Saturday, September 29, 2007

Since I know you care

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

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

Church and mowing the yard on Sunday.

Aren't we fun?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Marge to the popsicle rescue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Terry wished it on me...

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

21 days to lift off

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

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

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

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mow it yerself!

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nice neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 21, 2007

Not much about nothing

I got nothing.

Too busy to find something to blog about.

And that sucks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you feel the sense of dread and impending doom?

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gut check

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 14, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Once upon a time...

News about grocery stores would not have made me giddy.

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

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

Hooray for shopping locally!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

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

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

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

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

Tuesday ToDo list

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Good stuff!

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Thanks J.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Blaming my mother in law...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I ordered up the sports package on out satellite system.

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

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

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

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

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

Must plan better later.

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

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Parking lot woes

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 03, 2007

One of those conversations I never though I'd have

with the boy...

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

He was just plain WRONG!

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

Heck I can even name the JoBros, dude.

God, I really am sooooooooo lame.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Cookout Rainout

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

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

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