Monday, June 03, 2019

Nashville 50th Anniversary

My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year and we decided to converge on a VRBO home in Nashville, Tennessee.  We found a nice place that could accommodate the 13 of us and also had a pool.  As a pleasant surprise, the home also had a tennis court.

My family arrived in Nashville on a Friday night and we enjoyed a day at the Gaylord Opryland.  The Gaylord has everything from shopping, entertainment, dining and activities.  The highlight for the kids was the Smurf Fest scavenger hunt.  My wife enjoyed the boat ride on the quarter mile long man made river.  I enjoyed the pool side lunch.  We also ate dinner and breakfast at the resort as well.  The kids really enjoyed the breakfast sandwiches.

Finding the house was pretty easy and their was a lot of parking.

Saturday night my Mom cooked Indian food.

Sunday morning we had eggs.

Sunday lunch we ate at the Nashville Farmer's Market.  We ordered a pizza and chicken and waffles.

Sunday night we had a chef catered dinner. 
Course 1:  Puff pastry with broccoli puree
Course 2:  Shrimp or Green Bean tempura
Course 3:  Beet and Quinoa salad
Course 4:  Roast squash
Course 5:  Roast chicken and greens
Course 6:  Panna Cotta with berries and mint

Monday morning we had eggs and hash browns

Monday afternoon we had Hattie B's Hot Chicken

Monday night we had Turkey Sliders

Tuesday morning we flew out.

Aside from the food we enjoyed a few activities around town as well.  We visited the Parthenon and enjoyed Lyft scooters on Saturday afternoon.  Saturday night after dinner we went out for live music at The Station Inn where Fireball Mail was playing.

The main purpose of the trip was just to hang out and we did plenty of that.  Games at the pool.  Several round robin games of tennis.  We even went to a basketball court up the street to play a little ball.  They had a net at the tennis court at the house, but the rim was in rough shape.

All in all it was a really fun trip.  Props to the Nashville airport for having a very friendly USO lounge that is staffed from 0600 to 2200.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Golf with the kids

We finally had the perfect confluence of nice weather and a free weekend, so I decided to get the kids out on the golf course.

On Saturday we went to the golf course and were only planning on hitting balls.  Stopping in at the pro shop, we found out the tee sheets are pretty open after 4:00 PM and that they could have gotten us out that day. 

Instead we decided to play a round the next day.  We arrived at the course at 4:15 PM and they were able to get us right out.  We did not warm up much and instead just approached the Tee box.  I had planned out playing from the whites and the girls from the reds and do a scramble.  That worked on some holes and some they wanted to play out, getting between 20 and 40 yards per stroke.  We also putted out each hole we played.

I can't remember the last time I played a regulation course. and 300+ yards to the pin was an eye opener.  I played from the red tees as well as I was not ready to break out my driver.

Over the course of 2 hours we all played holes 1-6.  We all skipped 7.  Nisha and I played 8.  Finally I played the ninth hole.

It was really fun to be out on the course and get comfortable again.  We lost a few balls.  We learned some golf etiquette.  Best of all we got a golf cart for the afternoon which was super fun.  I think the girls each need their own putter.  Otherwise they can share a bag.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Random Musings

Great quote, I saw on The Morning Chalk Up

"I've never seen any life transformation that didn't begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit." -- Elizabeth Gilbert

I will certainly be pondering this for some time.

On another note, I recently saw the documentary “Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1” on Hulu and was felt a twinge of nostalgia for the coveted sneakers that I could not afford when I was in junior high school.  As an adult with stable employment and a modest lifestyle, spending $120-$200 for a pair of sneakers sounds expensive, but certainly an affordable splurge.

The only other coveted item I recall from the 1980's is the Buick Grand National.  I quick internet search shows that they can be found in the $25K to $35K price range.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Long Time No Post

It has been quite a while since I have posted anything on this blog, so it is probably reasonable to just do a highlights blog.

We have been skiing a couple of times to Keystone twice and Vail once this season.  I have been enjoying my new skis.

We have done some traveling.  Me and the girls were in Memphis my wife got to visit an old friend in Las Vegas.

I have fully immersed myself in CrossFit again.  I am glad I created a separate CrossFit blog, otherwise my daily trials and tribulations would have overwhelmed this one.

We hosted my daughter's 10th birthday at Skate City.  This was a lot of fun, with about 12 of her classmates in attendance.

