Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Boss Lady rides again!

Beep Beep!

The wife's newest car is home. We met up and exchanged keys and cash this morning. The kids and I brought it home after that and got it all washed up and pretty looking. You KNEW I would end up being the first to drive it, didn't ya?

There are a few things that need attention, like the seats needed a good cleaning But everything mechanical is in tip top shape. There are a couple of nicks and dings in the paint, but only one spot that needs immediate attention.

First up, a nice wash and wax. Then after we get the windows tinted, the lady will be good to go.

Edit: Even better than the blue thing... We think the Mazda is already sold. Good thing it drives better than it looks...

There goes the neighborhood

A few minutes ago The Talker started telling me about his future. "When I'm an adult, I'll pack up my favorite toys and take them with me to share with my daughter, my son and my wife."

I asked him where they would live. "I don't know. It hasn't been built yet. Or I might live where my friend used to live. Or maybe I can live where she lives now."

Which means that the boy might decide to live 2 houses down and across the street or he might be in Istanbul, Turkey. Maybe we should show the boy some other nice neighborhoods around town.

Just in case your 4-6 year old daughter is planning for her future, I snapped this picture of my someday daughter in law's house from our driveway.

And here is a picture of Istanbul to compare. Of course, I took this one from Wikipedia, not our driveway...

Turkey looks nice and I am sure we would visit but I am pretty sure The Boss Lady and I would rather The Talker and his brood live across the street rather than halfway around the world.

Monday, May 28, 2007

7 Things Meme

Ginger tagged me a while back. I decided then to respond, but I just needed a little time to think this one over...

So the following are 7 things that happened to me (or because of me) when I was a teenager (about a million years ago):

7. I was voted something like the 'Most likely to replace David Letterman' by my senior high school class. As far as I can tell, it was only because I wore some nice new white tennis shoes with my Prom tux. Tails and Kaepas. Now THAT was a fashion statement. No you will not see pictures.

6. The closest I ever came to being a cool kid was when I got a 69 VW Bug. It was a nice looking car and VWs were really cool in my high school. At least the fixed up ones were. Mine was bone stock and probably the least cool one on the student parking lot. But I kept it clean.

5. It was not until I was a senior that I had my own bedroom. Sort of. My sister went away to college. Bro commuted from home to college, so I took over Sis's room.

4. Right out of high school I attended 2 years of junior college. Then I moved and went to another year of junior college. Then I moved a few more times before I enrolled at a university. The grand total of class hours I accrued during 6 full-time semesters in junior college? 31. Which is about how most full-time students get in 2 semesters.

By the way, I graduated from college 8 years after high school AND I went full time for all but 3 semesters in that time. I just wanted to throw that out there to see my momma cry. Again.

I had a huge crush on the high school special education teacher. She was real purty and she drove a cool 2 seater hard top convertible. My senior year I was a teacher's helper for one of the computer class teachers, whose office was right next door to Ms. D's room. I spent all the time I was supposed to be helping the computer teacher peeking through the window at the object of my teen affection.

And I got an 'A' for helping the computer teacher that semester.

2. I was 17 when I went to volunteer for a few weeks at a camp for kids who had Muscular Dystrophy. I returned to the camp for 6 summers. I even managed to get paid for the last couple of years!

1. My second year at the camp I met a girl who I don't remember meeting. I think I may have been flirting with a girl that she was talking to. But I know we met, because she reminds me each time the subject comes up... However I DO remember meeting her the next year. And then I married her when I was 25.

So you wanna answer? Go for it.

Post up and leave a comment over here so I can take a peek and be reminded how lame my teen years really were.

That's one big bean!

It rained for most of the 4 days that we were gone. Which means that I was up to my ears in lettuce and green beans when I ran out to the garden this evening. I brought in at least a pound of beans and the last of my leaf lettuce.

There are still some assorted leafy greens growing, but our days of fresh garden salads are at an end for this season. The greens that are left we will probably mix in with store bought lettuce and salads.

The cucumber vines and watermelon vines loved the rain. The whole garden is covered with cuke and melon vines now. Pictures tomorrow.

