Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A little overwhelmed

 After almost 2 weeks of beautiful scenery, my family and I are back from vacation. It has been a long 2 weeks filled with lots to see and do, and to be honest, with all that we took in, and all of the packing/umpacking we've done, I'm a little overwhelmed. The pictures we took and the words I type won't do it justice, but here goes. The trip started off with us going to a wedding in Columbus, Ohio. I wasn't looking forward to it, but didn't let it ruin our time there. The day before the wedding, we went to the Columbus Zoo. 
We went to the stingray tank first, and Kyler and I got to touch some of them. There was a part where you could purchase minnows to feed them, and somebody next to us got some and started feeding them, and they all went crazy coming to that part of the tank. One ray in particular went up to us and put its head out of the tank and just stayed against the wall for a minute or so like that. A keeper told us that it wanted us to pet it, and it just floored me that a ray could be that smart. 
We saw some bats.
One of the elephants had recently had a baby, so that was kind of cool to see. There were so many more animals we saw, and I think Karen has most of those pictures on her phone. As always, a fun trip to the Columbus Zoo. 
We saw lots of funny places while driving to Ohio. A gas station called 'Sheetz' where you could buy gas station food and probably get the 'sheetz'.  
And a food joint called 'Fatz', where I assume all of the heavy eaters go. Thank you, folks. I'm here all day.....
The wedding was nice and different all at the same time. No, Brody Koerner wasn't there, but I did get to talk with his dad a little. Kyler talked to him more, asking him what state he was born in, telling him that he was 5 and when his birthday was, and also letting him know that we were in Ohio and went to a zoo. 
Karen's cousin Genie and her fiancee Jeremiah had a great wedding. They seem truly in love, and it was cool seeing them interact during the ceremony. At the end, all of his groomsmen put on Storm Trooper masks and there was lots of dancing and stuff in the wedding. Both the bride and groom are kind of into 'nerdy' stuff, so with a lot of that thrown in, it was fun, but also different. I didn't get many pictures of the wedding, but did get one of Kyler and Karen dancing afterwards. 
We drove to Denver, Colorado after the wedding, and I tell you what, no offense to people living in Kansas, but there is nothing there besides wind turbines and tumbleweed. We stopped at a rest area, and saw what we think were 2 wind turbine blades being delivered by trucks. They were truly something to behold. I touched one of them, but didn't get a selfie just in case doing that was illegal. 

See? Nothing but tumbleweed. 
We got to Colorado, and it was beautiful to see the rockie mountains and snow. 

On our last day in Ohio, we went to a Target, and they actually had Series 1 and Opening Day on the shelves. I purchased a hanging pack and hanging box of Series 1, a blaster of Opening Day, and we got some snow gear, and it all fit into 1 bag. Sometime between when we were in Ohio and Columbus, the cards  disappeared. I think they either got swiped by a hotel maid, they fell out of the bag when we opened our van door, or someone swiped them out of our van. Karen's van has one of those stupid 'keyless remotes' where you have to press the start button to start the car, but I just don't get the value in it. Yeah it won't start if the key isn't near the car, but neither will a car with a normal key. I feel with the keyless cars, you don't neccessarily think about the key as much, so you tend to forget it is there, which leads you to not locking the doors of your car because you don't want to have to worry about carrying the keys. Karen always keeps her keys in her purse, but rarely does she touch them because of the keyless thing. I keep mine on a keyring and one of those mountain climber things. Out of our cars in the past 7-8 years, hers has gotten broken into twice (three if you count the cards going missing). Mine has been once, but when mine did, the car was locked, so there wasn't anything you could do about it. Regular keys for the win. 
Well, I called Target, and they gave me a gift card for the cost of the blaster, and we managed to find the same assortment of cards at a Target in Colorado, so I basically got the same cards, and was out around 12 bucks. No biggie, at least I could find some 2022's. No Heritage, though. 
Somewhere between Ohio and Colorado, we lost Kyler's favorite stuffed owl. We ate at a Waffle House, and he had had it before we got there in the car, and when we came back to our car, it was gone. I assume it fell out of the car while opening the door at Waffle House. There was a little girl with her dad at Waffle House who both finished before we left, and if I had to guess, she saw the owl on the floor of the parking lot and took it. We were able to find the same owl for sale on Mercari by typing a description of it, and the new owl actually made it home to our house before we did, and Kyler so far thinks it's the same one. 
It snowed a little in Denver when we slept the first night, so Kyler got to see snow for the first time, and I saw it for the first time since 2004 or so. 
He liked it, and made a snow angel, snowballs, and a (really small) snowman.
Somehow, I didn't get a picture of myself in snow gear. 

