Friday, March 30, 2007

That's what friends are for...

Can't you just hear Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and the rest of the gang just belting it out...

If not, here they are.



So anyways, Other Dad and I went to help a neighbor this morning. Turned out to be no big deal, she just needed some strong good looking guys to help her move some furniture around, But she settled for us, since those other guys have jobs and can't help her out in the middle of the morning.

On my way over there, I noticed a lot of road noise coming from the back of my car. I just assumed one of the kid's doors wasn't closed tight. We were only driving down to the next block because of lots of rain, so I wasn't concerned about it.

I am glad we did not spend any more time at the neighbor's house. And I was going to follow Other Dad out to the Goodwill store to drop off some stuff for the neighbor. But I am really glad I went straight home. By the time we pulled into the driveway, one of our rear tires had lost most of it's air, thanks to a giant screw sticking out of the tread.

Luckily, it stopped raining for a few minutes, and I was able to swap out the spare in a hurry, since I could get to my floor jack and some decent tools. No fighting with the wimpy little stuff that came with the car. And best of all, the kids were tucked inside, watching cartoons instead of sitting in the car waiting for their looney tune dad to change a tire in the middle of a wet street.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dr Whatter?

So I haven't had a Dr Pepper since Sunday.

I am now past the hallucinations and I have quit shaking uncontrollably. The profuse sweating and the Tourett's style freedom of speech, I expect to go away eventually. The headache has been non-stop since Monday. That part really sucks.

This reaction was not unexpected. In fact, this is precisely why I did not try to cut out Dr Pepper before our road trip. No one wanted to be cooped up with me in a car for 20 hours in my current state...

But the real bummer of this whole deal, besides not having any Dr Pepper for 5 days, is that I can't freakin' sleep. What is up with that? I think I have managed about 10 hours of solid snooze time this week.

So now we have the new and improved AtHomeDaddy, in all his sweating, cussing, broken brain glory. Still it would all be worth it, if that lying piece of @#*) bathroom scale did not say I had gained 3 pounds this week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Post 1K

According to the counter on my Blogger dashboard page, this is my 1000th post on this blog.

I was going to work up a nice look back post or try to find something really creative to mark the milestone, but I am just not feeling it. Instead I'll give you something I don't partake of very often. Silence.


















































Good day, all.

Mom my ride

It is a good thing a dad's car never has to look like this.

Yeah. Right.



Thanks to my neighbor, Mrs. Norm, for sending over the link.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mopping Day.

Is this what your living room looks like on mopping/vacuuming day? 'Cause I think I might have over done it this morning. Especially considering that it is still raining and the dog is outside. Which means that the nice clean tile will be a muddy mess later this afternoon.

Sorry the picture is out of focus.
Thanks to no Dr Pepper in two days, everything seems a little blurry.

When we left for Disney World the house was pretty well clean and organized. No way did I want the neighbor who was watching the pets to know what kind of slobs we really are. I knew that the house would be messy after the pets were cooped up for that many days and the robot-vac had not had a chance to play in the living room.

Turns out that the pet sitting neighbor took pity on us and vacuumed the hallway carpet once while we were gone. She got an extra $20 for that. And hopefully she will want to watch the pets next year when we go back to WDW.

OK, now that The Boss Lady is having a stroke from that last statement, I'll go a little further: this morning's cleaning festival has been brought to you by The Talker, who slept until 9 AM and Diego, who has kept The Princess' interest for an hour and a half. Next up, evicting the kids from the dining table and tackling the disaster area in there.

They will probably trash their bedrooms when I shoo them away from the table, but I can close those doors and not look in to see the mess. So it will be all good.

All finished. But for some reason it does not really look like there are three hours invested. And I really don't know how to account for the fact that I drew blood while mopping. Pinched my finger trying to turn off the kitchen sink.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flat Stanley, Assistant Coach

Time for a Flat Stanley update.

Good ol' FS went to the Austin Children's Museum with us on Friday. After the museum we headed over to Austin City Hall to enjoy Live from the Plaza, featuring the Small Stars.

The Talker, The Princess, Flat Stanley and me all agreed that the music was WAY TOO LOUD, so we left after one song.

Flat Stanley had a good time, but he must have been tired after the trip, because he did not have a lot to say in the car on the way home.



This morning FS and I drove my old truck over to The Talker's soccer game. Which was not only our first game of the season, but also my coaching debut. Flat Stanley helped me through the chaos of our first game and everyone had a lot of fun. I don't know if we won or not since Flat Stanley would not tell me the score after the game.


After our soccer game FS helped out in the garden for a little while. He helped plant some lettuce and watermelons. Too bad he won't be around this summer when the watermelons are nice and ripe. Here are a couple of picture of Flat Stanley with our pea plants and green bean plants. I think Flat Stanley would make a great scarecrow someday.



After working so hard in the garden, Flat Stanley decided to rest a little and pet Kodak, our Great Pyrenees dog. Kodak looks really excited to have Flat Stanley giving him attention, don't you think?



Monday Flat Stanley is going to tour some Texas History with us. We are planning to visit the Texas Capitol and maybe the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. After that, Flat Stanley will be headed back to Alabama. Hopefully he will have some great stories to share with you guys about his trip to The Lone Star State.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Epcot Recap

This is likely the last in a series of posts detailing our trip to
Walt Disney World.


Just so you know, recaps of our visits to the other Disney World parks
can be found on the following pages:
Magic Kingdom , MGM , Animal Kingdom.


During our time at Walt Disney World, we stayed with Bro and his awesome family in the Beach Club Villas, just a short walk from the back gate at Epcot. We had planned all along to spend most of our time at the Magic Kingdom, so we really did not investigate Epcot very closely. The Boss Lady and I assumed it would be good for a quick half-day visit and we would be done. Turns out we were wrong. Walt and Mickey made sure we had a good time.

