Thursday, December 28, 2006

There has been a coup on Sesame Street

This morning on Sesame Street there was a video showing lots of celebrities dancing to a song sung by Ernie. When the song was over, The Talker told us "That guy that was dancing with the microphone... He is the President of Sesame Street."

But for some reason, I don't think the presidency of Sesame Street pays well enough for Larry King to run for office.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What do you get

When you pour 18 autistic kids and a few extras into a pile and toss in 10 staff members?

A worn out AtHomeDaddy.

I am going to bed. Good night.

As I sit in a quiet house,

and the family has gone swimming at the YMCA, and the dog is in the backyard, the cats are asleep somewhere, and the only sounds in the house are the radio I left playing in the back bathroom and the clicking of the keyboard, I just realized something.

And it was not that my high school English teacher is having a stroke because of that atrocious sentence I just started this entry with...

I realized that this is the type of morning that I LOVE to just hang out at home. Relaxing by myself in the big blue chair with a Dr Pepper or two beside me. The quiet is nice.

Too bad I can't enjoy it today. I have to be at work in an hour and 8 minutes. Real work. Paycheck and everything. Two days this week, two more next.

I agreed to help out at my old job for a few days during the holidays. The extra cash sounded like a good idea back in November. But now, with this sunny and quiet day started, I don't wanna go.

Now I am wondering: would it be so bad to call in sick on my first day of work this entire year?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Thanks Mom and Dad

The Queen Mother and Dad bought the kids a gift that I think I will love. Anything that wears the kids out this fast is good in my book!

Free James Brown, UUUUUUUUUUUhh!

Back about a million years and a couple of careers ago, I was working between college semesters as a summer camp counselor. The camps I generally worked at served kids and teens who had physical or developmental disabilities or serious medical issues. One particular summer came flooding into back into my memory when I read that The Godfather of Soul died early this morning.

In the summer of 1989 I was working at a camp for kids who were served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association of North Texas. Lots of teenagers on staff (including a young chick I would eventually marry...) and lots of kids hanging out for a week of fun in the sun. Good times all around.

For some reason me and a couple of the other guys thought the fact that James Brown was in prison was incredibly funny. I don't remember why it was so funny, but at the time we thought it was one of the funniest things in the world.

It was made even funnier by the fact that we started yelling in our best James Brown voices, "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" across the camp at any possible time. Any question that needed a response got a loud "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" Any decision that we had to make was solved with a "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" And then there were the times that we just yelled it out for no reason. "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!"

After a day of this, the kids in our cabin started doing it. So we had an army of 10 year old boys following us around giving out "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" all day and night. The louder the better.

Another day of that and our insanity spread through the whole camp.

"What's for lunch?
Free James Brown, Uhhhh!
Hey, when do we go swimming?
Free James Brown, Uhhhh!
Free James Brown?
Free James Brown, Uhhhh!"

The highlight of the summer came for us when one of my campers said nothing but "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" for more than two days!

For that fun in the summer sun, I say thanks, James Brown. And also you are welcome. After all, our civil disobedience must have worked. You did get paroled 4 years early.

"Free James Brown, Uhhhh!"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hey Santa, just look for the house with the cool blue truck in front of it...

The kids are tucked in. Santa is on the way.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas. I know it will be a lot of fun around here.

The kids left milk and cookies for Santa and a pile of dog biscuits on the porch for Blitzen and the boys. So I think all of the bases are covered...

Too tired to type any more. Plus I expect that I will have to get an early start in the morning.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Road tripping

We hit the road this afternoon to go see The Boss lady's family. Back home in a day or so, with the first load of Christmas presents from The Mother of the Bride and the rest of The Boss Lady's family.

Stopped on the way up at Sis' new old house. 125 years old and a cool place to hang your hat. The old garage makes me jealous for a place to build a workshop. But Sis' hubby has a good idea too. I think it could make a really great place for mothers-in-law to hide out.

