Rain and Hell

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much rain. I mean I know it’s monsoon season and all, but this is getting ridiculous. Saw on the news that it is the rainiest its been since 1973. We had to get DPW to come out and put sandbags around the doors of our building because the water started coming in the door.

Into each life some rain must fall I suppose, but what a royal pain in the ass.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Or anything else right now.

stuff about things

Wow. My first post in July. I really had no intention to take such a long hiatis. And I’ve been feeling plenty guilty about it by the way. No excuses, just have not been really motivated to write much lately, but I’m here now and hopefully I will do a better job with this blog commitment. We shall see.

Anyway, let’s play catch up. When we last “spoke” I was holed up in Columbus, Ohio doing my duty to learn all the latest bells and whistles in performance management. Let’s just say “mission accomplished” and move on, shall we?

Upon arrival in DC I was met at the airport by my lovely yobo Carol. We then drove up to Gaithersburg, Maryland to have a couple of drinks with some old postal buddies. Then we made the long drive south to the homestead in Stafford, Virginia. It did feel good to be home. I even mowed the lawn, which is a treat I don’t get to experience in Seoul. Ok, it was still a chore, but once a summer I can handle.

We saw Superman Returns, but I found it rather disappointing. Saturday we had a cookout. London broil and all the fixin’s. Had banana pudding and buttermilk pie for dessert, two of my favorite summertime treats. Best of all was seeing my good friend Dennis again. We sat around the deck drinking telling war stories till late into the night. It was the kind of time I miss most being so far from home.

Over the weekend I got some phone calls from other friends and got caught up on all the latest happenings. Daughter Hillary came home on Sunday and we did another cookout. Had to get as many of those in as possible. Even though I cook out on my patio a couple of times a week, it just ain’t the same when you’re not breaking bread with family and friends.

Monday morning we headed down to South Carolina to see my parents, children and that sweet granddaughter Gracyn. It was good to be on a road trip again with my faithful navigator Carol. Even if it was I-95. Leaving Monday worked great because we missed almost all of the holiday weekend traffic.

My parents have really got their new house looking good. Mom seems real happy there. And when momma’s happy life is much easier for Dad. Renee brought Gracyn by while she did some work and it was so much fun babysitting. I hadn’t seen Gracyn since she was a newborn, and what a difference a year makes. She is so funny. Quite the ham, and a bundle of energy. And a smile that almost never quits. Here’s some pictures:

It took her awhile to figure out who this new guy was, but by the end of the day we were playing peek-a-boo and laughing like crazy people…

Great Grandpa built this nice sandbox in the backyard so Gracie could practice her engineering skills….

Gracie loves the water, and what kid can resist a hose on a hot summer’s day?

Here she is with her mother and father. I am so proud of what a great mother Renee is. And Gracie just adores her daddy…

Here she is with her favorite Uncle and Aunt, Kevin and Lynn. They are all so good together. I also got to see Kevin’s house all finished up. Lynn is quite the decorator and the place just looked so nice and comfortable. They are celebrating their first anniversary this week with a romantic cruise. Way to go you guys!

Mark and Renee hosted the Independence Day celebration at their house. Another wonderful night of cooking out and catching up. We also went out to a local pub to satisfy my urge to practice darts. Kevin used to kick my butt in golf regularly and I was looking forward to some sweet revenge. Things started out well with me dominating the cricket game, but the boy took me in 501, won the diddle, then beat me again in 501. Looking forward to that rematch Kevin!

All too quickly it was time to head back north to Virginia. We stopped at a Stuckey’s in North Carolina so I could purchase some Southern treats for the folks in Korea. Grabbed some pecan rolls, boiled peanuts, salt water taffy and the like. The pecan rolls got mixed reviews from the Koreans who work with me…half thought them too sweet. No one had ever even heard of a boiled peanut before, but they went quick. Too bad they were from a can, because they taste best hot out of the pot.

My week at home went by way too fast, but it was all good. Except the saying goodbye part. So after 17 hours in the air plus a layover in San Francisco, I was back in the Land of the Morning Calm. I did run into a dart league buddy in San Francisco which was kinda cool. He was flying back after taking his young Korean girlfriend home to meet the folks. He’s about six inches taller than me (and I’m 6’1″), so everytime I started feeling miserable in my cramped coach seat, I walked back to have a look at him being even more miserable in his. Hey, its all about perspective, right?

