Hi,

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s Atlantic crossing (1932), the first solo flight crossing the Atlantic by Lindbergh (1927), the Homestead Act (1862), Norman Rockwell’s first Saturday Evening Post cover (1916) and the international accord setting up standard Weights and Measures (1875).  Birth anniversaries include actor Jimmy Steward (1908), French painter Henri Rousseau (1844), First Lady Dolly Madison (1768) and French author Honore De Balzac.

A friend is going through something I’ve seen for sometime now.  It’s the same company doing the same thing, but they have “let all their current staff go” and the staff are welcome to “reapply for the new positions”.  I can’t get into specifics, because I don’t want to get my friend in trouble, but what the sh*t?  It’s a legal and easy way to either get rid of staff you don’t want and the company is too lazy to actually do your homework to document poor performance, lousy attitudes, attendance issue, etc.  Or it’s a ruse to get rid of obligations like legacy costs or to reduce your payroll by taking the same job position and “redefining” it so there’s a reduced wage or benefits.  I don’t know who’s worse, the lawyers that dreamed this twisted method of dealing with issues or the companies the turn to it.

While I’m on a rant, one of the clocks I purchased from the previous owner is an Ansonia.  Ansonia an American company that’s heyday was in the Victorian ages (it’s the clock on the dining room mantel with I guess it’s Lady Liberty on the top).  It hasn’t worked since I bought the Inn (and the clock).  :)  I saw a clock repair shop on Brownsville Road in Mt Oliver and dropped it off shortly before last Thanksgiving for repair.  The owner of the shop was working in the shop at the time and informed me it wouldn’t be ready for the holidays (Christmas).  I was disappointed, I thought five weeks should be enough, but he was up front about it and I was OK with it.  I called about it in February and was told “he’s still working on it”.  I called in March and got the same response.  I asked the person that answered the phone to ask the clock repair person to call me and left my phone number.  I never heard from him.  I called in April and he answered the phone and said it was at the shop in his house and he was working on it.  I called the end of April and the lady that answered the phone said  he wasn’t in the shop, I asked for him to return my call, which he never did. I called the next week and he answered the phone and said it was repaired, but he wanted to watch it for a week to ensure it was repaired.  She called me Thursday to say the clock was correctly repaired (six months later!).  It is back in the dining room and keeping time I might add.

What a nice guy, Mike Sotace of the Pittsburgh chapter of Information Systems Security Association is.  With money his company collected, they just donated $8,000 to the Plum Food Pantry.  In 2011, Sotace read that the Plum Food Pantry didn’t have enough vouchers for all their clients to get a turkey for Thanksgiving and he decided to help out.  Sotace says no one in America should go to bed hungry.  All toll, ISSA has donated $14,000 to the The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (of which the Plum pantry is a part). Joe Utterback of the pantry was taken back last Tuesday when Sotace walked in with the check.  Utterback says they service about 180 neighborhood residents and available food runs thin at times and this certainly helps them keep their selves stocked.  their need is a bit higher in the warmer months because most people think hunger with the cold weather and donations are lighter than during this time.

After a series of meetings with the local residents, The Aspinwall Riverfront Park has completed their master plan.  The first phase will be the western area of the park first.  Plans include play grounds, a community pavilion, 1/4 mile walking trail, boat ramp, marina, picnic areas and general green park spaces.  An anonymous family has pledged to match contributions of from $5,000 to $350,000 (very nice).  All proceeds from this fund raising campaign will go to opening the park, not overhead.   To donate or get more information go to their web site.

Can we talk dirty for a minute?  Get your mind out of the gutter, that’s not what I’m talking about.  Muck It in Wampum, PA is having their muckfest Saturday, May 25.  Run through moon sized craters of mud, a gigantic steel constructed obstacle course and many other challenges.  Get as dirty as you want. Register by May 22 and the entrance fee is $90, $100 after that.  You get a lunch and two free beers and ALL proceeds go to the National MS Society.  There are muckfests all around the country, so if you are not a Pittsburgher, go to their web site and find a local event.

Also on May 25, the new Talons! show will open at the National Aviary right down the street from me.  Before their big expansion completed last year, the Aviary used to hold their free flight shows outdoors, which ended up being pretty funny sometimes.  The birds are well trained, but the occasional blimp flying overhead on holidays or big sporting events would spook the birds and they’d take off.  Natives of da ‘burg knew if they saw a strange bird in their neighborhood, to call the Aviary.  Those days are gone with the largest free flight theater in the world.  They even dim the lights for the segment of the show for nocturnal raptors.  Pretty cool to be up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.  There’s a $5 entrance fee in addition to the $13 regular Aviary admission.   More information at their website or by calling 412-323-7235.

Speaking of birds, I’m becoming quite the aviary myself.  Besides the normal morning doves, robins and black birds, have I have a red bird family, blue bird family and just saw the canary came back.  Very colorful and I’m in the city.  I haven’t seen the peregrine falcon in awhile.  I don’t know if he found better hunting grounds elsewhere or is hiding in the leaves.

I’m getting ready to replace twenty windows, massive.  The windows came in Friday and I got them all unpacked and lined up.  I have two weeks to get them stained, varnished for the inside and painted for the outside (they came factory primed).  So in addition to selling lots of rooms (sold out Saturday through Wednesday!) and painting the Carriage House, I’m pretty busy.  Here’s the windows:

I’m so excited.  It’s the twelve windows to replace the bay windows facing the parking lot in the Dining Room and African Tulip, the six front windows in Lady Palm and the two Bird of Paradise bathroom windows.  Five of the windows are larger than doors.  They are thermo double paned with e-gas and tinting.  They should make a huge difference in heating and cooling the Inn.  The Mike Wanner, installer, suggested TrimLine, a Pennsylvania company outside Philly.  They don’t have the huge advertising budget Pella, Marvin and the other big guys have and are much less expensive (I’ve had multiple bids) and the windows certainly seem as sturdy as those name brand windows.  They’re slated to be installed starting June 3, Mike says he can do it in three days, I’ve blocked four, just to be safe. :)

Well, four more check-ins for today, busy, busy, busy.  :)

Have a great one,

ed

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