Sunday, August 28, 2005

Oh Canada...

I'm off tonight for my first business trip in nearly four months. I can't really complain. Many of my peers fave traveled for more extensively. This being said, I have mixed feelings about this trip. I know I need to go to Bathurst. I have a major client going live on Tuesday and it's my job to make sure that everything goes smoothly. However, I'm not looking forward to leaving Amy for the week, my parents are still getting settled, and spending about 14 hours either in airports or on airplanes. To make the flight from Montreal to Bathurst, I have to catch the red-eye out of Las Vegas and connect in Toronto. It's at least not that bad on the way back. Bathurst-Montreal, Montreal-Las Vegas direct.

I just really hate traveling. Eating out three meals a day, sleeping in hotel beds and the time differences just wreaks havoc on your body. I at least stocked up a Tylenol PM, so I should be in good shape to get some sleep along the trip...

Anyway, this is just one long complaint about something that I have no control over. In good news, Oakland blasted Baltimore 10-3 today, which combined is the Angels' loss, moved them into first place by 1/2 game. Worst case scenario, when the A's arrive in Anaheim for their series with the Angels on Tuesday, they will be in a first place tie. Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Old friends

I met a couple of my buddies out for a drink last night, before heading over to Amy's. I've known Tim and Brian for about as long as I've known anyone in Las Vegas. Tim's boss Frank, who used to be my boss at ClientLogic years ago, was there as well. It was good to see Frank. It's been a long time.

However, it got me thinking (I know that's kind of scary) about old friends. In the last three months or so, I've seen a lot of old friends. First, it was my 10 year college reunion. Then, it was my last trip to Buffalo in July and then last night. There are so many people that we touch and that touch our lives. In everyone's own way, we have an impact on each other's lives and it helps make us the person we are today. That's kind of cool, if you think about it.

Basically, it has dawned on me over the last couple of months that I'm a grown-up. How the hell did this happen? In college, it was how was I going to get through this exam or paper; where we were going out that night, and did I have enough money to pay the cover charge AND get suitably sauced. When I first moved to Vegas, we were worried about some self-imposed issue at work or how we were going to ever be able to buy a house. Now, we are worried about retirement funds, how are we going to raise our families, taxes, what jobs have the best benefits. Basically, grown up stuff. That's pretty freakin' scary. Pretty soon, we'll all be having families of our own. Heaven help me if I turn into my parents...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Weekend update...

Mom and Dad seem to be adjusting to life in Las Vegas. They are very relieved to be here, and beginning to feel more and more "normal." This is a good thing. I've introduced them to Capriotti's (we all split a Bobbie. I told them if they didn't like it, to lie to me) and Blueberry Hill. They seem to have a little plan today, so we will see how that goes. Plus, they bought about $130 worth of stuff at Target for my house. Mostly paper products, but that was still pretty nice.

The real point of this posting is to say, once again, how cool Amy is. First, she invited Mom and Dad over for breakfast on Saturday mostly to make life easier for me. She already had company coming over for breakfast. It was great to see Lora, Carl and Madison. She then suffered through construction on the 95 on both Saturday and altered her route on Sunday to compensate for the construction. She put nearly 200 miles on her car this weekend. She sat and chatted with my Dad one on one last night, even after he had a few beers (you can usually tell - that's when the stories of the AFL Bills and the Beach House come out). Saying good night to her at the car Saturday and Sunday SUCKED. I forgot how horrible it is. The good news is that we will only have to deal with it this week, and maybe two weeks after I get back. It'll be tough, but I'm really beginning to believe the line "absence makes the heart grow fonder..."

Friday, August 19, 2005


For the past eight years, I've been out here in the desert pretty much on my own. I had to build my own support network pretty much from scratch. It took some work, but I got there. I have an fantastic girlfriend, great friends and a job that lets me work from home whenever I want.

For those that read the blog, you know that my folks arrived at my house safe and sound yesterday. I was very relieved that they made it here. However, now the reality of having Mom and Dad live with you begins to set in. The first adjustment is that I lose my office. Normally, this wouldn't have been a big deal, but I've gotten accustomed to working out of the house at least three days a week. Plus, my Dad didn't want to come out with us last night for Ice Cream. To be fair, we didn't tell him we were going for Ice Cream, but he was still anti-social and wouldn't go, even though I was paying. He probably wouldn't have been happy there anyhow - the don't carry Maple Walnut...