A couple of years back I kept a count of every piece and part of Christmas toys the kids got. Went over 500 pieces if I remember correctly. I am thinking about doing it again this year.

From a pile of parts...

Comes a kick ass ride!

In less than 45 minutes!

Yes, I tested it out.

Due to a time crunch, I did not take pictures of the assembly of The Princess' play kitchen. And I did not get to spend much time testing it out. But it went together without missing, broken or extra pieces. So it must be right. Right?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Longer nights, longer days

I really don't like this time of year, when it is dark about 75% of the time. Makes me really miss summer, when you can play outside in the daylight until 8:30.

But even more I am missing the days of 3 hour naps and 9:30 wake up calls. Recently some unholy alignment of the planets has taken hold of our children. And there ain't enough Dr Pepper in the universe to keep Daddy awake all day long.

The Talker has finally outgrown daily naps. No real surprise there, he is almost 5. But the real pain is that he went from regular 3 to 4 hour snoozes to none. Nada. Zilch. Daddy don't likes missing naptime.

The Princess has discovered life before Sesame Street. She used to sleep away half of the morning. No more of that. Suddenly she has decided that 6:11AM makes a much better wake up time than 9AM. Now my day is a couple of hours longer on the front end. No muy bueno. Daddy likes him some sleep until 7AM.

Then there are days like today. The Boss Lady left even earlier to get some work done in a quiet office. The Princess bounced out of bed at 6:10. I was too groggy to realize where she was headed before she made it all the way in to The Talker's room and onto the top bunk bed with him.

No, he did not sleep through the early morning visit. Yeah for losing ANOTHER hour of sleep. That should make for a happy boy this evening. Thank your sister when you are elbow deep in time outs tonight, OK?

Luckily for me there is a cure to this curse. When The Boss Lady finishes work this afternoon, she does not have to go back until after the first of the year. At least I'll have her around to share the pain. Plus, she is already used to these early mornings, what with leaving for work at 5 in the morning.

Besides, it would not be very nice of me to intrude on Mommy time with the kids, now would it?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just another December in Texas

Six days until Christmas and the kids and I are stuck in the house because of a nice drizzle outside. But it would be a lot worse if we did not have air conditioning. 'Cause it's hot out there...

The kids and I headed over to our YMCA this morning so that The Talker could join in on his new favorite activity, KidFit. This is a game and exercise program specifically for 3-6 year olds. The Talker has really enjoyed the last couple of times he attended, especially when he realized that he is the oldest kid in the group. I am excited about that, because age wise he is stuck right in the middle of all of the kids in our neighborhood.

While he was getting fit, The Princess and I went swimming. Which happens to be one of her favorite activities and NOT one of mine. Still, it is nice to have some one on one time with her during the day. Now that The Talker is not napping, he and I get lots of time to play together while sister is snoozing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another busy weekend

Saturday morning Racecar Man and I dropped by the building site to watch a huge crew work on an Extreme Makeover house, a couple of miles from our neighborhood. It was pretty amazing to see the huge crew working and to know that just a few days earlier that beautiful house was not standing there, but tonight the family is getting to enjoy the new house.

Saturday evening we had a nice family play time in the backyard. The kids played on the playscape and I got most of the leaves cleaned up and added to the compost pile. There are still plenty of leaves on the trees and in the flowerbeds for the kids and I to make one more leaf pile this year. That is always a good way to kill an hour and a half, making a big leaf pile and letting the kids jump in it to scatter it back out. Big fun!

This afternoon The Talker and I loaded up the row boat and our fishing gear. We went to a quarry lake nearby to ride around in the boat and to do a little fishing. We caught a good looking smallmouth bass. It was also the only nibble we got. Since this was out first fishing trip in the boat, the boy was fishing without a hook. Next time we will double our chances to catch the big one.

Now I need to teach The Talker how to tell a fish story. He is telling everyone our bass was a few inches long. That fish was at least 11 inches long. And I bet it weighed a pound and a half.

