Still WFH (“Working From Home”) for now, since the middle of March!!
I am retiring, my last day “at work” is this Friday, then I am “on vacation” till the end of the month.
I got a surprise delivery today. A nice box full of snacks and a nice photo book.
I really appreciate it. And the box could double as an urn when the situation occurs. Well it could!!!! Might have to put the ashes in a sack so they don’t sift through the cracks in the box. – Hey I’m just being practical. Really, it did come as a total surprise. I have really been blessed in my career. Forty three years in the energy industry and never got laid off. That is unheard of these days. And especially during this downturn most energy people are getting cardboard boxes instead of nice gift boxes.
You sure do miss out on the company gossip while WFH. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Been spending a lot of time watching the wildlife in the back yard.
And I’ve been charting the Oklahoma Covid-19 Stats. I have a new graph from Apple showing their mobility index for Oklahoma with early January being equal to 100. It shows us Okies slowing way down after the lockdown and now we are faunching at the bit and are just as busy as we were before. I am dreading what that might mean.
Our family has been isolated since the middle of March. Our son is here with us since his college closed their campus and went totally online. The gyms where Heather works shut down and my work sent me home with my high tech laptop and low tech job all about the same time.
You know something, it hasn’t been bad. We are blessed we know, lots of our friends are out of a job or on furlough and they still have mortgage and car payments to make. So I count our blessings but not too loudly. Logan has been doing his classes online, Heather has been taking exercise classes online. I haven’t done that, yet. I am missing yoga and so I guess that I’ll take my first online yoga class soon.
I’ve done numerous laps of the 3 mile Lafortune Park trail. We used to take Rascal the Pomeranian with us but no more. The weather was a little warm and humid and I had to call Heather at about the two mile mark to come rescue us. Rascal was gasping for breath and me helping him wasn’t helping him so Heather came and scooped him up into the air conditioned car with the AC on full blast on him and took him home to cool off. He’s fine but he is done with Lafortune Park this year.
I’ve learned to love curbside pickup. I show my ID when requested and they never question it.
Like many people I have been tracking the stats on the Coronavirus. I have been using the seven day trailing average just like the State of Oklahoma does and unlike them I don’t see a big reduction that our governor used to open the State up. I get it though, when do we come out of isolation? Our economy needs to get going again but at what cost? Here in Oklahoma, I can tell you, as a fact, that many oil producers cannot find anybody to buy their oil. Why? Because demand has plummeted, and storage is full. Many producers are telling their pumpers to flow the wells until the lease tanks are full and then shut them in. Pretty wild.
You couple all that with my retirement coming up June 1 and this makes for exciting times. I will probably retire without going to the office. I’ll have to to retrieve my crap that I accumulated over time, personal items like photographs and such. Usually one gets a little reception in a conference room for a couple hours. I have been dreading it because I thought nobody would show up, so now I don’t have to worry about it. I might have been surprised though cuz both HR and my Leader have asked me if it was okay if they gave out my contact data because people have been wanting it. Probably bill collectors, right? No, not right, so that made me feel good.
I started out in the energy business 43 years ago. I wanted a month off after graduation but no, my employer, Mobil Oil Corporation, had a bunch of new people and they wanted them all in the office in Houston on a certain date to get them processed all at once so that left me just a week or so. I got to see my mother cry at our house in Albuquerque as I pulled out one morning headed to Texas to help America solve her energy problems.
I can’t complain though, again I was blessed. I was always able to shape my jobs to something that worked for me. I’ve had 45 bosses in my 43 years and I think 43 of them have really looked out for me. Seriously, do you know anybody else with luck like that? In the energy business???
So anyway, leaving the energy biz as matter of factually as I got into it suits me fine. This work at home has given me a glimpse of what retirement might look like and I think it will work. I find that I actually enjoy my wife and son’s company.
I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next in my life. I am looking forward to continuing to tutor first and second graders in reading, helping environmental organizations, and spending time with Heather, and reading, lots and lots of reading, geocaching, hiking, bicycling, maybe starting running again, and traveling.
The photos in this post have nothing to do with the subject. I like breaking things up a little bit.
