Sitton On The Beach  

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas






    We drowned our sorrow ( all but one of us) in Cordon Bleu Eggnog!                                 Pappy enjoying eggnog!

                                  Sad Day in Aggieland.....


              Michael and Erin making cake balls for the Thanksgiving feast!        One aggie and one longhorn........usually spells trouble...but not with this couple!


November 22, 2011

It’s just after dawn, I’m watching it rain thru the big picture windows here at “Sitton on the Lake”.  We need rain so much, what a blessing.  The only lights this morning are the white Christmas lights in the banister garland that swag across the loft rail and flow down the spiral staircase, the warm glow of the flickering fireplace and in Linda’s kitchen….  She’s stirring something smelling of delicious sautéed onions and corn bread….   Andy Williams and Dean Martin are crooning Christmas music on low behind me as I sit in my big recliner with my feet up watching the fire…..  much different than this time last year.

Last year we were beginning our journey on our way to a Florida Christmas.. all alone… no family…. in the cold winds of late November.  Christmas was spent frozen inside SYL at the deserted Destin Boardwalk with lights strung up to the masthead.  It was fun, but not the warm family event we love so much.  Linda’s in heaven!  She has a permanent smile on her face this time of year as we decorate and cook with family.

Mom and Dad are here with us, other family members check in daily as we plan the big Thanksgiving event.  We anxiously quiz each one on the phone about their arrival time as the week plays out differently for everyone.  Every year life situations are different…. Life happens….. as it should.   Plans are loosely forming for Christmas too…. Naturally, those with young kids have Christmas morning around their own tree, larger gatherings fall as they may around Santa’s arrival.

The pre-frontal rain has kept the morning dark as a fresh cool front sees the last few miles of Texas.  The clearing dry winds will soon rush overhead from behind us and across the Sabine River…...  As I watch the water that defines Texas’ Eastern border out the window….  the prevailing SE winds haven’t been displaced by Northerlies yet so it remains drizzly and soothing to the dry soil and the all but empty lake.  The low water does provide a nice beach below the bulkhead… it’s nice to have that to walk.

The Pyracantha bushes and Holley trees are loaded heavily with the seasons red berries.  Linda is using fresh bows to decorate the house.  Speaking of red berries… my mom brought my favorite thanksgiving treat… her grandmother’s recipe of cranberry salad.  I just got a small bowl of it.  The secret ingredient is to throw some orange peel in with the oranges when you grind it up.  It gets a Jello base, but it’s mostly ground cranberries and oranges.


Not much else to report this morning…..  Tis’ the Season ~*~*~*

1:30PM… The North wind has arrived.  There hasn’t been much clearing yet, but the waves are going a different direction out there on the lake.  I haven’t accomplished much today.  I did hammer on a couple boat props today. 

The initial running of the two props I built for my RC boat showed room for improvement and I finally felt good enough to mess with them today.  I initially applied lots of cup to both props to make sure they would would get the boat on plane easy, but it looks like that was unnecessary so I took it out.  They both had good acceleration but the 2 blade prop had too much overall pitch, the cup reduction will help in two ways.  #1 with less cup, the prop will be closer to the average pitch I need.  #2 Less cup means a reduction in blade progression.  Less progression always means more top end, but it also means the prop will need to be very close to the exact pitch required for that top end.  The 3 blade prop needed more top end, but its problem was a lack of pitch so I opened up the leading edge near the tips to see how that works out.

I’m sure you didn’t come to this website to get my take on how to beat on boat props…… lol.  I just get windy sometimes.  Sorry. 




                              Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Last year we were huddled up in SYL on the boardwalk in Destin, Florida accumulating ice in our sails.  It was the first time I had ever been away from family at Christmas and I decided it was the LAST time I would ever be away from family for Christmas.  At the last minute I tried to find a rental car but there was none to be had.  Rusty promised me that from now on we would be home for Christmas.  Hence, we left SYL in Brunswick, Ga this year. 

This was my first year to have Christmas at home and not on Berry Road ( the big house).  The lake house is now our residence and I have had fun decorating the lake house from Christmas, another first.  Our property has a lot of Pyracantha on the land and it's branches were dragging the ground they were so full of berries.  Pappy helped me cut some and we put in on the staircase and the mantle. 


                                                 Rusty working on props.                                       Rusty showing off his prop collection.

