December 10 2006
Sunday afternoon we put up the Christmas tree ... Decy, Chely, Thasya, and I. Then I strung some lights along the stairwell and over the door. Decy needs to pick up some more lights, so I can finish. It looks really nice ... simple, but beautiful. It was an emotional challenge for me - - the first time in probably 8-10 years since I had decorated a tree. I miss my sons .... took some pics which I will post in due course.
So, now it is Monday morning. Much to do this week ... although I only have 2 days at work. Worked much of Sunday from home ... and will work much of Wed & Thurs from home too ... until I leave for Singapore to collect Chris & Paul. Doesn't sound like much of a vacation, does it?
Let's hope the furniture arrives ok this week, would like to get that out of the way and focus on final travel and holiday planning. Sounds like we are going to have our "Christmas dinner" on Wednesday the 20th before we leave town. Decy wants to invite much of the family over .... should be interesting to see how everybody interacts ... Chris, Paul, the little kids .... and Decy's bro's/sis's ....
December 09 2006
Yesterday (Sat) just did the normal 2 hr massage, nasi padang lunch, and then went to Carrefour to find a small stereo for Decy's and my bedroom. Afterwards, we just rested .... and then watched a movie with the girls. It was the first time we had run a DVD through the stereo into the TV ... NICE !!!! and the sound was great.
Did a walk through on the house ... recognizing that some furniture is still coming (quite a bit is due next week) and some pictures are being framed. I'm not yet ready to declare "victory" on the house ... but it looks awfully close ... and Decy has done an exceptional job taking what we had in Angola ... blending it with what I had in storage ... and then supplementing with new purchases. So far the cost has been about $38k, including the items that haven't been delivered yet. We will probably top out at about $45-50k ... which I am entirely comfortable with .... as much furniture as we have bought ... in the US it would have been $100-150k.
Today, Sunday, I have to unfortunately work (most of the day) from home. I'm up bright and early, so is Decy. Decy is going to church today ..... this afternoon, I think she is going to decorate the Christmas tree ... because we realized that Chris and Paul don't arrive at home here until about 830pm on Sunday ... which will be much too late to start decorating.
December 07 2006
Ok, so last Sunday we had our little sing-fest of karaoke. Thasya tried her luck at Christmas caroles. Not bad ... but it did have a funny feel to it. Wonder how Chris and Paul will do with "White Christmas" ??????
Last night Decy again brought up the subject of a Christmas tree and showed me a catalogue of new style artificial trees. DECISION MADE - We are going to TREE this year .... yep, tree, some basic ornaments, and tree lights ... and then lights for the stairs. Don't have any decorations (its been probably 8 years since I had a tree) .... so Decy will have to buy some. Tree goes up on Sunday the 16th when Chris and Paul arrive.
As for Ms. Stacy's comments about taking care of her boys ... I AM NOT PETER PAN ... while I might keep them up and out for most of the hours of the night, I would never keep them out all hours of the night (I'm getting too old for that) ... and I certainly won't be treating them to lots of sweets ... I'm too cheap for that.
There is a furniture exhibition in the city this week. Decy was there and found a few more items that we need and were on our list. This wave of stuff is supposed to be delivered next week .... step by step ... I think we are now about 70-80% complete on the house ... excluding contingency. Still waiting on the speakers to be delivered ... and still haven't heard anything about my claim on the shipment damages.
Trip to Jatiluhur yesterday was neat. Its about 90 kilometers outside of Jakarta ... very interesting place. I'll blog about it sometime.
For those of you who haven't noticed TGIF !!! and the best part of this Friday ... is knowing this is the last 5 day week I will work until the week of Jan 8-12 ... YEAH !!!!!
December 06 2006
Wednesday was an interesting day at work. Although I was quite tired from the night before. But, I had so much fun and was so relaxed, I think I was actually more productive.
Today I take a day trip to a place called Jatiluhur to check out if its facilities and evaluate if it would be a good emergency backup site for the company.
The house is really coming together now that things are pretty much on the walls. Decy is working on framing a few more pictures and repairing some of the damaged goods. We will deal with the speaker repair at a later time. New speakers should be here in a day or two (I hope !)
