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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

$1.08 Movie Review - Sin City

I wanted to rent a movie last night. So I checked the $1 a day movie kiosk at the grocery store for Napoleon Dynamite. No luck. Not available.

The Boss Lady suggested Sin City. No problem getting a copy of that from the rental machine. That should have been my first clue...

Let me tell you. I watched about 15 minutes. It was mostly black and white, at least in the beginning. It was odd. I was confused. So I left the wife with her dark creepy crime thriller and watched pre-season NFL. Even saw a former UNT player on the field. Go Booger!

And just for the record, he isn't the only UNT alum playing. Brad Kassell, Cody Spencer, and Brian Waters are all out there, too.

So in summary, for my money, I'd watch it again. The football game. Not the movie. Too odd for me. And no UNT alum involved, as far as I know.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Words I've waited to hear

When I was a kid, one movie just scared the holy crap out of me. OK, that might not be true. Several movies scared the holy crap outta me, but one scared me worse than all them. The funny thing, I don't even remember seeing it, I just remember it scaring the hell out of me.Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. So through all the years I worked with kids, I never once showed that movie for a rainy day time filler. Believe me, I showed them some really lousy movies. For example, showing this movie comes to mind as one of the lowest points of my professional career. But it had rained for a week. Straight. And I was delirious.

Anyways, The boy was watching an add for a game based on this year's version of the world's scariest movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And all of that background, to tell you when he saw the commercial and some graphics of Charlie, he said to me, "That looks scary. I don't want to play with that."

Amen, Brother. Preach on.

Fire Truck Day

A lot of times our schedule is set by special request. The Talker's first words this morning, "Daddy I was thinking about the fire truck playscape and I think we should go."

You betcha. Once the kids and I were up and dressed, we cruised down to the Fire Truck Park, like we have lots of times before. Today though, there were no school groups to contend with. So we played for an hour there.

Later we headed over to the botanical gardens to check out the fish ponds and to have a little snack. Some of these Koi fish look bigger than The Princess. So just sitting and watching them is entertainment enough for the kids for a long while.

In fact, it must have worn out the girl. She slept all the way home and is still napping, an hour later. The boy? I think he is working up a new fish story for us all. He has been playing in his room for 25 minutes. Quietly.

I better go see what he is up too.

For the record, the fire truck is red.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

They are everywhere...

I have seen no less than 7 red Miatas in the last two days. On the way to the auto parts store yesterday I saw three in a row. One had a tan top, the others, black. One had no barn doors, the others did. One of those had one headlight open while the other was closed.

While running to meet some SAHDs for lunch, I saw two more on the freeway. Both had the tops down. And just now, on the way home, saw another. It looked brand new with a black top and dealer tags.

None of them had Alabama tags on them.

Friday, August 26, 2005

To mow or not to mow...

I chose not to mow. And I stand by that choice. But if I don't get out there tonight, I might have the neighbor's hunting me down and shackling me to the mower. Of course, I waited long enough to mow the back yard, that now the front needs a trim, too. At least it will all get done at once this time.

Guess my evening won't be too exciting. Especially since it should be a weekend already. For some reason, I lost a day this week. All day Thursday I was really anxious for the weekend to start. Then at dinner I realized it was not yet Friday. So today, the kids and I have used this newly discovered weekday to do nothing .

Sure we watched a little TV and played with Play-Doh for a while, but otherwise, we have been useless. And I am planning to stay that way all weekend. Right after I finish mowing the yard.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Good News/Bad News

The good news (for the children, at least): I did not get carried off by mosquitoes last night. Not even a single bite. And no heatstroke either

The bad news (for the children, at least): Since we had free coupons to a pizza place that has a big arcade inside, I did not get around to mowing the yard last night. Therefore, we have to hang out inside today. Don't want to risk losing any children to insect-buzzards.

Maybe tonight. Or not... We do have those freebie baseball tickets.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tell my wife I love her, if I don't make it back...

I am off to mow the back yard. It should only take me an hour or so, but it is still 100 degrees out there and I am pretty sure the mosquitoes just carried off the neighbor and her German Sheppard Dog.

If I dress to keep the bug at bay, then I shall die of heat stroke. If I dress in the usual Birkenstocks and shorts, then I surely will be a mosquitoes meal.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Can someone explain why The Boss Lady was startled by the sight of a tumor, when she was watching a show titled Face Eating Tumor on TLC?

