Monday, December 31, 2007

In with the old, out with the new...

Last week, while The Talker and I were hanging out around the house, I pulled out the Commodore 64. We had a good time with a speech synthesizer program and we used it to prank call grandmas.

Let me tell you, granny hasn't had a good Christmas until she has heard a 25 year old computer telling her "Merry Christmas. You gots a poo poo head.". OK, that might have been funnier if you had been here. OR if you aren't a grandma to my son...

Anywhooo. On Saturday, after the family hike, I pulled out the Commodore 64 again. Bro did not know I had it or that it would still run. We had a heck of a time playing some Dr J vs Larry Bird One on One and some Power Play Hockey: USA vs USSR.

25 years later and Bird still has a killer outside shot!

Sis' son is becoming a real football fan, so he and I played a rousing game of 4th and Inches. Actually, we all had to take turns playing, since one of the joystick ports no longer allows movement toward the right side of the screen.

Still, it was a nice way to cap off a good visit with the extended family. And the C64 is still sitting out, waiting for The Talker and I to have a go before The Boss Lady returns to work on Thursday.

Bringing the gaming into this century, The Talker and I stopped in at the used game store yesterday. They were having a buy 2 get 1 free sale that we did not want to miss. So our DS Lite is now rocking previously played copies of Nintendogs (Labrador Retriever), Shrek the 3rd and my new favorite, Diddy Kong Racing DS.

After all of this video gaming, though, I really think we had the most fun prank calling granny with some old school technology. I just wonder if it will be as funny when the boy is almost 7, next Christmas.

Outdoors at New Years


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Lately, we have been rediscovering the greenbelt that runs through our neighborhood. Before kids, The Boss Lady and I would go back there and explore (read: get as lost as blind snow geese...) with the dogs. When the first kiddo was little enough we loaded him in the baby backpack and hit the trail. For some reason we never made it down there after The Talker became The Walker.

Several years have gone by, but the trail is as nice as ever. Especially the end nearest our house. It is more rugged and less manicured than the more heavily used areas of the park. So therefore it is also less crowded.

Law Talking Guy started taking his kids hiking in the greenbelt this fall. I went with them one Sunday last month when the rest of the family was napping. The next weekend I was hauling the kiddos out there while The Boss Lady snoozed.

Saturday, Bro and I took a herd of cousins out on the trail. We hiked out and back, about a mile, to an area called the Fish Pond. Everyone fell at least once. the kids were all a little muddy. No one fell in the water but everyone had fun. A good hike indeed.

Today, The whole AtHomeFamily did the same death march to the Fish Pond. Several of us fell in the water. We took lots of pictures and in the end all of us were worn out. Good times squared.

Anyways, it was a nice family outing. And I hope that with the new year we remember to visit that great big green space right outside our back door.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2 neices, 3 nephews, 2 cousins, Bro, Sis, Mom, Dad, My So called Aunt and lots of other people

Are all in our house again today.

So I figured why not finish the party with a nice full blown migrane.

Good times.

Now let's just see if I make it to the end of the afternoon without thinning out the family...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Day I Went Stupid

OK, maybe I shouldn't talk about that event as a single specific day in history. A more appropriate title for this entry might be

My Most Recent Adventure in Stupid

or it could be

Today I went Even Stupider


Either way, there are three, 3, EXTRA children in our house tonight. Which means there are five, 5, humans who are less than 10 years old sleeping in the back of the house. Which might explain why I am in the front part of the house...

Anyways, back to the stupid.

The Talker and I were going to have some bonding time today while we made a 400 mile round trip run to pick up a few old parts for my truck. The plan involved leaving here at 7:30, arriving in Dallas by 11:30, meeting up with the parts guy in Dallas and heading home. I was thinking that we would be home by 4:30 or 5pm. The boy would have just enough time to watch a couple of Star Wars movies on the ride, and we would get to hang out all day. Big bonus that we would get some hard to find parts during the trip.

See, it was a good plan.

But an hour into our trip we were nearing Sis' house. So I asked the boy if he would like to hang out with his cousins instead of with me all day. Right. He chose to play at the cousin's.

So I made the parts run. Had a good time too. An iPod full of George Strait and Willie Nelson = a good road trip though central Texas, including right past Willie's birthplace in Abbott. Since I was leaving Dallas before 11:15, I decided that a 45 minute detour to Mom and Dad's was in order. Let them pay for my lunch, I always say...

My two other nephews were hanging out with Mom and Dad today. And the whole herd is headed to our house on Friday. So I kidnapped the 4 year old nephew and we headed back to Sis' house to get The Talker. It would be just two boys and an old man taking some 40 year old truck parts for a drive on a December afternoon...

Then things just get ridiculously stupid.

When I got ready to leave Sis' house, I loaded up her two kiddos, also. Now we are up to 4 kids and me in the car, WITHOUT the truck parts that started this whole deal. There wasn't enough room for the kids AND the parts, so I left the parts with Sis to be delivered on Friday.

By 6pm The 4 kids and I were meeting up with The Boss Lady and The Princess at a Burger King for dinner. So we dined in high style. All 7 of us. OK, one nephew didn't actually eat, but he never eats, so we weren't surprised about that...

Tonight we are having our first co-ed slumber party. 2 girls in one room, 3 boys in another. And they must have worn each other out. They were asleep in less than 20 minutes. OK, it took The Princess an hour to fall asleep, but that is pretty quick for her. And she only woke up Girl Cousin once in the process...

So Father of Five, my hat is off to you, man. You and other parents with big families are amazing. But besides that, I bet you all are smart enough not to pick up 4 extra kids while on a one day road trip.

Heck, even my friends with no kids are smart enough not to do that...


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Not the way to start Christmas Break

Back before this AtHomeDaddy gig, I worked as a supervisor at a public recreation center that served children, teens and adults who had physical and/or developmental disabilities. And I was pretty good at it. But after 10 years or so in that line of work, I was tired. Then The Talker came along and we started a new chapter in our book.

This past Friday and Saturday I was tied up with a visitation and funeral for a young woman who attended my programs back when I worked at the recreation center. I still keep in touch with a few of the people over there, and I get emails once in a while from my old boss. It seems that the last few times I have gotten an email from her, it was to notify me of bad things like this. Jokingly, I told her at the cemetery to lose my email address.

The Boss Lady and I chatted a little today about how tough it must be on parents, to have to bury a child. Ironically, we were discussing this on the way to witness my niece's baptism.

The young lady who would have turned 24 years old on the day she was buried. Her mom was handling things with a level of grace that I don't think I could ever achieve if I were in her situation.

Anyways, there is no real point to this entry. Just go hug 'em extra tight if you got 'em.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Holidaze are here

The Princess and I wrapped up school on Wednesday morning. The Talker finished up at 2:45 today. The Boss Lady was home by 4:45. Let the holidays begin.

Just in time too, the kids were working my last nerve today. So after I got bored with yelling/griping/begging/pleading/crying/wailing and gnashing my teeth in an effort to get them to calm down, we went trolling through the neighborhood, looking for friends. Which is what all parents do, right? Can't control them at home, then send 'em to the neighbors to play.

After playing (nicely) with the neighbors, we headed out to dinner. The heathen children returned right about the time our food hit the table. After we got home I disappeared for a few hours.

I could tell you what I was doing, but then you would know where to find me when I am hiding from my children. And YOU would tell them where I was. So you don't get to know.

They must have behaved once I left. Since the wife did not have them outside in the dark doing finger tip push-ups or jumping jacks. She was actually letting them sleep. Like a good mommy should. I never asked if Benedryl was served with the evening snack.. Because they look so peaceful when they sleep. Almost innocent.

Almost.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just for the record

I did not forget to pickup the girl. We even made it to the school 5 minutes early. Score 1 for dad.

The Talker was back at school yesterday. Thankfully in Kindergarten he did not have any work to make up.

