A lot of catching up to do

Hi all!  Yes, I’ve been one busy little beaver lately!  Fortunately, my animals have kept you entertained.  In fact, THEY have gotten more comments than my posts usually do.  Maybe I should let them take over more often. 

Work has been insanely busy, again.  This time it’s been budgeting that has had me under the gun.  I had to come up with budget numbers for the coming fiscal year, which sounds easy, but isn’t.  Also, we’re in a mad dash to spend the money for all the things that we’re supposed to accomplish this fiscal year.  Again, seems like that should be easy to do, right?  (Can anyone say “SHOPPING SPREE?”)  Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple, at least in my department. 

Aside from the replacement computers we will get in this year – the last round of replacements for two years – the largest single expenditure in my department is for a video surveillance system.  We have had this project budgeted for a couple of years, but had not found a company we felt confident in giving the job to – until now.  I saw a system in use at a new condo-on-the-water project in town, and was blown away by the quality of the video, the ease of use, and the reasonable price.  I went online to find out more info, then called and asked them to meet with us.  They did, we liked what we saw and heard, and asked them for a quote.  It came in at a much more reasonable price than we’d expected.  While I was off camping, The Boss met with the owner again, and added even more features (more cameras, audio, and increased capacity on the DVR).  It should be a very nice system that will allow us to better monitor the building.  Believe it or not, we have our share of vandalism.  We’ve had kids start a fire in the men’s room, put things in the book drops that damage materials (water, snow, fire), sneak to the rear of the building to do all sorts of things they ought not do, and jump into the enclosure that protects our satellite dish and dumpsters and smoke, start fires, and do things I don’t think we really want to see on video.  Inside the library, people take our DVDs to one of the far corners of the stacks, take the DVD out of the case, stuff the case under the bookshelves, and steal the DVD.  They have removed book covers and stuffed them under the shelves too, in an effort to thwart our security strips so they can steal the books.  Fortunately, the books are stripped somewhere other than on the dust covers, so they don’t usually get away with stealing them, but the DVD security is a little easier to thwart.  The videos will monitor the aisles that are the least visible to staff, and hopefully catch the thieves in the act – or at least deter then once they realize they are being monitored.  So, that’s been a time-consuming project, as you might imagine. 

The 24 new replacement computers will be in sometime next week, so I’ll be busy setting those up for the next month or more.  I am getting a smoking new system for myself.  It will have a dual core processor, of course, with 4GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive AND a 750GB hard drive, a 256MB dual-output video card with two 20″ DVI monitors, and a DVD burner.  I’m sticking with XP Pro, but I’ll probably run Vista in a Virtual PC.  I can’t wait – but I’m NOT looking forward to reinstalling all my software, transferring my settings, and all that.  I have had the 750GB drive for months, but have avoided installing it because I didn’t want to go through all the setup stuff.  It’s such an ordeal.  I’m going to be doing that for about 12 other people, too.  Ugh.

Now, the camping trip.  We were going to go to this place called Whiskey Rock.  It’s 10 miles across the lake from town, and is only accessible by boat.  The problem was, the weather forecast said we were going to have thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday, and crossing Lake Pend Oreille in bad weather is a frightening proposition.  We decided to find someplace on this side of the lake instead.  The Daughter and her husband found a spot at Sam Owen Park, only 12 miles from town by car, and setup camp on Wednesday afternoon.  They took our tent so it would be ready for us when we got there.  Since camp was setup, we were able to spend Wednesday night camping, even though The Spouse got off work late, and we didn’t get to the campground until 9:30 PM.  Once we got there, we remembered a bunch of things we’d forgotten to pack, naturally.  Fortunately, camping so close to home meant it was no big deal.  We went back home Thursday AM to get those things and take a shower.  After that, we didn’t come home again until Sunday.  We bathed and washed our hair in the lake on Friday.  It was cold at first, but it was refreshing. 

