Friday, March 11, 2016

Stunned! Absolutely Stunned! -- March 11, 2016

From The Des Moines Register:
Thousands of construction workers could start work this spring on the Bakken oil pipeline through Iowa, but a statewide coalition of environmentalists, community activists and property owners is vowing to do everything possible to stop the project.
The Iowa Utilities Board voted 3-0 on Thursday to approve a state permit for the underground pipeline, which will run diagonally for 346 miles across 18 Iowa counties. The project is proposed by Dakota Access LLC., a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.
The massive pipeline project has deeply divided Iowans from many walks of life, from those who welcome it as a potential economic benefit to those who deride it as an environmental threat and a violation of private property rights.
The board took about seven minutes to issue its decision. It came after 18 public informational meetings, 12 days of public hearings, and weeks of deliberations over the past year and a half. In the process, the board received more than 8,000 public comments and compiled more than 3,500 pages of transcripts.
A huge "thank you" to a reader for alerting me to this.

I lost a month's wages in betting against this to happen. Regular readers know that I said Iowa would never approve this.

The Bismarck Tribune also has this story

A Note to the Granddaughters

I am entering my ninth year as the 24/7 nanny for our grandchildren.

When I retired from the USAF back in 2007, I told my wife that I planned to live in every major American city two years at a time. We would rent an efficiency apartment for two years somewhere in the US and then move to the next big city. We had pretty much "lived everywhere" overseas and had no more desire to travel outside the US. We had also lived in or visited most of the US, but we had missed a few big cities.

We visited our granddaughters (just two of them at the time; the younger six months old) in Charleston, SC, at Christmas, 2007. During that visit, I realized that the granddaughters were likely to "fall in between the cracks of life" because of the extremely busy schedule our daughter and son-in-law had with work and school (advanced degrees).

So, at the end of the Christmas visit, I simply announced that I would not be leaving. I would simply "live" in the spare bedroom upstairs and assume 24/7 care for the granddaughters, making it easier for our daughter/son-in-law to pursue their interests.

I lived in that bedroom for two years. My wife gradually joined me in this endeavor and now we are often together taking care of the children, but we often take some time off (generally no more than two weeks at  a time). At least one of us is always with the granddaughters with some very minimal exceptions. When the family goes on vacation, we have our own vacation.

Today when dropping off the two older granddaughters for school, I thought about that as I drove past all the sights that held so many memories.

I am going into my 9th year of retirement (I think). In that time, we've spent two years in Charleston, South Carolina; four years in Boston, and, now three years (and counting) in the Dallas-Ft Worth area.

We take the kids to school every day. We take them to all their sporting events. We take them to extra-curricular school events. Many days it takes three of us to manage the schedule. Their father will take the youngest (19 months old now) to soccer practice. Their mother will take the 9-year-old to her soccer game. I will take the oldest to here water polo tournament. (May is out in California for a couple of weeks.)

Because of their water polo and soccer schedule (and before that, competitive swimming), math and science club competitions, we have been to numerous (too many to count) venues in suburbs and cities on the north side of Ft Worth and Dallas. 

After dropping off Arianna at middle school this morning, I drove by the middle school natatorium where she spent every weekday afternoon swimming laps for competitive swimming. It brought back a lot of great memories. She no longer participates in competitive swimming but now is a middle schooler playing on the high school water polo team over at Southlake in an even bigger venue. When her middle school team plays, she is a starter; on the high school team, a reserve, but she does get some playing time and lots of quality practice.

I have the day free but at 3:30 p.m. I get to pick up the 19-month-old at TutorTime. She can stay as late as 6:00 p.m. (which she never has); her mom likes her to be picked up about 4:30 for various reasons (which have to do with activities at TutorTime) but I cannot wait that long. I try to pick her about 3:30 but (for various reasons) have acquiesced to other people's "demands" that I wait until at least 4:00 p.m.

From 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sophia and I are at the park.

So, now the day is mine. Some blogging. Some biking. But mostly just an interlude between taking care of the granddaughters.

We may not get to many more major US cities, but San Francisco is my wife's #1 choice; Washington, DC, is my #1 choice. We have spent a significant amount of time in both cities -- a long time ago -- but never actually lived there. I doubt it's going to happen. Too many things have changed.

And I've grown lazy and content. It's hard to beat the DFW area. But I would probably say that wherever we lived. I could have even retired in Adana, Turkey.

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