Monday, September 24, 2012

A Minute With Mr Bunches: Solo Robot Boxing.

When I was a kid, "Rockem Sockem Robots" were bigger, and tougher, and robotier.

Or so I choose to remember because everything was better when I was a kid, except for the stuff that clearly is NOT.  OHMYGOD I wish we'd had iPads and stuff like that as a kid.  We had those little handheld football games in which the player was a tiny red LED, and you pushed buttons frantically to make him go up and down.  Do you know how sucky that was? VERY SUCKY.

Worse were those little water games you used to get, where you push the one button and make the water in the tube squirt up and blow around the stuff in the plastic container, like a basketball, and hope it gets into the hoop by random chance? Those were terrible.  ONE BUTTON.  What was THAT about? And yet, we loved them.

Because we didn't know any better, is my point.  Because we didn't know any better.

Mr Bunches, with access to iPads and the Internet and all, knows better, but still loves himself some retro games.  Here he is engaging in Solo Rockem Sockem Roboting.  I am sure this will be an Olympic sport someday.

Because of the facial expressions.

Hang around until 0:50 and see what I mean.

PS: Did you know they have those water squirt games for an iPad? It's true:

So now you can be virtual bored.

PPS: Later, Mr Bunches relented and let me play, and together we discovered the secret to winning.  Want to know the secret? You've got to sort of lunge your robot forward as you punch, and you'll get 'em every time.  Once we learned that, we spent a happy half hour Rockeming and Sockeming, until Mr Bunches again banished me from the game.

Maybe I'll get MY name on those testimonials! I'll be FAMOUS!

"The pain in my knees and ankles had diminished." 

"It has dramatically eased my aching joints and stiffness."

Those are two different people talking about nopalea, a drink I came across while looking for ways to continue to get in shape and improve my health.

I don't know much about Nopalea, yet.  I know that the site says it's made of (primarily) the fruit of the "Nopal cactus," and that it relies on "bioflavinoids" for the benefits it touts.  Those are chemical compounds that are being researched for their use in various cures for human conditions, and while I'm no medical expert, the stuff Nopalea says on the website sounds good to me; they say that the Nopalea drink can reduce inflammation and help with allergies and toxins.

They do that, Nopalea says, by helping remove damaged and dead cells, taking away the wastes in your body and leaving healthy cells, which the bioflavinoids then help protect against further injury or harm.

Again: I'm no doctor, and the site says that the drink "may" help, so they're being pretty honest about what they think they can do.  But as everyone knows, I've been trying to get into shape and dealing with a lot of problems doing that, not least of which are the problems caused by being 43 years old and trying to work out: stiff joints, sore knees and feet, and the like.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't try anything that promises a miracle cure, but they don't seem to be promising that, just that they may help . And, equally importantly, Nopalea is offering to let people like me try it without risk by offering a free (or almost free) 32 ounce sample -- just by calling their number I can get a drink and all I have to pay for is the shipping.

Will it work? The testimonials say it will, and it doesn't seem like there's harm in trying. 

We are all made of stars, even the planets. (Cool Things I Never Learned In School)

I've always wondered about gas giant planets, like Jupiter.  Isn't there something in there? I used to wonder.  Or is it really just all atmosphere?  It seemed to me that if there was something down in the middle of the planet, it wouldn't be fair to call it a gas planet, but instead it would be a planet with a larger atmosphere, to my mind.

Our planet, for example, is a rocky planet, I know: It's mostly rock, even the middle, which is to say it's mostly solid, not liquid or gas.  The gas part of our planet, the atmosphere, extends out only 300 miles, so calling our planet a gas planet would be wrong; if I were to consider the atmosphere part of the planet...

...which it seems to me you have to, if you're going to allow gas planets to be gas planets, because every planet astronomers call a gas planet is mostly or completely just atmosphere...

... if I consider the atmosphere part of the planet then ...

the Earth, which has a diameter of 7,926.41 miles is 8,226.41 miles counting the gases, and only 3% of our planet's total diameter is gases.

I got to thinking about this because of Mr Bunches' interest in the planets, which has rekindled my own interest in the planets.  Mr Bunches recently got himself a book about the planets.