The next day, we went to a few local shops, had lunch, and swam in the hotel pool. Kyler didn't want to go in at first, but once he was, we couldn't pull him out. 

The next day we left for New Mexico to see Karen's cousin Devry, her husband Miguel, and their daughter Zeffie for a few days. 

We went to an aquarium in Alburquerque, as well as the zoo. 
Kyler loved the rays.
We also got to see a cool tank with jellyfish in it. 

The zoo was smaller than the one in Colubmus, but it did have a nice picnic area in the middle. 
I didn't take too many pictures of this zoo, just one of the tiger (War Eagle!),
and my favorite, the penguins!

Another day, we took a tour of a museum dedicated to the uranium mines of New Mexico. Before the museum, we went to a nice diner, and I had some of the best hash browns I had ever had, along with a bacon and cheese croissant. 
Part of the museum was underground, and it had everything set up like it was a real live working mine.
Kyler enjoyed exploring it.
I liked some of the old historic things like a card that they used to make sure everyone was out when they were about to explode part of the mine. 
That is basically what the finished uranium looked like. It seems amazing that they had the technology to figure out how much uranim was in rocks and stuff like 80 years ago. 

The next day, Devry took us up one of the mountains, and we got some great pics from the top of it. It was scary being that close to the edge, and the pictures don't do it justice. 
I got a piece of the rock from one of the places we hiked up it, and it is now with a few of the other rocks I got in my garden (more on that later). 
The last day in New Mexico, we hiked up this mountain to see where a volcano erupted from Mt. Taylor years ago. I got a piece of rock from a lava pile near a gas station. Felt like charcoal. 
MIguel, Devry, Zeffie, Karen, and Kyler hiking down the mountain. 
We later hiked down another side of the mountain to see an ice cave. It was really cold the further you went down, and I got a picture with Kyler at a snow pile, since I figured it could be the last chance we have to see snow for a while. 
The rock formations had ice piles in a number of places. 
The bottom of the ice caves had a good 20 foot section of ice. Since the caves never get hotter than 31 degrees, it stays frozen all year. 
We went bowling that night, and I got a 107 the first game, coming in second, and won the final game with a 109. It was Kyler's first time bowling, and he loved it.

On the way back to Devry and Miguel's, we drove up a mountain and got a look at the stars. It was amazing, but I tore a contact, so I just went the rest of the trip without them, so it was blurry. I still got a good view of the stars because it was so dark, and Karen got some good pictures. You could even see the Milky Way on one of them.

I was, however, glad to be getting back to the routine of being home. Devry and Miguel kind of go by their own time, and it affected my blood sugar some. One day we didn't eat lunch until like 4, so my blood sugar spiked down and I had to chug a regular soda once we got to the restaurant. I don't think we ended up doing dinner that night either because we had lunch so late and they kind of snacked. While I won't enjoy going back to work, I do enjoy my routine. Devry and Miguel were gracious hosts, and we just tried to go with the flow with them and I probably should've done a better job at bringing snacks and seeing what direction my sugar was going. 

It took us 2 days to drive back to Florida, and we arrived last night around 11PM. I finally got all of our crap out of bags, and have the house halfway liveable, and have done about 6 loads of laundry. The vacation was worth it though.

