Sunday, February 28, 2010

Like getting five numbers in the lottery!

Some years ago Mrs Grouch bought a lottery ticket. I sat down the evening of the drawing to watch the 10 o'clock news to learn the winning lottery numbers. They read the first number and we had it. They read the second number, we had that one too. They read the third number and we had that one also. Now I was starting to pay attention. They read the fourth number and we had that one too! My heart was beating like a snare drum....they read the fifth number...we didn't have that one. So sad, too bad.

But, I had that same feeling today. The Mrs and I like to go to the local Barnes and Noble and cruise the new book section. We nonchalantly write down the names of books that we want to read and then later request them from the county library system. I just logged on to the library web site and started requesting books. Let me say that the books I like are frequently not in the mainstream of the library patrons and thus are not ordered by the system. Today I had five books to request and each time the library had at least heard of the book and put me on the list! Five for five! Better than winning the lottery - well sort of.

New Job!

The new job starts on the 8th! Everything is finalized, finished, and done. I took the physical for the new job on Tuesday; the doc said I had the blood pressure of a 20 year old man which gratified me so much I went out and ate some greasy food to celebrate. I am still laboring away at my current job and trying to direct folks to others for help since I won't be there soon.

More to come on this subject in a week or so. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Give...or else

It is time for the real Grouch to emerge from the shadows and give forth with some grouchiness.

So, there I was in church this past weekend. The priest announced that it is time again for "Together in Mission". This is where the diocese hits up the parishes for money for the less fortunate parishes - well actually all the parishes have to give an assessed amount of money to the diocese. Then, the diocese magnanimously will give back whatever amount they feel like to the less fortunate parishes. Seeing as how the Church is much into 'social justice' these days I am not surprised that the institution has chosen to model this forced philanthropy after the worst of the federal government; coerce money (taxes) and then give it back as it chooses (welfare, grants, etc).

Being that I am well into my middle age years I am a bit of a mellowing grouch so at this point I was not too torqued about this process. Then we were introduced to the principal of a Catholic school in Watts whose school has benefited from the TIM program. The very sincere educator detailed how the TIM program saved the school from certain closure by making much needed improvements. Ok, charity is good and getting a decent education is a worthy cause. She should have stopped there. She went to to say that our (my) money is being used to pay medical coverage and retirement for the teachers! Mrs Grouch is working as a teacher and she doesn't get these benefits from her school and here I am subsidizing some one else?! Then we learned that the students are being sent to the most prestigious high school on the west side of town and some even are being moved along to Loyola Marymount college. Well. I guess I am a major league un-mellow grouch but suddenly the forced philanthropy didn't taste so good. These kids are going to prestigious schools via my 'donations'. My kids couldn't go there without taking out major-big time school loans. I am conflicted by this whole process. We Grouches donate a sizable amount of money to the church and other charities. We send money to two children overseas to support them in their very poor circumstances. I guess I just resent being told to donate the money or else and then hearing that I'm paying someone else's benefits too. I guess I am a grouch.

I told you that my inner grouchiness was coming out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Affairs of the heart

Poor young son. The girl of his dreams whom he just took to the Winter formal has tossed him for another guy. And she even used the dreaded 'we can still be friends' line on him. Man, they learn early! He was very sad over the weekend but not so much today. He's young and resilient. I offered him a song download to ease his pain and that cleared up any lingering sadness. He's already being philosophical about his change in romantic fortunes and realizes that being out of the dating game means more funds for video games.

That's my boy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Not bragging, but...

It was 78F and sunny today. It was so nice I cut the front yard grass and washed the Jeep just to celebrate. I hope it isn't too cold and snowy where ever you may be.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fisherman's Paradise

Los Angeles has a river. This is a surprise to many since most don't associate dry L.A. and a river. For those who know L.A. and have seen the concrete lined Los Angeles river, this is what they see and think of:
A concrete channel full of slime and graffiti and trash and sometimes a Terminator on a motorcycle.

Occasionally mutant ants are spotted in the river bottom and the giant sewer tunnels.

Some of the river actually has a bit of life in it.

A several mile stretch actually is alive. Lucky for me this is the area that my place of work backs up to. And this brings us to the story for today.

There are actually things besides dead bodies and trash in the water. There are fish in there, some of them pretty good size. They are some sort of carp and they come right to the edge of the water to eat the scum that sticks to the concrete. I almost had a heart attack the first time I saw these things that looked like something from a Hammer monster movie skulking at the water's edge.

Recently there have been people fishing in the river. I don't know if it is hard times or a fishing derby or what but there can be several fisherman at a time set up on the concrete in their folding chairs drowning worms (or probably dissolving worms considering how polluted the water probably is) and looking like fisherman do except they are fishing in what is essentially a giant open air storm drain. So, here they are in the middle of the city, smack in the middle of the notorious Frog Town (kind of like Toon Town but for Hispanic gang members; can you imagine a swaggering gang banger saying "Yo dog - I'm a Frog Town gangster!" The other bad guys would be laughing so hard they wouldn't be able to hold their Glocks sideways to shoot at them.) within ear shot of the 8 lane Golden State Freeway roaring by, thinking "Well I may not have a job and baby needs shoes but at least I can fish here" when they hear someone yelling at them. What should they see but A Game Warden! A game warden in the middle of the city on the bank of a open storm drain? A game warden demanding to see their fishing licenses?! These fishermen are doing the city a favor pulling the mutant carp out of the radioactive chromium laced sewer fouled water before the fish can grow big enough to attack City Hall and knock the place flat like the Martians did in 1954.