The boat ride was fun and catching a fish was cool. But I am afraid The Talker will remember the trip because of the big goose that chased us around while we snacked at the picnic area. That dude was insistent that we share our snack with him. We ran back to the boat while he was eating our leftovers.

After the fishing trip we stopped at a neighbor's house and he played while I helped/watched the beginnings of a playscape construction project. Turned into a lot of fun when most of the neighborhood guys showed up to help out and to cheer on Law Talking Guy.

The Boss Lady and The Princess ended up down there watching the chaos. So assembling a playscape turned into a multi-family event. Man we love our neighborhood.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Truer words ain't been spoke

Tonight's discussion at the dinner table:

The Momma: Girl, cut that out!
The Talker: Mom, what did my sister do?
The Momma: Honey, it isn't your job to worry about what your sister does.
The Talker: But Momma, I want to know about EVERYTHING!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dinner out or a trip to the ER?

The Boss Lady has been planning a night out with some of her friends for weeks. I think I first heard about the plan to dine out tonight back in late October. Anyways, plans have been brewing for a while.

120 minutes before she was supposed to meet one of the neighbor ladies to head out, The Princess realized mommy had plans that did not include anyone under the age of 30. So she did what any self-respecting kid who does not want to eat another of dad's diners would do... she fell off of the playscape. We decided to head to the ER because she landed wicked hard on her left arm and chest. Yes, the local ER IS getting to know us pretty well.

Anyways, we were in and out in 90 minutes! No broken bones, no sprains, no X-rays and no shots! By the end of our stay, the patient and I were playing a "Peg the Mommy in the Head" with a blown up rubber glove. Turns out it is a hilariously fun game. Though I am not sure the woman waiting for X-rays on the other side of the ER curtain would agree.The Princess was laughing so hard I was worried that she would fall off of the exam bed and break her arm or something. But laughing in the ER is OK, especially if it annoys mommy!

The Talker spent the time with some neighbors, entertaining them by retelling of all of the recent family news. Evidently I am a super hero in my spare time and I fight crime with laser vision and ice... Needless to say, he was sad to see us home so soon.

But The Boss Lady was happy. She managed to wait out the entire ER visit and still make it on time to her dinner with the neighborhood women.

Me? I would rather go back to the ER than to have gone on that dinner trip.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lights Trip

Some photos from our trip to The Trail of Lights.

Turns out it is pretty hard to get decent photos with a digital camera, so I decided to have some fun.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trail of Lights

The Parks and Recreation Department hosts The Trail of Lights for a couple of weeks each year. It is an event that we never miss. This year, no exception. Since the weather was perfect today, we headed over to the trail after dinner.

While there I shot lots of photos that I will share later. For now, I'll let you check out one of my first YouTube videos. This is a little longer look at one of the displays along the trail. It was a cool set-up.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Family Day

After everyone was sick Friday and Saturday, we were feeling like we had missed out on the weekend. So Sunday we skipped church and went to see Happy Feet.

I won't spoil the movie here, but here is my $18.50 Matinee Movie Review...

  • The plot was hard for The Talker to figure out. Heck it was hard for me to follow.
  • The animation and visuals in the movie were great. Especially the landscapes.
  • The dancing was fun and kept us all tapping along. OK, The Talker was dancing in the aisle...
  • The highlight of the movie was the music! This movie has an awesome soundtrack that the kids and I will be hunting down this afternoon. Never before have I wanted to buy a movie soundtrack before the opening credits finished rolling.
An interesting side note to our movie adventure, the showing that we attended was Open Captioned - It had the dialogue written and major sound effects described along the bottom of the screen. Big bonus, I never had to ask The Boss Lady to clue me in on lines I missed while The Talker was asking me one of his 452,456 questions.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Notorius DAD

Thanks to the guys at and Kevin at I'm Not a Slacker for turning me onto this YouTube video.

It would be even funnier if it did not hurt so much when I laugh.