You know I really enjoy the internet. I love facebook, even the political posts. I adore Instagram. I live on Instagram. I have my own account (@yogiab) and I post on two other accounts administered by the Tulsa RiverParks Authority (@riverparks and @turkeymountain). I have a twitter account (@alanbbates) and linked in and so on. Of course I have this blog and I administer the Skywatch Friday photo meme and I just love it all. Maybe too much. I have looked at it as a addition to instead of replacement of a social life. Of course I don’t really have a social life so I may be just fooling myself.
Things though are changing with the internet. We have a President who loves to tweet without too much thought about what he says. He just types it out and lets it fly. We have the new gizmos like Amazon Electra devices that are always on and can supposedly help you out with all sorts of things. I wonder just where things are going. It seems that blogs are getting phased out by twitter and Instagram. I get a lot more people “liking” my Instagram posts than read my blog posts. (I do love it when people read my blog posts and love it even more when they comment on them.)
The internet has intruded on my life (or maybe its the other way around) in new ways this week. I have had a bad hay fever bout the last week and a half and over the years I have figured out how to handle them but this time it progressed to a sinus infection. Okay, still no big deal and then suddenly on Wednesday it got into my ears. Time to go see a doctor. Well guess what, my doctor is on vacation this week and I was told to call the next morning, first thing to see if I could be “squeezed” in sometime the next day. Hmmm that didn’t sound good. I hate urgent care places. My employer sponsors a clinic but it was getting late in the day. So I tried our insurance company’s online providers.
They gave me the choice of two of them so I picked “Amwell” and it took about two hours as somebody somewhere was having technical issues but when I finally hooked up with the company doctor it went fairly well. She was very nice and unhurried and asked a bunch of questions that gave me confidence that she knew what she was doing. So she ended up writing me a prescription that she emailed to my pharmacy. All of that only cost me a $5 copay.
The next thing is that I needed a small job done. The privacy fence between us our and neighbor is wobbly. I got with my neighbor and I was talking to him about maybe we could reset the fence posts and all that and he looked at me and said “Alan, I am not really into manual labor any more.” Which was great news to me because I am not either. I set my share of fence posts 45 years ago working for free for my Dad on pasture in Arizona and then later, getting paid, as a summer roustabout for Mobil Oil in the Permian Basin. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work digging down to the concrete and then breaking it out and resetting the post if the post were good or putting a new post in if the old one were rotten.
My neighbor got laid off and found another job out of state and has a contract on his house and is hip deep in projects he needs done before he can close so I told him that I would find somebody to do the job. Do you know how hard that is now? Used to be everybody knew somebody who could do odd jobs at a fair price. I lived in a town north of Houston and I needed my house painted. Somebody told me to call this guy. The guy turned out to be an undocumented (cuz I don’t like calling people illegal) and he said he would do it for $400 plus the cost of the paint. I asked him how long it would take him and he said one day. So I said okay. Turned out he was an Assembly of God preacher and he and a bunch of guys from his church painted the exterior of my house in one day and did a great job.
So where are these guys? I looked at the online services such as Angie’s list and was a little leary and when I checked further I got really leary. They charge the handyman a stiff price for the “lead” whether I hire the dude or not. So they are not really into estimates. They want hired to do the job and I don’t blame them. I wanted an estimate though since I was representing both me and my neighbor and I don’t mind paying for somebody’s labor. I just want to know what I am getting into. So I found a guy and he came out and made all the right noises and is going to get back with me and so we will see.
This online world is going to go on whether I like it or not and I can tell you that I have been around long enough to know that fighting change is futile. I am not a gung hoe embrace change kind of guy but I am a “choose how you deal with it” kind of guy. It just seems like we are losing the personal touch now days. The glue that binds us together. Things are so contentious and snarky and in your face.
So I’ll go along with these changes but I am going to do my best to make them on my terms and maintain my humanity and concern for others.
I went running Wednesday night, I was planning on doing eight miles but it was just so cold and windy that I couldn’t stay focused. I had my camera (of course I had my camera, you know that) and started playing with the timer.
So this was my first take. Hit the button and count to five and turn around and come back except I must have a slow count. As you can see I’m still moving away. Not very far for ten seconds I say. You know, we have a whole industry devoted to fast runners. Every four years we have the Olympics and get really get excited about the fast runners. Well, what about us slow runners, nobody cares. That is not very inclusive is it? There is a whole bunch of us slow runners who are marginalized by society. Sniff.