Wouldn't you think she should realize that there was going to be a tumor sighting during that show? Well, she didn't.

And why, oh why, is this post of interest to every spammer who ever posted Blogger comments. I have now removed 10 comments tonight. Before this post, I have only ever had one or two spammy comments on the entire site.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bumper sticker day

Three times today someone has told me about a bumper sticker that belongs on my truck... Here is a link to a pic of my sweet ride, just in case you haven't seen it.

It may be just an odd coincidence, or it may be that I am just so shallow that I could be summed up on a couple of 4x12 stickers. I'll leave that for you to decide.

The three stickers?

My Great Pyrenees can beat up your student

Work is for those who can't fish

And the best of all...

I break for... Aww hell, NO BRAKES!

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Fish Tale

The Boss Lady had a giant fish tank in her front office last year. It must hold a couple of hundred gallons and a dozen huge fish. This year, they moved it to another office. The Talker misses the tank. The Boss Lady does not.

It was big and got kind of stinky at the end of the school year. But most of all, she is glad it was gone when it cracked this week and leaked all over the other office. Rescuing the fish and preventing a flood provided lots of excitement for a late afternoon. But you ought to hear The Boy tell his version of the story.

In his tale, He was the hero. We were not even there. He broke the tank, when he hit a home run baseball. Now really, would I let him play baseball next to the aquarium? With a real baseball? Inside? With mommy right across the hall? I think not.

But then, he caught all of the fish and ate them up. But miraculously, he also saved them from dying by putting them in buckets. Later, he took the fish to the elevator and let them ride with him to the library where he read them some of his favorite books until the fire department came to put out the fire. What fire? Who said anything about a fire?

Anyways, I think my boy is going to be a great fisherman. Because he can already tell a really great fish story.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Splash Day

We are having friends over this afternoon, to play in the kiddie pools and to hang out on the playscape. It is pretty hot out there, but hopefully we can find enough shade, so that the kids don't roast.

Like most things, there is an ulterior motive to this afternoon playdate. We are going to a house warming party this evening and I would prefer that the kids be worn out before we get there. No sense in trashing someone's first house before they even move in, right?

One of The Boss Lady's childhood friends is moving in, about 15 blocks from us. It is close enough that the wife wants to walk over and pull the kids in the wagon. Me? I wanna drive the truck. We will she who wins.

No, that wasn't a typo.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What a good big brother...

This morning, I put off running an errand because The Talker did not want to go across town until he ate lunch. The only problem with this delay was that our hour long round trip would now happen right before nap time.

So I cut a deal with the boy. We would wait to go downtown, but he had to keep his sister awake and happy in the car, so that we could be home for a real naptime. And this way, daddy gets to rest, too!

He had a great plan. Snacks, stuffed animals, books, hot wheel cars, juice and music were all drug to the car to help keep The Princess from snoozing. And his plan worked pretty well. She was wide awake and laughing when we headed home. She was reading a map with him when we were almost home.

And then, I realized the boy had a secret weapon. About 5 miles from home, I saw him slip her a pacifier that he had hidden in his pocket. So she started her nap a few minutes early. Keeping his sister must have been a big job for him, though. He is in his room, now, snoozing away the afternoon.

Yeah for Daddy! Do I rule naptimes, or what?

Monday, August 15, 2005

A SAHD day...

Today, I begin my 4th year as a stay at home dad (SAHD).

What a long, strange and stinky trip it has been.

Some days it seems like I really need to get back to the 'real world' and other days I am pretty sure I was made to do this. Today? It is still early. Not sure how I feel about it today. Give me another 3 years of being a SAHD and I should know.

There is no time to contemplate now. We are off to a SAHDs playdate.

Just for the Record

I spent most of the afternoon loading MP3s onto the new hard drive.

My iTunes library now holds:

About 20 CDs worth of music
522 different tracks
An impressive looking 1.3 days worth of tunes
63 songs by George Strait
My entire KGSR Broadcast collection (Volumes 4-12)
Only 19 Cowboy Junkies tunes
Only one U2 disc

All of the discs I have loaded, except for the KGSR collection, were just laying around in various CD players. Later, I'll tackle the 200 disc changer in the living room. Then, the George Strait and Cowboy Junkies counts will go WAY up.

