Friday, December 30, 2005

One of my proudest moments

as a Stay at home dad...

The Princess saw the mop bucket sitting on our front porch and she proclaimed "That's Mommy's bucket."

Right on, baby girl.

The Boss Lady's Christmas rock

C'mon over sometime and let The Boss Lady show you the rock she got this year. It is a beautiful thing. Too bad she can't wear it to work. But the bruises and blisters that it left on her hand. Those she wears proudly.

But free is free.

Monday morning we started moving about 10 yards of pea gravel from across town to our back yard. Yes, we could have bought some and gotten it delivered, but free is free.

Some friends bought a new house and the previous owners took a huge playscape when they moved. But they left behind a 20 foot square pad filled with pea gravel about 10 inches deep. And our friends wanted it out of the back yard. So I got stupid, or maybe stupider, and said we would take it and use it under the kids playscape.

Three days of hauling rock with a pickup truck and a small trailer left a pile in the driveway bigger than The Boss Lady's car. It is kind of impressive and dumb to think that the wife and I moved all of this rock by ourselves. And we still have about a third of the rock to bring over here.

Yesterday I started moving rock to the backyard, because we were out of space to pile anymore in the driveway. I moved about a quarter of the pile to the playscape. I'll post some before and after pictures, soon. But for now, gotta go move some rock.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Three days without

telephone service - not so bad. Even got to miss The Mother of the Bride singing Jingle Bells for the kids, a family Christmas tradition.

Of course, since she got no answer, she tried many times to sing to the kids. But then again, the phones were out, so we missed ALL of the singing calls!

Three days with spotty DSL service and lots of dropped connections - gawd awful. I thought I might have a stroke before I got back online.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Santa brought her world domination

A few days ago someone left three books and a board game on our front porch. They aren't Christmas gifts, I guess, because there was no tag and the presents were not wrapped. I assume that one of our neighbors left them for us.

The books, the first three in the Hank the Cowdog series. The board game was an almost new game of Risk. Looks like it might have been played only a few times.

Tonight after Santa's snacks were left out and the kids were off to bed, we set up the game board. The Boss Lady whipped my ass. In an hour and a half.

Years ago my roommate and I would keep one game of Risk going for an entire weekend. No such luck for me tonight. It was an ugly bloodbath. Made even uglier by the wife's gleeful gloating.

Now she has a case of blood lust and is curling up with a DVD copy of War of the Worlds. And I think she might be waiting to conquer Santa, when he comes down the chimney, too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

That's my boy!

Last night we took the entire herd to the Trail of Lights. And while there the kids waited to see Santa.

Do you know what The Talker asked for? Do ya?

Proud father gleefully puffing out his chest...

An iPod

I don't think he knows what an iPod is, but if it is good enough for dad to want one, I guess he wants one, too.

For the record, I am pretty sure I over heard The Princess ask for a set of tires for an old Chevy truck....

The stress might be getting to him

The boy slept almost two hours late this morning. And the first words out of his mouth?

You can't eat glitter.

Could this be a response to having too many females in one household? Or is he just going insane at an early age?

Help! I'm out numbered

The Talker and I are seriously out of our league this week. The balance of power has shifted to the dark side of the household, since there are two extra female people staying here this week. Making the score for the week, 2-4. They win.

We are still out numbered, even if we add in the animals. Then, the score is still 4-5.

We brought two nieces home with us on our quick trip and they are staying a few days. And they are almost teenagers. Which makes me feel really old and uncool, all at once.

Help me Obi Wan. You are my only hope.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Fun with family

The AtHomeFamily is off on a road trip for a couple of days. Heading to a family Christmas party at The Sister of the Bride's house this evening and a bigger family thing Sunday afternoon.

The weather might get nasty while we are up there, so wish us luck and bring on the fun and food!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Music Man

This week the kids and I have been very crafty. We have made cars out of boxes that are big enough for the kids to walk around inside of and pretend they are driving, and the crayons have taken up permanent residence on the dining table.

But tonight The Talker and I worked on a project that we have been planning since we found a big rubber band last week at the park, a shoe box guitar. But seeing as we haven't bought shoes in a while, we had to modify the design a little and use a plastic box.

And The Talker can rock this guitar. Just check out his Rockstar pose...

We are proud to be 100% baby bed free

The Princess has been climbing in and out of her baby bed since last weekend. So Sunday we set up the toddler bed in her room. I was hoping to get it painted pink or purple before she needed it but now it looks like she will be snoozing in the same silver toddler bed that The Talker used.

And it looks like she likes her new big bed!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Staying with the theme

of the morning cleaning chores, I ran into the kid's bathroom to clean it up and to make sure it was ready for this afternoon's playdate.

A quick inventory of the bathroom floor:

Three pair of 4T underwear, Spongbob and Batman were each well represented

Three boy's socks

One pair of Darth Vader shoes

One pair of Spiderman sandals

Two hotwheels

A pile of sand big enough to build a castle

A Buzz Lightyear pajama shirt

A Spiderman costume, that wasn't even bought until November...

And two red plastic maracas. Music always sounds better in small spaces, right?

So I guess sitting on the john gives the boy a creative outlet, so to speak. And I guess I better get cleaning. The party starts in 3 hours.

Is this really it?

I heard the trash truck rolling around the corner, headed that way. In our house that means two things: Get the last of the dirty diapers out to the curb and run through the back yard and poop scoop one last time. We have to take these drastic measures, because we only have once a week trash pick up. You can figure out the rest of the problem.

So while I am poop scooping my heart out and trying to beat the trash truck to the curb, what song is going through my head? It should be something cool and rebellious like Twisted Sister's , "We're Not Gonna Take It"? Or Even "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)", right?

But no. I am a dad. Of toddlers.

So the song of the day? "Isa, Turn the Wheel" from the soundtrack of Dora's Pirate Adventure.

Damn. And I really wanted to be cool. Just once. For a little while.

By the way, I think should serve as an excellent example of exactly why daddy needs an MP3 player for Christmas. And did you scroll down through the Twisted Sister link? That would have been a cool class to take. I bet that professor has an MP3 player.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Got a lid I can borrow?

It is official. My job as Stay at home dad just got a lot harder.

This weekend The Princess successfully climbed out of her baby bed several times. She already knew how to climb in but it was nice because once she was in, she was stuck. Now, she is free to roam, day or night.

I brought the toddler bed down from the attic a week or so ago. I was thinking that we would set it up during Christmas break. No luck on waiting that long, though. She isn't totally sure about staying in the toddler bed all night yet. And for her nap today, she wanted to sleep in the crib. We will keep the baby set up for a while and just swap the mattress back and forth as The Princess sees fit.

I was thinking that we could just make this easier on everyone. We do still have the other dog crate in the garage. And that thing is a lot bigger than a toddler bed...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Ice Day recap

She just better not get used to it.

The Boss Lady was off yesterday, since the whole area was iced in. So she got to sleep late. Because I am such a nice guy.

She got to watch while I folded the laundry that I had just washed and dried. Because I am such a nice guy.

She napped the afternoon away. Because I am such a nice guy.

She even had lunch and dinner made for her. Because I am such a nice guy. Even though dinner was just left over lunch, it still counts as two meals, right?

Me? What did I get? Leftovers for diner and a stack of laundry to put away.

And Brownies. The girls made brownies. So we'll call it even, OK?

Think I'll put this one here...

Told to me by The Talker, 10 seconds ago, after I took the baby's nose sucker thing away from him.

Snot is boogers in your nose. It is very slimy. You take them out of your nose with your finger and put them someplace you would like to put them…

Man, I am glad the computer was only two feet away!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What a horrible toy... or maybe not.

Since she is home, The Boss Lady is cleaning out the kid's closets today. And that means I have to stay away.

The first step in her clean out involves going through all of the loose toys and throwing away any toy that does not have all of it's parts. Also, she can get rid of a ton of the little gimme toys from fast food kid's meals.

This is where I usually get involved, I end up going through the cast- offs, trying to explain why we should keep a particular piece of a toy.

And this morning I did a double take before I got banished from the trash bag. I found a toy that even I was ready to trash. It was part of a spinning top that had a label that said "Amazin' ADD BOY!"

The wife cracked up and had me read the toy again. And it is not as offensive as I thought. It actually says "Amazin' Addaboy!" As in way to go, that a boy! Not like, Hey you, doped up kid...

The dawn of the next ice age?

This city goes nuts anytime the weather drops below 40 degrees. And since it has now been raining and below freezing for more than 24 hours, this whole place has just about come to a stand still.

Except for the people involved in the almost 200 reported fender benders this morning. 200! Before 9 am? Of course it really helps that the TV news is encouraging poeple to stock up on the essientials like bread milk and batteries, just in case the bad weather stays for a while. You might want to get some tire chains people! Or just wait until the spring thaw -- in a couple of hours.

The Boss Lady is out of school today. And we are planning a family day inside our nice and warm house. Lots of laundry and cleaning to be done.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Words that could make me cry

It is raining today. Add to that we blew the entertainment budget yesterday at the bouncers, and we have the makings of a boring day at home. Lucky for the kids, I was out of Dr Pepper. So we cruised a couple of grocery stores this morning.

The kids were little heathens in the first store. This is one of those fancy stores where everything is so expensive unless it is on sale. Turns out nothing was on sale. So we ran across the street to our old grocery store.

