Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Messages

This is the first Christmas in my entire life that I've been without my Mother.  She was, as mothers tend to be, the center piece of my childhood Christmas.  As I grew up, moved away, and started my own life, I still knew that I had a Mom somewhere to visit, call, and spend some time with.  Thinking about all of this, and given her very recent and untimely departure, I've been a bit sad, knowing that I would have no such visit, no call, not even a card - ever again.  Then, strangely on this very Christmas Eve, I received the following email:
"Well, my wonderful sons, it's Christmas Eve and you are somewhere else. I wish for you a wonderful night and a wonderful day tomorrow and many many special days as you travel into your futures. It is such an honor to be your mom and such a pleasure as well. I love you with all my heart and soul. Celebrate the Season, celebrate your lives, and find happiness within. Merry Christmas!!"
The message was from another person whose last name is spelled exactly like mine and whose son had an email address almost like my own.  Clearly this was a mistake.  A slip of a finger on the keyboard.  Totally unintended but for me, something that touched my very soul.
Realizing that this person had intended the message for one of her sons, I responded so she could redirect it and also told her my story in the process.  We had a brief email dialog and then closed the conversation with a Merry Christmas and, most likely, a "the end"!
Anyway, I will always remember the accidental Christmas Greeting that I received from "Mom" the first Christmas after my own Mom passed away.  Be kind to your Mom's, they appreciated it and, I know that wherever she is now, mine does too!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pretty Day at Topsail Island.

We’re back.  This has been a pretty good week or at least part of one since we arrived Friday and will leave Tuesday.  Got to see some nice Christmas Decorations (they really do a great job decorating the Surf City Park and streets); met Ashley and Austin in (make that near) Shallotte to transfer Christmas presents and have lunch; looked for a new grill (didn’t find one yet); and today, since it’s due to be in the low 70s, we may get to shoot baskets, ride the tandem bike, and visit the marsh walkway.  Not too bad actually.  Christmas will be in Virginia (Patti Jr. doesn’t need to be alone for that day), then off to SC for New Years and maybe even back here for a short visit.  I know that Pat loves to be here as much as I do and leaving, besides being a hassle from a cleaning up standpoint, is always our least favorite part of the visit.  Hopefully, everyone is getting ready for Christmas.  Before then, I have school work to wrap up, a new term to set up, work work to pay attention to, and probably much more to do that I am forgetting about but likely will remember after I should have done it.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What did I do Thanksgiving?

Actually, I did drive to the beach after having Thanksgiving dinner with Patti Jr. She did a great job - a real turkey, dressing, sweet potato's, green bean casserole - the whole shooting match. I left about 3:30 PM and arrived around 9:30. Friday was nice, got to decorate the house. After that, downhill - cold and rainy with lots of wind. I did get everything done that I needed to do and left Wednesday. Pat's back. Bahamas don't seem to be all that great, nor does the Norwegian Cruise Line from what she has to say about it. I am going to plan a cruise for next year but it has to be on the Celebrity Line since I know they are top notch. Maybe the Mercury. Christmas shopping is underway (almost finished actually). Now we have to get things wrapped and mailed. We'll be tripping around over the holidays that's for sure.
Work is good. Semi-retired is heavy on the semi, not so much on the retired. That's OK with me. Nothing else spectacular going on - I did get my PM Certifications (Master Project Manager and Certified International Project Manager).........Whoopee!
Bradley Q. Wootten, MPM, CIPM

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's the day before Thanksgiving and this year, it really doesn't seem so special.  This is the first Thanksgiving without Mom - in the past we've had Thanksgiving dinner with her at the Brightmore and it wasn't half bad either.  Patti is in SC having Thanksgiving with her parents and sister and her family in preparation for leaving Friday for Charleston SC and a 7 day Bahamas cruise.  I am here in Virginia.  Had pho for lunch and frankly, I am about pho'ed out, at least for a while.  I'll either stick around town and lay low, or spend Thanksgiving day driving to NC where I'll stay until maybe Monday or Tuesday since there's some legal stuff needing to be attended to.  It's not like I haven't had opportunities to spend Thanksgiving with a few who've offered, it's just that I don't really want to be with anyone right now.  Still, it's lonely around here, that's for sure and, while I dread the drive by myself, I'll probably find more to do there than here. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

This is too good to pass up.