Reports of my death have only been slightly exaggerated

Everyone is truly on the mend now. Unluckily, we are at the point where the kids have bounced back to full strength and The Boss Lady and I are still not feeling that great. She must be closer than me, though. She just volunteered to take the kids to her office for a couple of hours this morning. Not a chance in hell I want to spend any solo time with the progeny today.

Especially after my wrestling match with the toilet last night.

No. I wasn't sick again. I was trying to be a good daddy. See,I have been keeping any laundry that might be contaminated with barf bugs contained in the garage and I have been washing stuff as fast as the machines would allow. So I had picked up all of the towels and rugs out of the bathrooms and I started spraying disinfectant all over the place. Now one bathroom is sparkly clean. Not contagious. And SLICK!

I walked back in the bathroom to scrub the potty when I wiped out on the wet tile floor. Smashed my left wrist on the bathroom counter, my knees on the floor, twisted my ankle into the side of the bathtub and smashed my face right into the toilet bowl. At least my big nose kept me from drowning.

All in all, it hurt like heck, but I can limp into the bathroom without fear of germs. So I guess it was an OK trade.

But now I am just a little afraid that the potty might attack me again.

Friday, December 08, 2006

At least I had a better day than this guy

So we were not quiet done with the family sickness when I blogged Thursday evening. All four of us were still feeling pretty lousy until this afternoon. I am pretty sure we set a record for the number of times someone puked last night.

But, at least we did not run from the cops through downtown in a Porsche Cayenne and get the beat down from the men and women in blue. Way to go APD. Kick a yuppie's ass for me, too.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Glad that is over...

The Princess seems to be on the mend. She had a "sharing moment" with her mommy before bed time but has been back to her usual self since then.

I know she feels better because her aim is back. She just pegged The Talker in the head with a toy from 23 paces. He cried. She laughed.

It's good to have my girl back.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I know it wern't the pizza

'cause she would not touch it...

But The Princess is barfing like a puke flavored fountain this morning. The body count so far:

Barf on Clifford the Big Red Dog toy, and the sheets and blankets on her bed. Barf in the hall, on the way to the bathroom. Barf in the bathroom. Barf on our bed (and The Boss Lady's pillow - sorry about that one, Honey).

The leather couch? Barf squared. She has already nailed it a few times. The new IKEA footstool? You betcha. The new living room rug? Yep. There is now another shade of brown on the area rug.

An worst of all, barf on Daddy. Great for effect if you are a kid, but bad if you are worried about barf-back. Yep. Every time I see, smell, hear, touch or God forbid, taste barf, I heave. Luckily, this time I did not repay the girl. Not yet.

Right now the girl is watching The Backyardigan's, sitting in a plastic tub and wearing a trash bag robe and NOT barfing. Me and big brother? We are trying to stay away from the puke-a-saurus. And wearing our most puke resistant trash bag clothes.

Anyone want to come over to play and mop?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Off on a pizza adventure

Wish us luck.

The kids and I are making home made pizzas today. Home made crust and all. Should be an experience. Possibly an experience in how NOT to get a kid to eat pizza, but an experience, none the less.

We used the bread machine to mix the crust dough earlier. While it was mixing and rising we ran to the grocery store to pick up some mozzarella and pepperoni. I am going to try and make two pizzas, each one half cheese, half pepperoni. Then we can freeze one pizza for later in the week. If this works, and the kids eat our pizzas, we will get a little more adverous with the toppings in the future.

The dough recipe said that it could be doubled, so I did. While it was rising it overflowed the pan. I had to knead it down a little. Hopefully I did not mess anything up...

Saturday, The Talker and I made some cinnamon rolls. The dough did not rise very well. Either because the milk I used was too hot or because the house was too cold... An hour ago I heated the oven for a little while. Hopefully it is warm enough to help the crust rise.

Either way, after an hour of letting the crust rise, we will be assembling our pizzas and baking them for lunch. A picture before the baking. Just in case we don't survive.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What I wanted to get done this weekend:


What I did get done:

A four hour nap on Saturday and a couple of more hours spent napping on Sunday.

