Saturday, January 31, 2009

They came. They destroyed. And they EVENTUALLY built a new fence.

The neighbor's fence builders started work at 8am on January 7. As of 5 pm today, we finally have our yard enclosed with a wooden privacy fence once again. 24 days and 9 hours to build a section of fence 120 feet long and 8 freakin' feet tall. I'll let you do the rest of the math.

Let's just say that when I finally griped at the building crew today at lunch, the butt-chewing was long overdue.

It is true that they have not spent all that time just working on my fence. The neighbor had them stop work for 10 days or so until she could escape to Europe for a couple of weeks. But when they started back, they did not finish up my almost built fence first. Nope, evidently another neighbor beat me to the punch and complained about being left fence-less first. So they got his yard enclosed quickly.

Whatever. The perimeter is now secure. And Kodak only escaped once.

We did not know the builders were about to remove the temporary fencing this morning and the dog was out. As soon as they opened the 6 foot wide hole in our fence, they learned the hard way the a full grown Great Pyrenees dog at full speed can pretty well wear down a fully laden carpenter/fire fighter.

Seems like we all learned something.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We officially have winter. There is ice on the roads and windshields all over town.

Especially on The Boss Lady's car. Her air conditioner went out last summer but the car is small and it has a sunroof, so we did not worry about it. Besides that, I don't drive it very often...

Turns out that she has been without a windshield defroster, too. Not that we have needed it, but it sure would have been handy this morning. The Boss Lady took my car, with the working defroster and I am scraping the windows to see if The Princess and I can get to school on time this morning.

Which is highly doubtful at this moment. Because my hands are coooooooooold!

Monday, January 26, 2009

We are good!

The Princess and I like to brag about our Mondays. And this post will not end that trend.

On Mondays we do not have school AND I do not drive the carpool. So we sometimes rush around to get out of our pajamas by the crack of afternoon. Yep. Mondays=good times.

Unfortunately I also seem to remember that The Talker needs more lunch money dropped off at school on Mondays. So about once a month we have to break out real clothes and hit the road before The Talker's 11:15 lunch time. This morning did not end that trend.

The girl and I headed to the school at 8:30, missing the drop-off rush and avoiding the early lunch chaos. On the way home we bought and installed new windshield wipers in The Boss Lady's car AND hit up the grocery store. We were back home and in front of the TV by 9:05.

Ahhhhhhhh! Monday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Post THIS!

Allergy season is kicking my butt. Plus lately I seem to be in a preschool classroom every. Single. Day. And a day in a class room wears me out. I much prefer working with the kids out on the playground, in the dirt and pollen.

Anyways, my brain is working on about 30% of it's regular oxygen supply, since I only seem to be able to sneeze nowadays. So I will wait until I can breathe to put up a real post.

Until then, go be nosy somewhere else.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

The (un)ususal holiday weekend

The Boss Lady works in a different school district than the one that The Talker attends. And the two systems don't often agree on calendars. The biggies, like Spring Break in March and Christmas Break usually match up, but the other, smaller holidays often don't.

Tonight was one of those rare Sunday nights followed by a Monday off of school for The Talker and The Boss Lady. The Princess and I are always home on Mondays since her school is only a 4 day a week program. So we all stayed up late and partied like rock stars in our backyard.

We strung some half working leftover Christmas lights over the playscape and lit a fire on the patio. Some friends stopped by and the kids had a great time in their night time fantasy land.

And tomorrow we are carrying on the festivities by giving the dog a bath.

Like rock stars, I tell ya. Really old, boring rock stars.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chickens, baseball and not sitting still!

So this weekend is off with a bang.

I just dread the point on Friday when I ask The Boss Lady "What is on the schedule for this weekend?". Especially if she replies with "Nothing, Absolutely NOTH-ing!" Which is how this weekend went to heck in a hurry.

The Talker had a gift card to spend at the sporting goods store up the street. He bought a new REAL leather baseball glove and a baseball set, including rubber bases, a tee and a pitch-back net. He scored pretty well for $40.

We had to run to Target, because it is Saturday and The Boss Lady is still alive. Got our errands run there quickly, forgetting only one item, a new pair of scissors to trim the chicken's wing feathers.

