Last week or so

This last week or so I have been held up at home, unable to go many places due to the walking boot, broken foot and a lot of swelling.

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Bruising is least painful part

Not that it is a big deal, it looks like since its an on the job injury I might get paid for my downtime, although the Department of Defense doesn’t use the normal Washington State Labor and Industry Insurance, which means they use the US Department of Labor instead.

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This requires an MD to sign off on everything. The sad part about this, is this is not how medical services work. Nowadays most interactions are with Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioner’s (NP, or ARNP in WA State) or straight up RN’s who do the hard work.

Their signatures (the non-MDs) are acceptable for anyone else evidently, except the Department of Labor. So I had to go back yesterday to the ER to have a doctor countersign the paperwork from the day of my break, and now that they countersigned I may need to go back and do more with the doctor, who never saw me or my case (and that is normal, they use the lower paid staff to do most of the work, unless its life threatening I am assuming).

In addition this week brought some highs and lows with the injury.

The high was once again seeing how lucky I am to be married to my husband. He wants to take care of me, and even when I annoy him because I am not the world’s best patient, he still shrugs it off, loves me and is willing to go out of his way. I am damn lucky to be with him and I love him more than anything.

He was willing to drive me anywhere, go anywhere for me, or just listen to me whinge about my foot. He is absolutely amazing.

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The low was realizing this was the first major injury or incident that I didn’t have my parents clucking over me and worried about me. It was a little depressing to not get the constant phone calls checking on me, worrying about me or reassuring me.

I realize I am a 46 year old man, but it was crushing to only get silence when I normally would get a hubbub of concern, and love. I realize the hubby gives more than enough, and this doesn’t take from that at all. I know part of it was my parents were fairly young (they would only be 68 and 67 this year) and it has only been a little over a year since they passed.

The hubby is my only close support network left, and honestly while I have a lot of friends to help (and who always are there if I ask), no one else is close enough at the moment that I can let in to fill that.

I anticipate there will still be scattered feelings like this that might lessen over time, but I know from talking to my parents in the last couple of years that even as they approached 70 they felt the same. No one told me this growing up, that there is no switch that clicks and makes you different. You are still that 17 year old that wants your parents affection, doesn’t want to deal with people’s bullshit and who hates being stuck in situations that you don’t like.

That has been my week (other than playing Max Payne 3).

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Assisting with class.

This week I have been assisting with a class on data analytics. So as not to bore you, that is just reviewing data given to you by who you are auditing, sifting through it and finding things they don’t want you to find. I am fairly good at it too.

training

The weird thing, after watching our teacher who is a great guy, and reading the rest of our agency’s policies, procedures, etc. I am probably the most qualified in the agency to do this. With a CS background (mostly theory), experience doing the actual data analytics with other agencies, and experience using SQL designing websites for businesses in the past I am fairly sure I understand the concepts, the needs, and the uses more than anyone in our federal agency.

The hubby comes in close behind, he has the theoretical knowledge, just not years experience with other agencies doing it. Even our experts aren’t as knowledgeable about how to implement it, that is the scary part.

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This guy kicks ass! He even married me.

That feels weird, and while it does mean I probably know a lot, it means our agency is about 15 years behind where they should be. They won’t buy the equipment, not even just extra power cords for our computers. I don’t know why I am expecting them to buy a hard drive, RAM or anything else we might need, just for every day use of the computers.  The agency doesn’t even wan’t to pay for more than 750gb hard drive for an office of 20+ auditors (hell I have a 5 terabyte drive for $100 at home).

This has resulted in a week of annoyance. Not the helping people with their classwork, but with how much we could do, but also how much we could save the taxpayers.

do-your-job

We are still waiting on the hubby hitting his five year mark so he can vest in a tiny retirement and then definitely I need to see about finding a job more satisfying. Don’t get me wrong the money is great, but it feels pretty empty.

Midway Museum gallery

I added this gallery to the event pages. I figured I would also post it here so people would see it.

Went to San Diego on 1/22/2017 and wandered around the USS Midway. I enjoyed seeing the aircraft and the inner portions of the ship.  Sadly no hubby.

I saved more than normal for some art purposes. I will update this as I go. I not only took photos to remember, I took some reference photos for other things.