The kids were great in this store. Could be that I did not cram them into the basket side by side. Or it could be that we stopped by the bakery and bought a round of fresh donuts for everyone. Whatever. Once home The Talker asked to watch Aladdin. The Princess and I played in her room for a while and then we played built puppies with Duplo blocks. Big fun for all. And none of these puppies bit The Boss Lady!

Somewhere during the middle of all the fun, I left to clean the kitchen. The Princess came to play at the dining table and then I realized she REALLY needed a diaper change. Ohmygosh, how can a 28 pound child do that?

Hint #236 for new dads, if you can smell them in the next room, change 'em.

After a quick snack, The Princess looked at me and said the words that warm a daddy's heart, "Daddy, I tired, wanna nap".

Eloquent, ain't she?

The check BOUNCED!

Yesterday I blogged about out 18 cent check.

So after contimplating what to do with the windfall, the kids, the check and I headed over to the Inflatable Wonderland to see if we could spend it all in one place.

Although the $.18 did not cover out entire admission price, we had a blast. The kids took three hour naps. This means that the going rate of a three hour nap is $1.70 per kid, per hour and a dad with leg cramps from 2 hours of bouncing. A good deal in my book.

In fact, we had so much fun that we went back over there after dinner. This time mommy played, while daddy went shopping for new shoes.

Just FYI, I did not find a killer deal on new running shoes, but I did score a pair of Levis 501 for $28 at the Mervyn's closing sale! So I may still need new shoes, but I look super cool in my new button flys!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

We're rich!

When we took The Princess to her last Dr's appointment, we overpaid. Not at Target, at the Dr's office.

So in yesterday's mail we got a reimbursement check from our insurance company. Now the kids and I are going to go nuts and try to spend it all in one place.

Which should not be too hard, since they mailed a check for 18 cents! Yep. $0.18.

It cost them 37 cents to mail it to us and goodness knows how much to process the check. I'll update you when we spend the family fortune.

Moving days

This weekend The Boss Lady got a wild hair and decided to swap the kids rooms. She and I talked about doing this last week. Several good reason justified the swap. And after another weekend of toting toys and stuff, the switch will be finished.

The Talker gets a much bigger, but a lot colder, room. The Princess, who cannot stand blankets, gets a room that is a lot smaller in the deal. But she might not wake up with icicles on her earlobes, since the smaller room stays warmer at night.

The Talker? He does not really care. The boy would sleep in his birthday suit in the tundra. He don't need no stinkin' blankets. Besides that, he sweats like a pro football player at night.

Both kids seem happy about swapping rooms. And I know mommy is, because The Princess has slept better two nights in a row.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I have been unable to view my own blog pages today. Good thing there has been nothing exciting happening. I'll update when I can access my sites.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

AtHomeDaddy ain't so dumb, now is he?

I have to leave to go to work in a couple of hours.

Real, honest, paid by the hour work. The first time I have done that in about 3 months. And back then I worked 2, yes two, hours. This will be the first time will I have worked more than that in a year or more.

And what would cause me to seek out gainful employment on a Saturday afternoon?

Being broke? Nope. I am used to that.

Nothing on TV? Are you nuts? The Big XII Championship game is on today and I'll miss it.

What could it be? Did The Boss Lady agree to watch 2 extra kids all day? BINGO, we have a winner!

The neighbor kids are here for eight hours. I'll be driving a bus and listening to the football game on the radio, while the wife builds up good will in the neighborhood.

Let's see. Babysitting 2 extras all day or driving a bus for park tours?

Sign me up for a driver's seat.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Here we don't go again

My keys were missing. For several days. I just found them, thanks to you guys.

I was going to ask for you guys to post where you usually find your keys, after searching for them. And hopefully one of you would give a great comment that would jog my memory.

But I saved you the hassle and found my keys in the garage, on the workbench, under a pile of Christmas light boxes.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving recap

The AtHomeFamily had a nice long Thanksgiving break. The Boss Lady has been away from work for 6 of the past 8 days, so we had a lot of family time. Thanksgiving day we spent the morning and early afternoon at a family reunion, with 75 of my closest family. OK, it was more like 25 people I know and 50 people I have seen before (most likely at last year's family reunion).

Thursday afternoon we hung out here with my Mom and Dad and Bro and Sis and their families. There might have been a few more people around, too. We all ate ourselves stupid, thanks to The Boss Lady.

But here are a few things that I need to clear up about our Thanksgiving:

1. Yes, I did eat all the icing off of a piece of cake and then I took the cake back to my mom, telling her that I was finished with it. And yes, that is OK. But only when it is called an Icing Cake.

2. The worst part of the family reunion, we don't cook the turkey, so we have no left overs for Friday afternoon Turkey Sammiches.

3. The Talker only got hit in the head once with the football. Of course, it was the first throw of the day. And for him, the last. But the way he tells the story now, my third cousin beat him with a pile of football shaped rocks.

4. A helpful hint: when at a family reunion with an almost four year old, keep it simple. Everyone should either be a cousin, an aunt or an uncle. No sense in wasting half of the morning trying to explain what a third cousin is...

5. 11 and 0. Bring on Colorado.

Who needs Christmas?

The Talker thinks Christmas has come and gone. Thanks to his new cousins. Who are actually The Babysitter's cousins, not his cousins. But you try explaining that to an almost 4 year old.

The boys sent over some of their old Playmobil toys, including this castle set.

We have had this toy sitting on the dining table since we brought it home. And it might stay there forever. The boy was up at 6:15 wanting to play with the castle. Mom sent him back to bed, but he was up for good at 6:50. And the castle kept him entertained until almost 8.

I could tell you about all of the great things I got done around here, while the boy was playing. But no. I was busy playing along. This thing is COOL!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's gonna be a good Thanksgiving

It is The Boss Lady's favorite holiday. And we are ready to go. Just look at this spread...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Confession is good for the soda

I admit it. I am a scavenger.

I love finding something that a neighbor has thrown out and making good use of it. But until recently my scavenging has been sort of limited.

A few examples of scavenged things around here:

Almost all of our potted plants are in hanging baskets or clay pots that I have picked up during Neighborhood Big Trash Collections.

The Play Deck. Built more than a year ago out of lumber from an old fence that our neighbor wanted to replace. The deck is still in use.

All of our patio furniture, except one table that I built. But even that has a scavenged table top on it, now. In fact, some stuff we bought a few years ago has already worn out, but our freebie stuff is still here.

But lately I have gotten more brave with my scavenging. The Boss Lady suggested that it might have to do with successfully getting the truck back on the road, and I think she is on to something.

Last night I brought home a refrigerator, something like this. One of those dorm fridge set-ups has been sitting beside the curb since last weekend. It is pretty decent looking, too. Two stainless steel doors, with a small freezer up top. I bet it isn't a couple of years old.

I got a pleasent surprise when I plugged it in. Everything was working, except the compressor. That is a big deal for a fridge, but I kept dorking around with it, anyways. Really now, I would not expect it to be working right, since someone was throwing it out, right? Tonight I found a loose connection in the thermostat. Once I tightened it up, the compressor kicked on just fine.

Woo Hoo! Cool sodas in the garage! I may never come inside again.

Well, after Thanksgiving, anyways. The Boss Lady talked me into bringing my new treasure into the kitchen for the rest of the week. She will be cooking for a herd on Thursday night and our fridge is filling quickly. So my shop fridge is pulling kitchen duty for the time being.

But it is OK with me, because I like cold sodas in the kitchen, too.

A clothes hound? Here?

The Boss Lady sat and folded clothes last night while she watched a movie. By the time she made it to the bottom of the laundry pile, she folded a small mountain of laundry and sorted it all into baskets.

Me? I was working on the truck and reading. But that is beside the point, this is about the clothes...

This morning I put the clean and folded clothes away. And the breakdown of clean clothes went something like this:

The Princess had two stacks of clothes, that took up less than half a basket.

The wife and I had all of our clean clothes together in one basket, that was not yet full.

And The Talker had so many folded clothes that they filled an entire laundry basket to overflowing. But what should I expect when the boy changes clothes at least four times a day...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Chicken Run

The Talker was really well behaved this weekend, so he and I got to go see Chicken Little this morning. He had a blast, getting to do something special, that he EARNED. I had a blast, watching him.

He was mesmerised by the movie. He gives it two Buffalo Wings WAAAAAAAAAAAY up! But my fun was mainly watching him watch the movie. He was the only kid in the place who was laughing at the funny parts.

After the movie we stayed until the end of the credits, because he wanted to breakdance on the shiny floor in front of the screen. Awesome stuff. Almost enough to make me forget the $13 matinee tickets and the $9 popcorn bill.

The boy knows comedy. He loves slapstick. And he has a great laugh. He makes a pretty good movie watching partner, too.

An aside, The Talker has a new favorite DVD. Pops gave him three episodes of The Three Stooges on a DVD. He laughed so hard that last week's milk came out of his nose. Now that is funny...

Yeah for pokes in the eye!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Reds, Blacks, Spots and Sheeps, Oh my...

The AtHomeFamily is now home from the weekend get-away. While we were gone I managed to stay away from the fam most of the time.

