Wednesday, July 18 – Columbus OH

Weeks are likely to remain complicated and busy at work for some time. We are just in that phase of the program where the executives are beginning to realize that they have not been receiving fully accurate information and people are starting to get weird. Soon they will turn on one another and begin sacrificing everyone they believe they can sell out. We will point the fingers at the consultants and they will call our high level executives and tell a different story that points the fingers at us. I met with the leads of all the consultants today and it has already started. The posturing, the CYA. None of the leadership from our consultants that I have seen is particularly talented but they all believe they are. They are over-paid and have over the years come to believe they are worth their billing rate which is ludicrous. Internally we have smart people but they have different agendas and so different views of the situation so we are not aligned there either. My goal in these situations is to try to be as effective as I can, please as many masters as I can, and survive as long as possible. If it becomes intolerable from my side, find another gig.

But right now, on this Wednesday night, all is good. It is a beautiful, cool evening and I am on the deck with Mandela. Having a Scotch and cigar. She is having a carrot and surveying the property for trespassers. Some species of trespassers get chased, others get barked at but not chased, others get diligently observed. I have no idea of her criteria for categorizing who gets which treatment but I am sure there is a sound basis.

On the personal side, many things are in motion. Camper is very nearly ready for shake-down cruise. Last night I put on a second coat of epoxy. I also got my cross bars on top of the car so I can haul the canoe. This weekend I am going to Pittsburgh to see Amy and do some canoeing and catching up. I still have to put the trim on the camper, paint some of the steel, put on the rails and the tent. But they are mostly straightforward tasks. Meanwhile, we need to move E-N-R next weekend so lots of preparation on that end.

On the sad side, Greg Hamilton’s mother suddenly passed away. The same Greg from my previous post, who came to hang out with me last weekend at the farm. They are a lovely family and I remember his mother (Jeannie) very well. She was a teacher at our junior high school. One of those rare teachers who tired to appear stern when necessary but always with enough smile to let us know everything would be okay; somehow teaching us that a modicum of order was expected but that it was okay to have fun too. Greg’s parent’s were the super cool, hip, young-ish parent’s who drove a Mustang and seemed like they were just a few years out of school themselves and still understood. At least that was the impression from my viewpoint.

I have many memories of my friendship with Greg and of his parent’s, but one sticks out. In our Junior or Senior year we were building that incredibly important homecoming float in their barn. Our theme of course was of huge social significance and since it was likely to have a transformative impact on the entirety of society with our keen insight, also a secret. I rarely participated in most social events for reasons I no longer remember. But on this night I went out to stuff a bit of crepe paper through some chicken wire with my classmates. When I got to Greg’s house, in our beat up, 1969, rusty wooden-bed pick-up truck, because I was embarrassed about my ride, I parked way off to the side where I hoped no one would notice. But when I got out, there was Greg’s dad and he said “Damn I would love to have a great old truck like that”. Just like I went from embarrassed to a real conversation with an adult. He loved the ‘3-on-a-tree’ and the wooden bed and lights on top of the cab. Or at least he said he did.

Anyway….Jeannie was amazing and cool and will be missed by the whole community.

Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday is coming up, so here is a picture of the man and the dog. And also, the obituary from Jeannie and the old Junior High in Carlisle OH.

The old Junior High School
The Great Mandela. The most amazing and inspiring man of our time


And the lesser Mandela (among humans–among dogs, she is the Great One)


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