My Dad is very set in his ways. He is very much a "Meat and Potatoes" type of person, except he will eat Italian food. Amy mentioned making Chinese food at home, and he immediately turned his nose up at it. I really want to take them for Mexican food, but my Dad refuses to go. Mom really wants to try it. I even tried showing him a menu once showing that real Mexican restaurants (other than Mighty Taco and Taco Bell) serve steak, chicken, pork and fish. The problem is that it is served with Rice and Beans...I think I am going to have to trick him somehow.....

Thursday, August 18, 2005

They are here!


My Mom and Dad made it to my house about 11:35 a.m. this morning. I am very excited to see them and glad they made it here. Minx was very happy to see them, as they were to see her.

First thing Dad did was crack open a can of beer. He's home.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Flagstaff, AZ

Wow. They are heading into the home stretch. Mom and Dad reached Flagstaff, AZ today. They can see a really big mountain, but not sure what mountain range they are in. Pretty uneventful drive, I guess. They should be here around lunchtime tomorrow.

So, Amy and I will be putting the finishing houses on the house tonight. It will be a mad dash tonight to make sure the house is ready. We'll be in good shape, but I just need to make sure that everything is done and ready.

Look out Las Vegas - here come Ken and Kathy Kraft!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tucumcari, NM

Wow. They are starting to get close! Mom and Dad made it past Amarillo to Tucumcari, NM. Today was an adventure. They ran into a good deal of rain from Oklahoma City through to about where they entered Texas.

Mom commented on the lack of anything between Oklahoma City and Amarillo, and then from Amarillo to Tucumcari. They saw more oil fields and saw some cattle farms. She was very impressed with some of the ranch houses they saw on the side of the road.

I asked Mom what it was like driving across the Mississippi River. "It was driving over a bridge." Talk about a non-event. Oh well.

Anyway, they are in for the night. I figure they'll be here on Thursday

My weekend

I had a great weekend. Friday night was the 51s game followed by fireworks. Saturday, Amy and I met her friend Sara out for breakfast. We then ran a couple of errands before heading back to my house for a bit. During this time, my Mom called essentially saying they were on their way (see previous posts). That prompted the "oh crap - they are really on their way" response and I started cleaning. Amy was great. She cleaned my bathroom. While not out of control, it was definitely not as clean as it should have been. We went out for dinner and ice cream and watch a movie. A pretty decent day.

While I was cleaning my house, I got a call from Keyser. I haven't really heard from him since he and his family moved to Eagle/Avon, Colorado back at the end of April. Mike's phone was stolen on the way up, so he lost all his contact numbers. His step-son Matt had an orthodontist appointment on Tuesday, and he was coming to town with his family. We chatted a little bit, and we were going to get together on Sunday. We ended up getting together on Sunday, and then again for dinner on Monday. It was great to see Mike. Prior to Amy coming into my life, Mike was my sounding board on most things. I really do miss him. Plus, now we have each other's contact information again, so it won't be so long until the next time we speak.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Joplin, MO

Mom just called. They made it to Joplin, MO. I think they were hoping to have made it to Tulsa or Oklahoma City, but that was just too far for today. I think the goal is to get to Amarillo, TX tomorrow.

They had a pretty interesting drive today from Indiana, through Illinois and across most of Missouri. I didn't ask what it was like to cross the Mississippi, but it had to have been something. My Mom was excited to see power-generating windmills. I believe she called it poetry in motion. And they also saw working "barney googles" (sp?). I didn't know what she was talking about, so she told me they were working oil rigs, really. Still don't know what the actual name is, but she was really excited.

They seem to be really enjoying their drive across the US, which is great.

At this rate, it looks like they will be here some time on Thursday.

It's getting closer...

Sunday, August 14, 2005


As I am settling into my life with Amy, I am learning more and more how much I love her and how much I really see us spending our lives together. Today is a case in point. First, we made a decision to not look at houses or even talk about houses. Looking at model homes has become something with do. Well, low and behold, we went, with Teri, to look at "our" house. I love this house. It's everything Amy and I want in a house. Enough square footage. Enough bedrooms. Perfect.