I know you all are wondering about what we pulled from the Target packs. Well, I got some mascots for Kyler, some new Rays and Tigers, a Griffey for Kyler (how can Topps put retired guys in Opening Day now?), and we pulled a Verlander relic and a Twins blue parallel. Nice pulls, and we still have 3 packs of the blaster to open, as well as the Series 1 pack and hanging box. Might do that when he gets home from school in an hour. 

I also got some plant things ready for today. The 2 white things with soil are seed starter things that Karen got. We will probably start some seeds in there and hopefully be able to transplant them. Last year, I grew some sunflowers to about 6 inches and transplanted them, but they died. I hope if I do it when they are an inch high like the package says that I will get better results this year. 

As for the rocks I collected on vacation, I got one from Colorado, the next one down is from the summit we climbed, then the lava rock, and last is a piece of petrified wood from the ice cave. 
I also got my back flower box ready for the spring. 
I tried my best to label what I have in there. Basically 3 pineapples in 3 different corners, a milkweed plant in the other one, 2 blueberry bushes on either side, an orchid tree in the middle, a few galdiolas at the bottom, some bulb plants popping up in various places, as well as a few marigolds to hopefully warn off the squirrels and stuff. I am hoping to plant lots of sunflowers in the box this spring, as well as whatever else I can manage to keep alive. Maybe I will plant some sunflowers around the sides of the house again, and harvest some pineapples this year. Not too much though, because as you can tell from this post about the vacation I've had, sometimes you can get overwhelmed. 

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Monday, March 14, 2022

Going on vacation and MLB thoughts

 It has been a little while since I last posted. Nothing much new since then. Baseball is back. I was glad to see some of the players call out ownership and the commissioner and point out their lies. Manfred had to issue a public statement after the players rejected a lowball offer and cry about how now they wouldn’t be able to start the season until April 14 at the earliest. A day or so later, they met, ownership caved a little, the players union gave up some things, and the sport is back on again. This time, Manfred tries to take all of the glory, and now somehow the season could start a week earlier, on the 7th. Manfred is a liar who just wants to make money and doesn’t care about the welfare of the sport. 
All of this just makes me wish I had a union or more of a voice in some places that I’ve worked at. MLB has to have 45 days notice of a rule change, and actually has some say in it all. Some places I’ve worked at have changed the rules in the middle of the game to benefit management/bottom line, and never gave a crap about the employees making them the money. Things like making us work 4 10s instead of 5 8s, making us come in earlier, taking away quarterly profit bonuses in favor of a one time raise of 50 cents an hour. Things that ultimately benefited the company and gave them more profit and didn’t take the employees opinions into it. Not to mention that every place I’ve ever worked (or known people that worked for them) has (basically) a salary cap. Freezes on raises are common as well. Makes me wish I had a path into labor negotiating or some like career. I mean, just little things that have happened over the course of 20+ years working have just driven the fact home that corporate and high end management doesn’t care about the employees. Little things like departments fighting over a float. The problem isn’t the fighting over the float. The problem is the owner of the corporation not wanting to buy multiple floats leaving the employees to make do with an inadequate amount. You can tell me that ‘well that’s the way the world is not, get used to it’. I tell you ‘don’t settle for less than you deserve!’  It isn’t right that you and I have ceilings on our wages, many of us have freezes on raises ‘until the pandemic is over’, and are forced to work with little or no staff surrounding us, while some of these companies are seeing 100 and 200 percent profit increases in just the past year. I’m not saying give 100 dollar an hour raises to the whole staff and screw the business owners, but something’s gotta give. MLB players make a ton of money but they deserved not to be taken advantage of just like any regular person. Aside from all of the potential money, the thing players are there for us to win a championship. If owners don’t want to spend money to win one and try to tank games, they deserve penalties. Ownership can’t put half the league into the playoffs to try to give everyone a chance to win. The first time a sub 500 team wins the World Series, there will be hell to pay. Give the owners rules and penalize them for spending under a certain amount. Rank free agents and penalize them if they don’t sign an upper class free agent every 2 years. Just do something. 