November 13, 2011

Katie and Dean introduced us to Gilhoolys in San Leon.  A couple from Dallas knew of this great eatery that was just a few miles from us.  Their claim to fame is their oysters.  We had them raw on the half shell and "Oysters Shrimp Gilhooly's" (baked oysters with parmesan cheese and a shrimp on top--yum)

What a fun day we had yesterday.  First, Rusty is off until December 1st....WooHoo!  Second, we met a group of sailing enthusiasts from Dallas.  Dean and Katie apparently followed Kaleo's blog and when Matt and Christie moved back to Dallas they hooked up.  There was another couple that Matt and Christie had met and gone sailing with on Eagle Lake in Dallas and they and their good friends also came to town for the Boat Show and we were able to meet them as well.  It was a great group.  We met Katie and Dean on their 44' Hunter, "Our Way Too".  It is a lovely boat.  Dean and Katie hope to be cruising soon.  In fact, Katie will be moving onboard after Thanksgiving. Dean will continue to work in Dallas during the week until they are ready for Dean to retire and for their adventure to begin.  After a lovely visit on "Our Way Too" we headed out for the boat show.  It was at the boat show we meet up with the other two couples.  The other two couples hope to cruise but they are a little further away from retirement (they definitely have "the cruising bug").   At the boat show we Rusty's finalized the deal on our new ".  We will probably have it shipped to Brunswick in March.  We did find a duel headset that I have been wanting.  Katie and Dean have the same set and they love it.  It is called the "marriage saver".  It allows you to communicate to each other from any where on the boat.  This is especially important when docking.  We currently use hand signals but this will be much, much better.  If is very hard to hear what someone is saying when they are on the bow and you are in the cockpit.  I am really excited about using these headsets.  Later in the day a workbuddy of Dean's join the group with his wife.  Lunch was  predictably good fare at Landry's on the Boardwalk and then we were introduced to Gillhooly's in San Leon.  The weather was perfect, cool but not cold.  It threaten to rain a couple of times but it was a false alarm.  What a great way to start out our "vacation". 

Today we will pack up and head to Beaumont.  I have a wedding shower at 3:00pm.  Then we will either spend the night in Beaumont or go on to the lake.  We are going to have a wonderful two weeks. 

Sea Yawl Later!!



November 11, 2011

Winter has arrived.  A cold front has hit, the temperatures have dropped and we have started turning our thoughts to the next cruising season.  Tomorrow is the Kemah Boat Show and Jazz Festival.  We are hoping to pick up a "Natures Head" at a good price.  We have fought our current head system for 2 years and have cried "uncle".  We have never been able to get the "aroma" completely gone.  Ted and Mili on "Morning Glory" (another Seawind) have a "Natures Head" and love it.  It is a composting head.  You would think you would have more "aroma" issues but you don't.  I have spent enough time on "Morning Glory" to know if there were issues.  No more pumping-YES!  Rusty can install it when we get to Brunswick.  Rusty has started ordering parts and materials for SYL but I will leave the more technical discussions for him.  I know he has ordered at new throttle and parts and is going to refurbish wenches.

Rusty's finished his latest TA today.  He will be off until December 1st and then he will start his last TA for this year.  He should finish mid March.  Normally, we would be done for this year but Rusty wants to bring someone ( we will explain later) onboard JV and he needs to be here to do that.  We are excited to have this time off.  We are going to the Boat Show tomorrow and then head for Beaumont and the lake.  Two weeks at the lake.....WooHoo!!!  We are going to have Thanksgiving there for the first time.  I hope to get some of my paintings and furniture moved in.  It has always just been our weekend place but now it is our home and I want to "nest".  I am not sure where we will have Christmas....I am seriously thinking the lake....not Beaumont. 