How about a hash tag like #SlowRunnersMatter. And you folks who say, “Well what you are doing is not technically running Alan” Well, phooey on you. Us slow runners need safe spaces where we don’t have to hear trash like that. Safe spaces where we can feel good about ourselves. And participant ribbons, we need more participant ribbons. (Actually I have lots of those.)
Have I ever told you about my track career? In seventh grade in Eagar, Arizona we had a track team and we were going to a big meet in Holbrook, Arizona and I ran the quarter mile. We lined up and the gun went off and and the race started. I was so slow that I didn’t finish the race. I couldn’t finish the race because you see by the time I got around the track and was headed to the finish line, the officials had lined the kids up for the next heat so they waved me off the track. Yep, that is pretty slow. Can you beat that?
Well I amused myself, an onlookers I’m sure, several more times and called it quits after five miles and change. I hate running in the cold wind.
Too Early!!!! We saw this last night in a department store. ugh
Heather and I ate at a new brew pub in town Elgin Park in the Brady District. Oklahoma is slowly digging out of the dungeon of liquor laws in the country. Brew pubs are one benefit. It was just the two of us and we ordered a medium pizza. That is the biggest medium pizza I have ever seen.
After the beer and pizza we went down to the river and walked (I actually waddled) a few yards and encountered these ladies doing an exercise class with drum sticks. I think Heather said it is called “Pound.” It looked very high impact. We got exhausted sitting on the picnic table just watching them. Heather is taking a class all day Sunday on how to be a BollyX instructor. What happened to jumping jacks and pushups is what I say. We took a water exercise class together Friday at our gym. It was fun!
Earlier Saturday I went for a run on the river. I’m trying to get ready for the Tulsa Run 15K in the end of October and I’m trying to not to aggravate a sore knee. Poor me. This is what I call hidden cove on the river. I think it is actually a boat ramp for the police and fire department. Nobody seems to know about it but me, and now you. Don’t tell, okay? Oh by the way, across the river there is my much beloved Turkey Mountain.
And speaking of not noticing. I have been running the Tulsa River Trails for 24 years now and yesterday and just noticed this for the first time near the rugby fields. I swear I have never seen this thing before. What’s up, with me? It looks kind of amateurish and not some early day remnant to me.
And hey, we had a Harvest Moon this week. Woopee. And a lunar eclipse. I didn’t bother to stay up and see it.
And our refurbished library which has been undergoing a renovation for three years is going to open at the end of September. Meanwhile it has a brand new Starbucks that has opened early. Supposedly it is the first Starbucks in a public library in the US. That’s great, what would be greater would be a locally owned coffee shop.
I went to Philbrook last week. Lots of people there so I took some photos.
I also went geocaching in Mohawk Park one day last week. I love these old picnic pavilions.
I only looked for and found one geocache. This one kind of had a geobeacon leading me to it. I think I had some sort of divine guidance on where it was located.
Lots has been happening lately. Wednesday and Thursday was the annual meeting of the Natural Gas and Energy Association of Oklahoma (“NGEAO”) at the Hard Rock Casino near Tulsa. I always have a great time connecting with old friends and coworkers. They have had it at the Cherokee Tribe owned casino for a number of years now and they do a great job hosting it but the cigarette smoke on the way to the convention center about kills me. The convention center is smoke free and doesn’t cause any problems but I will be hacking for a week. Why does smoking and gambling go together?
And I have been watching with interest all the commotion with the Dakota Access Pipeline up in the Dakotas. Something about that pipeline has a bunch of our Indian Tribes upset. A judge cleared the way for the pipeline to proceed on Friday but the Obama administration immediately halted construction pending further review. I think that is the wise thing to do personally. Lots and lots of issues to sort out. Meantime, every day that the project is delayed results in ten more unit trains hauling the oil. Why some people think that trains are less polluting and more safe than pipelines really puzzles me. Also, how come we suddenly don’t like pipelines crossing rivers?