We have a neighborhood crime watch program on our street.  Forty-five households are on the roster, each assigned a week to randomly patrol the area in the morning and again in the nighttime.  The county police provide support, including a small red bag with sundry equipment - flashlight, reflective vest, forms, that sort of thing.  The bag is passed from house to house in accordance with the patrol schedule.  Guess what came up missing?  You're right - somebody stole the crime watch bag.  Since it is passed from house to house, this was clearly an inside job.  Can you believe it - one of the crime watcher's stole the bag.  How's that for something to bolster your confidence in the program?  As for me, I am starting my own program - "Watch out for the Crime Watch Patrol.  They may be out to steal your car."

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Don't Know Nutten About Nutten!

But Mom, you really knew everything about most everything. You taught me how to live, how to love, how to care, and ultimately, how to pass from this life to the next while leaving this one a bit better for those whom you left behind. Many people came to express these same sentiments – friends and family who love you; a museum that will enlighten and entertain those who never knew you; children who are far better people because of your influence and the model of life that you so consistently lived. While it saddens those of us left behind, the sadness is for our loss, since we know that things are eternally bright and joyful for you. There are so many little memories to recall – too many to list actually and most hiding in my mind, waiting to spring forth as daily surprises of joy and remembrance, keeping you close always. Recently on a visit you patted me on the head and said “my little boy has gray hair”. I’ll never forget that moment because I realized that having you here meant that I, a man of 63, was still someone’s little boy and I’ll remain that until the end.

In Loving Memory of Gerda Quelch Wootten, September 9, 1914 - October 23, 2008.

Your loving son,


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gone and Done It!

So here's the deal for the day. I officially retired.........sort of! September 15 was supposed to be my last day but for administrative purposes it actually became September 30. Between the two dates, I was technically still working but not actually going to work, just doing some work from afar. Effective October 1 I became a "casual" employee which, I surmise, means that I work when called upon for special projects and get paid an hourly rate to do so. Today is October 2 and, guess what? I am going in to the office for a meeting. So, the question is: "Am I or am I not retired?" Tomorrow, it's hit the road time - SC for a couple of days then on to NC for a while. Naturally, I'll still be toting the corporate cell phone, logging in to email, and doing many of those same things I've always done, only just not full time or in an office (or with benefits). Maybe this isn't a bad way to go - just as long as I don't get overwhelmed with all the stuff I have to keep track of as I am doing all that going.
One more thing - sort of ironic. This morning, I visit the dentist. I like to refer to him as Dr. "Unreasonable and Non-Customary" since that's what the insurance company puts on their paid claims forms when they deny a considerable portion of his bill. As a "casual" employee, I no longer have dental insurance and, typical for me, ole doctor expensive has just raised his prices. That's what happens when you have a dentist with children and a college fund. I am gonna ask for a cash discount and, maybe do some comparison shopping. Keep them choppers in good shape - dental floss is your friend.
PS: Regarding that post below about "ain't gonna happen".....I lied!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Well, Alrighty Now!

Just a postscript to my July 14 comment about retirement, no way, ain't gonna happen, etc.  My how things change.  More to follow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Quick Little Note

It’s no wonder that we have an obesity problem in this country.  I ran to McDonald’s to pick up a Southern Chicken Sandwich meal for lunch (highly unusual since I rarely eat lunch out) and guess what?  Along with the meal came another, free, chicken sandwich.  Naturally, I had no choice but to take it, and having done that, it simply wouldn’t be right not to eat the thing.  So, now I am double chickened and loving it.  But, didn’t I read somewhere today that McDonald’s earnings were lower than expected for the quarter?  Now we know why?  Blame the chicken.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Retire? Me? In this economy?

That simply ain’t gonna happen and I am pretty much reconciled to that.  Pat is in Surf City with Ginger and Ashley who are visiting from Savannah and Pawley’s Island, respectively.  Work here in Virginia is going as usual so I won’t bore anyone with more of that story.  What a weekend.  I went to the pho places on both Saturday and Sunday – lots of pho, that’s fo sho.  Anyway, it’s not bad and probably healthier than a burger and fries (which I must say I am about ready for).

Maybe sometime in August I’ll get to go back to the beach, doubtful in time for Alex’s wedding unfortunately since there’s a real conflict during that week, work-wise.

Oh well, when life’s not a beach, it’s a bitch but all, in all, I can’t complain too much.  Yes I can!  Nope, I shouldn’t!  Oh heck, you know I will don’t you?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I am here and they are there!

