I borrowed a neighbor kid this morning. He keeps things interesting for my two and since they are all playing happily, I can get some stuff done around the house.
The kids were playing in the front yard while I was working on laundry in the garage. I was focused on the task at hand, because my daughter will NOT nap or sleep or rest or even get drowsy without her star blanket and her animal blanket. Whatever it takes. I'll keep washing these things until she is in college if she will just sleep at night...
The Princess saw me switching her sheets and blankets from the washer to the dryer. She crawled into the garage and told me "Oh Daddy, you're the greatest!" She hugged my leg and then went back to her role as Princess Leia's puppy. Which explains the crawling, I guess.
I am still confused as to which of the boys was pretending to be Princess Leia out in the front yard, and why he/she needed a puppy, but whatever gets 'em tired enough for nap, right?
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I borrowed a neighbor kid this morning. He keeps things interesting for my two and since they are all playing happily, I can get some stuff done around the house.
The trucks came a few minutes ago to pick up our pile. So Junkin' Season is over.
the back of a waiting semi trailer.
It is a good show!
A successful season for all. The Talker got new ramps, I got a tool box, The Boss Lady got me off my ass and I covered the hole in our attic ceiling with stuff I found.
The Princess got a drain cover for her plastic swimming pool to replace one I misplaced a while back. Now we can quit using duct tape every time she wants to swim. The things a princess has to put up with around here... Geesh!
Best of all, we unloaded a ton of crap. Most of it was already scavenged before the trucks arrived. 2 TVs, both that had been picked up on earlier Junkin' trips, a clothes dryer, a wheelbarrow, several broken patio umbrellas, lots of scrap wood, a broken toy or two and a couple of old patio chairs. Definitely got rid of more than I picked up this year, which is not always true...
So now is like the day after Christmas. the longest possible time before another round of Junkin' begins. And worst of all, I'll probably have another junk pile started before the fall.
We are going feral around here. In another hour we will be wearing leaves and picking fleas off of each other for fun.
The Boss Lady is gone to a 3 day conference. The kids and I are on our own. I suddenly feel very outnumbered. If you do not hear from me by the end of the week, assume there has been a mutiny and I have been robbed of my supreme power.
3 days is not really so bad. I was talking to one of my SAHD buddies yesterday and his wife was gone for more than 2 weeks in a row two different times in the past 6 weeks. So I'll try to keep my bitching to a minimum.
What about all the whining, you ask? There will surely be plenty of that in the next few days. And if I am in a good mood, I might even let the kids join in the whine-fest.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
You know who is a freaking idiot? Not Handy Manny, he is almost a god in this house.
Nope, the jack-ass who decided that it was a good idea for our clothes dryer to be vented 15 feet through the attic, requiring 5 90 degree turns in the duct work. The outside wall of the house is less than three feet away, it surely would have been easier to blow the exhaust out there.
I just spent the better part of two hours ripping into walls and repairing the duct work. It must have worked for a while, but judging by the amount of lint that I got out of the duct work, our 25 year old house hasn't been putting a lot of dryer lint into the environment. I believe there was at least 19 years and 7 months worth of dryer lint clogging the line.
And how does one figure out they have a clogged dryer vent? Simple, we replaced our dryer last week. And the new $600 machine wasn't working worth a damn. Now I feel a little silly about setting our old one out at the curb so quickly.
But I only feel a little bad, because that old dryer squeaked and squealed something awful. It is kind of nice to have a nice quite dryer now. Big bonus if it will actually dry the damn clothes!
I just realized, it must be summer, 'cause it was HOT out there. And I usually enjoy getting to use the reciprocating saw to rip holes in walls. But not so much today. Maybe I just REALLY enjoy cutting into other people's walls...
Friday, July 27, 2007
I am an absolute Simpsons freak. I seldom miss an episode, even the 10pm daily re-runs. And I have every DVD set they have released.
The first time I dropped $15 on a T-shirt was for a shirt with a Simpson's family portrait. When the show first came out I was dating a girl who lived in an hour away and Sundays were the only day we could see each other. But I would always cut our dates short to get home in time to see The Simpsons. She never did seem to share my love for The Simpsons.