If it isn't raining.

And if you notice, I measured my bean with a 50ft tape measure. I have high hopes for a record green bean this year! Either that or the kids have hidden all of my other tape measures.

A little too much up top

So we have most likely found the wife's next commuter car. It is a little older than the convertibles we were looking at, and it is a little too roofy. But it is a nice looking '01 VW Beetle.

Why not a newer car with a drop top? Eco-freakin'-nomics rained out that parade. We can buy this car with cash on hand. And that lets us to continue a long held family rule of only having one car payment at a time. We could have borrowed the additional $ and had more fun with a newer car, but just having a decent paint job and a mechanically sound car will be reward enough.

Actually, that is a little bit stretch. The Mazda only needed one trip to the repair shop since we bought it. But we are both expecting things to start going wrong very soon. The paint is shot and the interior is getting worn out. The window tint failed and it is impossible to see out of the side driver's window. All of these things need to be corrected this summer if we are keeping the 626. Add to that tires and whatever work and maintenance comes up and we are ready to part ways with it.

The Mazda is 12 years old and we have had it for a year, thanks to The Boss Lady's chance meeting with a pole in her previous car. Back then we were going to buy a brand new car for The Boss Lady. Like this time though, we backed off and used the insurance buyout from the Escort to buy the Mazda, extending our streak of only having one car payment at a time.

But we really want to replace it BEFORE the wheels fall off. Which goes against another of our family rules. Our trade-ins are almost always over 10 years old and completely worn out. Can you say send it to the wholesale auto auction?

Anyways, this VW is a private sale. The people are ready to get it out of the driveway before their new baby comes along. They have some silly idea that having a new baby gets expensive. They have it at the VW shop right now, getting an O2 sensor repaired before we finalize our deal.

Hopefully by Friday The Boss Lady will be sporting her new blue ride. What do you bet she has that sunroof open on the first pretty day after that?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

I know you guys really miss me. The fam and I skipped town Friday night.

We headed down to Pop's place on the coast and I was fishing before 9pm Friday night. Good times!

Heading home Monday, so if you stop by the house, clean up after yourself. And clean up a little after me, too. We left in a hurry and the house was a wreck. Gotta have something to look forward to, right?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who the heck gets summer vacation before the work even starts?

As I alluded to earlier today, I accepted a part time job today. The good news, it doesn't start until late August. The best news, The Princess will be there with me.

I have been commiserating with some of our neighbors about The Princess and how much she will miss having her playmate/brother around when Kindergarten starts in late August. Two of these women had the same situation in the past few years. Both enrolled the younger kids in a pre-school program about 5 miles from our house. The parents and the kids rave about the program and the facilities.

And unknown to me, these women are both on the board of directors of the school. They made some calls and the Talker and I went to an interview with the school director this morning. Turns out she is wanting someone to do woodworking projects and gardening with the kids. Sounds great to me. I'll also help out some in classes as a floating class assistant.

I let the director know that I am not currently interested in being in a class all the time. Sounds like they don't really need that anyways, so good on me. She also has reworked classes already to make a spot for The Princess, on the hope that I would say yes, I guess.

So The Princess attends 3 days a week for no cost, I get to play outside all day with tools and dirt. Also, work ends at 1:45 each day. Which means I can still get a quick nap in before The Talker gets home on the school bus. And I get paid.

How could I say no?

It just could not get any more sad

No this isn't about the much talked about job in my future...

It is ANOTHER post about the cable company, though.

So I go outside once the crew leaves to see what kind of mess they have left me with. And considering that the trench they dug ENTIRELY by hand was deep enough that grown men were standing inside the trench to bust out the biggest rocks, it looks pretty good.

Job well done. Or not. What the hell? After all the digging and busting rocks, the freaking cable is STILL laying in the grass. Evidently these guys aren't allowed to bury the cable, they just dig and bury a conduit, so that a cable guy can come back in six or seven months and put the damn cable in the hole in the ground.

People, I can't say this strongly enough. If you own stock in the local cable company, divest. Jump ship. SELL! Take a loss but get out, NOW!