The Princess and I are off to our last day of school today. Actually it is only a half day. We are done today at 11, instead of 1. Whoever heard of early release at pre-school? Whatever. I get paid to be there, so it isn't all bad.

And today, after work, the girl and I will go to what will surely be the source of many blog-tales for the future, the pre-school staff Christmas party. Yep, Mr. Mike is making an appearance at the staff party along with 25 female staff and 5 or six of their pre-school-aged children, who all happen to be girls. I will be the only dude in the place.

I figure might as well get a little more practice in. Being around that many women will help get me ready for Friday, when The Boss Lady starts her 2 1/2 weeks at home for Christmas Break. It usually takes us more than half of that time to get used to having both of us around the house.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just a day

The Talker is home from school. He has a nagging ear infection that just won't quit. So we are headed off to the Dr's office in a hour. On the way over I am dropping the Princess off at her school. I would keep her home today too, and miss the hassles of afternoon pickup. Which I am praying that I DO NOT FORGET. 12:45PM, must leave to get girl. Someone remind me...

Somewhere along the way I should remember that I am already sick, too. I have a cold that has kicked my butt all weekend long. It is possible to die from too much sneezing? I think I shot my cerebral cortex out though my left nostril yesterday.

If you are in the area, and want to be assailed by whatever super-bug has taken hold in our house, stop by. We will surely share our germs with you.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

High $ food and friends

Last night The Boss Lady and I went out to dinner. Without children. And I wore a tie.

Today I feel like crap. Not because we abandoned the children and ate like kings. I really enjoyed that part. But I think I am finally catching the cold that has gone around at The Princess' school.

Big fun since The Boss Lady's family, including cousins and their families are here today. 24 or so people hanging out at our house. All day. Long.

So I am hiding in the back of the house and away while my children terrorize their cousins. But from what I can hear, it seems to be pretty mutual.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Big Big Big Loader Big Big Big Fun

The Talker's toy construction set is still the most popular reason that people end up here. A while back a reader started hosting a PDF file of the instruction sheet that is still requested at least weekly. Before Tim hosted the file I bet I emailed out that file 10 times a month or more. Now I don't really know how many people end up finding those instructions.

Still, I get asked once in a while about replacement parts. eBay seems to be the only decent source. The big big big problem seems to be that the toy isn't made anymore. Anyways, since the little marbles are the most frequently lost pieces, I am always looking for suitable replacements. And I haven't really found anything that will work properly.

Until today.

Evidently there is a Thomas Big Loader toy that uses the same marbles. And Tomy still makes it. So the company sent me an order form to purchase replacement marbles for either set (10 marbles for $1.25, shipping included!)

If you need replacements, let me know. I'll email you the MSWord document/order form. Or email the company, they were prompt to get back to me via email.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All is normal in AtHomeDaddyLand

Rainy and cold and hot and dry then hot and rainy and now again it is getting cold. With changing from heat to AC twice a day, our HVAC system can't seem to keep up. And neither can I. I really want the weather to make up it's mind for a day or two.

Luckily we were dressed completely inappropriately when the girl had her first potty accident in 6 months or more. We were playing at the Austin Children's Museum and before she could react, the deed was done. Her clothes were soaked and we were without a change of clothes. Not even a spare set in the car...

When we left the house the girl was wearing long sleeves and pink cowboy boots along with her thickest, lavender coat. I wore my leather jacket over a couple of T-shirts under a brand new sweater. Gotta love the layered look.

This morning we dressed before we realized it was 75 degrees and 136% humid outside. Once downtown, we ditched our coats at the car, a few blocks from the museum. But I kept the stylish new cable knit sweater. Gotta love the looks you get walking around downtown in 80 degree weather with a sweater and a few other layers on...

Even though I wasn't really prepared for the coming disaster, the museum was. They keep plastic sacks in the restrooms, for such occasions. I'll have you know that my sweater kept my daughter from getting a ticket while streaking through downtown. I wrapped her up in my fabulous new gear and we headed home.

That was enough excitement for one day. Besides, I had to get that sweater in the laundry.

ASAP.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My brain is broken

No much to post about this week. I managed to barely keep the kids dressed and fed while playing around with a 4 day long migraine headache. Since Tuesday, all I wanted to do during the daylight hours was sleep. Not real simple with The Princess wanting to play Hi Ho Cherry-o. All. Day. Long.

Anyways, I finally started feeling better this evening. No sense in feeling wimpy for the weekend, right? So hopefully we will be up to some fun and frolic on Saturday, which happens to be the first Saturday in a couple of months without something on the family calendar. And a lazy Saturday around the house should beat any migraine, any day.

For the record, we have been to the new grocery store twice this week. It is really purty and it does not smell like old rotting fish.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"My life is now complete...

now that an HEB grocery store is open in my neighborhood".

I overheard a woman telling her friend that as we were cruising through the new neighborhood grocery store this evening.

Gauging by the fact that the store first opened for business at 6 this morning, and we were there at 7pm, AND the store was clean and the shelves were fully stocked, I think we have a new family grocery store.

No more driving 3 miles to the nearest HEB. Now we are just over a mile to the good stuff.

Other than that, life is good around here. The Princess' school was closed today thanks to a gas leak in the building. Which worked out OK for us, since I had a raging headache and was planning on ditching work anyways this morning. For the record, I did NOT cause the gas leak.

The weather was awesome today. The Princess and I celebrated this afternoon by getting the bike and trailer out for a cruise around the neighborhood with one of our neighbors and his 11 month old. Good times.

It is about time

Yesterday The Boss Lady came home a couple of hours early. So I jumped on the chance to get the outside Christmas lights strung on the front of the house. Though it is a wimpy display, compared to some of our previous year's decorating, I am declaring the outside now fully decorated.

I usually do this the day after Thanksgiving, but I guess something better came up. Since then I have not wanted to venture into the attic without having The Boss Lady around in case I fall to my death. to hand things back down to. I know she would not want to miss out on the chance to laugh at me breaking my neck. to help out.

While I was climbing around on the roof, The Princess was helping The Boss Lady. They rearranged the living room and set up the Christmas tree. Most of the decorations are now displayed inside. Still, I can't say that we finished getting ready for Christmas until all of the empty boxes are out of the living room. At this rate that might take a few weeks...

Friday, November 30, 2007

I hate to tell you this

because I don't want the secret place to get too crowded...

But thanks to (Almost) New Dad, who lives down the street, we have discovered Dublin Dr Pepper AT A SODA FOUNTAIN. And this magical place is only 5 minutes from the house.

And they had the soda mixed properly, too. And they serve pizza. And ice cream. And they have chocolate syrup for your ice cream. And free muffins. And they have lots of stores in Atlanta.

Heck, they would not even care if you put ice cream on the free muffins. Well, they MIGHT care if you do that in Atlanta...

Anyways, I only know for sure that they serve Dublin Dr Pepper at the Jason's Deli by my house. If anyone sees it at other stores I may be willing to pay a finder's fee.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Football!

So tonight is the much discussed and hyped Dallas Cowboys vs Green Bay football game. Too bad that most of Austin can't watch the game, thanks to the standoff between Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network.

Truthfully I don't care that much about NFL football. I'll watch if nothing else is on. And if the Texans or the Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl, then I'll watch. Otherwise, whatever...

But I DO really dislike Time Warner Cable. Thanks to the fact that they kept my yard torn up for months on end. So imagine my delight when I realized last night that our crappy old basic satellite system includes the NFL Network. Evidently we have had the network for a while, I just never cared to check...

So while my neighbors who are served by TW's cable system are cruising to the sports bar to watch the game tonight, I'll be sitting in the big blue chair in my own living room. And I'll probably watching something else.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I might be hallucinating but
all your cartoons are belong to us

And I swear I just heard Pablo on the Backyardigans drop some dope internet lingo. The writers adapted the line for the context of the show, where 2 of the Backyardigans were acting as gold prospectors and two others were playing like they were paleontologists.

