Some days around 4pm I get a traffic alert from my local news organization. Usually its reporting accidents. Sometimes they just like to tease me by sending me alerts like this one below:
3:58 PM 10/25/07, MALFUNCTION JUNCTION, Traffic flowing freely
One thing is almost certain, that when I drive through “Malfunction Junction” it won’t have any free flowing traffic problems. 🙂
Its been a busy two weeks and I have not posted much to my blog lately. So here is an update starting with the weekend we went to Orlando…
On Saturday October 6th we drove up to Orlando and stayed at the Hilton resort at Disney. My aunt and uncle put us up at the hotel to spend some time with them while they were in town for a conference. We got to the hotel sometime around 4:30 or so. We grabbed some dominos pizza for dinner and Liz’s sister Christina came over to visit for a while. My aunt and uncle arrived later that night and we visited for a while until after midnight.
Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast at a waffle house. Once we were done eating we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go to Downtown Disney. On the way back to the hotel, we saw an IHOP which we would have all preferred, but didn’t know was right there. We got back to the room and got ourselves ready to go and walked over to the Downtown Disney marketplace. We walked around a little and let the kids play at the lego store and checked out some neat things they had setup on the street.
The kids rode a train around a little, and we got some cute pictures of that. They also rode a merry-go-round which they always love. Then we headed over ot the Rain Forrest cafe for lunch. That place is really neat, and has a unique atmosphere and awesome decorations and effects. Every 30 minutes there is a thunderstorm and the animals go wild and they flash lights, etc. Its a lot of fun, the staff are friendly and the food was good.
We walked around a little more and ultimately headed back to the hotel to go swimming. The kids and uncle David beat us all down to the pool, and when I got there, they were already in the water. I tested the water with my toe and found it a little cold for my liking, so I took advantage of the cool breeze and occasional sun to get a little rest on a lounge chair. I had just started to doze while the kids were playing in the pool, when I was awaken by the sensation of rain drop on my face. We got our stuff together and herded the kids under an umbrella and got ourselves ready to go back into the hotel. We got back to the room and changes and visited a little more, and by this time it was after 5pm, so we decided to get ready to go soon. I think we left close to 6 or so, and the rain actually stopped which was good, because traffic would have been slow if it had kept raining. We were home before 7 and got to crash for a bit before getting all the kids off to bed.
Then this past weekend, the 13th and 14th, we actually had a nice productive time at home. Liz and I got a good amount of yard work done and trimmed bushes and cleaned up, which was good. Sunday we spent the bulk of the afternoon at Bonnie Brae park in Temple Terrace, hanging out with friends and letting our kids play. It was a very nice evening and the weather was perfect! The kids played on the playground, and the adults visited and played with their kids. It was very relaxing.
Sunday morning I had a problem with my new phone (the tilt). I set my phone to vibrate in the morning and later it went off so I pulled it out of the holster to check and the screen was all washed out and practically un-usable. I tried to call AT&T about it, but the office I needed to talk to was closed until Monday. So Monday I called and they are sending me a replacement, which I should have by tomorrow (Wednesday). I hope this is not a bad batch of phones and just a strange fluke with the individual unit I received.
For the last week or so I’ve been taking alternate routes home from work due to a sinkhold on Harney road that jammed up traffic throughout my area on my way home. By chance last night I took my normal way home and found that Harney road was re-opened. They re-paved a small section of the road and traffic flow has resumed. Fortunately, this means I can make it home in my normal 45 minutes or so as opposed to the hour + it was taking me on the alternate routes.
I almost got smashed by a schoolbus at lunch today. Well it wasn’t my fault! I stopped in the right hand lane in slow traffic to let a car turn in front of me coming from the other direction, and when I looked up into my rear view mirror, I saw the grille of a school bus pummeling towards me. The driver slammed on his brakes and came within probably millimeters of hitting my trunk. He was either tailgating me or driving way too fast and not watching where he was going. I thought I was going to get hit! Then he lays on his horn like its my fault! And as I turned off the road, he drove past and honked at me again! At that point I wanted to stop my car in the middle of the road, walk out there and get up in his window and demand his name, bus number and license plate info. I hate to see that kind of stuff, these people drive vehicles full of kids! I felt like practicing some Steven Segal moves I saw in a movie! 🙂
So Hillsborough County bus drivers beware! I’m fed up now, and will take extra effort to write down your info and file formal complaints. Grrrr!