Today my wait is over. We are going to see The Simpsons Movie in about an hour.
Actually the kids are going to see Ratatouille with their cousin while The Boss Lady and I go see The Simpsons Movie. What a deal, a date at 9:10 in the morning! A big bonus, we also have tix to see The Simpsons Movie again tonight at like 5pm across town. It was all a part of my birthday present extravaganza from the wife and kids.
So see you suckers later. I've got a couple of dates with my wife.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
This is Junk Week in the neighborhood. The once every six months chance we have to toss things that are too big to fit into our 60 gallon city-issued trash cans. Need to brush up on your Junkin' history? Follow the links over at this post.
Last weekend I set our our old clothes dryer. I knew it would be out on the curb for several days, since the real Junkin' weekend was still a full week away. But I really wanted that dryer out of my garage. It was a pleasant surprise when it disappeared in less than half an hour.
As of Wednesday, piles started forming at neighbor's curbs. And now we have drug home our first Junkin' catch of the season. Which means it is time to gas up the truck and hitch up the trailer. Junkin' Season is here!
By the way, The Talker is the winner of our first trophy. 3 skateboard ramps and a tabletop connector.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The kids and I ventured out to the Austin Children's Museum yesterday morning. Actually, we drove down there on Monday morning only to remember that they were closed to kids over 3 years old until after noon. So we went to Chick-Fil-A at the mall. But, I digress.
So Tuesday morning must have been the Mom's group meet-up day at the kid's museum. There were little pockets of moms gathered up in every corner and it seemed that not a single one of them was watching a child. At one point I counted 15 moms standing and chatting in a small area that the kids have to pass through to get from one exhibit to the next.
I hope the moms had fun visiting with their friends, because I KNOW their demon kids had fun wrecking the museum and shoving all the other kids away from the fun. The huge field trip group that was there from one of the local day care was much better supervised and well behaved than most of these guys that were left to play while mom yakked away the morning.
I have to say, there were only a couple of dads there yesterday, like most mornings at the museum. And each of us, yes I include myself in this, had kids that were well behaved and having fun without destroying the museum exhibits. Yeah for the Dads!
True confession time: there were four or five kids who were much worse than all the rest. Their escorts? Two Grandpas who made the mom's groups look highly attentive to the path of destruction their kids left behind.
Usually I dread going to the Children's museum on days that I know schools and day cares will be taking field trips. From now on I think I'll be more concerned with the number of moms and grandpas in the place.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Back in March I dropped my favorite hobby, drinking Dr Pepper. It took a while to get completely off the sauce, but I made it a couple of months. The Boss Lady was home for the summer and we started buying sodas again. Now that she is back at work, I'll be better about that.
But on our last trip to Pop's place I remembered a nice little thing about the Texas Gulf coast. They sell Dr Pepper made with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar in 20 ounce bottles, all over the place. Of course, they get tourist prices, but even at $1.30 a bottle, I can't resist.
For Dr Pepper fans this is The Good Stuff. The Nectar of the Gods. The Holy Grail of Soda Pop. And I am sitting here sipping my last one, right now.
So here is the deal. Like a problem gambler who decided to only bet on the WNBA, I am declaring my self off of the sauce again. Except for trips to the coast. And since I am almost out of the good stuff, the kids and I might be driving back down there on Tuesday. KB, you want me to getchasome?
Saturday, July 21, 2007
When we left town it looked like it was supposed to be OK weather at home all weekend. And we were supposed to be sitting in rain down here athe entire time. Not how it worked out so much. Evidently is has rained most of the time at home, and we had a nice sunny afernoon bayside.
Lots of fishing this afternoon, several ice cream sammiches and a plate of flounder that would have fed the Prussian Cavalry. I ate it all by myself instead. But hey, it's my birfday, so I get to do what I want!
And now I want to go to bed.
Friday, July 20, 2007
We drove down to Pop's place on Matagorda Bay yesterday afternoon. Arrived about 8pm. I should have been fishing by 9pm, but it is raining,my allergies are bugging me and I can't sleep.
Plus, I have heard that fish don't bite when you are too whiney, so I might as well stay n this weekend.