Back to the line in question... Pablo, just thew down either "All you GOLD are belong to us..." or "All your BONES are belong to us..." in the background of a chaotic scene where the two groups meet up.

I could not tell exactly what he said and without TiVo, I'll just have to sit around for days on end waiting for a replay of that episode. Good thing I don't have a job to get in the way of my quest.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Too cold for family traditions

Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we go to the Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade. Our kids put a lot of thought into the toys they select for their give away. Anyways, we skipped this year.

True, it WAS only 40 degrees out there, but it was raining, too. Plus, NONE of us are currently sick. And that is a family tradition that I want to continue as long as possible. We watched the parade on TV and we will stop over at Chuy's which just so happens to be our favorite place to eat, including our own kitchen, and drop off our toys.

From the news coverage of the parade it looks like everyone in town took the easy way out,like us. The parade attendance was sparse, therefore the number of collected toys is really low. The crews are gathering toys at locations and events all over town. But now they are worried that they will not have enough toys to meet the needs all over the area. So that is where we come in.

The kids are going to be digging into their piggy banks this afternoon to see what other toys we can give. And I am hoping that if you are around Austin, you'll drop a toy or two in one of the collection bins around town, too.

Not in town? Go find a group collecting toys in your area and have the kiddos give a toy they selected. It makes for a great family tradition.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am thankful for the other 9 toes
and hundred year old chairs

I should have just slept late this morning. OK, the truth is I still slept later than The Boss Lady by an hour or so, but it wasn't late enough.

As I walked into the living room this morning, I slammed my pinky toe into the the blue chair in the living room. You know, the REALLY old and HEAVY blue chair that I like to sit in while I watch TV? Yep. It caused me pain, after all of the good times the blue chair and I have shared.

Pinky toe, broken.

I am not hassling with a trip to the ER for this. If it is killing me over the weekend, I'll hit up my doc's on Monday. Until then I'll be sitting in the blue chair waiting for it to apologize.

Otherwise, the day was a great success. Family reunion with Dad's fam at lunch and hanging out at our house all afternoon with Mom, Dad, my siblings and their families. We ate. We BSed. We ate. We watched the Cowboys. Then we changed things up and we did a little bit of BSing before we ate again.

Good times.


Edit: Just for the record, my mother never complained about the goatee. I guess It'll have to hang around until Christmas to see if she loves it then...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Guy's night out

The Boss Lady and The Princess headed down to Pop's place this morning. They are spending the night and heading home in the morning.

This afternoon, the boy and I cruised the neighborhood and met up with loads of neighbors to play for a couple of hours before dark. One it was too late to play outside, we headed to dinner. I left the location up to him and the boy picked well. We ended up at Texas Roadhouse.

While we were eating, The Talker looked at me and said "Dad, this is cool. Just you and me eating out. I like it." Nothing real profound, but it did make me realize that this is the first time The Talker and I have been out to dinner together, by ourselves since... Well, I am not sure it has ever happened.

But I bet it will happen again.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yesterday

I stubbed my big toe and I made a pot roast. Turns out that my toe still hurts and I can make one killer pot roast!

Can't talk anymore. Eating leftovers for breakfast.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Too much information?


The Princess wanted to play Hi Ho Cherry-O this morning. But I could not find the rules once got the board all set up. So I googled for the rules and found this site. Someone at Brigham Young really cares a little too much about Hi Ho Cherry-O, methinks.

But I am not complaining, they did have all of the rules listed on a secondary page, AND they have done the same type of analysis on Chutes and Ladders.

So to our neighbors who sent a kid to BYU, I say thanks for supporting higher (and lower) education.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm just sayin'

I have read a couple of dad-blogs lately that have been discussing how BORING dad-blogs are. I am not providing links, because I don't really remember where I was when I read it, or how I got there. It wasn't any of my usually-read blogs.

Anyways, if you find the mindless drivel here boring, then OK. That is fine.

One of the biggest reasons that I started blogging about the kids was so that The Mother of the Bride and The Queen Mother could keep up with the daily events in the kid's lives. And I just DARE you to tell the grandma's that their grandkids are boring.

One of those chicks has a bionic knee and she will kick you into next week for talking bad about her favorite grands. The other lady will hit you with her cane for disparaging the two best looking of her brood. I'll leave it up to you to decide which of the grandmas will do the most damage.

Now on with the drivel and drek:


The Talker is out of school today. The Princess has school. So the boy and I will be hanging out at the pre-school today. (A big YEE-HAW for getting paid to hang out with my kids!) It looks like we will be playing with the smallest kids there for a while and then hanging out with Joe McDermott for a school wide concert later in the morning. Big fun today.

Sorry if we bore you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Time to put my boots out to pasture

It is time. I can't avoid it anymore. They are threadbare and the leather is cracking. The soles are shot again and after I wear them, my toes hurt. So I have to retire my cowboy boots.

Some guys wear fancy dress shoes. I wear cowboy boots. Suits, slacks, blue jeans. whatever. I do not own a pair of loafers or wingtips. Instead I have black cowboy boots. And I have worn them for a long time.

I can't even guess how many times these boots have been re-soled. Over the years I am sure that we have spent more on sole repair than we spent on the boots brand new. But I just like them soooooo much.

Besides that, these boots and I have been through a lot of good times together. I bought them to wear when The Boss Lady and I got married a dozen years ago. All that talk about it being the bride's special day was almost overshadowed, because with my black double breasted suit, these boots and I looked GOOD!

A side note, I should have looked good that day. Somewhere along the way we got off track with our wedding spending. we ended up spending more on my suit and boots than on the bride's dress. The suit quit fitting me about 40 pounds ago, and the wedding dress just hangs in the back of the closet. But the boots have stuck with me all these years.

I am not 100% certain, but I bet I was wearing them when we signed the papers to buy our first house. Since we bought in May, I might have been wearing shorts that day. And I usually don't wear the cowboy boots with shorts. That's what my brown boots are for...

I do know that I have worn them at the hospital when each of the children was born. Of course, I wore the same shirt both times, too. And you might not think that black cowboy boots and a shirt plastered with Sugar Daddy candy wrapper logos would match up, but it is a good look for me.

This will most likely be the first year in 13 that I haven't worn my black boots to our Thanksgiving family reunion. That, my friends, is a lot of turkey and dressing lunches, chicken stew dinners and Cowboys football in between.

So after payday, I guess I'll be headed to the cowboy boot store. And maybe another pair of black boots will be coming home to stay for a while, But these old boots are going to stay up on the closet shelf. Because someday the Sugar Daddy shirt, these old boots and I might have to head back to the hospital again.

Or maybe I'll just wear them to Thanksgiving dinner one last time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Did so...

A photo-documented follow up to HH5's comment.


Friday, November 09, 2007

A riddle for you

What is 3.5 years old, partially blond-headed and banished for life from her arts and crafts project scissors?



Too bad we actually spent $20 on her hair cut less than a month ago...

Monday, November 05, 2007

SSDD (Same Store, Different Day)

Last Tuesday I whined on ADHDaddy about our soon to be ex-regular grocery store. Turns out Mondays aren't any better around there. This time I did manage to contain the damage. We only loaded up on the essentials, Q-tips, 'nanners and breakfast cereal. The extra stuff did not find it's way to our basket, so I did not have to make a protest pile today.

But I did stop the store manager on the way out. I told her that we would have to make a stop at another store to really stock up on groceries for this week. I am not willing to fight the piles of empty boxes and stacks of stuff waiting for shelf space that is piled everywhere. I also let her know that this was the second week in a row that this has happened. I guessed that during these 2 trips her store lost out on at least $75 of 'extras' that we would have bought but can live without.

She promised to "look into it". But she also wanted me to know that the stockers were finished up early every day last week, including Tuesday. I did not tell her that I knew differently since one of those guys spent at least 30 minutes putting back all of the crap that I piled in the middle of the canned veggie aisle...

