"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Absolutely pathetic

Tonight I created a false Yahoo ID account to go on IM and see if "the woman" was online. If I hadn't done it this way she probably would have ignored me. She was indeed online. She didn't recognize my user name and thought I was "fresh meat" for her scam. Assuming her own identity (I guess) and having a miraculous recovery from this life threatening head injury sustained while attempting to come and see me. What a crock.

I talked to her for about an hour. This time she was claiming to be a 23 year old hooker trying to get people to buy naked pictures of her on line. She must be a pretty lame hooker to have to resort to this. Maybe she was actually telling the truth this time. I'll never know.

Here's what I'm going to do, becasue I'm still a bit pissed off over the whole thing: I'm going to post here all of the pictures that she sent me, in the order in which I received them so you can see how I was deceived. But I warn you, some of them show her nudity. But I don't give a crap, cuz I'm hurt and she deserves it. Bitch. Enjoy.

These first two pictures were on the Yahoo Personals ad that I initially responded to. At first I was psyched that such a gorgeous woman would respond to me. We talked entirely via Yahoo IM.





Then she sent me these pictures.

The "family picture" is supposed to be her mom, her "papa" and her. The family pic was a nice touch to the scam.



Then she sent me an email with this pic, labeled "Just for You". Right.



Then I asked her a while later if she had any other pics and she sent me this one. Very nice. After this she didn't send me any pictures for a while. I didn't ask for any more, either.


Then one day out of the blue, she sent me a "present", which was this one of her ass. I suppose she thought I'd find it appealing. Not.

But it gets better. Fast forward to today. Hooker wanted me to "buy" some nude pics of her, for $100 a pop, again having me sending money thru Western Union. Since I'd now had enough of that crap I told her to show me the goods first and then I'll send her some money. I was trying to see if she was bluffing. I honestly thought that she was.

Apparently not...


So this is what I got for my free peek. Now I'm beginning to get aroused. What man wouldn't be when looking at nice breasts? Of course I complained about the fact that she had no head in one picture and just a mouth and chin in the other. What I wanted her to do, and asked her to send me was a close up bust shot, naked from the breasts up. That would have been kewl.

Then she threw me a bone and actually sent me some decent fully clothed pictures. Now I can match the real body with the real face.



In a totally unrelated note, the coolest thing I learned from her was how to write my name in Cyrillic, the Russian alphabet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lying doesn't pay

So I finally talked to "the woman" today, though she claimed that she was someone else who was using her Yahoo IM account. This is what she told me while posing as someone else: She said that Darya ("the woman") did not come on the flight and day that she told me she was going to because she got mugged at the airport and all of my money - the money that I sent her - was stolen during the mugging. She said that Darya was in the hospital as a result of a severe head injury from the mugging and that she needed a special medicine which would cost $400. She said that if I cared for her then I could send it ASAP by Western Union.

Then she put her "papa" on IM so he could talk to me. I asked his name and he said it was Petr. I didn't believe this because in an earlier conversation she told me that her birth father had died and that her "papa" or stepfather, was named Andrey. In the earlier conversation she told me that her mother and stepfather were divorced because her mother ran away with another man and she didn't speak to her much. Further she told me that Andrey didn't speak or write English, yet I was having a "conversation" with this person in a language he didn't speak? Sure. She's full of crap.


HOW CAN YOU trust someone who lies so artfully? In he whole time that I talked to her she always sounded truthful and sincere. Maybe I am too naive. Maybe I always give people the benefit of the doubt even when they take advantage of my naviete'.

Well you learn some things the hard way in life. For me, this is one of them. Hard and expensive lessons are never fun.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A nice relaxing day



Today I had planned to do some errands in the morning and then spend the day at my parent's house with the kids. Instead I got up late and the kids watched television until after lunch when we went out to the pool for some more swimming. I did some work on the computer once I got up. The pool always closes for an hour in the afternoon so the lifeguard can have lunch. Once the pool reopened the kids wanted to go swimming again for about an hour before supper. I did not go in this time, just watched them from the pools edge.

As of now I have not heard from the woman today. Perhaps I will at some point but who knows.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Week in Review Jul 17-22, 2005



I hadn't realized it has been so long since I posted to the blog. But that's okay because not much of anything exciting happened this week.

