Craig Maas
Notes 2005


I usually don't have this much paperwork, but today was sort of quiet and I was on roll. Dad left early for Cooperstown. Years ago we did an energy audit for the Cooperstown Medical Center. The administrator, Gregg Stomp, remembered up and asked if we could help him out with a boiler replacement project. Dad was going to get photos and tour the boiler room. I reworked the League of Women Voters' newsletter and posted it on their web site. I input the audit dad did of Midwest Bottling in Minneapolis last week. It's a very large Coca Cola bottling plant. Michelle Kuss is our contact in Minneapolis, working for Harris Mechanical. Michelle had a small truck shop job which had already been sold, but she need an estimated savings and Xcel Energy rebate figured. I did that and emailed it back to her.

Suzanne wanted some advice, so she took me out to PD's on First for the steak sandwich special. Yum, the steak was 2 inches thick. After lunch input the other job dad took off, Court West office building. This is a small job, but the audit had more detail. Michelle called again. She wanted the rebate calculated for Hooters, but she was unsure of the utility. I looked up the utility on the internet and downloaded the rebate forms. I called my uncle, Neal Letcher, he was changing the name of his painting company from Buffalo City Painting to Neal Letcher Painting. I told him I would design new business cards and estimate forms for him. The Paul Steffes called. He no longer works for Egan, but is working with Focus Lighting. I had to track down an order of fluorescent lamps I had on order for him.

Any one of the above items might take a day for most people to complete but I like to think I'm pretty fast.

March 31, 2005


Ms Vengence protects my mojo.While everyone was at church, I worked on my story. It takes place on various Easters, so it was appropriate to work on this little masterpiece. Suzanne, Paul, Tim and Sean came over for the ham dinner. This is my least favorite holiday for food. I don't care for any of it. Mom set up an Easter Egg hunt for Sean and Tim. They came upstairs to drive me crazy. Paul came up too. I turned on the NCAA basketball tournament. I got the boys busy making 'Heroes' on the internet. The Heromaker program has been updated and makes even cooler superheroes.

Bob came over and the boys played with him. I made my own superhero 'Ms Vengeance'

March 27, 2005

CAP Encampment Story Hour

Suzanne called and asked if I could baby-sit the boys for a few hours. I had a headache, but I can usually handle the boys and get them to be quiet. I worked on their computer, cataloging their photos and removing duplicates. The boys were playing behind me in the loft. Sean asked me to finish my Civil Air Patrol 1974 Camp story. I told him it would be long, so Sean decided to go to bed early. I told him all about my adventures mixing both Encampments together as I can't remember which events happened at which of the two years I went. At the time I didn't really care for CAP but it's given me some interesting stories to tell.

On April 3rd, I told Sean about the Bismarck Search and Rescue evaluation I did from CAP. I told him about the CAP super bus and flying back home afterwards.

March 26, 2005

Money On The Wind

I sold two more Mytech Occupancy Sensors, this pair were 277volt. Good thing I got those 277 volt power packs on Ebay on spec. I didn't have wheels, so I invited Suzanne out for lunch. At the post office, I waited for her to get out and close her door. I opened mine, then she opened hers and the gale force wind took all my checks airborne. I thought I recovered them all until I got to the bank and found I was missing one. Luckily it was a 10 dollar check and not the 1500 dollar check from the Government. Almost a month later (4/23) Paul is in the back seat watching Sean's soccer game; he hands Suzanne a check with my name on it. "So it didn't blow away!"

March 24, 2005

Accidental IQ Test

While reading a blog my attention was distracted by three colored boxes on a banner ad at the top of the page. Usually I block out all online ads. They wanted to know what the next box in the series would be. I thought I knew the answer so I clicked the answer. I was taken to a page with more questions. The further I got into the testing the more I wondered what I was taking. I knew it couldn't go on forever, at some point they would make their pitch for my money. It turned out to be an online IQ test. There were 40 questions. I was interested in my score. I thought I did really well. I only guessed on one question. I probably could have figured that one out too, but I wasn't spending much time coming up with answers. After filling in some information including my junk mail email address they told me my IQ was 135. I've had my IQ measured a couple times and this is the number I usually see. So I think this online test is pretty accurate.