And finally, I went to sleep last night listening to an MP3 disc with 156 of my favorites playing! Good Sleep!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

This should be on the Dark Side...

But I'll try to keep it clean, since it is an issue that is really important to me as a stay at home dad, not just because I am a big whiner...

The kids both have nasty coughs. I have an even nastier one. It is allergy season. Welcome to Austin. All them trees? Pretty, aren't they? And as Yoda would say, "Cedars, they are. Lots of pollen put out, they do. Them all down, let's cut."

I digress.

Anyways, no one is sleeping well. The boy was up several times. The girl was up for good at 6:15. The wife, she was up at 6:30. And me? I was faking a drug induced coma through it all. I admit it.

My lovely bride took the kids to Target at about 8:30 this morning. I was having a wonderful dream and sleeping better than anyone had all night. Then the door bell rang. Twice.

The first time, it just became part of my dream. The second time, it really woke me up. I guessed that the family was locked out of the house. So I went to the door in my pajamas.

To find a business card for a siding and window company.

And a dude standing in my front yard.

So I asked him in my kindest and most caring voice, "You ring my ^(*&^@# @#(*& (* @%!& @#* )_@(* doorbell? On the one day I got to sleep a little late? My god man, you have a death wish? Twice?"

I think he was surprised. But not as much as the guy with him who had just rung the neighbor ladies doorbell. Now she was REALLY pissed. I could hear her giving that guy hell from across the street.

I went inside, got a shirt and went back to find the guy still in my yard. I think he was hiding, in case neighbor lady wanted a piece of him, too. I asked him if it was his business card. He says it is. I pointed towards the house and told him that our house already has siding on it.

He told me "They did a good job on it."

So I shared a secret. We would be buying windows soon. Just not from him. Because he ruined a perfectly good dream involving me, Lindsay Lohan, Herbie and Yoda wielding a chainsaw...

In case you want to know who NOT to buy windows or siding from, I kept the card for a souvenir. It is all I have to remind me of my beautiful dream.

Besides, I might need to call the 800 number on that business card a few hundred times tonight. Why not? The kids will be up all night and nothing better to do, have I.

iTunes Rocks!

I want an iPod. Real bad. But, I usually have expensive taste in toys and this is no exception. I really like the high end models.

One of these might be possible. But the expensive ones would be better, because I would not have to spend so much time away from my family, swapping tunes.

I downloaded iTunes, just to play a little and to burn a few MP3 discs. I have a portable CD player that plays MP3s but I have never tried it. So I thought I would burn a few discs just to try it out.

I am digging the iTunes software enough that I have imported 20 discs and I am going to burn a few MP3s for the car. My current plan involves reinstalling the old hard drive, and using it to store a bunch of my favorite discs. That way, when I do end up with an iPod (and I will, Boss Lady, don't you worry...), I'll be ready to fill that bad boy up.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I suspected all long

The child that we were pretty sure was part demon, back when she would not sleep for more than 45 minutes at a stretch, The Princess, now 16 months old...

Turns out the rabid monster genes are coming back. She is sleeping fine, now. Most of the time. But she has this growling thing.

Yep, growling.

She seems to think it is hilarious to come up to someone and growl at them. She even growls at her toys and dolls. It is all pretty funny. Unless you are snoozing away a migrane on the couch and all of the sudden this demon-monkey is climbing on top of you to growl in your face.

Then so funny, it ain't. The good news is, the demon monkey child landed safely on the pile of clean clothes. The bad news, she thought flying across the room after giving daddy a heart attack was funny, too.

Monday, August 08, 2005

It Does NOT Run in the Family...

Back in May, The Talker went to the ER. For a quick release from there, all he had to do was give a urine sample. Instead, we stayed in the exam room for a few hours, because he just wouldn't go. He flat out told the Dr "No." when he was being bribed with treats or getting to go home. Finally they just sent us home. So The Talker won.

This morning, The Princess was having a checkup. They needed a specimen. Tough. She held her ground. And they gave up, too. And they sent us home. So The Princess won.

Kids, 2. Medical staff, Zero.