Dinette is supposed to arrive sometime next week ....this is our most expensive piece of furniture, so I'm pretty excited about that. Dinette seats 12 - and is green marble. We've ordered the entryway furniture, but it won't be ready until early January. Decy has designed a couple of curio cabinets and is waiting on a price quote before taking a decision on that. NEXT STEPS - stereo cabinet and table with chairs for the pool table area ... then (in January ?) we will work on the patio furniture some more. I will take some pics during my days off and holidays and will post them.
BTW - Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child has agreed to come in ... she will be here on Tuesday at Club CJs ... Decy and I have tickets ... and then I am taking the rest of the week off to rest and travel to Singapore to collect Chris/Paul.
That's all for now ... ciao ciao
December 05 2006
Had a date with my lovely wife last night. Except for the agreement to meet after work ... the night was impromptu .... finally made it home around 1am .... and then up at 4am.
Soooooo .... now you know why this is short .....
ciao ciao ....
December 04 2006
Ok ok ... so some of you do read my blogs ... I've never known my family to be short on words ... but guess they are in the response area.
Now that we have our shipment unpacked, Decy has started hanging things on the walls ... well, she's brought in a worker to start hanging things on the wall .... so, step by step the house is looking more like a home. It won't be finished by the time Chris and Paul arrive, but it won't be too bad.
Went to an electronics store last Saturday. Found some awsome 300 Watt JBL tower speakers. It was an "older style" which were 20% off so that they could start selling the "newer style". I really didn't like the newer style and the sound was not as good. So, I bought them ... as is typical in Indonesia most things that are on "display" are not in stock. I am HOPEFUL that Decy can go get the speakers later this week. Total cost US$900.
I talked to my company about the damage to my Cerwin Vega speakers. They advised to make a claim and see what the insurance will do (repair vs replace). I'm hopeful they just give me the $800 replacement costs ... and I'll go see if I can repair them .... although they will never be restored to original condition.
>>>> TO TREE ... or NOT TO TREE. Decy and I are in discussions regarding whether or not to decorate for Christmas. There is so much other stuff to do ... and we won't even be here on Christmas day. Besides, we have no decorations and would have to go buy them. Given all the other expenses this year ....I'm leaning towards not decorating.
December 02 2006
Friday did not go as planned. At about 10am a panicked Indonesian employee came into my office. We had an intruder in the building, in the office area. The guy (an American) was freaking out and needed to talk to another American. I was the selected one. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind .... safety, security, life, death. No amount of training really prepares you for these kinds of events.
Due to the sensitivity of the situation, I can't go into a lot of details. Let me just say that "Bob" (not his real name) was in a stake of panic / schizophrenia. Bob was convinced somebody was trying to kill him and had gone absolutely ballistic. After hours of talking to him, I learned quite a bit about Bob. Eventually we were able to calm him down enough to get him into a car and delivered to a counsellor at the US Embassy.
There were many false starts with Bob ... and it took about 5 attempts to get him to the car where we had three security officers (our company's) escorted him. I did not go to the US Embassy but I understand that he tried grabbing the wheel of the car and almost caused a wreck. Thankfully, thanks to God, we were able to get him safely delivered and nobody in our office got hurt. Bob left our premises at 2pm.
At one point Bob asked me if I could guarantee his safety for the trip to the Embassy. I told him I could not. I told him that I was only a man ... but God could protect him.
Bob's story is a sad story. A story about a young teenage boy that made bad decisions in his life - cleaned up his life for 9 years - then started making bad decisions again. He is probably in his early 30s now. His life is ruined. He cannot stay in Indonesia ... and chances are he will face some jail time if the Embassy helps him back to the US.
I do not know what Bob is doing today. I don't know if he is ok ... dead ... alive ... in Indonesia ... or on his way back to the US. I gave him my business card with an email addy on it. Maybe someday I will learn.