We tried a couple of different days to get Fast Passes for Soarin', but we always seemed to arrive too late. Fast Passes go quickly on this ride. Thursday I decided to drive over right at opening time and get the fast passes with our tickets. Then the family would walk over to the back gate and I would walk around to meet them, Fast Passes in hand. That way the kids could sleep a few minutes later and would not have to mess with the crush of people right at opening time.

I will never see another Segway Tour without hearing Bro singing
White and Nerdy...

There was one huge problem with our plan. turns out EVERYONE who gets a Fast Pass must have entered the park already. No leaving the kids and wife in the hotel room so that you can get an earlier time in line.

So I waited 15 minutes at the front gate, when they let you walk in 15 minutes before opening time, just to stand in line again 1000 feet inside the park. Then I waited 15 more minutes halfway into the park, for the official opening time. Then I waited about 10 minutes in the Fast Pass Line, all before 9:15 in the morning. Only to be issued only 1 of the 3 fast passes we needed, since the rest of the family had not yet entered the park. AtHomeDaddy was not a very happy camper as I was walking to the back gate to meet the family.



Once we were all together, The Boss Lady took off for the fast pass line and the kids and I strolled around in the park for a while. When she got to the front of the line, she could not get passes either. The computer still thought we were not all in the park. After she dealt with some of the line staff, she got passes and we were assured a chance to ride Soarin', a couple of hours later.


We were out killing the wait time, strolling through one of the Innoventions exhibits, checking out the robots and computer displays, when I ran across the Dream Team in their white vests. These guys were handing out Dream Fast Passes as part of the Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

These passes let us go to the front of the line for all of the best shows and rides at Epcot! Plus, they were on a a lanyard, so we got to walk around looking like super-stars, wearing our Dream Fast Passes, since no one else had them!

Thanks to our neighbor's suggestion, we wanted to walk over to the Norway exhibit. The kids had fun and we rode the Maelstrom a couple of times. All with no wait, because the mouse said we could.


We walked past the rest of the international exhibits, but we did not spend any time inside. The kids were pretty well wiped out on Thursday, so we took the time we saved by not waiting in line and headed for a late lunch at Downtown Disney, which just in case you haven't heard, sucked ass.

Anyways, we hit all of the stuff that the kids would like at Epcot. And there is still a lot for us to explore on our next trip, but the next trip to Epcot might be a little bit of a downer, since we will have to wait in line with all of you other commoners.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Going off the sauce

Since it as recently been featured so prominently on this blog, I want you all to say goodbye to my gut. The pot belly is going to go away.

Seems like my on again/off again exercise routine hasn't really helped, but I don't see changing that up very much. I fit in workouts when I can.

So that leaves a change in diet. Which is odd, since I usually don't eat breakfast or any real lunch. I snack through the day instead. But the real killer for me is the Dr Pepper. Gallons of it every day.

I decided a while back that I was going to quit the stuff after our vacation. Now, vacation has come and gone. And I haven't gone cold turkey. After all, I still have to function during the day, and even cutting down on the caffeine/sugar buzz brings on a pretty good headache most of the time and i did not want to feel like crap on our vacation.

But as I sit here, at 5:30 in the evening, I am sipping on Dr Pepper #2 for the day. And hopefully this will be the last one for the night. Unless my headache gets any worse, then I'll either drink another Dr Pepper or kill someone. Whatever.

10 more days? This diaper may not be able to wait...

I was reading up on other blogs and I saw where a dad commented about changing his kid's diaper on the floor of a men's room since there was no diaper changing station in the bathroom. Besides being totally grossed out, I remembered a long time battle that I may have to resume soon.

Plus, we drove by our neighborhood library last night and saw that they have FINALLY taken down a year's worth of construction fences. All this combined to remind me of the good old days...


Our neighborhood library is stupid.

There. I said it. The S word.

See, they closed our closest library branch about a year ago to add on more space. Which is great in my book. It was a pretty small place, so I am all for them having more room. And I understand that a major renovation goes faster if the space isn't open to the public. The problem? They only had the place opened for about 6 months after being closed most of a year before this closure so that they could paint and replace carpets and expand the parking lots.

I am a lazy sumbitch. I would never paint a room and clean the carpets just to rip it all out six months later. Maybe that is why I don't work at the library. But it just seems too obvious to ask why wasn't this all done at once. So I won't ask.

The Talker and I started going up there every few days when he was nine months old. And we really needed a diaper changing station. But they did not have one in the men's restroom. Each time I needed to change his diaper I would ask when a deck would be installed in the men's room. The standard answer 4 1/2 years ago was "when we renovate the library, in a few months." And then I would change The Talker's diaper on a reading table or on the carpeted floor, out in the middle of the library.

Every time a librarian would get mad at me and offer to let me use the women's restroom diaper changing station. Which I never did. Because I did not want to. Plus it was inconvenient for every mom in the place for me to be tying up the ladies room.

The lack of a diaper deck and my public diaper changing protests continued right through until The Princess came along. Then there were a few months of me changing two diapers out in the open library. But still, no diaper deck.

Then the library closed for paint/carpet/parking renovations. And my faith in humanity was renewed just like the freshly shampooed rugs. Until I went into the men's room. No damn diaper deck to be found. So I marched out into the library and changed baby girl right on a nice new reading table. If only I had been a NASAstronaut, I could have changed myself, too. And the librarians were pissed.