Direct TV
. It's the wave of the future and they won't tear up the whole damn neighborhood to get your soft core porno movies to you.

It's about damn time.

This post, this post, this post, and this post all document the tragedy that is the the cable line that has been laying in my grass since early February.

Guess what?

There is a crew out there tight now, digging a huge trench to bury the cable. I don't want to bother the guys who are working out there. It is the cable company's fault that it has taken so long. These guys are just workers for some contract construction company. I just took a few snaps from the porch.

Also, I got a job today. More about that later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Saturday's MINI

The lot that has the red MINI convertible finally got around to posting a few pictures online.

This is the car that made my wife giddy as a school girl. It would only be better with some nice white wheels and white mirrors

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Boss Lady rides again

After dinner we cruised over to check out a 2006 New Beetle Convertible that we saw online. It is a gorgeous 06 with less than 4000 miles on it. Evidently this is what they call a "program car". I could definitely see myself stealing this car away from The Boss Lady on the weekends.

It did not seem to light The Boss' fire, like the little red MINI. When I told her that, she laughed and said that it looked like it had lit mine pretty well. She is right. I did not drive the MINI. I did manage to talk her, or was it BEGGING, into letting me drive this one.

Anyways, of the two cars, this one seems a little more practical. Of course, if we were looking at practical we would probably just stay with the 12 year old 626. The peeling paint ain't pretty, but it sure is practical.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The hunt is on

Saturday, after out last soccer game for the season, we all went to see Shrek the Third. Wait for it on video, OK?

Anyways, on the way to the theater, we passed two MINI Coopers sitting on at the used lot of the Lexus dealership. One, a 2006 red convertible. The other was a bright yellow hardtop with a panoramic sunroof that covers most of the roof area. The wife test drove the red drop top and declared it to be the car for her. After sitting on it for a while she is now thinking about waiting a year and buying new.

I tried to be a helpful husband, so I compared some online prices and I talked to our insurance company. I learned that the Lexus lot where these cars reside is not too far out of line on prices. Both of those cars are supercharged, S models. So they resale for a nice chunk over base MINIs.

In the price hunt I came across an 06 VW convertible sitting at the VW lot down the street with 3000 miles on it. I tried a final push to get the wife interested in that car. So far she has held firm on waiting another 18 months and getting into a MINI.

For the record, the kids were not wild about the convertible. The Talker thought it was too windy and loud. It wasn't. We were able to talk on our test drive and have the radio on softly and still hear the kids. And my hair wasn't blowing at all. The Princess just fell asleep.

I have loved the old MINI Coopers for years. And I declared my intention to have one when they came back out. And my first car was a 69 Beetle. But I always NEEDED it to be a convertible.

A few years ago I really was pushing for a MINI Cooper but the convertible was scheduled for release. And now The Boss Lady is madly in love with her next new car. Yeah for me!

I mean her. Yeah for her!

It's nice to be close, but not TOO close, you know.

The Boss Lady needs to attend a funeral an hour and a half from my parents this afternoon. So we all piled into the car at 8:30 last night and made the drive up to The Queen Mother's house. We did not get here until 11:30 last night. Amazing things you can do with kids when you have a DVD player running in the back seat.

The kids and I are hanging out here all day and The Boss Lady will swing by and pick us up when she is done with the memorial service. The kids are having a blast on their a spontaneous Mama visit.

In other news, after the last of the credit cards were canceled and the REI and Costco membership cards were replaced, my wallet turned up. In the wife's gym bag. Where else would it have been, right?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Credit card fun

I managed to lose my wallet. After searching the house, the cars and every nook and cranny, I am convinced that is its really gone this time. So I have spent the last hour canceling my gas cards and getting a replacement ATM card ordered. Big fun!

The really odd thing is that I found my driver's license this morning. It was sitting on an antique dresser in my bedroom, under a pile of receipts. No idea why it wasn't in my wallet, but since I won't have to wait in line at the DMV, I am a little happier, now.