Strangely enough 3 of the 5 fishermen had licenses. The other two got busted. I got tired of watching the drama from my parking lot and went back to work.

(BTW I borrowed the pictures from the internet)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

So, how hard was it raining?

It was raining so hard on Saturday when I was driving to drill along the I5 that one of the underpasses was flooded to the top of the concrete center divider. Fortunately for me it was on the north-bound side and I was headed south. A Caltrans truck was sitting in the water drowned out and traffic was sitting backed up to the next exit down the road. When I got to the base I parked in my usual spot which is a grassy field. I could see that it was under water but I didn't realize how much until I stepped out and water was past my ankles. I decided to find another place to park and pulled forward to make a half circle and get back to the road. I didn't get far before I was stuck but that is why I have a Jeep! I simply pulled the lever into 4WD and motored on out. I then saw the CSM's SUV sunk to the frame with his right front tire sunk to the hub. Guess the ground was a bit soft! I offered to pull him out but he declined and had an off-road forklift (bet you didn't know these existed!) yank him out. One of my soldiers then buried a stake truck in about the same area so the same forklift yanked him out too. At least it wasn't snowing!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Are you Dutch?

So, for some reason folks have frequently asked Mrs. Grouch what country (besides the U.S. of A.) she hails from. She and I are from Pittsburgh PA which some might think is a different country but those would be people from Brentwood or Beverly Hills or Malibu and they don't count for a single whit, so there. Anyway soon after we were married someone asked the Mrs. "Are you Dutch?" which busted us both up. That became a catch-phrase for us. Since then people will occasionally accuse her of being Dutch or sometimes German, except for when we lived in Germany. They knew she was American despite her talent for the German language. It must have been her Pittsburgh accent that gave her away. Last night the mother of Young Son's girl friend stopped by the house when returning Young Son from her place. I think he has moved in with them and is only humoring us that he is still living at Grouch Estates. She met the Mrs. for the first time and exclaimed "What a lovely Irish lilt you have!" I was upstairs resting in bed and heard this and almost fell out of bed in amazement. I finally figured out what has happened. She and I are both of German/Irish heritage as are many people in our part of Pennsylvania. The 'Dutch' and now 'Irish' accents are merely her heritage struggling to burst free and express itself in this age of diversity and multiculturalism. I on the other hand have not displayed any sudden urge to sound like an extra on 'Combat' or Paddy from the auld sod. My heritage instead displays itself in unreasonable German stubbornness (but without the engineering prowess of my Deutchland ancestors) and an Irish temper (but sadly without the mellow singing voice of an Irish tenor). I think Mrs Grouch got the better deal if you ask me.

P.S. Young Daughter told me that people ask her if she is English even though she was born in Maryland. She did visit the UK with the Air Force but I don't think that counts for absorbing an accent so I don't know what is going on with all of this foreign sounding talk but as a Grouch I don't like it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another week and more fun

Sunday was a bit of an interesting day. First we led off with driving lessons for young son. He learned that it is possible to lay rubber with an Aztek. This is part of the lesson we hope not to repeat. Other than that it went pretty well. Later I traveled to the L.A. zoo to meet someone to do a bit of covert wheeling and dealing in the parking lot there (this was the half-way point for both of us). While stopped at an intersection I got bumped from behind. I got out and saw a ratty looking mini pick up and a scruffy driver. I ordered the other driver to follow me to the side of the road. I thought he'd take off but he didn't. Surprisingly there was no damage to the back of the Jeep. I asked the guy if he had a license or insurance to which he replied loudly 'illegal, illegal!' He wasn't referring to the nature of my question but rather that since he is in the country illegally he felt no need to follow any other laws of this fine nation. Lucky for me that there was no damage to my vehicle so I let him go. A guy I work with was rear ended by another illegal on the freeway. Same situation, no license no insurance, oh well. His son who was riding a motorcycle was hit by yet another illegal with no driver's license and driving someone else's car. The owner has insurance but said the person took it without permission so no insurance coverage. What is wrong with this state! These people are encouraged to come here and then protected once they are here. I have zero sympathy for them.

Yesterday started the preparation for the dreaded 5 year interval colonoscopy administered today. Drinking a gallon of horrible stuff in 5 hours is a lot harder than one might think. Plus no eating except for jello. Today the actual procedure was done and over with in about two hours. The best part of the ordeal is getting to eat again today. Yea!

The new job looks more and more like it will happen by March 1st. Still a few hurdles to clear including the investigator calling my boss - Once that happens the process is pretty much irreversible. Last week I was informed by my other boss that I and the two ladies that work with me are being relocated to corporate HQs in Pasadena. I do not want to do that for many reasons including a more difficult commute, less privacy, the destruction of the cohesion of the VSD group (my operation) smaller office....I could go on but I'm hoping that the new job happens and I can avoid the move to Pasadena.

More later..