We took Riley with us, and The Daughter brought Lola.  Sam Owen is known for it’s almost tame deer.  They know a good thing when they see it, and a campground full of humans who think they are adorable equals a free lunch for them.  When they made their first appearance in our camp on Wednesday night, Riley went insane.  He saw them in the dark before we did.  Well, I suspect he smelled and heard them long before he saw them.  He was barking and pulling at his tie-down trying desperately to get to them.  After I shushed him a dozen times, he quit barking, but he whimpered for about half an hour.  He wanted very much to go “meet” these creatures.  All night that first night in the tent, he was on alert, growling, barking, and whimpering when they’d come near.  The next day he actually got to SEE them in the light.  The buck was not afraid of him at all, which scared me.  I kept Riley at a safe distance.  Turns out, it was smart.  Apparently he’d stomped on the camp host’s chihuahua at the beginning of the summer (the dog is fine, by the way, but steers clear of the deer now).  The doe was much more skittish, darting off whenever either dog appeared headed in her direction.  By Friday night, though, Riley was used to their presence, and didn’t wake up to bark at them when they trekked through our campsite.  Between the deer, the other dogs in the park, the heat, the kids, the dirt, the bugs, and the boat rides, he was just plain exhausted, and slept soundly both Friday and Saturday nights.

Sam Owen is on the water, and our campsite was a mere .3 miles from the beach.  The Daughter brought along their boat – an old fishing boat that was the Son-in-law’s grandfather’s boat that he inherited when his grandfather passed away a few years ago.  It’s a perfect boat for them because it’s got tons of space, isn’t all fancy, is pretty economical to run, and is big enough to handle the wavy days we get on our lake.  We went out twice.  The kids wanted to tube, and we all wanted to go visit these petroglyphs we’d heard were not far away.  Our first attempt at finding the petroglyphs using the Son-in-law’s GPS didn’t pan out.  We found nothing.  Later, after he ran into an old high school buddy at the campground, he found out his GPS was wrong, and the petroglyph site was further down the lake.  Saturday we found them.  They’re pretty cool, but hard to see.  And they’re nothing like the petroglyphs I’d seen in Moab.  These were mostly indententations in the rock in the shape of bear paws and deer hooves.  In Moab, they were easily visible in the sandstone, and were more like you’d expect – drawing of stick people, horses, and the like.  It was a fun little adventure, nonetheless.

So, since it’s getting late and I have an early meeting, I’ll post a few pictures from the trip and write about it more later.

 Campsite

This was our campsite.  The kids’ tent is on the right, the grandkids slept in the small tent in the middle, and our tent is way back in the distance.  That is The Spouse, The Daughter, and The Son-in-law in the photo.  I think The Spouse is setting up the new camping chairs I just bought.

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These were the two deer that frequented our campsite most often.  The Grandson is trying to feed them an apple.  This is just about 50 yards from our campsite.

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The exhausted pooches.  See what a dirty mess poor Riley was?  I think he was ecstatic to come home and get a bath!

Okay…more later, I promise!

Life with Riley

Hi there.  This is Riley, Gina’s new puppy, writing.  You see, Gina has been way too busy to post lately.  I’m part of the reason she’s so busy.  I kind of keep her on her toes.  I don’t mean to, it’s just that, well, I’m a puppy and I have needs.  My biggest need is to keep her in view at all times.  That’s a little bit tiring, because it means every time she leaves the room, I have to follow her, and she seems to move from room to room a lot.  I no sooner doze off, and she walks out the door, or into another room, and I have to jump up and run after her.  Sometimes, when I’m with her outside, I get a little distracted chasing birds or butterflies.  When that happens, I’ll look up to find Gina, and she’s nowhere in sight.  That’s kind of scary, because I don’t want her to leave without me, and sometimes she does.  I really don’t like it when she does that.  It makes me cry.  When I cry, The Spouse or Youngest Son play with me, and that’s fun, but I’m always watching the door for Gina to come back.  About the only time I have fun without Gina is when I’m playing with Lola, Gina’s granddog.  I get to visit Lola almost every day, and we play and play and play.  It’s the best part of the day, except when Gina comes home.  Last week, for some reason, when I went to Lola’s house to play, she wasn’t there.  Nobody was there.  Gina put me in the backyard, like she always does, and then she left, and there was no one there to keep me company, no one to play with.  I waited quietly for awhile, sniffing around like I always do, but then I started crying, and I couldn’t stop.  I was sad, and kind of scared.  Next door to Lola’s house is a big, noisy dog.  I have never seen him, but I’ve heard him, and he’s loud.  He kept barking at me, so I barked back, a lot.  It got really, really hot, too.  Hotter than I’ve ever felt it.  I really wanted to go home.  Finally, Gina came to get me.  I was so happy to see her!  And you know what?  She took me to work with her for the rest of the day!  I got to sleep on the floor right by her feet while she worked.  It was so nice – and so cool! 