I think that is how it went, but the weekend was kind of a blur as you can tell...

Friday, December 01, 2006

You know you are baking right, if the recipe starts with a trip to the attic

Yesterday The Talker started asking where things are made. Mainly he was interested in the foods we had out in the kitchen. Apples, soda, water and bread all made the inquisition list.

When he asked about bread, I told him that we "could bake some bread soon". I meant that in the parental sense of the word (also known as possibly never). The boy heard it in the 5 year old sense of the word (meaning SOON!).

He called my bluff this morning and I had to climb into the attic to grab the bread maker. True, my mom did it the hard way, with a mixer and her oven. But she had three kids, so obviously I am smarter than her. Plus, she did not have a bread machine and I do. So nannie nannie boo boo.

We ran to the grocery store to grab some yeast and bread flour. I may have hit the high spot in my day at the store, when I found a coupon for free bread flour with the purchase of yeast. I love freebies!

The Princess helped me mix and measure all of the ingredients. Then we put everything together and started the bread machine. In three hours we will be chowing down on fresh, warm cinnamon raisin bread.

Unfortunately, our labor of love may taste like crap. I set the butter in the window sill to soften up a little and I forgot about it until the bread dough was already mixed in the machine. But not wanting to give up and start over, I added the butter and restared the machine. I don't know that this really accomplished anything except to melt butter on the outside of the dough ball, but we shall see. In fact, you can have the first bite.

Edit: 4 hours later... Never mind. It tastes fine. So get your own cinnamon raisin bread. The only problem, The Talker wanted to bake bread, too. So while little sister napped, we mixed up some old fashioned white bread. It'll be ready tonight when we get home.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The 868th post to AtHomeDaddy

No real significance or importance there, just an interesting bit of trivia that I learned from upgrading to the new Blogger software.

Anyways... The kids and I have hidden ourselves in the house today. Too cold and rainy to get the coughing kids out. Plus, I hate cold weather. That is why we live in Texas and have a huge fireplace in our living room.

Supposed to be cold and wet for the rest of the week. I guess we will have to venture out sometime this evening or on Friday to get groceries. Or I guess we could just stay warm and resort to cannibalism. Then again, I am the slow fat one around here, so maybe I won't push that idea too far.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A pink and green Christmas!

This evening we finished up our family shopping. I have been trying for more than a month to find something perfect for The Talker. This afternoon, it hit me. He NEEDS a Green Machine.

We had to hit up two Toys R Us locations to find one, but the kids were kept entertained by the playscapes they have installed in both stores. The playscape was a nice distraction while I checked out and hid the boy's cool ride in the car.

The Princess is finally getting her pink kitchen set. She will be a happy little cooking mama. Luckily we picked it up a month or so ago. Costco has been sold out of them for a while.

I am really hyped about the Green Machine. I had one when I was a kid. It ruled. Best of all, I don't think any other kid on the block had one. So I was the cool kid who everyone had to be nice to, if they wanted a ride on the Green Machine. Now that I think about it, I bet that is why Mom and Dad bought it, so that neighbor's would play with me for a few weeks.

But don't get me wrong, I am excited about the pink kitchen, too. In a different way, though. Frankly, I am scared NOT TO give the girl a pink kitchen. The Princess told me that I needed to get busy and build her one after she saw the first one at Costco. Anyways, it has come up several times since.

"Where is my pink kitchen, Daddy?"
"When ima getta pink kitchen Daddy?"
"Daddy, I want to go play with a pink kitchen."

And just last week, she surprised me with "There better be a pink kitchen under that Christmas tree, or there is gonna be heck to pay, buddy!"

So don't go telling The Princess, but one one these pretty girls will be waiting beside the Christmas Tree.