March 22, 2005

Keyboard Remap

It seems like a minor thing, but the Alt and Ctrl keys are backwards on Windows computers. I'm sure you're saying, "Craig, how do you know they're not backwards on a Mac." I say just try to use them. In order for a keyboard short cut to work you have to be able to use it without taking your fingers off the keyboard.
I had this problem fixed on Windows 98 with a remap program/control panel. This doesn't work with Windows XP. I knew there had to be a solution. I checked on the internet and found you could reprogram the keys with some cryptic hacking of the Windows Registry. I was willing to do this but wanted to search some more. I finally found this program which did all the dirty work for you. It makes it very easy to reprogram your keyboard anyway you like.

March 23, 2005

Fargo Garden Society

Mom was telling me she needed some help with an upcoming Garden Society Meeting. She wanted to borrow my laptop computer. I thought it would be a few people looking at few photos off a CD-Rom. "Okay," I said questioningly. I overheard dad talk about Elim providing a projection screen. Now I knew there was more to this than mom was letting on. Turns out they need a laptop computer and a video projector. "Call Paul and Suzanne and borrow theirs." The computer was no problem but the projector was in use for a party that night. Terry Kroke (the Garden Society President) managed to borrow one from MSUM where she works in the Library.

Dad was in Minneapolis, doing a great job of getting us some more business. I left with mom for the Elim Activity Center, a nice meeting room in the new addition at Elim. I quickly set up the video projector and Suzanne's iBook. I didn't realize the iBook was 1024x768 native. I thought it was 800x600. I met Chuck Mullins from Beau Jardin Iris Gardens. He had a PowerPoint presentation on CD or USB drive. I got the show started but it kept crashing. I knew it wasn't the USB. I'm not a fan of PowerPoint and have rarely used it. I adjusted some video settings and that seemed to help. Once he started the show it would crash after a couple slides, but at least the Mac told me what the problem was: memory. Every time it crashed I gave the program more memory. It did this a number of times. I went from 10 to 24 to 48 and finally 96mb before it ran smoothly. What a memory hog. The presentation was 65mb and only a couple dozen images. There was no reason to even have on PowerPoint. I felt comfortable even though the presentation didn't go smoothly and the meeting room was packed. Chuck was rambling on, I was advancing the slides. His wife Karen quietly looked on. I thought the "Iris Around the World, Wow!" presentation was interesting. Mom thought he would go on all night if she let him and so interrupted him. She sent half the audience with the Elim administrator for a tour of the facility. The other half stayed for refreshments and to talk with Chuck. After the presentation I chatted with Chuck, his wife Karen, and their son. I also talked with Terry for a little bit. Then I packed up the equipment and left mom to catch a ride with friends.

March 22, 2005

Neal Letcher Painting

When I got back from lunch dad told me my uncle Neal called. He needs to change his trade name as it seems someone else is using Buffalo City Painting. I thought that was odd. First of all Buffalo City seems like an old name, but mom tells me it's pretty common in Jamestown. I checked the ND Secretary of State's web site and sure enough there was Buffalo City Drywall and Painting registered by two guys in Jamestown. The odd thing was it was registered on February 27, 2005. I called Neal and asked him about the drywall firm, but he didn't tell me if they copied the name from him or he from they. Too late now. I told him he would have to register his trade name, "It's only $25 for five years." He decided on Neal Letcher Painting and I worked up ten different logos for his business card.