Amy was great today. After we left Teri's, we stopped at her house, then went to meet up with Keyser and Newman before meeting up with Brian and his wife Sharon. Amy isn't really a bar person. Cigarette smoke bothers her, but she toughed it out. I'm not sure if she freaked out about what it means come football season, but she was really cool tonight. I really do love her a lot.

Terre Haute, IN

I was really impressed with my folks today. They made it to Terre Haute, IN! That is so cool. When I talked to Mom last night, her goal was Dayton, OH. At that rate, they wouldn't have been here until sometime in October. I'm not sure where their target is tomorrow, but they are making good progress.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Bedford, PA

Mom and Dad made it to Bedford, PA this evening, which is pretty much due south of Buffalo. I guess Dad wanted to drive a little longer, but Mom was pretty tired. They had a good visit with my Uncle Tom, who gave them a little quicker directions through Philadelphia. They had a decent drive through the Pennsylvania hills and through some tunnels. They are hoping to get an early start tomorrow morning and get in a full day's worth of driving.

More updates tomorrow...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Quick update on Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad made it to my Uncle Tom's house in Cherry Hill, NJ safely. According to Mom, they didn't get there until nearly 7 p.m. They got going a little bit late, then hit traffic on the NJ Turnpike. They spend about two hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic going about 15 miles an hour.

That's all for now.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Attention to Detail and other musings

I love baseball. The American pasttime is one of the most unpredictable competitive sports known to man. Nine men on each side, (10 if you are in the American League) pitted against each other.

My favorite Major League team is the Oakland Athletics. I'm asked why am I an A's fan. After all, I grew up in Buffalo. Most folks are Yankee or Met fans, Toronto is two hours North, Pittsburgh is four hours south and Cleveland is about three hours southwest-ish. I started following the A's during their late 80s/early 90s renaissance. The Era of the Bash Brothers, if you wish. Once I relocated to Las Vegas, I just couldn't get into following any of the SoCal teams. On a business trip to the Bay Area, I went to an A's game and I was hooked. Year after year, I've seen star after star leave, but Billy Beane keeps putting a quality product on the field.

Initially I thought this year was going to be a tough one. A "rebuilding year" if you will. On May 29th, the A's were 15 games below .500. On July 18th, they were 8.5 games out of first place. The Wild Card was a pipe dream, much less leading the division.

Well sports fans, today Oakland took the division lead with a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Canoga Park or whatever their name is. They are also 18 games above .500! It was a fluke play in the bottom of the 9th that one it. A routine play, actually. Something as simple as the catcher tossing the ball back to the pitcher on the mound. Today, the pitcher formerly known as K-Rod muffed the catch as he steamed over an umpire's call. He booted the ball out towards second base, and the Jason Kendall sprinted in from third.

While I am truly enjoying this moment - I do realize there is a lot of baseball left - this particular incident shows that you can't take anything for granted and even the most routine detail needs to be paid attention to. You never know where your opportunities are going to come from, and you need to seize them when you get them.

That's all for now. I think Minx and Midge are getting into a little tift that I need to go break up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A message from the Travelers...aka Mom and Dad

Hi everyone - This is from the travelers.

We had a wonderful week with Beth and Jim. They took us to Lake George on 8/2, Saratoga Springs Race Track on 8/4 & 7. Friends of theirs, Mary Ann and John had us for dinner on the sixth. Also on the sixth we went to Thatcher State Park for Lunch and Ken and Jim went to the Giants - Jets practice on the morning of the 6th. On Friday, Beth and I went mall walking and shopping. We had some great meals and a wonderful week. Monday morning, the 8th, we drove to Maureen's. Exit 14 on the Mass pike always said Rte 128, US95 and Cape Cod. They Changed the sign on me. The route signs are still the same, but now Cape Cod is South Shore. So much for no guesswork signs. The rest of the ride was uneventful.

Our time here at Maureen's has been terrific. More great meals, and good times. Maureen was able to take an extra day off, so we have been tooling around. Yesterday the 9th, Maureen, her friend Jan, and I went shopping at the Wrentham Outlets. Good bargains to be had. While we were out pounding the pavement, Ken repaired the sash cord on her living room double hung window. By the time we got back from spending our money, Ken had completed his job for the day.

Today, we went shopping again, but took Ken with us. We shopped, Ken went to the nearby Mexican bar. We got to see the ocean and had dinner at Sky Lite on the boardwalk at Marina Bay. Right now we are sitting in the den with our feet up and rehashing the last couple of days.