Good gosh almighty and great googly moogly, it is gonna be a gaudy Christmas around here...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Perfect parade plan

Yesterday I told about leaving Marge downtown. Our plan worked like a charm. Room to spare and a great view of the entire parade. By the stack of newspapers and magazines I found in the bed of the truck, someone may have slept back there last night. I'm just glad it wasn't me. The Boss Lady has already reserved Marge for next year's parade.

Pictures will be online later today.

Friday, November 24, 2006

An Austin Thanksgiving

Just a warning, this may be the longest post I have ever written.
Enter at your own risk...

And bring a snack ...

Thanksgiving weekend is filled with lots of family traditions around here. A family reunion, a parade, a CD release and lots of food.

Wednesday The Boss Lady and I attended a funeral here in town for one of my Dad's first cousin's. He was a great guy and a good architect, too. More personally for out family, he was instrumental in getting The Boss Lady her current job. Which is a big deal to the entire family, since her school is one that he designed.

Thursday we spent the morning and early afternoon with Dad's extended family at our annual family reunion. Good food and big fun hanging out with some of my cousins who I have not seen since last Thanksgiving. 85 people, including about 20 kids managed to eat lunch and play outside without anyone starting a fight or getting drunk. Way to go, guys!

After lunch and playtime, a smaller herd headed over to our house to hang out and to eat The Boss' homemade chicken stew. The good news for me is that only 10 people were over here and The Boss Lady cooked for lots more. So I get to eat leftover stew for days and days! Yummy.

The Talker and The Princess enjoyed having Sis' kids over to play for a few hours. And they all got along without anyone starting a fight or getting drunk. Way to go, guys! After a couple of hours of play here at the house, I took the kiddos for a ride in the truck. Sis and The Boss Lady rode along, so that they could all go in one trip and ride in the bed of the truck. Big fun, all the way to the far end of the street.

Once we got down there, we found a neighborhood Thanksgiving party that was about to finish up. There were several families hanging out and five more kids who wanted truck rides. Everybody load up! We made several trips up and down the street. Lots of smiles and hollering all the way!

Today we set up the first of our outside Christmas decorations, an 8 foot tall Polar bear balloon and a Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Snowman balloon. In an hour, the front yard was decorated. Pictures will be coming later, after I decide how much more we will dress up the outside of the house.

This evening we headed downtown, to mark a place for the big parade. Marge is sleeping on the street downtown tonight, protecting our primo seats. The Boss Lady's plan involved me driving the truck downtown, to find a good parking spot on the parade route. The wife and kids followed me downtown in the Saturn. I am not ready to cruise the highways in the truck, so we stuck to surface streets, so the usual 15 minute trip downtown took more than an hour, but we managed to get there without any problems. It took a while to find the perfect spot, but we finally settled on a spot in the middle of the parade route.

Last year we had some incredibly rude families shove their way to right in front of the kids at the last minute, even though we arrived several hours before the parade started. This year, we will be sitting in the upper deck, aka Marge's truck bed. Hopefully the kids will actually be able to see the parade this way.

On the way home, we ate at an Austin institution, The Texas Chili Parlor. Neither The Boss Lady nor I had ever been, even though we can sing all the words to the song that made the place famous, Guy Clark's Dublin Blues. And let me tell you something, after one Mad Dog Margarita, I didn't care where I was, much less where you were...

After dinner we headed over to Waterloo Records, to pick up a copy of KGSR broadcasts vol.14. We have every volume of this set that has come out since we moved to Austin. They are some of our family's favorite discs. No way we would miss this release ANY year.

An REI just opened across the street from the record store. We ventured over there just to check out the new store. Neither of us were terribly impressed with the store. Seems to be a lot smaller and have a lot less gear than older REI stores. The REI close to our house is mainly stocking clothes now, so we were not terribly surprised. Still, I managed to score a screaming deal on a new tent. I have wanted an REI half dome for more than a dozen years, back when they were too expensive and costs $100 with the footprint included. The footprint cost an extra $17.50, now, but I think I have waited long enough.