Back on Friday afternoon I stepped outside and found the chickens roosting on top of the fort. It is actually just a 3 ft tall fence panel built in a corner of our backyard. Gave the kiddos some sense of privacy while they were too little to actually get any. I built in lots of peepholes so they could spy on adults from across the yard. It was The Talker's first play space in our backyard and I haven't the heart to take it down. Turning the fort into a roost is fine. It makes for a pretty scene in the yard. Except that about a foot away is the lowest part of the fence that separates my chickens from the chicken eaters. So the fort is probably the last place they should be roosting.

I ended up using a pair of kitchen scissors and the wing clipping went fine. Everyone survived and the deed was done in about two minutes. (Yes, the scissors are now in the dishwasher.) I am hoping that by only clipping one wing, they won't be bouncing up to the top edge of the fort anytime soon. Especially since we are now only 4 or 5 weeks from first egg.

Fidget collected her first eggs the other day and I am so jealous that I could punch her dog in the head. Except that Fidget and her dog might like that, so I won't.

And after the clipping sessions, I am thinking that Kerenel is a dude. S/he was pissed at me for messing with the (other) girls while I was clipping their wings. And s/he screeched at me. It was a noise that I had not heard before but it sounded amazingly like the last part of a rooster's crow. Kernel the Cross Dressing Hen... Maybe a children's story in the works? Hey, I do live in Austin...

This afternoon I have to clean out the chicken coop. Again. Just like I do (doo) every week. I tell you what, these eggs better be good! Afterward, I am going to spread the pile I have "collected" in the past four months around the front yard. Free fertilizer!

And finally, I have been reading up on walking 10,000 steps a day for fitness. Seems easy enough. So I was thrilled when The Mother of the Bride tried to buy me a pedometer for Christmas and ultimately delivered one last week, ironically while I was wearing the air cast and not supposed to be walking. I clipped the pedometer on about a hour ago. I haven't even left the house yet and I am over 2000 steps.

It seems that I might have to slow down if I am only going to walk 10K steps a day. Shows you what 6 Dr Peppers a day can do for you, right?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And you know what, I am OK with it.

The Princess got me again. We are home from school because when we got there this morning she seemed so pitiful that I tried to take her temperature. Since I couldn't get a reading on the school's thermometer, we made the executive decision to come home and play hooky.

It went down amazingly like last time, back in September. This time though, she waited until we actually got home to start acting like herself.

The girl and I now have a hot date scheduled for this morning with Nick Jr. and the Disney Channel.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Send help, now!

The Boss Lady and I let the boy open his birthday presents this morning at breakfast. Since the carpool was leaving about 20 minutes later, he was able to unwrap them all, but not actually open the last of them. A box of really cool looking Transformers has taunted me all day.

I resisted opening the box until The Talker got home an hour ago. And once the box was opened? Instant confusion and fear. I felt like I was back in high school geometry class.

I can neither make a car nor a robot out of any of these things. Somehow I have managed to get them all stuck in Transformer Purgatory.

Anybody know how to turn half-robot into a rescue truck?

WITHOUT a welder or any hand tools?

The Best Birthday day, EVER.
(Partick checked, just to be sure...)

The Talker is 7 today.

I know it is hard to believe that a young stud like me has a kid that old, but it is true.

Anyways, this morning he was going down the list of January 13th birthdays: "Uncle J, Cousin C, that dead great-great Uncle (for the record, his name was Jack) and Patrick".

Not having a clue who he was talking about, my mind raced to the first Patrick that came to mind. Was Nickelodeon doing a marketing thing with Sponge Bob characters? I had not noticed any advertised Birthday promotions (and I watch a lot of Sponge Bob, I am not ashamed to say. OK, maybe I am a little ashamed to own up to that...)

Finally, I quizzed the boy. "You know, Patrick from the recreation center. Today is his birthday, too." My mind raced back to my old job, before I was a Stay at Home Dad. "Yep, son, you are right. "

So The Talker is letting me know that he can remember the birthday of a guy who attended recreation programs that I ran BEFORE The Talker was even born. True, he has met Patrick a few times, maybe 3 or four times total. But how can a kid remember something like that?

Then in the car on the way to school he started spouting off other birthdays of note. Grandparents. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins. Got all of them right, as far as I know. Then there were a few random people thrown in, like Matt's (a friend from Kindergarten) Grandpa. A man I am sure The Talker has met exactly ONCE. (FWIW, April 12.)