But not as much as me. We had waited 2 1/2 years for a diaper deck to be installed and now that renovations were done the library staff told me "no one ever asked about having a diaper changing station in the men's room." Why do you think I change the kids on the tables? I mean I don't want to hang out in the men's room any longer than necessary, but dang.

Anyways. The library re-reopens in 10 days. And April 2 we will be there at diaper changing time. And there dang well better be a diaper deck in the re-renovated men's room. Or else I might shove some librarian's computer out of our way and change The Princess right on the front desk.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Animal Kingdom Recap


We spent only half of a day at the Animal Kingdom, on our Disney World adventure. The kids were pretty wiped out, so we did not do many of the attractions. We completely skipped over Dino Land. That just gives us a good reason to go back sooner, I think.

While we were in the Animal Kingdom we started out day out with the best show in the park. The Festival of the Lion King truly is worth the price of park admission, just as Ginger had assured us. And the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride was great, since we were able to ride early in the morning, while the animals were really active.


We rode the train into Rafiki's Conservation Station, where The Princess threw a huge fit and was rewarded by a cast member with free ice cream for her and The Talker. But the fit stopped and the Animal Kingdom cast member and I both knew that was all that mattered right then.

The Talker matched wits for about half an hour with a talking, robotic recycling can. I wish I had it on video. The highlight of the entire conversation revolved around a stinky diaper that someone fed the recycling can for lunch. High humor for the 5 year old set.

Now that I think about it, we really missed a lot of the Animal Kingdom. I can't really think of any other rides or shows that we caught while we were there. But we may have done more, I can't recall.

See, this is where the pin-trading mental illness took hold of me. And I got a bad case of it when I saw all the really cool Tigger pins for sale. I bought a hat with even more pins on it. And I traded some of those away for more Tigger pins. Actually, I got The Princess to do my trading for me. But she wasn't very focused and we ended up with a Flounder pin, a Daisy Duck pin and some other random stuff that I mostly swapped for Tiggers and Tinkerbelles when the girl wasn't looking.

Yep, we are now full blown Tigger and Tinkerbelle pin collectors. Or as the Talker declared, "we have a lot of tee tee pins!" We ended up with about 8 of each. The Talker decided the last day to try and collect some Buzz Lightyears, so we have those, too (including one that lights up!) Then there is a side collection that I started because it seems appropriate. I bought a Mike Wozowski pin and the next time we go to Disney I'll try to grab as many of those as we see.

When we hit Downtown Disney, I also got a framed pin set. And that is all the good that came of our trip to Downtown Disney. That and the Lego store. It kicked ass. The rest of Downtown Disney sucked ass... Except for the Princess statues. They made my daughter smile, so they are OK. But everything else over there sucked ass.

I am too tired to post pictures of them all now, but I will show off our pin collection soon. And you will be awes and amazed at what you can buy for a few hundred bucks! Instead, you can have this picture of me in my pin traders hat, standing at the exact point where I bought my first pins. The exact spot where my newest mental health issue kicked in. And a picture of my sanity slipping away has to be worth something, right?

Funky tree

We have a funky tree in our yard. I planted it right at 5 years ago, the spring after The Talker was born. Actually, we planted three of the same variety, Texas Mountain Laurel, but only one of them is funky.

Texas Mountain Laurels have purple blooms that smell like grape kool-aid or grape bubble gum. Which is weird, but not funky. The blooms look like this.


Every one I have ever seen is just the same. Clusters of purple and lavender blooms. They are really pretty, but the blooms only last a few days. Tell me, who would not love a front yard that smells like grape kool-aid?

But one of our three is a funky tree. Two of it's branches bloom clusters of pure white flowers. They still smell kool-aidy, but I don't think the scent is as strong. Until last year I thought they were just really pale flowers. But last year it became obvious that the tree is putting out white flowers. The other main branch of the tree makes purple blooms.

Anyways, I thought you might like to know about our funky tree. Plus, I wanted everyone to know I am not the only funny smelling white thing hanging around here, today.

For the record, I started gathering the seeds of the funky tree last year.
I planted some in the back yard last month, so hopefully some day
we will have a whole forest of albino mountain laurel trees around here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Flat Stanley is in the hizzzzzzzzzzzzouse

Flat Stanley arrived from Alabama today. Looks like he had a pretty comfortable trip,no battle scars to show or anything.

Since I was too wimpy to take the kids out today, Flat Stanley hung out with the kids and played in the backyard. They also made some silly hats for Stanley, including his very own set of longhorns.

Stanley is in good hands, here in Texas. I'll just try not to cough on him too much while he is here, OK?



And THAT is how I end a vacation

The Boss Lady told everyone at work that she would not be in until 11 am this morning. Originally we planned to drive back from Florida on late Sunday afternoon and she knew we would need the extra hours to get ready for the week.

Last Wednesday I was running a pretty good fever at the hotel, so I slept an extra 4 or five hours that night. Since then I have felt pretty lousy thanks to an ear ache and a nasty cough. The Princess and I could have won the Disney loogie hacking contest last week...

Today I wasn't able to get into my Dr's office until 2:30, so The Boss called in while I slept all day. Once I got moving I felt OK. But it sure was nice to pawn off all my responsibilities for one more day.

Tonight I had to go to a coach's meeting for The Talker's soccer team. Anybody want to start a betting pool on the end of the season win/loss record of bunch of 4, 5 and 6 year-olds who have to endure AtHomeDaddy style coaching? Hopefully we won't suffer a season long shut out. Anything else is a victory in my book!

Hopefully I'll feel like telling you about more of our Disney World Adventures tomorrow.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

MGM Recap

We arrived at MGM Studios on the first night of our visit to Disney World. My nephew turned 4 that day, so what a better place to have a birthday than with Buzz Lightyear at Pizza Planet. The pizza was good and the arcade was a lot of fun. The boys had a blast running from game to game. The crowd was really thin, which made it even nicer.

