Sunday, July 31, 2005

Slow Weekend

The summer is officially gone. The Boss Lady heads back to work in 10 hours. It has been a good summer. But now it is gone.

This weekend, she took the kids out of town for one last roadtrip. I skipped out. I was going to get a lot of things done. I planned to be both productive and to have a little fun with my 30 free hours.

Productive? Not at all.

Fun? I watched Smokey and the Bandit on CMT. Twice.

What else you gonna do with a free weekend, when your truck won't start?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Gratuitous kidpics

It has been a while since I gave you a peek at the kids, so here are some links, though only one is of yesterday's zoo trip...

Both of 'em at once!

The Princess, enjoying dinner.

Under the aquarium.

Our flasher.

This is my current PC wallpaper shot

We Beat the Elephants

We got up early yesterday morning and headed up to Cameron Park Zoo. It is about a two hour drive and we wanted to get there early, before the heat made the day un-bear-able.

The Talker had a very specific list of animals he wanted to see. He wanted to see the monkeys, the tigers and the elephants. It just so happens that these are the first three exhibits you see, IF you are willing to walk the opposite direction of most of the traffic. Since a day care group was headed the other way, we went the monkey-tiger-elephant route.

The only problem, the elephants were not out in the exhibit, yet. Guess they were sleeping late. The Talker loved everything about the zoo. He checked out every animal that we saw and tried to name any that he knew. Mommy and I were really surprised when he knew what a Javelina was. In the same exhibit they had a small herd of white tailed deer. Just like the ones that roam our neighborhood. Guess he thought it was akin to putting our cats on display.

Makes me wonder if they want an exhibit of worthless furry mammals...

The kids day was highlighted by time in the play area, water fountains for splashing and all. That and the returnm trip to the elphants, tigers and monkys. Everyone was awake, this time. Mom's favorite part of the day? The two hour nap they, including her, all took on the way home.

My favorite part of the trip? The side trip to the junkyard. More about that on TruckinDaddy.

I might get around to posting some pics later. Of the zoo, not the junkyard...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Don't Know

how or why but the new hard drive is large and in charge, now. It is booting and running fine. And no, I did not have to reinstall the Operating system. When I tried to, it would not let me and then it booted on restart.

Who cares? Not me, or you, most likely .

I know for sure that it is working, too. The old hard drive is in a box on top of the computer cabinet. So unless I am hallucinating again, this new drive rocks!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

5 More Daze

The Boss Lady goes back to her full schedule in one week. So this week we are planning on doing a lot of nothing. Some years we make one last summer trip, but not this year. We are just going to hang out here and goof around town.

Best of all, no plans and no alarm clocks.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Fishing for Lightning

We went to Cabela's this morning. So after I messed around with the old computer for most of the afternoon, I took off this evening to go cat fishing with my new cat fish set-up. But sticking with the theme of the afternoon, of not being able to accomplish ANYTHING..., as soon as I got a line in the water, a bolt of lightning hit about 1000 yards from me, up on the dam. Damn!

Then it hailed and rained like hell and I ran like heck outta there. No fish, but at least I made it home without getting zapped by 80 kagillion volts.

The computer gets a new lease on life

Our family computer is dying a slow and agonizing death. It has never been a great computer, so to prolong it's suffering, I have recently added a DVD/CD Writer drive and doubled the RAM memory, thanks to Pops retiring his old desktop machine. I hoped the increased memory would help the computer be more stable and not glitch as often, but the problems have persisted.

So we started thinking that the hard drive must be freaking out. It was also sitting at 90% full. Yesterday I picked up a new hard drive. It has a lot more storage space than the old one, but it had a $50 rebate that made it one of the cheapest drives in the store.

I had to run back over today, to pick up a PCI host card. Once I got the card installed, getting the drive up and running was pretty straightforward. Except that I can't boot up the computer from it.

Meaning that it is basically useless, even though I spent about 5 hours trying to figure it our today. So here I sit, with my loud dying 40 GB hard drive spinning away. At least I have a nice back up of the old drive, now.

If anyone wants to give me some advice on getting this thing to boot up, feel free.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No take backs

The Talker is feeling a little better this morning. Good enough to take a truck ride with dad this morning, before mom left for work and good enough to regret this entire week. He is really tired of the sore throat. And two weeks without ANY goldfish crackers? That part of the recovery just might cause him to kill over and die.