I am trying to go organic in our diet.  Trying to find meat that has not been given antibiotics and hormones is not easy.  Recently I discovered that the Target here in Nassau Bay sells organic chicken.  I am trying very hard to lose some weight.  If I am going to continue to cruise I must lose some weight not to mention it would be good for my health.  I am convinced that all the hormones that are given to animals have played a part in why it is soooo hard for me to lose weight.  Mostly, it is my fault but in the past 20 years even when I have tried by cutting caloric intake down to 500-600 hundred calories I still did not have much success.  I have found something that is working.  I stay on 500 calories for 14 to 21 days and take HCG drops ( this is called Phase 2) and lose weight.  I then go on "maintenance"  (phase 3) for a few weeks and repeat process.  I have done this two times so far and have lost 44 pounds.  Now I am on maintenance again.  I just hope to maintain my current weight until January and then I will do Phase 2 again.  I still have a long way to go but for the first time in a long time I feel like I have a chance of making it.  I just want to get healthy and be more mobile.  Last year when we came home I was not sure if I could physically continue to cruise.  Now, I am confident that my cruising days are not over.  I am trying to learn how to cook differently.  I am learning, but it is hard.  I am use to southern family style, Paula Deen kind of cooking and that has got to change.  I have discovered I can cook without

Sea Yawl Later!!


November 3, 2011

Yesterday I went to the Apple store for another "one on one".  I have been spending hours on the computer trying to increase my skill level.  I have several goals.  One is to be able to cut and edit movies, be able to make slideshows to give as gifts and to be able to publish this website on my own and to have it look better.  I want to learn how to create links, etc.  So that is how my days are being spent.  Rusty continues to work the TA at Dow in Texas City and will until about November 14th.  Phase 2 of my diet is going well.  Today I have lost the weight I had gained when I was off for the few weeks.  So from now until November 18, I will hope to lose another 24 lbs. 

Sea Yawl Later!!


November 1, 2011

I have been installing the OSX Lion Operating system on to my laptop since 2:00pm yesterday.  It is almost finished.  Whew....this took a long time.  I am going to explore the possibility of changing the website to Mac or something I can work on.  My goal this off-season is to become more computer literate.  Unlike my son it is not intuitive.  My brain is not wired for "techie stuff".  I have arranged for Stuart to go to my friends Family Practice in Baytown.  He has been having issues for a while.  I am pretty sure it is neck related and I doubt anything can be done but it is time to check it out.  It would have to get substantially worse before surgery would be considered.  Day 5 of Phase 2 of my diet is going well.  I am still losing the few pounds I gained during Phase 3 but I should be losing new weight in a couple of days.  My goal is to add another 24 lb weight loss to make it a nice round number of 60 lb.  I will then take a break and do round 3 of Phase 2 in January.  Yeah, I think the Operating system is finished loading on my Mac.  One of the things I would like to do is have a gallery of photo's with the web site.  We have literally thousands of beautiful photos.  One of the things I learned to do yesterday at Apple was a method of organizing my photo's.  This new OP system has some new whistle and bells.  I love the mouse.  This new iCloud feature is amazing.  It will wirelessly sync your phone (if you have an iphone), your ipad and any other Mac computer.  For example, you can enter a new contact and iCloud will automatically update your other Apple products.  Cool..huh.  I will have to turn that capability off when we are in the Bahamas because you have to buy bytes there and you would need more control.  Well, off to play with my new system.

Sea Yawl Later!!


October 31, 2011

Today I went to the Apple store and had some instruction on my Mac and Ipad.  They have a neat program. It is called "One on One".  For $100.00 you can make unlimited hour appointments with their personnel.  It is great.  Hopefully by the time we leave I will be able to utilize all the applications.  Our web site is not Mac so that is a bummer.  We can't really do any designing because the program is to complicated for us.  Stuart, my son,  fixes things when we are in deep trouble but it is just emergency measures.  I have started round 2 of my diet so the next 20 days are going to be 500 calories a day.  I will be on maintenance by Thanksgiving, so I will just need to maintain for the holidays.  Round 3 will begin in January. 



October 29, 2011

Yesterday Erin came to visit and to drop off Zoey, my grand-dog, for me to dog-sit for a couple of days.  Erin has a 54 lb, year old Weimaraner dog.  Her boyfriend Michael has a 57 lb 7 month old Weimaraner.  They are sweet dogs but they are a hand full, meaning they are not the most disciplined dogs I know.  I can't handle them both.  Michael and Erin were going to a costume party at the Houston Museum of Natural Science last night and to the Renaissance Festival today.  Michaels family is watching Kloe and I have Zoey.  I am enjoying her but I WILL be ready to give her back.  I just got a call from E and they will be picking up Zoey tonight.  Last night Rusty went to bed before me because I wanted to watch the World Series....Boo Hiss.....Rangers lost, so when Zoey and I came to bed, Zoey, all 54 lbs of her wanted to sleep between Rusty and I.  Rusty said, No I would rather not.  I ended up sleeping on the couch with Zoey because I was afraid she would bark or whine if I put her in the kennel.  She had to go outside at 2:00 am.  Then she wanted to chew on her 2 foot long chew bone made like a candy cane that I bought her.  I had to hide it under me and it took her about 30 minutes to calm down enough to go back to sleep.  Now this is not a full size couch.  I woke up a couple of time with my leg asleep because of this 55 lb weight laying on my legs.  It really is like taking care of a small child.