Actually, he got himself two books about the planets.  He got the first book about the planets on a trip to the bookstore, and that book came with not just the book, but also a miniature orrery and a planetarium that runs on one AA battery and so it's not very bright and doesn't exactly light up the entire room with the stars the way one would hope a planetarium would.  The night this little AA Planetarium worked the best was the night that we had a blackout that lasted 1 1/2 hours during a thunderstorm, and Mr Bunches was not in a mood to know that the planetarium worked because he was out-of-his-mind crazy with terror.

Mr Bunches does not like the dark.  He doesn't even like the dim.  He wants things bright, and when he goes to sleep at night it is in a room that is lit by a bright overhead lamp and his TV and, a recent addition, his nightlight.  That is barely enough, and if we wait for him to fall asleep to turn off the light, he might sleep through that but if he wakes up he will holler until someone comes to turn on the light, at which point he'll drop right back to sleep.


Blackouts are terrifying occasions for Mr Bunches, because they only occur at night and because they leave him in absolute pitch black, as it did one Saturday night recently when it started raining and the boys were in bed, almost asleep.  Sweetie and I were watching TV and the rain intensified until it got hard enough to knock down a power line somewhere, and all the lights and televisions went out.

It took less than 0.00001 seconds for an unearthly howl to emanate from Mr Bunches' room down the hall and by the time we got there, about 5 seconds into the blackout he was pounding on his door and sobbing.  Sweetie had to hug him and calm him down while we tried to convince him it was okay, but he was having none of it; he kept crying and being scared, even after we went downstairs and used our laptop and iPad, both with batteries, to provide a little light.  We tried to get him to sit and play some games on the computer to calm him down but it barely registered.  He mostly sat on the couch, hugging Sweetie and crying and asking her if "they" could "just find the morning."

(Mr F was unaffected by the blackout, really.  Mr F is unaffected by many things, being mostly easygoing and accepting of his lot in life.  Mr F came downstairs and sat with us while we waited for the lights to come on.  After a while, when they didn't, Mr F wanted to go back up to bed.  I didn't feel right about him sitting in a pitch black room sleeping.  It's one thing when a room is dark by choice -- the darkness isn't as bad when you can fling it away from you at a flick of a switch.  It's another thing when it's there for good and you can't do anything about it, so I took an alarm clock that we had that has a button you can push to light up the face.  I taped the button down and put it in Mr F's room with him, and gave him a little flashlight we had to hold.   I sat there reading my Kindle while he slept, the flashlight unheeded near him.)

Eventually, Mr F was asleep and I saw Mr Bunches' planetarium and took it downstairs; I thought if he saw the stars on the ceiling it might calm him down, so I lit it up and looked, and because everything in the world was dark, the dim, AA stars were bright enough to make a soft, fuzzy universe on our kitchen ceiling.

I said to Sweetie "Have Mr Bunches come see" but by then he had drifted into a fitful sleep and eventually the lights came back on.  It is sadly ironic that for Mr Bunches to make full use of one of his favorite toys he will have to suffer through an experience that is nightmarish for him.

(Mr Bunches had to get the second planet book, which was identical to the first, because Mr F accidentally broke the orrery that came with the first planet book, so we went and bought a replacement.)

In Mr Bunches' book of planets, the book talks about how Jupiter has a core of rock somewhere down inside it, confirming my suspicions that gas planets aren't always gas planets the way I think of them.  Another book of Mr Bunches, one I bought him because he was getting bored with his first book of planets, says that one of the other gas planets, I think it's Neptune, is made up of frozen gases, which at first seemed to me to be cheating: if you're going to say it's a gas planet, then it can't be solid, right? Think about if Neptune really were made of just hydrogen and oxygen.  If it's a gas planet, then it's nothing but air, right?  And if that air is frozen, then it's simply an ice planet, not a gas planet: ice is the solid form of the gaseous state for water.  Or something like that.

This all made me wonder why there are gas planets, and specifically how they work, so I spent some time yesterday reading about them and trying to figure it out: What would make the gases cling together as a planet, spinning and swirling?  Why don't they just dissipate?  Does our atmosphere dissipate?  Maybe a little? Maybe some atoms escape from our gravity but mostly they're held by the mass below them, is how I understand it, but in a pure gas planet, then what would be the center of gravity that holds them together, I wondered.

It's not like I have the answers, because a day of paging around on the web doesn't replace years of studying astrophysics, but here is what I have gleaned so far:

Gas planets are stars that dropped out.