For those of you reading this ... pray for "Bob". And, when you do ... also ask God to give you strength to make good decisions every day ... and don't forget to thank God for the things He has done for you. And one last thing, ask God to help me ... I'm still pretty shaken up about the situation. I don't know if Bob had a weapon on him or not ... but if he did ... I would have been the closest person. Thank God nobody was hurt in our office.
November 30 2006
Last night we went to Jakarta International School (JIS) to watch the high school celebration of UN Day. Basically, it was a 1 hour production of music, song, and dance to (obviously) celebrate UN Day.
Various groups preformed pieces that were typical to their home countries ... and wore clothing accordingly. I don't remember all the pieces ... but I recall pieces from: India, Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia, Iceland, USA, France, and Singapore. The HS choir did a song associated with "fences" and Chely was part of that. She did very well once again.
Well, today is Friday ... TGIF !!! I have a couple of meetings today and some very important disaster response documentation to continue working on ... so I certainly won't be bored. But, I am really looking forward to this weekend ... especially having lunch at the Four Seasons ... hope they have an adequate quantity of boiled jumbo shrimp !!!
November 29 2006
Yesterday our company had an "employee forum". There was about 300 folks in attendence. The meeting was scheduled to last 3.5 hours (with food/soft beverages on both sides of the event) ... and about 8-10 different speakers. What I really liked about the meeting (aside from it being informative) is that there was a big brass gong ... and if any speaker went over their time limit the gong was ... well ... GONGED !! Only one speaker went over their limit. It was a fun ... but obvious way to let the speaker and the audience know that the speaker had violated the "time contract".
Chely has some type of concert/event at school tonight ... so, I will be rushing from work to the school (1-1.5 hours away) to attend.
Decy continues working on the house ... out of 127 boxes we are probably down to 20 that are still not emptied. However, being empty doesn't necessarily suggest being put away or hung on the walls ....
As for me, I'm doing ok. Very tired this week. Didn't sleep well last weekend with Decy being gone ... and lots of stress at work. My back is still challenging me. But, every day it seems to get a little better ... I'm still curious what I did to it. Maybe it was all that acrobatic sex I did one night ... that I don't remember ... NOT !!!!
Glad tomorrow is Friday. My plan for the weekend is to go out only on Friday night. Spend Saturday running errands / shopping / massage ... then the evening at home playing pool with Decy (and the girls if they want to learn). Sunday, I plan to take the family to the Four Seasons hotel for Sunday brunch. We will probably also bring along Decy's mom as the 1st (Friday) is her birthday. On Friday, Decy and some of the family will take Doortje (Decy's mom) to lunch at a Manadanese restaurant (one of my favorite).
Gotta go ... ciao ciao.
November 28 2006
On Tuesday I slept in until 415 ... so I had about 3.5 hours sleep. Actually had enough time to check emails and blog ... had internet access worked ... which it didn't. Guess I could have slept even later as I wasted 30 minutes trying to log on.
As for today .... same old ... same old.
Decy is starting to organize the house, now that the shipment arrived. No doubt things will change and be moved every day.
... that's all.
November 27 2006
November 26 2006
Did some more unpacking on Sunday. Decy returns from Singapore late Monday night ..... nothing more to report .... its just a typical Monday morning here in Jakarta ....
November 26 2006
Continued unpacking boxes. And as I think I mentioned yesterday, I set up my stereo. Something just wasn't quite right with the sound. So, I took the speaker covers off .... gasp, angst ....
First, the bass cones had deteriorated and the rims were cracked. BUT, I noticed that the cone heads on the tweeter and mid-ranges were crushed. The only way that could happen is if somebody took the covers off and intentionally crushed them. ARGH !!! Ruined ... both Cerwin Vegas are history .... valued at about $1,000
I'll never be able to replace them ... question is ... will I at least be able to get some money from the shippers for the damage ... the only thing I can think of is that the speakers were damaged intentionally in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia after my evacuation .... as the boxes were in perfect shape and the speaker covers were still on ...
Crying ... crying ... crying ...
November 25 2006
Well, actually the shipment has arrived, not me. Shipping company was right on time ... 2pm with about 10 workers. Our shipment was pretty small (we weren't allowed to bring furniture) so it was only 127 boxes. Unloading took about 45 minutes. Then the workers unpacked whatever I requested.