Sunday my family joined me at church in the morning and we went out to lunch afterwards. We went to a retro 50's style restaurant. The food was good. I had some steak tips and a baked potato with lots of sour cream. Later I drove my kids back to their mom's house.

I went to work every day this week, except for Thursday when my car wouldn't start at 7:15 AM. I called AAA right away but since I was not stuck in traffic or on the highway I was not on the top of the priority list. So they didn't arrive until a little after 10:30. Once they left I was not in the mood for work, so I put in for the day as a vacation day. I went to check my mailbox and found that my order from Amazon.com had arrived. This was cool. I bought the Back to the Future Trilogy on DVD. Can you believe that the original movie is 20 years old this year??? Definitely a great blast from the past.

The other days were typical work days. I worked late on Wednesday for a few hours, which was good. Friday was a half day and I spent it changing the cavity in one of the molds in preparation for running the fifties next week. That was fun.

The only other interesting thing that happened this week was on Tuesday afternoon. I left a half hour early from work to drive to Lowell. You see, my mom runs a senior citizen program for the Salvation Army and every year she takes her seniors out to a Lowell Spinners game. The Lowell Spinners are a low level minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and they play at a beautiful 9 year old stadium in downtown Lowell. The Spinners won the game 7-6 vs. the Batavia (NY) Muckdogs. What made this a great night was the Gator Pit. The Keyspan Gator Pit. (Gotta have that corporate sponsorship). For $24 you get an all you can eat dinner two hours before the game. We're talking grilled steak tips, chicken wings, kielbasa. Corn on the cob, four different kinds of salads and all the soda you want. All you can eat. And you get to stay for the game also. Quite a deal these days.

The kids had doctors appointments today, physicals for school in the fall. So I met the x-wife there and took the kids for the weekend afterwards. Today was a nice hot day, so we went swimming for a few hours in the afternoon. The water was very nice and refreshing, until the breeze started to blow and the air temperature fell a few degrees - just enough to make the water seem cold.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A bigger fish



Yesterday my daughter took a large step in her quest to become a bigger fish than she already is. As I may have mentioned before, my kids love to swim and I have a nice pool here at my apartment. I met the ex at Home Depot early Friday afternoon so she could complete her errands and so I could take the kids early for the weekend. Since it was hot yesterday and today we spent alot of time poolside.

Since swimming season began I have been encouraging my daughter to voluntarily dunk her head under water. Up until yesterday, she told me she was not ready. But when she finally was and followed my instructions, she discovered that it is fun to be underwater. For her birthday in May I got her some swim goggles that also cover the nose so that she can open her eyes underwater and not have to hold her fingers on the nose. She used these for the first time on Friday also. She is now tall enough to stand flat foot in the 3 feet deep section and has begun to swim without the aid of a floatation device. This is good but it makes me nervous, since I'm not sure of her ability to tread water if she should venture out over her head. For now, my son is content to use his floatation device so he can swim around freely. His time for dunking will come.

Today we spent a few more hours at the pool and my daughter continued to practice swimming and dunking her head. She is doing remarkably well at it and I've no doubt that by the end of the season she will be an adequate swimmer for her age. Though in the afternoon I needed to do some errands while the pool was closed for an hour. Afterwards I did not feel up to a return to the pool, so we did some chores inside.

In other news, I asked the woman to keep her promise and return to me the money that I sent her. I don't expect that she will but since she offered to on many occasions I am now taking her up on the offer. I will keep you posted.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Back to work...early



Well, with the woman not coming and after spending the first three days of the week on vacation, I decided to go back to work yesterday. I emailed my boss on Wednesday and asked him if I could come in Thursday and Friday. He said come on in, since we were short staffed anyway with two of us on vacation this week. Boy did I ask for it.

I got in at 7:20 AM on Thursday. No one was where they normally should be at this time. The offices were empty. No one was in the break room having coffee and some others had not arrived yet. So I headed back towards the clean rooms where I see three people talking about what to do next. My boss sees me and tells me that I had better gown up and get in there because we just had a glycol explosion in the room that we were going to be using today for the production run.

For clarification, our machines use a glycol and water mix for a coolant, since the machines run at temperatures of more than 200 degrees Celsius. Obviously at those temperatures, water alone would be useless.