March 22, 2005

Mom's Birthday

March 21, 2005
Link to last year's party?, Photos, Song Lyrics
We planned a little surprise party for tonight. Nothing like the big party we had for her last year. Dad was taking her out. The place was closed on Mondays. I felt this would be a good cover story. Dad thought it was an interesting idea but didn't use it. They went to The Cork & Cleaver for a drink and then went to Suzanne's. I was there half an hour earlier. I wrestled with the boys and watched Tom Petty videos on Tim's DVD player. Mom was surprised. The meal was an excellent Prime roast, two different potatoes, Beans, and pistachio marshmallow salad. I got the boys to sing a variation of the Birthday song Suzanne had rewritten for Grandma Anna's 100th Birthday. Mom must have liked it because she had them sing it against. Sean serenaded her with his own birthday song- the classic version with the monkey and zoo lyrics. Out came Tim's pink cake and Sean's Superman ice cream: bright yellow, red and blue swirls. Mom read the cards. Tim had drawn some flowers and another picture with flowers, a rainbow, and grandma. Sean had colored a VFW multi-page "Pledge of Allegiance". As Char read it she wasn't paying attention. She backed it into the candle and started on fire. I thought it was funny and I struggled to get a photograph before she put it out. Sean did NOT think it was funny; he burst into tears and ran off to his room. This was actually the second fire of the evening. Earlier, Paul set off all the fire alarms in the house when he let the smoke build up too much in the kitchen. Sean and Tim went running around the house screaming, "Fire, Fire."
I made my own card based on a photo from 1963 of mom, me and an Easter Bunny cake. Dad gave mom want appeared to be a pearl necklace, earrings and a watch. Mom didn't seem too excited as it turned out it was costume jewelry and something of a gag gift. "Do you want to trade that for what's in this little bag," he asked. I told he it was a trick, "Haven't you ever watched 'Let's Make A Deal'? They always get greedy and end up with a donkey." Well, not this time. It was a gold necklace she had spied in a jewelry store on the boat during their recent cruise and it wasn't much of a surprise.

Mom and dad left. I stayed around to relax and hear the latest City Scapes gossip. Tim went to bed. Earlier Sean had been bragging about being able to stay up until 9:00 PM. Suzanne confirmed this as Sean was getting up too early in the morning. Sean was getting ready for bed, "Craig, you're still here? What are you doing here?" "I thought you might like a bed time story." I told him. Suddenly, Sean wanted to go to bed right away. I had not thought of a story but it came to me that Sean is interested in the Army and I've never told him my experiences in CAP. (Civil Air Patrol) I started the tale. Sean was very interested. He asked lots of questions and was bouncing with excitement during the exciting parts of my story. At 9:15 Paul said the story was over. I told Sean, "We'll continue this next time I babysit." I can easily get three more tales out of my CAP experiences.
Party Photos

March 21, 2005

Review Taxes

Dad and I reviewed the companies taxes I had on the ARS2500. I had to boot into Windows 98 to read them. I think dad was impressed. Turbo Tax works pretty good if you know what you're doing. I was reading the tax book I bought this year. There are still a few items I want to discuss with dad before we submit this return.

March 19, 2005

Speed Dial Numbers

I was programming my $3 Vtech cordless phone. (I also replaced the battery in our old Sony cordless phone. That battery was $10. It was the same battery in the Vtech. I should have bought two of those phones.) I made a list of people I wanted on my speed dial. Then I thought of the order. I would sort them in order by the last digit of their phone number. This worked surprisingly well.

I had an engineer from down south email me with a request of copy of my definitions of Color Temperature and Color Rendition Index. I was a little confused. He obviously found it on my web site so copy it. I think he wanted something all put together in color with my charts etc. I export the HTML to Word and fiddle around- anything for a fan. Ha ha. I spend a least an hour on this. Do you think I got a simple thank you. Of course not.

March 18, 2005


Suzanne called last night. After putting the boys to bed, she had dyed the milk green. Put green Christmas sugar in the sugar bowl, stacked up the cereal boxes on the floor, and put the kitchen chairs on the kitchen table. What was funny, was the boys accused the Leprechauns of all sorts of mischief today, stuff Suzanne had nothing to do with. I started laughing thinking that Sean figured out it was all a scam or at least here was a way for him to blame someone else for anything he wanted. "I didn't break that lamp it was the Leprechauns."

March 27, 2005

Install Windows XP sp2

I've been wanting to upgrade my ARS2500 computer for some time. I don't like Windows and didn't want to spend much money on a upgrade that would be worse than Windows 98se2. With Service Pack 2, it seemed they got most of the bugs out and closed most of the security holes. I started looking for a good buy. I almost bought it when it went on sale for $82 at But they wanted $10 for shipping. Sunday Best Buy had the program for $39 after rebate. Granted it was an upgrade, but I wasn't going to pass up a deal like this. At the same time I got a $3 cordless phone, and a $19 Wireless Network PCI card. (I may not like Best Buy, but they have great prices after rebate.)
I tried to install Windows XP but it kept crashing the computer. Worse, it appears you have to have a connection to the internet. I quickly installed the Wireless card and configured my DSL modem with a WEP password and got on the internet to find whatever the Windows XP installer wanted. This worried me a little. The computer was behind a firewall on the DSL router, but with Windows who knows. I tried installation again. And again. And again. Nothing worked. I got error messages suggesting the CD was defective. The CD drive was new as were all the components in the computer. I couldn't understand this. I took the Program back to Best Buy. They exchanged it with no questions asked. I stopped at the Geek Squad kiosk and asked about problem installations. Not surprising they had no words of wisdom other than to bring the computer in.