Friday night we got into Pop's house at about 8:45. I was fishing by 9:30. Friday's haul, Two Spotted Seatrout. They were not large, but it is nice to bring home some fish on each walk back from the pier. Walking through town with a couple of fish will always get comments from passing motorists. It is a great ego boost! And now these pals are happily chilling in the deep freeze together.

Saturday morning I drove to Pop's property on the far side of the bay. You can see his property from town. It is a mile or less by water, but it is a 23 mile drive. I didn't have a boat and I don't like to swim, so I went the long way. Came back with two nice Red Drum, one 21 inches and one 27 inches. The best part of Saturday's fishing, watching that big Red hit the sailline so hard that the whole 600 foot long rig shifted about 15 foot to the side. COOL!

The small red bit me on the right thumb when I was showing him to the kids. When I yelped and dropped the fish, it scared the kids. Then the other fish bit my left thumb. And it hurt worse. And scared the kids even more. So now they have been filleted and are learning to be nice in the "Time Out Freezer".

The fish. Not the kids. They are in bed.

The kids. Not the fish. They are in the freezer...

Anyways, the reminder for the day: Don't put your thumb in a Red's mouth or it will scare your children.

This morning we all went over to fish at Pop's pier. And with three lines in the water, we had a total of no luck. It was cold and damp and windy, so the fish won. For a while.

After lunch, the family napped and Pops and I went fishing again. This time we went to a place in town, by the commercial shrimp boats. Our first spot was a bust. Our second spot was a bust for me. Pops was reeling 'em in like crazy. He caught a nice small Red, a Spotted Seatrout, a Black Drum and a Sheepshead.

We moved to another spot and I finally got to reel a few in. I caught a couple of Sheepshead and a Black Drum. Between the two of us we kept 6 fish. The Speck and one Black Drum are in the small freezer, waiting for a dinner date Monday night. The rest are in the deep freeze, where fish belong.

Because if you don't freeze them, they might bite you and scare your children. And nobody wants that.

Just like nobody wants any more details about this weekend...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fishing run

We are taking off for a weekend at the coast. The Boss Lady wants some quality time with the kids and Pops. I bet they find something fun and exciting to do. The last time we were there, the kids got to watch Pops get a new driveway.

And I hope to get a lot of quality time with the fishes this weekend. I am thinking positively and taking an empty cooler with us, to haul back my spectacular catch. Bring on the Flounder and Redfish. The sailline is getting put to work this weekend. We are leaving in a couple of hours. I bet I can be on the pier by 9 o'clock. And I might stay there until Sunday afternoon.

Have fun, stay safe and if you see anybody messing around our house this weekend, tell them to clean up after themselves.

Ewwww gross... Gimme some...

The baby just came walking into the kitchen eating a Cheeto. Now I know for sure and certain that we ran out of Cheetos a week ago. I know, because I hid from the kids and ate the last of them.

I don't really want to know where the girl got her Cheetos. But I am a little sad that she did not offer to share. Does that make me odd?

Byt the way, I suspect the Cheetos came out of the gap between her booster chair and the dining room chair that it is strapped to. There are usally enough crumbs down there to have kept the Donner Party alive through another winter.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Once in a while...

I remind myself that there are a lot of things The Boss Lady does that I can never replace around here. Yesterday's chaos would be a great example.

The kids and I went to Burger King. The Princess had a Dr's appointment and The Talker was heading to My So Called Aunt's house for a couple of hours. I figured that letting the kids eat and play for a few minutes would be a good plan before we went our seperate ways. And if the boy wore himself out and wanted to nap while we were gone, so much the better.

Within 5 minutes of sitting down The Talker was off playing. No big deal. I packed up some of his food to send with him. He could eat later, when there was not a huge playscape beckoning. And the girl and I could chow down while he played.

And this is where The Boss Lady would have excelled.

I asked The Talker if he wanted fruit punch or lemonade to drink. Red fruit punch won out, after he debated for a while. Making things easier on myself, I filled both kid's cups with watered down fruit punch. The Boss Lady would have been smarter than that.

But of course, The Talker did not drink anything, because he was playing. And I was watching him, not watching her. Because that is when she decided to wear the fruit punch. It covered her pants and shirt. We ran to check for spare clothes in the diaper bag, but no luck. What a feckless daddy.

So I packed the lunches, grabbed the kids and we headed to the aunt's house with a quick stop at Target to pick out a new outfit for the girl. I matched, with the help of a nearby mom, a pair of pants and a sweater to a white onesie shirt and we split.

I was about to pull off the trifecta. Fed the kids, redressed the girl and still on time for the Dr's appointment! And the rest of The Boss Lady's expertise would have kicked in right here.

Auntie and I tag-team dressed the girl and it was obvious that the pants were sized for the wrong kid. The boy could have worn these pink leggings. And the sweater seemed a little tight, but a quick roll of the pants legs and she was dressed.

When we met up with The Boss Lady she checked the girl over. She found pants two sizes too big and a 19 month old girl squeezed into a 6 month sized sweater. But the colors matched really well.

My big mistake? I never looked at the tags on the clothes. I checked the hangar tags. See, a mommy would not have done that. A clueless dad, maybe.

And a smart mommy would have never given The Talker a choice about drinks. Lemonade would have not left a huge stain all over The Princess' clothes in the first place.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Welcome to Texas. Now go home!

This morning the AtHomeTrio went to our neighborhood park. The kids seemed tired and they did not really interact with the other kids. After 10 minutes a mom showed up with a boy almost the same age as The Talker and a girl nearly as old as The Princess. I encouraged The Talker to go over and introduce himself. Within minutes these guys were old pals. The Princess was hitting it off pretty well with the little sister, too.

These guys just moved here and it turns out each of the kids is two months younger than ours. This is exciting because The Talker usually ends up playing with kids older or younger than himself. There are only a couple of boys his same age in the neighborhood. And even fewer who are home during prime playtime.

A little later one of our neighbors showed up with her son, who is one of The Talker's younger friends. And all three boys played well together. A sight to behold, for sure. One of the other boys asked to go on a hike down the nature trail and The AtHomeTrio tagged along.

The moms were already acquaintances, so they chatted and I eavesdropped while toting The Princess down the trail. The new mom griped about everything from the heat to the number of ads for guns on television. OK, I'll grant you, it has been hot this November, even for Texas... And even if it is warm, it is hunting season, thus, the sporting goods stores are advertising their wares. She complained about the trail and the fact that snakes might be lurking anywhere. She whined about the house they are renting. She bitched about the lack of affordable private schools in the area. And she groaned about the way the streets are laid out in our neighborhood.

And somehow, she managed to note after each complaint, she had never encountered anything like this until moving to Texas four months ago. Every single thing.

While we were hiking with the kids, the other mom had to leave. So I got to enjoy a 40 minute rehash of all of these complaints and many more. And without fail, according to the whiny lady, they were all problems unique to living in Texas.

But after listening to all of that, this lady REALLY annoyed me with one simple thing. After letting her kids play with mine for almost two hours, she would not call either of my kids by their names. It was always "that boy" or "that girl". In the end, The Talker was annoyed, too. When we were leaving the park he said bye to everyone and he reinforced to the new mom "My name is The Talker, my sister's name is The Princess. Now you won't forget again."

I bet if he could have he would have given her a map and pointed the way back to Kentucky.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What's next? His own poinsettia?

The Talker has been asking for some new bedroom decorations for two solid weeks. Really, he has been begging for one specific item.

"...A nutcracker. Shaped like a skeleton. For my room. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE Daddeeee...."

I have no idea where he got this idea. I don't know if he saw a skeleton nut cracker somewhere, or if he just dreamed it up. But tonight his dream mostly came true.

He is sleeping soundly, with his newest prized possession on his dresser, right next to his bed. A Christmas soldier shaped nutcracker. No skeleton this year. We will have to check next year, when the Halloween decorations come out. But he did get to pick this one himself from an entire shelf of nutcrackers at the Dollar Tree store.

$1. To make our son's dream come true. A good deal all around.

May all of The Talker's dreams be so easily fulfilled.

I must add, that none of this would have happened if we had gone shopping at Target, like The Boss Lady wanted.

At the last minute I begged to go to Harbor Freight Tools. After The Boss Lady told me to quit crying and she turned toward the tool store, she decided to take the kids into the Dollar Tree while I drooled on the tools.

So The Talker should really thank me and Harbor Freight Tools for his nutcracker. Not his mom. She just took him shopping and let him pick his prize out. And she paid for it. And my tools, too. And she drove us there and back. And she listened to me yak about the truck the entire time....

Migranes on Parade

This morning my brain decided it needed a day off. So it called a general strike. Bring on the migrane.

And the kids decided that going downtown for the Veteran's Day parade was a great idea. Me? What is the difference? Cooped up in the house with two kids and a broken brain, or standing outside watching old cars, high school marching bands and my busted thinker.

So we split for the city. A quick stop by Krispy Kreme turned the wait for the parade to start into a sidewalk breakfast picnic. The kids had a lot of fun before the parade, picking up leaves out of a vacant lot. The Talker was getting very good at realizing the differences in the leaves he hauled back to show me. Some were pointy and others were round. One even had bird poop on it. Exciting stuff.