The next day, Gina, The Spouse, and I went for a drive.  I like going for drives.  This was the longest drive I’ve been on so far.  When we stopped, Lola was there!  And another dog, Misty, a miniature Schnauzer, was also there. I’d met Misty once before, when we went to Oldest Son’s house, but we didn’t spend much time together.  She’s kind of scary because she’s not really friendly like Lola, but I like her.  I kept trying to smell her behind, but she didn’t like that too much.  So, I just played with Lola.  But this place had a LOT of new smells!  I have never smelled so many smells in my life!  There was poop from animals I have never seen ever.  It was really, really fun!  Gina took me to this place with lots of sand.  There was water that kept coming up to get me.  I put my feet in it a little bit, but it kept coming after me, so I kept running away from it.  Then it would run away from me, so I’d chase it.  And then it would come back after me again.  It was kind of fun, and kind of scary.  Lola’s mom carried me out into the water a long ways.  I was really scared and started paddling before my paws even hit the water.  She was hugging me and telling me it was okay, but I wasn’t so sure.  Then she put me IN the water!!!  I started paddling like crazy until I could touch the ground again!  Wow, was that ever scary!  I was soaking wet, so I shook off the water.  Everyone was laughing at me.  Then I rolled and rolled on the blanket they were sitting on to dry off.  I had sand all over me, in my mouth, and all over my nose.  It was NOT fun.  I was exhausted.  Between all the smells, the sand, the swimming, and the new dogs, I was worn out.  I fell asleep in the chair next to Gina for a long time.  When I woke up from my nap, we went back to where everyone was sitting and eating.  I ate some food, smelled a lot more cool smells, chased some birds and squirrels, and then it was time to go.  On the way home, we stopped at another place with sand and water.  This time I met two REALLY BIG dogs.  They were pretty friendly, and I really wanted to play with them, but they were tied up, and I was on my leash, and Gina wouldn’t let me play with them.  She said they were too big and would hurt me.  When we left there, we drove for a long time again, but this time I got to stick my head out the window while The Spouse held onto my leash.  That was pretty cool!  I have never smelled so many smells at one time!  And the wind in my face felt great.  When we stopped to get food, I met another big dog.  He was very friendly and wanted to play, but The Spouse was holding me and said it was too late and we could not play.  Finally, we got home and went to bed. Everyone was really tired, especially me.  I guess all that sand and dirt and all those smells made me really dirty, because The Spouse gave me a bath the next day.  I am not especially fond of baths, but I behaved.  He brushed me afterward, and I have to admit, I look, smell, and feel a lot better.  It was really hot again, but I got to stay inside where it was really cool with the family most of the day.  Today I get to go to Lola’s house again!  I miss her.

Gina will try to post again soon.  She said things should slow down at work soon.  I think we’re going somewhere again later this week, but this time I get to spend the night and SLEEP outside in a tent – and Lola will be there again!  Wow, I bet there will be TONS of new smells again!  I can’t wait.

Oh, Gina says “hi” and she misses everyone and can’t wait to be back regularly.  She is reading, and sometimes commenting on, your blogs, but she just doesn’t have a lot of time to write on her own right now.