What actually happened was not a glycol explosion but a glycol spillage. Whomever put the new mold into the machine forgot to hook up two of the hoses running to the mold heater. So when yet another person turned on the glycol and heats, the glycol came gushing out of the hose, overflowing the catch basin in seconds and spilling onto the floor. After less than a minute there was about an inch of glycol on the floor, which we had to clean up entirely in order to operate the machine. The person who turns on the heats is not familiar with the machine setup so she did not even look to see that some of the hoses were not connected. Safe to say she'll never make that mistake again.

To top it off, once we had the room cleaned up, which took about an hour with five of us working on it, the parts we ran came out horribly for the better part of the day. No matter what we tried, the problems would not go away - consistently. All in all a lousy day. And to think I volunteered to come in....

Today was only a half day, which was good because most of the staff was out, either sick or on vacation. We don't run anything on Fridays during the summer, so I ended up helping to replace water damaged ceiling tiles for four hours. Again, to think I volunteered to come in.

Fortunately I can use those vacation days later and it's a good thing, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Stay tuned



Of course I'm not going to send her any more money. I've learned my lesson, sir.

This is what happened today: I got online at 4 am and did some research into airline flights to compare prices to the reservations that she made but cancelled two weeks ago. The ones that she "told me" she had purchased tickets for. And I did so in about 15 minutes. I did this so that when she called I would have a plan and counterargument.

Sure enough promptly at 5 am EDT she comes online to talk. She says that her problems at the airport last time were because passport control requires a certain amount of money on hand in order to leave the airport. And she asks me to send her the deficit. I don't think she remembers that I know the real reason. Now I may be gullible about some things but I know that no one anywhere at any time needs to know how much money you are carrying, with the possible exception being a spouse) especially some shmoe at an airport. So I told her no and that I had an easier way to get her the tickets she needs without requiring me to send anything...

I told her that she should send all of her money to me by Western Union, including her money for me and for the airline tickets. I then would purchase them for her, and email them to her (e-tickets are cheaper) so all she has to do is board the plane with tickets in hand. When I tell her my way involves using another airline besides Aeroflot she tells me that her work where she got her visa (red flags!!!) has a contract with the Russian airline and she must buy her ticket there. Oh no she still insisted that her way is easier, that she should buy the tickets and that she still needs me to help. Again I say no and repeat my plan, (which benefits me because if I buy the tickets and she doesn't use them I get the refund, not her - but I don't tell her this). I make it easy as pie for her and she still gives me grief. Imagine that. When I insist that my plan is better I can tell she is getting mad because it takes her longer to respond.

Now about those red flags that flashed when she mentioned her visa. I have questioned her multiple times about the validity of her visa and she kept telling me not to worry because her visa is ok. She doesn't seem to grasp the concept that it is very difficult (near impossible) for a woman her age from Russia to get a visitor or work visa for the USA. She also doesn't seem to realize that only the US Consulate at the US Embassy (the closest being Moscow in her case) can issue a valid visa. In fact the only visas they give out are finacee and spouse visas that come with mounds of paperwork, photographic proof of a relationship and plenty of various fees . Which in all cases require a special trip to Moscow to have an interview at the Consulate. So when she told me she got her visa through her work - right there I know it's bogus and there's no way she can come. Strike. Another reason for me to not send any money.

Finally, because I won't give in she ignores me for 10 minutes. When I finally ask her if she's still there, she signs out of Messenger. Fine. I go back to bed for 30 minutes before work.

Ultimately, the next time I talk to her I will offer her three scenarios:

1) that I buy the tickets for her as described above.

2) that she raise the necessary cash herself to meet "the deficit", then buy the tickets herself, and then tell me details.

3) that she not come at all now or we arrange for me to go visit her at a later date.

In each scenario I try to find polite ways to ask her to send me back the money I've sent, as she has promised to do. This will restore some credibility to her account.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Closure...not quite.


Today I am faced with a big dilemma.

This morning at 5 am I logged into Yahoo Messenger primarily out of habit to see if she - the woman - would be online, since this is one of the times we regularly talked. While I was online I decided to check my email. Bingo. A read receipt from her today telling me that she had seen the panic message I emailed to her Sunday night was read. More on that at the end of the post.

I must have been logged into the program for all of 10 minutes when I hear the knocking sound that signals when one of the people on your friends list has logged in. Sure enough it was her. What should I do?? Ignore her or talk to her? What did I do?

Curiosity, shall we say, got the better of me. I decided to talk to her if only to find out why she blew me off last Sunday. I did this in part to hear her side of the story and two because I was surprised to see her back online so soon.