The parade was nice. The kids got candy. What else matters at a parade? And luckily, the kids were worn out. So now my brain is getting a little rest during the kid's simultaneous naptimes!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Let's pile on a little more excitement

This morning the kids decided that being up before 7 would be great fun. The boy was up and going before me, but it was OK, because his mom was still home. As the wife walked out the front door, I peeled myself out of the bed and found The Talker sitting in the middle of the dining table playing with the barber's clippers. Lucky for his three day old haircut, he had not figured out how to turn them on.

The Princess knew something exciting was going on, so she decided not to miss out on the fun. But her real fun came a couple of hours later, during her trip to the Pediatrician's office. All in all, it was a good visit for the 18 month old. Mommy was there and no shots were given. Brother got to play with toys the entire time and he still came away with stickers and suckers. He thought it was not a bad trip, too.

After lousy naps all around, the dog needed to be at the vet's office. And I forgot to set up the minivan, so he had to cram in behind the rear seat. Lucily it is only a mile or two to the vet's. $88 and really painful hour of keeping the kids entertained later, I was wondering why we have a dog. And kids. At the same time. What were we thinking?

This evening The Boss Lady had to work late. 14 hours after she walked out the front door she is finally home. And AtHomeDaddy is off the clock.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Cleanliness is next to godliness, right?

The family went out of town this weekend. The pets and I stayed behind. Once again I could have done lots of fun and daring things. Instead, I worked on the truck, skipped church, steam cleaned the carpets and scrubbed most of the rest of the floors in the house.

Clean tile and carpet may not do my eternal soul much good, but it sure is good for my soles, to be walking barefoot on shiny floors.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

We could open a shoe store...

I just picked up 30 shoes off of the living room floor. Thirty.

The Princess had three pair and three mismatched shoes. Why does an 18 month old need at least six pair of shoes? To go with the other three pair in her room, of course.

The Talker had the most creative mix. Five pair of shoes. Two pair of tennis shoes, one pair of hiking boots one pair of sandals and a pair of cowboy boots. Shoes for all occasions. He looked at his pile and grabbed the toy shopping cart to move them back to his room.

My pile was the most consistent. Three pair of brown Birkenstocks and a pair of grey running shoes. Once again, why three pair of almost identical sandals? I have a good answer, but it involves me getting another pair of Birkenstocks, black this time.

And The Boss Lady, she wins and award for getting her shoes closest to the closet. One pair, white tennis shoes, was all she contributed to the living room pile.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We will have no more of that. Ok?

This evening's excitement was brought to you by The Princess and the letters E, M and S. And the numbers 9, 1 and his identical twin, The Other Number 1.

Yep. 36 hours after taking the kids on a tour of the downtown fire station, the big yellow ambulance came to our house. The Princess was pissed off, and she made herself pass out. The Boss Lady was the one who found her, face down on the living room tile.

By the end of the visit with EMS, The Princess was talking and smiling at the paramedics. Mainly she was really glad to be sitting on the couch in mommy's lap and not going for a ride in the big yellow ambulance.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween Fun

One of the families in our neighborhood pulls a flat bed trailer behind a Suburban for trick or treating. That way the kids don't have to waste time walking long distances between houses. I guess they get to cover more of the neighborhood and get loads more candy this way, too.

Our family provides the alternative transportation for kids who are too young or parents who are not letting their kids trick or treat for hours on end. This is a picture of our low budget version.

At one point I counted six kids riding on our garden wagon. Luckily, the kids are all still pretty small. And the other dads helped push on the hills. What you miss seeing in this picture though, is the additional wagon that is tied to the back of the garden wagon. The kids crammed treat bags back there, so that more bodies would fit on the wagon.

We only hit about 20 houses, but the candy haul belies that fact. Between The Princess and The Talker, we brought home at least 5 pounds of candy. Never fear, I spent some time today sorting out the chocolate and setting the rest aside. The kids can fight over that pile. No sense in wasting good chocolate on them, though. They would not enjoy it as much as a guy with a big purple sombrero.

It's funny, until someone pukes

The Princess and I are running through a pile of candy the size of a watermelon while The Talker naps. And she found a new low level of humor when I burped.

I burped. She laughed harder than ever.

I burped again. She was laughing so hard that her eyes were watering.

I repeated the performance and she threw her head back and let out a huge belly laugh.

After 10 minutes of this, I was red from burping. She was red faced from laughing so hard. And I think both of us were nauseous.

Think she would die laughing if I barfed?

Web Sudoku

A friend of mine has gotten me hooked on Sudoku puzzles. They print them every couple of days in the local paper, but the website is the way to play!

My best time, 11 minutes, 55 seconds on an easy puzzle. According to their bell curve, I am well below average. Still, I feel good that 19% of the players are slower than me.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Date Night? What's that?

Last night The Boss Lady and I were treated to a night out. One of The Boss Lady's childhood friends has moved into our neighborhood. She watched the kids for us and sent us to one of her favorite restaurants, The Melting Pot. Plus, she handed us the keys to her car, a really nice Lexus.

After gorging on a Cheddar and Emmenthaler Swiss Cheese veggie fondue appetizer and the Center Cut Entree (Filet Mignon, Black Tiger Shrimp, Chicken Breast, Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin and Teriyaki Sirloin)in a Coq au Vin fondue, we decided on the Flaming Turtle Chocolate Fondue for dessert.

They should serve the dessert fondue with a chaser of insulin. I thought I might turn diabetic after eating chocolate dipped marshmallows that had been coated in crushed Oreos. But I have never been one to waste food, so I ate them all. The Boss Lady was a little more health conscious. She dipped fruit and cheescake in the chocolate and caramel.

There was a chef's salad in there somewhere before the Flaming Turtle, but as Homer Simpson said "You don't win friends with salad", so who cares.

Everything was awesome, even the salad. But if you go to The Melting Pot, don't forget to sign the loan documents beforehand at your bank. And take me. I'll teach you how to really get those marshmallows covered.

After dinner we were real creative. We drove out to the construction site of a school that The Boss Lady would like to run next year. Then we drove home. But since we were in a nice car, we did take the long way home.

The kid's had a ball. They ate at Chick-Fil-A and went to a carnival at church. They were even in bed when we got home!

What a nice night. I still don't know exactly what we did to deserve it, but thanks, DamnYell.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Good thing he did not say that to his mother

The first words out of The Talker's mouth this morning were "Daddy, I wanna play play-doh". No real stress for mom there.

The second round of talking would have caused problems for Mommy, though. "I was dreaming about babies. Mommy has a new baby."

Dang, now I feel guilty for getting a great night's sleep. All while The Boss Lady was off birthing a baby... And finally, why is AtHomeDaddy always the last to know?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ewwwww... Pass the Clorox

The Talker, as he walked into the kitchen, from playing in the backyard: "Look Daddy, I got the dog poop off of my feet."

"Well that's good," I said, not wanting to know any more details.

As I lifted him into the kitchen sink: "Let's wash your feet. Don't want any poop on them."

"Yeah, and we better wash my hands, too."

Scarecrow, Three Year Old Style

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It is pretty amazing, what one can do with a helpful three year old, some swim noodles and daddy's work clothes. Who cares if he looks as if he has scoliosis and bow legs. The Talker is very proud of his creation.

The Princess deserves some credit, too. She slept late yesterday, making this whole thing possible.

But not as late as she slept today. It is 9:10 and the girl is still out. Yeah for daddy!

Just for the record, 9:50. One hour and 50 minutes later than usual.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Good thing you did not say that to her mother

This morning, after running some errands, the kids and I headed over for some pre-lunch park time. The Talker recognized a girl that he has only played with once. I could not remember her name, but the boy has great recall of names. Last time she was at the park with her grandmother, this time she was with her other granny.

Today's grandma asked if I was "the stay at home dad her daughter told her about". Since Other Dad lives right across the street from her daughter, I assumed she was mistaking me for him. The she explained that she has already met him. I was even more confused by her comment, but The Princess fell hard and cried, so I never got around to asking what she meant. Plus, the kids were having fun, and she was not running out of the park with her granddaughter, so I did not worry about it.

Later though, she hit me with a doozy. The Princess was trying to play with the buckles on the little girl's stroller. Also, she figured out where the snacks were stored, under the stroller, so my human grackle was not moving. Not until someone shared that snack.

Granny told me that she is a retired gifted and talented high school teacher. And that it is "obvious that your girl will need gifted services in school. Especially if you do a good job getting her ready for school."

What? Huh? Who the heck are you? You are such a great high school teacher that you can assign labels to 18 month old kids? Damn, pretty pretentious, dontcha think, lady? I am glad those smart kids in Dallas got to benefit from your insight and wisdom. Bitch.

I have no doubt that my kids will be smarterer than me. It would be hard for them not to be. But this is the same thing as someone telling me that the boy is a good candidate for a ritalin and focusin cocktail every morning with his breakfast.

I never have held gifted/talented teachers in very high regard. Probably goes back to me being left with the other kids while the geniuses got to benefit from the best learning methods. Or maybe I just think that kids need to be educated with their peers. All of them. Even the dumb ones. And the one eating paste in the back of the room.

Well, maybe not all of them. Keep the ugly kids away from mine. I don't want that stuff rubbing off on my beautiful little genius darlings.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Out on the town

The AtHomeTrio went to Costco this morning. We got home several hours later, and we forgot to buy diapers, but the kids and I had a great time.

