Category Archives: Paul

Goodbye, Sandy

Tonight there’s a Sandy-sized hole in my heart.

Sandy was a close, dear friend in high school. We had a lot of adventures together. We lost touch for a while after high school, but a few years back we finally reconnected.

Whenever I made it back to Vermont I always made a point to get together if we possibly could. When I couldn’t get to Vermont or she was off being a snowbird in Florida we would swap jokes and snarky comments online.

Today a fair-to-middlin’ shitty day got a whole lot worse when I got a call from Jackie, her partner of I-don’t-even-know how many years. Sandy had been fine on Saturday night, stayed up late to chat with her brother who was visiting. Sunday morning she was gone, peacefully, in her sleep.

We’ve had classmates that have passed away in the 45+ years. Some I barely knew, some I had at least a passing acquaintance with, one or two that I had been close to back in the day. But none so far that I had been this close to. This one hit me like a brick.

It will take a few days to process, and probably more to accept. I’ll never forget her smile, her laugh, or her bear hugs.

In 2015 when I was back in Vermont to visit my mother as she went downhill, Sandy took me out for a kayaking day around Center Pond in northern Vermont. While I’ll cherish my memories of her from high school, I’ll equally cherish the memories of this day on the lake with the loons. And I’m glad that we made time to get together in June when we were back for my 45th.

Goodbye, Sandy.


Filed under Paul, Photography, Travel

No Context For You – September 02nd

How long does it take to feel rested again? How long to feel good, to feel energetic? How long before you don’t feel guilty sitting all day and taking a long nap because you just don’t have the energy for anything else?

Two days isn’t the answer.

And tomorrow morning, bright and early, we’re back at it.

Long term, that might be contraindicated as well. But any possible alternative option is not obvious.

Hello, September.

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Back To The Ramp

With the EMHE experience behind us (they did finish it up late last night) it was time to get back to my other obsession.

Most of the aircraft that aren’t in maintenance were out on the ramp. The F-8F Bearcat (left), F-6F Hellcat (center), and P-51 (enter left, just in front of the Hellcat’s left wing) were all prepped and ready to fly for the memorial service of a WWII vet that was being held at our hangar. The PBJ (right) and Jason’s MIG-17 (center right, red plane in front of the Hellcat’s right wing) were out there for show.

Side view.

I’m told it was a great day for flying. (I was at a desk, doing finance things all day.)

And now for two days of sitting on my ass a lot. Maybe reading. Maybe a movie or two.

Or maybe just some quality nap time.

As wiser people than I have pointed out, when you get old enough you find that things that were punishments as a child (“Go to your room and just sit there and think!” or “Go get in bed early, right now!”) have become hard won rewards.


Filed under CAF, Paul, Photography

EMHE Build – Day Seven

Today was the final day, the last push, “ending” with the “Move That Bus!” moment.

I wasn’t there.

I was again back at the office, dealing with the banking and insurance and payroll and all of those mundane and boring and critical things that keep the company running. Which is fine by me – I think I’m allergic to those in “The Business.” I’ll pass on the crowds, the multiple takes, the interminable adjustments of minutia for reasons that only God, the director, and the cinematographer understand.

While busy as all get out (and still sore and exhausted from my five days on site and the frantic, crazed couple of weeks leading up to the EMHE Build) at the office, I felt a little bit like Michael Collins. Everyone remembers Armstrong and Aldrin because they walked on the moon, but Collins was “the other guy,” the guy who stayed in orbit around the moon while the moon landing was going on. His job was critical to the mission’s success and getting everyone back home safely – but the other guys got the marquee gig.


I just hope that everything got wrapped up and it’s over. I’m sure there will be a ton of loose ends to deal with next week and probably all through September, on both the site and back at the office. (A LOT of things got shoved onto the back burner to make this thing happen.) But for now, I need a few days off, and I’m sure the rest of my co-workers do as well.

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EMHE Build – Day Six

Today was not a day of heat, spiders, dirt, mortar, or total exhaustion for me on The Build. With literally every single person in our company working up in Palmdale on this event all week long, we finally got to the point where there was stuff that had to be done back at the office.

Forms to be filled out and sent ASAP to this government agency. Pictures and documents to be sent to that government agency. Payroll!! Deposits to be made to the bank. Insurance documents for the construction to get submitted. And so on.

Being the Director of Finance, that meant me. I had actually planned on going up for the 4PM-11PM shift after about six hours in the office, but it turned out to not be necessary and I was waved off and told to stay back at the fort.

Instead, I took some time to take care of the blisters on my feet.

So tonight, let’s look at what the 100% fashion-clueless CFO wears on the job site while trying to not actually have a heart attack and completely screw up the construction schedule.

There are strict rules about wearing hard hats on site, with really good reasons. I like my melon intact and uncracked, so I wore one every day, no exceptions.


The back of my neck and ears and face got sunburned far more than I liked on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, no matter how much sunscreen I put on and kept putting on. Hard hats might keep your cabeza in one piece, but they do a lousy job of providing shade.

I have a very nice “adventure hat” that I love for hiking and kayaking and being out in the sun, but it’s not hard. I finally noticed a couple of the seasoned professionals on site wearing floppy, wide-brimmed hats under their hard hats, so what the heck, I thought I would give it a try.

And it worked great! I was worried about the hard hat falling off, but I used the adjustable headband to open up wide, go over the top of the adventure had, and then get snugged down. It felt comfortable, it wasn’t off balance or threatening to fall off, it did a great job of shading my ears, face, and neck, and I still had the necessary protection.

I just had no idea that it made me look so freakin’ stupid!

I would also note that not a single one of my co-workers said a thing about how it looked. So either I’m being too judgmental after the fact, or they just thought that we needed the comic relief in what has been a high stress situation.

I’m good either way.

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EMHE Build – Day Five

Trigger warning – spiders.














I’ve put a LOT of work into this block wall recently. It’s one of a gazillion dozen little things that we’ve been juggling in dealing with the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” build experience, but it’s a really big one.

Part of what that involves is lugging a LOT of blocks around. They arrive on pallets, but there are a few different types, they get mixed and scattered, people pull them to use for their own purposes here and there. They need to get picked back up, they need to get moved to where they’re being put onto the wall, and so on.

My experience today, when I moved and lugged a LOT of blocks, was that about every 1 in 20 had an occupant.

I probably squished fifteen to twenty of them today. No mercy – I hate the little fuckers. But I was surprised how little anxiety or outright terror there was when I started running across them.

First of all, I had seen their distinctive webs, so I was pretty sure they were around. There wasn’t any surprise factor to deal with.

Secondly, I was wearing work gloves, so the chances of actually being bitten were negligible.

Still, it made a long, hot day a bit more interesting.

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Filed under Critters, Homes4Families, Paul, Photography

EMHE Build – Day Four

Today I’ve shifted over to the night shift. The good news is that it meant I at least finally got eight hours of sleep. (It had been a while…) The bad news is that I’ll be here until well after midnight tonight.

So let’s have a desert sunset picture, to go along with all of the desert sunrise pictures from the last few days.

Posting from the H4F/EMHE site, building block wall in 40 knot winds gusting to 55 in the middle of the night (but at least it’s 80° and not 112°!!)…

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