Hopefully the sneezing, whining and rain will stop soon and the kids and I can go catch a nice flounder dinner.
Just in case, the grill down on the highway makes a great friedfish plate for 8 bucks. And they even serve me when I whine.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
This morning the AtHomeTrio headed out to meet up with our local At-Home-Dad's group for a play date. It was like old times, since we haven't hit a group playtime since the start of summer.
On the way home we drove past The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It is not uncommon to see teens and young adults in the area around the school working with staff on things like crossing streets safely and walking on the city sidewalks to get to the shops and restaurants in the area. So I hardly noticed the group of three teens crossing a busy street together, each with a white cane in hand.
At least I did not think much of it until one of the group tripped and fell on a median curb. The problem got a lot worse for that guy when his cane rolled into the storm drain. Stuck in the middle of the busy street without his white cane to help guide him to safety. The kids and I watched all of this unfold, but I could not safely leave the kids in the car and rush across the intersection. Even doing something nice might get you run over in this town.
By the time I was able to get pulled over, another guy who had seen all of this go down had pulled over and was fishing the cane out of the storm drain. Good thing he was a skinny fellow, I could not have fit through that hole anymore. After laying in the street I bet his poor dress pants won't ever be the same, though.
Dress Pants Man had left his truck blocking a lane of traffic, so he left quickly after he landed the cane. The guy who had tripped was embarassed, but no one was hurt. The group was on the way to a cell-phone store and to Starbucks down the street. But after all of the chaos they were left unsure as to which corner of the street they were currently on. We walked closer to the stores and I left these guys to finish their errands.
The rest of our drive home was taken up with a nice chat with the kids. "Why did you stop, Daddy? Why didn't he just jump over the curb? Why did that guy lay down on the street? Why did those guys have sticks?" And it felt good to hear one of the kids say "that was nice of you, Daddy."
In the end, I hope that having the kids around to see stuff like that helps to counter some of the times that they get to see me acting like a turd. Yes, my kids saw and heard me yelling at the weed-eater last month. Classy Daddy!
Once home we ate lunch and The Princess napped while I tried to get the back yard mowed. Before I was half done it started pouring again. The Talker was out front, playing with the neighbors, so he got soaked, too.
Now I am hoping Dress Pants Man will stop by and finish up my yard this afternoon. After all, his pants are already ruined, right?
OK, so someone sold me out. I am betting it was one of our neighbors. The Boss Lady had been back at work for 75 minutes when the kids woke up.
She is home for a couple of weeks and everyone goes narcoleptic around here. Kids snoozing until 9 AM every morning and 3 hour naps each afternoon. But the first day back to the usual and kids are running around like banshees at 7:30.
Game on. I guess it was a good, if not too short, summer break. But I am not wild about this plan to get back in the groove so quickly.
I am really glad now that I slept until 11 yesterday morning. That's right, on a weekday. And THAT is what I call a summer break.
Monday, July 16, 2007
We undertook a successful home renovation today. It was really nice since we did not even start until 4pm and I was done and cleaned up before dinner. Plus, now Al Gore and his buddies will be happy.
We swapped almost all of our incandescent light bulbs out with compact fluorescent bulbs this afternoon. We have always used a few of these bulbs around the house, but we finally decided to spend the money on enough new bulbs to replace most of the old bulbs around here. IKEA has about the best prices on these bulbs around, but we were still out about $4 a bulb.
There are still a few incandescent bulbs around, but less than 10. We have dimmer switches in a couple of rooms. And I am not ready upgrade the dimmers so that we can use the compact fluorescent bulbs in there.
It will be interesting to see how the switch actually works out. I expect we will save a little bit on our electric bill, but it is going to take a while to recapture our $115 investment in light bulbs.
The Boss Lady goes back to work in 43.5 hours. Which means my summer break is officially over.
I am hopeful that some good will come from this 3 week break. Namely, the kiddos have remembered how to sleep until 9:30 am. The three hour naps each day have been pretty good, too.
I guess in another couple of days it is back to potty training and never ending snack times.