Jupiter, Saturn, those kinds of planets are collections of gases that never quite ignited as stars.  They weren't big enough for nuclear reactions to start, or they were made up of the wrong elements to start burning (according to the book The Disappearing Spoon, which I'm reading, stars can only create elements via fusion up to iron before they explode, so all elements beyond iron were created by exploding stars and can't be used by normal stars.)

Jupiter, for example, is mostly hydrogen and helium, just like a regular star, but it's too small to spontaneously combust, so instead it starts it's own weird reaction, like having a molten core of gases that react like plasmas, but not quite, and by having an electrical-conducting outer metallic shell of hydrogen, which when I read it made me think that Jupiter is actually like this Giant Electric Metal Balloon of Wonder, orbiting the sun,

I also found out that gas giants isn't exactly accurate.  The term comes from a science fiction writer:   James Blish, who used it in a rewrite of his story Solar Plexus, back in the 1950s.  Scientists are starting to use Jovian to describe gas giants that are more like Jupiter, while referring to Neptune and planets like it as ice planets...

...all of which got me to thinking about having been raised to believe there were gas giant planets and rocky planets, the dichotomy still used today in Mr Bunches' books of planets.  What do we gain by dumbing down the universe in that way?  When I was younger, I never used to question the idea that there could be a gas planet, but, then, when you are young you tend to believe a lot of things unless you are given a reason not to believe them.

For me now, it was Mr Bunches' little kids' book of planets that first told me that some of the gas planets were frozen and some had rock in them, and that caused me to think more, even, about those planets than I had in years, until I sat down and read more and learned just how weird our solar system really is.  In a single afternoon I learned how big the Earth's atmosphere is, learned about how Jovian planets can give off more heat than they absorb, being something between planets and stars, learned about how ice planets and gas planets really behave, and was left with tons of questions to follow up on.

That's all well and good, but I'm forty-three.  I may read and think about these things for a while, but what if, instead of being told that there were just gas and rock planets and that's it, move on, what if back in school I'd been told that Jupiter isn't so much a "gas planet" as it is a kind of star, almost, that's covered (we think) in a thin metallic electrical shield of metal, while its nearby neighbors are giant balls of frozen methane.

What if I'd been told that stuff, back then, and had started asking the questions at 10, 12, 15, that I'm asking now?  Maybe I still would have become a lawyer, but maybe I wouldn't have, and there's be another physicist or astronomer out there.

I like to tell people about the astronomy class I took when I was in college, my senior year.  I loved it so much that had I taken it freshman year, I might have majored in science.  That professor did a remarkable job of making me think, ask questions, and he demonstrated in such a way how weird and awesome the universe is that I wanted to know more about science.

By that time, I was accepted in law school and committed to being a lawyer, and I've asked different questions as a result of the timing of those things.

All of which is to say: I probably should have woken up Mr Bunches, so he could see his stars that night.

UPDATE:  RE: PT Dilloway's comment, below, and my Paul-Simon inspired response to it:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Dishwasher, 3 (Jobs v. Life)

Jobs v Life is essays about all the jobs I've had, in chronological order.  So far there's been paperboy,  and McDonald's... click here for an explanation and table of contents.

So I've finished up all that stuff about cruising and getting chased down by maniacs, and it's time to talk about the nature of the job of a dishwasher.

Basically, you wash dishes.

Okaysee you next time!

My job at Chenequa Country Club was an uncomplicated one, really: go into the kitchen, wash the dishes, and put them away.  It was made more complicated than it needed to be, really, by the existence of my brother, Matt, who also worked there and had helped me get the job, and by the fact that on my first day on the job, I also donated blood at the school blood drive and was not feeling that well.

I began working as a dishwasher, the third job I'd ever held in my life, on a Friday night, because when you work in the entertainment industry,  you work on the nights that other people have off, and restaurants are part of that industry; you have to be at work when other people are having fun, which means you work on Friday nights.  That might have been a problem for me except that I wasn't all that booked up on Friday nights in high school, anyway -- most Fridays, I'd just be heading home to spend the weekend reading comic books and sci-fi novels anyway, drifting through 72 hours of time away from school before going back to drift through 40 hours of time in school.