This is an out of date map of major pipelines in the United States. There are literally hundreds of pipelines crossing thousands of rivers, creeks, lakes etc from one end of the country to the other. Why is Dakota Access so special? Funny thing is that the tribe took no interest in the pipeline and declined to participate in meetings until construction started. Oh well.
Heather and I had our 27th Anniversary this week. Twenty seven years is a long time. We went out to a nice place to eat and earlier saw a really bawdy and funny movie,”Bad Moms.” More on the movie later.
The kid is starting formal driving lessons next week. He has never been behind the wheel before so we went to our local community college parking lot and he sat in the driver’s seat and we went through all the controls and knobs and all that. Then he started the car, put it in drive and we idled through a few loops. I had forgotten how hard the steering thing was to learn, going into and out of a turn. He did great! The best thing was that he had a million questions. I like it when I’m teaching somebody something and they ask questions. It shows me that they have the want to’s. You can’t give people the want to’s I have found out.
So what do you think? Would this be a good first car for Logan?
In other news, Heather had a weak moment and let me go grocery shopping for her. I like taking action shots of her. She is always on the move so basically that is all that I have, is action shots. She is not much of sitter.
Well, I’d been whining about not being able to go to the pool and we went over to Nana’s house and hung out. She has a very nice and inviting pool and back yard. It was getting late afternoon and and I loved the light.
Saturday morning I went on a run on the Arkansas River close to the Creek Tribe Casino. They are building a big huge Margaritaville hotel, bar, and restaurant. They are putting part of it in the river. We have lots of tribal casinos here in Oklahoma. My gambling budget the last several years has been, let me see, approximately zero. If I want to flush money down the toilet I can do that at home.
On Friday there were several tour groups downtown. Tulsa is getting more and more recognition for the art deco architecture. Plus there has been an explosion of new hotels, restaurants, and night clubs the last several years and there are lots and lots of housing options. I think that is all a good thing. We just got through electing a new hipster, progressive mayor. He did a great job as a city counselor. I’m hopeful that Tulsa and Oklahoma will start backing out of the economic dead end and false promises of the tea baggers who have pretty much destroyed our education system in their quest to make Oklahoma “A shining beacon of liberty” as my idiot state senator puts it. (Unfortunately, he got re-elected).
Well guess what? I will tell you what, it is summertime in Oklahoma and it is hot. It is always amazing to me when people are surprised by that.
I think this sign at my liquor store is hilarious. I’ve seen people pull money of socks, shoes, bras, and underwear to pay for their pints. No more at this place. No Boob Money!!!
Our son is spending lots of time at the pool this year. I haven’t been once. Bummer.
During my weekly jaunt on Turkey Mountain I found a couple sharing a hammock on the blue trail. Nothing inappropriate, they were just talking and enjoying each other’s company. This is the second time I have seen people do that and I think it is a great idea. Goodness knows there are enough trees to hang a hammock on up on the mountain.
Our poor little dachsund mix Ginger is cutting accusing eyes at us. She had her teeth cleaned yesterday and didn’t like it.
Heather and I went to parents orientation at Tulsa Community College Metro campus last night. Lots of good information and a bonus rainstorm afterward.
So what’s up with you? Have you hung out at the pool yet this summer? Are you outraged at the ban on boob money?
We had a little legal matter to attend to Thursday at our courthouse, me, the wife, and the kid. Nobody is in trouble, not in the slightest, just one of those things we had to do. So we all showed up and met our attorney who briefed on what was going to happen. So when the time came we went into the courtroom and raised our hands for the oath, and talked with the judge about this that and the other. She asked questions and we answered them and then we signed some stuff and she signed some stuff and we left. We were feeling really good about the whole thing.
And then we followed our attorney down to the second floor to the clerks office and all the things we signed and the judge signed were copied and stamped and initialed and examined and talked about and discussed. And then we moved away from the counter to another counter and our attorney was explaining this and that and when this and that needed to happen and what we had to do for this form and for that form and we were like okay,
And while all this was going on one of the clerks working there came up and and whispered very quietly in my ear, “Sir, your pants are blown out in the back.” And then she walked off.
Uh okay, so I stood there and listed to the lawyer finish up her spiel, and then we all three walked back through the courthouse, down to the street, and two blocks back to the parking garage. I was feeling the breeze the whole time if you know what I mean.