This is what she told me: She said that she had problems at the airport in Moscow and still wanted to come and see me. Great, now what do I do? What do I tell her?

Despite what I have been telling myself the last few days, I tell her that she is welcome to try again. That I would love to actually see her, but that I can not help her (read: send her money). She tells me that is fine and that she will bring with her all of the money I had sent her previously. She even offered to send me back the money tonight, via Western Union. Should I have taken her up on that option? Maybe. But if I did, she said that would rule out any possibility of her coming.

Now I know you are saying, WHAT!?!?!? You sent her money? Yes I did. How much is not important to this story.

I suppose in the back of my mind I was thinking that would be a good thing to be repaid, since I have put myself in precarious financial position recently, and the money she would bring would help get me out of a bind. I'm also remembering what the pictures she sent me look like and how attractive she is supposed to be.

It is part of my personality and nature to want to give people the benefit of the doubt or a second chance, no matter how many times I may get burned. Yes, I know what I wrote in the last entry about her credibility being at zero, but deep, deep, deep, deep, deep (I could add more deeps but you get the point) down in my heart I want her to come. If it had been longer than two days and we spoke, perhaps my resolve would be greater, but it is not. I may be a sucker, but I need to take this chance.

It is this question that compels me to give her the benefit of doubt: Would a scammer even make the offer to return money sent to them in the first place? Logically you would have to say no, probably not. But an honest person would make that offer. And she has made this offer on multiple occasions.

So the main issue now under consideration is when will she be able to come? She must fly SVO to JFK. SVO to BOS simply isn't available as far as I could find. This time I told her that when she buys the airline tickets she should go from LGA to MHT. MHT is the airport code for Manchester, New Hampshire. Heck of a lot closer to me, much less hassle than Logan and parking isn't nearly as expensive there. It's actually quite a nice little airport.

Getting back to the point at the top about the read receipt email I received from her today. I had wondered if she had actually flown to New York last Sunday and decided it would be more fun to explore NY then fly on to Boston. Apparently it was true that she didn't make either flight. I looked up the IP addresses that this email bounced off of and sure enough it originated in the Russian Federation, in the vicinity of where Moscow should be. Keep in mind that the map you can choose to see on this particular web site is a satellite picture without city or country designations.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Closure



So I've come to grips with the fact that my "woman" from Russia, whom ever she is, has been playing me for the sap all along. And I bit into it, hook, line and sinker. For two plus months I looked forward to speaking with her. Thought about her constantly. For what? Nothing. Even if I talk to her online again (highly doubtful) I can not believe anything she tells me. She now has zero credibility.

Surprisingly enough, I slept pretty well last night.

Sure, I am still emotionally scarred from this whole ordeal. But you know what? Even IF she could prove that this was an honest error, I could not beleive it. How can someone lie so skillfully for such a long time? And during our conversations she told me she was always being honest with me. I never lied to her once. Totally honest and straight forward all of the time, while she knew she was talking to me.

Admittedly the possibility of her not actually coming to visit and being whom she claimed to be was a small possibility in the back of my mind, which is why there were two occasions when I used a fake yahoo alias I had created for myself, posing as someone else. I did this specifically at times when we had arranged to speak. I wanted to try and see if I could catch her lying. But she passed both tests well enough. There was no way for her to find out that it was me she was talking to those times. I even lifted a few pictures of some guy from elsewhere online to use in the eventuality that she asked for a picture - which she did on the second conversation.

I was fully prepared to twist my life into knots in order to bring this person into my life, physically. But you know what? I'm better off not having to deal with her if she is such a skillful liar. Despite her pictures being unbelievably sexy, it is better for me to just put the whole episode behind me. Now I'm not even sure if the pictures she sent to me were what she actually looks like. Maybe, maybe not. Probably not. But I'll never know. It is easy to lift pictures off of the internet to use for whatever purpose. Heck, I just told you that I even did it.

When I called to speak with the x-wife, last night, I found out she was not at her parent's house but still at work. So the grandparents asked me if I wanted to talk to my kids. Yes I said. Of course. But when my son came on the line and I heard his beautiful voice, I lost it. I broke out in tears. I couldn't control myself. I couldn't even regain composure to speak with my daughter who could tell immediately that I was upset. So after work the ex came over for a few minutes and I asked her to apologize to my daughter for why I couldn't speak to her.

