Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Duane's Last Day at IBM!!

Well, it's been a good 32 year run!!!

Today is Duane's official last day working at IBM - he went to work today to turn in his badge....tomorrow is orientation at his new office in RTP at Lenovo.   He says there won't be much difference - he'll be working with the same folks, mostly in Taiwan. 

So, I nabbed his badge for one last look!  

Monday, September 29, 2014

A little NASCAR Formation Flight coordination

Sorry - this will be a long post!!!

Friends of ours from the Bandit Flight Team out of Sanford, NC asked us to help out with the ground coordination for a flyover at the NASCAR Dover race on Sunday.  The formation flyover has to be coordinated with the TV time and needs to happen exactly as the USO Singers finish the National Anthem.  No small feat for 4 airplanes that are airborne nearby!

Beautiful morning for our flight to Dover!

They had arranged for us to have "credentials" to access the pit area and the rooftop of the skyboxes.  We also were given a room at the Dover Downs casino!

The parking passes were great also - we parked right at the gate so no hassle or long walk!

We flew up on Saturday so we could meet with our contact at the track to understand what we needed to do.  A lot of activity around the racetrack.  Lots and lots of campers and folks looking like they're having a good time!  Did I mention that we're not race fans?  So if I say something silly, you'll know why.

Duane and I out on the finish line!

After meeting with our contact, we went up to the rooftop - Noel, the true flight coordinator will be on the rooftop on race day with his aircraft radio equipment set up.  He will be talking directly to the aircraft advising them of the timing of events on the ground.    Duane and I will be on the track with the NASCAR official to advise Noel of any last minute timing changes. 

Our buddy, Noel - ground crew extraordinaire - who will have all his aircraft radio gear on the rooftop tomorrow to communicate with the aircraft.

View of the track - keep in mind that on race day, all the pit crews will be set up in the first grassy area.

With that meeting out of the way, we went to our complimentary rooms at the Dover Downs hotel and casino!  Very nice hotel!

Noel had heard about a great "crab shack" about 10 minutes away.  Don't fuss about the name - he said the owner's name is Sam!

My lunch!  I only have a few little cuts on my fingers to show for it.

Thought I'd show you some stock photos of their airplanes just so you'd see what they're flying....(they landed at a different airport than us, so we didn't see them before the raceday.)

Race day!!!

Several groups were ready for appearances in the "pre-race" time period.

We found our USO singers at the gate and patiently waited (in the nice, cool shade!) for our NASCAR rep to take us out on the track.

The pit area had been set up now.  All those folks will eventually be moved out back into the stands.

Neat view of the pit area and the big wall that separates the pit from the track.

The stage that the singers will be on is just a tractor/trailer that is sitting on the race track.  When the singing is finished, it will be whisked away in just a minute or so to clear the track for the race start.

The pre-race hour was very scripted.  Each person or event was done exactly on a schedule.  This is the head of the Dover race ( I think...)

They apparently introduce each of the drivers before every race....I took a photo of each one so if you've got a favorite, I've got a photo!  This is Tony Stewart of recent difficulty.

And Danica Patrick.  I put this one in because I was surprised at how absolutely tiny she is!!  When she shook hands with the folks on the stage they all towered over her!

And I think this is Jeff Gordon (the winner!)

Our view back to the stands.

The pre-race period is coming to an end - almost ready for the National Anthem and flyover.

Duane is sitting on the track right below the singers up on stage.  Justin, our NASCAR contact has earbuds in and a microphone - he's  listening to the TV coordinator up in the skybox above do a countdown for the start of the last 2 minutes of the pre-race.  There was a last minute 30 second change - very critical to the airborne flight crew!!!  Remember, they need to be flying over the stadium just as the National Anthem ends- so a 30 second difference would ruin the experience!

The USO Singers are in place.....

Long video - but fun!!  You'll see Justin make the cues for the announcer to start.  Duane is talking to Noel on the radio to let him know what is happening down on the ground.

And then the airplanes do one more pass - a "bomb burst" to cheers from the crowd!

Then everyone was scooted quickly off the track to let the race begin!

Our job was done - so we went up to the roof top to see a little of the race.

I really enjoyed watching the camera man - you could see on the screen how well he was tracking the cars.  

A little video of the LOUD!!  race.  The TV camera man did a better job  haha!

And a pit stop.  Fun to watch how fast those people move!!!

But after about 50 laps, we had seen enough....so, we beat the crowds by exiting very early!  

Drove back to the airport and had a wonderful flight home!  Oh, forgot to mention....brought home a little of the casino's money - so a doubly terrific weekend!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I do miss the kitty-cats!  (Not enough to get some of my own though!!!)

Last photos of them before Robert moved out.....

Ches making himself at home while Duane's trying to work....

We saw them again at Robert's new house, of course.  They were a little "skittish" but I'm sure they'll settle in just fine.  Sweet cats!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rotten door frame repairs

I know, not very exciting....but other than helping Robert move into his new place, this is ALL I did this past weekend!! The front door was equally "yucky". Big rotten area had to be removed.

Buzzed all the rotten/soft wood out with the handy vibrating tool.

Then started the process of layering Bondo back into the void.

And viola!  After many layers, sculpting and sanding, it looks just like the missing wood!

Fresh coat of paint and new caulking.  Hopefully, I'll remember to come back next year and re-caulk so we don't have any more of this kind of problem!!!

You thought I was done, didn't you?????

But no, there's MORE!!!  This one looks like a small repair, doesn't it? 

By the time we got all the rot sawed away, it left a large hole!

Filled in the bulk of the space with some "plastic" board material and  finished with more Bondo.

 Preliminary sanding....

And there you go, another repair accomplished!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Moving day for Robert!

Robert is a new homeowner!!  A townhouse off Kildare Farm Rd right in the middle of Cary.

Opening the door with the key for the first time!

Granite countertops!

Two bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. He'll be quite comfy!