Note: The links are to recent pictures (one picture per person)
For the Fourth of July, we invited friends and family over for swimming and dinner, and then we went to the local University to see fireworks. The show was great, but getting out of the parking lot was tedious. Next year, I think weíll look for alternatives with better access. During the swimming festivities Marc had to take time out for a two-hour telecon. Business on a holiday?! Well, that's life.
Technically, Marc had Monday, July 5th off, but since his proposal had to be mailed on the 6th, he went into work. He had also worked on the 3rd. Jackie was glad when it went into the mail. However, the work was not over! On the day before we left on vacation, Marc found out that the proposal presentation was going to be on the Monday after we got back, and that they wanted him to be one of the five presenters. We had hoped that they would want the bigwigs to do all the presenting, but since Marc had the technical know-how, they wanted him there, and since he would be there, they felt it best if he presented too. Consequently, he would need to fly to Dayton the day after we got back in order to have time to prepare.
We left for our vacation in Maine on Friday, July 9. Jackieís parents watched the boys while we were gone. On Friday we took the boys to their grandparentsí house, put them to bed, and took the red-eye to Portland, Maine (via DC). Saturday, we drove to Rockland, where we stayed for two nights. In Rockland, we saw a lighthouse museum, the breakwater, a couple of lighthouses, the local "mountain" and (of course) lots of shops. On Monday, we drove to Bar Harbor (taking in a historical museum along the way,) where we spent three nights. In Bar Harbor, we went Whale Watching, saw the local Oceanarium (which included a lobster hatchery,) rented bikes, walked around a tidal island (you can walk to it at low tide, but donít stay too long, or you wonít be able to get back!) and (of course) went shopping. Thursday, we drove back to Portland via Augusta where we stopped at the capitol and took in a museum. We spent the night in Portland, and flew home on Friday. The flight home was an unpleasant experience, best quickly forgotten.
Maine is wonderful. The weather was perfect; the area is beautiful; learning about Maineís history was fun, and then there are those lobsters! Jackie ate lobster every day she was there mostly whole lobsters and did not exhaust her lobster eating capacity. If you want a laid-back trip where you can walk for hours in incredibly gorgeous country, Maine is an excellent vacation choice. If youíd like more details on what we did, read Jackieís vacation journal.
The day after we returned from Maine, Marc flew to Dayton. We all took him to the airport. After we watched his plane take off, Jackie said, "Letís go find airplanes!" Benjamin responded, "No! Go find Daddy!"
Sunday, Jonathan and Jackie had tickets to the Hollywood Bowl for a childrenís concert. Marcís Mom watched Benjamin. He was not happy at being left, but settled quickly once they had gone. The concert was OK, the Star Spangled Banner, a coronation March, a reading of some of A.A. Milneís poems, Amy Tan reading her childrensí book, and Peter and the Wolf. All of the readings were accompanied by music, Amy Tan was accompanied by slides and Peter and the Wolf was accompanied by a video. Amy Tan was the best.
Monday, Jackie took an extra day off of work, and we went to Hurricane Harbor (the local Water Park) with friends. It was a gorgeous day warm, but not too hot, and we had a blast. That night, Marc came home with the news that the presentation had not gone nearly as well as they had hoped.
Since Marc had put in the equivalent of four days in the week already, he took the next three days off, and had some quality time with his boys. On Tuesday he spent the day with Benjamin and on Wednesday, he took Jonathan and Cousin Mitchell to Magic Mountain using free tickets that the boys had earned by reading during the school year. However, Jonathan (a roller coaster fiend) was disappointed to find that his cousin was more interested in arcades. So, Marc promised him another trip with roller coasters.
When Jackie went back to work on Tuesday, she found that the contract that was supposed to have been reinstated had not actually been turned on yet. Such is the life in government contracting. On Thursday, she was told that there was another contract that they were trying to acquire that they wanted her to manage. However there was some hardware issue that needed to be resolved.
We saw the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" at our local theater and enjoyed it greatly. Weíve been pleased with the shows at this theater, and since the theater is only a mile from the house, you canít beat the convenience!
Most of you know that Marc does all the cooking in our house. Even though Jackie is home in the afternoon and Marc gets home around 6, we decided that we would be happier doing the jobs we prefer. Just before going on vacation, we discussed the possibility of Marc working part-time and Jackie working full-time so that the one cooking dinner (Marc) and the one home in the afternoon were the same person. Both our bosses gave this idea the go-ahead. However, we put off implementing it until after vacation. On Marcís first day back in the office after our vacation (Friday,) his boss asked if we still wanted to implement that plan. Marc responded that we did, and his boss said that Marc being part-time would be good, because ISX was short on funds. So Monday, he should start part-time.
Jackie wasnít able to talk to her boss on Friday, and when she talked to him on Monday, he said that XonTech would prefer if she waited until one of the contracts they were working on came in. So, both Marc and Jackie were part-time. Jackie was actually pleased with this turn of events, because she hoped it would allow her to finish her brotherís project without staying up late every night. It was a very pleasant week, with early dinners consisting of menus that we hadnít had for a while.
Then on Friday, Marc found out how bad ISXís funding problems really were. He was laid off. On the bright side, he had been unhappy there since his previous boss left. On the not-so-bright side, heís out of work, and Jackieís only working part-time! On the bright side, he already had a job interview lined up for Monday. On the not-so-bright side, the job (assuming he got it!) would without a doubt, be full-time, killing our job reversal idea. The best laid plans...
The next day, we forgot all about jobs and stress, and had a marvelous day at Magic Mountain. This time the whole family went, and everyone had a blast. Benjamin turns out to be just as much a roller coaster fiend as his brother. Jonathan got to be in the Animal Action show and got an (enormous!) certificate for doing a good job. It was a lot of fun.
That night, Marc went to his 20th high school reunion. Although none of the friends he most wanted to see were there, he enjoyed it greatly, and got to see some people he hadnít seen in a long time.
A preview on next month: Marc got interviews with three different companies, one of which gave him an excellent job offer.
ĎTil next month!
Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin