Thursday, September 28, 2006

I've got neighbors in high places

A couple of mornings back, the kids and I were headed downtown. But as we pulled out of the driveway I noticed a neighbor's garage door up, but her car was not in the garage. I was worried that she had driven off to work and forgotten to close her garage door.

So I checked to make sure she wasn't home and then I tried to get her garage door to close. Turns out it was seriously out of adjustment and would only close for a second and then it would pop right back open.

But like good suburban neighbors, I only knew this neighbor's name. I had no clue how to get in touch with her. Heck, I did not even know her last name.

All through the day I kept an eye on the open garage without anything exciting happening. When the neighbor got home the kids and I wandered over there to see if I could help her get the garage door working. And with the help of one of my buddies, we got it working just fine in only a few minutes.

When talking to the neighbor I found out that she works at one of the biggest advertising firms in town. This afternoon, when I went out to check the mail, I almost tripped over a stack of magazines. The neighbor brought us a load of sports magazines, cooking mags, kid and family magazines and even a couple of women's mags for The Boss Lady, I guess.

The kids are in heaven and now I think we will have to get a subscription to Nick Jr Magazine. And me? I curled up with a copy of this week's Sports Illustrated this evening while watching Auburn beat up on South Carolina. Laying around in my drawers, watching football and reading SI. Now I really feel like a MAN!

But I admit it. I am a little bit sad that there were not any magazines about robotic house cleaning.

I think I have a crush on the robot

Three times today we have ventured outside to play. Each time I have set up my upgrade to clean a little more of the house.

And now, at the end of the afternoon, the kids are just waking up from naps and our floors are clean. A feat that has not been accomplished in four years. Until he was a year old, the boy could sleep through the vacuum cleaner, Lil' Sis never could. So sweeping became the best option for cleaning during naptime.

And you and I both know that ain't happening very often when I am on duty.

Anyways, our little 'bot has done a nice job. And now the Roomba deserves a little respect. So help me out. This hard working robot needs a name. A couple of options so far:

Mike 2.0

So help a fat lazy man and a round short robot out and send us some suggestions over to help name my new bestest friend.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Well, I did not see that one coming...
I got replaced by a robot!

The Boss Lady has mentioned getting a new rug for our living room a couple of times lately. Since it is a pretty big room with tile floors, it is nice to have a big area rug near the couches. But the big rugs are either expensive or ugly or both expensive and ugly. So we have gone without one for a while.

This weekend she saw a rug that she liked in a Kohl's add. And it was on sale for half price. So off to the department store we went this evening.

As soon as we walked into the store I knew something was up. We have looked at rugs in there before but the wife was heading to the opposite side of the store. She just bought shoes, so I wasn't sure why we were stopping between footwear and small appliances. Then she told me "I want to look at a vacuum they have on sale."

Turns out, she really wanted to check out the Roomba vacuums. So after I offered my sincere opinion about the futility of a little round robot battling the accumulated crud in our house, and made one smart-assed comment about the number of truck parts we could buy for the same money, the Roomba went right into the basket. We got the rug, too. Would not want the Roomba to get bored just cleaning tile and concrete floors, now would we?

So tonight we sit here, mesmerized by the little round machine that is getting a job done that I should have finished some time last week. And the week before... But this way is a lot more entertaining because the pets don't know what to think about the Roomba. One cat runs, one cat stares and the dog just looks annoyed.

After watching this thing go for an hour, I am assuming it was invented by a stay at home dad. Who else would understand the need for a vacuum to have a remote control. Besides, what other cleaning products can you use while sitting on the couch watching Sports Center and drinking a cold brew?

If we get bored with the Roomba, we can always get a costume for it. Or we can hack into it and try to take over the world. Or at least this end of the street. The batteries might need to be recharged too often for an all out assault on the neighborhood.