After the birthday remembrances, The Talker started telling us about the time he lost his first tooth, though I don't think he can recall that exact date... Ha! I got him there, thanks to the blog!

Anyways, he was lamenting that his newest loose tooth is taking FOREVER to fall out. Right then his tooth popped out! "What a great morning! My birthday, Patrick's birthday and a tooth coming out!"

A side note, I guess there might be something to the birth date. Patrick is indeed memorable for his mastery of dates. Give Patrick your birthday and he can tell you what day of the week it fell on. And he will let you know about anyone else of note born on that date. Maybe this is The Talker's ultimate goal.

I'll finish up this rambling birthday/tooth/freaky brain post with a link to The Talker's first mention of The Tooth Fairy, back in February of 2007.

Happy Birthday wishes to all of the birthday people out there and good luck to the Tooth Fairy tonight!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Favorite Brother in Law said it best

There were lots of comments about the fence while we were having The Talker's birthday party last Saturday.

The best of all came from My Favorite Brother in Law. "I thought Reagan told Gorbachev to tear that thing down!"

Yeah, the fence really is that big.

I think photos do not really do it justice, but here is a comparison shot for you.

The old fortress, a 7 ft tall fence

The new, 8 ft of wooden privacy sitting atop a 4 ft tall retaining wall

By the way, don't you hate it when you are working up some photos for an earth shattering blog post whining about the most recent neighborhood injustice and the chickens in your backyard won't leave your untied show strings alone?

Yeah, me too.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It isn't really a party...

until someone gets broken. So I single handedly turned this party OUT!

It was cold out this morning, when I was doing the final set up in the backyard. I was maintaining my optimism that the weather would warm up and we would not have 2 dozen kids and a bunch of adults all running loose in the house. So to make the back porch that much more inviting, I fired up the barbecue smoker. No intention of cooking any meat, just had it nice and toasty on the back patio.

While I was busting some scrap planks up small enough to fit inside the smoker, one of them bit me back and I managed to sprain my ankle pretty good. Afterward I got dressed for the party and had a good time. But like the total moron that I truly am, I wore my new cowboy boots for the party. Halfway through, my ankle was really hurting. So I switched into some tennis shoes and limped my way to the end of the birthday bash.

The last guests were hardly out of the driveway and The Boss Lady was driving me up to the nearby ER. 95 minutes later we were on the way home with 6 X-rays confirming no breaks in the ankle or knee.

I get to wear the party favor air cast for a week.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fair weather fans and migraines

The Talker should go to Vegas. If only he could make his picks a little sooner. (That's a pun. And my brain hurts too much to laugh, so work with me, OK?)

See, he decided months ago that he would like to see The University of Okie-homer in the National Championship game. So most of the football season I have had to listen to Sooner Nation channeling itself through my kid. He shut up for a while after UT beat OU. But not for too long. Because he is a real fan!

Anyways, we let him watch the first few possessions of the game last night. And during OU's first series, he saw something that disturbed him greatly. Poor offense? Scared QB? Really cool hand signs from the other team? Dunno.

Whatever. He looked at me and said "Dad, I have been hearing a lot about Tim Tebow and I think they will win. So I am a Florida Gators fan. CHOMP!" And with that, he headed to bed. This morning there is much celebrating in The Talker's World.

But he having to do it quietly since I am going on the second day of a brain buster. Thanks to the Queen Mother for the genetic freak show. But you really did not have to pass down the headaches, you know?

While I was in the shower, (sorry to start your day with such an image), trying to quit seeing quadruple, I realized two things. One, I am not driving the carpool today! That is good for everyone on the roads around Austin. Two, I have already agreed to help out in a classroom at the preschool this morning. I feel guilty for skipping work yesterday, so I will gut it out and pray that the kids are calm and quite. Oh freakin' joy!

So the boy is a Gator after all, my head hurts and it is 7AM in the morning and OU still sucks!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Carpet cleaning for 7 year old boys

So how does one get their carpets cleaned right before his 7 year birthday bash?

Evidently, you take down the side fence.

That seems to be all there is to it. Really.

The logic goes like this...

Step one: Take down fence and then the dog will be nervous and pacing around for at least two days because he is stuck in the house. All. Day. Long. He wants to be in the backyard, keeping watch over the neighborhood from his perch on the retaining wall. Instead, he is now locked in the garage. Not a happy dog.

