as endeth the weekend, so beginneth the week

this weekend went off without a hitch. nice for a change. spent some actual quality time with m'boy. Friday night was the usual: we watched the Sonics game over pizza (they lost an extremely well played game to another of my favorite teams this year- and my beginning-of-the-season pick to win it all- the Detroit Pistons), then delved into an episode of the second season of ST:TNG. it was a relaxing night, with no surprises.

Saturday was a somewhat harried morning, after some confusion about Loren's plans to go to a birthday party for a friend. he and his mother had all week to prepare for it but neglected to, and it sorta got dropped in my lap. i knew about it Friday night, but didn't have the time or the inclination to do anything about it then, so i suppose the resulting chaos the next morning was partially my fault as well. still, a week is much longer than an evening and a morning. after watching the stress level of The Eternal Stress Triangle (Loren's mom - me - Loren) ratchet up for a few, i cut the problem off at the knees, declaring i would take care of everything, and bidding Loren relax, we'd get it all worked out....in 45 minutes. i had him copy the address from the invitation at his mom's (with his mom, over the phone), threw on some clothes, pulled up an internet map for a glance, and we made tracks to the local Target, for the present Loren picked for him, a video game. unfortunately they didn't have it, but in the end i got off a little cheaper. we found a decent birthday card which (appropriately) declared the best part of Loren's gift would be that his friend got to pick it out himself, and we tucked some money in there. the kid evidently made out like a bandit, incidentally, as most of the others invited to the party did the same. i suppose everyone's working against the clock to some extent, or maybe it's just easier on everyone that way, and we're all lazy? i certainly would've preferred to have Loren bring a wrapped present, but that would've precluded Loren showing up at anything remotely near the beginning of the party. so you get the results we got. Loren told me the kid netted $95....a damned respectable haul for a birthday, in my opinion. in any case, Loren had fun, which to me was the most important part of the whole deal. the party was supposed to be over at 3:30 or 4pm, and about 4:15 (not having the number and not being able to get an answer when i called his mom's place) i headed out to pick him up. Loren was supposed to call me about 1/2 an hour before it was over, so i could get some lead time to pick him up....evidently calling me to let me know the party was extended till 5pm wasn't something Loren thought necessary....so i showed up about 4:45 asking if Loren had overstayed his welcome, but 15 minutes before the party let out....so what to do? i told him to enjoy the next 15 or 20 minutes while i went to the store to pick up some dinner.

while i was gone, his mom showed up, thinking he was leaving with her. evidently (and unbeknownst to me at the time i originally showed up to pick him up) she'd already been there once (before me). these people looked at me a little bewildered when i showed up the first time, and i suppose that contributed to it. so while i'm gone at the store, she shows up again, and she's still there when i show back up 15 minutes after the first time. well...which way would Loren head? she was under the impression he was going back to her house, i was under the impression he was coming back with me. he told her he'd planned on coming back with me, and eventually we all got out of those people's driveway. let chaos reign!

the afternoon was pretty much over when we got back, and i started in on dinner (steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli....pretty much Loren's favorites). we ate over a little more Star Trek, and ended up killing the last 3 episodes (fine with me, i get to return the DVD that way, and that left the next night for other things).

Sunday was mostly relaxing. i broke out the blender my folks got me for Christmas and whipped up a (so-so) batch of Irish cream. Loren spent the majority of the afternoon on homework, and i spent some time helping him with it. i think he actually likes doing homework at my house- at least he certainly seems enthusiastic about it while he's doing it. i think he likes the fact that there aren't any distractions and that i'll jump in and help him pretty much whenever he asks...and i've got a pretty good grasp of most of what he's doing so i'm actually able to contribute something to the process. if i end up giving him the answer to something i usually make up another problem like the one he's working on, to make sure he knows the method. and i try to get him to think a little more than he might otherwise about what he's doing, and stress the whole 'neatness counts' thing.