First two days in the SD

My first couple of days have gone really well in San Diego. I figured instead of doing a “daily” update that I would just update every couple of days. It really isn’t that exciting. The one thing of note, it is now Tuesday (start of Day 3) and I it has not gotten above 59 degrees, pouring down rain and cold (that 59 was only for a short while). I feel like I am in Seattle.

Day 1: This was probably the most interesting day so far. I got up early, hung out with the hubby until he dropped me off at 6:45am.

While I was waiting at the Alaskan Airlines terminal things got a little surreal. About 10 minutes after we were starting to board there was still no plane at the gate (I was sitting at the window right where it should be). We all assumed no big deal, it was probably late coming in. That is when they announced that “they couldn’t find the plane”. You heard that right, not that it was late, but that they couldn’t find it.

Nope, no sign of it.
Nope, no sign of it.

After the initial murmurings happened from all of us customers they made a second announcement confirming “that the plane was not late, they still just haven’t found the plane.”

It turns out that the plane was one of several Alaska Airlines jets sitting on the tarmac overnight. It looks like someone forgot to bring it out in the morning. Talk about a surrealistic way to start your day.

Oh look, it was behind the flour.
Oh look, it was behind the flour.

The flight itself was pretty smooth, I definitely prefer the 2.5 hour flights as opposed to the 4.5-5 hour flights to Atlanta. Once we landed I successfully secured myself a rental car. I was about an hour behind, having arrived and secured my stuff at 2pm. I then decided to go visit the USS Midway Museum on the San Diego Harbor since check in wasn’t until 4pm. I will post about that separately as I have a lot of pictures I have to go through and I want to post.

USS Midway Museum
USS Midway Museum

Finally I got to my room, dropped my stuff off and went to In-N-Out for attempt number two. I figured the place needed a second chance, since everyone has a bad day. I got there and ordered a regular cheeseburger without tomato.

In-N-Out menu!
In-N-Out menu!

Of course it came with tomato, so I had to pull tomato bits off of it, I am definitely not impressed with their ability to modify orders. The people ahead of me evidently got their order after me and went back up to yell at them for something. I ate the burger and found this burger a lot better than the Double Double I ordered in Los Angeles. Even so, I wouldn’t really put it above a good McDonald’s burger, and definitely above a Dick’s burger.

Just a meh.
Just a meh.

I figure next time I will just go get two cheeseburgers from McDonalds for a little less than a single cheeseburger here and not be as disappointed. I then went by a grocery store on my way back to my room, worked a little then went to bed.

Day 2: Monday was less exciting. I woke up at 4am and starting working. Then around 7 I went to my Data Mining using Access class and it wasn’t bad. Honestly it is a helpful class, and I am not unhappy to get the info. Actually I am happy to get it, I learned some things already that will help with the “work session” I got for the SAS program last week.

We got out of class and I found Von’s, a grocery store that is evidently owned by Safeway, my Safeway card even worked so it wasn’t too bad. I then went by Carl’s Jr and was also disappointed.

So then I went back to my room, played around on my computer for an hour and a half and then fell asleep unexpectedly.

Thus ends Day 1 and Day 2.

Last two days in Los Angeles

The last two days in Los Angles were quiet. There wasn’t much to say except I went to class on Thursday, went back to the hotel and talked with the hubby for about an hour. Even though I found Yum Yum donuts the night before, I have to say it was still way better talking with my husband then eating heaven on earth.

This beats everything.
This beats everything.

Friday was a 3/4 day of work. Don’t get me wrong, there has been things I have learned, however it is called a “work session” and so there were many hours of just rerunning programs with no real goal. The highlight of this last work session day was going to lunch at chipotle across the street. It was like a contest, it had been raining heavily all day, and I had not realized that L.A. does not have the same kind of drainage that Seattle does and the streets were literally flooded 3-4 inches deep. The topper for our trip out, on the way back a truck slammed into a mud puddle beside my supervisor and I and a wave of water 4 foot high (no, that is not hyperbole) swept across us. The annoying part is I heard and saw him coming, but it was slow motion and I couldn’t get out of the way.

yep wet, tired and ready to go home.
yep wet, tired and ready to go home.

