Make Like a Tree and Leave
It looks like Dr. David will be “graduating” from Harvard and getting a job-job at MathWorks, makers of the popular scientific software package MATLAB. His offer is still contingent upon background and reference checks, but his fourth interview on Friday went well and he should be good to go. With this new job, he will remain in Boston and enjoy a nice pay bump. He’ll no longer need to do math just for food anymore. With this move he will be leaving academia, which for him has spanned thirteen years and encompassed study and work at Rochester, NIH, Purdue and Harvard. We wish him well as he departs the ivory tower and enters the real world, where I’m sure that he will do very well.
Meanwhile back here on the farm, Ma and Pa Kettle are making last minute preparations for the imminent arrival of Jay and Carl. Jay has a conference in town and will combine business with pleasure and extend their visit and do some sightseeing. Too bad the Cards couldn’t provide any face-to-face baseball.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Dave and I used to play Warhammer 40K, with figures just like those pictured above. He texted me this photo, which coincided with Anne finding in the news that there has been a shooting in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn (4 dead, 7 shot). Dan lives in this neighborhood. Her motherly concern caused her to reach out to eldest her son and ask for proof-of-life. Not immediately getting an answer, she continued worrying and soon tried again. I checked the news and discovered that the shootings occurred at a gambling parlor, on a cross street near Dan. Eventually, he got back to us and everything was alright. Dave is with him in NYC this weekend and they are at a gaming parlor, playing Warhammer. They are playing for points, so no gambling is involved and hopefully no gunplay either. We really shouldn’t worry so much, NYC is safer than Saint Louis is these days.
Anne has been dissecting owl pellets at school. An owl pellet is something that owls cough up from their gizzard. Usually, they are composed of indigestible components of the prey that they feed on and comprise things like bones, feathers and bits of fur. Sounds truly disgusting, right? That’s what the third graders thought at first, but they got into it and soon took to the task with relish. She claims that she never touched any of the pellets, but instead used tweezers and toothpicks to examine them. The kids ended up doing most of the work anyway and Anne washer her hands afterwards. According to Anne, on a continuum of grossness, owl pellets are less gross than dead mice found while opening the cabin for the summer and way less gross than phlegm. I’m sure youth wanted to know. We’re planning on getting our flu shots this week, because although it is unlikely one would ever catch anything from owl pellets, there are plenty of other sources of disease in the third grade.
I chose my initial career path one night in my senior year in high school. I had accompanied my dad on one of his nightly runs to the University of Michigan’s computer center. As he punched a few cards for his next job, I looked around. It must have been at the end of the term, after years into his fellowship. The gleaming clean of the computer rooms counterpointed the trampling dirty footsteps of final’s week. Somehow this dichotomy captured my heart and I longed to be on the other side of that computer room glass. I majored in computer science and at times scrounged dirty, but un-punched cards off of those totally unsanitary floors, but never did I break that glass. I graduated, just barely. My first boss was originally my college advisor’s babysitter. After two years on the job, I had become disenchanted to the point of insubordination. I was got a second chance in Saint Louis.
Anne and I married and moved to Saint Louis. We enjoyed our great adventure, before settling in and buying a house and having kids. My computer company was shot out beneath me. I jumped from the frying pan into the fire and hired into the defense industry, just as the Berlin wall was coming down and my prospective employer was also experiencing its own financial difficulties. What ensued was ten years of layoffs. My employer’s workforce shrank to 20% of my hire in numbers. I still remember my new hire orientation instructor touting his weight loss, while wearing his now oversized suit. Still, I persisted. Those ten year probably took twenty off my life. I survived and eventually prospered. What did I do? I like to say that I made paper airplanes. It tends to fend off further questions and keeps me square with the government. When I calculated that I had made enough money, I punched out.
When I look back over my career, there are a few things that were of note, awards, promotions and innovations. What I value most from my work was that it provided for my family. All of the petty crises that once populated my day-to-day work life have melted away. I can look back and see that my success was founded on three principles: 1) staying healthy 2) staying married and 3) staying employed. I wish my children my kind of success, because I love my life, I love my wife and I hope that they enjoy our kind of success. Show them the money!
…until someone’s eye gets poked out. Fortunately, none of that happened here. Brit made this movie and Dan allowed me to post it. Brit sped it up and I put it in an endless loop. Even so, it kind of makes you sorry for all those knights in shining armor. Speaking of movies, the film that Dan worked on a year and a half ago in Maine, has got a distributor. Blow the Man Down will be coming to Amazon Prime. No word yet on when. Word is that Amazon bought it on the eve of the Toronto Film Festival, to forestall other bidders. Dan and Brit left today, driving back to NYC. Bubs accompanied us four for a breakfast run to Jack’s. I am officially the baby of the cabin again. The seagulls are leaving or dying, but not staying here. The summer people are leaving. We will leave next week. After three months on the road, I cannot tell you how happy I will be to sleep in my own bed again. It is time to move onto the second phase of retirement, home improvement. At home, there are plenty of projects waiting for me to work on.
Dan and Brit
Anne, Dan and Brit went boating today. Dan and Brit shared a canoe, while Anne borrowed a kayak. I stayed on the bank, to watch and worry. They all went around Round Island first. Their presence there suitably agitated the seagulls. Anne saw, but did not photograph an eagle that was sitting out on the island. Next up was Cedar Point. They landed at the navigational triangle. Then it was back to the beach. I think that there will be some sore muscles in the future.
We hosted a dinner party last night. In addition to our cabin’s six, invitees included Anne, Bill and Grinch, for a total of nine. This summer season’s high. Cousin Anne made her always delicious lasagna, both meat and veggie types. We accompanied this with a salad and garlic bread. Everyone had a good time.