At any rate, I am glad baseball is back. We are going on vacation in 2 days, and if our timing was a little better, we could’ve perhaps went to a game at Coors Field (or whatever the ballpark in Colorado is called). We typically take 2 week vacation and drive places and this year will be no different. We are leaving Florida sometime Wednesday after I get off of work, and will drive to Columbus, Ohio for a wedding. I have to admit, I’m not really looking forward to the first few days of vacation. There will be good parts, but Karens cousin Genie,who is getting married, is part of that family who drives down to Florida every July and expects us to drop our plans and hang out with them for 2 weeks straight. We plan to nap some on Thursday morning, do dinner with the relatives that night, visit the Columbus Zoo on Friday, do the wedding on Saturday, and leave on Sunday. If I were to guess (and you can mark my words), we’re going to get there, get dragged into lunch, do dinner, 2+people are going to invite themselves to the zoo, another dinner Friday, a lunch or brunch on Saturday, and a possible breakfast on Sunday. I guess it will all be good because I will be off work and it’s only 3 days that we’ll be there. 
I’m still not sure if Brody Koerner is coming to the wedding. He is still a free agent as of this writing, and didn’t get into the Topps Series 1 or Heritage issues. I'm still hoping he will make it out to the wedding and maybe I'll get a chance to talk to him, introduce him to Kyler, and possibly get some autographs. 
Sunday, we will head to Denver, Colorado. Karen spent about 2 years in Denver at National Jewish hospital during her teens, so she knows the area a little bit, and were hoping to reconnect with a doctor or two, and maybe see some snow if we are lucky. We're also going to see the zoo in Denver, and after that I'm not really sure (in fact, I can't really tell you exact details of the rest of the trip after that). Getting older and not having a good memory is bad sometimes. At some point, we will drive to New Mexico, and see Karen's cousin Devry and her husband Miguel (2 of her relatives that are normal and I actually look forward to seeing). We'll spend a few days there doing stuff and then drive home at some point to make it home Sunday night. It should be fun, even though there aren't really any baseball things involved. Maybe we'll find a card shop or a store that has Series 1 or Heritage. I'm looking forward to it, even if parts of it I will be faking a smile. 
I've been following all of these free agent signing and trades lately, and after seeing the Bankee$ get Donaldson and Kiner, I figured they were going to trade a Shortstop prospect for a catcher. I hoped they would keep Sanchez and he would continue his below .200 hitting, but I'm happy they got Donaldson. He is older than Urshela, and I just have a feeling he is going to be injured all year. Kiner is a good pickup. He can play multiple positions and is a gold glover, and has offensive upside. While at work today, I was thinking of catchers the team might try to acquire, basically thinking of teams who aren't in the playoff hunt. I figured the Pirates were out as they didn't have a big name, and the first name that came to my head was Sean Murphy from Oakland. I figured they would trade that Peraza guy who is the #2 shortstop in their system, and maybe add Voit and some other prospect and get Matt Olson. While they didn't get Olson (I'm thankful for that), I don't want to see them get a decent catcher. They will, of course. While reading up on the Yankee$ trades on MLB.com, an article suggested that they would trade Peraza and some pitching prospects for Murphy and one of the A's starters. Reminds me of like 2004 or so when the Rays needed a 2nd baseman and I figured they would get Nick Green for a reliever like Jorge Sosa (I think they ended up trading Jesse Chavez or somebody, but I predicted it). As for the Braves trade for Olson, what a steal the A's got!  Pache is going to be a decent outfielder, and the catcher (Langliers or however you spell it) is going to be good, as well. With the A's trading for a Catcher, that makes me think Murphy is gone. That's how I figured that the Yankees needed a catcher, just figuring out depth as far as positions. I also don't see how people are saying the Twins are moving towards winning. They got rid of a decent catcher (Garver), got a crappy one who might not hit (Sanchez), Urshela is a question mark, Kiner could've been a better infielder than Urshela, and even Sonny Gray is a question mark. Hopefully they will be a nice easy team for Detroit to beat about 15 times a year. 

That's about all I've got. I'll be off the grid for 2 weeks while on vacation, but maybe I'll post another post when I get back and update everyone on the vacation. 
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