Archive for December, 2003

Let them eat cake

22 December 2003 at 9:34 pm
by Jonah

They said it couldn’t be done.

But there are six layers of Duncan Hines Moist White stacked in the freezer.

Using borrowed pans, I baked three layers last night and four layers tonight. The additional layer was to take the place of the cake our yellow Lab Belle helped herself to last night. Bad dog. Very bad dog.

Berck and I went down the courthouse today and got our marriage license. It cost $43.50 (plus change for the parking meter). We had to call Mom and find out how she spells her middle name. The lady handed us the license and said, “Congratulations and be happy.”

Last days…

20 December 2003 at 1:33 am
by Berck

Today I did the impossible. I made it work. I didn’t think I’d come anywhere near succeeding, but since I was being paid to try, I tried.

It is 40 page per minute Fujitsu industrial document scanner that my uncle bought countless years ago to archive stuff. He wanted me to make it work. This doesn’t sound too impossible until you realize that the interface is weird. Very weird. A serial connection for the computer to talk to the scanner and tell it what to do, and a video output from the scanner. Raw video output needs to be captured and processed. For this, a very expensive and complicated processing card is needed. He’s got one, but it’s old, and the company that makes it distributed an “end of life” notice in 1999 saying that they were no longer supporting it. Fortunately, they still had drivers and stuff on their web page. Unfortunately, you had the choice of windows 3.11, NT 4.0 or Windows 95. I wanted to use NT 4.0, but no one could locate an NT 4.0 disk. I’ve got one, but it’s in Dallas, and that doesn’t help much. So I installed windows 98 on a computer and tried to set it up for this purpose. I eventually made it work. I had to do all sorts of bad things to it to make it work. And it took me two days. But it works. And it’s impressive. Watching something turn 40 pages into 40 stored image files on a hard drive in one minute is just. Cool.

I’m done working, but I’m going to go up there tomorrow one last time to document stuff for them so they can try to figure out what’s going on when it breaks. I did this last time, and it didn’t seem like anyone paid much attention, but hey, it’s what they want.

And then they day after tomorrow I get to drive to Mobile. And then I get married.

I ordered a water pump for the miata today. The car is whining loudly and I’m almost positive it’s the water pump. It’s hard to prove it isn’t the alternator, but I don’t think it is. Unfortunately, replacing the water pump is something of an ordeal since it requires removing the timing belt. Since I did all of this 30,000 miles ago and it’s supposed to be good for 60,000 miles I’m not happy. I’m thinking that maybe I had the water pump/alternator belt on too tight and destroyed bearings in both of them. I’m not sure, but this is possible, and means it’s all my own stupid fault.

Stuck in Florida with the Mobile Blues

16 December 2003 at 11:41 pm
by Berck

I’ve been whiling away the days here in Florida. Since my uncle wanted some help with his office computers and offered to pay me nicely, I agreed to come work for two weeks. I took some time getting down here, so I don’t think it’s actually going to be two weeks. Right now I’m planning on heading back to Mobile on Sunday morning.

I don’t like Florida.

I came out of the office my first day of working to discover that the skies had opened and deposited large amounts of water in my car. It was a beautiful day when I walked in, and the large amounts of water were the only thing around to indicate that it had rained. No clouds when I looked up. That’s annoying.

My car took all of the next day to dry out.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been woken up two mornings later by Mom saying, “Berck… Berck… Thought you might like to know it’s raining.” Sure enough, it was raining. Car was soaked again. This time it took two days to dry out.

This morning when I got to the office, I thought, “You know, I should probably put my top up. But it’s a beautiful day, there’s NO CLOUDS AT ALL. Surely it won’t rain.” Fortunately when I came outside an hour later and noticed that it looked like a storm was on the way. Sure enough it started raining shortly thereafter, but fortunately the top was up this time.

I’ve gotten too used to living in Dallas. You can tell when you go to bed if it’s going to rain. It doesn’t rain much.

Now my car is smelling mildewey. I need to find some Febreeze.

I’m excited about the wedding. If she goes and plants potatoes without me I’m not going to be happy. It’s not that I wanted the wedding so much as they wanted the wedding. It’s true, I wanted a wedding, but mostly I felt that it was important for us to respect our families enough to give them one. Or let them have one.