Anyway, I am back in my normal routine. Working and playing darts for the most part. The darts had been going well. I was undefeated through the first four weeks of the season and was ranked number one in B division. I say was because I got my clocked cleaned in singles Monday night. Ah well, I didn’t like the pressure of being first anyway. Not that I didn’t want to stay there. It’s a long season (22 weeks) and my personal goal is a top ten finish with a 75% win rate. Our team has not lost a match as yet and we intend to hold on to the top spot in the standings. “Bring it on!” as a wise man once said….

Jim from Dolce Vita built a couple of dart board cabinets so we can practice at home. All I paid for was the lumber. A generous gesture indeed. So Saturday I drove over to Dolce to transport our cabinets home. Except my car didn’t want to start. Battery would barely crank but I finally got it going. Knew better than to turn it off though. After finally making it up the narrow alley, I parked in a wide spot (relatively speaking) and we loaded up. By the time I got to Jim’s place, I was having to do the one foot on the brake one on the gas thing to keep my hoop dee running. As I headed to my house I knew there was no way I was going to make it home and you do not want to break down on Itaewon Blvd on Saturday afternoon (hell, I had no business driving there on Saturday afternoon, it is pure gridlock). So, I headed for the closest place to the USA I could find, Yongsan Garrison. There’s a garage on post I use and we speak the same language (mostly). Well, I made it on base, but the car was fading fast. The garage is up a hill and that’s where my old piece of shit car gave up the ghost. Half way up that is. So I let it roll on down and parked it as best I could. Put a note on the windshield and walked back into town. (The garage was closed due to a power outage).

Played in the Blue Frog tournament and despite how I must have smelled after being soaked in sweat (or maybe because of it) took two first places. This of course called for a celebration so it was back to Dolce Vita for some shots (Duke took a first and second, Jim had a second and third, so we were all pretty happy). After we closed Dolce at 2:30 that morning Duke and his girlfriend Ji Yong invited me to join them for some Korean food. As we walking to the restuarant we encountered a confrontation on the street (hey, that’s not that unusual that time of night in Itaewon). What was unusual was that Jim and YJ were in the middle of it. As was JJ, a perpetually drunk Korean who on occasion patronizes Dolce Vita. Don’t know what started it, but about 6 drunk Korean women were going after JJ. Jim and YJ were trying to keep them all apart, and somehow Jim wound up on the ground. Duke and I restrained JJ (with more than a little difficulty) and then I started using my “big voice” and waving my arms telling everyone to just calm down. I think I must have scared them, because things broke up pretty quickly after that. Well, no one was hurt or arrested, so all’s well that end’s well I suppose.

I had my car towed to the garage on Monday, but the garage was closed on Monday’s and Tuesday’s (I probably should remember that by now). So, I was cabbing it this week (I did walk once). Didn’t realize how bad my pronuciation was as I had the hardest time making the drivers understand where I wanted to go. But hand gestures got me there. And yeah, I should have much better Korean speaking skills by now. So sue me.

Picked up the car today. Another $160.00 invested in a piece of junk, but it is MY piece of junk and I’m going to keep it. For now.

Hey, check out my dart setup:

Pretty cool, eh?

And the long view:

Thanks again, Jim.

All right, I am almost finished. Andy, one of the bloggers at The Marmot’s Hole invited me to join his fantasy football league. WooHoo! I’m looking forward to renewing an old hobby. Plus I can bore you with something besides dart league stories. Betcha can’t wait for that, eh?

Also, I was surprised to discover that the expat blogger I admire the most actually linked me on his blog. Thanks, Kevin. Or should I say “dad”. Of course, I’ve been feeling guilty about not posting anything new for a month, but now that I’ve got all this drivel out of my system maybe I can come up with a worthy post.

If anyone made it to this, the actual end of the longest and most boring post in the sordid history of LTG, you have my thanks and my sympathy. Leave a comment so I can identify the masochists among us.

Whew. So that’s what carpal tunnel syndrome feels like!

Oh yeah, ONE more thing: Nolan, come for a visit! We’ll have a blast. And I’ll show what real darts is all about. Then you can beat me at pool. Deal?