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Week of Joe – 2014

Posted by joeabbott on November 25, 2014

Week of Joe is seven days of fun sometime around my birthday. Suzanne always makes my favorite dinners, bakes me a wonderful cake, and gets me cards and gifts for each day of WoJ. It’s a really great time!

And then there was this year

When we were planning WoJ we decided it would start on Monday, 11/10, and go through that following weekend; seemed like a wonderful plan. I’d taken a lot of vacation this year so I wasn’t planning on taking much time off, but figured I could get my birthday and subsequent Friday off.

I dropped into my skip-level manager’s office on Monday to plan our week and I said something like, “hey, later this week …” and he finished, “yeah, I’m still planning on being out of the office Wednesday through Friday so hoping you’ll be OK covering for me.” Umm, wow, that didn’t turn out quite like I thought. But, not a big deal, I might not get the days off but I’d still be able to leave work early and be home by 3PM most days.

… Gang aft agley.

The week turned out to be a mess. I’m part of a new team and the only person who has experience in the organization I’m in, some of the specific tools we’re using, and I’m a known quantity by others who frequently reached out to us. On top of that, my direct manager hadn’t started with the team yet, my skip-level manager was out sick Tuesday (on top of the W-F outage) and a couple other teammates were on vacation various times of the week. Simply said, I worked about 60 hours that week and ended up driving in because bus service didn’t have early enough, or late enough, runs.

The week

But it was still a fun time.

Suzy made a cake the weekend before and I enjoyed evening treats of chocolate deliciousness; and on my birthday itself I had her wonderful lemon cake (which is always a treat). I had meals of ribs and steak and even a hash loaf I very much enjoy. Yes, the dinners were brief affairs and I tried hard to get to bed early knowing the next day would be just as trying as the one I’d just finished.

On my birthday itself I didn’t open cards or gifts from my family. I was spent and postponed that pleasure for the following weekend. I’ll detail that extravaganza later … but, each night I’d take a break from whatever it was I was doing and sit with Suzy, opening a card from her, and enjoying a small gift. It was over-the-top but made a challenging week almost enjoyable.

Puzzle hunt!

I’m not sure Suzy knew I’d need a little fun, but she provided for it. Each day I’d pick a card from the mantle, open it, and see a little picture. I’d then go to place in our house shown by the picture-of-the-day and uncover a present she’d left for me there. It was perfect. Not too hard, but with enough cleverness and anticipation that I was charmed out of the daze work had left me in.


The week started out perfectly with a picture of Trout … a beloved companion of mine for 18+ years.


Behind Trout was a slim package that included an LED light and a couple of magnets on nylon loops. Now, truth-be-told, I thought I got a couple of magnetic zipper pulls for my jacket and another lighted pull for my tent. I loved it! And yet, on closer examination, you are intended to hook both of the nylon loops through the light clip and then use the magnets to pinch a fold of your tent … giving you a small light anywhere in your tent! Very cool! Very!


The picture I was greeted with on Tuesday was something I knew well: a suitcase we’d purchased in Australia so we could have a place in our luggage for all the souvenirs we’d purchased! Well, we didn’t have a suitcase full of souvenirs, but we had a couple biggish pieces that required a bit more space. Regardless, time to run to the guest bed and check underneath!


I have a minor obsession with knives, as well as a keen interest in keeping them sharp. Unfortunately, my skill at buying knives vastly surpasses my ability to keep them sharp. I have diamond sharpening plates, water stones, and various gadgets to help me put an edge on my knives but I’m just not that good at it. Well, this new tool makes it near idiot-proof … well, at least for this idiot.

The sharpener is a handheld motorized tool that holds a narrow band of sandpaper in varying grits. It also includes a couple of plastic guides that snap over the sandpaper making it easy to get the angle you need.


Today’s picture may be a “what is that?” moment for some, but I knew right where to look! Our cats, starting with Trout, have enjoyed resting on some items we store under a bed; there’s a vent under there so it gets warm and is quiet and dark. They love it. Unfortunately, no one likes that much cat hair on their stuff! So, we cover our stuff with washable throws … this was one of the throws.


While Suzy and I were walking around a small street fair, we stopped into a bookshop. We weren’t in the buying-a-book mood or mindset, but this book immediately caught my eye. It was gorgeous and, as someone who spends his time around a lot of trees, I’m terribly inept as knowing a fir from a pine, a spruce from a cedar, never mind a more detailed identification. And so, Northwest Trees: Identifying and Understanding the Region’s Native Trees was a welcome gift … and a nice evening read!


Where Suzy goes, Trasper follows. Behind one of the sliding doors in the bamboo “hutch” I built, we have a box in which we store a few oddments … and it included a gift for me!


I’m a woodworker; I have a lot of clamps. And, yes, I need more clamps.

Every so often I’ll be at work and get an email asking simply, “need this?” The attachment will be from Lee Valley, a Canadian woodworking and gardening tool business; and I usually say, “no”. But, when they included these clamps, I gave a “yes” … but that was a few months back and so these were a big, but welcome surprise. Time to build some stuff!


Today’s picture was the spine of a few of my HoME books … that’s “HoME” as in “History of Middle-earth” and they’re frightfully good and marvelously insightful and entertaining. But, my prize was behind them.


I’m a Lord of the Rings nut. Have all the books and have read them multiple times. They’re good. Now, what Peter Jackson has done with the LotR movies and The Hobbit … not purely canon but rollicking good stories and fun films. Regardless, I love the movie tie-in books and have a small collection … which now includes the slim volume: Smaug, Unleashing the Dragon. Another great bedside read!


When I got today’s picture I just looked at it a long time. We miss Spencer a bunch and this picture captures him perfectly; he was a cat so completely comfortable in his fur you couldn’t help but be happy in his presence.


But, behind him was … a book light! As you can tell from the above notes, I’m a big fan of reading in bed, but sometimes the bedside light is a bit bright. I’m looking forward to putting this item to use!


On the last day of Week of Joe I was nearly overwhelmed with gifts and goodies. Suzy had pulled out all the stops for WoJ and yet there was more! I’d built a catpost earlier in the year with some material left over from the cabinet project; Trasper (once again) was modeling where I should look.


While it hadn’t been on any gift list, Suzy had listened to my tales of woe from my summer hiking trip: my camp cup had become a dribble glass! Yup, just under the rim of my collapsible cup, a small hole appeared and I had found myself constantly doused in tea. No longer … I now have a replacement!


I was going to end this post with “that’s it” but after a haul like that, it’s hard to end that way! While I had a lot of stress and worked a lot more during the 2014 Week of Joe than I have for many a year, each night was special: a bit of cake, a little gift, and time with Suzy.

Thank you, Suzanne! As always, you made this year wonderful!


One Response to “Week of Joe – 2014”

  1. momma said

    Oh you two just spoil each other rotten, don’t you…. (and I’m delighted that you do – no ones deserve it more 🙂 ! Thanks for the trip through WofJ… Momma

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