I have to say that the customer service people I have dealt with at Chevron and Valero have both been incredibly nice and helpful. Props to the nice credit card ladies! Bonus that neither company kept me on hold for more than a couple of minutes.

Pretty soon I'll have to deal with Visa. am hoping that I'll find another nice helper over there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pssssssst, Hey you, wanna buy a boat?

The boat is looking for a new home. The Talker is sad to think that his favorite playscape feature is about to go, but it was time to either fish or cut bait.

Blog readers get a GOOD deal.

Edit: I removed the link to my Craigslist ad, because the boat is already gone! 3 hours, from post to dude driving away with the boat!

Yeah for my yard, now I can get serious about getting the grass to grow again.

Here is a peek at the trasure you missed out on:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More questions than Happy Birthdays

The oddest piece of mail just arrived. A birthday card. From Toys R Us. For our dog.

Who died. More than 2 years ago.

These are some of the things I wonder about this card:

Who sold my dead dog's contact info?
Why no card for his twin brother, Bill? He is dead, too.
Why is the card almost a month late? Ben's birthday was March 23.
How come he never got a card for any of his other birthdays?
What kind of dead dog toys do they keep in stock?
And is the $3 coupon transferable? To say a kid?

Or at least to a dog who is still alive?

Splashdown in the neighborhood

The weather was perfect yesterday. So the kids and I pulled out the inflatable pool and set up our mini water park. It is amazing how much fun these guys can have with a splash pool, two My Little Ponies, two Star Wars dudes and a mini trampoline!

The mosquitoes have taken over the backyard. We have retreated from there until I can get the yard mowed tonight. Yesterday we were not hidden away in our fortress of solitude behind the privacy fence, but the kids were splashing around in the front yard, for all the neighborhood to see. It was so much fun in the morning that we headed back out there after nap. Another hour and a half of throwing water and jumping on the trampoline. Big wet fun!

I had great plans for all of that splash time. I was going to wash the car and work on the truck. I got neither done. Instead I had fun watching as the neighbors drove past, checking out my little wild kids and wishing for a chance to play in the the little front yard water park.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Garden Tour

The veggie garden is growing great! This is my first year of going totally organic, and I am pleased with the results. The bugs are leaving enough for us to eat a little bit, too.

Besides the stuff pictured, we have some sweet basil, oregano, rosemary, lots of onions and carrots. We should be eating well all summer.

This morning's harvest. A couple of small tomatoes, 4 small
snow peas and a salad for two.

This is also my first year to try potatoes. They are looking good. I pulled one plant up to thin out the crop and they are already growing little potatoes.

I built this trellis for the beans and peas. But really, the entire garden fence is one big trellis. The cucumbers will be hanging off of it soon. The cukes were the only casualties in our late freeze, so I started new ones a couple of weeks ago.

In the middle of the garden you might see our watermelons starting to grow.

No matter that I expanded the garden plot by about 10%, there is still never enough space, the herbs and peppers were sent to the patio to live. Dill, sage, cilantro and parsley are all growing in a couple of large pots. I have never combined plants into one container, so we shall see how it works out.

AHD is in the game!

The kids and I went to the baseball game last night. The Boss Lady had to work late, and the kids were up an hour earlier than usual. So going out there I knew we still weren't going to watch a complete game.

With the usual runs to the bathroom, the playscape, the batting cages and the bounce house, I doubted that I would see any baseball at all. The small ball gods were smiling on us though. A homer came flying right at us in the second inning. Actually, it was aimed right at The Princess' head.

I jumped up and almost caught the ball. But more importantly, I got a couple of fingers on it and it popped right over The Princess' melon and into a guy's nachos behind us. Score one for the home team!

Earlier in the evening, on our trip to the bounce house, The Princess suffered a major wardrobe malfunction. She was wearing a jumper thing that only buttoned on the shoulders. The back was open. But it was really cute and she had worn it all day. Unluckily, one of the buttons popped off and the whole outfit was hanging on one shoulder, leaving most of her torso out in the weather. The straps were too short to tie together.