The fact that my family and friends are so concerned about my well being is the important thing. And I am truly thankful for that. Life goes on minus one potential big headache to deal with.

Monday, July 11, 2005

How much does a ton of lead weigh?



That's what my heart felt like when the plane from LaGuardia came and went and she was not on board. I talked with a few passengers and crew as they were coming off of the plane last night. I went up and down the stairs looking frantically at the two possible entrances that arriving passengers use. Nothing. I went over to the information booth near baggage claim. No help. I went to the lost luggage area and asked a Delta clerk to look in the computer for my passenger. Her name was there because they knew her first name after I had only given the woman her last name. This woman provided no useful information. All questions in my mind are still in play.

So I wandered around a bit hoping that somehow I missed her. Not. Finally I went over to the Delta ticketing counter and asked if she might have missed the connecting flight. The woman there told me that her reservation from LaGuardia to Boston was cancelled. She told me that that shuttle was the final one from LaGuardia for the day. Okay. Perhaps it was cancelled because she got held up at customs at JFK. Perhaps she will rebook it in the morning. So I dejectedly drove home after paying $14 in parking fees and tolls to get out of the airport. Must have driven 90 mph all the way home. I'm thinking since she didn't call me like I'd asked, maybe she sent me an email or an instant message. Nope. I got home about 11:15 PM last night and found nothing. Not a single message. Zip. Zero. Nada. Nyet.

Needless to say I didn't get much sleep last night worrying over the possibilties of what had actually happened.

So I called my sister and left a message for her to call me. She is a travel agent and also works part time for US Air. Maybe she could find out more details than I could, having an inside connection. When she called me back a little bit later she did have more details. Not good. She told me that the Delta reservation was cancelled on June 30 (four or five days after the reservation was made), and no ticket was ever issued. She also said that the file in the computer hadn't been touched since then. My sister had only known sketchy details of my whole conversational experience with this person, so her independent confirmation was like icing on the cake.

So the reality begins to sink in that she never intended to fly to visit me after all. The question still remains if she was even on the flight from Moscow to JFK. That one is hard to tell, since both reservations were made through Aeroflot's computer system. But at this point I doubt it.

What kind of person do you have to be to intentionally deceive someone for 10 days and never have the person suspect that you are lying about your true intentions? In reviewing the text of all our conversations, I could not tell that she was lying to me the whole time.

So I spent today in and out of bed, in a half daze, shocked, emotionally hurt, mad, pissed off and every emotion in between. I didn't eat anything for most of the day, until about 6:30 PM when I made myself eat breakfast (gotta love frozen Eggo waffles.) Yes, breakfast. That's how out of it I have been all day.

My mom called tonight to see if I was okay. Apparently my sister called them to advise that my woman had not come. It was nice to hear. P, my college buddy, was on Yahoo messenger tonight, so I briefly told him she didn't come, without divulging any further details. Needless to say, I'm writing all of this so I don't have to repeat the same story a million times.

I wonder how well I'll sleep tonight, after sleeping away most of the day. Probably not well.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The big day has arrived!!!



Today is the day! The countdown has finally reached zero days!!!

I dropped off my kids at their grandparents house. Then I did some errands on the way. Once I got back home I quickly (but not so thoroughly) straightened up the apartment. Then a quick shower, shave, etc. I'm all dressed up in shirt and tie, with a bakers dozen of bright red roses in hand.

Now I just have to wait until about 7:45 or so before I leave for Logan. I want to give myself plenty of time to get there, mainly because of excitement but also because I hate driving into Boston and I haven't been to Logan in at least half a dozen years, maybe more. I always try and give myself a little extra time just in case I get lost, which happens more often than not I hate to admit.

Excitement doesn't even begin to express the feelings I have inside.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Saturdays were made for errands



Saturdays were made for errands. That's what the kids and I did for a good four hours this afternoon. Stops included the Blushing Rose Post Office, Merrimack recycle center, Merrimack Public Library (for the kids), Wal-Mart, Market Basket, Hannaford in Lowell to return some cans for cash ($4.80!!) The Comic Store and others. My kids, as always, were very well behaved.

The air was hot by the time we got back to the apartment and after I unloaded the car, so we decided to go swimming. After a cool and rainy week the pool water was cold. Ok it was freezing, well maybe not freezing but definitely cold. I jumped in the deep end and swam to the shallow end and I was done. My son was in for 5 minutes and my daughter for 20 minutes. She would have continued to swim more, but we only stayed there for about 25 minutes. She said she doesn't care how cold the water is, she just loves to be in the water.