It’s a beautiful day in the [Surf City] neighborhood but, unfortunately, I am not there.  Patti is playing host to the kids and all are probably getting ready to bask in the sun today.  I am at work – been working 12 hours a day since last weekend.  Wow!  That’s gonna stop as of Monday and hopefully I can recoup some of the extra time spent at the office and direct it towards some personal activities.

How many times have I planned my great escape?  Too many and, thus far, neither has stuck.  That, I promise, is about to change.  Recognition, defined as the acknowledgment of achievement, service, merit, doesn’t exist in this place. It’s becoming more obvious that loyalty is not a two way street and being taken for granted is the norm. I’ve seen significant turnover and, lately and it’s been in the ranks of those whose contributions and abilities should be the most valued.  Inequity is rampant and there seems to be a pervasive attitude that those who have been here and proven themselves should be happy with their lot in life and so what if inequities exist? 

The “so what” is that those very people, the proven ones whose efforts have brought about what successes we’ve experienced, can leave and get significantly better deals from companies that know virtually nothing about them, save what’s in their resumes.  Strange how they can be so valued by a stranger while being ignored by the very organization that benefited most from their presence.

I’m ranting aren’t I?  Makes me feel good though and it’s all true.  Personally, I like to think of it as God’s way of preparing me for the next phase of my life and it certainly ain’t at this place.

Anyway, here’s to those who are, and will be, elsewhere, doing other things, and living in a world where equity still exists.  For me, that’s coming, and soon!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Well, it's gonna happen as least partially!

We'll be off between May 17 - June 1 but will be spending some time at J & B's place for unanticipated reasons. Then, back to Surf City. Retire? How silly a thought that was. Two key staff already resigned during the preceding week so retirement on the heels of that would not be in keeping with my upbringing. However, and be warned, I am gonna do it and soon.
I've wanted to post some thoughts regarding the ongoing political antics but after giving it careful consideration, have decided to let it go since neither candidate (of the three) has jumped out and hit me as the greatest of choices. We have the anti-christ and Beelzebub on the one hand, and War boy on the other. Seems like there are not many options for us to choose from. We either experience calamity and perdition that ultimately leads to the end of times, or keep fighting a war that has no end in sight and hasn't even helped lower oil prices.
Me? I am all for letting this one ride and finding a candidate who will end the war, be racially agnostic, and put such words as non-discrimination and equal opportunity into the definitional context from whence they were originally derived. Anyway you look at it, and regardless of who wins in November, there will be, for entirely different reasons, rioting in the streets.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Been a Long Time Baby!

Since January 31?  Wow.  I've been to Topsail twice since then and haven't taken the trouble to make a blog report.  The fact is that I've been very busy doing little or nothing except teaching.  Four courses last term and this one, and in the foreseeable future as well.  Also, work has been steady every day - shall we say staying at a level entirely within my comfort zone. 
Not being one to make idle promises, I see a great opportunity coming on May 15.  The planets are aligning nicely in that: a) it's the end of the pay period at work, b) graduation is May 17, and c) the term break goes between May 17 - June 3.  All together, that means I can quit my day job effective May 15, do the podium thing at graduation on May 17 and then hit the road for the beach, not returning until around June 2 in preparation for class to begin.
Will I do it?  Only time will tell but the attraction is tremendous so stay tuned.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Blog A Day - Is Just Too Many!

I know.  It’s been over a month hasn’t it?  Maybe that’s because there’s nothing going on.  Maybe it’s because there’s too much going on.  Perhaps it’s because I just haven’t felt like posting a blog entry until now.  Well…………it’s all of the above.  We’ve actually returned to Surf City (MLK Weekend) and are planning another trip for President’s Day.  Since it’s about as cold there as it is in Northern Virginia, there’s not a lot of excitement related to being around warmer weather.  Retirement still looms somewhere in the future.  My projected date to throw the switch, like the stock market (and probably because of it to some degree) goes up and down.  Maybe I should just accept poverty and pull the plug now but I’m too security minded to do that.

This isn’t a good time anyway what with the weather, my evening teaching schedule, and the sheer fact that I’ve not found anything better to do than working and making money.  That’s gotta change one of these days, I know.  It’s the “when” that eludes me for now.

In the mean time, we’re healthy and about as happy as someone whose life revolves around going to and from work can be.  Maybe by the time I make the next entry in this blog I will have things figured out.