And that is when my Jedi-like dadding skills kicked in. I remembered earlier in the season that they were selling team lapel pins in the gift shop. We walked in and found one from a few seasons back for a buck! One quick pinning and The Princess' outfit was as good as new. She was dressed to support the home team, with their logo on her left shoulder.

The Princess and I sometimes have a rough go of things. She is even more stubborn than me. We both like to whine and cry and yell. Being told what to do? Yeah, neither of us are so much into that, either.

But last night we made a pretty good team and we got to put on a good show for all of our fans.

An aside, The Princess packed a purse to go to work like mommy yesterday morning. The Talker's dirty clothes hamper worked nicely.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Because I know you were wanting to know...

I saw The Weird Converter posted on a dad's forum I frequent. It's good stuff!

This is the site to hit up when you need to convert from the weight of one human eyeball into the weight of a whale's testicle, (0.0000566990).

Or say you need to know how many Weinermobiles you would need to cover the length of the Great Wall of China, (777680.5679012346). They can help you out! In fact this might be why the internets was invented.

AtHomeDaddy, bringing you people the stuff you didn't even know that you need since June, 2004.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Gaming on a budget

The Boss Lady realized this morning that by not spending $$$ on Dr Pepper, I am basically offsetting the cost of our new video games. Since I realized that a couple of days ago, I picked up a new game yesterday. Less than $10 at Costco. How can you go wrong?

Tony Hawk's Project 8 rules! And with the new wireless controllers that The Boss Lady bought for us over the weekend, The Talker and had a blast trying out our sick skateboarding skillz. Turns out we are better monkeys than 'boarders, but that is OK.

OK, before you gripe at me, yes it is a T for Teen Rated game. No, the 5 year old isn't playing alone. Yes we have the blood and gore option turned off. So we will play it once in a while. Did I mention it only cost $9.87?

In the game, when you get tired of skating around your neighborhood, your player can jump up on the roof of houses and swing from the electric lines. If you are inclined, you can skate on the roof. We just really liked climbing from one house to another via the wires. Which makes me think that this game is better suited for 5 year olds than for teens aged boys. Pre-schoolers aren't stupid enough to try this stuff out for real!

And I am doubly glad that our neighborhood has underground utilities; no power lines to swing from over here!

It cracks me up, watching The Talker play video games. Granted, it isn't the best exercise for a 5 year old, but the boy cannot. Sit. Still. While he plays.The wireless controllers are awesome because I was terrified that he would pull the PS2 off of the shelf when he was really into Sonic the Hedgehog. Anyways, he works up a pretty good sweat jumping around and playing like a bad ass skater punk. Or a hedgehog.

Me? I am just using all of my coordination to control the game and to not drool at the same time. No jumping around for me. If I did get a good workout going, though, maybe we could drop the YMCA membership and buy MORE GAMES!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Anybody want some rain?

It rained a little bit last night. And the night before. It rained during our soccer game on Saturday, and I think it rained three days in a row last week. It looks like it is about to rain again tonight.

The kids have pretty well gone through the DVD collection in the last few weeks. And we have hit every restaurant in town with an indoor play scape. Heck, we even played tag and hide-and-go-seek in The Olive Garden. Have you seen how big their waiting area is?

I even drug the kids to the Saturn dealership the other day to wait for an oil change, simply because I knew they have some toys and a play area there. Two hour wait? No problem. We will be at the toys. And for some odd reason, they got us out in a hurry. Funny how kids trashing the sales floor will speed up the oil change techs.

Another few days of rain and I going to start pulling the siding off of the house and building my ark. After all, I already have the two wild monkeys on hand.

So anyways, here is to another exciting rainy week. If you need us, we will be watching Sharkboy and Lavagirl.


And Again.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tomy Big Big Big Loader

If you are looking for instructions for a Tomy Big Big Big Loader, follow this link to a pdf file.
Thanks, Tim for setting up the site.

If you need replacement marbles, email me. I'll send you an order form that I got from Tomy. They still sell the marbles as part of a Thomas the train set

I get at least one email a month from someone looking for instructions to a Tomy Big Loader set.