It was during this time that The Boss Lady and I noticed how bad The Princess was feeling. So they left to go back to the hotel. The Boss spent hours on the phone trying to track down a Dr and a pharmacy to get a prescription filled at 10 in the evening.

The rest of us caught a Muppet's 3d show and rode Star Tours, a Star Wars ride. I think both of the boys got more than they bargained for on the ride, though. Neither of them seemed to enjoy the ride but maybe peer pressure kept them from getting too upset. Later, when we stopped back by MGM, The Talker wanted nothing to do with the Star Tours ride.

We went back to MGM several times to catch lots of shows. The kids two favorites were The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and a Playhouse Disney puppet show. The characters were out in force at MGM. We saw Jo Jo, The Little Einsteins, the green Army men from Toy Story, Buzz, Woody and Lightning McQueen and 'Mater from Cars. The Talker loved getting to hang out with Woody at Al's Toy Barn.




We only caught two of the parades while we were at the parks. We saw one during the afternoon at MGM. It features lots of characters and really cool cars. The other was at Magic Kingdom on our last night time trip there.

Though there were not a lot of rides for the kids at MGM, we ended up having a lot more fun than we expected. Next trip, we will spend more time there. And maybe next time I won't have to run around all afternoon in my swim suit.

It was at MGM that I witnessed my brother racing across the park to buy a souvenir pin, solely to trade it with a cast member who was wearing one he wanted to give to a friend's daughter for her collection.

More about my own battle with pin trading mental illness, later....

Magic Kingdom Recap

Instead of reporting each move of our vacation, I think I'll highlight the best parts of each park:



We spent our fist morning, and part of every other day, in The Magic Kingdom. We started off with the classic Disney rides, it's a small world, Dumbo, the spinning teacups and the Indy race cars. Pretty much we covered Fantasyland the first morning. The kids were amazed by everything and loved every ride. We did skip a few, like Sleeping Beauty's scary dream ride. No reason to make our kids unhappy.


The favorites from Fantasyland? Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and the 3d show, Philhar-Magic. We hit all of these and most of Fantasyland at least two times on our trip.

We cruised over to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, the one thing that The Talker had wanted to ride since he saw a picture of in in one of our guidebooks. When we got there to ride with our Fast Pass, we were a few minutes early. So we were hanging around hoping the line guard would just let us slip in. No dice.

As our time arrived, we hopped into the line and realized that my brother and his family, who we were supposed to catch up with later that evening, were two groups behind us. The Talker had a ball getting to ride Buzz Lightyear with Uncle Bro. We realized that we would be coming back to Buzz very often. And we did. The Talker rode Buzz's Spin at least two times every day except one.


On the following days we came back to The Magic Kingdom and hit most of the other rides that the kids would like. Including many repeats from the first day. We missed out on a few attractions, but that just gives us a reason to return next year, right?

Our best time at the Magic Kingdom has to be Friday morning. The crowds were late to arrive, and we rode at least 6 things before waiting in any lines! Once the crowds got there, we rode Buzz's Spin one last time and headed toward the gate by way of lots of souvenir shopping. It was a great way to finish up an awesome trip.




OK. lets just get this out of the way...

Here are the first couple of things to know about a spring time 2500 mile road trip to Walt Disney World:

Most importantly, DON"T forget to pack some friggin' shorts. You will notice in our upcoming pictures that I am wearing nothing but jeans. Why? Because I am a moron. Yes, I could have bought a pair there. The mouse will sell you anything. For a price.

Also, never drive there with one of those car top carriers. Unless you want to share your shorts with some idiot who left his at home. We saw at least three that had flown off already and one that was flapping open, about to set sail. Unlike Terry, I got around him before the clothing carnage ensued.

And while we are on the topic of driving, I feel I need to apologize to everyone outside of Texas. With only one exception that I remember, every time someone was tailgating or driving like crap, I would look up and see their Texas license plate staring back at me. We tried to drive nicer than all of those jerks. But I understand if you never want to ride in the car with me.

I'll post some daily blogs and pictures form the trip eventually, but today is about sitting on my couch, with my remote, watching NASCAR on my TV.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Home at last

1140 miles in our Saturn Vue, since 12:30pm on Friday. 14 1/2 hours on the road today.

Lots of pictures and details to come in the next few days. But for now, good night.

Must. Sleep. In own bed. Good night.

Friday, March 16, 2007

On the road again

We parted ways with Mickey Mouse this afternoon. Plans at the time included making a quick stop in Orlando to sleep a little while, so that we could hit the road early on Saturday.

The Talker really misses his room and his puppy, so we decided to get a jump on the trip. Once on the road, we decided we would drive ten hours or so, and make it back to Gulfport MS by 11pm to snooze.

But here it is 8 in the evening and we are holed up in a motel more than an hour short of Pensacola. Once I started getting a headache from the oncoming headlights, we decided that driving all night might not be in the interest of the greater good. Still, we did get a head start and we MIGHT be able to make the rest of the drive home on Saturday, so that the boy and his dog can be reunited.

Tired and poor. But full of warm fuzzy family happiness and good memories. Good night.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Shhh. Don't tell the mouse.

We are still at Walt Disney World and still having fun. Made even better this afternoon when I realized that I still have $23 in my pocket! He hasn't gotten it all yet, but of course, the mouse always wins and he still has 24 hours to finish off my wallet.

Just a quick note to let everyone know we are having a blast. After a bout of pinkeye for the girl and a nice fever for me last night, I think we are all well and healthy now.

