Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crunchy Foods and Haircut Day!

We are now two weeks past tonsil surgery. So The Princess can now eat crunchy foods. This is a day she has been looking forward to since a few days BEFORE the surgery. The Boss Lady promised her that we would have a crunchy food party to celebrate getting to this point.

Do you realize that all of the really good foods are crunchy? M&Ms? Crunchy. Goldfish crackers? Crunchy. Apples, toast and frosted shredded wheat cereal? All crunchy.

And all on the menu for lunch today. Bring on the crunch!

This morning The Talker and I went over to my barbershop to get a real haircut. He saw the haircut I got yesterday and decided that he wanted a "man haircut, not a boy's cut." Turned out to be the best haircut he has ever.

Before. Part sheepdog, part boy.

After. That is a good looking almost 7 year old.

But don't even bother asking what he was doing with his hands.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We probably just shortened their lifespan,

but we named the chickens today. Figuring out perfect names may be the hardest part of having pet chickens and pet children in the same family. We have gone through several iterations of chicken names with this flock, but as of today, they are somebody.

The largest Light Brahma is Kernel (aka Colonel) - She leads the flock and seems to be the mother hen.

The smaller Light Brahma is Fillet (aka Fil-A) - Because The Talker has a sick sense of humor.

The Buff Orpington is Butterscotch - Because The Princess finally settled on Butterscotch.


The fourth bird, who turned out to not be a Buff Orpington, is called Mystery Meat (aka M&M) . This was the first bird named and the name has stuck.


Speaking of Mystery Meat, we are now fairly certain of her breed. She is a Red Sex Link Hen (aka Red Star). We were at the farm supply store and they had several brooders full of Red Sex Link hatchlings. They look exactly they way M&M looked back then. I am convinced that she was simply mis-sorted when the chicks were put out for sale. She should still be a good egg layer.

I screwed up and accidentally deleted the rest of the chick pics. I'll re-do them tomorrow.

It took more than a year

but I finally replaced my boots. For the record, no, I never stopped wearing my 13 year old boots. They made two more Thanksgiving family reunions even though the hole in the sole is big enough to see me toes through.

A new pair of black Justin boots finally made the leap into my closet this afternoon. I hope I get 13 years out of these. Also, just so you know, I am still not getting rid of my boots. They are getting re-soled and I'll wear them once in a while.

More than you ever cared to know about my boots?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas, check.

The presents are opened and the wrapping paper and boxes recycled. All of the grandparents have now sufficiently spoiled our children. The Boss Lady is now iPod rich, after she got one from her momma and one from her favorite husband.

Good times.

Next week we pack the stuff back into the attic and gear up for the rest of the school year.

C'mon summer time!

The quick highlights:

The Wifey - iPods
The Boy - Mario Kart
The Girl - Littlest Pet Shops a plenty
The Me - The world's hardest to set watch (And all of the cool kid's stuff.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Road Trip!

We are out of here for a couple of fabulous nights to make the family christmas party rounds in North Texas.

Here's hoping you had a Merry Christmas. Now, wish us luck and stop by and feed my chickens, OK?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Two days late

Let's give it up for Migraine Monday!

Sure, it is Wednesday, but I was too busy on Monday. Therefore, Migraine Monday was pushed to Wednesday.

Does that mean I get to hold off on buying The Boss Lady's Christmas gift until Black Eye Saturday?

Merry Christmas!
And a rambling blog post to you

The Boss Lady started a two week vacation on Monday. It sure is nice having her around once in a while. In the past I have tried to hustle up some work at my old job over the holidays, but this year I think all need the break. Especially since The Princess has felt like garbage until last night.

We switched medicines for overnight, based on advice from my new favoritest sister -in-law and The Princess slept like a baby for the first time since her tonsil surgery. 11 hours later and she is still sacked out. Thanks, Aunt A!

The kids are excited about Christmas. Though The Talker just yesterday swore off some of his favorite toys. "I hope I don't get any Star Wars. I have too much and I don't play with it much." Let's just say, I hope the boy can deal with a couple of disappointing gifts, then. Or he should decided to let us know before Christmas Eve when a toy is out of favor. Especially when Target had those disappointments on a 50% off sale a few weeks ago!

The fam went to our one and only Christmas Party the other night. A low key affair at the home of our new Pastor. He has kids. half the people there had kids. There were kids everywhere. Dancing in the kitchen, playing tag upstairs and football out in the front yard. And as usual for events like this, when I don't know most of the other adults, I had a lot of fun playing with the kids. The Boss Lady got to socialize with adults and I didn't have to. It was the perfect Christmas Party.

One last note: The Wii Fit is an official butt kicker. I am sore-up, from the floor, up, after messing with that machine for a few hours over the past week. Worse than the soreness though, The Talker seems to be able to beat me at most every athletic event. A big YEAH! for competitive yoga!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A question for the ages

The Talker asked at lunch today:

"Mom, is cole slaw made from real sloths? "

The Boss Lady managed to answer with a straight face.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Portable sick bay

Our kids like to sit around in laundry baskets. No idea why, other than we have about a dozen plastic laundry baskets around the house. But it seems to be a pretty nice place to nap when you are recuperating from tonsil yankage.

The movie list

Since having her tonsils taken out, The Princess has felt pretty lousy. Running through the movie selections at home pretty quickly, so we stopped at the grocery store to rent up some winners (and donuts) this morning.