Good thing I got a nice long nap in.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Some time last Spring I ran my phone through the washing machine with a load of blue jeans. The jeans came out looking spiffy. And the phone still worked, though the battery died in the flood. Since The Boss Lady and I had identical cell phones, I was able to test out my phone with her battery.
An aside, yes, it is indeed true, having the same cell phone as your spouse does qualify as one of the worst decisions you can make in a marriage.
I was able to dry my phone out and get it working again after buying a new $60 high capacity battery. Which sucked, because this was the freebie phone from the cell phone company. I wouldn't have paid $60 for it originally. But the company would not let me upgrade phones unless I bought one of theirs at full price. Of course, they did not sell one for less than the cost of the battery.
Months later I read in an online group that our local Costco, where we had bought the phones originally, had generous phone return policies. One of those guys had swapped a broken phone that was a couple of years old for a new freebie. So I kept thinking I would put Costco to the test.
Several months have gone by since then. And I finally remembered about the plan to swap out my worn out old phone. But I made a rookie mistake. I told the wife.
So yesterday she dealt with Costco and the phone kiosk guys to get my phone swapped. Though it took about an hour and multiple explanations to numerous people about how the phone would not work properly, when she walked away she had a new phone in her hand. For herself.
Huh? But I was the idiot who washed my phone. I should be getting the new toy.
It worked out like this. Costco swapped MY phone, minus that $60 battery. We swapped that into her phone first. And when we got home I spent an hour and a half getting the phone numbers switched so that The Boss Lady's number would be assigned to the new phone.
That was rookie mistake #2. If only I had told her "Sorry they can't do it..." So now The Boss Lady has my new Blue-tooth enabled phone with a camera.
And all I got this month was a new car, a working shower and some new clothes. But if anyone calls me to ask about my great month I have to talk to them on a crappy old cell phone. What a gyp.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
But this post is not about the best Hollywood offers up. It is about honor and cheating. And high school algebra classes. And some would say chemistry classes but they would be wronger than hell.
See, it started like this. The Talker found a calculator that I had in college. It was a freebie from a conference. Nothing fancy, just a simple solar calculator. Except it is round. And that makes it interesting to the boy. Whatever. This post is not really about that calculator.
We were heading out to run some errands this morning and he wanted to take the round calculator along so he could "do some math work". I ran back inside to look for a second little calculator that used to be in the computer cabinet. It is nothing special either, except that it is bright orange. But this post is not about that calculator either. Which is fine because I could not find it anyways...
I did find a scientific calculator that I used in high school. So I gave that to the girl to keep her busy during our errands. The kids carried the calculators in when we went to eat lunch. I think they were running a numbers racket on the wait staff because they ended up eating for free...
Anyways, The Boss Lady claims that this is her calculator that she used in her high school chemistry class. And she is sure of it. Because she remembers hiding cheat sheets in the case to make it through her Chem I class. Yes, she is a cheater. Can you believe that? I am appalled.
The wife further remembers me borrowing this calculator and that wonderful, magical case, to "get through" a college Algebra class. But I never did pass that class, so I think I must have not been using that calculator properly...
OK, so that was a lot of back story to make this post get back to the title...
Anyways, at lunch, while my Chemistry-cheating wife was lying about the origins of MY calculator, we were passing the machine back and forth to try to convince the other tpassedhat it really was the machine we had used in high school. The Princess got fed up that "her" calculator was being passed around like a stolen math test.
Worn out from not getting to play her numbers, she finally yelled at both of us "It was mine when I was in college. Give it back!"
But now I am a little worried that she knows too well about the "special powers that this calculator possesses. So maybe we'll need to find her a different one before she hits high school.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
My blog has started to take on a life of it's own in the neighborhood. And after laughing with a couple of the guys about my earlier post about our neighborhood July 4th parade, I thought I should throw up a couple of more quick videos of the parade no one watches.
It was just a really ugly coincidence.
The kids were painting on big sheets of cardboard, on the front porch. Which is right next to the driveway. Which is where my pretty new black car resides.
Red paint, blue paint, purple paint. All the colors of the rainbow and a few more.
But it was that can of red paint that flashed before my eyes when I saw the red splatter running down the side of my shiny black car.