The countdown is at one day! At this time tomorrow I will be at Logan International Airport anxiously awaiting her arrival. Yes, the much heralded event is almost here. This has been the longest week of my life. But it will all be worthwhile when she is here. Her plane leaves Moscow at 15:35 local time, which is 07:35 for me. She will already be in the air when I get out of bed. For the record the flight plan looks like this:

Aeroflot Flight #SU315

Departure: 10 Jul 15:35 SVO
Arrival: 10 Jul 18:00 JFK

Delta Flight #DL1936

Departure: 10 Jul 20:29 LGA
Arrival: 10 Jul 21:32 BOS

Total time in the air: 13 hours 57 minutes.

Don't you just love airplane flight info? It has always fascinated me how the airlines calculate departure and arrival times with time zone changes and length of flight all calculated precisely. On the face it looks like the flight from SVO to JFK is 2 hours and 25 minutes. Oh no. Times are always given locally.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Encouraging developments



Today, as of 12:10 PM, I am on vacation for a week!!! This will be the first week of my two week vacation. My other week will be Aug. 1-5.

This week, of course, is so that I can spend the time with my fiancee, who is due to arrive in 2 days. I talked with her briefly tonight. She is now in Moscow with her papa, in preparation to fly out on Sunday afternoon, her time. They took a train to nearby Kazan, and then flew 4 hours to Moscow.

When I talked to her, they had just arrived at their hotel. She says Moscow is large and expensive. She says it is not a nice city. I suppose it is much like New York as far as being large and expensive. Though I don't know enough about life in New York City to judge how bad or good it is. She told me that she will be able to stay with me for 60 days, until September 10th which, I think is how long the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allow her to stay under the visa that she has. If our relationship pans out as I think it will we will begin the process of retaining legal counsel for a fiancee visa while she is here.

She told me that her papa wanted to talk to me. So he talked and she typed, because he does not speak English and I do not speak Russian. We had a brief but nice conversation. He is concerned for his step daughter, because he considers her to be one of his riches, meaning she is very important to him. (I can tell from my conversations with her that they are very close). He also is concerned about her safety and well being, and I assured him that I would take good care of her when she is here. He said that they have spoken extensively about our wedding, should that eventually happen. He would like us to be married in Russia and I told him that I would like to have a wedding in both countries. He said that he respects me because I am not afraid to meet a woman from another country. He told me that she loves me very much and wants only happiness for her. I told him that I love her, too and replied that I will do everything I can to make her happy. I told him that she is the sweetest person that I know and I thanked him for sharing her with me. In closing he told me that we (my kids and I) are welcome in his house in Russia any time. I told him in turn that he is welcome in my house as well.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Interesting developments



I was working a bit on my research project tonight. I came across some data that was conflicting with other information that I had. It is a mess right now and I have to sort through it to see what is accurate and what is not. I need to get the information right, and I really don't know which is correct. I suppose I might have to guess. I'm not a good guesser.

T-minus 3 days and counting. I asked her about her visa again tonight because everything I read and hear tells me it is near to impossible for her to have one. The US government believes that attractive single Russian women under 40 will stay in this country illegally once they get here, so they make it near to impossible to get any type of visitor visa. Yet, she assures me that her visa is good and that she will definitely be here on Sunday night. We will see. I hope and pray that it is true. Regardless, I will be at the airport long before her flight is due to arrive at 21:32. If she is not on the plane I will know something happened, just not what.


According to the US State Department web site, the only visas they grant easily are the K1 Fiancee and K3 Spouse visas. But each comes with gads of paperwork and fees and information that has to be perfect or delays will occur. So I have decided to hire an attorney that specializes in immigration law and these types of visas, when and if we decide to get married for real. Attorney fees alone will cost $1800 but it's the savings in time that will make this expense a worthwhile investment.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Going overboard for love of sport

I'll admit it, I'm an avid, even fanatical football fan, but this is carrying things a bit too far. This story I found on ESPN.com today from our friends at the AP.

(So there's no confusion, I'm referring to American football, not the other football which we in the States call soccer.)