We have finished up with Animal Kingdom, MGM and Epcot. Tonight and Friday we will hit the Magic Kingdom. I guess it would not really be fair if I did not give the mouse another shot at my wallet, you know.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

We are on vacation.

How do I know this? We have a sick child. 102.3!

I hope Cinderella has a good immune system.

We are getting a late start this morning, but everybody needed the sleep. Plus, both kids wanted the chance to fall out of the bed in the middle of the night.

No I did not push him, I swear. Even though he was kicking and punching me in the face all night. Did The Boss Lady push the girl out of bed? Probably. She is like that at night.

Actually, we aren't sure if it is a late start. There are clocks with three different times in this room. And the front desk didn't sound too sure either.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Scenes from the road.

Our first stop for more than a potty break was at a visitor's center in Louisiana. Gators don't seem very welcoming to me, but what do I know?

There are a whole series of pictures from the point where we hit 1000 miles on our journey, but I think this one tells most of the story.

First Impressions


I always thought Disney's big red boat was a little bigger, redder and boatier. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

The Eagle has landed

Elvis is in the building. Santa is in the workshop. However you say it, we made it.

8 hours in the car today. One wrong turn that only added 10 minutes to our trip, so it is hardly worth mentioning. Except that it was The Boss Lady's mistake.

Notice how I never mentioned yesterday's wrong turn because that one was my fault.

Anyways, we gained one hour when we changed time zones, and we lose it again early Sunday morning, so this has made for one long day!

I might try to post a couple of pics in a few minutes. But we are all hitting the hay early, since The Mouse awaits!

Six to snooze

We are going to throw the beasties in the car and get moving pretty quickly. It is pretty foggy out there, so we might have slow going for a while.

Best news from the little bit of web surfing I did last night? Looks like we are MORE than halfway there. Orlando, here we come.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Halfway there

11 1/2 hours. With a stop in Iowa, Louisiana to scarf down 5 pounds of the best crawdads. Ever.

9 1/2 hours in the car. The kids are wiped out and Gulfport, Mississippi is right at half way to the promised land.

More fun in the morning. Hoping to get an early start.

Gone!

That is it. We will be walking out of the house in the next hour. I might be blogging a little from the road, but no definite schedule for that. Will surely be back online by the 19th.

If you come over, be sure and clean up after yourself and be prepared, The Big White Dog is going to be WILD, since he will be bored silly in the backyard. So wear shin guards and knee pads when you go out there.

While you are here, make yourself useful and finish up the kitchen floors and the living room paint, OK? The vacuum is in the hall closet and the duster is under the kitchen sink.

Adios Mofos.

Beg for your life, you lowly breakfast

I present you a quick break from Cannonball Run 07/Disney 24/7 blogging.

The Princess is sitting at the dining table, while I am catching up on email and reading the news online. Since our computer is only 6 feet from the dining table I am getting a pretty good narration of breakfast. And it seems like the chocolate mini-donuts are losing the battle.

Oh NO! She is here to eat us! Everybody run!

OK guys, heew is de deal, I won't eat you, OK?

Yeah, for us! Thank you, lady.

Just kidding, CHOMP! Bwah ha ha ha! Chomp!

Oh no, RUN!!!!!!!

Even sardines get a little elbow room.

The Talker went to work this morning with The Boss Lady. The Princess is still sleeping. So instead of wasting my time watching CNN for a good morning rush hour car chase, I got the car all packed up.

I started last night by trying to get the cargo carrier all set up. But this morning I caved in. My lovely and brilliant wife once suggested we try to pack without using the cargo carrier. I immediately brushed that idea off for several reasons. The main argument was that we bought the danged thing, we might as well use it...

Anyways, I started packing the car and realized that it would all fit into the car, if I were to use the skills I learned back when I was loading airplanes for My So Called Aunt and Uncle Lemon. Except, this time I did not kick the boxes around or crush the corners to make them fit into the cargo space. I just used my powerful Jedi-like skills and got it all to fit inside the car, no cargo carrier required.

I am not real sure where the kids will sit. We may have to strap them to the top of the car. But that is OK because we have a good looking chrome cargo rack up there and since we paid extra for the danged thing, we might as well use it!




Thursday, March 08, 2007

All this being nice

just makes me want to go kick some ass. Not really, I just wanted to sound tough. Instead I leave you guys wondering what the hell is Mike rambling about this time.

I have been trying to limit the amount of time the kids are in the car for the past few days, since they are getting a double-dose sized car trip tomorrow. But we had a few errands to run this morning.

Stop number one was the toy library. They let you check out developmentally appropriate toys, mainly educational type things, for a couple of weeks at a time. Anyways, we were on the way out to our car, which we had parked about 30 miles from the front door. Almost to our car, I saw a mom unloading several toys to return and I happened to notice that she still had to get her infant out of the van and try to get all of this stuff to the library.

I asked if she needed a hand and I offered to carry the toys up for her. I was a little bit flattered when she asked me if I would just stand with the sleeping 4 month old, since he would surely wake up if she tried to take his carrier out of the car.

The kids and I did our baby duty. The mom returned in short order and thanked us profusely. A little ego boost for AtHomeDaddy. And hopefully a simple life lesson for my kids.

This afternoon, I was getting the truck ready to go for a ride, to escape from my own kids since they did not nap today. Our neighbor waved me over and asked me to stay with his three day old baby, who was loaded into the car, while he had to run into the house and do something for a couple of minutes.

A second ego boost for AtHomeDaddy. Yeah for helping! The Talker and The Princess were not around to witness this time. They were fighting like tired and rabid dogs in our backyard. Which may explain why I was in the front yard.

It sure was nice to be able to offer up a little help today. Now I think I'll just return back to my usual grumpy self.