Second step: have a 4 year old girl leave her breakfast and milk in the dining room when you go to drive the carpool.

This may be the most important part: In a mad dash to the car, forget that the food is out and the dog is IN. A lethal combination for rugs, carpets, blankets, upholstery in general.

Steps four through whatever: Drive the carpool and return to find the result. Clean as much as possible before dropping the girl off at preschool. Beg off work at the preschool and return to dig the steam cleaner out of the shed. Clean the stem cleaner since it has lived in the shed/chicken coop for months. Then clean the rugs, carpets, walls, bedding. Whatever was in the blast zone.

Finally: Take the dog for a long walk while the carpets dry. Hopefully wearing him out, so he will fall asleep in the living room without causing anymore chaos.

And don't forget to smile while you work. 'Cause you don't want the dog to feel bad and get nervous...

Have I bitched to you about my fence today?

Or rather my lack of fence.

The side fence was totally torn down yesterday. And it turns out they won't be setting the new posts until Friday. Which means no fence building until Saturday.

Right when we are supposed to be having a backyard birthday party for a certain 7 year old boy. With 20+ kids running around the backyard. Which is the perfect time to have a building crew around, right?

Yeah, not real happy about the fence right now.

On the upside, the fence builders are a good crew. I am not worried about how the final product will turn out, but the schedule could have been a lot better planned out. And there is no good time around here to not have a fence to contain dogs, cats, birds, kids and whatever else...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Eventually I HAVE to find a sober fence guy, right?

Surely not every person who builds a fence around my yard is a raging drunk with a nail gun, right? But if you saw either of my side fences, you might disagree.

On one side, built last summer, all of the pickets lean side to side at about a 15 degree angle. Which is exactly the right amount of lean so that everyone notices the fence as soon at they walk into our yard. I don't expect this fence to last very many years, since it was pretty much thrown up in a weekend by the neighbor and a crew of his buddies who evidently wanted to share in the beer bash/ fence building festival. We only chipped in about $400 for that fence. And I hope in the long run that we at least get what we paid for.

On the other side, is a "professionally" built fence. Which must have been built by a guy on crack. Unfortunately, the neighbor paid a bunch of money for this fence about 5 years ago. I have repaired it several times and she has paid her landscapers to repair it several more.

This morning a new fence building crew is coming to pull down the crappy, yet expensive fence. These guys are off duty fire fighters, so I bet the city drug tests them pretty regularly.
So at least I may have a fighting chance of getting a decent fence this go around.

The trade off? You knew there would be one, right? She is having an 8 foot tall fence built around her yard. When we moved here there was a normal, 6 foot tall privacy fence. The neighbor had that replaced with a 7 foot tall fence, which almost blocked the sun. And I am pretty sure we are going to completely stop the sun and slip into a new ice age on the southwest side of our yard once this big wall o' wood goes up.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Welcome back to the routine

It is official, the holidaze are over. The Talker started back to school this morning and I drove the carpool. That is always a good way to wake yourself out of a three week slumber! The Boss Lady was back at her school on Monday. And The Princess and I start back in the morning. By Friday I'll be begging for a day off.

I had not even walked into our kitchen for the entire break. Yesterday I spent more than two hours cleaning and straightening everything out. After having The Boss Lady running the kitchen for almost three weeks, I had to reorganize the entire place so I could put away the groceries and find food for lunch.

You know, my buddies often ask me if this Stay at Home Dad thing is for real. My answer? Yep, this really is my life. After having someone doing the cooking for most of a month I just spent the better part of a day bitching and moaning because the kitchen was a disorganized mess. Pretty sad, no?

Welcome to my life.

Now I am off to do some laundry. If I can find my way out to the washer and dryer. It has been a long time, after all.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

If you found them, you would have done the same thing.

Don't lie. You would, too.

I was digging around in the freezer tonight and I found a mysterious bag of frozen chocolate candy, including two full sized Hershey's bars. And you know how you divide two candy bars when there are two little kids in the house?

You don't!

Yep, The Boss Lady and I hid in the kitchen and ate the candy without ever telling the kids anything about them. After I thawed mine out in the microwave for a little bit... Good stuff!

For the record, I don't know who left the candy in our freezer. But you are welcome to stop by and stash some more.