We had a nice long weekend, since I had President’s day off. Friday night started out I spent most of the night reloading our main computer. I did something dumb (yes I admit it), and had to reload it. I spent Saturday morning continuing to re-install software and re-configure on my home network. Everything is back in place and working fine now by the way.
Saturday we had Dave (previous co-worker) and his wife over for dinner and games. We had grilled chicken and played catch phrase (don’t care for that game too much). It was a nice time and we all had fun.
Sunday, we had more friends over, food and games again. This time they brought over Pizza (was Westshore pizza and very good!). Then we played catch phrase with them and this time I enjoyed it a little more, they were giving me better words. We (the guys) won big time 3 to 1.
Today (Monday), I took Sarah to school in the Miata which is always fun. Its nice riding with my girl in the car! I spent the day taking care of Liz and Abby and Michael as we are all sick to some degree. I also picked up Sarah from school in the Miata and this was even better this time because I could put the top down. It got to be about 60 something today, so it was just right with the sun shining to ride with the top down. Upon getting to her School, someone behind me backed into another car in car-line. Also when we were leaving her school Mr. Twiggs (short for something else which we don’t really know yet), said something funny. As we were pulling out, there was a minivan ahead of us. The lady in the van stopped to say something to Mr. Twiggs who was directing traffic. (Mr. Twiggs is a young guy). As we drove past, he said “this lady said she has Miata envy). Sarah and I both thought that was funny and laughed about it a bit on our way home.
We then went to WalMart to get a few things. I spent a little more than I should have which is my habbit. We didn’t get home till after 4. I heated up some left over pizza for dinner and we just relaxed most of the day. Hopefully we will all get over our illnesses soon. I have to go back to work tomorrow so I really hope this sinus junk goes away.
I took vacation days for Thursday, Friday – Monday and Tuesday to close on our houses and get moved in to the new house. So on Thursday morning I was off of work, Liz and I went to New Tampa and picked up the moving truck. We had purchased several items online and needed to go pick them up, so we headed out to Brandon to pickup our new couch set. We got there and the people were really nice and we had no trouble loading the new set. We left there and tried to find a place to stop and get a money order, because I was a few hundred short of the cash I needed to pay for the next item. We found an Amscot where we were going to try to buy a money order, but we only had a check and credit cards with us. They would not let us buy a money order since they deal strictly with cash. So we went to Lakeland anyway to pickup my new TV!!! I bought a 57″ Hitachi Big Screen. I got a great deal on it, it came with a matching entertainment center too. So there were two guys there at the house we picked it up from who helped us load it onto the truck. It took a while and lots of effort, but we managed to get the TV and entertainment center out of the house and onto the truck. I skinned up a knuckle hauling that monster, since we had to pick it up to get over dips and when moving at angles. We secured the TV to the side of the truck and went on our merry way. We only made it a short distance when we heard loud bang from the back of the truck. We pulled over to find the bungie cords we used had come undone. We re-secured the TV this time with rope and more blankets to protect it from any further impacts. Eventually it settled down and we made it back to Tampa in one piece. But something else happened on our way back to Tampa…
As we were leaving and about to get back on I4 to go home, we were sitting at a traffic light on Florida about to turn onto Memorial to get back to I4. Suddenly lots of police kept zooming by us, probably 10-15 cars, we had no idea what was going on. We saw tons of cops, an ambulance, lots of unmarked cars, and just a lot of police activity. We finally made it onto Memorial and were going down the road when we saw lots of people standing on the sides of the road and more police activity. We made it by the police as they just were coming out to stop traffic. We went a little further and saw motorcycle cops driving up and down the road looking for something. We went on our way and didn’t think much more of it. When we got back to Tampa, we heard what happened. Some guy (they think a drug dealer) shot two police officers and a dog. The dog and one of the police officers died and the other office is in critical condition. Last night there was a $15,000 reward for the capture of this guy. This morning, it was up to $40,000. I just now (at the time of writing this post) heard that they found the guy (think he was hiding in the woods) and they shot and killed him. So we were right there in Lakeland when all this happened just moments after it took place.