Now, we are home again. Marge is loose in downtown. Hope she stays off of 6th Street. And I should be rocking out to my new CDs or playing with my tent. Instead, I am going to bed.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another long day, another meal out.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned our usual dining spot for nights that The Boss Lady has to work late. The staff are always great, the food is so so and the place is already casual and a little bit loud, so a couple of kids don't add that much noise to the chaos.

Tonight though, The Talker wanted to pick somewhere different. So the three of us headed over to Cheddar's. Even though it is pretty casual there, too, it is a lot quieter than the catfish place. So I was a little worried that keeping the kids calm enough not to annoy other diners might be tough. I was hoping that we would beat most of the crowd, by eating at 5:15.

The kids promised that they could stay quiet and that we would have a nice meal. And danged if they didn't deliver. I am not sure what happened but the twosome was awesome all through dinner. They even got a compliment from an older couple who were sitting next to us. Very cool!

Looks like we have a new favorite spot for dinners out. And it is a huge bonus that everyone actually eats when we go there. Yeah again!

And the kids? They are getting to watch Monster's Inc. since they did such a nice job at diner.

Now, whoever owns these kids, please bring mine back. Your kids are fed and happy but it is almost bedtime. I don't think I want strange kids sleeping in our house. Besides, they were so nice at dinner, it is kind of freaking me out.

Ever have nothing worth blogging about?

I got nothing.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shhhhh! Do you hear that?

It is quiet here. Don't really know how it happened, but the kids, the dog and one cat are playing in the backyard. They are all being quiet, so I am a little scared to go outside.

I have avoided the back door and the windows that face into the backyard for the last half hour. Instead I straightened the kitchen pantry and baked brownies. And if I am really lucky the kids will still be outside when the brownies are long gone.

It has taken the kids and I a couple of days to settle back into our regular routine. The first day was pure chaos. Yesterday we seemed to just annoy the heck out of each other. But we were stuck in the house because of winds that might have blown a toddler off of the playscape. Good times.

This morning we ventured out to the grocery store. And since we got home, the kids seem to have discovered something interesting about the dog and cat.

Would someone please go back there and see what is so funny? I am afraid to look.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lesson two for today

See this morning's post to catch up on lesson one.

When you set-up a bunch of tents in the front yard to air out, be sure you stake down the nicest, biggest and most borrowed one in when it gets windy. Otherwise you might realize when you wake up that someone else now owns your nice, big, borrowed tent.

Luckily, the neighbor isn't in the market for any camping gear. That sucker had blown right into her backyard. Two stakes holding it down obviously did not keep it from wanting to take a swim in the neighbor's pool.

The kid's and I had driven all over the neighborhood earlier and I had decided that the bastards had struck. My faith in humanity is restored.

Sorry for disparaging the bastards.

Lesson one for today

When you set-up a bunch of tents in the front yard to air out, be sure you bring the nicest, biggest and most borrowed one in when it gets dark. Otherwise you might realize when you wake up that someone else now owns your nice, big, borrowed tent.

Bastards stole my tent.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home again

I made it back from my backpacking/road trip late last night.

Foster Falls was at the start of our hike.

We back packed a few miles past Foster Falls. It was a great time to visit The Fiery Gizzard Trail. A little bit of hot, a little cold, lots of fall color, some rain and a tiny bit of snow. Good times. But details will remain sketchy, because what happens at The Gizz, stays at The Gizz.

The road trip was uneventful. Spent $36 in a Louisiana casino on the way over and I spent $36 to tour Graceland on the way home. I stopped in Mississippi and camped on the way over, butt I drove straight home, 16 hours including 3 hours worth of stops. (bad pun fully intended).

Really bored? You can see more trip pictures here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

See yous laters, alligators

I am out of here. Headed to Rick's for a weekend backpacking trip.

I'll be in western Arkansas on Wednesday night and Alabama on Thursday night. Then we will hike and camp in Tennessee for a couple of days. Another overnight in Alabama on Sunday night and then I am heading home, with an overnight in Louisiana.