He told me this morning, with tears in his eyes, "I want to go to the hospital and get my tonsils back."

But then Sponge Bob came on and the tonsils were forgotten, once again.

I am in good company, no?

People whose birthday is July 21:

1676 Anthony Collins, philosopher

1620 Jean Picard, astronomer

1899 Ernest Hemingway, novelist

1911 Marshall McLuhan, writer

1920 Isaac Stern, violinist

1924 Don Knotts, actor

1938 Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General

1946 Kenneth Starr, lawyer

1948 Yusaf Islam (Cat Stevens), singer, songwriter

1948 Garry Trudeau, cartoonist

1952 Robin Williams, actor

1957 Jon Lovitz, actor

1968 Brandi Chastain, soccer player

1970 AtHomeDaddy, mediocre truck guy and lousy fisherman

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

TV day

The boy feels lousy today. His throat must really be hurting, because he won't say anything. He is pointing and gesturing, but no talking. And that is a once in a lifetime experience. He is hanging out in our bedroom, watching old Disney VHS movies, just so his little sister can't get to the TV and change the channel during all of the good parts. He is really tired, because of the medicine and the 4 AM wake up to take more medicine.

She is bored silly without big brother around, but we have been playing "Shopping Cart/Baby Stroller Crash Up Derby NASCAR Race" through the kitchen, dining room, front hall and living room. She laughs at the chase and I need the exercise, so it is a good activity. She is almost over whatever made her feel bad enough that we took her into the pediatrician on Monday morning. Now if she will just start sleeping at night...

The dog is quickly getting over the mystery limp, thanks to a visit to the Vet on Monday. Luckily, he does sleep all night.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

All is good with the boy

The Talker is now tonsil-free. He is tired and dopey, but that is true of most of us in this family. The Children's Hospital of Austin staff was awesome as usual. I highly recommend going there if you want your tonsils taken out (and you are under 17). They will even let you ride a Mighty Hot Wheel to the surgery room if you want.

Plus, after the tonsils are gone, they serve up Blue Bell Rainbow Popsicles. Big time bonus! Almost makes the surgery worth the hassle.

Sorry for the delayed update. But I had to go get my driver's license renewed after we got home from the hospital. Believe me, I would have much rather had my own tonsils removed than wait there for two hours just to recite my Social security number and read one line off of an eye chart. I guess I faked the eye test good enough, I realized when I got the front of the line that my glasses were at home!

We are off

to the Children's Hospital. Good news re: The Talker to follow in a few hours.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Surgery , AHOY!

Today at lunch we talked to the boy about his surgery coming up on Tuesday. His tonsils and adenoids are coming out Tuesday morning. He was eating lunch when we broke the news to him. He sat still, looking at us with his hands over his mouth until I reminded him about THE BOX of MYSTERY .

He got a box from The Mother of the Bride on Friday. Luckily the wife warned me that it was coming, so I did not let the boy into it too early. Inside were supposed to be toys for him to play with after he gets home from the hospital. And they still will be. Mostly.

It is just that I needed a quick bribe to get him to go to the hospital today, so we could tour the surgery area and show The Talker a little about what would be happening. He did not want to go, until I promised that he could pick one thing from THE BOX of MYSTERY when we got home.

The tour included stops to get everyone dressed up in scrubs and face masks, showing the kids a few medical tools like the oxygen sensor that he will wear on his finger, a quick peek into an operating room and a stop in the recovery room.

The kids had fun and the boy had an answer for every question that was asked. Including whether or not he has been to Hawaii. Turns out, he has. At least that is what he told one of the cute college girls that was leading the tour.

But the highlight of the afternoon was THE BOX of MYSTERY . The Talker picked out a pirate ship to play with. The other toys have to wait on top of the piano until the next time he comes home from the hospital.

Mom and Dad loved the pirate ship, too. Once it was finally put together... The boy played with it for 2 hours, non-stop. And only a couple of times did we find The Princess sitting ON the dining table, beside her brother and the pirate ship.

We had him play with the pirate toys on the table, since there were lots of small parts. But now that The Princess can just climb right up and sit on top of the table, we either need to get a new place to play with the pirate ship, or she might need her own BOX of MYSTERY from grandma, for after she falls off of the table and has to go on her own tour of the Children's hospital...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

It's Raining!