For the record

Other Dad has received mentions in this blog here, here, here, here and here.

There is also this one, this one, this one, and this one. I guess if you want to be picky, he also gets a mention here and here.

So there.

It's a musical journey

I sat this morning and loaded my digital music player for the road trip. A few highlights from my selections, lots and lots and lots of The Master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins. Also, several Greatest Hits collections from Willie Nelson, George Strait. There are selections from Lyle Lovett, Norah Jones, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Edie Brickell and Bob Schnieder.

But enough with Texas music. I also have some U2, Billy Joel, Cowboy Junkies, Harry Connick Jr, Alan Jackson and Ray Charles.

Then there were a couple of last minute additions to fill the player. Todd Snider and Tracy Chapman. I still need to tweak the playlist a little, to make sure there is no wasted space, but I don't for see any major changes.

Don't you people know waaaaaaaay too much, already?

OK, I got tagged. And If I don't do it now, I never will. But my weirdness seems to be well documented around here, so here are six random things in the order that they just popped into my head.

1. I love love love love live breaking news coverage. My sister was home sick the day President Reagan was shot. When I walked in from school, she was talking to a neighbor and I was being a pest, so she told me "The President got shot. Go watch TV." And that started my love affair with live TV news. Can you think of ANYTHING that beats watching a car chase on mid day cable news? I can't.

2. I was in high school when the first Space Shuttle blew up. My American History/Government/Economics/World History teacher let a couple of us sit in her room most of the day and watch the news coverage.

3. I once drove a golf cart all the way up a really long stairway. Yeeeeee Haw! It was at a summer camp in Indiana and they had a stairway down the hill, leading from the parking lot to the main camp. They called it the 'Stairway to Happiness'. After the drive, I renamed it 'The Highway to Hell'. Later that summer I almost cut off my own thumb...

4. I lived the same house for almost all of my first 18 years. In the 18 years since, I had 15 different mailing addresses, including summer camps, college dorms and one long summer living in a pop-up trailer before we had been married a year. Since we have been here for almost half of that time, I really had 14 addresses in 11 years. When it was just me, I loved to move. Now, I hate packing. So we will never move.

5. I love a good road trip. Since we started dating, The Boss Lady and I have made several 1000 mile car trips. I tried like a madman to talk her into a drive through the Central Western US last summer, looping up to Mt Rushmore, through the Rockies and back home. I imagine my love affair with the open road may die a cruel death later this week.

Need more insanity, Check here and here.

T minus 28 hours, 29 minutes and counting

to lift off.

Other Dad talked me into taking a different route for the first leg of our trip. My route had us going right through Houston on I-10. He used to live there and he described that route on a Friday as going "into the belly of the beast". Even if I am heading to Disney World to worship at the altar of the Great Mouse, "belly of the beast" just does not sound like a place I want to go. Google Maps be damned, we are taking Other Dad's route.

The last couple of days I have caught up on laundry and house cleaning. Hopefully we will finish loose ends tonight and in the morning I will get the car all packed up when The Boss Lady heads to work for a few hours. If the plan works out, she will get home, we will grab a quick lunch and hit the road before noon.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Let's Dance

I need to throw out a little Mean Green love.

After all, my parent's spent enough money on the place while I was there. I mean really, if they were not paying off my professors, then how else do you account for that diploma hanging in the hallway?

I digress. The Men's Basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament. It is always good to see the UNT doing something good. And it was super cool to see them play on ESPN2 last night.

Go Mean Green! Long live Eppy!

OK, the synapses are firing again

As I stood up from the computer I felt a funny, tingling sensation on my feet and I remembered what I wanted to post.

I am now a Croc wearin' sumbitch. I bought a pair of Navy Blue Caymans last night at REI. With my annual dividend refund and a 20% off coupon, I am now trendy and stylish for only $15.69.

OK, I am a little late to the party, since these things are everywhere in Austin. Seems like every stay at home dad I know has at least one pair. I bet if I look hard enough at church, I'll see a few pairs there. If not, I think mine would look great with a navy suit!

So this morning The Talker sees me taking out the trash in my Crocs. He yells at me as he is running for the backyard, "Dad. You got Crocs. You are so cool!"

Thanks, boy. Yes I am.

By the way, with the nobby insole, these things are com-fort-a-ble. And oh, so sexy! Soon I will have the only fur-covered pair in existence, because they seem to attract dog hair like crazy.

Jealous, much?

I had a great post

all mapped out in my itty-bitty pea-brain. But now it is gone.

Back to laundry.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I liked him better when he was sneezing all the dang time

Yesterday The Talker started a prescription for allergy medications. We have now seen the devil. He looks just like our son, but he is all amped up on allergy meds. And he can't. Sit. Still.

It turns out that the extra energy The Talker demonstrated this afternoon may have just been the warning shot. And now I doubt he was resting or sleeping at nap time. More likely he was communing with the dark overlord. I think they were plotting their takeover of our house for this evening.

I have seen kids who were made completely manic by drug reactions and I always thought it was funny, since they had to go home with someone else. This time, it is not so much funny.

I put The Talker/Satan Boy on our mini-trampoline this evening to try and wear him out. Why not earlier? 'Cause I am an idiot, and I forgot about the trampoline. But at least I am not possessed! His mission was to jump and count to one hundred. Usually he wears out at 20 jumps or so. He went to 100 three different times tonight.

Add in the half hour of running laps, chasing his imaginary friend Pablo, who we haven't heard about in months, around the back yard and I think we will be changing that medication in the morning. Either that or we break out the horse tranquilizers. Since there is no way in hell I am giving this high energy Satan Boy a ride all the way to Florida.