Anyways, a new, closer-to-the-house store is supposed to open in late November or early December. And I am ready for the move, even though I this store has provided lots of entertainment over the years...

An Open Letter to the lady at the grocery store (From Jan, 06)
Fun and Frolic on Aisle 5 (From Aug, 04)

Of course, over the years it hasn't all been roses. There is a reason our prescriptions come from Costco, now (From Aug, 04)

Quantity time is over-rated

I am thinking about just skipping the whole time change next year. And maybe every year until the kids are grown AND out of my house.

You see, time change sucks. It was dark at like 3 in the afternoon yesterday. The Princess wasn't tired at bedtime, so it was a fall back to the old standard hour ordeal to get her to sleep. Lately we have gotten pre-sleep negotiation time down to 20-25 minutes per night. Or to put it another way, we have been THRILLED to ONLY spend 2 1/2 hours a week putting the sleep monster to bed.

But now the farmers come along and screw up the kid's sleep schedule. To heck with the corn crop, I need this kid to sleep. And I need her to stay asleep once she is there.

This morning The Princess bounds out of bed at 6:11, wanting me to peel an apple, to eat powdered -sugar donuts and to paint with water colors. First of all, we have no donuts. Secondly, do you really want to give a guy like me a knife at 6:12 in the morning? And point C is...

Well, I don't have a point C. If I had gotten to sleep worth a dang, I might be able to bring up point C...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Must be November


Every year I TRY to grow some good looking facial hair sometime after Halloween. It always ends up looking like ass. So every year I shave it off before Thanksgiving.This year is no exception. The goatee is taking shape.

But maybe this year I'll keep it until New Years, just to annoy mom. I'll see her 3 or 4 more times this year and there are only so many things I can do that really get under her skin... Plus, it is already too cold to shave my head again this year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Introductions all around

If you see Luke Skywalker, Jedi and Princess Leia
out on Halloween night, remember their Daddy likes chocolate.
Milk Chocolate. Dark Chocolate is for losers.


Also dear readers, let me introduce you to Mr. Fluffy Kisses and Jo. The Boss Lady bought the pumpkins and I helped with the carving but the whole pumpkin naming thing? That was ALL the kids.

Neither of us are creative and/or stoned enough to come up with pumpkin names like that...

Jo on the left, Mr Fluffy Kisses on the right.




Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why I needs me some wedding ring

Yesterday we replaced my lost wedding ring. Several people commented about not needing a ring to signify the marriage. And though that is true, not wearing a wedding ring just does not work for me. I had just about rubbed a raw spot on my ring finger where my old ring used to rest.

When we got married, we had the pastor stop the wedding and we brought the kids down front to the altar/stage. The pastor then did a children's sermon about the importance of marriage vows and the special significance of wedding rings. The only picture displayed in our house from the wedding is of that moment, with the kids all sitting near the bride, looking up at her in awe. In that moment I realized that I was lucky enough to to get to wear my about-to-be-wife's ring.

Add to that the time my wedding ring kept me from breaking a finger. I was moving a washing machine into our first apartment. I got my hand stuck between the washer and the wall. And though many guys have lost fingers due to catching a wedding band on something, I still think the ring kept me from breaking my finger. Almost instantly my knuckle swelled several times it's normal size and my ring would not slide over it for a month or more. So it was stuck in place. Until I finally got it re-sized last fall, it was a tight fit over that knuckle.

True, if I hadn't been wearing it, maybe my knuckle might not have swollen and stayed sore to this day. Maybe though,it really is metaphor for our marriage. Sometimes the things that are right take some effort and it might hurt a little.

Or maybe it should just be a reminder for me to take off my wedding band before moving heavy appliances. Either way, I like the new one and I still know that I am lucky to be wearing it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

$13 a year for wedding ring rental and maintenance?

isn't too bad is it?

I figure it this way, A dozen years ago, The Boss Lady To Be and I spent a whopping $88 on my wedding band. I wore it continuously for somewhere near 12 years and 5 weeks. I only took it off for a few days last year and we spent less and $20 to get it re-sized. Seems like some skinny guy used to wear it. And the fat guy wearing my skin did not like the ring cutting off his circulation...

Today I replaced the missing ring with a new silver band from James Avery.

The only other jewelry I ever wear is a silver acorn pendant that I have had since college. It came from the same store, so it should be a good match for my new $50 band.

All told, The Boss Lady is into my rings about $160. And considering that it is ME she is keeping, some might say it is money well spent. And all the rest of you guys can just be quiet.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Irony or escape clause?

The Boss Lady might be off the hook. After a dozen years, she might be a free woman again. I have lost my wedding ring.

You see, I am certainly a Jedi level mis-placer of things, so it it kind of hard to believe, but this might be the first time that I lost my ring. Probably because I never take it off.

Anyways, the ironic part is that I noticed my ring missing while we were playing at the park this morning. Right after I found a nice silver ring and I had asked all of the moms in the park if they had lost that ring.

I was trying to decide if I should leave the silver ring on the bulletin board, or leave a note and see if the owner calls in a few days. I decided to leave the note since I was sure the silver ring would disappear from the park memo board in short order.

As I was looking in my car for a pen, I noticed my ring was gone. Since I have been in 6 states in the past week, I am thinking that unless it is in the wife's car, it would be a miracle to find my wedding ring now.

Now it is tough decision time for The Boss Lady. Buy another $100 ring for AtHomeDaddy, or just put a stop to the madness and make a clean break...

Giving in to the lazy

The Talker has asked to be dropped off at school, instead of having to suffer the highest of kindergarten indignities, being walked to class by dad. And little sister. Oh the shame.

The school has a drop off line. The 5th grade Safety Patrol help open the car doors and wish each student a welcome to school and then remind parents to drive slowly on campus. I guess it is a good system. But I am worried about using the drop off lane on a regular basis.

Not because The Talker can't handle walking from the driveway to his class. His is the third class inside the building. By now he could find it while sleep walking. I know I have...

And that is the point. When I walk the boy to class, I have to be dressed and I must to have gotten the girl dressed, too. But I bet I could get through the drop off lane in my pajamas.

Even on the days we walk in, I don't worry too much about how I look, what is the dress code for work as a stay at home dad, anyways,but I do give in to peer pressure and try to have The Princess dressed and her hair brushed out.

Now that The Talker wants to use the lazy-dad's lane, I bet The Princess and I are heading to school in 'jamas and without even thinking about a hair brush by the end of next week. Three days a week we have to get dressed for her school, but not until after we get home from elementary school drop-off.

So thanks to the boy having a great idea and letting me further my lazy dad image in the neighborhood.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Trip Recap #1

I was going to work up a nice long post with excruciating detail about my road trip and camping trip in Alabama and Tennessee but now I think I'll break it up into smaller posts. Check back in a few days for the rest of the story.

I left town last Wednesday morning to head out on my road trip to Northern Alabama. Nothing too exciting happened on the road. The windshield got hit with a boulder and has two nice divots out of it now, but it never cracked. Since I was in The Boss Lady's car, so it is her problem, now!

After driving from 8 am until 9:30 pm, I stopped for the night in Meridian, Mississippi. Back on the road at about 7 am Thursday morning, it was raining like heck and the clouds were REALLY dark. Once I arrived in Huntsville, I found out that I spent most of the day driving in a tornado watch zone. THAT explains the really nasty looking clouds...

While I was cruising through Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, I kept a list of the roadkill I saw. Looks like deer are a lot smarterer than raccoons, not nearly as many of those guys on the roadside. Maybe in my next post I'll give you the full body count.

Once I hit Huntsville, Alabama I cruised around town for a while. I thought I was waiting on Rick to finish up work for the day or for Terry to arrive in town. But she was already in town and he happened to be right down the street buying the last of his camping supplies. Once we all caught up at Rick's house, the fun started pretty quickly, with Maria hanging out in the driveway with us for a few hours.

