Saturday, May 12, 2012

How to escape the Zombie Apocalypse

I came across this neat blog last year called The Art of Manliness. It definitely won't appeal to everyone, but for men (and not a few women) who want to know how to do things, it's a surprisingly awesome resource. Some of the things they cover: How to go canoeing and stay dry, how to make maple syrup like a Vermonter, or how to give an effective sales pitch. I like the site because it captures the essence of what I believe a Truck Buddy should be: innovative, competent, confident, helpful, etc. As me sometime how I think the Boy Scouts could learn a few things from us.

I just noticed one of the latest posts: How to Build a Get Home Bag. What's a Get Home Bag? It's a small pack with (hopefully) all the supplies you'll need to get from your place of work to home. Pretty simple.

I know -- some of you are rolling your eyes right now: "Oh boy. Right-wing survivalist wacko propaganda..." Not quite. I'm instantly repelled by that kind of stuff myself, but as someone who has a 30 mile commute, one way, up I-95, every single day, this caught my attention. It's not inconceivable that one of these days, particularly for those of us in the DC Metro area, we may have to "bug out" of work pretty fast. And since around a million or so of us live well outside of DC, it could become quite a nightmare to get back to loved ones or even just irritating roommates who, in the event of a serious calamity, don't seem so bad after all.

Unless they've become zombies. Then, well, don't go home.

Like I said -- it's not inconceivable that the relatively simple act of getting home a few miles away could take 24 hours or more. Regardless of which year's survey you look at, DC is still in the top five for worst traffic in the nation -- and that's before you throw a car engine-killing electromagnetic pulse or zombies into it. My unscientific observation of weekly traffic patterns tells me that most people are pretty savvy with traffic around here. People start their commute anywhere from 4:00 AM to 9:00 AM. It's staggered -- everybody does a reasonable job of trying to strategically reduce their commute time to the lowest possible duration. But, if everyone needs to go at once? Chaos. A couple of years ago we were hit by the "Snowpocalypse." One of the guys was just trying to get from the 14th St. bridge to the office -- a 10 minute commute with perfect traffic conditions. It took him over four hours. I won't describe the use he had to put to a coke bottle during that grueling journey...

So anyway, check out the link for some good basic preparation tips. It doesn't get into ridiculous detail, but it does give some decent ideas about how to prepare. It's completely apolitical, too, which I appreciate. (Yes, really, guys...)


Friday, May 11, 2012

This is relevant to my LIFE

An oldie but a goody, now 33 percent more relevant to my life:


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Welcome, little girl, and thank you, guys.

Baby Cecilia giving us hope of a peaceful infancy.
Last week, almost exactly one month early, our little girl was born. Baby Cecilia was born around 4:00 AM. She was 5lb, 12oz, and about 18 inches long. She has huge feet and she's beautiful.

Mommy and baby are both doing fantastically well. In fact, they both came home yesterday, which, like the birth, was quite a surprise.

I've often joked that with the arrival of each child, the business has taken off into a new, more productive, more complicated stage which, for the most part, was better than it was before. Paradoxically, each new stage is several orders of magnitude more stressful for a slacker liberal arts major like me, but also more peaceful. I imagine that the men on the deck of the Titanic felt a similar resignation as they watched the lifeboats row away. As with children, if do it right, you create something bigger and better than yourself or what you can imagine with a business. Eventually it takes on a life of it's own and you become more of a caretaker than a creator.

I have no idea how things are going to develop in the near future. There are massive projects that need to be undertaken, ridiculously ambitious goals to achieve, and a lot of foundation yet to build and/or patch. And now I'll have less time to do it. It's going to be exciting.

Fortunately, we have one of the best crews we've ever had. Without a good team, you're not going to get anything done. When I was called home last Tuesday to help while my wife suffered incapacitating contractions, I didn't expect that to be the last day I'd be able to work for an entire week. Had I known, I would have panicked. There was so much to be done. We're almost halfway through the year and I'm nowhere near ready to put a bow on the planning for the year and call it "good."

But it was no problem. The guys got it done.

I'm told a few of the veterans got together and figured out how to get through the next week and/or month while my schedule was suddenly blown to bits. While I was mini-vanning the boys around, trying to keep the house in order, and trying to figure out where the hell Joe's green beebee (blanket) was, I didn't get a single crisis call. It just...worked.

So, thanks to the guys of My Truck Buddy. I'm starting to think we might have something here.