So we made it back to Tampa and decided to stop by the new house and drop off our loot into the garage. We were told to call the sellers agent for the code to the keypad of the garage door so we could get inside and unload out things. We tried calling and got her voicemail. We called over and over and were about to give up and leave after being there for about 30 minutes. Liz’s mom had just arrived to pick us up so we could leave the truck there until we heard from the sellers agent, just then the phone rang and it was her with the garage code. So we opened the door and unloaded the TV and entertainment center with the couch we got. Then we took the truck back to our house and were going to start loading more onto the truck. Liz had to leave at 2:30 to pickup Sarah from school, so she ate something quickly and left. Liz’s mom also left around that time. That left me home alone to load the truck. I was going to get as much loaded as I could and take a load to the garage so that when help came later, all we had left to move would be last minute things and the larger items I need help with. Well, once Liz left I got ready to go outside and haul stuff into the truck. I took my keys out of my pockets, and put my cell phone on the desk. I didn’t want to have a lot of stuff on me while moving. So I went outside and closed the door behind me. I didn’t realize until a few minutes later that I had just locked myself out of the house with no keys, no phone and no way back inside until Liz got back. Now Liz had to go take Sarah straight to Amanda’s house so she could watch the kids while we moved stuff. She also had to feed michael before she came back. So Liz didn’t come rescue me from my own stupidity until around 4:20pm. We originally thought that Thursday would be our only moving day since we had to be out of there for closing the next morning. So I was in a rush to get stuff loaded and moved, and was rather distraught that I had lost almost 2 hours of my moving time by locking myself out of the house. So Liz got home, and started to pack up more last minute things and I started loading more stuff onto the truck. I had put some things that were on the back porch in the truck already. Around 4:30 we got a call from our realtor, who said there was a delay on the buyers side and they were looking at a Wednesday closing now. So we had to unload what I had loaded onto the truck already, and help Liz finish getting what she needed. I then took the truck back to New Tampa and dropped it off. Liz took some things to Amanda’s house and they got Pizza for dinner. I got back from New Tampa to Amanda’s house around 8pm. I ate and helped get the kids to bed and left around 9:30. I spent the night alone at our old house since we still had most of our things in there. I didn’t want to leave it all there alone.
I got up this morning and came to work a little early so I could eat breakfast in the break room, since they provide pastries and bagels and such every Friday morning. Liz originally left me some milk so I could have some cereal for breakfast, but forgot to leave me some cereal. So I was stuck at the house with no food. I had a bagel and creme cheese for breakfast along with a yummy cheese danish.
I then got a call this morning from our realtor again with a few updates. Apparently I was not told of two more repairs to our house the buyers wanted done. Now I have to patch one more crack in the garage floor (which is normal in FL for a new house) and replace the air filter in the return on our hallway. The buyer is going to do his walkthrough on Monday while the appraiser is there.
So now we have reserved the moving truck for Saturday and Sunday just in case. Hopefully on Saturday we can get all of our stuff moved out of the house into the garage of the new house. I am meeting my realtor to get the truck at 9am tomorrow morning. This should be a fun weekend! And its killing me, I have that nice 57″ TV sitting in the new garage and no way to play with it until Wednesday! 😦 Maybe I will take my DVD player and some cables with me tonight and hook it up just to see it play. I’m so impatient.]]>
Having Exchange also necessitates having a backup strategy. So I’ve got another older PC acting as a server with backup software running daily. Then you need a network monitor to keep an eye on Exchange and your network. I’ve got another server keeping track of my servers and network devices. It emails me if anything goes wrong. Then I have my traffic monitor, to monitor network/internet traffic on my home network. It keeps tabs on each device on my network and watches all traffic coming in and out of my internet connection.]]>
Yet again, I’ve run into a problem with the McAfee mini firewall component of the viruscan suite 8.0i. This time it has to do with email over SMTP. At my company we use I Hate Spam from sunbelt software as our SPAM filtering engine. We have a separate server running this IHS software as a gateway for incoming e-mail. Well, suddenly we started having problems receiving mail from IHS, it would queue at the IHS server, but would never get delivered to the exchange server. After a few days of diagnosis it was discovered that the McAfee mini-firewall was blocking the smtpsvc.exe and marking it as a worm. We had to add an exception for this service in McAfee to avoid having SMTP traffic stopped. This was a major pain and caused hours of downtime in my company for incoming e-mail. Makes me wish we were using Symantec rather than McAfee (which is my personal preference anyway).