For the first time in 45 days! We took a quick victory lap around the front yard when it started. The skies are dark and nasty looking, so hopefully it will keep up for a while.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Today, He am a Man

Well, maybe not a man, but The Talker is getting closer. He is officially 3 1/2 years old today. And to celebrate we are getting ready to have him gutted.

He goes in next week to have his tonsils taken out. So that part of the celebration will be delayed a few days, but at least he gets a week of popsicles and ice cream as a pay off.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A New Odyssey for You

Steve Vaught is walking across the United States, from San Diego to New York City. I saw an article about this on CNN and thought it blog worthy. I added a link to his web journal to my sidebar.

I have wanted to find another adventure to follow since Charl de Villiers finished his solo circumnavigation on a 37 foot sailboat.

Two statements really jumped out at me during the CNN spot this morning:

Mr Vaught said during the interview "If you want to be anonymous in this country, gain a hundred pounds."

And later in the story, a well wisher said "God looks after the brave and the foolish..." This is an idea that has stuck with me for years and I was glad to hear it shared out loud.

We Gots a Cabela's, Fellas

After The Boss Lady got home from work yesterday, we went down to the new Cabela's, about 45 minutes south of here. The shopping was pretty light, a new pair of sandals for me, a sticker for the truck, a wooden pop gun for the boy and a patch for the diaper bag. We spent a lot of time checking out the mounts on display. They had everything from an elephant to a flock of geese.

The boy enjoyed the laser shooting range a lot. For the rest of our time in the store he kept telling me, "I wanna go shoot some more guns." The range might have been the best part of the trip for me too. I would sight the rifle at one of the targets, and The Talker would stand beside me in a shopping basket and pull the trigger. We missed a lot this way, but we hit a few targets, too.

It is a nice store. And when fishing season gets here for real, I am sure the boy and I will need to make a few dozen return trips.

On the way home, we stopped at the best Mexican food place in town, Matt's El Rancho. It was really loud, but the food is the best. Ever. If you come to town, I'll take you there. It's right on the way home from Cabela's.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Excuse me, while I plug this in...

Thanks to Pops for upgrading his technology and loading us up with his old computer stuff, I am getting to watch one of my favorite movies, as I enter this blog. The DVD drive is nice, the flat screen monitor is nicer, but I think I like the powered speaker system with the nice subwoofer most of all.

Thanks, Pops.

Can you guess the movie? This posting's title is the only hint you get.

Revenge of the Road Trip

Dad and I were going to sailfish for a while at the coast this week. Then we were going to visit friends of Dad's parents at an Army Division Reunion. I don't remember my Pappy, he died when I was about three, so I was looking forward to hearing stories from men who served in World War II with him.

Dad's back went out on Wednesday, so we cut our fishing and visiting short. And since she was in no shape to drive himself home, The AtHomeFamily met me at The Queen Mother's house last night. We got home this afternoon from the unplanned 600 extra miles. And this chauffeur was tired.

So a quick recap from the road:

Fishing was lousy, at least if you count the fish caught. Only count the time in silence away from the kids and the fishing was AWESOME!

We traveled part of the state that I had never seen. The fam and I will be heading out there again soon. It was a nice drive.

And speaking of nice drives, Pops had a new asphalt driveway laid while we were there. The Talker now thinks that he will get to play on the mini steam roller on our next fishing trip, too.

And the highlight of this weekend? The 2 hour and 20 minute drive home today. Sometimes this drive takes 4 hours or more, thanks to road construction and idiot drivers. But today, we cruised 80 the whole way. Thankfully, cops don't really seem to care how you drive in a minivan...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hitting the road

We are off with Dad for a few days of fishing and down at Pop's house.

Y'all have fun.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Feeling a Little Sacrilegious?

Then jump on over to my post on ADHDaddy about our trip down the freeway this afternoon.

$5 for anyone who can fully explain what that guy was up to...

$20 Movie Review

The whole AtHomeFamily went to see Herbie: Fully Loaded this morning. The Princess slept through the last half of the show, but that is ok, since we did not have to pay to get her in. The Talker had a blast, but he just could not stay in his seat. That too, was OK since we were the only four people in the theater. The Boss Lady was impressed that they kept the story cute and clean.