he recently got a zero on one of his language (writing) assignments and he had to make up the paper. under the old system, he would have lost his video games for a week, but i've changed the rules, since they didn't get me the results i was looking for last quarter....which reminds me i still haven't gotten a damn report card....grrrrr. as punishment for failing to complete that assignment i told him (when he first came, Friday night) that he'd be doing some extra work around the house. i basically kept him somewhat busy doing small things all weekend, and he executed those duties conscientiously and with a good attitude, as well as completing the assignment, so he worked his way off the hook. he had a presentation to give in social studies (world geography) today on one of the accomplishments of ancient Greece (his group chose medicine as their topic) and he was in charge of the visual part of the presentation, as well as 1/3 of the oral presentation. he thinks he (and his team) did well, and the assignment is worth a large portion of his overall grade, so i hope they did. he seems basically on top of things, but he's not doing very well in math, and the week he spent out of school sick sorta dropped everything, across the board, as well. most of his grades are steadily improving since he got back to school a couple weeks ago, so i think he's headed in the right direction- for now.

we hit the store for something for dinner...Loren chose frozen lasagna. not the worst choice, and better than some i thought of. the Sonics played the Jazz (they absolutely destroyed them) on Sunday night, so we watched that while it cooked and while we ate. Luke Ridnour was chosen for the US National Basketball team, which means he's likely to play point guard in the Olympics in 2 years- pretty khoul. Loren had his Ridnour jersey on for the game, and Luke had a great game. gotta root (route?...never spelled that out before....) for the hometown boy. it was about the most fun Sonics game i've seen this year- though i have to admit, the Pistons game the other night was damned impressive, and tense right up till the end, which is always thrilling. i was as stunned after that loss as i was after the Steelers got the Super Bowl win this year. we played a game of chess and then i checked out my NBA fantasy stats while Loren devoured some more of the latest book in the series he's been reading. these books have been sitting around for awhile; they were a Christmas present from his Aunt Melissa & Uncle Jason a couple years back, so it's nice to see him finally get into them. once he picked them up, he was sold. before too long though, we dove into our "evening" book, The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks. it's been a while since we got back to that, and it was the right ticket.

i've been going in to work later in the mornings, which allowed me to take him to school this (Monday, 3/6) morning. that was a nice change of pace, and something i hope to see more of. since he's not in any sports at the moment, the chances of my seeing him during the week are about zero, and if i can squeeze out a little more time with him on Sunday nights, and Monday mornings, when he spends the weekend at my place, you won't find me complaining.

then it was off to work. spent the morning fixing parts punched out slightly wrong by one of our partners...actually, our company is the machining "agent" for another company that does punching work, and we (together) sell these parts to another company, which in turn either repackages them first or just sends them on as-is to a fourth company. basically, my boss payed me to fix as many of the parts that were done (slightly) wrong by the other company that handles the material before we do, and i spent a couple hours in fixing them. we recovered about 2/3 of the parts, which may have almost netted my boss enough to cover my wages for the time. we'd've likely got paid for those parts anyway, since the error wasn't ours and our machining work was good, but since we work so closely with the other company it's just one hand washing the other, a bit...and advances the process of parts going out the door, which is just plain old good for business.

i spent the remainder of the day on the CNC torch, cutting a plethora of steel flatbar into 5-sided figures we casually call triangles (they're roughly triangular shapes) for machining. the technical term for these is 'link sliders', which means about Diddly Squat to me, not having seen how they actually integrate into a finished assembly. we then machine (drill and bore) holes in them, with a diameter tolerance of +/- .001" and send 'em off by the hundreds. the CNC torch is the newest addition to my scope of work, and a welcome change of pace from what i normally do (which gets awfully boring day in and out). always nice to stare at something different for a while. i rather dislike wearing a dust mask all day (due to constantly grinding off the rough edges of the steel pieces) but i dislike blowing black steel dust out my nose (and knowing it's settling in my already-rather-challenged alveoli) even more. would be nice to get some thicker steel scrap and cut out a few more of the bookends i made at my old job with the waterjet company (precis architectural, no longer in business). maybe i can scam some scraps off another guy we do business with, who cuts some other (thicker) material out for us....one of these days.

i spent the evening tonight going over Loren's homework assignments and school day on the phone, and completing the conventionalization of names of files in my digital photo album. that was an undertaking, it required renaming and captioning nearly 500 pictures and video clips. the work had stacked up for a while, and i think i'm finally ready to begin uploading them into online galleries. that'll also take some time, during which i'll likely take more pictures....it's a neverending process. i need my own domain, so i can run some scripting tools and do something really interesting with all this content i've got lying around on disk.

ok i think we're up to date....time to get some quick food and hit the sack. PEACE, all.

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