About 1/2 of the boxes have been emptied ... most stuff stacked up against the wall .... except for the kitchen - Wiwi and Nunung took the stuff and started washing it and putting it away. Breakage appears minimal. Most things I wanted from storage seem to be here ... except for my stereo cabinet.
Bed in the guest room is set up ... Guess Chris and Paul can fight over who gets to use it.
Got my stereo hooked up and CDs organized. Music/sound is awesome in this house .... I can fill the whole house with music at 25% power !!! And I can make the walls/windows vibrate without too much effort ... he he he ...
As for the new pool table ... fantastic. The assembly took 3 hours. The style is "modern" with black/silver sides. Felt is red. Its a full sized 9ft table. It rocks.
November 22 2006
And so, after playing several games of Deal or No Deal from my new DVD game (thanks grandma suzy) ... I seriously pondered my position on Boeing - final decision .... DEAL !!!! all shares were sold and at a price of $91.10. Was it the right decision? Don't know, but I feel pretty good about the decision ... nothing like locking in a four year 28% per year compound profit.
Today is Thursday, no doubt many of you will be celebrating Thanksgiving. For us, I think we will have a traditional Indonesian day/dinner. I am taking today off ... as well as the rest of the week. Soon, we head to the "old city" (north part of town). I'm seriously considering buying a pool table ... if I do, I hope it is delivered before Chris & Paul arrive.
Speaking of arrival ... just got confirmation that our shipment will be delivered Saturday afternoon .... boy, will the house be a mess when Decy returns from Singapore on Monday !!
ciao ciao ...
November 21 2006
Four years ago (2002) Boeing was in a funk ... and its stock had dropped from $70 to $45 ... so I bought .... then it dropped to $29 ... and I doubled-down plus (plus meaning I bought the same dollar value as before ... so I bought even more shares).
As all cyclical industries do (and making airplanes is one of them), the stock turned around ... its had its ups and downs ... and has now reached a COOL $91 ... that means I have more than doubled the value (in 4 yrs) on the first purchase and more than tripled the value (in 4 yrs) on the second purchase. That means I have made a gazillion dollars.
So now ... it seems to me it is profit taking time ... do I cash in all the shares, the first set of shares, or the second set of shares???? What if the stock goes still higher? What if it drops to $74 ... like it did this past Sept after reaching $88 in May?? Decisions. Decisions. I think it is time to make my move ... and I want to do it before the Thanksgiving holiday ....
.... soooo ... what will he do ....
November 20 2006
Josh ... eat your heart out ... Grandma Suzy sent me the interactive DVD game. It arrived last night ... and I was having internet access problems this morning (Tues). So, I loaded up the DVD and played a quick came [Note: sometimes before 5am the internet is down; which seemed to be this case too ... at 5am everything started up ok].
Anyway, back to D-o-ND, started out with a pretty good set of pics on the 6 selection, 5 was ok too ... at that point I was uncovering more of the interior ranges ... the "deal" kept increasing from 20k, 41k, 108k, 203k .... took the 203k as I had 4 small values out there ... plus the 750k and 1,000k. I was down to opening one case at a time. I took the deal. My case actually held only 5k ... yuk yuk yuk.
**** BACK TO BUSINESS - Haven't seen all the local press reports, but the security reports suggests that there weren't any major issues with GWB's visit yesterday. However, one never knows ... its really not the "hard targets" that terrorists go after ... but the "soft ones" such as hotels, cafes, and malls.
Work is work .... bah humbug. I think I will take Wed-Fri off, while Stela is here ... and try to use up some of my remaining 25 days of vacation.
There is a possibility that we will receive our shipment on Friday afternoon ... barring anything unforeseen, we should have it no later than Tuesday. Some of this stuff I haven't seen in nearly 7 years ... so it will be interesting to see what is actually in our shipment.