                                             Erin went to the costume party as a cat.  This is her attempt at being menacing.  LOL!


October 24, 2011

Rusty had this weekend off and we elected to stay around the condo since his TA starts today.  Saturday we drove to Sugarland in the Mustang to a RC shop.  The RC shop was mainly about airplanes not boats so it was a disappointment.  The weather was gorgeous and we drove with the top down and had lunch at Pappasitos so the trip was not a bust. We spent the remainder of the weekend inside the condo.  Sunday Rusty's stomach was really giving his trouble.  I guess Pappasitos did not sit well.   Usually Prilosec takes care of him but yesterday he was eating Tum's and Prilosec like candy and he still had trouble all night.  Not a great way to start a TA.  Hopefully, things will improve as the day goes on.  I miss blogging but there really isn't much to write about.  Right now I am making some Christmas presents and  reviewing our insurances with the hopes of finding lower premiums.  Insurances and taxes is where most of our money goes.  I do think I have found some savings.  I am also looking into buying some rental property but that is a maybe.  We are approaching retirement time ( I am already there) and you sure can't even keep up with inflation on CD's etc.  The stock market scares me, it makes no sense to me. It seems to me it is being manipulated by computers, but what do I know.  I know if I don't understand it I don't want to invest in it.  I feel bad for those folks who are having to retire right now and were counting on earning just a little on their savings.  Still, we are better off than a lot of people.  Rusty does have a job that is pretty recession proof.  TA's can be put off but they can not be eliminated and he works for a great company, JV Industrial, who has been soooo good about Rusty just working a few months out of the year.  He can earn enough to fill our cruising kitty. 

These photo's were taken from our condo's balcony.

        Sunrise looking to the left from balcony of our condo towards Kemah harbor   Sunrise looking straight across from balcony of our condo at lighthouse and South Shore

October 19, 2011

The new job is a chip shot, a small TA that will require only a small crew and a couple weeks to accomplish.   The people are nice and my office is easy to access, I can drive right up to it instead of having to walk in or take a golf cart in.  All in all, conditions are good in Texas City. 

The next job I have my eye on is much larger, so much so that it may require an assistant.  As with everything in this industry nobody knows how it will happen until it does… so Linda and I keep our suitcases dusted off and zippers well oiled… lol.

Not everybody in the industry travels as much as we do, but some travel more.  There are schedulers that span the globe while others work from the same office every day.  We fit somewhere in the middle…. We are willing to travel, but we like to stay within the geographical limits of SE Texas.  “Boomers” like we have become the past five years, travel and chase overtime.  Previously when I was raising kids and spent my time around the house, I wanted a steady job, and that is certainly available in my line of work.  One day we may choose the home style job scenario again, but these days we swing the bat hard then run fast to the next base before we stop and rest a while….

Every company I schedule for has its own corporate personality.  I find the different “company line” purveyed by the places I go an interesting study.  Some locations treat their people like office supplies, when they run out they just order more with total indifference to anything vaguely resembling a personal nature.  The apparent indifference to human dignity and professionalism at some sites is appalling.  Buzzwords of the industry replace caring conversation….  Human supplies are to be crumpled and left underfoot in the day’s duty.  Others sites like this one….. have a comfortable family feel.  People treat each other with assumed dignity that is graciously expected in return.  I totally believe the complexion of a company’s workplace is a direct reflection of upper management.  The people that succeed in a company always reflect the processes and thought patterns of their manager.

Sometimes I observe bad behavior in the “grappling for the top” middle management ranks while upper management maintains his pale glow of innocence.  Some weak and less confident upper managers enjoy a perfect smile on the golf course and at board meetings… but believe they need a barking dog underneath them to handle “things”.  While poor manners may not be exhibited directly as a pattern for success in a toxic organization…. quickly sliced friends and human indifference may be the bloody.. well trod path to the top in his structure.  Either way poor business manners are a reflection of upper management either by direct example or by proxy.