So far she has watched:

6 original 3 Stooges episodes
About a dozen of the 3 Stooges cartoons
Barbie and the Island Princess
Disney Princess Enchanted Tales - Follow Your Dreams
TinkerBell (twice, I think)
30 minutes of Poke-e-mon
Loads of Disney/Nick/Noggin on TV
And I bet there were one or two others...

Now we are onto the rentals: Flushed Away and later, Kit Kitteredge: An American Girl

At this point, The Princess gets whatever makes her not feel worse. 20 hours of TV a day? No problem. 3 donuts for breakfast? You bet! Because not only does she feel really lousy from the surgery, but I seem to have picked a winner day to have a brain buster of a migraine...

Now back to your feature presentation(s).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tonsil Day!

The Princess will be having her tonsils and adenoids removed in the morning. Just like dad, she seemed cool and relaxed about the whole idea until tonight. She was a nervous wreck at bed time. And I keep thinking that even though they call it "minor surgery", there really isn't any such thing when it is your kid going into the operating room.

We should be home by noon tomorrow and I'll take my place as the sole owner of HUMAN tonsils in the house. Did you know that cats and dogs have tonsils? Chickens, too.

Amazing, the useless crap you can learn via Google...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do I complain more than you?

DO you complain when you get lousy service? I used to just blow it off, though I would blow off the store/restaurant/company that had provided the lousy service, too. I can hold a grudge for a long time. Just ask the wife why I never ever buy Exxon/Mobil/Devil Co. gas. Except that one time last Saturday when I was out of town, out of gas and couldn't find a decent gas station. But I only bought $10 worth of the devil's gas. I filled the tank a couple of hours later. At Chevron.

I digress.

We went out to eat after church on Sunday night. A quick bite to eat at a local chain Mexican food place. They have 5 or 6 stores around town and our least favorite location also happens to be the closest one to our house. The service is almost always sub-par. And, I suspect because of that, they are never crowded. But the food is good and the place is reasonably priced. So we put up with the lazy waiters and we eat there several times a month.

Until last night.

We walked in and waited at the host station for 5 minutes to be led to a dirty table. I was not happy about it, especially when there were less than 10 occupied tables (out of 50 or so) in the whole place. I wiped off our table and put the dirty leftover dish on another table.

By the time the wife and girl child returned from the bathroom, I was still waiting for a visit from a waiter to take our drink order. I had been at church and I really needed something to drink, you know... We waited another couple of minutes and then we walked out.

We went down the road and ate barbecue. Like all good Texans should do. And for the record I drank Dr Pepper.

This afternoon I emailed the corporate office to let them know how unhappy I have become with their lousy service at this location. All the other locations we have tried have decent waitstaff.

In the past I have complained about egregiously poor service at restaurants with mixed results. Seems the managers always make with the offer of a free meal pretty quickly so that we will give them another chance.

And actually, I am hoping that they offer some sort of peace offering. Because they make a really good chicken and bean burrito. But it is maddening that now I have to drive 15 minutes further to get one.

35 degrees of grocery run fun!

It is cold out there.

Yes, I know I am in Central Texas, and it is colder other places. But I am not in other places and it is cold and gray HERE. 35, as of a couple of minutes ago.

And for some reason I can't seem to stay inside. Earlier it was repeated trips to the recycling bin that lives outside, next to the garage. Most recently I have been making random trips to the garage to take care of the laundry. For the record, I like having the washer and dryer in the garage. It means that much less noise inside the house. Unless I need to wear a coat and snow boots to work without suffering frostbite.

Next up, we have to hit the road. Lunch with The Talker at his school, a trip to the bank, dry cleaners, grocery store, Costco, dollar store, and pet food store, hopefully all in one run. Luckily, all of these stores are within a couple of miles of here. See there is an upside to living in the 'burbs; stores and chickens, we have both!

Speaking of chickens, I really need to clean the coop today. But that involves setting up the power washer and being outside for an hour. Want to bet the coop cleaning does not get did today?

Looks like the odds are 35 to none.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why I am tired at 9pm

A peek into my day. Granted, it is still a sweet gig, but being on my feet from 6:18AM until 4:27PM is wearing me, and my tennis shoes, out...

Midnight Remember box of Christmas present doll furniture I promised to assemble for a single mom who works with me at the preschool that I left in The Boss Lady's car.

12:01 AM Run out to car to get box of toys I promised to assemble

6:18 Awake and in the shower, several minutes after The Boss Lady finishes up in there...

6:23 Simultaneous dressing and getting kids breakfasts ready

6:45 The last child is up and moving

6:45-7:21 Repetitively mumbling about shoes, jackets, backpacks and the like

7:21 Out the door for carpool run

7:35 Arrive at school 10 minutes before the tardy bell! Little victories, people...

7:55 Back home

7:55 - 8:30 Round two of repetitively mumbling about shoes, jackets, backpacks and the like as I am assembling Christmas present doll furniture. Add in one side trip to the garage to repair a broken part that is crucial to the assembly of the baby bed.