It’s been much easier for me. I think I did a pretty good job from the outset of letting everybody know the basics of what I wanted and explaining that the details just aren’t important to me. I really don’t care what colour the napkins are. For the most part, everyone’s been good about not asking me. Whether they’re uninterested in what I have to say, or they realize that I’m uninterested in details is unclear. The end result is that I haven’t had to worry about things and that’s good. The other result is that Joanna is feeling stressed and pressured which is not-good. I’m not sure there’s a lot I can do about that, especially since I really do think that much of the things she’s got to do are in fact things that a bride needs to do. But she’s also taken on all sorts of tasks she really didn’t need to: like baking her own wedding cake. She could probably leave more of the decisions up to her mother, thought I think we’ll probably both be happier with the end product if she provides input.

At first I thought she simply didn’t care about the details and was nearly as willing as I am to let others make decisions. And then I heard her tell her mother in response to a question about punch, “I think punch fountains are stupid.”

I should back up. Joanna and her mother both asked me on multiple occasions what thought of a punch that was being served for one of Joanna’s showers. “I don’t like punch,” I tell them. “Yes, but for punch, does it taste good or bad?” “It tastes like punch!” Later that day Joanna’s mother was outlaying the various options for punch serving. It went on and on. After she was done, I said, “Uhm, can’t there just be a bowl and people help themselves? Or better yet, do we have to have punch at all?” This earned me a look. Shortly after which Joanna expressed her thoughts on punch fountains, which I still don’t understand at all.

But for the most part, I’ve been left blissfully ignorant of the preparations. Guests have from time to time asked me questions about what’s going to happen. I’m forced to shrug and tell them to ask someone else. I’ve outlined what I want, roughly, and I’m convinced that Cliff is going to do an acceptable job with the important part. I plan on showing up. I sure hope I’m not the only one:)

My mother is apparently making some sort of a vest to go with my outfit. This means she has to tell me every day about how she has to measure me. I’m not sure why she doesn’t just measure me. Or why if I can buy something that fits off the shelf in a store that I can’t give her my size? I’m thinking she’ll probably show up at the beach with a tape measure and tell me she’s got to measure me. I’m a bit more interested in getting her to sew the buttons back on my BDUs, but she says she has to, “go to the button store,” first. But she buys me Harp. Harp goes a long.

See, people always say that I should know how to sew on a button. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just that whenever I do it, the button is firmly implanted in the fabric, and this makes it hard to use. Or it falls off. And when I’ve got two wonderful women in my life who can sew buttons on for me, why should I learn? And for some odd reason, Jonah seems to like mending. I wonder if it’s related to the fact that I like mowing the lawn.

I’d hoped Joanna would be able to visit me for a few days here in Florida, but her mother vetoed this idea saying that Joanna still had to pick out napkins. When confronted with the silliness of this statement, she responded, “There’s much more.” I don’t doubt that there is.

So I’m probably going to be leaving on Sunday morning. And boy am I ready to leave. I miss Joanna, even though it’s only been a week, and Florida is taking its usual toll. I deal with things like Florida much, much better when Joanna’s around. I’m not sure why that is. It’s a good thing she’ll be around a lot.

Time to elope

14 December 2003 at 10:41 pm
by Jonah

It’s two weeks from today. I can’t decide to call the whole thing off or make a run for Vegas. Weddings are way too complicated. My sister had some words of wisdom back when this whole process began, though she had just found out she was pregnant, so she might not have said this (especially in front of our mother) otherwise:

“Remember, weddings are like funerals. They’re not for you; they’re for the people who love you.”

Right now all the people who love me are driving me crazy. Or is it the liquid Satan (in the form of bc) that my body is trying to get used to for the first time?

Mom and Dad took off for the beach house today…get some use out of it before it gets used for real. They ran around this evening trying to gather together everything they could think of to take down to Ft. Morgan for the wedding, I guess so we’ll have plenty of room in the trunk for other things later. I sat at the coffee table watching CNN repeating the same story about the capture of Saddam and addressing announcement envelopes…may as well get those out of the way. The parental units were running around madly, collecting things, paying bills (?), and generally driving each other (and me) insane. It was quite a relief to have them gone at last. Now I can have three peaceful days. The trick will be to not answer the phone.

There has been an ongoing saga involving the rehearsal dinner. Initially, there wasn’t going to be one, which was really quite fine with me. Now there is, but people on both sides of the aisle seem to have definite opinions about this shindig, and they have to have someone through whom to communicate these convictions. Guess who that person is. Yup.

I’m thinking Montana. By myself. I’ll write a book: How to Not Get Married. Or I’ll plant potatoes.

This was going to be a simple, small affair. It was also supposed to be fun. I feel like a pregnant woman in the midst of labor, screaming at my man, “You did this to me! This is your fault!” He is, after all, the one who wanted a wedding.

Can’t I just go away and come back in time for the ceremony?