You know, I really wanted to make fun of The Boss Lady for buying the Roomba. I really did, I SWEAR! But it really is cool AND, technically, I bought it. They were giving 20% if you opened up a new credit account. Since she already had an account, the wife was ineligible for the discount. So I got the new credit line, the rug and the vacuum. Yeah for me!

Now get out of my way, I have to go vacuum. 'Cause Sports Center is only on for three more hours tonight and my drink is getting warm.

Edit: Should I take it personally that on the first run of the Roomba, it eventually gave up in the kitchen? The collection bin and brushes were full and the status light on the robot was flashing yellow, which indicated that it abandoned it's cleaning mission.

Damn. Our damn house is so damn dirty that a damn robot won't even clean it.
Guess I'll get out the mop and a damn broom.

Right after Sports Center and another beer.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wireless workaround

Other than trying to swap out telephone jacks, I haven't had time to track down any of the problems we are having inside our walls. The phone jack transplant did not work, so it is time to do some more extensive exploratory surgery. But this week looks to be pretty busy, too.

For the past couple of weeks I have been dragging a DSL cable to a phone jack across the living room. It made for a nice tripping hazard right in the entry hall. I picked up a cheap pci wireless card today for the family desktop computer.

Now I have the modem and router stashed out of sight in another room. And most importantly, no more cables to trip over in the hall.

Glad that is out of my system

The Mazda Zoom-Zoom Live was a blast. Speeding around in borrowed cars rules! And I proudly wear my nametag with one corner chopped of.

The staff would clip a corner of your nametag if you were driving too aggressively on a track. Two corners clipped and they would send you home.

Anyways, I wiped out a row of cones in a MazdaSpeed 6 Sport. All wheel drive, dynamic stability control and a turbo charged beast of an engine. But I still managed to almost spin the car. COOL!

Besides that, the MX5 is a fun little car. The RX8 is too cramped to enjoy and the Mazda 3 is not as much fun to drive as the CX-7

By the way, that is me driving the MazdaSpeed 6 Sport in the picture. Check out that pineapple shirt!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ready to Zoom-Zoom

Early on Saturday a couple of friends and I are heading to Zoom-Zoom Live, a Mazda test drive program that is making a tour stop in Dallas. We have to be there near 8am. It is a 3 1/2 hour drive without stops. That early in the morning I'll be needing a Dr Pepper stop, so we are leaving somewhere near 4 in the morning. The boys are in for a treat, my early morning driving skills will surely keep them awake.

This afternoon I detailed the Saturn. Actually, the drive was just a good excuse. I am tired of driving a V6 powered trash pile, so the car was getting cleaned anyways.

My ride is shiny and clean now and for at least a few weeks few weeks, the kids are cut off from eating in the car.

A side note: I was checking fluids and admiring the shiny engine compartment when I noticed a big chunk of rubber laying loose near the windshield. When I looked closer at it, I realized it is a baseball sized chunk of a truck tire. I saw, and heard, it hit the car on our trip to Ft Worth, earlier in the week. It scared crud out of me.

Glad it wasn't a rock, or our windshield would have needed more than Windex this afternoon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Riding the rails and the roads

The AtHomeTrio made it home from a few days at The Queen Mother's house this afternoon. Nothing too exciting to report on our trip. And that is great because that means no one got sick and no one went to the emergency room. Yeah for us!

While we were in Ft Worth I planned to drive the kids to Dallas to ride the light rail trains but Dad had a better idea. We hopped the commuter rail train in Ft Worth and rode to Dallas.

We were going to grab lunch and play for an hour and a half before boarding for our return trip. But by the time we got to downtown Dallas, the kids were tired, so we grabbed a quick snack in the train station and hopped back on the train. All told, we went about 60 miles on the train in 2 hours. The trains were nice two story cars, so the kids had a great view from the upper deck seats. Plus, it was not crowded at 10 am, so we did not disturb any commuters.

