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Updates from Europe
2007-01-08, 5:06 p.m.

Day 869 Updates from Europe

This might get a little fractured. Iím bouncing back & forth between jotting down some ideas here and compiling some code. Freakiní syntax errors and variable type mismatches might keep be busy all afternoon.

Heard from our happy wanderer Sunday morning. He bought a phone card and used it to call his girlfriend and home! Have to get the gory details on what it actually cost, but Iíve heard prices ranging from 25 cents to $4 a minute, depending on which options you take.

Bottom line so far Ė heís having a great time. Heís enjoying the local cuisine Ė even the cabbage and borscht (funny, he wonít eat beets here . . .) Bought his girlfriend a set of nesting dolls (how can you go to Ukraine and NOT get some?) and said he even got me a t-shirt from the Hard Rock Cafť in Kiev. Itíll go nicely with the one my niece brought home from Beijing. Hope he remembers to get something nice for his mom too.

Today (Jan. 9th) they tour the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Theyíll get to see the abandon towns, maybe see the massive pile of concrete that encrypts the failed reactor core (hopefully from a long, long distance) The Ukrainian government has declared the tour safe, but it is listed as optional on the trip itinerary. I think theyíll all be given dosimeters to wear during the tour, but still, Iíd be excited and nervous all at the same time. I mean from a science perspective, itíd be neat to tour the site of the worst nuclear accident since the sun lit up, but at the same time? Youíre at the site of the worst nuclear accident since the sun lit up. Iím a little beyond my child producing years, but Eric hasnít even started yet. Hope he doesnít glow in the dark when he gets home.

Had a quiet, productive weekend. Took Cindyís car out and got new tires put on it. Of course, thatís her cue to line up the drinks and start slamming them down. At least I know this now. She got a little short circuited though. Jill was actually sent home from work because she had some sort of stomach bug. Sent the poor girl upstairs with ginger ale, saltines, pepto and the promise of chicken noodle soup for dinner.

Oddly enough, Cindyís drinking was derailed by some ailment similar to what Jill was experiencing. Of course, now I was having to do the Ďsick treatmentí with Cindy (making tea, dry toast, piling on the blankets, all that kinda stuff) but that beats the hell out of detaching from a drunk. Getting sick like that humbled her a bit, especially since it would have been very easy for me to leave her be. I didnít attribute her sour stomach to drinking, so I didnít feel bad about being her nurse for the evening. As it was, she wasnít a bad patient. She even went upstairs to bed at a reasonable hour and let Zach & I watch the Sabres game in relative peace.

(Man! Finally tracked down that last type mismatch. Pesky little bugger.)

Heard the oddest thing this afternoon. It was time to go recycle all that decaf coffee I drank in the morning. (Odd that the bathrooms are near the cafeteria, isnít it?). So Iím standing there at the urinal, hanging out, doing my bidness like all the guys do, when I hear some guy in a stall, having the time of his life dropping the kids off at the pool. The whole time heís conducting his, ahem, movement (complete with sound effects), heís having a conversation. Now, I donít hear any of his stall mates answering, so Iím guessing he was having a conversation on his cell phone. Guess he wasnít worried about whomever he was talking to figuring where he was or what he was doing. Talk about a sanitation risk! What if he dropped his phone as he closed it, or changed hands? Ker-splash! Yeah. Explain THAT one to Verizon customer service.

Not much else happening. We are in the midst of certainly the oddest winter Iíve experienced here in western NY. Weíve piled up a whopping 4 inches of snow so far. Here we are, 8 days into January and Iíve had to use my ice scraper MAYBE 3 times this winter and not yet in 2007. 45 degrees as I headed to the gym this morning. Heard a rumor that it was snowing briefly earlier this afternoon, but thatís hard to confirm in the caves we work in here.

Yay!! Code compiled. After I remembered to go back and add comments, set default values for new variables and update the version number. So really, it compiled 4 times. Hope that makes it better.

Got to get back to Al Anon meetings on a more regular basis. I do not consistently work the program and it actually hurts my relationship with Cindy. I react inappropriately to stupid things, and really have issues separating her disease from my own actions. Itís also way too easy to detach, but in a completely wrong way. Thereís supposed to be compassion in the detachment, and I keep missing that point. I tend to detach with coldness and isolation and I think (know) thatís being sensed by Cindy. Maybe Cindy getting that stomach bug Saturday night was lifeís way of telling me I need to add a little compassion to my detachment. Need to do my (daily) reading too. Got a feeling reading everything in the 10 minutes before a meeting might not be as valuable as daily reading.

Allís I know is that sheís off chaperoning Tuesday evening, and thatís meeting night. Zach & Jill are up to speed with my going, so itíll be an easy evening. Iím sure Cindy resents me going to Al Anon meetings when sheís home. Must make her problem seem a little more real. She really gives me the cold shoulder for a day or two afterwards. Hmmph. Her problem, I guess.

Well, end of the work day is here. Got new code to test in the morning, that will no doubt spawn itís own list of new activities. Probably ought to get this posted then head home. See if Cindy made any Ďstopsí on her way home tonight (then I can practice detaching, but not with a chainsaw). Also have a little work to do for dinner. Going to try a ďShrimp and Asian Pear SaladĒ, but weíre skipping the croissants and doubling up on the salad part. Had it before, it was quite tasty. The recipe sneaks in some fresh tarragon, which adds a very different flavor. Hope the kids like it.

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old habits - new tricks