We finally got back to the class and I was soaked. I couldn’t dry off either because my clothes were packed in the car a couple of blocks away. So I sat there in the class for three hours and dripped. Funny enough my lightweight coat was soaked the whole flight. So by the time we left Friday I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We ended up driving back to the airport and it only took about 35 minutes on the freeways, so we were fortunate.

I was sad to leave palm trees... don't worry I will be back in San Diego in 41 hours.
I was sad to leave palm trees… don’t worry I will be back in San Diego in 41 hours.

Once at the airport I had time to look around. The first thing I noticed was how run down the terminal. It was a bit dirty everywhere, things seemed to be falling apart and it was lacking in any real food/store selection. The Sea-Tac and Atlanta airports both have several stores, restaurants and fast food. There wasn’t any fast food at all in the terminal I was in at all. The biggest disappointment though was the swag in the airport shops. I tried to find the hubby his travel spoon from Los Angeles but no luck. There was only two shops in the area to begin with and they were bare of almost anything I was interested in. That was a real disappointment and the first time I couldn’t find a spoon.

crowded and dirty ;(
crowded and dirty ;(

The flight back was ok. It was very short (only about 2 hours and 12 minutes in the air) but this was a Boeing 717 which means absolutely no leg room. Seriously I never once could touch the ground with my feet when my legs were straight forward. The flight was short though, and I had the aisle so I did survive it.

Yep, leg room is just an illusion.
Yep, leg room is just an illusion.

Finally I rolled into the Sea-Tac Airport and the hubby picked me up. I can’t tell you how much I missed him. We crawled in bed, talked for a long time then fell asleep. He definitely made everything all right.

I missed that look when I photograph him randomly.
I missed that look when I photograph him randomly.

There are probably a few little stories I forgot to tell. I will probably bring them up later. However, overall my trip wasn’t the worst. I definitely like Los Angeles better than Atlanta. The people are very similar to Pacific Northwest, with a bit of gun loving that was a surprise. Tomorrow morning (today is the Saturday after coming home) I fly back down to San Diego. I will post more about that as I go.

Second day in L.A.

The second day was a bit unremarkable. It started with going down to the “breakfast nook” of the hotel. There they had a waffle maker and a breakfast bar. I grabbed a waffle and a yogurt and eat quickly.

self-made waffle.
  self-made waffle.

 

Then I went back up to the room and worked a bit on one of my audits and it wasn’t pretty. Also my hair wouldn’t spike up…

Tired... so tired...
Tired… so tired…

The first two/thirds of the day was spent in class learning how to use SAS. It is a pretty cool thing to do, I am really hoping we actually use it at work. I think it can be a pretty good tool. Also both of our presenters/teachers were easy to listen and it was a fairly relaxed environment. If only my work computer would quit blue screening on me.

not a bad spot for lunch
not a bad spot for lunch

Originally we were going to go to the Disney store since we were next to Disneyland, but I needed a bit of space to myself so I begged off. I went to my room, sat around for a few minutes and decided I needed to get some exercise. With no workout gear I decided a walk would work just as well as anything else. I haven’t really walked around here and wasn’t sure where to go. I have been to Jack in the Box for lunch, but this time I decided to turn right and take a walk down that direction.

Lots of creepy underpasses around here.
Lots of creepy underpasses around here.

I did find something awesome on my walk. I had gotten about a mile down and was getting ready to turn around when I came across Yum Yum Donuts. Evidently it is a chain of donut shops down here in California. I hadn’t heard it before, but the place looked inviting.

         Yum Yum Donuts!
Yum Yum Donuts!

I walked in and was overwhelmed with a most beautiful sight. A whole display case full of wonderful smelling fresh donuts.

I would have to take three pictures to catch the whole row of donuts.
I would have to take three pictures to catch the whole row of donuts. Mmmm… Donuts…

I went in and bought a couple of donuts. I have been fairly good so far, and honestly I do eat my emotions (well my stress is probably a closer approximation) so I had to have some. They were better than they smelled. I haven’t had donuts this good since Lafeen’s back up in Bellingham in the late 1980s. They are better than Voodoo donuts, and I think I have had Rocket Donuts and they are better than that as well.