This new disk didn't work any better than the last one. It would lock up the computer just before it tried to write to the error log, so I had no way of know what was wrong. I looked on line but didn't find anything. There were no numbers or even email addresses where I could turn to. I did some more reading and decided to try a clean install on my D partition. I made this partition to house Linux at a future date. The installation went like clock work. Bob stopped in to say hello, and then stayed to observe the wonder that is Windows XP. On one hand a clean install is the perfered method of installing the operating system and I still have Windows 98se2 on the C partition (A dual boot system), on the other hand I would have to reinstall all the drivers, programs, utilities, and adjust all the settings. I took hours to do this. The user interface alone took hours as Windows XP out of the box is very ugly. Suddenly Partition D was out of Memory. This seemed impossible. I totaled up the folder sizes and it was impossible. Sure Windows is a memory hog but I was still long almost a gigabit. Luckily, I remembered the page memory. Windows was using a large space on the D partition to store it. I moved it to another partition and got rid of some back up copies Windows XP was keeping of itself. I'm not happy with how much room Windows is hogging up but at least I can live with it for now.

When most everything was back to normal I downloaded Apple's iTunes 4.7 for Windows. This was primary reason for upgrading to Windows XP in the first place. ITunes made it all worth while. Such a nice program, it was cool having access to all my 12,000 songs at the touch of button.

Error Messages

Another reason Windows sucks is cryptic error messages. At least when things go bad with a Mac you have some idea where the problem lies. While installing Windows XP I got the following error messages.

  • 5A8FF5ch
  • 5C9FF5ch
  • I386mfc42.dll to C:\windowssetupmfc42.dll failed. (at least I understood that one even if it wasn't true.)

March 16, 2005

I Appear On The News By Accident

Paul being interviews on KVLY at PDs on FirstLast week Paul got a call from Orlee (Letcher) Howell. She made a reservation for 11 AM at PDs today. She also said they we could join her for lunch. We accepted. Mom had a little office luncheon party but thought she could break away for a few minutes. Dad disappeared as I was working. Suzanne called at 10:15 to remind me. I was not prepared, especial with dad missing. Suzanne offered to pick me up as she was in the neighborhood. I had to race to finish all the work I had lined up on my desk. I brought Suzanne's computer. I was going to show some photos if Orlee had time and if she was interested. We got to PD's on First with lots of time to spare. Waiting around, KVLY showed up to film a news piece at PDs. Paul had invited the CityScapes people and the building owners and tenants to meet at PDs this afternoon. (CityScapes is developing a multi-use structure in downtown Fargo. A city-wide vote is coming up in May. Paul and Suzanne are for the project. Yet certain owners and tenants are unsure, including their landlord.) The television crew shoot a short interview with Paul. I happen to have Suzanne's camera with me so I take a quick photo, with the flash off, so the videographer gives me a dirty look. The camera is moved to record people coming and going.

Normally this is the day Bob and I do lunch. I told him about this lunch last week but he probably forgot. He laughed when I appeared with Suzanne and dad on his television for the 6:00 PM news.

Orlee never showed up, so we ate by ourselves. I called mom at NDSU to tell her to stay put. Suzanne had another engagement and left early. Dad and I took our time eating lunch. Paul stopped by to tell us more tale about his landlord, the press, the city, and the entire City Scapes project. These stories are very entertaining, but the negotiations are delicate. The stories are confidential and require a lot of background, so you're not going to hear them here.

That afternoon Suzanne dropped of Sean and Tim. I watched them until suppertime. Both Suzanne and Paul showed up. They offered dinner at Old Chicago pizza. Mom and dad had other plans, but I went with them. Paul had all the inside gossip from that afternoon's City Scapes meeting. In the days that have since passed, every time I see Paul or Suzanne I have them fill me in on the City Scapes Gossip.