After we shopped, we ate lunch at the snack bar. Cheese pizza for the kids to share and a hotdog for dad. Then we all scarfed on ice cream. A good outing and an easy lunch.

While we were eating, the snack tables were full. We ended up sitting at the last table, which was big enough for 8 people. Three strangers joined us. And did they ever get an earfull from the boy.

After he introduced everyone, he let the others know exactly what our plans were for the day. He is not a shy child. A shy child would not include bathroom breaks if he were to share his itinerary with complete strangers. By the time the other people left, they knew that The Princess blew out a diaper in the car and that our dog was in trouble for eating a tree.

They were really nice and seemed to enjoy The Talker's stories about baseball and pirates. But for some reason they ate REALLY fast.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Halloween Parade

This afternoon was our neighborhood costume parade. The kids and the wife were planning to attend, while I worked on the truck and watched NASCAR.

My work on the truck turned out to be menial, the race was boring and I could not nap, so I joined them as the parade was beginning. I also wanted to win a few 'Good Husband' points, so I rode to the parade with the bike trailer. That way The Boss Lady would not have to haul the kids the entire route in the wagon. Plus, I would be able to bring one or both of the kids home easier than the wife could.

During the parade The Talker rode in the bike trailer with a neighborhood friend he has not seen in a long time. And another buddy stood on the back of the trailer. Wish we has some pictures of Darth Vader, Batman and the Blue Knight cruising the 'hood.

In the end, the kids wanted to play at the park, so I left the family behind, so that I could get back to making no real progress on my weekend projects. The boy ended up hitching a ride home with a neighbor and The Boss Lady and The Princess enjoyed a nice quiet walk home.

When they all headed to church this evening, I really kicked my weekend into high gear and watched the Astros almost win another one.

Go 'Stros!

New Toys!

Click on the picture for full sized image

The Talker got a new Buzz Lightyear light up toy a few weeks ago. I took some pictures of him playing with it the first night. Good thing I took the pictures then, because I think the toy is already broken, lost or eaten by the dog.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Returning to the scene of the crime

The Princess is trying to figure out to make apples.

This morning, when we went to play with a neighborhood friend, the same house we partied at yesterday, she found most of the neccessary ingriedients. Or so she thought. After her life-changing experience at bobbing for apples, the girl showed some good reasoning skills.

As soon as we walked into the friend's front yard, she started yelling for them. "Applesh, Applesh. Yum, Applesh."

A few minutes later, I found her dragging the water hose out to the now empty tub that once hosted the apple bobbing game. While she was working so hard, she was telling me "Applesh, I make applesh, Daddy."

Unluckily for her her, the apples did not magically appear. But she only had to wait for her lunch plate a couple of hours later for that to happen.

That's My Boy?

The Gruesome Twosome and I attended a Halloween party yesterday afternoon. Even though I started having doubts about the scheduled date while taking the kids over there. Could I have miss understood? Might the party be next week instead?

The Knight, the pig and I had a blast. And during the party I realized that The Talker was playing out in the wooded back yard, and he only checked in with me a few times. Mainly when he needed help eating something. But he never came to me to whine or tattle.

I can't remember a time when he played this independently. Especially for this long. It was great. Better than great when you know that I really needed the extra concentration to keep The Princess out of the apple bobbing tank. No, she was not trying to swim, but she was taking a bite out of each apple and putting it back in the water. She marked at least six apples. And she actually ate two and a half others.

The boy started getting back to himself, when the costume came off. At the end of the party, an older kid ran off with the entire unbroken pinata when the hanging string broke. The party host rescued the booty and shared with everyone... The Talker has finally decided that it was funny. Until this morning, he was still whining about the thief. I think he was ready to string that kid up on the pinata rope.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Taking a break

Our world record attempt is on hold. It is already hitting 90 degrees and we decided to eat lunch inside. Outside play was surely a successful idea for this morning.

After playing in the backyard for a while, we pulled out the bike and trailer and headed for the park. No other kids were there when we arrived, but we played for a few minutes and a crowd appeared. The kids and I hung out there for an hour or so, only stopping because everyone else was leaving. It seemed a little odd to be the first to arrive and the last to leave.

Once we got home, The Princess decided she needed some beauty sleep, no need to have two ogres at the afternoon party, so The Talker and I played hot wheels on the back patio. After naptime ended, we took a little stroll to try out the new Halloween costume. Sir Night is sure to be a hit at the party. The girl's costume is not ready yet. Who throws a party 12 days before Halloween? But the boy and I tag-teamed and found all of the necessary pieces to set her up with a new version of last year's costume. Freebie! So the knight and the pig-girl will be heading out to the party later today, after we all have a snooze.

Other than that, the big news of the day, I am washing my pillow. While not sleeping last night, I realized that my pillow stinks. Hopefully this will work out OK, because I seem to develop a serious attachment to my pillow. Anytime I change to a new one it takes me weeks to get a decent night's sleep. I'll try to get it all flattened out and perfect again at nap time.

Edit - Awwwww Mannnnnn, it was only the pillow case that was funky. I risked my perfect pillow for nothing. When I put the pillow case back on it, I realized which was the real violator. I changed sheets yesterday, but that pillow case must have been run through the laundry with that new "smells like crap on death" laundry soap.

Good thing it is nice weather

since the kids and I are going to set a new record for The Most Consecutive Hours Played Outside. Think Guinness will be interested?

We will not just be enjoying the weather today. The real point of this effort ends with me getting a decent night's sleep. Between a barking dog (not ours) that woke us up several times, our own barking dog who woke us up later, a crying 18 month old who just wanted the dogs to SHUT UP and a preschooler who wanted to play at 6:36 this morning, neither the wife nor I managed to get any sleep.

The Boss Lady has a full day of work, followed by a night out with the neighborhood hens. Used to they got drunk, played dice, ate a good meal and talked about me. Now they just eat, drink and talk about me. Tonight there might be a bonus, though. The dessert will be made in our kitchen, so maybe some extra scraps will end up being left behind...

The kids and I are heading to a costume party this afternoon. A knight, a princess and an ogre. Guess who I get to be... Plus, the 10,000 calories of candy and raw sugar should really help make everything go REALLY smoothly on a long day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tires, Take 2

Yesterday the kids and I took the minivan in to get the tires rotated and balanced. It has been needing it for a while. We were finished in an hour, but since we were there at 8:20 in the morning, it was pretty painful to keep the kids entertained without bothering everyone else in the waiting room.

So we walked around the shopping center. The other stores were closed, but it kept the kids from driving everyone else nuts. While they were actually working on the van, we stood and watched. The kids would cheer and clap every time the guys would do something to our car. Yeah! They took off a wheel! I bet it is the fist time the tire shop guys have gotten a standing ovation for doing such a fine job.

This morning we took The Boss Lady's car in to get the same service. But we waited to go, so that we could eat lunch at Burger King, across the parking lot. I figured it would take longer at 11 o'clock, but the kids would be happier.

Man, I am good! My plan worked perfectly. We spent most of the morning at the park, ran home for diaper change and potty stop, headed to tire shop/ lunch stopping back by the park on the way to pick up The Talker's forgotten sandals and then we headed home. Rotated, balanced and fed.

Now everyone is resting or napping, so I could clean something. But I think I'll just sit here and gloat about my perfect parenting.

Finally getting around to it...

When I was living in a dorm in college, my roommate and a bunch of friends from the dorm always hung out in the lobby of the dorm. There was this odd shaped little corner of the lobby that was never used. There was a chair or two, tucked beside several phone booths. But no one ever sat there.

For some reason several of us started sitting down there, just chatting and watching the world go by. The best part of hanging out in the corner was watching everyone come and go through the dorm lobby. It was certainly the easiest way to keep up with all of the dormitory gossip.

Eventually we robbed more chairs and some tables out of a study room. For some reason, no one ever seemed to use THAT room, anyways. Suddenly, ALL off the cool people, like me and JB, started hanging out in the corner. It got to where the regulars could not find a seat in the corner when we needed one.

So we staged a sit-in. One weekend JB and I decided to sit. Nothing else planned. We could play cards or called for pizza. But mainly we would just sit and watch the world go by. Lots of other people came and sat with us throughout the weekend. We did not stay for the entire weekend, but we did manage to not accomplish anything else during those days. And we sat a long damn time down there.

I think this is when the corner got it's name. Those memories are a little fuzzy but I am pretty sure JB and I were the ones that started calling the space Procrastination Corner. We joked that we would make a sign for it... someday.

Well this weekend I was hanging out in the garage, sitting in my chair, watching football and NASCAR. There were woodworking tools all around. I could have easily made a sign. But I did not. Instead, the neighbor came over to see what I was doing. I offered him the truck seat. We hung out for a while. We talked about fixing the car. And lots of other stuff. Good times.

Since the real Procrastination Corner is 250 miles North of here, the old dorm is now women's only housing and we have not sat there in over 10 years, I think I finally found a suitable replacement. But it needs a better name than PC2. I'll have to think about it. Maybe JB will come over and help me come up with a name that will last for generations... And we'll make a sign... someday.

C'mon over and hang out. You can sit on the truck seat. But I'm not adding any more chairs out there. That is what started all of the problems the first time.