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So much tasty goodness…

While I was sitting there, I decided I needed to bring some milk back to my hotel room for my cereal I had bought the night before. So I traveled just a short distance further. There I was confronted by a sign you would never see here in the Pacific NW.

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Can you guess which part of this sign didn’t match? I will give you a hint… not 7-11.

It is always interesting to see how even though we live on the same coast, both Washington and California are very progressive/liberal, but there are just small things that do show the minor differences. I then went into the 7-11 and got some milk. The store had more food in it then I am used to seeing in a 7-11. Not quite as good as larger bodegas, but obviously at least this location sold some food, and I assume that is because there are not any grocery stores within walking distance of the hotel.

I didn't want to freak the lady out and take a picture inside.
I didn’t want to freak the lady out and take a picture inside.

Finally I went back to the hotel room. There I was inundated with Shark Tank on the TV. I don’t think I have mentioned this before about L.A. but I am always surprised at how TV is slightly different in each town. However, evidently California is pretty similar overall to Seattle on that part. The stations are pretty similar and there is a wonderful lack of 4 different FOX stations I got stuck watching in Atlanta. Also the ads aren’t objectionably conservative like they were in Georgia.

Then my little brother called and after he was done talking to me I got to do the only thing I wanted to do today… talk to my husband.

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   Talking to hubby, and watching Shark Tank.

First day in L.A.

I flew down to Los Angeles yesterday for the first time. Work decided I needed training and I needed it “NOW”. The flight down was definitely a delta flight that had a bit of anxiety inducing mechanical sounds grinding. It reminded me of the first time I flew to Atlanta a couple years ago on my first flight ever.

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Everyone wanted off as soon as possible

The first thing I noticed upon landing is that it was low 60s. Obviously people here consider that a cool temperature as the guy at Thrifty Cars was wearing a sweater/hoodie under his yellow safety vest. My two coworkers and I both from Seattle were already warm, so the difference was interesting. The one thing I have noticed is I don’t mind the weather down here in January. This would be a good time to go to Disneyland.

The next thing I noticed are palm trees. I have never been to a place that has palm trees that grow naturally. I mean I grew up on 80s tv that showed California and Florida palm trees but I had never seen one in real life that wasn’t in Seattle, freezing and on life support because it couldn’t survive. I am not sure why that caught my attention specifically, but it was interesting.

Palm trees everywhere.
                    Palm trees everywhere.

We then drove down from LAX to La Palma where my office is. Its about 26 miles so we drove the freeways and it took 40 minutes. I was surprised, I have heard how bad traffic is here in LA, but I-405 in Seattle is WAY WAY worse at the same time of day. It would have took me half again as long to get that far on I-405 in the Renton Curves. Funny enough one of the highways we took down here was also I-405.

I got to the La Quinta. A bunch of my coworkers were freaking out we had to use them. I found it a little worn around the edges. It obviously had a heyday sometime in the 90s or earlier, but honestly its fine. The bathroom was the tiniest bathroom I have seen in a hotel, but still not bad. The people who work here are nice. The biggest advantage is lots of cheap restaurants/fast food within walking distance. I appreciated that.

Really not that bad overall
            Really not that bad overall

Then later in the evening we went to get food at a store and dinner. We decided to stop at In-N-Out. I have heard nothing but people extolling the virtues of the restaurant. I mean that is all I hear “you have to go to In-N-Out and get a double double”.

meh... that ball of lettuce didn't help any.
       meh… that ball of lettuce didn’t help any.

I ate it, and found it wasn’t bad, but nothing special to write home about. In fact I still much prefer Dick’s at home. I also noticed that “the greatest sauce ever” as it was called by others, was actually only Thousand Island Dressing. Seriously, I like Thousand Island, but its Thousand Island… not really a secret recipe. Maybe next time (if there is one) I will try just a cheeseburger, something that is more equal against a Dick’s cheeseburger.

Finally we went to the grocery/warehouse store next to the In-N-Nout named Smart and Final Extra. It seems close to the Cash and Carry’s that are near where we live, except there are more single serve items as well. It was funny, when I originally asked the hotel staff if there was a grocery store nearby they said the name and I asked if it was a bodega, for some reason the name just didn’t fit with a preconceived notion of what a grocery store was.

Finally I got home, worked on a couple of credit hours for work, and went to bed.