The rest of our time at Mom and Dad's we hung out at the house. Big fun for the kids since they have different toys to play with and for me, since grandparents make pretty good stay at home dad pinch hitters when I go down with a big time migraine.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hitting the road

The kids and I are off on another adventure for a couple of days. May head to Dallas to ride the trains one day later in the week. But for now we are going to The Queen Mother's just to hang out.

Will report any excitement we find.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

You guys are slobs!

The Princess woke up from nap with this commentary about our house cleaning abilities, after The Boss Lady spent a couple of hours sweeping and mopping, while The Talker and I ran off to the car show:

"Mommy, I have to tell you something... Come look. Somebody came in our house and cleaned the floors. They are all sparkly!"

The Talker's Point of View

I handed the boy our digital camera when we headed home from the car show this afternoon. I helped him take a couple of the cars while we were there, but I was too worried about him hitting a car with the camera to let him have free reign.

Here is what the boy thought photo worthy.

By the way, The Boy had a good time at soccer. He was worn out. Most thrilling part of the day: getting his Orange Flurries uniform. He is proud to wear #10. Game and practice pics will be up later. We shot a lot of pictures with the 35mm camera today, but no digital pics.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Soccer Star(t)

This weekend The Talker starts playing soccer. He is playing on a team of 4 and 5 year olds through the YMCA. They play 3 on 3 with no goalies and no score kept. It should be big fun.

The Y is being nice to the parents, too. In an effort to keep new soccer parents from getting burned out too quickly on schlepping the kiddos to practices and games, The Talker’s team will have a quick practice and then play a game right after that.

Only one drive to the soccer field per week. What a great league.

The added benefit is that the parents are already around for the games, so maybe they will help corral kids during practices, too. I know I’ll jump in wherever the team needs help.

The Talker has already experienced one of the most exciting parts of starting any new sport, buying the gear. We went yesterday and bought his soccer cleats, shin guards, and a new ball. The sporting goods store around the corner had a package deal with all of the stuff for $20. In the hardest decision of the day, he finally picked gear with blue and silver stripes.

The Princess was a little disappointed not to get a set of the soccer stuff with pink and silver stripes, but she got over the disappointment quickly.

The boy has hardly taken his cleats and shin guards off. In fact right now he is supposed to be practicing in the backyard, but I can clearly see him digging in the dirt pile that once was a garden. Imagine that. A kid playing in the dirt instead of playing soccer.

Like father like son, huh mom?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Family Truckin'

For the past year and a half or so, over on TruckinDaddy, I have documented the resurrection of my grandfather's old farm truck. And one of the first big pay offs came tonight.

We drove the truck to the YMCA to go swimming after dinner. The Talker rode with me over there and The Princess rode home with me. The Boss followed behind in her car, just in case something broke. This is the furthest we have driven the truck from the house.

Nothing did break, though, and we all had fun on our evening adventure.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Home repairs suck

This place is falling down around us, so it must be time to move. A week ago it rained. And water got into the phone lines. So we have been without reliable phones since then. But I really could care less, as long as the DSL line is still running.

So tonight the DSL crapped out. I spent an hour finding the problem. A bad phone jack, across the house from where I thought our phone problems are. And to add to the fun, there IS water getting into the phone line. But evidently not from rain.

The bad phone jack is inside the same wall as the water lines that serve our clothes washer. Crap. Crap. Crapity crap.

So either one of the water lines or the drain is leaking inside the wall. Either way, it should be a lot of fun inside there.

But instead of trying to round up the parts and pieces we need tonight, I just drug some cords across the house to get my DSL operational again.

But now that blogging is finished and the email has been checked, I guess it is time to bust out the drywall saw.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Where were you 4018 days ago?

The Boss Lady and I were getting hitched. Married. Joined in Holy matrimony. All that romantic crap.

Made even more special by the breath freshener spray I shot up my nose right before I kissed the bride. And the bloody nose I got running to the car after the reception.

Good times.

11 years. 2 kids. 2 more college degrees. 6 addresses, including 1 summer living in a tent trailer and 2 years in a basement apartment. 2 cats. 3 dogs. 6 different cars. 1 minivan. 1 SUV. 2 trucks. 1 boat.