Thankfully, it was red bubble gum. I guess I ran over it today and it smeared from the front tire all the way back to the back door. It washed off pretty well, after a lot of elbow grease, some coaxing and a little old fashioned cussing under the breath. OK, maybe it wasn't TOTALLY under my breath at first, but that was when I thought my car had been splatter painted .
In the end my car got it's second wash in as many days. And it's showing off some shiny black glory out in the driveway. Where there is absolutely NO red bubblegum allowed.
Monday, July 09, 2007
The Princess and I put our garden fresh veggies to use tonight. After I picked about 5 pounds of cucumbers and 3 pounds of green beans, we started searching for the stuff to make some salsa. We started our cooking project with a pound or two of Roma tomatoes then we pulled some onions, picked a dozen different peppers and stopped by our patio planter/herb bar to pick the last of the cilantro and some parsley.
The Princess had fun running the food processor to chop up everything that we needed for our first batch of salsa for the season. After she chopped the first of the onions we opened the bowl and both got blasted right in the eyes with the onion fumes. Yeah for salsa that makes you cry!
While it was simmering, the whole house started to smell like our favorite Mexican food place. If you could take a snort of the air around here, you would want to move in. This salsa is going to be good. All thanks to The Princess' excellent chopper work.
Since you can't smell it, I'll at least let you take a peek at our home made salsa extravaganza.
Now we are just waiting for the salsa to cool down a little. That and we are out of taco chips. Actually we have some, but they are stale. And I am not wasting this stuff on stale chips. So The Boss Lady chipped in and is currently making a grocery run.
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
The most common reason people seek out this blog has turned out to be one of The Talker's toys. A Google search for Tomy Big Big Big Loader lands one of my old posts right in the top ten results. And the purpose of this post is to help it stay there...
No one sees to have the original instructions for the set, including us, but a while back I ended up with a copy of most of the instructions in a pdf file. I have emailed that file to at least 20 people since then. Hopefully it has been helpful. They toy is kind of a pain to put together...
Anyways, do any of you guys know if/how/where I could just post a link to the pdf file if I had it hosted somewhere out in net-land? I would love to just keep a link to the file on the sidebar of this blog, but I am lost on getting it done. Unless Rick wants to host it on his server?
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I spent most of the day looking for another new weed-eater. And now that I am home with a new machine, no one is here to ogle it with me. The wife and kiddos have gone up to The Mother of the Bride's house until Monday afternoon.
Sadly, I had to miss the trip since I have to teach Sunday School AND the yard needed to be hit with a fully functional weed-eater. No way am I leaving town with a half edged yard. The neighbors would talk...
I found the newest family member (And that is true, since my new nephew was born at like 3pm and I bought the weed-eater at 7:30) at Lowes for $50 more than the gas powered junk-mobile from Sears. It was $50 well spent. More money seems to = AtHomeDaddy not throwing a hissy fit in the driveway when the machine turns out to be a piece of crap.
Now that the yard is finally finished, I am having big fun. Watching the Bravo broadcast of the Live Earth concert and catching up on a little blogging. Not sure what I will do until Monday afternoon.
Probably nothing. Lots and lots of nothing.
I think I have done all of this stuff before...
I have spent most of the day searching for a new gas powered weed-eater and dealing with the plumber. Big fun around here.
Turns out the plumber who came out a couple of weeks ago did not quiet finish the job. When a different guy arrived today he immediately started talking about cutting into walls and replacing all of the shower/bathtub plumbing. Oh yeah!
He was able to stop the leak without ripping into the walls, but he strongly suggests that we do some more extensive replacement of fixtures soon. To the tune of another $700 . If they had simply done that replacement back when this started, we would not have shelled out the $370 the first time around. At least they did not charge us for the re-repair this morning. Oh joy!
Added to that, the weed-eater I bought right before I broke the shower is a total hunk of junk. Sears did not want to take it back, but they finally gave me a full refund. I guess they were tired of watching me cry...
Anyways, I am now back in the market for a weed-eater. But hopefully I am out of the market for a plumber for a while.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Back before Father's Day, My Best Investments had a post up about his wife's experience with their new Wii game system. Tonight The Talker and I got our grubby mitts on the cousin's Wii. We played Wii Sports like the amazing athletes we are.
