Sunday, January 2, 2011

Manassas VA and a whole lot more!

Well, this blog will be a bit shorter than others. I’ve been sick as a dog for a bit over a week and so I was not as inclined as I might normally have been to be adventurous.

One interesting thing that I didn’t mention on my last blog was that on my return flight from my last minute trip to Alabama, I actually wound up on the very same flight as my son who was on the way home on leave from the Navy! Fortunately for his sake, I did realize this in advance and so he wasn’t faced with sharing a flight with his father in drag. We sat next to each other and chatted the entire flight and that was pretty neat!

The next week was of course spent with him at home and it was a real whirlwind of activity. One day we spent in San Antonio with my wife’s cousins getting our pictures taken by a professional photographer Photos By Jenn. Here are a few of my favorites:

Audrey Vincent and Will
My Daughter Audrey, Son Vincent, and oldest son William

Dawn and Matt
My wife Dawn and I

Will Becca and Morghan
My son William, his wife Becca, and their daughter Morghan

Matt Vincent and William
Myself and my sons - Vincent and William

A few days later I was informed that my son and his girl friend were going to get married. No time to prepare, no time to organize, just “We are getting married in the park on Tuesday, sure hope you can make it!”  It’s not as bad as it sounds and their reasons sure make sense. It didn’t cost an arm and a leg, it was very informal and low stress, and quite honestly was a wonderful day. It also made all of the sense in the world as it was sort of important to be legally married as soon as possible so that they can start getting benefits through the navy. They may or may not have a formal marriage ceremony later someday – we’ll see!  When we got married 23 years ago, my wife and I were poor as church mice and so we both had very plain gold bands. Many years ago I bought my wife a fine wedding ring and she also bought me a beautiful ring complete with diamonds and sparklies in it, so this left me with the original ring that still meant so much to me. I was so very happy when my son and daughter-in-law accepted it and chose to use it as his wedding ring!

William and Becca get Married 2010 12 21 071
My Daughter-in-law Becca and my son William on their marriage day

William and Becca get Married 2010 12 21 067
My Daughter-in-law Becca and my son William on their marriage day
Sunday I was supposed to take my son to the airport for his flight back to base but his flights were canceled due to poor weather in the north east. That was a good news / bad news sort of thing that had us scrambling trying to make alternative flights and making sure that his unit knew that he was going to be late for reasons out of his control, but on the other hand he did get to spend an extra day with us. His new arrangements had him flying out Monday, the same morning that I had to fly, and so we returned together to the airport Monday morning. No way in hell I was going to make my son uncomfortable by my flying pretty, so no stories about the TSA to tell this time!

This trip was to install two Ozone delivery systems at a large semiconductor factory in Virginia and I wasn’t real happy to making the trip. You see the last guy that installed only one of these systems had taken two weeks, and I was being given only three days to install two of them! I sort of felt like I was being set up for failure – a person on the way to the gallows. . .   Just to make sure the trip was going to be a pure delight, I went and caught myself a nasty cold and was in pretty poor shape the entire rest of the week.
The good news is that the other guy had to deal with a whole host of unique issues that were not applicable here, and so I had little trouble at all in getting it done, and was in fact off fairly early each day.

The first evening after I got off, I went to see the new version of “True Grit” and was reasonably pleased with it. As I approached the ticket counter there were two young women there and they made no particular effort to hide their amusement as I approached. They were whispering and giggling as I walked up and I figured that I could either get upset or I could smile too. As usual, I chose to grin at them both and so it was smiles all around when I asked “One for True Grit please!”  The lady at the concession stand was a good deal more genuinely friendly and gave me an honest smile as she handed me my drink and told me that she hoped that I would enjoy the movie.  Would you believe that I had first seen the original version of this movie only two nights before on the TV? I really wish that I hadn’t watched the original because it was fresh in my mind and I kept finding myself comparing the new movie to the original. It wasn’t a bad movie at all but I’d have to admit that I liked the original better.