And Me? I have spent the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out a way to convince the wife that we NEED a VW Bug.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Could have just posted a link to the old entry

I should have been more creative about the title of yesterday's post.

When I went back to last year's July Fourth post, I realized that I have once again plagarized myself.

Oh well, I guess I won't sue me. This time.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Having a Blast on the Fourth

Even though we have not been to our church in a month, we are about to head out for an early Fourth of July picnic and fireworks show that our church sponsors. A member of the church owns the pyrotechnics company so we get to have a real professional show and the crowd is relatively small, only a couple of thousand people, instead of 75,000 or more who will attend the city wide fireworks show on the Fourth.

We used to make a day of the city fireworks show. We would get there in the early afternoon and grab our same spot on a nice hill every year. Then we would just sit and visit all afternoon, while the throngs gathered around us. People we know would stop and ask us how we got our prime viewing spot year after year. As if the pile of books, sunscreen and $6 waterbottles didn't tell enough of the story. I would just grin as if I were someone special.

When The Talker's first Fourth of July rolled around, we realized that taking a six month old into the 100 degree heat for 10 hours would not be terribly smart. But they moved the show. And now there are no prime hills worth baking all day in the heat for anyways, just a big flat field. And who want to gloat about sitting in a field with everyone else all day?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

OK, I admit it, I am a potty mouth

I am trying to be careful of what I say around the kids. Because it is SO attractive to hear your 3 year old son dropping curse words like a sailor. And yes, I have a long way to go. Damn it.

So along those lines, we have been reinforcing with The Talker that he needs to use "good words", not "bad words". In turn he often reminds me to watch what I say.

Tonight in the car, he said "Oh my gracious!" when he got excited. The Boss Lady and I were both impressed when he didn't say "Oh my God!"

We praised him for choosing his "good words". But maybe our cheering came a little to early. Because then the boy busted in with "See Mommy, I didn't say the damn it words, like daddy."

After The Boss Lady and I stopped laughing, I remembered that I still have some more work to do.

Baseball, Bats and Big White Dogs

Today we all hid from the 100 degree heat and took it pretty easy after a trip to the vet's office and Costco. This evening The AtHomeFam headed out to see part of the minor league baseball game. Since the dog is not yet used to sleeping in a crate or in the house, we knew we would not be at the ball game for too long. We left after the 5th inning and after a half hour on the outfield playscape. And on the way home we just happened to be passing one of to locations in town where Mexican Free-tailed Bats live. So we stopped for a while to watch the bats.

Super cool. Really squeaky. And big time stinky.

If you have never seen a million bats flying out from under a bridge on a summer night, come on down. The first week in August is prime time, because the pups start flying about then.

Introducing The New Big White Dog

Follow this link to see a picture of the new Great Pyrenees dog. This was the best picture I could get this morning. He is much more impressive in person.

He will be one year old next Saturday, July 9th. He weighs 82 pounds already. If he ends up nearly as big as his daddy, then he is going to be much bigger than Ben, our last Pyr. He is really mellow and super cool. Currently at the vet's this morning for shots and a routine check up.

All should be great this afternoon. Lots more house and yard clean up and dog proofing to be done.

Friday, July 01, 2005

We are Home

And tonight home feels real good. Cause there is a big stinky wet dog fresh from a flea bath sleeping in our living room.

Life is GOOD! And we are all grinning big. Especially The New Big White Dog. But that might be simply because he has never slept in an air conditioned house before.

Pictures and details to follow.

There is simply not enough hair floating around here...

Back when we had two dogs, there was a ton of hair drifting all over the house anytime the air conditioner would kick on. Gross? Probably so, but it did encourage us to sweep and mop a lot more often.

So we are leaving in a few minutes to go look at a dog. A one year old Great Pyrenees that is currently owned by one of the best Pyr breeders in the Texas. She says we might even be able to bring him home tonight.

So I started re-arranging the living room. We might need to set up a dog crate in there tonight. No, I did not mop. But I promise I will if I bring home 100 pounds of white fur attached to a great dog.

The Boss Lady Speaks - Totally Trashed Toobin' Time!

This is the first in a possibly never-to-be-repeated series of posts by The Boss Lady in her own words... Edited to make AtHomeDaddy look better, of course.