By the way, I saw an article about the old dorm in a alumni magazine a few months ago. They had a picture and specifically pointed out the "coffee bar in Procrastination Corner..." The legend lives! But if JB and I were still around, that coffee bar would have to go. We were Dr Pepper drinkers.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Don't Want to Know

This is what I found when I went to check on the boy this morning. I took this picture about 10 seconds after he woke up, so I am pretty sure he had a little party last night.

A single rubber boot, a bucket, a Potato Head hat, a pirate sword and a wooden gun. Right beside the stuffed bunny puppet. I feel bad for the bunny. Whatever that party was about, I think it involved Wabbit Stew.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Keeping with a theme

for this weekend, I managed to waste most of the afternoon on the wife's car. I washed and waxed it early. And I spent a couple of hours trying to polish the headlight lenses. They sell some stuff at the auto parts store to make dull plastic headlight covers shiny and clear again. But keeping with the other theme for the weekend, I am cheap.

We shall SEE how well my efforts work. Last week I noticed that the headlights seemed dim, but I was not sure if it was because the lenses were dirty or because the alternator was not putting out a full charge. After fixing the alternator, I was sure the lenses were to blame. So I used some rubbing compound and 000 grit steel wool to get most of the crud off of the lenses. It took a while, because I did not want to leave scratches. So I buffed as lightly as I could.

After I was satisfied with the result, I put a coat of auto paste wax on the lenses. Hopefully that will keep them clean for a while.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

King of the road

The Boss Lady and kids are gone for the weekend. They left Friday after lunch and should be home some time Sunday evening. With all of my hobbies, you might think that I would spend a free weekend doing fun and exciting stuff.


I decided last night that this would be the weekend I finally made the light go off. The Boss Lady's car has a light that shows if the charging system has a problem. It has been popping on every few days for a couple of weeks. And in the last couple of days, it seems to always be lit.

I have not exactly ignored it, but I could not figure it out. The battery was recharging fine. The car was not having any trouble starting. The alternator tested ok, the belt looks good. Everything I could think to check was fine.

After Racecar Man and I put a code reader on the car this morning and we spent a couple of hours chasing other problems, we were still left with a shiny little light on the dash. I ran to the auto parts store and asked to have the alternator tested for a 3rd time.

The manager helped me out and tested the car quickly. He noticed everything was fine ands suggested that I replace the voltage regulator and alternator brushes. I played dumb (something I do well AND often) and I admitted that I thought the regulator was inside of the alternator. He pointed it out on the side of the alternator and he took the time to explain that the brushes were underneath the regulator and it would not take an hour to swap out both parts. But of course, they did not have the parts in stock.

I found the regulator and brushes in stock, two auto parts stores later. They asked if I wanted the Mazda style or Motorcraft style brushes. I just wanted the right ones. Doubtful that the Mazda style brushes were the right ones, I opted for the Motorcraft style. But they were out of stock. So zoom zoom, I bought the Mazda style. While looking later online, I found that the two have identical parts numbers...

After installing the new parts and still seeing the light on the dash, I cried.

I took the brushes out, put the old ones back in, with a little modification, and Viola', no trouble lights on the dash! Unfortunately, when I was reinstalling them, I dropped the old brushes and a spring fell out. I never found the spring, so I formed a new one, out of a much larger spring. But I did not really trust this new spring, so I wanted to look closer at the new brushes again, perhaps I could rob a spring out of them.

Then I realized that the new brushes had a little tab that keeps the internal springs in place while you install them. Once you get everything buttoned up, you pull the tab and the brushes engage. But I only figured that out because I pulled the tab and the new part exploded all over the garage!

I managed to reassemble the brushes and reinstall the retainer tab. Then, I re-replaced the old brushes and re-re-installed the new voltage regulator. And after a few donuts in the cul du sac, NO MORE TROUBLE LIGHT!

And my seats were not rattling during the donuts, either.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I would look so cool!

I have recently realized that I have a bad case of WannaNewCaritis. I think there is a cure. A Mini Cooper would be the easiest cure but not the most practical, since I really want to replace the minivan. The Boss Lady's car is 10 years old, but running fine for her 15 mile a day commute.

So realizing that we NEED something big enough for family road trips, I have a new obsession. The Chevrolet HHR. I saw one a few weeks ago at a stop light. The only one I have seen so far.

The Chevy dealerships here in town have not gotten may of them, yet. And they can't keep them on the lot for more than a few hours. They can't even keep the brochures in stock. Which means these cars are either really cool or just scarce. Either way makes me want to get one even more.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cart rides in the rain

Thanks to Rick for the heads up, I am now blogging through MS Word.

The kids and I ran a few errands this morning.  We ended up downtown and it was raining, so we went to the newest Whole Foods grocery store.  The kids went a while back, but I wanted to see the store, especially the cart escalator, a big hit, and the chocolate fountain, a big miss.

After you shop, you can take your cart into the underground parking garage with you, on moving ramps.   The Talker, who hardly ever wants to ride in the grocery cart, certainly had fun on this ride.  It is kind of funky, because the cart wheels lock somehow onto the ramp.  I tried moving it a little to the side, so that other people could pass us, but it was stuck tight.  

The chocolate fountain turned out to be a bowl of melted chocolate that overflows and circulates while the staff dips fruit in the chocolate.  It was pretty boring, since I was expecting a swimming pool sized puddle of milk chocolate.    

But the best fun of the morning was found at the fish market.  The counter staff picked up a giant halibut and showed it to The Talker.  He was impressed by the 45 pound monster.  Also, they sell redfish there, so we will be making a return trip, soon.  

We spent less than $2 this morning.  A few dried cranberries a handful of banana chips and some fresh ground peanut butter.  We shall see if The Talker actually likes it, or if he just likes watching the machine grind up the peanuts…

Sunday, October 09, 2005

White Trash Wino Night

The entire neighborhood, at least those families with kids under 5, came to play at our house last night. The first nice fall weekend night, a UT victory and the opening of White Trash Fire Pit Season were all great reasons to celebrate.

Don't know about the fire pit? Lots of neighbors have fancy fire bowls on the patio. We have a broken barbecue pit sitting on the ground, surrounded by rocks. Looks like a cross between an Old Testament altar and a Boy Scout project gone horribly wrong.

Anyways, we lit the playscape with Christmas lights and everyone had a blast. The kids ate hot dogs and marshmallows while the male adults revived another neighborhood tradition. Bad Wine Night.

A neighbor empties out his wine closet and brings the entire haul over. Then, starting with some of his father's homemade vino, we try to find one bottle that is worthy of NOT being poured out on the grass. Last night, the first three went straight to the ants, including the homemade liter in a plastic vodka bottle.

By the fourth bottle, I was out of the tasting. The other men continued. They made it about 1/2 way through that bottle before moving on to the next. Which was neither finished, nor dumped out. I found it sitting mostly full, on the picnic table, later in the evening while I was cleaning up.

There was another bottle somewhere. Oh yeah, Law Talking Guy put it in the freezer, to chill. And then forgot about it. As it turns out, Mondavi '96 White will eventually blow it's cork in the freezer. This morning The Boss Lady found the wine flavored fishsticks and a fermented grape smelling freezer to prove that.

After a quick clean up, that bottle joined 5 others, in the recycling bin. Now I worry about what the recycling guys will think about our weekend. Probably more exciting if they just use their imaginations.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

They all come out in the Fall

The kids and I headed over to our neighborhood park this morning. We were going to make a quick stop and then head to Costco. But the weather was awesome and there were a lot of kids to play with, so we stayed right up to lunch time.

Usually at this park, and at the others that we most often visit, we are known. But today, it was like a throwback to my first days as a Stay at Home Dad. We did not know any of the kids at the park. And the moms, save for one, were a rude lot.

One of the kids at the park decided that The Talker was being a bully. I watched very carefully after I heard him say it the first time. The Talker was doing nothing worse than any other kid. So I knew that he was not bullying the older kids. Plus, it really looked like that kid was being a little punk. He seemed determined to keep The Talker from playing with or near the other kids.

I waited for a while to see if mom would deal with junior. After 15 minutes, and hearing him call my son a Bully for the 5th time, I was ready to deal with the kid myself. And I got the chance.

Mom had wandered off to answer a phone call. So junior and I talked. Well, I talked. He cried. After I told him that he was the one being a bully, junior ran off to his mommy, whimpering. Mommy was annoyed, because I had spoken to her child and broken his tender heart.

So I threw a rock at her, The Talker pulled her hair, The Princess knocked her cell phone in the dirt and we left.

OK, really, I started to explain what was happening, but she was rude, what a freaking surprise. And she told me that if her son called someone a bully, it was with good reason. I really wanted to say "takes one to know one", so we left.

As we were walking to the car, it was very satisfying to hear her kid screaming at her. She told him that it was time to go and he was shrieking "You're MEAN! I'm staying!" Guess, he knows mean people as well as bullies

What a morning

The last couple of days have been nice in the mornings, 75 degrees, or so. This morning, more of the same. Of course, the afternoons are still hitting, 90, but we can just stay inside and nap during the heat.

This morning, The Talker wants to be outside. It is nice and cool out there. Of course, sine we are not leaving the house this morning, I could not convince him to wear pants. Or even shorts. Who needs 'em? Buzz Lightyear underwear work fine, thank you.