As far as the rest of the weekend, you can just use your imagination. Actually, your imagination might not be crude enough. So use my imagination to see what we did, OK?

Or you can just wait around I'll get to it sooner or later. Unless your name is George Dickel. 'Cause you aren't invited to the rest of this party, so take a flying leap, old man.

Home again!

Vile, unspeakable, awful things happened in the Tennessee woods.

I'll tell you all about it later.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Made it to Alabama

No real excitement from the road except one rock-dinged windshield, one stepped on cigar, a pair of crappy sunglasses that flew out the sunroof and lots of rain.

So much rain that Maria stayed in the car the entire trip, so I have no good pictures of her to share. Yet.

Hanging out for a while until Rick gets finished up at work, then the fun will begin for real.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gone like last yesterday's wind

I am hitting the road in about 45 minutes for my drive out to Alabama to go camping with Rick and his gang. I need to be almost 900 miles away by 4pm tomorrow. Tonight I snooze somewhere between here and Meridian, Mississippi.

Taking the DS Lite with me just in case I decide to check in from the road. But if I don't then I'll post up again on Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Blog ya' later, skater.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pack this!

I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but repetition never stopped me from telling a story...

The most useful job I ever had was loading freight into the belly of airplanes. Sad, isn't it.

Anyways, loading the plane was pretty straightforward. Take the boxes and make them all fit into the plane. The trick? Trying to fit square and rectangle boxes into a space with no flat surfaces. The plane walls and floor curve. Something about aerodynamics... So you have to get creative in how you stack everything in there.

And why does this skill I learned 17 years ago help in my present day life? Because who else do you know that could pack everything needed for an almost week long road trip into the trunk of a VW Beetle? There is even space to spare, without having anything in the passenger compartment. I am the pack master. BOW TO ME!


Heck, I was able to load everything so efficiently, that I decided I had room for a co-pilot. Yeah buddy! Maria will be making this trip, too.

I have been unintentionally hoarding Maria for a while. I just haven't had a good chance to pass her back off to The Law Talking Guy since he hid her in our shower while we were gone on a weekend trip. So instead of leaving her in his yard, Maria will be making some emailed appearances at his house (and maybe his office) first. I bet he would love to have a picture of Maria crossing the Mississippi river for his wallpaper.

RSS feed? Maybe!?!

I don't use RSS or Atom feeds when I read blogs. So I had never even looked at the settings for blogger's site feeds. Anyways, after a reader asked about RSS feeds, I went over to feedburner and burned a feed.

I think it is set up properly. But I am not sure. If anyone is having trouble using feeds on this blog, let me know and I'll just give up and put things back the way they were...

Anyways, want the feed link? Here you go,

http://feeds.feedburner.com/athomedaddy

Monday, October 15, 2007

I need a vacation from all this time off

The Talker was sick and home from school Friday. We all stayed home from church this weekend. Now The Princess is home sick today. So I have missed two work days in a row.

Add to that I will be missing work Wednesday, Friday and next Monday since I'll be heading out to 'Bama in two days. 5 days of missing work in a row! Almost two work weeks. And that adds to a good thing we don't have to live on my income.

Anyways, the girl and I are going to try to defeat the last of this evil fever today. If she turns our like big brother, she will be feeling fine by lunch time and bored by 2:30. Which is all well and good because I don't want to get stopped at the Alabama border for bringing a third world contagious disease with me.

Sunday I packed up my backpacking gear. All I need to do is pack up all of my food and my share of the group gear, and I am good to go. But I still need to pack my clothes for the days on the road and pick up a new set of cheap sunglasses. After all, I am planning to make good use of that sunroof this trip.

The final sign that the road is calling, I sat down just a few minutes ago and loaded up the MP3 player. Looks like it will be another Texas music road trip, with Bob Schneider, Edie Brickell, Guy Clark, Albert Collins, Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett leading the charge. But don't worry since Billy Joel, Alan Jackson and Tracy Chapman all made the cut, too. And I don't think any of them are from Texas. Heck, even U2 and the Cowboy Junkies are present, so I have the international music scene pretty well covered, too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gambling with another guy's coupons

I had a big time flashback to my childhood this morning.

When I was sick and missed school, which was rare, we would go to the Dr's office. Then we would hit Hilley's Pharmacy for whatever was ailing me. THEN, and only if the Dr decided that there was real sickness AND mom had heard a minimum amount of whining, we would get to go to Mott's 5 and Dime.

One of my favorite things at Mott's was the mystery grab bag. $.25 or maybe $.50 for a little brown paper sack that was stapled shut. Sometimes a small toy, sometimes candy. Seldom worth the price. But always awesome! If I remember correctly, they even had specific boy and girl bags...

Flashing back to before my flashback to my own childhood...

The Talker and I headed down to the Pediatrician's office because of his nasty sounding cough. Grabbed a 'scrip for some antibiotics and we headed out. No shots. No hassles.

After that we went over to Toys 'R Us and planned to cash in a coupon for a free Hot Wheel. The Talker took .0000043 seconds to find the car he wanted. A Brown Buick!?! Hey, at least it is a Grand National. WITH a pop up hood, thank you very muchly.

As we were wandering to another part of the store, I noticed the Hot Wheels Mystery Car. Hanging there with all of the cool palm sized hot rods. Just calling our names.


Notice, the plastic is black, so you can't see the car. Thus the gamble.
It might be a crappy car or worse, one you already have.

The Talker latched on to the idea of picking up a mystery car to go WITH his freebie Buick. It was great fun listening to him guess what kind of car might be inside. His best guess, "a golded hot rod with green windows and a big ol' motor sticking out". And even though it wasn't that one, the gamble paid off. The boy got a cool car out of the mystery box.

A rocking early model VW Bug Convertible

With the coupon, we spent $1.07. At Toys R Us. Walked out of there with more than $18 in change from a $20 dollar bill. So I think that makes us the biggest winners of the day!

Now we are moving on to convert the living room rug into Pirate Lands. So we be seeing you buccaneers later. Arg!

Chillin' like villians listening to Bob Dylans

He lasted longer than I thought he would. It took more than a month, but The Talker finally succumbed to the germ-fest that is elementary school. The Princess went to work with The Boss Lady this morning, so he and I are hanging at home, fighting off the remnants of a fever.

My goal for the day is simple. Not TOO much Play Station 2 time for The Talker. After all, he is sick and he needs to save his energy. For watching TV. And napping.

What else are you supposed to when you are a 5 year old with a fever? Seriously. I have no idea what to do with a sick school-aged kid. I even had to ask The Boss Lady if I should call the school. Turns out that I should have, but she already had done it...

So The Talker and I are headed for Star Wars/Lego Land/Cars the Movie Zone (AKA his bedroom). I guess we will start playing in there and see what happens later.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Some of the greatest things started as accidents...

Discovery Channel's Top 10 Accidental Discoveries.

Number 11 should be my double post from yesterday. I have no idea why it posted twice, but it may have just been destiny for you guys to get a double dose. Hope you loved it . Twice.

Just in case you missed it, or skipped it twice, here we go again...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I think I am allergic to these people

Allergy season is in full force here. Everything, including the wife and kids, seems to make me sneeze at this time of year. Add to that, The Boss Lady came home with Pink Eye last week and everything is turning up roses. Damned pollen producing roses that make people sneeze...

Tomorrow is The Talker's first school field trip. So this morning on the way into school he wanted me to teach him the Best Day Ever song from SpongeBob. I only knew one line, so once the girl and I got home, I found it on YouTube. Now I'll be singing this wonderful little tune all day long.



Hope it gets stuck in your heads, too.

As far as the rest of the stuff, the wife may or may not be contagious. But she ain't pregnant. Yeah for pink eye. The dog may die if it turns out he dug up my little tree on the patio and the kids are doing fine.

All because they don't have goopy eyes and they were asleep when the tree was slaughtered.