8:30 Out the door for school run #2

8:33 Back into the house for forgotten Christmas gifts expertly assembled earlier in the morning

8:35 Off to preschool

9:05 Arrive at school, drop off the girl 5 minutes late

9:15-9:55 Clean and set up playground for 85 kids to use later in the morning

9:55 Drive to fire station to drop off toys collected by the preschoolers

9:57 Drive to different fire station to drop off toys collected by the preschoolers since the first firefighters were out on a call

10:15 Watch as a firefighter is carrying in the carefully assembled doll furniture from earlier in the morning

10:15:30 Explain to firefighter why doll furniture is staying in my car

10:16 Reload doll furniture into my car

10:45 Back at the preschool after detour by Taco Shack for morning snack

10:50 Find out that I will be in The Princess' class for the rest of the day

10:50-1:15 PM Life was just a blur with 12 4&5 year old kids making Christmas crafts

1:35 Back home, let chickens out of coop

1:40 Try to eat lunch

1:45 Watch dog eat my lunch as I come back from a potty break

1:46 Clean up left overs and feed them to the chickens. Kick dog in the big white butt

1:50-2:15 Try to get new batteries into the TV remote and reprogram remote

2:15 Sit down to watch the news

2:22 Help dress that @#(*& Polly Pockets

2:27 Watch the news

2:35 Help dress a real doll

2:38 Give up and turn off the news

3:01 Meet the The Talker's bus

3:20 Run to bank (It ain't cheap being this busy...)

3:45 Run to Sonic for a late lunch

4:00 Back home

4:05-4:35 Wash my car with help from The Princess

4:35-4:40 Re wash my car, solo

4:41 Sit down to eat lunch

4:42 Lunch is cold, give up and feed it to the dog

4:43 The Boss Lady gets home. Day is almost done, now...

5:00 Leaving now for 6:00 meeting. At least they are serving dinner!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow jump!

It snowed a dusting last night. If it had been falling earlier, I would have gotten the kids up to see the snow coming down. But at midnight, when it was coming down the hardest, I was not brave enough to wake anyone up.

So what do you do in Texas with the most snow you have seen in years? Run outside and jump on the mini trampoline, of course.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

From one holiday to another

This afternoon, while I was putting out all of the lights and decorations in the yard, I finally decided that our Halloween pumpkin had seen enough time on our front porch. This was not one of the carved jack-o-lanterns, those were on the compost pile just a day or two later. This pumpkin was one that The Talker decorated with markers. So it was not rotting.

Yet.

Anyways, I broke the pumpkin open and let the chickens have at it. Need to entertain a flock of 2 month old chickens? Give them a busted pumpkin. They worked that gourd over for a couple of hours.


The lights are on. And The Boss Lady is home.

The wife was smart enough to get revenge this morning. I was sick and skipped church last week. So she pretended to be sick and skipped church this morning. Taking the kids to church solo is always an exercise in religious persecution. Keeping two kids from wiggling out of their seats is always fun. Much more when you can't yell at them to get the job done.

After church I went and hid in the one place kids aren't allowed at our house. The roof.

It took me many extra trips and lots of extra cussing to get the lights and Christmas decorations hung this year. But the job is finished. Lighted wreath, check. Polar bear inflatable, check. Tigger and Winnie the Pooh inflatable, check. Six strands of lights, got 'em.

But the best part of my set up? The remote control on/of switch that controls everything at once. I bought the system a few years ago and it rules! I have a little key fob remote that controls all of the Christmas lights at our house. No more running outside in pajamas to unplug lights when it starts to rain.

After I finished up with the decorations, the kids and I loaded up and took Marge for a cruise around the neighborhood. The weather is perfect and we wanted to make good use of a perfect December afternoon.

Pictures to follow tonight, once it gets dark enough to capture the full spectacle that is our yard.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

News from the coop

I keep getting emails asking if I want to check out their pics of chicks, so I thought I would share a few more pics of my flock.

Don't be worried. Still have all four, but the little Buff Orpington has gone camera shy. She splits the second the camera comes out.


I am not entirely convinced that the big girl in the front is actually a girl. There maybe a rooster hiding inside all those feathers.

The Light Brahma on the left in the above picture has her tail feathers coming in nicely.

Tonsils, Take Two

Like her big brother did, back in the summer of 2005, The Princess is about to lose her tonsils.

Right before Christmas!

Well, that part pretty much sucks, but it is also right before the year's paid-up health insurance deductibles run out. And that part pretty much rules. Of course, I am not a 4 1/2 year old girl who is about to endure Christmas eating only popsicles and ice cream. OK, is that TRULY a downside?

She asked me yesterday, "Daddy, does that mean I can't eat Chex Mix or Goldfish crackers ever again? Because I really like them."

I assured her that all of her faves would be waiting in the pantry for her AND that unlike her brother, we would keep the lemonade away until long after the surgery. Evidently that stuff really burns right after throat surgery.

Yeah. Sorry about that one boy. I didn't know. Because I still have my tonsils.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The real boss lady?

I was just scolded for being too loud. By a 4 year old. While I was loading the dishwasher for the first of two runs this morning (and at least the 6th load this weekend.) Good grief my family eats. A LOT.

"Hey, canya be quiet in dere? I'm watching The Backyardigans?!?!"

Here is hoping she survives to open her Christmas gifts.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I made it. NaBloPoNoMo

I started blogging back on June 7 of 2004. And until this month I had never participated in National Blog Posting Month. I had also never successfully blogged every day in a single month.

Well, with this post I have completed the mission. At least one post every single day.