Today’s economy may have sharpened some claws that would otherwise be pouched…..  but come on.. this isn’t the great depression.  Being a hardliner is still a choice, not a necessity.  A comfortable work environment builds productivity and draws the cream to the top.  Bottom-liners that stomp their way up can have it all in my opinion… if that’s what it takes to succeed in his environment. 

As you may be able to tell………. I’m very glad to be away from a certain un-named customer where attributes like grace and dignity are cast off like bad habits…. They can have those places where tightly woven industry buzzwords and a sharp knife half way out of the scabbard is the mark of a successful man.  Starkly different ways of achieving the same goal live amazingly close to each other here in Houston.  I may be overstating one Samurai executive’s bad nature…. probably not… if I said the name and you knew him, you would undoubtedly recognize my description.  It just goes to show you that life IS a box of chocolates….. doesn’t it?  Milk Chocolate for me please…… and if you find that one with the caramel center… I’m old enough now to ask for it.

As you might be able to tell, I wasn't very busy today so I did some writing.  There are times on my job that require 150% of my attention and other time spent waiting on information or dates that make it crazy again.  These days I'm really Jonesing on RC boat props..... I have kept my little prop in my pocket since I built it.  I'm excited to try it, but I know I may need to make big changes to make it right.  That's the fun of prop building..... you have to test it.... to know if what you think is right really IS. 

The brass prop on the left is the largest prop my RC boat builder sent.  I have no doubt that to many of you... it doesn't look much different than what I made (the silver one)  Trust me... it is.

The big tongue on the leading edge of the brass prop slows it down, mine doesn't.  The tips of the brass prop are hard to spin (mine will spin easier out of a turn) making more power quicker....  My prop has more pitch at the trailing edge for higher top speed.  It's very hard to tell by these pictures but the silver prop is very different than the brass one.  Mine is a tad larger in diameter with the same amount of low pitch blade area but also higher pitch and more rake than the bronze prop.  I expect more top end and hope for more acceleration.

It's obvious the holes are different sizes.....  my prop runs on a 1/4" shaft, the brass prop uses a smaller shaft.  I have both shafts that fit my boat.  Naturally the larger shaft is stronger, but I have found a larger hub prop has a definite performance advantage, so mine being a "big hub" model is a plus.  All these small things add up to a large difference.  Winning has everything to do with gathering up many small advantages as possible..... racing is in the details.


October 17, 2011

The recent "lake time" was more than welcome but too short lived.  More good times than that's always good.  The new boat was really fun... so far it's cost about 300 dollars a lap.... lol.  That cost per lap will get better as we sort out the problems.  I bought electric because it was so easy, just plug it in, seal it up so no water gets in it and go play..... ooooopsss... that didn't happen.  The builder is making it good though, so far the boat has melted two speed controllers and three 100 dollar batteries and has come in with water inside every time.  I still haven't figured why it's taking on water......  That thing is fast though.....  We will get it sorted out, I still have hopes and really like the hull.  The boat sits pretty on the water and turns hard and solid.

I built two props, neither one of them is proven..... not enough run time to test them.   I have kept the boat in a well proven / conservative trim... and will do so until the platform is ready to test different setups and props.  This prop profile looks like an eagle in flight doesn't it?  Now if it works on the boat as well as it looks in pictures..... lol.

The trick prop I built will only work on an electric boat that makes 30K rpms. It's beautiful. If it doesn't run fast I'll make a necklace out of the thing..... It probably needs more cup.  If it will get on plane like it is..... it will be fast.  Every trick I know is in this thing... plus one that I've seen on some of the better RC props.  It's a work in progress, but I really like the blade shape, rake and pitch progression. The basic shape is a proven winner on the drag boat circuit, but  the clipped and leading edge tip treatment are a departure from the norm....

Top speed on this prop is (in my mind) a given... the questions are it's get on plane ability and overall pitch.  The blade is slightly larger in diameter and higher pitched than the largest prop the "expert" sent me with the boat, yet it should spin hard and free out of the corners due to the leading edge treatment at the tips.  The leading edge tongue near the hub that normally makes a prop accelerate hard (but slower on the big end) is handled well on this prop.  Plenty leading edge diameter near the hub, but no draggy lip. The clipped tips will really let it spin hard out of the turns, so it should be a good electric prop.  This thing has some high pitch at the hub, so we will see.  When I get the boat solid, I'll go to the next step (that I'll really enjoy)....  playing with props.