But then he was cold. So that is MY boy, out in the sandbox, pants-less, shoe-less and wearing last year's jacket and hood zipped up tight.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Back to normal

Things are returning to the usual around here. The Boss made it home Saturday afternoon. We celebrated the reunion at our favorite barbecue place. Glad to see you, now let's go eat some cow.

The kids could not have been pried off of mom Sunday, so I went fishing. Twice. I was at the lake before sunrise, and I fished until early afternoon. Home in time for NASCAR and then I headed out to a private pond for a couple of hours in the evening.

Further signs that things are getting back to normal? The wife is working a 14 hour day. And doing it on 4 1/2 hours of sleep, thanks to a female child who decided to visit with momma for half of the night.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I must be desperate

I just folded about eight loads of laundry. I must really be tired of dressing the kids out of the pile in the living room.

But, like a freshly laundered amoeba, the pile will surely regrow. I would not wan t The Boss Lady to miss out on all of the fun, would I?

Signs that momma ain't home...

The Boss Lady has been gone for 36 hours. And we are starting to show that fact.

The baby did indeed sleep in her clothes last night. She was tired and I was trying to get the boy in the tub. I finally got her out of those clothes, at 7:45 this morning.

Also, I just realized that the diaper cover I had on The Princess all day yesterday is actually part of her best dress outfit. But it looked really cute with the blue denim dress, too.

The Talker watched a movie yesterday. In the middle of the afternoon. Instead of napping but he was quiet. Plus, I knew he would get hyper later, at the neighbor's house and that he would be their problem.

There are growing piles of laundry. I hardly ever fold laundry. The Boss Lady does it. But I do keep the clothes washed. Except this week. There is still a pile of clean clothes from before she left AND there is a pile in the garage, of things waiting for a spin in the washer. And it is growing, quickly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

We made it

through the day.

We played with the neighbors this morning and then we all headed over to the library for story time. With a stop at Krispy Kreme afterwards. Everyone needs a little sugar buzz at nap time, right?

Later, the boy went to visit the neighbors, while I took little sis to a Dr's appointment. Everything went well and we won't have to go back in for 6 months.

The Mother of the Bride made it through her surgery fine. Don't know much else. The wife and I have each been a little too busy to chat.

The kids went to visit a different family this evening, while I went to a funeral visitation. Nothing weird about that. Except that my old staff were begging me to come back to work. It's been 3 years, give up already!

But that was not the weirdest part of the day. That came a little later, when I went to pick up the kids at 8:00 tonight. I walked in and The Talker told me, "I'm tired."

Now that was weird.

Mental Note

The Mother of the Bride is having surgery this morning, so The Boss Lady has gone up there for a few days. The kids and I have lots of fun and excitement planned until the weekend.

The Princess has a Dr's appointment downtown this afternoon and The Talker is heading to a friend's house then. So after dropping him off, we have 45 minutes to drive downtown. No problem, except that we have to stop at the pediatrician's office to pick up medical records, first. And since the front office staff there hate me AND I am not sure exactly what records I need to get from them in the first place... I bet that will just go sooooo smoothly.

And seeing as I forgot to give her highness the royal dosage last night, she will probably be feeling great about the time of the Dr's appointment. She just loves to be messed with when she does not feel good. Ever seen a pediatric urologist cry? Today might be your chance.

I have a funeral to attend on Thursday morning. The children will be getting farmed out to the highest bidder for a few hours, or whoever can watch them while providing me with the least hassle. Offers? Anyone?

This morning, the kids and I are planning to head to story time at the nearby library. I took the boy a few years ago, but one of the librarians reminded me at the end that "kids who don't sit still, don't get much out of the story." Maybe I'll dope them up before we go. Don't want to stress out the librarian.

And to top off a morning like this, we ran out of Dr Pepper about 16 hours ago. But there happens to be a grocery store right next door to the library.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hurricane Rita

Pops was here for several days this week, riding out Hurricane Rita. Now that he is back home, he said there was no damage to his house. Except the damage he caused while trying to cover windows and protect the house. Lucky for him. Also his travels today were much better than he expected. The usual 3 hour trip only took an extra hour. Unlike the 8 hour trip up here on Thursday night.

The Boss Lady helped run one of the evacuation shelters on Friday and Saturday. Many people were ready to head home Saturday, so they shut the shelter down Saturday afternoon. It made for a long week for her. But we finally had some family time today, between church, NASCAR and naps.

The kids and I all enjoyed having another adult around for a couple of days. They got to play with Pops. I got to work around the house and get the yard mowed. During the week. During daylight. And I planned to fish. But I didn't go, since I did not want to be out in the 106 degree heat. Even to chase defenseless little fishies around the lake.

I like fishing. I do not like heatstroke.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

She is all girl...

In case there is any doubt about The Princess, rest assured, she is a girl.

Proof? We have been found by the American Girl company. The people who get little girls hooked on $100 dolls. Somehow they have our address now. And like fishing equipment or cocaine, it seems that a single hundred dollar doll just won't satisfy a little girl for long. Thus, they push, I mean sell, accessories and friends for their addictive wares.

And they hide it all by teaching the girls about history and cultural experiences. They might as well make a doll that needs drug rehab, too. I do know for a fact that the customer service staff will advise you to beat a mis-behaving American girl doll*.

But hopefully, before The Princess can ask for a Molly or Samantha doll of her own, she will learn to say...

"Grandma, look what I want for Christmas..."

*The doll was not actually misbehaving, it's eye was stuck. But they did advise hitting it's head on a table, to free the eye's movement. But I don't know if they advised to knock the doll upside the head, while her pre-teen owner wasn't watching.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I didn't see that one coming

My new found glasses lasted all of 48 hours. NO, they are not lost again. They are mangled. Done. DOA.

The Princess decided to help me out yesterday by bringing me my glasses. If I had left them carelessly laying around, I would have foreSEEN this disaster. But they were laying in the middle of our 5 foot square dining table. OUt of reach of MOST 16 month olds. Not her. She moved a chair over and climbed aboard, just to SEE what was up there.

Usually, she finds a crayon or something else that we have pushed into the middle of the table to keep away from 16 month old monkey-children. Yesterday she SAW gold. Or glass. And somewhere between the middle of the dining table and the laundry pile where I was working, metal and glass carnage ensued.

So, after The Mangler wakes up from her nap, we are off to the eyeglasses shop to SEE if they are able to undo the damage. Luckily, the staff there are usually pretty nice and they can straighten some ugly bends in the thinnest of wire frames.

And they like kids. Especially ones that bring in business by wrecking daddy's glasses.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I can see, I can see... and you 're UGG LEEE

I thought I lost my glasses back when I went on a road trip with dad. For more than two months I have been sure that I left my glasses in the hotel room when we checked out. I know for sure I left my swimsuit there, so it was not hard to believe that the glasses were there, too.

So for two months I have been wandering around, without my glasses. My vision must not be too bad, though. I was able to get my driver's license renewed during this time. But I guess I just forgot to wear them to the DMV. Because my glasses have not been sitting in the unclaimed glasses box behind the motel counter, they have been in my tackle box, since my last trip to the lake.

Now I remember pulling them off when I was running through the rain and hail to the car. I did not want them to fall in the gravel and get scratched. Good thing I protected them. Anyways, thanks to the upcoming fishing season, I found them this morning.

And The Boss Lady thinks my hobbies don't pay off...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Wise Beyond Her Years

The Princess is possibly the least blogged about member of our family. Excepting the cats, but if you count them as family, then you may leave, now. But I want share a little about our 16 month old girl child.

A few weeks ago I started keeping a list of all of the words she says. Not just parroting words, she will repeat anything, but words that she uses repeatedly and purposefully.

The list got too long and I got distracted by other stuff. Plus, I did not expect it to be a list of more than 25 words or so. When I last counted, the list was approaching a hundred words. There are lots that we have not written down. I did not alphabetize the list at the start and it turned into a pain, making sure that a word was not already included.

I'll refrain from sharing the whole list but here are some highlights of The Princess' word list:

Thank you
You're elcome
Wha happen?
Where Daddy go?

16 months. The Talker better watch out, or he will be getting a new blog name for Christmas. Maybe something like He Who Doesn't Talk as Much as Little Sister

Thanks, I Think

While The Talker and I were wandering around downtown and hopping trains a few days ago, we got the weirdest compliment of all times.

A man sitting at a train stop told me "That is a good looking boy."

I gave my usual response "Thanks. He is a good boy."

Then train guy continued "He looks just like you. If I was the judge on the bench and there was a problem... There wouldn't be any question. That's your boy. Of course, it could end up costing you a lot of money..."

Train guy was really considerate, too. We sat a few seats down from him and The Talker fanned his hand in front of his face and pinched his nose before I noticed the guy was smoking a cigarette. But quicker than I could move the boy, train guy moved 10 feet downwind. He then laughed back to me"Don't want his momma wondering where you took him. We can't let him go home stinkin' like smoke."

I laughed and thanked him again as we climbed aboard the train to Granny's house.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Three Nights, Three Beds

The Boss Lady was scheduled to go out of town for a one day conference yesterday. Since she was driving and we could hang out with The Mother of the Bride during the conference, we planned to make it a quick road trip.