Edit: We are giving him half the dose this morning and half tonight, instead of all at once. I don't know if it will help keep him from climbing the walls, but it might be his best chance to live through the afternoon.

"Hey Dad, let's bust it up!"

Cleaning house, doing trip prep. I start checking out the fridge and the pantry for anything that we need to use up or throw away before we leave. After cleaning out the leftovers in the fridge, I moved on to the mini fridge and the freezer out in the garage. Surely there is some stuff that needs to be thrown away out there.

Two old beers, dumped in the compost bin and the mini fridge can get turned off for a couple of weeks. In the deep freeze I found a couple of water filled milk jugs of solid ice. We stuck them in the freezer, when it was new, since all of our frozen food had spoiled with the demise of the last freezer. And supposedly these things work more efficiently when they are at least half-full. So we froze water in milk jugs.

Anyways, I took the last one out to make room for other stuff. I decided to see what Kodak would do with it in the back yard, so I hurled it out there. But the dog never got a chance.

The Talker just spent 90 minutes beating the frozen snot out of that milk jug. He used anything he could find, shovels, garden rakes, and big sticks. He was proud enough of the carnage that he came to get me after it was over. "Hey Dad, I got all of that ice out of the milk jug for you."

I think he got a pretty good work out. He is now resting in his bedroom. And I think I'll go freeze another block of ice, so he will nap again next month.

Like snack-eating moths to the flame...

I just spent half an hour cleaning up the kitchen. It was spotless when I walked out of there, about 15 minutes ago. Now? I doubt it is still clean, but I really don't want to go see.

As soon as they spotted the nice clean sink, the kids wanted to play "Cups". They haven't played in a while, so I caved and they are now happily trashing the kitchen.

Cups involves a trickle of water coming out of the faucet and one side of the sink closed off, to hold the water in. The kids get out the plastic cups and measuring spoons and they...

Well, I don't exactly know WHAT they do in there, but they will keep busy for an hour and the only damage is usually a wet floor, a stack of dirty plastic cups and a couple of changes of clothes for the kids.

So raise your cups and splash the morning away. I think I'll go clean some bathrooms.

Monday, March 05, 2007

It's for the greater good, folks!

There have been new toll roads opening up all over town in the last four months or so. We went from having no toll roads to having something like 50 miles of brand new tolled highways in a short time.

And they have been controversial, to say the least. Not surprisingly, lots of people don't want to pay even more to drive on the roads around here. Our property taxes and gas taxes are high enough, already.

We don't use the first batch of toll roads very often, but we are glad to have them for the traffic relief. This weekend the one toll road we have been waiting for opened up. This bad boy starts a few miles from our house and will eventually drop The Boss Lady about a half mile from her office. For now she still has to deal with a few traffic lights on the far end, where road construction is ongoing.

Anyways, she stayed home to help with Pediatrician's appointments this morning. Her drive on the old road took about 40 minutes at this time of day, so she was a little excited to try out the new road today. She left a few minutes ago to head to work and called less than 15 minutes later, letting me know she was almost there.

The real test will be coming home, when her drive is currently taking closer to an hour some days. Hopefully it will be another 20 minute trip!

All of you guys that whined about the new toll roads around here, please shut up. It looks like my wife will gain an hour or so a day, not sitting in traffic. Plus, she is missing something like a dozen traffic lights each way. And me having a happy wife is good for all of us.

It should work like this: The wife will be happier because of her new commute. I will be scoring more, since the wife will have a nice relaxing drive home every day. And that will make me happy.

Since I will be happier, I won't be cutting you clowns off in traffic and causing you to flip me off. Which ruins both of our days. My kids will be happier, since their parents are relaxed and scoring all the time. So they won't be beating up your kids at the playscape. Which can ruin a lot of days for a lot of people. And since your little brats won't be getting beat up by my kids, they will be happy. Which will make you happy. And maybe you will spread the love around some, too.

So there you have it. It is simple. Be like Mike. Keep paying your tolls and have a nice life.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

102.6

Oh dear god. The girl is running a fever. And the boy may have an ear infection, cause he is deaf as a post right now. The Pediatrician is getting a double dose of us in the morning.

108 hours until we leave town for 10 days.

AtHomeDaddy is now praying for the 24 hour flu or maybe even an 18 hour variety. We need non-sick kids for this car ride. But I will pass on toxic kid germs to the mouse if neccessary.

All Disney, all the time...

Leaving later this week on a three thousand mile road trip to Disney World. Realizing that Friday is quickly closing, we are in full-speed packing and preparation mode. Yesterday The Boss Lady packed suitcases for the kids and herself. They all worked on packing snacks and selecting toys for the car trip.

The Boss Lady is setting each kid up with an aluminum cookie sheet they can hold in their laps while they play with toys. To keep the noise down, she glued down some rubber sheets to the pan. Now the pans hopefully won't be too noisy, but will be rigid enough to hold up to 3000 miles of legos and hot wheels.

The wife has already established rule number 1 for the car. NO CRAYONS! The kids will get colored map pencils for their creative needs. They even get pencil sharpeners because you can vacuum up pencil shavings but not melted crayon.

I worked on getting the car ready. We are hauling extra junk on one of those trailer hitch mounted cargo carriers, so I started playing with how to best utilize the space. We bought the cargo carrier a while back but this will be it's first real trip. Yesterday I found a lock that keep the the carrier attached to the trailer hitch, so don't even think about trying to steal my cargo carrier.

For my final trip prep of the day, I watched National Lampoon's Vacation. And after seeing how small our Saturn Vue really is inside, I think The Family Truckster would be really nice, right now.

A side note: Did you know there are currently 39.1 million Google reults for Disney World but only 2.8 million Google results for Willie Nelson. Where is the justice?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ooops, I did it again.