But the best line of the night came out of The Talker's mouth while I was trading a pummeling with the wife in a vicious 3 round bout of Wii Boxing. One of those things that you just wouldn't think sounds funny until you hear it come out of a 5 year old's mouth. Especially when he yells it in a voice of pure joy and excitement.
"Yeah Daddy! Beat up mommy some more!"
After hearing that, I let my guard down. After all, what kind of role model am I? Wailing on a boy's mommy...
Then she sucker punched me. And I went down for the count.
Before the first round was even over.
Our neighborhood squeezed a July 4th Parade in between rain storms this morning. The end of the parade always features a fire truck shooting the water cannon into the air, so the kids can splash around in the street.
The Talker and The Princess aren't big on the water cannon, so we did not hang around long enough to see if they actually blasted the kids this year.
Here are some pictures of Marge, Kodak and the kids getting ready for the parade.
The curious thing about our parade, no one watches the parade. There are very few families that sit along the route and watch. The big fun is for the kids to BE the parade.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I spent a little while getting Marge ready for her neighborhood July 4th Parade unveiling this afternoon. I got her good and clean, but it looks like we are going to have nasty weather, so we will wait until morning to decide if it is worth unwrapping the streamers and window paint that we bought to really dress her up. If the parade is a wash, the paint can go back to the store. It was kind of pricey...
But the kids wanted to see some progress, so I give you Marge's shiny grill done up for the 4th.
But even better, here is our artist's rendition of Marge properly decorated for the parade. The Talker has the right idea with the streamers, our flag off of the porch and mom and sis all loaded up for the ride.
The new car comes with 3 months of activation on the XM satellite radio. I tend to use the direct MP3 input more than I listen to CDs or radio, so I won't be extending the service after the trial period ends.
But I have to say I love, love, love the old country stations on XM. It jut isn't worth $12 a month to hear George Jones, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. Especially since we have the best of the country stations XM on our DirecTV system, so I can always watch XM radio on TV. Still, they lower the price to $6 a month and I am in...
And even though XM feeds my country music obsession on multiple channels, the best thing going is Radio Disney. Dallas, San Antonio and Houston all have AM radio stations that broadcast Radio Disney, but all of the stations are too far off and too low power to pick up here. The kids have sampled Radio Disney on car trips, but I did not realize we already had daily access to RD. For free.
Turns out there is a live web feed at http://radio.disney.go.com/music/player/listen_live.html. You just have to use a PC and Windows... Also, there is some other cools stuff over on RDs homepage.
XM directly broadcast into my car may not be in my future, but I suspect we will be hearing a lot of Radio Disney around here in the coming days.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Even though I am sick of it, all of this rain has obviously been good for the garden. After church I picked 2 pounds of green beans, at least a pound of tomatoes, one real nice watermelon and two handfuls of peppers.
But the haul of the day goes to the cucumbers. I picked 16 of them. There must have been 3 pounds of cukes in the basket.
So I guess that is the pay off to the rain, which we are supposed to get a lot more of this week.
Also, soon after we planted our herbs this year, we found some caterpillars on the dill. After a neighbor told me that they would turn into beautiful butterflies. After I looked online, I found out that we have been hosting Black Swallowtail caterpillars. The kids have collected a few to watch inside, and we had one form a cocoon right beside our back door.
This morning The Princess came running in to wake me with the news that the butterfly had emerged outside. It must have just happened, because she was still stretching her wings out and drying off.
When we were picking cucumbers, The Talker and I found the butterfly again. This time she was getting a nice snack after a long nap. She was tucked inside the cucumber vines, sipping all of the flowers.
Of course, we had to go get The Princess up from her nap to see the beautiful butterfly they have been waiting for. Now both of them are really excited for their captive caterpillars to start building cocoons, because they want to see more butterflies.
This is pretty much why I garden. I don't really care if the kids eat anything out of there. I just want them to appreciate all of the good stuff that happens while our food is growing. And you have to admit, it just doesn't get more exciting out there than finding 18 inch long cucumbers and 6 inch wide butterflies.