At times it seemed like a challenge and some of my posts were duds, but it is finished. And just like I learned soooooo many times in college, I won't be doing that again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hail, hail the gangs all here


The AtHomeFam plus my parents are here already. 2 hours until parade time. Bring on the band.

video

Where is that parade?

video

Been here almost 2 hours. Still no parade. Or competition for viewing space. But the towing of cars away from the street has begun!

So at least I have cool stuff to watch.

I love my kids, I love my kids (Lather, rinse, repeat)

video

5:45 AM. In the morning. When the sun is still smart enough to be in bed. And my lovely bride is usually up and getting ready for work... I am sitting on the curb in downwtown Austin, holding a place so that my lovely offspring can get a god view of the Chuy's Children's Parade.

This is the official kickoff to the holiday season for our family, so I come down early every year. I was going to drive Marge down today, but since the heater is not functional I changed my mind at the last minute, and brought my car. Good thing, since someone decided parking along the main street was a bad idea. Had to park a block away and haul stuff down the hill to our best viewing spot EVER!

You may now begin your holiday season.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday update

The AtHomeFamily did not do our civic due diligence today. We did not shop. Sorry if your stocks tank on Monday.

Well, that isn't exactly correct, The Queen Mother and The Boss Lady did battle went to the grocery store. That ate up a couple of hours of their day, but the nice thing is that afterwards the rest of us ate like kings (or at least court jesters).

Later in the day the kids, cousins, Bro and the wives and I headed over to the mall. Still, we did not shop. Instead we bounced.

The mall by us has a bouncer gym. So we walked in the side entrance, bounced, made one quick jaunt to the Disney store and then we bounced back for some more fun. All told we were at the mall less than 3 hours. Even found parking on the front row.

When we got home we ate more. And after that we snacked and had dessert.

So we busted the food budget, but we did not really prop up the economy today. But it sure was awesome hanging out all day with Mom and Dad and my siblings.

Good times.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stuffing, check. Turkey, check. Laptops, check

I am hanging outside at our family reunion. No, I didn't get kicked out again. But they do have it inside of a metal building and the public wi-fi from the park across the street is weak. So no reception indoors.

A cousin is sitting in Ohio today and I promised him that I would bring a laptop to see if there was any net access out here in the sticks. I assumed there would be an open router or two around here, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found that there is also public access wi-fi in the little city park across the street.

I'll bring you updates if anyone gets too rambunctious, gets wild and drunk or starts a fight. Otherwise I'll be eating. See you after I gain another 15.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy chicken stew day!

Everybody does a nice Thanksgiving lunch. But hardly anyone knows how to finish up the day properly.

Luckily I am married to one of the people in the know. It is all about the chicken stew.

See, we do a big family reunion at lunchtime on Thanksgiving, cousins, aunts, uncles, several generations. But the real fun comes at AtHomeFamily Land, after lunch.

That is when The Queen Mother and Dad come over along with my siblings (and one who might or might not be a sibling- My So Called Aunt) and all of their families. 20 people hanging out, watching The Cowboys whip the Seahawks and then The Longhorns beat up on a bunch of poor Aggies.

The best part of the day? The gloating after the big win. The Aggies around here will have a lot to live down.

Second best? The chicken stew that has been cooking all day long. The Boss Lady and the kids worked on the stew for several hours this morning. It cooked all day. The super-duper sized stock pot is almost overflowing.

I skipped my usual chicken stew pre-meal sampling tonight. The pot was already in the refrigerator before I got to the kitchen. But please do not worry, I'll be the first in line, right after I finish eating some turkey.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chick this out!

The chicks have been evicted. They are spending their first night outside tonight. I spent the afternoon setting up their overnight cage in my garden shed. This set-up was probably not going to be big enough for the 6 full grown chickens that we started with. But I think it will accommodate 4 very nicely.

For tonight the chicks get a light in the shed. When it is warmer I'll put the light on a timer so that the girls get a nice sleep. Which will hopefully result in happy chickens and that hopefully = more eggs.

I'll try to get some pics of the double-decker chicken cage soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chicken update



It has been a few days since I posted about the feathered pets. The chicks are almost 5 weeks old now. They are presently ugly as sin, since their feathers are only halfway in. But they are also a lot of fun. The Princess is getting lots of great exercise trying to tame these wild beasts.

Our first flock was really calm and easy going. These girls are a lot more flighty and timid around all of us. But I think I am winning them over.

A few days ago it was canned corn, leftovers from a stew I made. Then yesterday it was steamed rice, leftovers from the kid's dinner plates. Today, cracked corn, from the grocery store. Throw in all of the stale bread I have been able to round up in the last few days, and these are some happy and (getting) fat girls.

Two of the the girls have names. Not Orp turned out not to be a Buff Orpington. And Itty Bitty, the actual Buff Orpington, is way smaller than any of the other birds in this or the last flock.

Names for the Light Brahmas will come to us later.




Check out our chicken run movie. Not Orp had a bug. The rest of the crew were in hot pursuit. Including Kodak the Great Pyrenees dog.

You betta Chex yourself

The Princess and I are in full scale Chex mix production mode this morning. Who knew there were hundreds of recipes? Or that there was a dedicated website for Chex mix?

The girl and I are a little more care free about our mix. Lotsa whatever we find in the pantry, plus butter and a little something to spice it up. Throw it all on the oven for an hour and stir every 15 minutes.

It is incredibly easy to make, but it isn't a terribly easy recipe to replicate. If we end up with a great batch, we just have to savor it. The next might not turn out as great.

Or it might be even better.