And the biggest news of the weekend, The Talker and I figured out how to do backflips off of jumps on Tony Hawk's Project 8. After hours of virtual flipping, Our thumbs are a little tired and we now have vertigo.

So it may indeed be the Best Day EVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!
Everybody sing along...

I think I am allergic to these people

Allergy season is in full force here. Everything, including the wife and kids, seems to make me sneeze at this time of year. Add to that, The Boss Lady came home with Pink Eye last week and everything is turning up roses. Damned pollen producing roses that make people sneeze...

Tomorrow is The Talker's first school field trip. So this morning on the way into school he wanted me to teach him the Best Day Ever song from SpongeBob. I only knew one line, so once the girl and I got home, I found it on YouTube. Now I'll be singing this wonderful little tune all day long.



Hope it gets stuck in your heads, too.

As far as the rest of the stuff, the wife may or may not be contagious. But she ain't pregnant. Yeah for pink eye. The dog may die if it turns out he dug up my little tree on the patio and the kids are doing fine.

All because they don't have goopy eyes and they were asleep when the tree was slaughtered. So it may indeed be the Best Day EVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!

Everybody sing along...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What better place is there for Jedi training

than jumping around on rusty truck parts in the backyard? Here are a couple of quick videos I shot while the boy was entertaining himself in the backyard. At first I thought he was Kung Fu Fighting, since that is his new favorite song.

Anyways these are grainy since I was hiding in the house and shooting through the windows and solar screens...



Friday, October 05, 2007

F this!

Today is The Princess' Show and Tell Day. And I think I'll blame my horrendous night's sleep on our inability to settle on an item that fully represents the letter F.

Since there are 8 other girls in the class, we skipped over the easiest choice, a flower from the yard. I also decided against sending the girl with a baggie full of flour. No need to be investigated by Child Protective Services today. Fart in a jar also didn't make the cut.

See what happens when I work on too little sleep?

So our final choices? Flanders or a flashlight. I'll leave it to you to decide which one actually made the trip to school.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Go White Boy! Go White Boy! GO!

We get to see sweet dance moves like this every time The Talker hears a good beat!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Is that your dad?

This is a question that The Princess hears every school day. Some kid will see me outside with a group of kids and will jump in to ask. Since I am working at the school, the kids see a lot of me, but not always with The Princess at my side.

Tomorrow The Talker will start hearing that more often, I bet. I will be spending the morning helping out with some landscaping right outside his kindergarten class. So the boy is bound to notice The Princess and I hanging around the kindergarten wildflower area. Why oh why don't they just call it the KINDER-GARDEN?

How did I get rooked into this? It is all about Marge. They want Marge to be up there to help haul brush and trash to the dumpsters across campus. And never wanting to miss on a chance to show off Marge, I agreed to help out.

Also, next week I am planning to help chaperone the first field trip of the year. Since I don't have to plan the trip or organize the transportation, I have no idea where we are headed. But I bet we will have fun while we are there.

And in other family news, the dog is still alive, the wife isn't pregnant and the cars are not in the shop. I think that about covers it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Since I know you care

The VW was back home before noon. New thermostat and oil change. All is well and the $ damage could have been worse. It was one time when I was glad to hear the wife say "Was that all?"

Nothing else exciting going on today. Watched a bunch of college football games. Yeah for the home chain gang!

Church and mowing the yard on Sunday.

Aren't we fun?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Marge to the popsicle rescue

This morning, after dropping the boy off at school I needed to get the VW to the repair shop. I wasn't too worried about overheating anything this morning, since the school is about 2 1/2 miles form the house and the shop is about half a mile back towards the house from there.

The only glitch in getting to the shop ASAP was that I needed to stop in the school cafeteria and add some money to The Talker's lunch account, since he decided at the last minute that he wanted to buy lunch today. I am fairly certain that the deciding factor was not the Cheesy Lasagna, but it was the realization that he could buy a rainbow popsicle if he went through the hot lunch line. A boy after my own heart...

Of course, in the rush to get the car to the shop, I forgot to walk into the cafeteria. Even though I walked right by there twice during morning drop-off.

Once the repair shop shuttled us home, I realized that I did not want to be responsible for the boy missing out on his popsicle due to not having enough fundage in his lunch account. And I just could not figure out a way to blame it on the mommy, so The Princess and I hopped in Marge to go back and make the deposit. Now the boy will be able to chow down on a rainbow popsicle at lunch.

Having an extra car rocks! Especially if it is as cool as Marge!

In case you are new here, Marge is our 40 year old Chevy truck. You can read more about her over at TruckinDaddy.


Anyways, on the way back home we decided that our popsicle rescue mission should be rewarded. So the girl and I cruised by Krispy Kreme. Good stuff! Thanks to Marge!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Terry wished it on me...

The Boss Lady came home early this afternoon. She wasn't feeling great, so I abandoned her. Oh be nice, I left her in a quiet house so she could take a nap. Even hooked up The Princess with a movie before I left.

I headed down to the window tint shop to get Itty Bitty, AKA The Rolling Solarium all dressed up. Tinted windows are the only way to cruise in Texas, where summer can run for 8 or 10 months a year, but not always consecutively. The shop got the windows done pretty quickly, so I stopped by the old office for a few minutes on the way home. Maybe that is where the bad stuff happened. I gotta remember to stay away from there...

Anyways, on the way over to the old workplace, the car's AC did not seem to be keeping up. But it was almost 100 this afternoon, so I did not think too much about it. And as soon as I headed home, the engine temperature shot way up. By the time I got home I was starting to overheat, since I couldn't run the AC or roll down the windows, thanks to the newly tinted windows that need 3 days to dry out before being rolled down. The car was also starting to overheat.

I checked all of the obvious stuff and topped off the anti-freeze once the engine cooled down. On a quick test drive around the neighborhood, Itty Bitty started to over heat in just a couple of miles.

In the morning the VW is headed to the shop. Here's hoping it is something simple. But I'd settle for cheap. And please god, don't let them roll the freaking windows down and ruin the new tint job.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It is like getting the first door ding on my new car...

I know it will happen eventually, but that does not mean I won't throw a hissy-fit when it happens.

We beat the school bell again this morning. The Talker's perfect attendance streak carries on for another day. 0 absences, 0 tardies. And all because we pulled off the trifecta this morning to keep that tradition alive. YES, you may bask in the glory that is me.

Did my alarm clock go off on time? Yep. Did I fall back asleep for an extra 25 minutes, WITHOUT the help of a snooze alarm? You betcha.

Luckily The Talker woke up on time. And when I realized that we were starting out 25 minutes in the hole, he got dressed in 8 seconds flat. Which is about 3 seconds quicker than usual...

Likewise, The Princess hopped up and started getting dressed quickly. Which is sort of hit or miss most days. She was done in about 2 minutes and both were sitting at the table eating breakfast within 5 minutes of my wake up. Score one for the home team!

Wednesdays are trash day. So I usually set everything out Tuesday evening. But last night was the season premiere of Law and Order, SVU. So The Boss Lady and I watched TV. Remember that excuse, it will come in handy later...

Our trash trucks can come around starting at the crack of 6:30 AM. So I was hoping I had not missed the trucks this morning. But just to keep things interesting, our trash pick up guys can run until 5pm. So waiting to set out the trash is like playing the junk-lottery. You might win and catch a late pick up OR you might get to keep your crap for another week.

So I stopped everything for 5 minutes and ran back and forth to the curb, trying to make sure everything is placed properly, so that the trash gods will accept my weekly offering.

The Talker started quizzing me about lunches. As we were heading to the car. CRAP! I knew his backpack looked small. The Boss Lady packs lunches the night before. So we can blame that on Law and Order, also.

So now that everything is off and running like normal around here, The Princess and I are off to her school. Don't you just love mornings like this?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

21 days to lift off

I started packing last weekend for my mid-October trip out to Alabama. Last year's trip was exciting and entertaining, so I decided it was worth the 1200 mile drive again.