Weekend Recap

Friday was a surprise day for AtHomeDaddy! Usually I like surprises, but I am leary of them this time of year. The Boss Lady has started back to her full time school year schedule. Being an idiot, I thought the transition would occur this week. So I was looking forward to her having one last Friday off. And I had lots of great plans.

But, I am a moron. Turns out the previous Friday was my last day of freedom and I did not take full advantage of it. This past week, she not only had to work on Friday, she put in a half day on Saturday.

We went to Sis's house for a really late birthday party on Saturday afternoon. Is it really a birthday party if you hold it 4 months after the fact? Someone should call the party authorities on her.

Sunday we visited a church in our neighborhood. We have been driving across town to go to church for almost 10 years, except for a couple of years that we lived in that neighborhood. Now, we are anxious to find somewhere a little closer to home. It was odd to see people from our neighborhood sitting in the church with us. But I think it is something that could really work for us.

Sunday afternoon, we napped. Everyone. At once. The kids snoozed for 3 hours, the wife for 2, and I crashed for about 200 miles, right in the middle of the Brickyard 400.

All in all, a good weekend and a good end to the summer, even if it did happen a week too late. Of course, if my sister was in charge, the summer would not end until December...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Sails for the SS JOllie Squishy Bug

Back in December, Pops helped me build a playscape for the kids. The SS JOllie Squishy Bug has been sailed on many pirate-y adventures since then. Back when I designed it, I wanted to make sure we could eventually add on other features. And the first add-on, a stretched canvas roof is half way done. That is why I left the tall support posts,when we finished building it.

I was just going to stretch canvas over the top deck and make an ordinary roof. But this playscape deserves something different, so The Boss Lady and I designed two sails for the roof. Each sail will cover half of the deck.

I installed the frames last night. I re-installed the frames this morning. But I did it correctly, this time. Hopefully this weekend The Boss and I can cut the canvas down to size and get it secured to the frames. And I am even more hopeful that it will look good when it is done.

If it does look OK when completed, we thought of a way to shade the swingset with a giant sail, too.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Even Better

than buying at deep discounts, is seeing The Princess enjoy her new treasures.

Notice there is no pacifier in this picture! And she is still smiling. That must be a really good wagon...

Deal of the Day

The Target store near us is expanding. They are doing a huge remodel and addition, all while trying to keep the store open. We have avoided the mess for several months but thanks to The New Big White Dog, I needed a replacement TV remote, so the kids and I ran over there.

Found a couple of good deals for the kids. So now I will brag...

Wagon For 2 Plus. Nope, didn't pay $60. Or even $50. $12.48 on clearance.

Right below it, on the same shelf, I found a Playskool Le Cafe Set. Not for $60 on No sir. Would not play that. I would not have even paid $40 for the McKids one, on Amazon. But I would pay $14.98.

I admit, I was tempted to buy up all of the clearance stuff they had, another cafe set and a Step 2 Climber for toddlers. But this stuff would have gone straight to being listed on eBay and I finally decided it was all too bulky to bother with shipping.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Back on the Feed

The Talker is officially over his tonsil surgery. He had to wait 14 days to eat anything crunchy. So last night for dinner, he celebrated by shoveling taco chips into his face as fast as we would let him.

And today for lunch, his favorite is back. Peanut butter and about a pound of Color Blaster Goldfish crackers with Streaming Strawberry frozen yogurt and red cranberry juice. If I had to go for two weeks without eating my favorite foods, I think the menu might be a little more exciting. But this is a pretty good list for out 3 1/2 year old. Sometimes he goes all day without eating this much.

I am glad to have the crackers back, too. Nothing easier to fix for lunch than a big pile of crackers on a plate next to a big spoonful of peanut butter.

Monday, August 01, 2005

No Matter

what those other dogs ate while they were here for a week and a half, back in June, nothing compares to this morning.

The new Chief Butthead of the House Award goes to New Big White Dog!

This morning's (actually it all happened in a 15 minute period...) tally of destruction:

The receipt from some auto parts, no big deal

The lid to a new bottle of kid's sunscreen, cost $6

The TV/Sat remote, cost currently $4 + $9 shipping. But it is THE TV remote, dang it. And I am pissed. How am I going to keep my out of shape if I am always getting up to change the channel?

Not to mention that the receiver is broken and you can only change channels one direction...