I'm back in Clear Lake, going to a new job tomorrow.  Safety training in the morning.... then to a new jobsite for a few weeks then who knows.  This next little job is a chip shot, then there is a longer duration job in the wind.  The construction industry is very fluid... The job after next may last thru February... but again nothing is certain.

Back in the saddle tomorrow.......


October 16, 2011

Sunrise at the lake.  This is the scene that greets us every morning here at the lake.  It is a wonderful place to decompress.  The weather here at the lake is magnificent.  Cool yet sunny with crystal clear skies.

On Tuesday I got a call from Rusty about 9:30 am and he said "pack, we are going to the lake".  Now this was a job he was suppose to end sometime in December but plans changed and it was decided that JV would only do the discovery work and hand off the rest to another company.  This means Rusty's responsibilities were over.  We were packed and headed to the lake within a couple of hours.  We got here with his new boat that afternoon.  We had been here about two hours and off we went to get "White Lightening" wet for the first time.  This was the beginning of a long, sad saga.  The short version is the speed controller "blew up" damaging one of his lithium batteries plus the boat was taking on water.  This all happened after about 5 laps.  He called the man who built the boat who told him he had recently had five, now six of these controllers blow up.  Rusty told the fella that he was off for the first time in 40 days and really would like to play with his new toy.  The part was sent from New York and got here Saturday morning.  It took some soldering and other installment procedures, it was off to the lake to play.  Rusty returns within the hour and the controller blew again.  To say he was frustrated is mild.  He doesn't know what they are going to do. 

On the bright side, some of our cruising family, Matt and Christie, came to the lake for a couple of days.  It was sooooo good to see them. Matt had just crewed for Harvest Moon.  Pappy and Larry had caught 60 yellow bass, filleted them, and Larry our neighbor came to our house and we had a fish fry.  Other neighbors brought sides and we had a "feed" as Rusty call's it.  Larry cooks the best fried fish in Southeast Texas.  Today Rusty did his famous baby back ribs and stand-up chicken.  Add some jambalaya, salad, Grannie's awesome creamed potatoes, corn and garlic bread and we were all in heaven.

Most of the guy's ran their boats this afternoon.  We took a tour of the lake and Christie and Matt did a little drag racing ( see the photo's).

White Lightening getting wet for the first time. 
Sitton On The Lake---we are high and dry!
Boy's and their Toy's!!
From cruising to drag racing!!!  Matt the master.... and Leadfoot Christie... screaming all the way...


October 8, 2011

Rusty's new boat came in yesterday.  We thought we would be able to go to the lake to test out the new vessel but Rusty's new TA needed him to start right away.  Soon, soon, very soon!

Rusty's new "boat".  He is working a new TA and I am sure he will blog some details as soon as he has a moment!

October 7, 2011

                                 Taking the grandchildren to the vet.                                                 Erin, Zoey and Kloey


October 6, 2011

I just spent a few days in Beaumont visiting with my daughter and a dear friend from the Crooked Islands.  Lynne and Jim hosted us for over a week when we were on our way back from the Turks and Cacaos last April.  We had stopped to stay for a day at Crooked on our way to meet the Texas Navy for Easter.  Lynne had heard us talking to a passing vessel and we mentioned we were from Beaumont.  Lynne is originally from Beaumont and her mother still lives in Beaumont.  She contacted us, as it turned out we were anchored in front of their house, and a wonderful friendship was begun.  They treated us like family, driving us all over the island, introducing us to their marvelous friends, and we ended up staying over a week.  Lynne and Jim also have a home in New Orleans but Lynne comes fairly often to see her mom.  I took Erin by to meet her and her mother's caregiver Pat.  Turn's out Pat worked at the Monosorri school that Erin and Stuart attended when they were very young.  I continue to be surprised at how small this world really is.