Both my girls played basketball this winter.  The 12 year old with her middle school team and the 10 year old with the 3rd and 4th grade Apex recreational league.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Colorado Department of Transportation

My career has taken another turn and I have accepted a position with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).  I am working in the Division of Mobility Operations and more specifically, with the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) group.

ITS is responsible for advanced technology applied to the existing roadways.  We support the transportation operation center by installing fiber optic cable, closed circuit television cameras and traffic monitoring devices.  We use microwave radar to establish speed and vehicle size.

Colorado is well poised to be a leader in autonomous vehicle technology.  Projects are in the works to assist vehicle to infrastructure (V2I), vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and infrastructure to vehicle (I2V) communications.

Technically it is a pretty cool role.  In terms of the responsibilities, the role is broad.  Professional Engineers own the project from design and project management to construction, before a final walk through when the project is turned over to maintenance.  It will be a nice blend of design work and field work.

Having never worked in public service, there are a lot of adjustments.  The field vehicles are not bright shiny Ram 1500's.  They are a mix of the most affordable vehicles in a given year and my choices were a 2007 Ford Expedition or a 2010 Jeep Liberty.  The offices are comfortable but do not have free coffee, soda, etc. 

It is an exciting time to be in transportation.  I have wanted to get involved with infrastructure, but was not sure in what capacity.  This is a nice blend of engineering and field work.  With ~3300 employees at CDOT, it is also a right sized organization.  Not too big and not too small.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Goodbye Liberty Oilfield Services

After 18 months in the oilfield, frac'ing in North Dakota and Colorado for some great customers, I decided to turn in my resignation.  The oilfield has been really good for me.  It is a welcoming meritocracy where age, race, gender, sexual orientation does not matter.  Getting to work on time and doing your job does matter.  I have made closer friendships in my short time at Liberty than I did over a 20 year span in technology.  I think it is a combination of long hours, close quarters and having a common purpose.  I have had fascinating conversations on philosophy, religion, domestic policy, foreign policy, child rearing, marriage and other topics typically taboo in the workplace.

The oilfield asks a lot.  The crews work hard and are never deterred.  The job always goes forward.  Being a 24/7/365 capital intensive industry, no problem is unsolvable, we have spare equipment, an electronics technician and mechanic on site all the time and numerous resources on call that can be on site within hours.  People get hurt.  Usually it is little things like twisted knees, twisted ankles, bumps and bruises.  Unfortunately it is also traffic fatalities.  We spend a lot of time on the roads.

The oilfield is a family and one does not take a job in the oilfield.  Your spouse and children become an oilfield spouse and oilfield children.  This means missing family events, but it also means security.  Working 12+ hours daily for 2 weeks straight all around the country, makes for some healthy paychecks.  When oil prices are up and work is plentiful, companies share the wealth with bonuses and incentive pay.

My journey ended for a number of reasons, but I would gladly go back if my circumstances change and I would recommend the industry and specifically Liberty Oilfield Services to anyone.  There is a place for everyone in the oilfield.  I have had the pleasure of working with folks who have incredible natural mechanical aptitude, unsurpassed strength and stamina, nuanced troubleshooting skills and true leadership.  I have also worked with folks who could not make it anywhere else, but are teachable and willing to work hard.  The oilfield has a place for you.

I will always be proud of my contribution to providing energy for my community.  Access to energy has been the single largest contributor to quality of life over the past 1000 years and will continue to drive medical technology, access to food and ability to live in otherwise harsh natural environments.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Urban Quest LODO

This past weekend, we decided to do an Urban Quest.  It was similar to an escape room, but we got to walk around LODO for a couple of hours.  I have heard it is similar to geocaching, but without all of the GPS stuff and there are no physical items to uncover.

Our quest started at 19th and Blake and the directions were all based on streets and compass directions (North, South, East, and West).  The markers were various buildings and sculptures.  The  clues were a little confusing, but fortunately hints were provided along the way.  Of 17 clues, we only had to skip 2, but we did use a lot of hints.

The quest took 2 hours, which felt like a long time.  We started around 5:00 PM on Sunday and did not finish until a little after 7:00 PM.  In retrospect, we should have stopped for dinner half way through instead of waiting until the end.  We should have also carried water.  Finally we probably should have gotten bird scooters for the kids.  Even my feet started to get tired after 2 hours on concrete in Crocs.

Only one of the clues was not accessible due to construction.

Overall it was a lot of fun and an interesting way to see a city.  I would consider doing one in another city if I had a window of time to kill, but not necessarily as a site seeing guide.  I think it would be a fun activity for a kids birthday party.