After we make a batch for the kiddies, then it really gets fun. The cayenne and Tabasco come out to make the spicy stuff, the man food of Chex mix. Nothing like snack foods that can burn your insides!

Come over in half an hour and see how great this first batch turns out. Or wait a couple of hours and man up. The spicy stuff will be ready at noon.

Why is it

that The Boss Lady is off work this week and I am jealous, yet I only have to work like 4 hours this week at the preschool?

In actuality I'll let the wife have the week to bond with the kids.

Which is justSAHDadspeak for I'll be a slug for four days.
Maybe I'll finally finish the annual cleaning of the garage. That I stated last year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getcha some

So if you are a television junkie in the US of A, like me, you likely know about the change over to digital broadcast coming up in a couple of months. And if you are like me too, there ain't no way in heck you are getting a high definition television for Christmas. Which means you will have to buy a digital converter box before midnight February 17. Else your bestest friend in the world won't bring you the morning news on the 18th.

Of course, none of that applies if you use cable or satellite to get your TV signal. Your TV will work fine after the switch.

Around here we have one TV hooked up to satellite. The rest of the television sets are only used for playing DVDs. Occasionally I try to watch something broadcast over the air, like today when I wanted to watch the Cowboys beat up on the 49ers, but I also wanted to clean my garage. But the reception is generally for crap.

Racecar Man demonstrated his digital converter boxes the other day for me. I wasn't convinced that we would get the same great results, since his house does not sit at the base of a big hill and his TVs are mostly upstairs. But I went to https://www.dtv2009.gov to snag the government cheese coupons for $40 off the cost of a converter box.

It took about 10 days for the coupons to arrive, and tonight we finally got around to picking up one converter box. I also grabbed the cheapest set of rabbit ear antennas that they sold at Best Buy for $10. The converter boxes all over town are priced at $60.

So with my coupon, we are out $30 to get TV reception in our bedroom. And let me tell you, the reception is awesome! To celebrate The Boss Lady is watching something boring and stupid in the living room via the satellite system and I am watching a perfect looking live broadcast of NFL football while blogging from my bedroom.

Heaven!

Someday there might be a high def television in our house. But I bet that day is a long ways off (Probably right after all three of our analog sets die...). Until then, I'll stick with my $30 digital-dumbed-down-to-analog TV picture.

Thanks David

Today is the day that David (Father of Five)told me about weeks ago.

Dr Pepper is giving out free 20 ounce sodas.

I haven't had any luck getting into their website yet. Guess they can't handle the traffic. But I have 15 hours and 40 minutes left.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hook 'Em, Sooners!

Today is a historic day in Austin TX. Thousands of University of Texas football fans are rooting for Satan the Sooners of the University of Oklahoma. We need OU to beat Texas Tech for lots of reasons. Not the least of which is that we got our hats handed to us by Tech. And somebody needs to teach them a lesson.

Since Baylor won't be doing any of that next weekend, we rely on the Sooners to put a whooping on the Red Raiders tonight.

It is a hard way to back into a possible National Championship game, but sometimes you have to depend on the enemy of your enemy to avenge your past shortcomings. At least on the college football field.

So there it is. Nothing else exciting to report from here. It is cold and there is no reason to look the neighbors in the eye on a day like this. So we are all hiding out in the house today.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Facebook, the black hole of the internetz

I signed up for a Facebook account a couple of years ago. I think it was the first day they opened registration up to non-university related email addresses. But I did not mess with it much. Only one college buddy was on there and I did not take the time to seek out anyone else.

Last summer I started looking into it a little more. Then it sort of steamrolled into a beast. Nowadays The Boss Lady is on FB and we frequently must push the other off of a computer to get back to the importance that is FB.

People I have only met online but consider friends, people who were friends in high school, guys I grew up with at church, some friends from here in town and from back in small town Texas and a whole host of my college pals are all on Facebook now.

Last week I started noticing some random connections between friends. A couple of examples: my Sis (the real one, NOT the so-called one) and a college dorm mate (who never met) both are friends with the same guy. Other Dad, who lives 10 houses away from me and a high school friend who lives in NYC are both friends with a guy who lives in San Francisco. FB seems to make the world a little smaller.

So with all that I seem to be able to go less than an hour without checking up on FB. I had to sit in the office and monitor the phones the other day. Yep, I was on FB. I set up FB mobile on my DS Lite via the wireless connection. And I frequently FB from The Boss' computer that she totes back and forth to school.

So there you have it. My true confession. The house work and laundry have gone to crap. My blogs are dying from lack of content. And I think the kids might have missed out on dinner last night. That is just the way us FB junkies roll.

Just deal, OK? And then update your status to let us know in 12 words or less HOW you dealt with it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

20 days in and I have nothing...

National Blog Posting Month might have run it's course for me. I have nothing to add. Maybe the kids will provide some blog fodder later today or later this week.

Except this:




You are welcome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bah, Freakin' Early Humbug!

People about a quarter mile from us just spent the day setting out their holiday decorations. Christmas trees, snowmen, caroling choirs. The whole festive nine yards.

Never in my life have I wanted more to drive right through the yard of a perfect stranger. I think maybe I should go show them a calendar. Or maybe I'll buy their snowman a shirt.

I wonder if Cafe Press would customize a few shirts for me?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sometimes even The Force needs a screwdriver

Don't ever let this happen to you, OK?