TV, BEER, GAME, RECLINER SET UP FOR STEELERS FAN FUNERAL

Family has unique viewing at funeral home

Associated Press 6 July 2005

PITTSBURGH -- James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite spot: in a recliner, in front of a TV showing his beloved team in action. Smith, 55, of Pittsburgh, died of prostate cancer Thursday. Because his death wasn't unexpected, his family was able to plan for an unusual viewing Tuesday night.

The Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home erected a small stage in a viewing room, and arranged furniture on it much as it was in Smith's home on game day Sundays. Smith's body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.


"I couldn't stop crying after looking at the Steeler blanket in his lap," said his sister, MaryAnn Nails, 58. "He loved football and nobody did [anything] until the game went off. It was just like he was at home."
Longtime friend Mary Jones called the viewing "a celebration."
"I saw it and I couldn't even cry," she said. "People will see him the way he was."

Smith's burial plans were more traditional; he'll be laid to rest in a casket.

If you don't believe me, click on the link at:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2101713

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In other unrelated news, the countdown stands at 4 days. (You thought I forgot about this, didn't you?) I have only talked to her briefly in the last few days and it's driving me nuts. I keep thinking about her impending visit and can't help fearing the worst. Namely that she'll fly all the way to JFK and US Customs sends her right back to Russia because of a visa problem. Of course if this or something similar happens, the only way I'll have a clue is if she is not on board her connecting flight to Logan. She has told me not to worry because her visa is legitimate, but I still do. I'm so wrapped up emotionally in this woman that if something goes wrong, well let's just say I'll be depressed for a good long time.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A night out with the guys



Every other month, generally on the first Tuesday of the month, my friends and I go out to eat and talk. Tonight was that night. Actually these are my old college roommates. As we briefly talked about tonight, we have known each other for half of our lives, which is 18 years. That in itself is amazing, that we have stayed in close contact for all of this time but the more amazing thing to us is the age thing. When we were freshmen in college, the kids that are in college now were either not born yet or less than one year old. I don't feel that old, but I am. I am definitely a young 36, and definitely do not look my age. Here's a great unusual thing about the three of us. We came from different parts of Massachusetts, and our three birthdays are exactly 10 days apart. The oldest of us was born on the 18th, I'm in the middle on the 25th and the youngest of us is the 28th.

We talked about many things, mostly it seemed to me, about the impending visit of you know who in 5 days. I felt like I was going through the Spanish Inquisition all by myself. But it was good because all but one of the questions that were raised I have asked myself many times. Public kudos to your mom, G, for coming up with that one. The fact that this topic lasted so long in our discussion is due to:
a) their concern for me
b) the total weirdness of the whole situation
c) the fact that G loves baseball
d) that P wants to be a dentist
e) a and b
f) c and d
g) none of the above
h) all of the above

Anyway, it was a good night, though through half of it I had to pee and Barbie bladder went twice. Yes I know I could have gone myself if I had wanted to. We've planned our next meeting tentatively for Sept. 20, or possibly Aug 2, if you know who is here and (she will be unless something drastic happens) wants to meet G and P.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 229th Birthday, USA



Today is Indepencence Day here in the grand old USA. My country is 229 years old. This doesn't seem like much in comparison to the histories of many Middle Eastern and European countries. For example, when I was in Jerusalem in 1996, they were celebrating the 3000th year since King David made that city his capitol. Now, that's history, my friends. Seriously, folks: is there another country so relatively young that has made such an impact on the world, either for good or bad as the United States? If you know of another country that fits this description, please comment.

I visited the family today to help celebrate this grand old American holiday, and we had a nice lunch of lobster (not me), hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on the grill, potato salad, fruit salad, potato chips and soda. Good eating.

Now I am back at the apartment, ready to begin the daunting task of cleaning up the clutter (just a bit), because the countdown is down to 6 days. This is going to be and already is the longest week of my life.
She told me today that she has purchased the train ticket from Yoshkar-Ola to Moscow, (a journey of 497.1 miles and 20 hours on the train - her time estimate, not mine) and that she must take care of some final paperwork at the US Embassy in Moscow to complete the visa process. I only hope things continue to go as planned.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Quiet day



Nothing unusual happened today, which in itself is unusual.

