August 21, 2003: Happy Birthday Dominica

Well, I guess that everyone can tell that I have an Internet connection again. I hadn’t realized how long of an update I had written until I got online this morning and saw it. Wow, that just might be a record for a single day. August has been kind of slow with the move and all and I guess I have decided that I have some making up to do. Emily emailed me yesterday about it and I didn’t know what she meant because I didn’t know that the update was so long. Well, I got it now.

I got up to a phone call from our Washington office this morning as I have done every morning this week. I used to sleep in until almost 8:00 every morning but now I am getting up at 7:00 everyday to the phone ringing with some little thing in DC or another. Yesterday was the big union vote down there so everyone was really on pins and needles. Well, it went through and the DC office is now a part of the teamster’s union. The vote was 19 to 1 in favor of the union. So the office down there isn’t too happy, I would imagine. I haven’t heard how things are going yet but I am imagining not well. We are guessing that now most of the employees will just quit because they all lost their senority and they all have to start over again. In a few weeks, there probably won’t be a single employee left that voted for the union. We aren’t such a big shop that we can’t handle turning over the entire organization. In fact, we do on a regular basis.

Min has the day more or less off of work but she is still going to go into the Youngs and Linfoot office for a little bit to take care of a few things. If anyone knows anyone who is looking to buy and/or sell a house in the Rochester region (including Wyoming, Livingston, Genesee, Orleans, Wayne and Ontario counties, at very least) then please let them know that Min is available and can handle anything that they need.

I am taking the day more or less off too so that Min and I can hang out some before her party tonight. We never get much time to actually do things together so that will be nice.

Min has been trying to get a local bank account but has been finding that all of the banks have just totally ridiculous minimum balances and fees. So she finally broke down yesterday and drove up to Rochester and opened an account with ESL. They don’t have a branch in town but they have one in Henrietta on Brighton-Henrietta Townline Road and they are supposedly opening a new one in Scotsville which my parents say is closer to us than Henrietta but I think that 390 makes that not really true. We are much closer to Scotville than I had imagined we were, though. It is really close. But there are no good roads between there and here.

Eric and I are working this morning on all kinds of stupid problems down in DC. We are trying to get them to use their computers systems the way that they are supposed to but we are having terrible luck with it. No one pays attention and does what they are supposed to and no one is very literate on computers which makes it that much worse.

Some quick news on the “good software front.” If you are an OpenOffice user and are using an older version, OpenOffice 1.1 RC3 is now available and a big improvement over the 1.0 series. If you haven’t used OO yet, you should. But wait until the final release of 1.1 is out. OpenOffice is a totally free alternative (and a good one) to Microsoft Office and other office suites. OO is a full suite with spreadsheet and presentation software too. Totally worth taking the time to look at. It can even save straight to its own XML format, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF and Macromedia Flash. All in all it is a pretty rockin’ program. That is what Min, me, Andy, Eric, Lifestyle Properties, Wards Auto Damage and Nicklin Associates all use for our office suites. Mozilla now has its stable version 1.4, 1.5 alpha and Firebird (its stripped down browser version) at 0.6.1. So go update your Mozilla copy as well.

I have the house phone number set up to forward to my cell phone now so those of you who have our new, Geneseo, “991” number can start calling us on that locally and not have to pay long distance anymore. It only affects a couple of people but now you can start to memorize that number.

Min decided that she wanted to try out the Rochester Museum and Science Center today because she has never done anything in Rochester. And it is her birthday so we are going to do that.

Well, we went up to Rochester and met Eric at Jay’s Diner for a quick lunch and then we went to the museum. We had a really good time, especially playing with all of the hands on science displays for the kids. I found the Indian History section to be pretty good. That was always one of the famous parts of the RMSC. I remember seeing it all when I was very young but it has been a really long time since I was there last. It has changed a lot. There is also a ton of new stuff being worked on right now. I did learn some interesting things about Rochester’s history. Rochester was the first American Boom Town from the explosion of work created from the early flour mills and the Erie Canal. Rochester used to be a big button manufacturing town as well with three big button companies. And don’t forget that Perry used to have a button factory as well. And Irondiquoit Bay in Rochester was the first place where the Europeans had contact with the Indians of Upstate New York.

On the way back from the city, I got called by the Volunteers of America. They want me to be their technical advisor up in Rochester. They found my resume because Kate had put it on file a year or more ago. They finally got around to calling me and I am going to be meeting with them next week to see what I can do for them.

We got back from the museum and I did a little bit of work in the basement before running out to Wegmans to do some last minute shopping for the party. I got Min a Spongebob Squarepants birthday cake with whipped cream frosting and custard in it. She really liked that.

Arti and Danielle and their son Michael where the first to arrive at the party getting there just before I managed to get back from the grocery store. Kate Ayers arrived shortly thereafter while I was still carrying things into the house. Josh, Joanna, Phil, Eric and Amanda all made it too. And for a special surprise (Min didn’t know she knew where we lived) Sara Ruger and her roomate Robbie showed up. Sara and Robbie recently moved from Ithaca to Penfield. They hadn’t made it down to see the house yet so we got to show them around. It is cool that one of the few people that we knew in Ithaca moved up to Rochester at the same time that we did. We partied until about 10:30 and then being the old people that we are we had to call it a night.

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