I could have bought round trip airline tix for about $350 last month but the drive is one of the nice benefits. If I fly, then I shorten the trip by two days. This way I have to leave on Wednesday afternoon to get to Alabama by Thursday night. Besides, 32 hours in the car WITHOUT radio Disney is sounding pretty good right now.

Last week I started getting the VW ready for the drive. The new shocks and mounts will make the ride much less noisy and hopefully a lot smoother. I am hoping to get the windows tinted before I roll out. But I guess we will have to see what The Boss Lady and her new family budget says about that...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mow it yerself!

Down on the far end of our street there is a vacant lot. Since the lot has been deemed 'unbuildable' by the county it is not usable for home construction. The neighborhood developer quit paying taxes on it years ago. And he never kept it mowed. Which is generally fine.

The lot gives the deer somewhere to rest and they have direct access to creek and greenbelt. But lately I have been letting The Princess and The Talker hold onto the dog's leash while we are walking. The Big White Dog is not the best behaved dog on a leash. Let's just say he is easily distracted. Anything that should be chased WILL be chased. He will yank the leash holder down the street while he is running away. So when the kids are holding the leash I am always within arms reach of the dog.

One day last week The Princess was holding the leash when we walked past the vacant lot. The dog dang near stepped on a fawn who was sleeping in the high grass next to the sidewalk. Everyone involved was surprised. Most of all the deer.

Yesterday I went down and mowed the lot. Actually I only mowed part of the vacant lot. I don't want to take away the deer's rest stop, so I only mowed about an 8 foot strip beside the sidewalk. Plenty of tall grass left for loafing deer.

All in all it was a lot of work just to keep my dog from dragging my daughter down the street. But it was still cheaper than obedience lessons for either of them.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nice neighborhood

Our neighborhood is a nice place. The ten or so houses on our street are all smallish with decent sized yards. They were some of the last houses built in a local building boom back in 1982. Actually, they are nothing really exceptional. Just 25 year old tract homes. Still it is a nice place to live.

An example from yesterday. One of our neighbors called. She was needing someone to watch her baby while she took big sister to the doctor. Since they were in a hurry to the doc's office, I ran over and got the baby.

But I am out of practice with diaper bags and I forgot to bring the baby's home with us. I realized the error of my ways as soon as we got back to our house. I was going to grab one of the Princess' pull ups and try to make due with it when I decided to send The Talker across the street.

The kids trekked over to borrow a couple of diapers from another neighbor. They have a daughter who is a little older than the 'borrowed baby' but she is surely closer in diaper size than The Princess and her size 5 pull ups. Once the diapers were delivered, we all had a great time playing with the neighbor baby.

So anyways, yesterday afternoon just reinforced how much I like our 'hood. We have really nice people around here. It is a good place. Borrowed babies, begged diapers and all.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Not much about nothing

I got nothing.

Too busy to find something to blog about.

And that sucks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It took 3 dads, two cars, 3 trips to the dealership and 4 parts store runs

But The Boss Lady's VW is back, baby!

Racecar Man walked me though the repair last weekend. Turned out that the car had a bad rear shock mount. I figured if one was bad, they both would be bad soon. So I ordered them. And since I was working back there, might as well install some new shocks. Since you are supposed to replace the bolts needed in this repair, I decided to pick them up at the dealership. $125 for parts is still a lot better than whatever the shop would have charged.

Last night I got all of the tools together to get the job done quickly. I had to raid Racecar Man's stash and make a quick run to the tool store. But everything was waiting for us when we got back with the last of the parts.

New shock mounts arrived at the parts store this morning. I was there at 8:17am to bring our treasure home. The broken side was buttoned up by 9:20. Since the repair had gone easily, I decided to swap out the other side, too. By 9:45 The Princess and I were cruising around the neighborhood with both new rear shocks installed and no creaking or groaning noises coming from the car. Yeah for us!

I was feeling so good about finishing the job with no complications, other than waiting on parts for days on end..., that I figured we would give the Bug the once over and a good cleaning.

Can you feel the sense of dread and impending doom?


Anyways, I topped off the windshield washer fluid without incident. Then I checked the oil.

That is when all hell broke loose. Or at least I thought it had for a few minutes. Turns out was just the plastic oil fill tube shattering into a million pieces. At least one of which fell right into the oil pan. I watched slide down it in that cool but totally helpless sports/horror movie zoomed in slow motion view.

A quick call to Other Dad and I borrowed his car for a ride back to the dealership. Sure, I could have driven the truck, but The Princess is home today and I did not want both of us stranded across town if it broke down. While I was there one of the mechanics assured me that any piece should be caught by the oil pump screen and will hopefully drain out with the next oil change.

Yep. He said "should" and "will hopefully". And those are the two words I am taking to the bank.

Anyways, we got home, installed the new $8 oil fill tube and after I read the same advice on a VW net forum, we cranked Itty Bitty up and went for a ride. So far, no blown engine. Let's hope that trend continues until I can get the oil changed later this week.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gut check

I am in the middle of one of those times where I get nothing useful done around here. I really haven't gotten used to the new family schedule.

I miss the relaxing mornings with the kids, hanging out at the park or cruising the neighborhood to see what is happening at the far end of the street. Now, we always seem to be rushing around to get someone into the right place at the right time. Add to that, The Princess has finally sworn off naps, due to the crazy schedule, I think.

I always seem to have a good excuse for not getting the laundry finished up. But lately it has been a major chore just to get the dishwasher loaded or the carpets vacuumed. And unlike laundry, the dishwasher and vacuum do almost all of the real work for me... And the worse things look, the less I want to tackle the house chores. So now we live atop a junk pile.

Yesterday Racecar Man helped me investigate a mystery noise in the VW. OK, I watched and drove a little while he listened and diagnosed the problem. Then I watched while he did the work. I did lift the heavy stuff though, due to RM having a sore back. So I have THAT going for me... Anyways, we did not fix the car. But only because parts are not available locally. I may have to go to the dealership, YIKES!

Now we know what is going on with the car and once I get the parts I can fix it. And at the end of the week I should have ONE project finished around here. And getting the car fixed might make me seem useful around here again. The Boss Lady can only hope.

Friday, September 14, 2007

You dang straight. It was a rough dozen or so hours for Mr. Mike

OK, so clocking 17 and a 1/2 hours at work probably shouldn't win me any awards. But still, I had to laugh when my boss replied to an email with the following

We just worry about you being overworked and being that we might be taking advantage of your skills and good nature.
That's right. OVER worked. 17.5 hours of work time and she is worried that I am overworked. I guess she is just looking out for Mr. Mike. For the record, The Boss Lady does not think 17.5 hours of ANYTHING and overworked belong in the same sentence. And for some reason she won't call me Mr. Mike...

Though I won't blog much about specifics of work since I deal with other people's kids for ALL of those LONG hours. There is one aspect of work to report. The score is currently tied, 1 to 1. There is one kid I can's stand. He just annoys the heck out of me.

But that annoying kid is countered by my newest buddy, the one up there who seems to follow in my shadow more than the rest. Added to his great taste in staff, he is so cute that he looks like he belongs on a cereal box. And he is just cool. Like Mr. Mike.

Edit: I had to come back because I forgot to tell you about the worms. I brought home worms from worm. No not lice. Worms!

They are earthworms that the kids dug up out of one of the flowerbeds and we are going to keep feeding them scraps from kid's lunches. Then at the end of the year we will put them in the annoying kid's sammich. Or we will let them go. Whichever.

I did not want our playground pets to dry out in the worm bed I created out of an old Styrofoam ice chest, so they came home for the weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Once upon a time...

News about grocery stores would not have made me giddy.

The closest grocery store to our house is stinky. It must be a chain thing. Every branch of that grocery chain I have ever gone inside is stinky. Like the fish market did not manage to sell all of yesterday's sushi quick enough. So we drive right past this store to shop at another grocery store, twice as far from the house.

