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.


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.


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...