And so long as you are not a Star Wars Lego video game hoarding DVD drive, it shouldn't but just in case, you now have fair warning.

The Talker's game CD was hopelessly stuck in the CD drive attached to my desktop computer. This morning, while cleaning, I found a DVD RW drive I had squirreled away after I removed it from out desktop. The swap was on.

It only took about 10 minutes to get the first drive out, the replacement drive in and everything working smoothly. Yeah for the pack rat!

After I disassembled the drive case and rescued the game CD (Which works fine in the swapped out drive, thankyouverymuch!) I turned over the drive and a mini screwdriver to The Talker. He was hesitant about tearing into it, so I helped him find screws to remove. Once we had broken that sucker down into it's component parts, The Talker wanted to know about each piece. Too bad he had to get his knowledge from me and not from some guy who knows the correct answers.

The highlight came when he discovered a few magnets inside the various motors. He had entertained himself for an hour outside with the magnets and laser remnants.

The challenge before you

is to decide which one to eat.

The Princess' Play Dough Stew or
AtHomeDaddy's Bread Machine French Bread.




Like grandma said, tough choices make life more interesting.





Edit: 4:15pm - So sorry, you are stuck with the stew. Dog ate the entire loaf of bread while we were outside dissecting a CD drive.

At least the house smells good!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanks for the help

Truck keys are no longer missing. They turned up in the laundry. Both set in the same load of laundry. No idea why I had both sets of keys in the same pocket but I bet it was a great idea at the time.

Unlike my key to The Boss Lady's VW, 40 year old truck keys only get shiny in the wash. No computer chips to erase or electronics to ruin. Just FYI, if you wash the key to her car, it'll cost you $100 to get another.

Anyways, I ended up too busy to take the truck out for a spin this afternoon. If I don't sit on the couch all afternoon, who will?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

All right, fess up...

One of you clowns hid my truck keys. I swear I wasn't going to park it in front of your house. I just wanted to take it out for a little cruise around the neighborhood. But both sets of keys are MIA.

Reward if found or returned: I'll let you ride shotgun on the next joy ride. No questions asked.

For the Veggie Tales fans in the audience:

Oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh wherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre? Are my truck keys?

Yard birds, yard work and football.

I have neglected replacement on a rotten backdoor threshold too long. The Talker and I ran over to the hardware store this morning to get everything we needed to repair the door. Sadly, like most of my long delayed projects, this one took longer to buy supplies for than it took to actually repair.

An hour round trip to the store. Repair finished in less than 45 minutes. Add to that the two years or so I have put off the repair.

The chickens kept me company in the backyard while I worked. The Talker decided it was too cold, so he opted to clean his room instead.

Speaking of The Talker, he is officially over his 'Rooting for the Enemy' phase. Last year he decided that it was fun to cheer for OU football. He gets that from his momma's side of the family. But mainly he did it because it annoyed me. For some reason he has recently come to see the light and is now rooting on UT full-time like dad. Of course, since he roots for the right team, he also gets to drink Dr Pepper with lunch!

For the record, I think he was about to punt across the living room.

And speaking of chickens, one of our Buff Orpington chicks is definitely turning out not to be a Buff Orp. Last week I noticed one of the girls turning a lot darker than the other. It is really obvious now. I have asked on backyardchickens.com what she might be, but no consensus yet.

One of the tells is that Orps should have white legs. This girl has yellow .


Not the best picture, but the only one I have gotten with both side by side. Not Orp is in the front. You can really see the leg colors.

A college buddy and his family are coming over for the afternoon. I have a bunch of yard work to get through before then. But first, watching a little UT football with the boy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nobody home but us chickens

The Boss Lady and the kids went over to a birthday party this afternoon. After substituting in classes all week at the preschool, I was wiped out and decided to bail on the party. So the chicks and I hung out in the front yard, sharing a big ol' Subway sammich.

Chicks V2.0 are now 3 weeks old and they are starting to grow and feather out nicely.


They have lost most of the "cute", though.


The Light Brahmas are feathering out a little faster than the Orpingtons.


This may be the coolest chicken picture ever taken
(by a stay at home dad while sitting in a rocking chair in his front yard).

Pretty much the greatest commercial ever



There just isn't anything to add.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good news if you are a pinky toe,

I don't think my toe is broken after all. No pics though. It is gross looking because I ripped the toenail off. And evidently that hurts worse than heck breaking the whole dang toe.

Anyways, I knew you all were concerned. Now feel free to return to your otherwise bland and sad lives.

And don't step on my toe on the way out, OK?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kicking ass and breaking toes!

I am betting a buck that I broke my pinky toe this morning. Again. Yes, once more.

Three times in one year, because I am. That. Good.

Actually this time hurts waaaaaaay worse than I remember either other time. Hurts too much to even look at it still, so no pictures yet.

So the running toe-tal:

  • One toe broken, slammed into a chair.
  • One toe broken, slammed into a different chair.
  • One toe likely broken, slammed into a broken TV in the garage.

I really should stop doing anything while I am barefooted. But never fear Mom, the goatee was not harmed in the breaking of this toe.

Rain, rain, stay off the roads

It rained off and on yesterday. Mostly off, but it did crank up pretty good for about an hour right at rush hour, delaying The Boss Lady's trip home by about 45 minutes.

You may have heard that people in Texas can't drive in winter weather, but it isn't just snow/sleet/hail/ice that boggles the brains down here. Hardly anyone can work the brake and gas pedals properly when it rains either.