But today our local newspaper is reporting that the stinky store is closing up shop. And the chain where we buy 99.9% of our groceries will be opening a store in the space in Mid-December.

Hooray for shopping locally!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yep. We saw the inside of our bank in this getup.

Once the kids were old enough to dress themselves, I generally quit worrying about WHAT they wore. As long as they are dressed appropriately for the weather and the things we have to get done, then it is pretty much free reign around the dresser.

An example. Church clothes have to be worn to church, not for playtime. But you want green pants and an orange shirt? then go get 'em Garanaimal!

We were on our way over to feed the neighbor's kitties. But I figured we would run a few other errands while we were out in the rain. Luckily for the kittens, the harmonica stayed in the car while we visited. The best part of this outfit, I did not even notice until we were at the car. Still, I HAD to go back to the house to grab the camera.

Tuesday ToDo list

The Boss Lady has regular meetings on Tuesday mornings that start later than her usual mornings. So last week she started taking The Talker to school on those days. Yeah for Mommy! Withe our now crazy schedule, this is the only regular time each week that the boy get to be alone with mom.

I really made out like a bandit this morning. When it was time to head to the school, it was pouring rain. The Boss Lady and The Talker trudged out into the rain while I was checking email and reading online news. The Princess was snoozing, after she evidently kept mom up most of the night. Since I don't remember getting up to help out, I'll assume that I slept through that chaos.

Now I have even more to atone for with the wife. So this is my list of things to get done between now and 5:45, when The Boss walks back into the house. I'll come back to this post to revisit how much of this stuff I actually do today.

  • Dishes into the washer - Finished
  • Clothes started in the other washer - Finished
  • Cat boxes cleaned - Finished
  • Tile and concrete floors swept - Sorta. Kitchen done
  • Mountain of laundry - 4 loads washed, 3 dried, 0 folded
  • Bank run - Done! With a side trip to the hardware store
  • Kitchen cleaned up - Didn't happen
  • Carpets vacuumed - Maybe Thursday
  • Visiting the neighbor's kittens - 1 trip today, 3 yesterday
  • Staff meeting at work - I forgot about it, but then they canceled it - Offsetting penalties
  • The Princess' palace/dump/bedroom straightened, sacked or burned to the ground (With help of 3 year old slave labor)-I am leaning towards just pillaging and plundering that wing of our castle...

A big bonus would be seeing the TV stay off all day, so the soundtrack for today's housework is being provided by Guy Clark, Willie Nelson and Don Williams with a couple of extras thrown into the CD player for good measure.

Anyways, we are off to a pretty good start on our busy day. And hopefully The Princess will be worn out enough that she won't feel like playing at 1 am. I would sure hate to sleep through that 2 nights in a row!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Good stuff!

Since our 12th anniversary weekend has meant a lot of reminiscing about the past, I present you with a marginally applicable link to Time Magazine's 50 Worst Cars of All Time.

Also, I think I have a crush on the guy who wrote this list. Dan Neil, Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic and syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times is my new hero of sarcastic phrase-ology.

A side note, I was once offered a choice for my first car. I could have either a tan 1969 VW Bug or a yellow 1978 AMC Pacer (aka The Road Toad). I chose the one that did not make this list.

If only she had stolen a car back in 1995...

The Boss Lady would have been a free woman for a few years now.

TEXAS PENAL CODE

§12.34. THIRD DEGREE FELONY PUNISHMENT. (a) An
individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be
punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term
of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.
(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged
guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.


INSTEAD she chose to marry me 12 years ago today. Sure the sentence has run longer and her fine surely exceeds 10 grand by now. But the upside? YES, there really is one...

Well let's see,
she got to help me finish school. She gets to read things of questionable truth about herself on this blog and she has gotten to work day and night so that the kids and I could have a sweet life. Also of yesterday she has someone to drill holes in 150 more tennis balls for her science lab chairs.

And if that isn't love, then show me what is.

Thanks J.

CBH M

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Blaming my mother in law...

It is all The Boss Lady's Fault. Or maybe it is The Mother of the Bride's Fault. Whichever. They are the ones who brought the blue chair into my house. So now I sit.

And since the TV is right there across the living room, I watch while I sit...

AND since last week was the first weekend of the college football season...

AND since I complain every year about missing some good college football games...

AND halfway through every past football season I have wished that I had setup the sports package on our satellite system...

AND our Alma Mater was slated for a nationally broadcast butt-kicking, which I wanted to watch anyways...

AND I wasn't about to shell out $30 to watch THE team that I actually care about...

I ordered up the sports package on out satellite system.

Something like 40 channels of sports programming (though most of them are showing one of 5 or 6 things at the same time...) And so far, I think it might be the best $12 a month of The Boss Lady's money I ever spent.

But if I had known I was buying my own 12th Anniversary present, I might have gone for a riding lawnmower. 'Cause you can sit and get fat while doing that, too.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Day one and I am D-O-N-E!

I think I shall shortly be growing some new respect for working parents. Today was the first day of classes at The Princess' school. We were late. Let's just get that out there right now.

I would blame it on the little old lady in the Honda that I got stuck behind for 3 1/2 miles of the 4 1/2 mile trip, but in reality, I tried to get too much done this morning. So now we know that a grocery run WILL NOT fit between dropping the boy off for school and getting to work at The Princess' school on time.

Must plan better later.

Now? After spending all morning helping kids on the playground, my feet are too tired to move. I'll be in the blue chair if you need me.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Parking lot woes

When we drop off The Talker at school I try to avoid the hassles of the school parking lot and we park at the church next door. It's not like the church has a secret parking spot or anything. Heck, they have a gate leading right to the school grounds.

This church parking lot holds about 30 cars. But the families have to walk right behind two rows of cars to get to the school. I have been paranoid of kids around parking lots since my days at the recreation center, where our front door exited right into our driveway. Plus, in the eternal battle of kids vs cars, the cars ALWAYS win... So I try to be extra cautious when walking The Talker into the school.

This morning we were walking through the danger zone when cars on both sides of us started backing out. If we had not been right in the middle I would have stood and watched them crash into each other. And we would have gotten a good laugh on the way into school...

But we were about to be the point of contact. So I let out an amazingly loud "HEY, STOP!" And I brought the entire parking area to a stand still. Which is fine. After glaring at both knuckleheads who don't seem to know how to use rear view mirrors, we went inside, unscathed. But as a bonus, The Princess and I did witness someone backing a Camry into a basketball pole. We were across the parking lot and there were no kids in the area, so I did not yell. No sense in wasting a good holler, right? Did I laugh at them? You betcha...

At this rate some of these people are bound to start using rear view mirrors. Else they will all be walking their kids to school and keeping the local auto body repair shop REAL busy. I just hope they don't cause any kiddie shaped collateral damage in the process.

Monday, September 03, 2007

One of those conversations I never though I'd have

with the boy...

We were out running errands yesterday and he wanted to listen to Radio Disney. When a new song came on he wanted to argue that it was The Cheetah Girls, and not Hannah Montana (aka Miley Cyrus). But it was indeed Hannah Montana.

He was just plain WRONG!

What does that silly boy think? That his old man does not know The Cheetah Girls from Hannah/Miley?

Heck I can even name the JoBros, dude.




God, I really am sooooooooo lame.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Cookout Rainout

After 3 days of yard prep and cleanup, including a complete disassembly and cleaning of the propane grill, the yard was ready for our neighborhood cookout. Luckily, as much time as I spent getting the yard ready, The Boss Lady had spent getting the house cleaned up.

10 minutes before party time the skies opened up and it was raining like crazy. We got everything moved inside after I had a little (OK, BIG) meltdown.

The party was a roaring success. At one point The Boss Lady counted 28 people in our little house. At the end of the night, the kids rooms were trashed and we were out of beer. All signs of a good indoor cookout.