Once we open the shipment and see what we have (which also is supposed to include a lot of kitchen stuff) we can begin buying the last wave of furniture and accessories for the house ... and then begin hanging pics, mirrors, paintings, etc. Hopefully by the time Chris and Paul arrive (16-Dec) we will more or less be done with the fleshing out of the house ...
ciao ciao ... and THANKS GRANDMA SUZY !!!!
November 19 2006
Yep, Monday morning. Sunday went pretty much as planned per yesterday's email ... so no sense in repeating it.
We shall see what GWB's visit today brings ....
November 18 2006
Today will be a mixed (but low intensity) day. I need some R&R ... Decy and Stela returned from their "excursion" to Jogyakarta and Surabaya. Sounds like they had a tremendous amount of fun - visiting ancient temples in Jogyakarta to riding horseback up a mountain to see the sun rise over a volcano ... and then driving over to the dormant-but still smoking volcano. They had so much fun, we are considering doing the same with Chris and Paul in December.
No sooner did D&S arrive then we took Stela out to eat Nasi Padang (a traditional food here) then took her to Club CJs ... then went and ate porridge on the street (well, street cafe). Made it home at 445am. 9am Decy and everybody are up ... but me (I got up at 1030am) ... heading up to an area called Ancon ... which is an mini- Indonesia version of waterworld, seaworld, disneyworld.
I stayed home to rest, plus one of my friends Nat is supposed to come over at 1230-1pm. D&S and the girls say they will be home around 4-5pm .... and I think one of the waitresses (Dia) from CJs will be over this evening to enjoy some friendship and karaoke.
Tomorrow, Monday, will be a very odd day here ... ANYTHING can happen. US President George Bush will be here in the afternoon for a meeting with the Indonesian President. Security has been growing for weeks - and so are the protests. Some say as many as 150,000 protestors will be around the area that Bush will be - which will be in a city called Bogor about 20 miles from us.
Many parts of Jakarta will be in gridlock tomorrow due to the various protests in key traffic areas. Hopefully, I will be able to avoid all those areas. My biggest concerns are (a) bombings, and (b) mob-type attacks on Americans. Tomorrow will be a very good day to keep a "low profile". - - - So far, I have not received any unusual security briefings (and I'm one of our company's security wardens) ... so we must not have any specific intelligence pointing towards something imminent .... stay tuned ...
November 15 2006
Decy and Stela made it safe to Jogjakarta ... saw the temples .... visited some of Decy's friends there ... then to bed at approx 11pm. I think they are already up (currently 5am here) as they have an early morning flight to Surabaya .... where they will spend today (Thurs) and Friday .... returning to Jakarta mid-afternoon Sat.
As for me .... work is .... work, so I won't bore you with the details.
My back is still very sensitive although modestly (maybe) better. Yesterday, I forgot to bring my back brace (for the chair) to the office .... I won't forget (I hope) today.
Last night had dinner at the 4 Season hotel with Nat Simpson. I have a lot of memories about that place as I lived there 5 months in 2001 after the evacuation from Aceh (then another 4 months at the Hilton - before moving to Angola). When I walked in the hotel door last night, I looked to a particular couch in the lobby ... the couch where I was sitting when I saw Decy for the first time (as she walked into the hotel).
I talked to Decy on the phone last night while at the hotel. She asked me if I ordered a bowl of shrimp soup (which I didn't) .... as that is what she ate/drank for dinner that first "date" with her. Our first date was a "double blind date" .... a guy and his girlfriend set me and my friend Danny Guilliott up on blind dates on a Sunday afternoon in late April 2001. So, the three couples sat and chatted and snacked/ate for about 3-4 hours. It was an incredibly difficult evening .... Decy's English at that time was probably only 5% ... thus although she could understand some of what I said ... a sentence from her was incredibly difficult (for both of us) ... just a few choppy words ... with me filling in the blanks trying to understand what she was trying to tell me. OBVIOUSLY, we worked it out ... she is now my lovely wife ....