Rusty's TA end's on Friday.  Since last Sunday we have gone through several different scenarios.  Initially we thought this TA season was over for us.  We had told Gary our condo manager, decided we would go to the lake this weekend stay until next Thursday, bring a U-Haul back, clean out the condo, pick up some furniture we have stored at Stuart's and spend some time at the lake.  We were excited about this prospect.  We "should" do another TA but we don't "have" to.  Then it looked like Orange might be a possibility.  We really liked that idea.  Rusty could stay at his folks which would put us one hour from the lake and I could spilt my time between the lake and Buna.  There is so much I would like to do at the lake so I was looking forward to being there a while.  Then Rusty's boss called and they had a urgent situation.  A plant in Pasadena had a "burn out"....a fire.  They were going to need to get this section of the plant up and running.  JV really needed him in Pasadena. That was not our first choice but, JV has been so good about working with our lifestyle that the company "needs" preempts our "wants".  So for the next two day's Rusty will be at the Pasadena plant in the morning walking the job and be at Noltex in the afternoon to finish things up.  So for today at least, we will not be going to the lake, and Rusty should be working through the end of the year. 

We signed a lease for the first time this year.  In previous years we had sailed SYL home.  Usually when Rusty start's a TA he has a pretty good idea how long it will last.  We thought he would be at Dow until February so we signed a lease.  NEVER again.  This landlord has been a dream and not held us to our lease.  Not only that, but our move out date has changed so many times I have lost count.  We have offered to go on and move out but he has just been super, asking only that we give him 30 days notice.  This magnanimous attitude can not be counted on by other landlords so signing leases is not something I will want to do again.  This year has been really strange in our jobs changing so rapidly.  Gary, our landlord, said he didn't know how we could live this way, with things changing moment by moment.  I just laughed as said we kind of like is part of the adventure.  Now, if I had children at home that would be totally different, but we don't and I have really grown to like the uncertainty of our life. 

Cindy, my friend in Baytown, and I are going shopping for materials to make some Christmas gifts.  It is an idea that LaVonne, from Cat's Meow, shared with me.  I am really excited about it.  I have a ton of errands to run so I guess I had better get busy.

Sea Yawl Later!!


October 2, 2011

Sunday morning at Noltex

The job is definitely winding down.  P6 shows us 86% complete this morning.  In general schedule execution was good.  Due to the shaky start, the early “on boarding” phase lasted longer than it should have.  I took over the schedule on the second day of execution so I started out way behind the 8 ball. 

When you begin a TA with all your ducks in a row, your first job is to get the field labor on board with you, help them understand that reporting progress and working the schedule is a good thing.  Not being able to produce a clear work direction the first few days delayed the confidence you need to get everybody working the plan.  On boarding went a little long, but we did eventually get a buy in from the field hands.

The foreman in the field know only one thing.. to puts his head down and runs at the work as hard as he can.  It’s my job to shine the light in front of him so he doesn’t hit a blind alley.  Conducting the labor orchestra is only part of what Primavera can do.

Reporting progress is the other half of what Primavera does.  You can slice up reported progress in many ways.  For instance if progress isn’t as good as expected overall, I can drill down and find out why using customized reports.  I can inform the client if the bottleneck is due to scaffolding work, towers, welding, crane usage or whatever…. That information gives management the ability to do his job.  He can add more scaffold workers, or focus his work on a particular discipline like pumps or tanks.. depending on what P6 shows lagging. 

On a small job bottlenecks are vivid; it’s easy to see how to manage.  But when you have 500 workers on days and 400 on nights, you better keep the right work in front of them or you can get off base quickly without knowing until it’s too late.  Being a good steward of the customers money is just good business. 

If one man could possibly manage the job in his brain without P6, it would take the full duration of the TA just to assemble the communication network required to execute his orders.  Early planning and computers are in the game to stay.  Stand those dominoes in a row early, then push the first one over when the TA begins.. after that…. all that’s left is to manage the ones that fall off the table.  These are gross oversimplifications, but they create an easy to understand outline of what I do when I’m not at my preferred job…. a marine chauffer /beach junk collector.

If I had to design the best lifestyle possible for me, the list would have to include the following:

Live the rest of my life in Crocs and become a junk man… checking out undisturbed remote beaches looking for hidden treasure and if I get bored, make stuff out of what I find to trade for generator gas and flour.. lol.   The best part is… I have already found some of those beaches and want to go back!  Well, the client just came by and gave me an exit date of October 7th (next Friday).  Now the fun part is to decide what comes next….  Being a sailor has taught Linda and me to be flexible… if nothing else.