Also, working Fridays wasn't such a problem because two of my four friends worked at the Country Club, anyway, and so I wouldn't have been doing anything without them and would have had to wait until they got done with work to go out if we were going to go out.

I reported for that first Friday work probably around 3 or 4 in the afternoon; the Country Club restaurant wasn't a regular restaurant but was instead only open certain hours, if I remember correctly, and it really doesn't matter if I don't, because I never worked anything but Fridays or Saturday nights there and I didn't work there more than a few weeks in any event because working there was more or less intolerable, mostly because of Matt but also because of the shrimp, which eventually I'll get to.

Oh, heck: I'll get to it now.  It's more interesting anyway than anything else that happened there.

The shrimp didn't happen on the first night I worked there, but instead happened on the worst New Year's Eve of my life, and that's saying something, because doesn't New Year's Eve always suck?  Don't lie: it does.  New Year's Eve is the worst holiday ever invented because it's arbitrary anyway, and doesn't really mean anything, plus it comes in the middle of winter for those of us who are unlucky enough to have had parents or grandparents who, with the entire continent to choose from opted to locate in the Upper Midwest a/k/a Permafrost and winters so cold that in the middle of an August heat wave your body still doesn't forget the feeling of MINUS EIGHTY DEGREES NOT EVEN COUNTING THE WIND CHILL, which is an actual temperature I actually had to be outside in once and so I say screw you, Grandpa you could have opted to live in Southern California, see if I come visit your grave.

New Year's Eve comes right after Christmas, which if you are anything but a really devout Muslim or Jewish person -- really devout, because I know some Jewish people who still put up a tree -- is a holiday that's 20 times bigger than every other event on the calendar rolled together, and whatever you put after Christmas is going to suck as a holiday, so maybe that's the thinking behind New Year's Eve,  a holiday devoted to drinking and imagining the night will be fun when we know it won't? Maybe it was meant to be an awful, boring, overhyped holiday as a palate-cleanser, getting us to forget all the good stuff that just happened and get it out of our system?  In that respect, New Year's Eve is Rattle & Hum to Christmas' Joshua Tree, except that I always liked Rattle & Hum and I've never liked New Year's Eve.

When we were kids, New Year's Eve was kind of fun in a weird sort of way.  We didn't have many parties as pre-teens; that was the era in between when my parents had friends and a social life and when they began falling apart, a process that included them dropping most if not all of their social contacts (or, as I think about it now, possibly being dropped by them? Hmmm.)

When we were very young -- 5ish or so, I'd say, except that I'm pretty sure I don't remember a single thing that happened to me before I was 10 beyond the time I got to go to the Drew's store and buy a toy World War II bomber with my allowance, a scene I remember so clearly it gives me a lump in my throat, a lump made of pure nostalgia:

I am standing on a chair in our kitchen, and my dad has just come home from work.  He's wearing the uniform he wore as a route driver for Coca-Cola back then, a striped shirt and grayish pants with the little red-patch logo over the pocket on the front. He's got his moustache,  the one that when we see it in slides now, looks so funny and makes him look ethnic, Italian or Mexican, even though he's about 90% German/Polish-y. He's pulling money out of his wallet.  My brothers and Mom are there and we get our allowance, a dollar or two,  probably -- a whopping sum of money for a kid in around 1974 or 1975.  

We get to go to Drew's, the 'general store' that's like a low-grade Woolworth's.  It's up at the strip mall by the Red Owl and Philip's Drug Store.  There's a florist there, too, and the A&W Drive In with an actual llama in a pen behind it.  The Skateworld and the bowling alley haven't been invented yet.  

I pick out, to spend my allowance on, a little die-cast airplane that is a replica of one of the World War II bombers.  It is lime-green with little flags on it and an actual cockpit that you can see into, although all you can see are seats; there's no pilots or people.  

Later on, the see-through cockpit would fall off, but that wouldn't matter.  I'd just fly the bomber around and pretend it had a cockpit.

That is my earliest memory.

New Year's when we were that little had us stay home with sitters while my parents went to the Herros, or the Muellers, or the Barquists.  From then, and later, the tradition in our house was that on New Year's Eve you got to eat whatever it was you wanted for dinner -- instead of the usual "You'll eat what I cook" philosophy our parents adhered to, you could pick your own dinner, all courses, and Mom would make it.

