Wednesday, November 26, 2008

E Friday (OK, I know I'm early, call it Virtual Friday)

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics. Yes, I know, it’s not Friday, but I will probably be too busy then to post, and I said it wouldn’t come but here it is. Suffer.

Look who I found at the Las Vegas airport on Saturday:

Some little one (there in the middle) dancing around after two hours on a plane. I was sitting just watching people go by when this little voice came up ‘Where is grammy?’. That’s it, not interested in granddad at all except for a pointer to grammy. Ah well, at least she noticed me.

After finding grammy down the other side looking for her E proceeded to dance around while we waited for their luggage to arrive. I said two hours in the plane not because the flight was that long but because one of our runways is being repaved, which requires planes to wander around a bit after landing. (we have four runways, two east-west two north-south, use depending on wind direction). They were in the plane for almost a half hour after landing before they could get off, between the plane taxiing around the construction then waiting for a gate to open up.

And what did she do after getting to our house? Yup, shoes came off and she hit the swing.

As you can see, the leaves on our peach tree have finally turned to yellow and are starting to drop off. B raked it all the day before but a little wind came up and dropped some more. The peach and ash trees out back have not really turned colors this fall, guess it was the relatively warm weather. When out on the swing here it was around 71f (about 21c).

But a cold front moved down and today we have rain. It’s been raining for about an hour straight so far this morning, not much for many of you, but this is the first long rain in about six months and the first time it has rained this long in probably a year or so. Vegas usually gets thunderstorms that roll through the valley rather quickly, dropping a lot of water in a short amount of time. Unless the storm moves over the airport, where our official weather station is located, the water falling in other parts of the valley does not show up in our official statistics.

For the past few months I have been parking my car down the street when I come to work. There is a ‘Team member’ parking garage out back, but in a effort to save land area it is not very large but it is fifteen floors high. Since our facility now has over ten thousand employees, and is open ‘round the clock, the lower floors are usually filled all the time. This means that when I get in to work, which is around 6:30am, before the day shift starts, I end up on the tenth floor or so. This results in driving in lots of circles to get up or down. The entrance to the garage is poorly placed, down the back street which is also the exit for the main parking garage for our big Hotel Casino Resort next door and also for the two casinos along side. This means that sometimes it takes forty five minutes just to get out of the parking garage due to all the traffic backed up on this little back road; one day my exit coincided with a show closing, and it took almost an hour and a half just to get a gap in traffic and get out of the garage. So I have started parking down the street. It’s a twenty minute walk to the car, but then I just turn the corner and roll out rather than doing circles in the garage then waiting for a break in the traffic.

So this morning meant walking in the rain down the street. I found a device in the closet that is a small cylinder made of metal and cloth that opens up to form a protective cover over your head to keep the falling water off of you. It’s called an ‘umbrella’, and I have not used one in years. It took a while to remember how to open, but then it worked fairly well when I held it over my head. The only problem with the walk was with cars driving by. Since it rains so rarely there are not very many drains in the streets to carry water away. In some parts of the valley there are no storm drains, and all the water just runs downhill to catch basins or to just flood the streets, but near the strip, which is fairly level and also at the bottom of the valley where all the water ends up, there are some storm drains underground. But since it hasn’t rained in a while the first rain ends up gathering all the dust and oils and dirt and whatever that has accumulated on everything and moves it down to the street. These two factors end up causing a six inch deep stream of filthy water in the gutter, which again due to the relatively flat street means large puddles well out into the driving lanes. The speed limit on the street here is 45mph, three lanes in each direction with a center divider and the support poles for the monorail running down the middle as well. So cars are usually going by at around 60mph (Vegas is not known for drivers that obey traffic regulations).

If you are walking on the sidewalk and a car doing 60 drives by in the right lane through a six inch deep puddle then you are guaranteed to have a large wave of dirty water thrown up upon you. An umbrella over your head does nothing to slow this horizontally moving water. In Vegas most sidewalks are right against the curb, with no protective strip between the cars and the sidewalk. For the long block that I walk there are large parking lots with tall chain link fences right up against the sidewalk. This provides no room to let you get away from the waves. So my walk down involves evaluating where the deepest puddles are, where driveways into the parking lots are, and gaps between the traffic coming by. I end up timing the gaps, walking quickly past the deep sections hopefully when no cars are zipping by, and pausing at the driveways further from the curb where water is lowest so the groups of cars can get past before I move on down to the next low water area. Fortunately water was not falling as fast today as it has in the past, and the puddles were not up over the curb onto the sidewalk. The last big thunderstorm not only had me doing this same timing to avoid the waves it also had me walking through three inches of water in places as well.

But it’s Thanksgiving Wednesday, E and family is here, the refrigerator is filled with food ready to prepare tomorrow, a four day weekend is ahead, and here at work it is rather quiet as all the executives, and many employees, have taken the week off. There are no shows this week so the staffing level is down. The cooks and most of the Food and Beverage department are taking a few days off now, as another big computer based show and cowboy Christmas are coming, which means three weeks of no time off and long days for that group. The customer service department also is down to two people this week, the other dozen employees are hourly and told not to come in, but they will more than make up for it in overtime next month. The accounting department is furiously working to put everything in for month end so that they can get a few days off, but I know there will probably be a half dozen of them in on Saturday and Sunday working on invoices and billings and numbers anyway.

I hope those of you in the US that celebrate Thanksgiving have a nice holiday, and for the rest of you around the world, well, I’ll think about you as I carve the turkey. I am also looking forward to lunch today, as the group is coming down and we will be hitting the noodle bar upstairs in the big HRCND. (Hotel Resort Casino Next Door)


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