It's been a hell of a ride. And I bet the next 11 years will be pretty interesting, too. At least I know it won't be a boring trip.

Hey Boss Lady, CBH and thanks for the fun.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mazda Repair, Take 2

Thursday I posted on TruckinDaddy about some work I was starting on The Boss Lady's car. I picked up the parts this afternoon and got to work. Then a miracle happened. No, the car did not heal itself. It still needs a clutch master cylinder and slave cylinder.

The miracle went like this. I gave up an hour after I started. BEFORE I broke anything.

Turns out the dash needs to come out to remove the master cylinder. And I am not up to that challenge. I learned my lesson on her last car. The one time I tore into the dash on the black Escort, I never could get everything back in place correctly.

So the car is sitting at the repair shop over the weekend. They got most of the work done this afternoon, but since I did not take it to them until 4:15, I did not really expect them to finish before 6 p.m.

Guess it will be a good weekend to cruise the truck around a little.

Remote Blog

Waiting for results at the hospital is a lot easier with wireless access.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

His first dirty joke. I am so P P proud

Last night before bed, The Talker was working on some alphabet puzzle cards. Each card has an a picture and the name of the item. When the puzzle cards are put together, the items on both the left and right sides begin with the same letter of the alphabet.

He was proud of himself while he was reading all of the words to me after he finished most of the cards. But then he stopped cold and I heard him giggle. Then I saw what he was laughing at, the 'P' card. Pizza on one side and pants on the other.

"They both start with P! P P!" The boy acted like this was the funniest thing he had ever heard.

For the next half an hour The Boss Lady and I laughed in the living room while he "P P-ed!" himself to sleep! Every few minutes, when we thought he was finally done and asleep, we would hear it again, "P P!"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The long road home

Every time we drive to or from Pop's house, we go the same way. It is a nice easy cruise mostly through the country. Yesterday we got an hour and a half into the trip and I detoured off of the regular route. I figured we were adding some time to our drive, but we could see something new in Texas.

And we found it. In Sheridan we found a small family owned water park,Splashway Family Waterpark. And the crowd did not look too bad for mid morning on Labor Day, so we decided to try it out.

The Talker was able to master every activity they offered, even the biggest slide in the place. The Princess loved floating around on a tube in the river that circled past all of the other areas. They had a live DJ who was playing music that kept the kids entertained the entire time.

This little place was spotless, The Disney parks could learn about keeping a park clean from these guys. Everything was reasonably priced and they will let families bring in picnics. An awesome three hour detour.

In the end we added about an hour to our drive time, but the kids had so much fun at the waterpark that they were worn out for the rest of the trip.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fishing fun for everyone, or me at least

The weekend's fishing has been a success, even if most of the fish I caught were throwbacks, perch and small catfish. After two days I only kept one fish, a really nice black drum that will sit very nicely on my dinner plate this evening.

The most exciting fishing of the weekend happened Saturday afternoon, when I caught a 4 foot long black tip shark. Since I was by myself and I like my fingers, I set the black tip loose as quick as possible. This morning I caught a small stingray. It was pretty cool to check out, but like the shark, I set it free as quick as possible.

The kids and I will probably do a little more fishing this evening and then call it a weekend.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bayside Blogging

We pulled into Pop's house a little while ago. No excitement on the drive except for the hillbillies who all thought I was driving with my high beams on the whole time. I kept hoping that we would smear enough bugs across the front of the car that my headlights would not bother the locals. No luck though.

I should be hitting the pier in a few minutes. Here fishy fishy.

No blogger access

I haven't been able to get into blogger all morning.  No big deal though.
We are getting packed up to head down to the coast for a weekend of fun and fishing as soon as The Boss Lady gets home from work.  Going down to Pops and gonna catch a couple of big ones while I sit across the bay from the family.
Some time over the weekend might have to all go over there though, so that the kids can ride Pop's tractor.