March 15, 2005

Coolant Leak

Two weeks ago (3/8) I was on my way to Taco Bell, thinking, "How come the van isn't heating up?" That evening on the way to Suzanne's the van engine started over heating. I pulled over for a few minutes and then drove at a slow pack to Suzanne's. I took a different route on the way home and keep the speed down but the temperature still climbed pretty high. I told dad the next day. He brought the van in where it was determined it was way low on coolant. I thought it was the thermostat but this seemed a better outcome. I couldn't remember when the last time we put coolant in the engine.

All was well until I drive back from Suzanne's on Friday (3/11). It was doing the same thing. Over the next couple days we drove around town, but had no troubles with it over heating or heating the cab. Monday, dad noticed it was heating up. He stopped at the gas station where they checked the coolant. It was down two quarts. They checked the exhaust and oil. Both appeared clean. Dad called the dealer and the shop. The deal suggested pressure testing it. The guy at the shop said they did pressure test it. This doesn't sound good. Dad made an appoint me at the shop. Today they tore apart the engine. They did find a bad gasket. Tom, the mechanic was a little concerned about the bearings but said as long as we didn't drive it too long, too hard, or too cold they should be okay. I'm sure this is the case. I caught it right away, we didn't drive very far, and it's been relatively mild out.

March 18, 2005

Grandma Anna's 100th Birthday Party

My aunt Judy and Gladys, along with dad have been planning this party for some weeks. Anna is 100 years old, so there isn't a lot you have to do. Elim Nursing home provided the location and cake. I was set, as I had a little slide show of Anna through the years. Both Suzanne and mom asked me to dig out some photos. I had to dig out the closet under the stairway first.

Most of Anna's nearby nephews and nieces showed up for the party. It was nice talking with them. These parties tend to be short so there wasn't a lot of time to talk. I started out taking some photos. I had a nice little chat with Anna. She was miffed that no one told her about the party- of course this isn't true- it's just that she can't remember anything longer than a minute or two. I told her it was a surprise party. "Are you surprised?" I asked. This seemed to stop her for a second. I continued with the fiction that it was a surprise party. This had a calming effect as it explained why no one told her. Ha ha.

As the party wound down, I notice some interest in my slide show which I had set up in the corner. I went over to answer questions. I'm glad I added all the Schneekloth photos to the CD, because once the 100 years of Anna slide show was over they wanted to see what else I had. They got so wrapped up in this they didn't notice the time. By four everyone seemed to leave at once.

March 13, 2005

Dad's Birthday Party At PD's on First

One advantage dad has is his birthday is the day after his mother's. So he can be assured his sister's will be down for the weekend. The night before Sean showed me the suit he was going to wear. I couldn't let my nephew show me up, so I wore my suit as well. Suzanne made a reservation at PDs. It was a quiet night, but Suzanne told me later they did okay that night. The food was good and I had too much to eat. I was sharing with Sean which meant I ate most of his meal, my meal, the appetizers and some of Suzanne's meal. Dad had a good time. The boys were entertaining. I took some photos, as did Suzanne, Tim, Sean and our waitress.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Incredibles

I was telling Suzanne I wanted to see "The Incredibles" one more time on the big screen. Suzanne was telling me she didn't know how she was going to keep the boys occupied for a week while they were out of school during Parent Teacher conferences. I told her I would take the boys to the movie. Events conspired against us, but in the end, Friday was free. During lunch I told Bob of my plans to take the boys the movie. I invited him to join us as he hadn't seen the movie yet. I said nothing when I picked up Sean and Tim. I said nothing when I saw Bob's truck in the parking lot. We waited in a long line. I got the tickets and we went to find seats, "Say, who is they weird guy down there?" I asked. Sean and Tim didn't see anyone. I kept at it but they didn't realize Bob was there until they practically sat on him. Sean had some money was was determined to spend it all on candy, popcorn and soda pop. I tried to talk him out of it, but he still spent almost $12 on junk. The movie was almost as good as last time. I think Tim liked it even more.