That made for a bit of a problem for me because I invariably picked steak even though steak was far from my favorite food; I've never been crazy about steak, probably because it still looks a little too identifiable.  It's too easy to tell where steak comes from (a cow, I'm pretty sure) and so I've got a bias against it.  If there were steak nuggests or popcorn steak I might like it better.  I like McDonald's steak and egg bagels, because not only are they delicious but also the steak isn't natural seeming.  It's pretty clearly been processed-as-all-get-out, which means that as much nature as possible has been steamed/diced/compressed/cooked/grated/bosoned out of it and I am at very little risk of encountering nature in my breakfast.

Steak was what we were expected to pick, I think. I always had the idea that we were supposed to pick steak as our New Year's meal, because we so rarely had steak the rest of the year, and steak was the high-point of meals back then. The only meal more expensive was lobster, to my young mind, and the only time we had lobster was when once in a blue moon Mom would be treated to a lobster; I don't recall anyone else in the house ever having a lobster dinner.  Maybe Dad didn't like it, or maybe we couldn't afford to get two of them.  I'm not sure.  Either way, lobster was a once-every-couple of years splurge, the way we once all got Mom a bottle of really expensive perfume for Christmas and it was pretty much her only Christmas present but she still cried she was so happy.

See? Talk about New Year's and inevitably it drifts to a better holiday.  Ever see anyone cry with happiness at New Year's Eve? No.  You haven't.

I probably would have preferred having a burger, or my mom's homemade pizza, as a kid on New Year's Eve.  My mom's homemade pizza, which we had quite a bit, was great: the crust was doughy and sweet, a bit, and drooped when you picked it up and she had just the right amount of sauce and we loved it more than anything else, or at least I did.  One of the minor sorrows of my mom being dead (there's lots of major sorrows but this is a minor one) is that she never told anyone the recipe for her pizza crust and it's lost now forever, but maybe that's not such a bad thing: if you can have something anytime you want it, it's not as special, and maybe that pizza was so wonderful because I can only remember it, so the memory of how it tasted and felt and smelt is all wrapped up in the memories of a superhappy childhood filled with World War II bombers and trips to Great America and backyard football games.  That pizza crust has never been tainted by memories of my working in a factory,  or my parents divorcing, or worrying about Mr F's head, and it never will be.

But I never got a burger, or pizza.  I could have, if I wanted, but we were supposed to be fancy and rich and special on New Year's Eve.  We had burgers and pizza and the rest year round: On New Year's, we had steak, and dressed up our meals the way teenage girls who get boys to fall in love with them by wearing jeans and sweatshirts and ponytails end up going to prom wearing a gown, corsage and fancy hairdo: they look great, really they do, but they looked real and great in the jeans and I always sort of wished that my dates wouldn't have gone to the trouble.

That's New Year's Eve, in a nutshell: getting all dressed up for nothing much, making a big deal out of nothing when you'd really rather be doing something quiet, and I think part of my dislike of New Year's Eve began that night with the shrimp.

This was about a week or two into my job as a dishwasher, and already I hated the job, especially the part where Matt bossed me around even though I'm pretty sure he did not have the right to do so.  There were only about 3 or 4 people working in the kitchen area:  Me, Matt, Chef -- who made us call him chef and so I never actually learned his name at all -- and maybe 1 other guy.  I can't remember another guy, but I feel like maybe there must have been one because that's a pretty small crew, isn't it?

Bob and Fred, my two friends, worked as waiters, along with some girls who worked as waitresses.  So that was the Chenequa Country Club crew, and Matt's role wasn't clear to me back then or now.  He was somewhere between a cook and a dishwasher, maybe? Like the head dishwasher or kitchen assistant or something.  Sometimes he helped cook but not much, and he never really washed dishes, either, but whatever his job was, it seemed to involve a lot of Matt, as my younger brother, trying to boss me around including on my first night when I was trying to wash dishes but didn't feel good because I'd donated blood that day, and Matt came over to me and said:

"You've got to get going faster.  You're not going to be able to work here if you work this slow," which:

A.  I was doing pretty good and it was my first night.
B.  It wasn't even busy, and
C.  I responded with:

"I just threw up" because I had: I'd gone into the bathroom and thrown up and came back out and continued washing dishes.

Matt finished with "just speed it up" and probably in that exchange were laid the seeds of our eventual falling apart to where we wouldn't speak anymore, the way the shrimp led to me hating New Year's, I bet.