On Friday, the 12th, we head to New Jersey to see Tom. I will be so happy to see him and Mary. On Sunday we begin our western adventure. We will be calling Beth and Ken each evening to keep them updated.

Will write/call everyone when we get to Vegas.

Kathy and Ken

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Changes and Updates


First, I wanted to thank you as I am making changes to the site. This is a work in progress, and I'm trying to decide the template that works best.

Second, I've had a couple of requests for updates on Minx, my folks cat. First and foremost, she did very well on the trip from Buffalo to Las Vegas. Aside from having to get out of her carrier in Buffalo so I could take her through the metal detector, she did great. She slept almost the whole time, until we were coming in for a landing in Las Vegas.

I kept her locked up in the office the first couple of days she was here, but her curiousity, coupled with Midge's desire to get back into the office brought that to an abrupt end.

I've been able to consolidate down to one food dish and one litter box. She seems relatively well adjusted, but has been getting into some trouble here and there. She does like to get up on the counters. Her and Midge are still working out their differences, but her and Aspen seem to be getting along just fine. On Sunday, it was classic. Aspen was sitting on top of the kitchen table, which has a glass top. Minx was trying to play with Aspen by swatting at his tail - but through the glass. Classic.

Anyway, she's doing fine and the herd of pets here seem to be none the worse for wear...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Kathy and Ken are on the move

As a part of their Westward migration, Mom and Dad left Albany today headed to Boston, MA. They'll be spending a few days with their friend Maureen. They made it in one piece.

They both seemed to really enjoy themselves in Albany, and had an incident-free journey to Boston despite some heavy traffic. They were able to pick up CBS Radio and were able to listen to the Price is Right en route.

Here is a photo of Mom and Dad at the party, and then Mom, Aunt Dolly and Therese's daughter Natalie.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

House of Blues is something of a truism

Went to my first concert in years last night. Amy and I had free tickets to see Howie Day with Anna Nalick and someone else (I can't remember her name) at the House of Blues last night. We had no particular interest in any artist. I only know one Anna Nalick song (Breathe) and one Howie Day song (Collide). Amy's friends Shawn and George met us out. George has been following Howie Day for years, and well, Shawn just wanted to meet us out.

If you've ever seen a concert at the House of Blues Las Vegas, it's a horrible place to see a concert. It's a small venue, which is OK depending on the show, but either you are standing on the floor (and in our case right in front of a speaker) or in the balcony where you can't see anything of interest. We were on our feet for over three hours. By the end of the night, I couldn't feel my right foot and Amy's legs were killing her.

This being said, we enjoyed the performers. The opening act was a little acoustic set. She was Australian and kind of angry, but that's OK. Anna Nalick was GREAT. In her words, she had a "pirate ballerina" thing going on. She was very interactive with the crowd, and was a decent on stage performer. Howie Day was good too. I wouldn't buy his CD, but maybe go see him in concert again at a different venue. The thing I thought was funny is that while there was plenty of bottled water for the performers, the keyboard player had two bottles of Heinekein that he was working on! Good for him.

I also felt kind of old at the concert. We were standing next to this couple who was 16! I am twice their age. I guess it's time to start getting used to that.

On the Mom and Dad front, Mom spoke with one of her tenants yesterday, and he said he thought they could possibly be out by September 15th. This is welcome news. While I'm happy to have them stay with me until their place is vacated, they really want to get into their own place and start making it their home. Plus, this way they'll get all their stuff.

I'm meeting Amy's best friend from college today. I'm looking forward to this. We are going to breakfast. Blueberry Hill I think. Yum. Best Blueberry Pancakes outside of my Mom's. After that, we are going to buy baseball tickets for our group outing next Friday and then go look at houses.

That's all for now...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Mom and Dad update

For those of you that are interested, Mom and Dad left Buffalo Sunday afternoon, and were headed to my sisters house in Albany.

The arrived safely and should be there through Monday, August 8th before heading to Boston to visit their friend Maureen. From there, they will take some time to visit my Uncle Tom on August 12/13th before heading West.

Stay tuned here for more updates as we track their journey across America!



Hi. Welcome to my blog. I'll be posting random thoughts and updates from Ken and Kathy's trek across America...

Post your updates!