Moving Day came around again, this morning. Neighbor kids are over playing and I planned to get a jump on the house yesterday afternoon. I looked around the house and realized that I did not really want to clean. So I did man stuff.

I fired up the mower, the weed whacker and the electric blower. The yard was spotless when I finally quit at dinner time last night. It did not really help with the clutter in the house, but it made me feel better to have the yard squared away.

The Boss Lady and the kids straightened their rooms last night. Then this morning the wife cleaned the kitchen, while I moved the last of the clutter to the storage room, also know as the master bedroom.

One of these days we are actually going to put all of this clutter somewhere for keeps. The best idea I have right now, is in the big giant dumpster behind the convenience store up the street. Maybe all these kids can keep busy for a while, while I drive Marge up there with the first load.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Return of Shark Boy and Lava Girl

This morning we went to our favorite park. The kids have been playing a lot of Shark Boy and Lava Girl lately, so where better to play than where part of it was filmed, at the playscape in Zilker Park.

It was nice to sit back with the camera and watch the kids play. So here are a few pictures from our morning.

By the way, I love The Boss Lady's new digital camera.
I caught a jump as it happened, thanks to it's really fast shutter.





A peek of the famous playscape, behind the girl.





The weirdest thing I saw today actually had nothing to do with my kids. For once. When we got to the park there was a preschool group out in the field trying to fly kites. 10 or 12 kids and 2 teachers were successfully keeping 5 or six kites aloft.

Then kite flying time must have been over. The teachers lined everyone up, reeled in the kites and walked the kids across the parking lot to the playscape. Nothing weird up to that point. But on the way they stopped each kid and made them throw their kite away. Huh?

So we went from 10 kids around the playscape to 20 in an instant and everyone of the new arrivals was crying their eyes out. I guess that is one way to end a morning of fun.

So I present to you a final picture. I call it Kite Carnage.


The funny thing is the teachers saw me taking pictures of the kites. So as we were walking to the car, one of them stopped by the trash can to push the left overs a little further into the can. I should have run over and snapped a shot after that...

Colbert Report - SAHDs

The local Stay-at-Home-Dads group was taped for a segment on The Colbert Report. The kids and I skipped out on the fun, since I had never heard of Colbert or his show. Our cheap-o satellite package does not include The Comedy Channel.



If the embedded video does not work, here is a link to the segment. Or go here foranother link to the same clip,You have to endure an add over here to get to the clip. I linked to both, since I don't know how long either will be available.

Pretty funny stuff.

The Legend of the Penny Bet

Back in college JB dared to correct me when I told him that a girl who lived in our dorm drove a silver Ford sedan. He said it was white. Problem is I had a huge, stalker like crush on this girl (let's call her Ice cream Girl, for reasons that I won't go into here...) and I KNEW the color of her car. It was silver. I was right. So we walked to the parking lot, to settle it like men.

On the way I blurted something out. No real surprise there. But this declaration has stayed with me since that fateful day, standing in the parking lot on the west side of Crumley Hall.

Before we spotted Ice Cream Girl's car, I wanted JB to know how right I was and how wrong he was. A prelude to the taunting that was about to begin. So I declared (and won) the first Penny Bet.

I am not much of a gambler. Don't really see the sense in giving my money away to someone else on a dare. Besides that, I was living off of mom and dad back then and I would not have wasted their money on gambling. Beer? Maybe. And that's all I'm sayin'.

A Penny Bet is much more than swapping money on a silly contest. It is about respect. When you take away the penny, you take the other guy's honor. And you have the right to gloat. For years. Or until you lose the penny.

A Penny Bet can be declared at anytime, by anyone. For example, a few days ago, The Boss Lady called one. She won. Therefore I can't remember what it was about. Last night I redeemed myself. The bet? If there was one last Dr Pepper in the garage fridge. The Boss Lady really did not want to go out there on the chance that there would be no Dr Pepper left, but she could not resist the pull of the penny.

She came back in with the last soda and looked like a whipped puppy. Yeah for me! I won the penny, let the gloating, end zone dancing and taunting begin.

We used to have a penny that changed hands. JB and I kept one taped to the wall of our apartment. There to remind the loser of his current status. The funny thing, I think we hardly ever moved the penny. It was taped by a light switch. And it was easy enough to remember if you were in possession or not. But this is about honor, remember? The penny plays but a minor role.

Years ago The Boss Lady and I quit exchanging pennies. And we sometimes go months without a bet. I can't remember the last bet before the most recent two.

Penny Bets are usually sucker bets. And everyone knows it. But the only thing worse than losing a Penny Bet is refusing to join into a Penny Bet.

So now you know. The Penny Bet. Use the knowledge carfully. Taunt ceaselessly and lose graciously. Awww screw that, lose like a big whiny baby. A giant hissy fit makes it more fun for the other guy.

I got nothin'

Since I last posted, no one has been to the Emergency Room, the psych hospital or to to the police station. We haven't needed the service of a plumber, roofer or candle stick maker. Neither the fire department nor the paramedics have stopped by. No one has any new addictions, hobbies, major phobias or noticeable stutters.

The Talker does have a wicked bad bruise on his arm that he knows not from whence it came. And The Princess hasn't walked out of the house in a week without her pink boots. The Boss Lady has lost her voice and my keys to her car are still missing.

The garden is mostly in. Just a few herbs, tomatoes and potatoes to plant. The Big White Dog still stinks, since I never finished brushing him out after I spent two hours working on him last week. 8 days until we leave for Cannonball Run '07.

So there you go. Like I said at first, I got nothin'. But it has been a good week, nonetheless.