David and Kara updates:

Kara has officially transferred to the group discussed in the previous newsletter, she now works in the Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) branch.  Her new title is Geospace Scientist, she may actually get to work on Space Weather again part time, with one consequence she occasionally has to consult with my group for expertise on microelectronics.  Chips in space need to be “rad hardened”. The reasons for this would require bringing out the propeller hat so I’ll leave that for personal inquiry for those interested.  My group has several people that worked in the semiconductor industry and have knowledge in the area of rad hardened.  Maybe you recall my group deals in Anti-Reverse Engineering and countering Counterfeit Microelectronics.  My job has not changed much though the whole base went thru a reorg this past fall.

Kara’s Toothbrush story: You’d think a story about a toothbrush wouldn’t be that entertaining or that long.  But our toothbrush story is more of a saga.  Dave and I have two electric toothbrushes.  We’ve had the same ones for over 10 years.  One of the handles quit working so I suggested we get rid of them and get new ones – it was time!  However, research of course had to be done to figure out the best one to get (how many could there be?!?).  In the meantime, I threw away the one that wasn’t working.  A couple days later we heard something buzzing and couldn’t figure out what it was.  After much searching of the house we finally found the source and it turned out to be the stupid non-working (so I thought) toothbrush!  Yes, the trash was vibrating and buzzing.  And what was Dave’s comment when we found it?  “Looks like it still works, why are we throwing it away?”  Ugh.  A couple days later Dave was traveling and gone for a few days.  Late one night (or early morning, like 3am) I wake up to a buzzing noise.  What is it you ask?  Well, the power went off and apparently the one toothbrush I didn’t throw away starts running whenever it’s not on the charger.  As soon as the power went out, away it went buzzing loudly.  You’ve got to be kidding, so I’ve now spent hours searching and been woken up by this stupid toothbrush.  The next day I ordered a new one.  You’d think at this point the story would be over – nope.  On an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon says that bluetooth makes everything better.  Apparently the people at Oral-B agree with him because my new toothbrush has bluetooth!  You ask, why in the world would a toothbrush need bluetooth!?!  I don’t know.  And I don’t want to know, I have not installed the app and don’t plan to.  Despite the extra features, the toothbrush was reasonably priced and hopefully we won’t have any of these issues for another 10 years.  David’s addition – I wonder (recall the story – the car would claim the door was open, interior light would go on etc) if our car being possessed transferred to the tooth brush.  The car has behaved until Kara got rid of the toothbrushes!!

We have somewhat continuously been real estate shopping since we got to VA.  We have ridden the roller coaster from buying existing, to finding a lot and planning to build and have that fall through, to the next house we are to see this week.  I am concerned it will not be big enough for the two of us.  The house is a bank foreclosure and has 6500 sq. ft, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths.  While the lot we found and wanted to build on fell through for other reasons, we were astounded to find out very few locations in the county here have internet.  So many concerns and thoughts arose at that point with one being “oh not again” I battled this a decade ago in Orford NH.  I am not up for the fight again, though it turned out well last time.  We do (somewhat) enjoy shopping for real estate, we are quite good at day dreaming on the topic and it makes for good conversations.

A past trip home, we brought back our extreme croquet set.  While we would have preferred to have played more we did get in many rounds this fall.  The activity was even quite popular at my group’s fall picnic.  If it quits raining soon, we may get another round in this year, it was 72 deg here on Christmas and supposed to continue.  During the holiday slow down we plan to go to DC to see a few sites planning to take further advantage of the weather.

Interesting recent quotes:

Sterling: “I have to have my dress shoe”.  Explanation – Singular, not both shoes, he had a cast at the time and was getting ready for a meeting.

Dave: “I didn’t know I was on fire” which resulted in a flaming hug.  Explanation – We were at home (NH), I was using the weed torch. Kara came outside, wanted a hug.  Didn’t realize my T-shirt was smoldering prior to the hug.  For some reason Kara was not surprised by the whole incident.

Email conversation from work  …

<< To all in David’s Group at work >>,

I am heading home. I should be available on my cell [xxxxxxxx] for the balance of the day. I am bringing my laptop home and will notify if I am not going to be in the office tomorrow.

Regards,
Joe

<< A response from a new guy in the group (not really in the chain of authority)  >>

All leave requests must be submitted to myself with all of the following: a written hard copy on the most recent form (the form gets updated/changed every 5 minutes) , a BLT sandwich, and a randomly selected object (don’t worry, you will always bring me the wrong rock).  As a properly trained bureaucrat, I cannot allow any exceptions to this rule and I’m so concerned of legal repercussions that I cannot offer you any useful information or advice. Therefore your request is denied. Have a nice day 🙂

End email story

Picture and story…

A few years back my Dad came to visit us in NH.  Noticing that you could see our house from a good portion of town due to being a goodly distant up the mountain, he decided that when we finally finished the deck out front we should have a seasonal decoration with high visibility.  Since the deck was one of the last things I was working on before we headed to Albuquerque and now in VA we never had the chance to try out the snowman my Dad bought us.  Last time we were home we gave the snowman to Jim to use at his seafood restaurant (Jim used to have the excavator).  See the snowman below.

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