As a dishwasher, I not only washed dishes (right?) but had to do whatever else Chef found for me to do.  Chef was a skinny little guy who in my memory kind of looks like John Waters would have looked if John Waters had worked as a chef at a third-rate golf course/ country club in Chenequa, Wisconsin, which back then was kind of the richest area of the "Lake Country," an area that included Chenequa, Pewaukee, Hartland, Delafield, and some other little towns that clustered around a few small lakes.  Chenequa was where you lived back then if you were rich, and the Country Club was where you golfed if you were rich.  If you were middle class, like us, you mostly golfed at "Lakeside," a 9-hole course without water traps, and sometimes you could afford to go to Nagawicka, a public, 18-hole golf course, and I suppose it says something about how rich or poor the whole area was that it was possible to rate how well you were doing by which golf course you golfed at.  It's hard to consider anyone down on their luck when they have the money and time to golf, golf being possibly the wastingest pastime you can have.

Chef had a moustache, I bet.  Let's just say he did because he is the kind of person who would have a small moustache, a moustache he grew when he was 17 and refused thereafter to give up on, ever; he probably grew it as an act of defiance and/or maturity, a way to show his parents he could do what he wanted while also trying to get the other kids to quit beating him up because he was so small, and the moustache that we're pretending we're sure he had was intended to make him look older and was kept, on his face, until he was 52 and shaved it off one day because he wanted to see how it looked, causing his significant other to tell him "It looks nice. Clean," without really looking up from his or her coffee that morning.

Chef gave us jobs to do -- me, mostly -- like "clean that closet" or "mop" or, on New Year's Eve, the shrimp.

"Come with me," he beckoned me away from the sink and into the back room of the kitchen, where there was an industrial sink and a giant bucket that was easily three feet tall.

"These are the shrimp for tonight," he said, and I looked into the bucket to see what looked like a giant mass of intestines chopped into tiny bits floating around.  I almost barfed.

I do not get why people eat shrimp.  You know they're related to spiders, right? It doesn't matter if that's true because it's true in my mind and so you're eating this little antenna-y, giant-legged, shell-having, multi-eyed crustacean or arachnid or something and honestly as I'm typing this I feel a little sick.

Plus, they leave the tail on and so you have to see the fin.

The.  fin.

If there's one thing worse than knowing where your food comes from, what it was before it was a sandwich,  it's knowing your food had a fin.

But shrimp are big deals for people, apparently because those people are unfamiliar with the fact that spiders and I'm of course including shrimp in that category are so abundant on Earth that you're never more than 3 feet from one, and probably part of that is that there's always someone near you eating a shrimp and thinking they're part of the uppercrust when really they are a step above the marine life that eat krill.

Think about this the next time you get all excited about a shrimp cocktail: you are eating the same thing, right then, as a squid.

Is that what you want out of life? To share traits with a squid?

"These are the shrimp for tonight," Chef said, and I said:

"Okay," because I was okay with that.

He looked at me and said:

"You need to de-vein them."

"I need to what, now?" I asked.

"De-vein them," he said again, and rather than deal with my kitchen dullardry any more, he picked one out of the gloop and dug his finger into its belly, pulling out as he went the long thick vein that ran along the bottom.  He peeled that vein right off the shrimp and threw it in the sink and then dropped the de-veined shrimp into a different bucket of water, where it drifted, lonely and veinlessly.

"De-vein them," he said again, and because I didn't want to start that I said:


and could not have imagined the horrifyingly gross answer I got, which was this:

"Because the vein has poop in it. Shrimp poop through their veins."

That is ACTUALLY WHAT HE TOLD ME and I have never forgotten it, the exact way he said it, and I have never bothered looking it up because honestly, if it was a lie, if he made it up or was wrong, I don't want to know.  I'm not interested at all in making shrimp more palatable and it's entirely believable to me that shrimp poop through their veins.  That's exactly the kind of thing shrimp would do.

That, then, is how I spent New Year's Eve the year I was 16 or 17:  standing alone in a chilly back room of a country club, listening to a tinny FM radio, while I dug poop out of wet dead sea spiders.

It's no wonder I didn't stay there long, but it didn't matter much because a week later the Country Club closed for the season and I was out of a job again.