The next afternoon I had to mail a component back to my factory and so I found myself entering a US Postal service office. It was a fairly small post office and so I was kind of surprised when I opened the door to find about 20 people all waiting in line. I looked at the line for a moment and decided that I would rather go to the UPS store a block down the street than wait here for forty minutes and so I turned to leave. As soon as I turned around, a tall man in a postal uniform called out to me in very deep voice, somewhat reminiscent of James Earl Jones.
“Ma’am? MA’AM?!”
I stopped and turned around to look at him.
“If that box is all your mailing, you can use the automated system over there with your credit card.” He told me, pointing first at the small box in my hands, and then at a kiosk with a large drop box next to it. I thought about it for a second and then figured ‘what the hell’ and approached the machine. As soon as I touched the screen, the helpful gentleman with the Darth Vader voice starts speaking from right behind me.
“Press ‘yes’ it will fit in the box, press ‘no’ it’s not in our package, press no, it doesn’t have a label, enter the zip code where the package is to be delivered . . . “
He was telling me what to do and what to push before the screen was even updated to show the question it was gonna ask.
“So I take it that you have done this once or twice?” I asked him.
“Just a couple of times.” He rumbled without a smile. “OK, swipe your credit card and print label.”  I did as he suggested, then attached it to the box.
“So now I just drop it in the box?”
So I pulled out the handle, put the box inside, and then listened to be sure that it fell from the hopper.
“Awesome – thank you so much!”
“Your welcome” he replied, but still without a smile. I was in the car and about a mile down the road when it struck me that the machine had only asked for the zip code where the package was to be delivered, but it had never asked for the entire address, nor for the return address. With the post office employee telling me what to do every step of the way, I had just done it instead of really thinking my steps through.
‘Great!’ I thought to myself. ‘A two thousand dollar component and it’s gonna be delivered to the city of Wilmington MA. That’s just wonderful!”  Wanting to pound my head against the steering wheel, I turned around and headed back for the post office. Of course the gentleman that had helped me was nowhere in sight and so I got in the line. Fortunately there were only about five people in it now so I hoped the wait wasn’t gonna be too long. When it was my turn, I explained the situation to the man behind the counter.
“I just used your automated system over there and after I put the package in the box, it occurred to me that I never gave a complete address for the package to be delivered to.” I told him, and at the same time I showed him paper I had with the complete address on it.
“I don’t understand.” He said. “Where is the package now?”
“It’s in your box next to the self service kiosk.”
“And you didn’t address it?”
“Correct. Your machine just asked for the zip code – it never asked for the entire address.”
“All right, hold on and I’ll get someone to get the package out for you.”
The whole time we were speaking, two or three other Post Office CSR’s were staring at me as I spoke, and not one of them gave the slightest sign of a smile. Feeling like an idiot and maybe a bit of a freak show, I stepped away from the counter and went to wait at the box. Soon a man comes out, unlocks the box, and starts to remove the packages one at a time, glancing at me with each to see if it was mine. I described the box to him, and told him I’d let him know when he had the right one, but still he continued to show me and wait for every single box as he removed it.
“That’s it!” I told him when he came to the right one. He pulled it out and gave it a long look before handing it to me.
“I see that you also didn’t give it a return address. You have to do that these days or security wont let it through.”
“No worries and thank you so much. I’m SO sorry for the confusion.” I told him as I took the box. I started looking around for pen to complete the label with, and when that search turned out to be fruitless, I took the package out to my car where I used the pen I had in my purse. In a moment I had it properly labeled and carried it back in to the post office where I once again got in line. One of the women behind the counter got my attention, and with a bored look, points to the counter next to her.
“Just set it here.”
“Awesome and thanks again!” I told her with a smile, while thinking to myself ‘Wow, what a friendly bunch they have here! NOT!”

Feeling embarrassed and self conscious, I headed to Best Buy to get a new battery for my digital camera. Its original battery has apparently died of over work and exhaustion. . .
Everyone there was perfectly nice and helpful and so my confidence rose from the basement level where it had been since I started this afternoons outing. Of course I almost had a heart attack when I found out that the itty bitty battery was gonna cost me $41! That’s almost a quarter of what the camera had cost me brand new. Grrrrrrr!!!!!

With the new camera battery purchased and in my purse, I headed to the movie theater again, this time to watch “The Tourist” with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. I love Angelina Jolie and have thoroughly enjoyed every movie that I can recall seeing her in. I think she is awesomely cute and love the action and adventure in her films, and so I never bothered to even see what the movie was about. Well, it turns out that it is much more a love story than an action film, and this caught me a bit by surprise. Having been sick and getting very little in the way of a good nights sleep for over a week now, I just wasn’t up to a relatively slow movie and would have to admit that I actually fell asleep during parts of it. I wouldn’t hold that against the movie though – I really was exhausted. Oh – in the opening scene of the movie, she is wearing this mid-length white dress with an orange scarf style belt that tied in the back at her waist and then hung down to her knees. Wow – talk about a killer woman in a killer outfit. I wanna be Angelina Jolie when I grow up . . . 


  1. darling congrats my daughter recently got married as well and our was a big event and all but it still same its hard seeing ur childern get married
    glad u shared and u always look amazing
    hugs laurie ANNE

  2. What a nice commentary.Thanks for sharing..
    Best Wishes in 2011

  3. I can't IMAGINE you wearing out a camera battery! How did THAT happen?

    Congrats on your son! :)

    I love the outfits this trip! You keep improving on perfection!

  4. very nice photos of your famialy
    and yes there was a rogue flu virus floating around just before xmas glad you are feeling better dad and i had it around the same time.

  5. Hi Kimberley

    Congratulations to you son and his new wife.
    May they have a long and happy marriage.
    Those pictures are wonderful thanks for allowing us to share a little in your life and theirs.


  6. another place to keep up with Kim's travels!!! it's great that you're keeping a blog of this Kim...I still think you need to write a book!

    thanks for sharing!