When it finally started raining hard, the chicks were outside. I wasn't willing to risk getting The Boss Lady's camera wet, but chickens are dumb. It is true. They were all standing inches away from shelter, getting soaking wet, staring up at the rain clouds. It was pretty funny until I realized that I was going to have to go rescue them from the rainstorm.

Wet chickens STINK. Just in case you did not know. So the girls went immediately to the front porch to dry off for a while.

See? Big fun all the time around here. Don't you wish you were me for just one day?

Well then, how about about next Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You!

To all Veterans and United States Military personnel who might venture this way:

Thank you! The AtHomeFamily is grateful everyday for all that you men and women have done, and continue to do, for our great country.

Carry on.

No netz is bad netz

Our internet connection glitched yesterday. It was out most of the afternoon. Our connection has always been a little touchy, but it never stays out for a long time.

I was bad. I plugged the kids into a movie with a Sponge Bob chaser and tried to solve my own dilemma Yeah, I know, leave I.T. to the I.T. professionals.

After the lack of internet access ate up my entire afternoon and I gave up, I called tech support and actually talked to a real human for about an hour to get everything sorted out. And he talked me through getting back online and getting my wireless router configured properly. Which likely was causing all of my intermittent connection problems in the first place.

So here is to Joseph, my new AT&T tech support hero!

Monday, November 10, 2008

And people that far north MUST know something about frozen stuff

I got a little surprise from my buddy in Minnesota today. David, Father of Five sent me a little treat to share with the kids in response to a post I put up last week.


So, thanks to FoF, the kids should get a nice Dr Pepper popsicle tomorrow. If they beat me to the freezer.



And for the record, this is the second Dr Pepper themed package I have received from David. The man knows a good product when he sees it, what can I say. Other than I now have his address in my possession. If you need to taunt, tease, stalk, scare or toilet paper Father of Five's house, just let me know.

Oh yeah, I guess I could say "thank you, David".

2 questions

What did I do to deserve having the cat to climb into my car and use it as a litter box?

A follow up question:

What have done that made me so lucky that the cat peed INSIDE a reusable (yeah, not so much anymore...) grocery sack? Thereby keeping the cat pee safely contained.

And a final insight:

If you are tempted to buy a bunch of those reusable grocery sacks, you could do a whole lot worse than the really big ones that they sell at Costco. They hold your groceries AND evidently, are water tight.

Boo for cats! Yeah for Costco grocery bags!

Can I get you anything?

The kids and I are off to that most magical of places one can hope to take a couple of sub 7 year old kids. The grocery store.

It has been a long time since I wrangled them both around the store for a full grocery trip. Wish me luck.

And wish them up an hour long catatonic state while you are at it, OK?

Too cool for school

The Talker's school is closed today for some reason or another. Teacher conference day, I think.

Anyways, we are off for lots of fun and frolic. Here's hoping the good weather holds out.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

News from the Coop

I have started working on The Cractor, V 2.0. I figure that if Racecar Man's old dog kennel was strong enough to keep a dog in, then it just might keep a dog out, also. So I have been beefing up the wire and trying to make the kennel fit for the finest flock of birds on this side of town.

After the demise of flock 1.0. I think these guys are going to spend nights in the garden shed and I'll use this when the birds can be outside, but I can't, or don't want to, be outside, too. I still have a lot of work to do, but the birdies like their new daytime run.



Also, does this look like the nose of a chicken eater? Well, to paraphrase The Simpson's, I dunno. But she's got lethal chicken breath...


Obviously, I still have a little work to do on the wooden perimeter fence, too.

Too pretty to post

If you need me, I'll be in the backyard with the chickens. It is 75 and cloudless out there.

My grandmother called days like this "the type of day that makes people move to Austin."

See you when the weather changes.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The early birds get the tightrope walker dropped on their heads

Last night we went out to the Ben Hur Shrine circus. The circus is only in town this weekend, so we decided to go Friday night to avoid all of the other craziness that is our usual weekend.

The Travis County Expo Center is a converted rodeo arena turned hockey rink that has hosted the circus for the last couple of years. And after last night I am sure that we will be back every year.

We arrived really early. I thought it started a half hour earlier than it actually did. And we ran into no traffic on the way out there. Putting us there 90 minutes before the doors even opened. One of the fun parts of the Shrine circus is the interaction that the kids get with the roving gangs of Shrine clowns before the show starts. And we were even there before the clowns!

Luckily, there was a dog agility competition taking place across the parking lot, so the kids and wife were entertained while I stood in line for tickets. Once inside, thanks to that early arrival, we had the bestest circus seats in the entire world. We were dead center on the middle ring and the tight rope was set up only 15 feet in front of us and less than 20 feet over our heads. It may not have qualified as a "high" wire, but when you can feel the support cables shaking your seat with each step the performers take, it adds a little excitement to the experience.

The Princess rode a pony. The Talker chose to cash in his college fund and he rode an elephant. Big fun for all. Except maybe Number 12, the pony and she was just sad about the name. The Princess asked her name and the pony handler looked at a tag on the side of the pony's bridle before he told her "Number 12".

We cheated. We carried in glow sticks that we bought at Costco, bypassing the $$$ circus souvenirs, except for the circus program/coloring book that each of the kids brought home. All in all it was well worth the cost and the extra hour and a half waiting for the show to start.