The Original Plan (Insert laughter here)

We were going to stay one night in a hotel along the Dallas light rail line, so that the kids and I could hop trains during the day and see the tourist-y stuff in downtown Dallas. The downfall to this plan was the fact that we would have nowhere for The Princess to nap during our railroading adventures. Bringing the stroller would help, so our plans were finished.

The biggest problem with the perfect plan turned out to be no available hotel rooms within walking distance of the trains. So we moved on, to The Second Plan.

The Second Plan (More laughter, please)

The revised plan involved a one night stay at the house of The Mother of the Bride. The kids would have plenty of play space; Granny would surely not make us check out early, so naptimes would also be possible. The trains are only a 15 minute drive from there, so The Talker and I planned to ride the trains, while The Princess played and napped at Granny’s house. And later in the day the kids, Granny and I could find something to do so that she could spend some time with both of the kids. Most likely $1 carousel rides at the mall.

A Retelling of Actual Events

We left home a night earlier than planned, so that I could attend a funeral with my parents. We stayed with them one night and left the next afternoon to drive 45 miles to the Mother of the Bride’s house. The kids always have fun with my parents but we did not plan to stop and see them, since this was such a quick trip.

The Talker and I rode the trains through Downtown Dallas. And, thanks to a poorly timed potty break, we spent an hour wandering around in a train station 100 feet below the city. Luckily, there is a restroom down there. But only if you are a cute 3 year old boy and the Transit Police take pity on your Daddy.

After a quick lunch, we all loaded into Granny’s minivan to go to the mall. The mall has an indoor playscape (ironically sponsored by the local hospital) and the carousel in the food court, which now cost $2 each, by the way. Our afternoon of riding the carousel quickly turned into a couple of rides and a stroll around the food court.

Once we met up with The Boss Lady, we hit the road for home quickly. Still, we did not get home until 8:30. The last hour of the ride was a lot of fun. The kids would not leave each other alone. They were both whining and we were pleading, (but not whining, we don't do that), with them to be quiet and to relax until we got home. And for thirty minutes I did not hear a peep. Because I rolled all of the windows down and shut off the air conditioner. The road noise was loud as heck, but at least it did not sound like a whiny 3 year old. Or his sister.

Friday, September 09, 2005

She would be a free woman if she had robbed a bank, instead...

Today is our 10th anniversary. I have tried for days to write something cute or serious or sarcastic or anything. I can't seem to get the words to come out right.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

True Confessions Time

In my last post, I needlessly disparaged The Babysitter.

True, she did send an email, containing most of what I blogged. But we also knew she was kidding. Which made her email even funnier, because we never expected her to tell us something like that...

She likes dogs and would never give them ANY chocolate. She really likes our kids, too. Also, she does not have a foul mouth and I have no fears of her being around the kids. Or my guns or booze.

I needed to clear my concscience and let y'all know the truth.

Besides, she is giving us the Realtive's that I Like Rate and I don't want her to get mad and quit.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

If you can't find good help, lower your standards...

Let me introduce The Babysitter, newest member of The AtHomeDaddy cast. Sort of. She has been there, but in a nicer form. A couple of weeks ago, I brought My So Called Aunt's oldest daughter over to watch the kids while I cleaned the house.

We are doing it again today. But check out this note we got from The Babysitter (I edited it a little, but not much):

...I let the boy run around the house and I let both of them throw food on the floor.

I don't change the kids, I let them run around stinky. I brought Fuzzface and Furrbutt around so there was more chaos. I let your dog out and run all over the place and I fed him chocolate.

I give all of them all the cokes they want and lots of sugar. And they don't have a bedtime.

I stay on the phone and eat all the snacks and leave the wrappers on the table...

P.S. I would drink up all the DP's but I hate Dr Pepper! And I expect a really good reference some day.

Hey, at least she let us know up front, right? And she won't be stealing my Dr Pepper. But I think I'll lock up the booze and guns, just in case.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why is it

that the smallest rooms in the house take the longest to clean? I had a goal this morning to get the bathrooms cleaned. 2 rooms, less than 100 square feet, total. I was up and running, with a scrub brush in hand, at 7am. After an hour in the master bath, I was almost done. Another hour in the kid's bath this afternoon and the job was finally finished.

Maybe the bedrooms are easier because you can just haul stuff from one room, to another and hide it there. Too hard to do with a bathtub. Or I would have hidden it in the master closet.

Which is on the list for getting cleaned on Wednesday morning, but maybe I should plan on it taking all afternoon, too.

Monday, September 05, 2005


There is no way for me to fully understand the scope of Hurricane Katrina. But here at home, there are thousands of people who fled the area hit by the storm. Some are living in hotels, thousands in the convention center and many more scattered all over town in private homes with friends and family or new acquaintances.

Yesterday, the kids and The Boss pulled out several bags of toys and books to donate, along with some clothes. While they were working on this, my wife kept explaining to our 3 year old that he was picking out some toys for kids that did not have any right now. It almost made me cry when she told me later that the first thing he wanted to give were his two very favorite toys. I was amazed at how much he could care about kids he never met.

So this morning we all went to the centralized donation drop off site. I don't know what I expected, but it was not what I saw. Dozens of my former co-workers were manning the site, a 5 story parking garage that was filling up quickly with donations.

Sometimes it was easy to think that working for "The City" meant you were just part of a huge anonymous workforce. Today, it was awesome to be able to point out several of my work friends to the kids and show them what nice people they all are. And how much they are all pitching in to help people they will never know, too.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

AtHomeDaddy, Boat Collector

The Boss Lady and I have talked for years about buying a canoe.

First, we were renting apartments and didn't have a garage to store it in, so we did not buy one. Then, when we bought a house, we got busy working on the house so the garage has always been full of other stuff and we did not buy one. Then The Talker was born and we wanted to wait until he was bigger to buy a canoe. Then The Princess was born and...

A couple of years ago, I started fishing and then I really started wanting a small boat. So I bought a boat this morning. It's not a canoe, but a little aluminum john boat instead. A neighbor had it in a yard sale. It is only big enough for one adult, one kid and some fishing gear, but that is enough for us. Plus, this boat will fit right inside the bed of the truck.

Once The Talker and I drove down to pick it up, I decided to clean it up a little. And while I was doing that, Uncle Lemon arrived with more boating news. His mom has an old boat that she would love to get out of her barn. And it is a little bigger than the recent purchase.

This one has an 18 hp outboard and a trailer. It hasn't been run in years, but the boat is fiberglas and stored out of the weather, so it should be in OK shape. I think Uncle Lemon and I will head out on Monday to go check out the bigger boat.

Then The Boss Lady and I will need to decide what to do with our newly acquired armada. And I assume that her plans don't involve keeping two boats.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Can't Get Enough

The offspring and I went back to the bouncers this evening. I wanted to make sure we got the most out of our cash. That place is pretty expensive, even on half price day. Plus, I wanted to make sure that the kids slept well tonight. I know I will. If I can just make the floors and bed stop bouncing.

Also, while running around today, I filled up both cars. $2.81 at one stop, $2.76 at the other. It looks like the kids and I will be hanging out under the backyard shade again next week, too.

Wore 'Em Out

The Talker and The Princess have napped for hours and hours today. We went to an indoor inflatable playground this morning. The kids had a blast, even though The Princess was a little timid at first. The Inflatable Wonderland has four full sized bouncers set-up, along with one area for toddlers, a dragon that the kids played inside of and a huge double slide. All inside of an air-conditioned space in the mall.

After we got home and had lunch, there was little argument over naptime. I suspect that is because the kids are wasted, but it might just be that I promised to take them back this evening, since The Boss Lady is pulling another 15 hour day. Plus the admission is an all day pass, so they let you come and go in between bouncing.

You would think that I might get a lot done around the house while they slept, right? Well, you know, someone had to coax The Princess into playing. Besides, I had two kids to keep up with, so I am twice as tired from jumping.

But I can't wait to go back!

Word Verification

After getting spammed multiple times on every recent post, I am turning on 'Word Verification' for this blog. Now you'll have to type in the jumbled letters that appear at the bottom of the comments screen.

Sorry for the hassle. Spam sucks. In all forms.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Opposite of Cabin Fever?

The kids and I are sick and tired of being stuck inside because of the heat. So we ventured outside to the playscape for most of the day. Of course, we took a couple of breaks, one to go to the park and to a neighbor's for water play in a couple of kiddie pools and for a while, the kids napped. Otherwise, we were making use of the great backyard. Or at least as much of it as we could cover with shade.

The new sails on the playscape inspired me, and now we have a shade over the swingset that is large enough and high enough to still allow the kids to swing on all three swings, without leaving the shady spot underneath. Add to that the collection of picnic umbrellas we have scattered around the and it has turned into a cool place to play, even in 100 degree heat. Heck, we were out there for more than 5 minutes WITHOUT sunscreen lotion!

We have two picnic tables to choose from, an art easel, a sandbox and most of the slide covered in shade now. Today's efforts are just a prototype, though. I made use of a couple of king-sized sheets and a bunch of spring clamps from Harbor Freight. I had to adjust the shade several times as the day wore on. Hopefully, when we make something more permanent, it will not have to be adjusted every couple of hours. But I might wait until the spring to add anything permanent.

After all, there are only six more weeks of this heat, and we can venture back out without playscape shades or the asbestos suits for the kids.