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June 27th, 2005

Coincidences and freebies...

I spent the morning preparing for my 1:00 Process Improvement and Effectiveness Meeting, which was lightly attended, but went well.

Following that, I met with Mel for my monthly one-on-one meeting, which also went well. I mentioned to him that, in 2007, I would be interested in taking a two- to three-month leave of absence to travel. He made a note to check with HR on how long ahead of time we need to plan that as far as policies go.

I left work at 3:30 in hopes of getting home in time to catch the UPS guy with my laptop. As I pulled into my spot, I saw the "We Missed You" notice taped to my door. "We will attempt delivery again tomorrow morning, before 10:30AM."

I logged in to work, and shortly thereafter, the doorbell rang.

The UPS guy was back! I got my laptop. Woohoo!

About a half-hour after that, my doorbell rang again. This time, the Time-Warner Cable guy. "Mr. Martin, I see that you subscribe to our Road Runner service. When are you going to subscribe to our TV cable service?"

"Well, I don't have a TV, so it won't be any time soon."

"You don't have a TV? When are you going to get one?"

"I'm not. I don't want one."

"Oh, okay. Wow. What about our digital phone service?"

"No, thanks."

I asked him about wireless service, and he gave me some honest advice that Time-Warner wasn't a good choice for that, which I appreciated.

Shortly after that, Joe called to tell me that he had been "sent home early," and after some discussion, we decided on meeting at Red Lobster at 6:30. We both love that place, and have never been there together.

About 15 minutes after that, he called back to say that he had just checked his mail, and unbelievably coincidentally, he found a letter from his sister with two "gifts" in it -- one, a gift card to Wal-mart "to replace the things of yours we used while visiting," and two, a $20 gift card to Red Lobster, "just because!" What are the chances?

I checked my mail, and in it, found a $200 check from Jeanie-baby for doing her taxes. Woohoo!

At Red Lobster, we were seated, and immediately attended to by "Chaz." Obviously family, he was pretty excited about serving us. He offered us "free coleslaw," and after we'd finished eating, said, "Dessert? <whisper>It's on me.</whisper>"

We passed on the dessert, and Joe offered his $20 gift card toward our total bill. The paying total came to about $11.00. We left Chaz a $7.50 tip. "Come back and see us, and when you do, ask for me," he said as we left.

We went to Helios, where we found it closing just as we walked in, at 8:00, for a "staff meeting." I wanted to try my new laptop there, and download AIM, Firefox, and Semagic. We went over to Third Place, where I was unable to connect to their wireless network, even though an "available network" showed on my list.

We decided to go to Flex to check out their wireless network. Who'd a thunk? We got in free, though I'm not convinced it was because I had my "labtap" (sic) with me, as the flyer promises.

Inside, we found Rodney Smith bartending! Someone had mentioned seeing him out on Saturday, but I didn't see him. We hugged, and caught up a bit. He is just here visiting this week, and they needed help tonight, so he said he'd work.

Joe and I sat in the "grope room" (not!) and connected to the wifi network, which was actually excellent. I downloaded the apps that I wanted, and then we checked the Southwest Airline website, and then Travelocity and Orbitz, eventually deciding on our flights to/from Ft. Lauderdale.

Suddenly, Rodney arrived with a drink for each of us -- delivered and free! What an odd day of coincidences and freebies.

We got a pool table -- both of which have been "resurfaced" by the way, and we played a game or two before "David" showed up. I don't know David's last name -- one of the "youngsters" who is at Karaoke a lot. We played a few games of "cut throat," and eventually, one game of partners, with Seth joining us. The conversation between Joe and David was not, let's just say, smooth.

I asked Seth (since he works there now) about Third Places' wireless network, and he told me that they've discontinued it. "If you go to Helios, you'll notice a bunch of people just sitting there behind laptops. We're not going for that at Third Place. We want people to talk to each other, to interact." Whatever.

Joe and I left there at just before midnight.

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