out expense reports and other such forms (22-9/J.... in triplicate, of course.) Expense reports, in the past, involved me handing over my credit card receipts with a total amount scribbled on a Post-It note, and the bean counters handing me a check. No more. Now these expense reports, like most everything else in our modern world, are done via a web-interface. So I have to log in, and click various buttons, allocating various charges (hotel - room is different than hotel - meal, and must be charged accordingly. Meals for each day, hotel expenses, mileage to and from the airport, parking at the airport, etc. etc. etc. Sheesh.

On the 23rd of December, I was flying home for Christmas. Being a paramedic, I didn't often get Christmas off. Or, if I did, I'd have to work the 24th or 26th. Not this year, though... when I took the new gig, I told the HR folks that I would be going home over Christmas, and I hope that won't be a problem because I've already spent a bunch of money on the tickets and would hate to dissapoint my mother who's laying on her death bed suffering from a nasty combination of Ebola, Marburg virus, and a roundworm infection and this might be her last Christmas and I'm her only son unless you count that starving kid she "adopted" because Sally Struthers made such an emotional sales pitch for Christian Children's Fund that mom decided she could spare the cost of a cup of coffee to give Ngdugu a chance to go to school but he later got trampled by a rabid Wildebeast and now I'm all she's got left and can I PLEASE have Christmas off?

So I was going home. But the only reasonable (i.e., less than $800) airfare departed Denver at 0600. Which meant that I had to be at the airport around 0415. Which meant leaving the house by 0330.

Thus, on the first morning of my vacation, I got to wake up at 0245.

Sod. This.

The flights home were uneventful: DEN to Dallas to Fort Wayne, and arrived about 15 minutes early. Got to meet up with my two best pals from high school, and we had a couple beers and talked long into the evening. Christmas Eve was spent at my sister's house, where she laid out a feast of food and drink, and we got down to proper family business of catching up.

Christmas. Food, presents, wine, and loads of fun. Somehow, it was decided that a large pork loin wouldn't be sufficient, so we had a ham as well. The problem became one of square footage in the oven -- or, more properly, a lack of (enough) square footage in the oven. Being a man of great wisdom and clever problem solving skills, I decided that since the ham came fully cooked and only needed warming, I'd just put the damn thing on the grill with the burners on medium and leave the lid closed. A few rounds with the glaze* on the ham, and we were good to go. Heck of a feast, and a heck of a crowd to feed: Mom, Pop, Sis, Gramma, Uncle Rich, Aunt Barb, Emma, Attie, and Hanna (Rich and Barb's daughters), Uncle Pete, his sons Pete and Jeff, Pete's wife Jackie, my sister's boyfriend Rich, WG (friend of the family), Al (friend of family, co-worker of mom,) Noah and Ethan (nephews), one person I can't seem to remember, and myself.

Twenty people. And, if you've been paying attention, yes there are three guys named Jeff in my family (me, cousin Jeff, and my dad... I'm "Middle Jeff") two named Pete, and two named Rich. At least the women folk have different names.

Home on Sunday, the 28th, and back in the office on the 29th. Today and tomorrow are holidays, so I've got a 4 day weekend. Then back to work next Monday and Tuesday, and off to Ouray for my annual ice climbing vacation on Wednesday.

Whew. Sometimes, it's so crazy I can't keep up with myself.

Holidays are great, ain't they?

Happy New Year, y'all. Let's see what 09 brings.

* Ham Glaze: Brown sugar, honey, a wee bit of corn starch, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper powder, and some butter. Melt butter in small sauce pan, combine the rest in the pan, and warm thoroughly. Brush over ham liberally as it cooks. Don't forget to score your ham first.


Intubate Em!!! said...

Red pepper flakes?!?! Yum! I'll have to try it!

Lynne S of Oz said...

This idea of heating a ham up is odd to Aussies. Ham is eaten cold. Especially when it is 100F on Christmas Day.
Happy ice climbing!