I got up at 5 AM this morning, as I have been lately, to log into Yahoo Messenger, hoping that my Russian fiancee would also be online. Alas, she was not, so I went back to sleep on the couch, so I could hear if she logged in. Ended up sleeping until 9:30, which was good. We did talk twice today, which was great. Once around 9:30 AM briefly and a longer chat around 6:00 PM. What makes the second chat more impressive is that, for her it was 2 AM when we began talking. She finally decided to hit the sheets at 7:30 PM or 3:30 AM her time. I love talking to her, even if it's only about trivial things.

As you well know by reading my blog, the daily countdown stands at 7 days until I meet her at Logan Airport in Boston. At this time next week, if all goes well, we will be driving back to my place from the airport. Then we will see if reality equals fantasy, if you know what I mean. Will we get along as well in person as we do online? I don't think this will be problematic. I will continue to keep you posted, of course.

I dropped off the kids at the ex's parents house this afternoon and in the process got to see her sister and husband in addition to their new baby girl (adorable!!!) and other family of hers that I have not seen in awhile. They were friendly to me, which was nice, considering I'm not sure how much is known in her family about our split. I have the kids again next weekend but not that of the 16th. The ex and I agreed to take it slow in introducing the kids to my fiancee, which makes the best sense for them, emotionally.

Can you defeat my battle monster?



found while reading Bob the Mediocre's blog:

green1969tb

is a Giant Bee that leaves a Trail of Goo, has a Metal Jaw and Heavy Metal Armour, is in League with Dark Forces, and dislikes Modern Architecture.

Strength: 3 Agility: 7 Intelligence: 9



To see if your Giant Battle Monster can
defeat green1969tb, enter your name and choose an attack:

fights green1969tb using

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Held hostage by a car



Let me begin by saying that I hate old cars. Ok, hate may be a bit strong. Dislike might be a better word. Held hostage would also be appropriate. The good news is that the jumpstart AAA gave my van's old battery the other day has sufficiently worked, so that I should be able to return the new battery that I purchased unused and get a refund. The bad news is that the first problem that caused my battery to die is back. There is a short circuit somewhere in the wiring that keeps the rear brake lights on, even when the car is off. So after frantically looking without success for a garage that could remedy the problem at 1 PM on the Saturday of a long weekend, I am forced into a makeshift solution.
In order to prevent the battery from dying again I must remove the fuse that powers the brake lights when the car is off, and plug it in again before I need to go somewhere. Then unplug the fuse again when I have reached my destination. I must repeat this procedure as many times as necessary until at least Tuesday, when I will be able to schedule an appointment at the garage I use for car repairs. Hopefully I can get an early appointment, but we'll see.

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8 days. I am getting prepared for the longest week of my life. Then things will get interesting, in a really good way.

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The kids and I did some errands yesterday and some today. Then we spent a very nice two hours poolside. The water was comfortable considering that it was a cool mid 80's type of day. I got to wear the swim trunks my kids got me for my birthday and break in the swim goggles that I bought last week. For me, there's something to being able to see while swimming underwater without exposing my eyes to harmful batches of pool chemicals.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Hard work does get rewarded



Working hard at your job does have its rewards. Aside from knowing you've done the best you can to get that feeling of satisfaction, financial rewards are nice. Well today, I got called into the office of one of the senior management. He asked me if I had a minute, so I went into his office and closed the door. Not quite knowing what to expect, I sat down. "What's up?", I said. He then proceeded to tell me that he and the other senior management are pleased with my job performance and appreciate my efforts and willingness to stay late when necessary. He also told me that as of Monday, my salary will increase by $1.00 an hour. Wow, I was not expecting that!!! In a small company performance is noticed, moreso than in a large company with many employees. The owner has often said that there is very little he doesn't know about regarding what goes on in the company, even though he may seem distant and involved with other things, he has his eyes and ears open.

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9 days.

I have been doing a lot of research and reading on the Russian culture lately, for obvious reasons if you've been paying attention. Did you know that in Russia, giving an even number of flowers is appropriate only at funerals? Roses are the most expensive flower to buy in Russia, and therefore have the most significant meaning. There as in this country, roses are given as a symbol of love. So I must give her an odd number of roses when we first meet. I can't decide whether 11 or 13 roses would be better, since I can't give the standard dozen.

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I finally got my car registered today. I also had to buy a battery for it, because the one I have is at least five years old, maybe older. Now I just have to install it, then my van will be all set for another 12 months. Or until it breaks down again. Seriously, the overall damage (to my checkbook) was costly, but not nearly as bad as I had envisioned it to be. Major relief, let me tell you, that it was not worse.