*** Decy just called, her and Stela have checked out of the hotel and are on the way to the airport.
November 14 2006
Well, forget the early to bed ... but today, I did arise at 245am. Why? Very good question. Decy and Stela are flying to Jogjakarta today ... then on to Surabaya tomorrow, returning to Jakarta on Saturday. They need to be at the airport by 6am ... and I need to be at the office at 630am .... and the girls need to be at school at 730am (I think) ... two cars can't be in three places at one time. So, I will carpool with Decy/Stela ... after dropping them off at the airport, I will be dropped off at work.
Had a bit of a relapse on my back last night. Went to bed with a bunch of icy-hot ("counterpain" - Indonesia equivalent). It has helped some. We shall see what the day brings.
Time to go visit with Stela ... yes, it is 401 am ... she's up and Decy's getting up.
November 14 2006
Over the past week, I have had quite a bit of back pain ... about where the rib cage stops ... on my left side. I figured it was due to too much computer work and not having a good ergonomic set up. Things just kept going from bad to worse and massages provided only temporarily relief.
The pain would come and go, but generally with growing intensity. Every once in a while the pain would "spike". Yesterday at work, in spite of a using a support pillow I was in great discomfort. Came home and went to change clothes for going to CJs and suddenly it felt like somebody rammed a baseball bat into my back.
I went to my knees and layed down. Felt a bit nausious too. After awhile I got up. Went to CJs ..... and stayed out late.
Got up this morning and except for being a bit "tender" the pain is completely gone .... so, I either threw my back "into place" last night while dancing ... or I passed a kidney stone and don't know it. Can't think of any other viable scenarios.
Guess I'm just getting old .... ciao ciao
November 12 2006
You would think that for the good of mankind they wouldn't have a Monday morning quite so often ....
Had a good weekend and Stela arrived on Sunday. For the weekend .... did the usual massages, eating out, clubbing, resting. Never got to do any of the work I brought home ... YEAH !!!
Sunday AM, bright and early at 7/8 am Decy took off for the airport to get Stela. I couldn't wake up. Apparently my alarm (phone) was beeping and vibrating and eventually just fell off the end table ... I never heard it. Stela arrived with Decy about 1PM ... we chatted, relaxed, showed Stela the house. I swam for a few minutes.
Nat Simpson came over, we chatted about work and stuff ... then all of us did Karaoke until 10pm.
I'm getting old. My back is in quite a bit of pain ... I think from sitting at the computer at work too much. I will put a back brace in my chair at work (I have one). Don't know what I can do about the home set up.
I'm taking Tuesday off .... tonight (Monday) is CJ's grand re-opening (following a major remodelling). CJ's is probably Jakarta's nicest club (out of a city of 20 million). We like it a lot ... and the 9 person band (from S. Africa, Colombia, Canada, and Indonesia) is fantastic. We know most of the folks by name .... Anyway, tonight Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child was going to join the band for the evening. Unfortunately, we received a call from the manager last night ... Kelly cancelled. REASON - On Saturday some idiot partially blew himself up with a small homemade bomb while at an A&W fast food place at a mall on the far east of town (a long way from CJ's). So, that hit the press .... and she cancelled.
Funny thing about the "bomber" ... sounds like he wasn't too smart ... just a little bit of gun powder and some buck shot in a box ... attached to a handphone. Apparently he was in A&W ... with the bomb on his lap, and the phone rang. Press says he's at the hospital getting the buckshot cleaned out of his groin area ... OUCH.
Now, back to CJ's, the party is still on ... they are bringing in a very famous Indonesian singer (so I'm told). We shall see ... I'll let you know ... but don't expect a blog at my 430 in the morning on Tuesday.
November 09 2006
Yesterday was just another stressful day at the office. So many challenges, so few resources. Won't bore you with the details.
Stela, our friend from Angola, begins her vacation today (Fri). She departs Angola today ... overnights in Johannesburg S. Africa ... leaves there Saturday PM ... arrives Jakarta on Sunday morning. Stela will be with us about 2 weeks. During that time, Decy will take her to Yjogakarta (I think I have spelled that wrong) and Surabaya .... two cities here on the island of Java. I've never been to either place ... although the plan is for us to take Chris and Paul to Yjogakarta in December.
sorry this is short ... really nothing of interest yesterday .... ciao ciao