March 11, 2005

Scanning Photos: Ugly Beard Club

Victor handed me a photo album from his dad and asked me to scan it. He also found those slides I asked him about last year, however he doesn't remember me asking. Not even when I showed him the photos on my computer that I had scanned from the prints and negatives. (Seattle Film Works film) This time around on the Slide scanner it really seemed like I knew what I was doing and the scans turned out pretty good. Victor's dad's photos were not very good but I did the best I could. While I was preparing a slide show for Grandma Anna's 100th Birthday I had to review almost every photo in my collection. I used this as an excuse to sort out all the photos Victor might be interested in. I also did a subset for my Great Aunt Orlee Howell. I did a small set which featured the Joe Dement family. It took a solid day just to go through all these photos.

Before I shaved off my ugly beard I took some photos so I could do a side by side with Victor's ugly beard which by coincidence was in those slides he located from October 1979.

March 10, 2005

The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle

Suzanne invited me over for ravioli while she was cleaning off the plates we talked about the parent teacher conferences. The teachers like the boys. Tim needs some speech therapy or his tonsils removed or both. Tim's teacher also said he has trouble changing gears. I told Suzanne, "Tim has ADA in reverse." I don't see this as a problem. Most parents would be thrilled to learn the problem their boy has with concentrating is they concentrate too much.

Suzanne showed me some of the boys' school work. It was all pretty impressive. I was really amazed when I could make out the story Tim was writing. He's in kindergarten and is writing sentences I can read!

Monday (3/7) I played Bruce Springsteen's "The Saint, The Incident & The Main Point Shuffle" A bootleg recorded live at the Main Point, Bryan Mawr, Pennsylvania February 5, 1975. At the time I thought it was a bootleg I already had. But what I had was "Smalltown" recorded April 24, 1973 at the Main Point, Bryn Mawr. I started to play the 'Main Point Shuffle' bootleg and was blown away. I just couldn't get over how this music affected me. This morning I wrote a short story based a little on this bootleg and a lot on a daydream I had. [I may start posting these stories some day.] After reading Sean and Tim's little stories, I unfolded my little story and handed it to Suzanne, "I have some homework you can look at too." I don't think she cared much for it. I purposely left it vague like the dream that inspired it. Obviously it was too vague. Now I'm thinking of picking up the story five or ten years later, and having the characters explain what happened.

March 8, 2005

Mac Genealogy

I went to the Fargo Moorhead Computer Society meeting tonight. I thought they might show off a Mac-Mini but they didn't. I stopped at the NDSU bookstore. They had a 20 inch iMac but no Mac-Mini, I think they're hard to come buy right now. I was also interested in seeing the Genealogy demonstration of Reunion. I tried to talk Suzanne into going. I didn't succeed. It didn't help that I call it nerd-fest.

I found my way to Moorhead's Horizon Middle School. The street was icy. The sidewalk was even worse. The library at Horizon is also a member. Candace showed us the Reunion program and did some genealogy for some of the members using After that she led us to the computer lab and let us sign in and surf the web. She had a list of web site. I wasn't all that interested and I started showing some sites that she had missed including genemaas. I had a okay time, but I'm not sure I'll return. On the other hand it's not like I have this big social life.

Two weeks later I got an email from Belgium. A gentleman had found out I had transferred a Dbase database to GEDCOM. I told him the steps that were required. I offered to have a look at his database. In the meantime he found a shareware DOS program which claims to do this automatically.
Roots Master 2.3

March 4, 2005

Update Web Site

Sara wanted to update her web site. I was thinking maybe it was too soon, but then again the customer is always right and who am I to turn away business. I made all the changes she asked for and did a little experimenting with the layout too. I felt a little foolish when I sent a long email about the 'dangers of using small font sizes' and then seeing that danger was over blown- even 10 point looks fine. I think every generation of browser makes the font sizes appear larger, at least that's my theory. Sara must be happy with the work I do, she sent a nice card to me, out of the blue along with a bonus!

March 2, 2005

Fixing PDs Plumbing

I was on my way home when my brother-in-law called. Paul wanted me to stop by his restaurant. He told me there was a problem with the toilet in the ladies restroom. I'm not a plumber, but I have some basic plumbing knowledge, so we took a look at the toilet. It was leaking water from the tank to bowl gasket. Paul told me, "Women have a bad habit of leaning back against the tank like it's a sofa or something." Paul had some basic tools in the restaurant. We emptied the tank, and then took off the bolts. They were not in very good shape. I told Paul, "We need a bolt and gasket kit."

