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November 21st, 2013

Not One of My Better Days

Once again I worked from home till afternoon, once again the apartment inspector never showed up.


My big sister's husband turned 76 on November 10. Four days later he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which had already spread to other organs. Ben was the kind of guy who didn't let a little debilitating pain get in his way, so I'm not surprised he didn't see a doctor as soon as he had symptoms. When Ben was growing up, everyone who had cancer died, and as soon as he was diagnosed he gave up.

Yesterday my sister emailed that cannabis and hospital rest had helped, but this morning she wrote that they had overdone the morphine last night and he was not doing well. Email forwarded from a niece (there are three of them) said her dad said he "was done".

This afternoon sister emailed saying he passed away, the funeral would be Friday. In Israel, it's almost 8 am Friday as I write this.

It is a shock, but not a surprise.

Ben was an American, had been a master sgt in the Air Force for 15 years before moving to Seattle. He met my sister at a Jewish religion class at Hillel while she was in college, courted her that summer when she was cook at a camp for Jewish kids, and they were married a year after she graduated. Unlike my sister, he was not very religious, but he loved her, and agreed to her dream to move to Israel and make babies until most of the population was made up of their peace-loving children. Unfortunately, they took after their mother, and are your basic religious fanatics, most of them living in the Occupied Territories.

He was an electronics genius, he built the world's first operational Doppler radar by hand, from scratch. During his career with the Israeli water service (they are Israel's NOAA) he consulted with the University of Colorado, and meteorology departments in Italy, Russia and Israel on radar tracking for cloud seeding. He taught electronics and programming at universities in Ber Sheva and Haifa. All male Israeli residents are required to serve in the army until age 55, and he was drafted to be an ambulance driver (typical army stupidity) during the war in Lebanon. Eventually they made him the Israeli navy's main radar repairman.

He leaves behind two sons, three daughters and 27 grandchildren.
After the no-show inspection, I went for lunch at Togo's, it's on the way. At work we wrapped up the laser testing, apparently they nailed down the bug, but I'm not sure if the fix was implemented. The system works better than before, which is good. But data through the air can never be as reliable as data over a wire, so I'm not sold on this scheme.

At home I used the limitations of VPN to take two required health & safety classes which Corp HR insists are required by OSHA. The second class starts by saying OSHA only requires it for people who handle chemicals as part of their job, which is hardly anyone at this company. No one at my site. I passed both classes easily, but it was a total waste of time.

Had my 1-on-1 with the boss, he moved it from yesterday because stuff is piling up for the coming release and new products. I told him about the needlessly complex path to home ownership, and he shared his. Same deal, surprises being sprung which should have been handled up front, and way too many documents. He also built a house in Thailand, there was none of this crap over there.

Home by way of Lucky's because they have a Jewish food section. I had falafel in the freezer, but needed humus and tehina and pita. It took forever to find pita, and the only types they had were whole wheat and 8-grain. Compared to several hundred types of taco and tortilla wrappers.

Watched the Saints and Falcons flail around for the final half while enjoying my Ben Memorial dinner. He was fond of a shot of schnapps now and then, maybe I'll have a sip in his memory.

Two packages picked up from UPS, one was a rotary nose & ear hair trimmer. The kind which looks like a miniature hedge trimmer is useless. And 4 6-packs of Nike crew socks. Had to throw away a 2-week supply of Dickies brand, holes in the toes after the first wear on too many of them.

Two weeks from moving. Two more packing projects before the crunch:
- Pack up the camping equipment which is on shelves in the storage room
- Box everything in the office closet which is not in drawers
- Box up the blank CDs/DVDs and ink cartridges in the office credenza
(those last to really are just one project)
This weekend I'll also do a full backup of my RAID array. It has all the big stuff, photos, videos, docs.

Plans for tomorrow:
Call the apartment office and yell at them for the no-show.
With luck, escrow will close. If it does, celebrate.
Uke class #2

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