So, it's been a while (over 4 years, I think) since I was taken out on a date by my leading man. Don't get offended, I never asked him out either. We ditched the kids with his sister, his aunt, 4 cousins, 2 cats and 2 golden retrievers. We knew they would have fun.

Genius husband's idea: Toobin down the Comal River in Greune, TX. He dislikes swimming, but I love it. Basically, float on a tire tube and drink lots of Dr Pepper for a few hours. Lots of shade, a few quick rapids, lots of time to talk and relax.

Toobin in this particular area is a magnet for college kids (yes, we know we are FAR from young any more) who want to float around for hours with coolers of booze. But, being a Thursday, most of them were working for beer money so the place was empty.

It was beautiful.
It was relaxing.
It was calm.

We talked.
We flirted.
We laughed.
We smiled.

It was a way to remember that attraction that began 13 years ago.

There were a few rapid spots. They were fun. Mildly exciting and fast. Lots of high rocks and shallow spots (2-3 inches deep) where he would yell, "Butts Up!" It was a pretty good abdominal workout to figure out how to get your entire body higher than the top of the toob and still keep the thing floating forward.

We were very careful when we left to slather on the SPF 45. AtHomer even wore a T-shirt as we toobed. Several times along the route, we re-applied. There would be no sunburn for us.

But, there was this one set of raging rapids ahead. The river took a few curves together and made a long stretch of mild drop-offs. He got out ahead of me. He swears the floating cooler acted like a propeller and sped him up. The first section was fun and I perfected the whole-body-up while still floating technique. The second section was a little steeper, deeper and faster. Mike went down and waited for me at the lower bank. Arms raised up in victory the whole way.

Honestly, I couldn't have been more than 1 foot to the right of where he went down the rapids. The water was darker and not moving nearly as fast. After the first 2 feet, all bets were off. The area I was on got MUCH faster, steeper and the rocks were shallower. My toob was suddenly over my head and I was scraping bottom.

I am a good swimmer. I've never had fear of water in my life. But in those "rapids" (really slow-pids for anyone who knew a river and how they CAN run) I was terrified. I ran scenarios through my head of how to keep my eyes open, NOT crack my melon open and attempt (totally in vain) to not get too bunged up.

It was maybe 4-6 seconds before I regained control in the water. I reached a deep spot where the water calmed down.

Maybe it's a testament to my commitment to our family. Maybe it’s proof that I'm an idiot. Maybe it's a sign that I should have been an accountant or insurance agent. I kept tallying up our bills, my life insurance and hoping AtHomer knew how to find all our account information.

After that, all I wanted was to get out of that fast water and touch AtHomer. He's always been my ground wire. There he was, waiting on a bank with a strained calm expression on his face.

"That was ugly."

When I looked back at the little rapids, I could see my doom from the bottom. Isn't that the way it usually goes? When you're in the middle of a disaster of your own making, all you can see is the worst. A little piece of you knows you will be fine but you give in to the irrationality of the moment and panic.

We continued on our way and enjoyed the rest of the float. I have my Nanny's thin skin and I knew the cuts and abrasions all over my legs would look really nasty by morning. The only major damage was the 1/4 cubic inch of thick green something (rock? moss? fish?) under my fingernail.

All in all, a great day with a pretty good story. It wasn't until we got back to the kids that I realized there was a real problem. I walked in the door and all eyes widened. "Wow, you got some sun, huh?" I was fried. I looked like a lobster or was it tomato woman?

Being the guilty parents we were after ditching our kids for hours, we tried to make it an educational conversation with the Talker. "That is why we put on sunscreen. Mommy has a sunburn and it hurts very much."

The Talker fired back, "I don't have a sunburn. My skin is not hot. Oh, no! I have fire and lava all over my skin--I have a sunburn! I can't hug you, Mommy. Your skin is too hot. Don't make a mistake again, Mommy. I told you a million times, no sunburn in my eyes."

And the list could go on forever, kind of like this message.

AtHomer wanted to know if this was an attempt to blog. No thanks, I have no need to keep up with AtHomeDaddy.

I was just reliving my date and wanted to "talk" with you.

May you have a safe, relaxing, calm water day. Maybe you can laugh at me along the way.

With a smile,

The Boss Lady