I called Victor. I told him the problem and he agreed I needed a new gasket. I talked and argued about where to find a Geber distributor. Sounds like every distributor is own by the same company. I was tempted to bother Rick Benardee, but Victor said I should call Larry Anderson. I haven't talked to Larry in years, but he still works at a plumbing wholesale house. Larry seemed happy to hear from me. He warned me to find a Geber gasket and replace it. I called around no one had Geber in stock, not even Home Depot were Paul got the toilet. The Gasket was huge on this model. The gasket in the kit wasn't big enough. Those fat women would snap the tank right off the bowl if I put that gasket in. (I ended up using the original gasket. I could have simply bought a bolt kit. I was also disappointed that the washers weren't brass.) Paul told me to pick up some plumbers putty. I used it on all the joints. I stopped at home to get a bigger screwdriver.

I stopped at Home Depot to pick up a Fluidmaster repair kit. When I got back to the restaurant, Paul was with a customer. I didn't want to bother him, so I started work by myself and had the toilet repair before Paul could get back to help. I was a big hero in his eyes. I saved him from having to hire a plumber, and I had the toilet repaired before his diner guests arrived.

[When I found the link for Fluidmaster I saw they had a Monthly Contest and the winner I read was dumber than this story, so I decided to submit this story with a few changes. Just as I was submitting it I saw the contest had expired. So long $100.]

March 1, 2005

Ray and Char Back From A Two Week Cruise

Mom and dad were 45 minutes late getting in, but didn't bother to call me from the Chicago terminal. Sunday I reviewed the photos with mom. She shot through both 128mb CF cards. For $11 they copied her photos to a CD; allowing her to start shooting again. Unfortunately, whatever software they used re-dated all the images to the date and time the CD was burned. I relied and the EXIF data encoded in the JPG files to straighten out the folders and duplications for the images still remaining on the CF cards. Both mom and dad said this was the best cruise they had ever been on. None of the details supported that claim, and I think it was the fact this was their first two week cruise.

February 26, 2005

Tim Incredible

Taking down my bulletin board I was struck by the similarity of a photo of Tim and Mr. Incredible from the Pixar movie. I was going to cut out a hole in the cartoon image and let Tim's smiling mug shine through, but in the end I decided to scan the image and do it right in Photoshop. The biggest change was distorting his jaw, and then doing some minor color correction. I emailed it Suzanne for Tim.

February 25, 2005

Vince and Teresa

Just like last year at this time I had a delivery to make at the Glydon school. Just like last year, dad was on a cruise with mom. Just like last year I called Town and Country Heating to see if Vince would be around. Teresa answered the phone and said Vince would be in the office later that afternoon. So I loaded up the van and headed out to Glydon. I got to the school as the kids were loaded up on the buses. I called their office earlier so I would be sure I could talk with Mike. But when I got there he was driving the bus and was soon gone. I was a little upset they didn't say anything about this when I called earlier. The lady I was talking too was none to bright. She ended up paging the entire maintenance staff to help me unload the van. They opened the door for me and then left, so I was unloading by myself. No big deal.

I got back on Highway 10 and continued on to Hawley. Vince was on the phone when I got too his office. He was happy to see me. I was happy to see him too- it's been a long time. We talked about our days together working at Baker Wholesale. I told him what I've been doing and listened to what he's been up too. Although Teresa told me much of the tale, it's so interesting that I enjoyed it just as much the second time. After putting up the BS at Baker Wholesale for quite a few years, he had finally had enough. Vince did some research and found Hawley was a market that was underserved. Teresa kept her job with the city of Moorhead until Vince's new business 'Town & Country Heating and Air Conditioning' was assured of success. The business is doing well. Teresa does the office work and occasionally helps Vince on the jobs. Vince has hired one additional employee to help me and is thinking about hiring another. The business and their home sit on 23 acres of land on a hill just east of Hawley- something which really impresses me as Fargo is flat and has no hills. As it got later Vince invited me to see their home. They are remodeling so everything was torn apart. Even so I could see it would come together pretty well. I really like Vince and Teresa, so it's very heart warming to see them doing so well. I left feeling really upbeat.

I stopped at Hornbachers and got some groceries. After supper I feel asleep. It was odd, the bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade had no effect on me when I drank it at Vince's, but hours later, after supper, crash! I was too tired to even watch TV.

February 24, 2005


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