The Talker has one. He got it for his third birthday. We still get it out once in a while, but it is not one of his favorites anymore.

Anyways, the instructions are long gone, but the box lives on. Barely. So every time I am asked if I still have the directions, I end up taking some pictures of the box and emailing them. So I decided I would post them here, just in case some poor, hapless parent should be searching for instructions.

This is one of those toys that I would not try to set up without some help. There are several specific pieces that must go in a certain spot for the truck to run the entire route.

Edit: Add this to the Now Why Didn't I Think of That? File. I sent a guy these pics the last week. He was smart enough to email TOMY, the maker of the toy and they sent instructions. So I am now in possession of a pdf file instruction sheet specific to the Big Big Big Loader. Way to go, S!

I don't know how to upload it here, but I'll email it to ya!

I'll try to get some better pictures when The Boss Lady's camera is available.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Am I really this interesting?

So I was checking up on you guys through my Stat Counter account. And I have to say the reasons people come by are pretty amusing.

Here is a list of keywords that people searched on Google and ended up over here:

  • baloney and car paint
  • repair broken patio umbrella rib
  • rounding a corner while building a retaining wall
  • Ritalin ingredients
  • children chicken-pox indoor pools
  • sombrero cupcakes
  • swing set crossbar
  • ugly kids segregation
  • baby fever at night
  • Spiderman b
Of course, I guess now that I have posted the list, my list of weird hits will probably grow. So bring on the home made Ritalin makers. I can teach them to make sombrero cupcakes and show them how to use baloney to paint their cars.

Because obviously I am that good, thank you very much.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Freedom of speech? Not in my backyard!

The Talker and our neighbor, a first grader, were plotting through the privacy fence. They were hoping that The Talker could come over and play even though the closest thing to an adult in that house this afternoon is a third grader. But without any supervision, there wasn't even a small chance of The Talker visiting.

The fallback plan was almost as foolhardy. That involved the neighbor coming over until his grandma come home and THEN asking her if it was OK. Yeah, not happening either, boys... Besides, I feel like I am on a three day drunk with this nasty headache. So I did what any prudent daddy would do under the circumstances. I mowed the yard.

See, I wanted the kids outside. It isn't raining for the first time in several days. And all of us are stir crazy. The grass is wet and the flowerbeds are muddy, but we have 6" of pea gravel under the play scape. So the kids can play out there pretty quickly after it stops raining.

Once I started mowing, the conversation broke up quickly. I guess the boys could not hear each other over the roar of the engine. So they finally quit begging to get together. Which makes my brain feel better. And it made the backyard look better, too.

Musical tracks ahead

We made another trip to our favorite park this morning. Train ride, play scape, swings, migraine and all that good stuff. Nothing like a screaming pack of 4th grade field trippers to make me glad to only have two kids (and one headache) to deal with.

Yeah! for a bumpy train ride when your brain feels like it is about to burst!

There was a huge highlight this morning. I wish I had my camera with me. There is a guy who often sits beside the jogging trail and plays guitar and harmonica for all who pass by. When the train passed his spot, he stood beside the track and played for the kids. Never said a word, but all of the kids on the train were thrilled.

When we got on the train, the kids wanted to be the caboose. So we rode on the last bench. And that turned out to be a great choice.

The Talker and The Princess turned and waved and clapped as long as they could see the music man. And while they were looking back at him, he stood there, playing. I bet he was there for two minutes, playing an impromptu concert just for my kids. Long after they quit hearing the music over the train noise, the kids waved goodbye and they turned their attention back to our ride.

When we were loading up in the car, The Talker asked me to play guitar and harmonica for him at home. Now I own a guitar. I also have several harmonicas. But I can't play either instrument worth a damn. And I sure can't do both at the same time. So I guess the kids will have to wait for our next train ride for that much talent.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Now THAT is a joke!

His joke a couple of days ago may not have been hilarious, but The Talker told me this morning that he thinks maybe he would just like to skip kindergarten and stay home next year with me and The Princess.

Yeah, right, bud. Better luck with that in your next life.

That kid cracks me up!