I am sure it is a circus the kids won't forget for a while. And hoepfully we won't forget to go really early again, next year.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It only took three days

One of the things I like about being a stay at home dad has to do with Saturdays. I seldom need to mow my own yard on Saturday since I can usually fit mowing int the schedule somewhere during the week. Of course, that just frees up more time for mowing of customer's yards on Saturday, but I'll complain about that some other time...

Anyways, I haven't been very successful in getting the yard mowed lately. Since this is Texas, mowing is a year-round activity. Though it does slow to mowing once ever three or four weeks at this time of year. Still, I haven't been able to find time in the last two weeks. So I decided to piecemeal the work.

Tuesday afternoon I mowed, edged and ran the weed eater through the front yard. Plus I got to play with the new 205mph gasoline powered blower leaf blower that my paid yard work just bought us! That pretty much took up all of the daylight that was left once The Boss Lady got home.

Wednesday I barely squeezed in the edger work and weed eating in the backyard before dark. And last night The Boss Lady hauled the kids out to the PTA meeting at her school , so I was able to get the backyard finished up before I had to leave for a meeting.

I actually like working on they yard. It is one time when I don't mind the noise and dirt. And it is especially nice when it does not take up my Saturday. Even still, I just wish it didn't take all week to get it done.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's too early for anything this awesome!

I went to be at 9:30. TV was off and I was sacked out before 9:45. But I am still tired.


More than anything, since the end of daylight savings time, I am missing out on my quiet mornings. The kids have been getting up an hour earlier than their alarm clocks mandate. And as soon as The Princess is up and making noise, there is no quiet left in the house.

So I am thinking this weekend I'll keep the kids up laaaaaaaaaaaaate. Like maybe 9 or 9:05. And hopefully I can get their little internal clocks back in sync with my alarm clock.

Anyways, onto the awesome. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?


Yep. The two bestest things in the world. Dr Pepper and REAL Dr Pepper side by side, living in harmony in my fridge. For the record, there is a case of the good stuff sitting in my house right now!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Must be Novemeber. Again.

Yep, it is goatee time once again. Only a few weeks left to uglier up my face before the family reunion on Thanksgiving Day.

Hopefully I have time to brew up a masterpiece to make my momma proud.

Pictures to come soon. I threaten promise.

It's a beautiful day. For you, maybe...

80 degrees. Not a cloudy in the sky. Breezy.

Perfect backyard weather. Especially if there is a few grand worth of playscapes and toys laying around in that gorgeous backyard. So where are the kids?

Sitting on the corner of the patio, pissed because we are out of ice cream AND popsicles.

Life stinks when you can't get a frozen treat


OK, who's been talking to the girl?

Yesterday The Princess and I were cruising around town when she blurted out, "Daddy, we don't drive on stairs. Do we? "

I had to give her some response, so I went with, "No, of course not."

But what I really want to know is which one of you has been telling The Princess about my golf cart adventures? I'll just quote from that post...

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...
Tell you what, I'll just let this one slide, OK?

But if the girl starts telling me how NOT to light a barbecue or how NOT to run over my own foot, I'll be resuming the search.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A day off, now THAT is democracy!

The preschool is a polling place this year, so they are closed today. We already don't have much extra parking. Add to it the voting crowd and the lot will be full all day.

The Princess and I are going to hang out at lunch with The Talker and then we will find some trouble to get into.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It wasn't very scientific

On our round trip to the grocery store this afternoon, the kids and I counted 26 Barack Obama campaign yard signs and 23 John McCain signs. 26 hours until Campaign Season ends and Lawsuits to Settle the Election Season begins.

Goodness I love the change of seasons.

We All Live in a Little Rock House
Sung to the tune of Yellow Submarine


This post is in response to Father of Five's Cribs post.

Back when we were teaching the kids our address and all of that emergency information that I never ever thought about as a kid, The Boss Lady came up with a song that wrapped everything up nicely .

I can't remember all of the words, but I do know that if I ever do have a heart attack, the ambulance might be delayed until the second verse.

So welcome to our little rock house. 1500 square feet of homely goodness all wrapped up in rock and vinyl siding. Just enough space for the four of us, a pet or 7 and a 40 year old truck.




I have a firm conviction that one should never bee too far from a place to sit. Therefore we have chairs in the front yard, and more chairs on the porch. And I won't even show you all of the seating choices in the backyard.



And of course, for those young enough, agile enough or who haven't been Trick or Treating at our house, there is always available seating on the rope swing.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween wrap up

Somewhere in all of my excitement about a successful Halloween, I forgot to post any pics of Snow White in her Golden Dress and Jar Jar Binks.



The Boss Lady continued her streak of 7 straight years of making the kid's Halloween costumes. The Jar Jar Binks hat might be the best costume piece yet. But both costumes were awesome.


Also, the kids and I decorated the yard for the first time this year. We make a ghost out of a giant beach ball and a sheet stolen off of The Boss Lady's bed. The ghost was purposely not too scary, but the sheet still sustained major damage before the night was over. Probably should not have used the best sheets...


And now a little gratuitous reminiscence of costumes past:

Tigger 2002


Elmo 2003
For the record, that Jack O Lantern was grown in our garden.


Olivia the Pig and Purple Dragon 2004


Sir Knight and The Princess 2005


Uniqua and Superman 2006


Luke Skywalker, Jedi and Princess Leia 2007