I'm hitting all of the hot spots this trip, don't you think? Anyways, it should be fun.

Especially the part about being in the car, alone for 2000 miles. With NO kid's music to be heard. Just a stack of old CD's and a full MP3 player. And a butt load of snackage.

I'll be back on the 14th or 15th.

37 minutes to the checkered flag!

Screw election day. Today is much more important than that mess.

Today is the day Cars comes out on DVD. We pre-ordered my copy, I mean the kid's copy, so all we had to do this morning was swing by the mall and pick it up.

We got to the mall a few minutes early so we had to cruise around waiting for the Disney Store to open. But before the staff could even get the security gates fully opened,she let the 5 kids waiting outside rush into the store. The Talker grabbed his copy off of the shelf and we browsed the store for a few minutes.

We were walking out of the mall before 10, a full 5 minutes before the store should have even opened. Yeah for the Disney Store staff!

After a pit stop to change The Princess' stinky diaper and to swap out the glitchy living room DVD player, the kids were watching Cars at 10:37 this morning. A new family record for a new release DVD.

Now I am wondering if we can set a new record for number of times a DVD can be watched before bedtime.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Doing the wave!

The Boss Lady's car needed an oil change and I just did not feel like doing it this time, so the kids and I went to the quick-lube place this morning. In and out in 25 minutes. A little more than a buck a minute for an oil change, but it was a lot less hassle this way.

The waiting room has a small porch behind it that faces the freeway. The Talker was standing on the porch waving to all of the cars on the highway. I got him to start waving at the cars on the service road, hoping that someone would wave back.

I was starting to doubt my neighbors, when finally an old man in a Mercury waved back at the boy. The old man was smiling and The Talker was really hyped up that someone responded. Hopefully they will both have a good day now.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Neighborhood Hiking

Thursday morning the kids and I went for a walk. We were planning to go to the "broken house" and back home. The "broken house" is a house that The Talker nicknamed because it has been under renovation for more than a year. The weather was great, so we kept walking when we got to our turn around point.

Eventually we ended up hiking along some trails that I have never had time to explore. The trails follow a creek that runs behind our neighborhood. We ended up needing to either retrace our route to get back home, or I had to find a way for us to cross the rocky creek to a trail I have hiked on the opposite bank. So we walked along the dry creek bed, over boulders and gravel beds, looking for the other trail.

Once we found the trail we walked back home from the far end of our street. The kids hiked ever step of the adventure. Good for all of us! And they napped like the dead a little later. Good for me!

Anyways, this was a pretty good warm up hike for my trip next weekend. So I am heading back down there this afternoon to hike the trails in the opposite direction. I guess if I really wanted to get ready I would wear the 25 pound backpack.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I admit it. I am a catfish eating cheater.

When the wife has to work late the kids and I can be found eating dinner at the old catfish place down by the freeway. We hardly ever go there as a family because the food is adequate, the prices are OK and the service is a tad better than iffy. Not a glowing recommendation, you say?

Well there is something about the little old grannies that wait tables there. Anytime I walk in with the kids, but without the wife, the service goes way up. I guess Alice, Vera and Flo assume that a dad alone is in over his head at meal time. So they help out as much as possible.

And I let them. That is right. I play along and let them treat me like a dunce. But after 13 hours with the kids, it is nice to eat in relative peace and quiet.

"Kids need refills? No waiting tonight. Here, deary, let me cut that up for you. More fries and hush puppies for the girl?"And that was just on one trip to our table...

Tonight the waitress brought refills of fries over to our table that were destined for another table. She told the people waiting that theirs would be out soon because "Those kids are hungry over there."

After the kids finish, each one gets to pick a toy at the cashier's booth. This evenings reward, Dino Eggs for the boy and bubble soap for the girl.

And for AtHomeDaddy? 35 minutes of being treated like a king. Or at least like a clueless daddy. Either way, I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Since when did getting sick take so much work?

The Princess was up half of the night barfing. So she is getting banished from the Halloween festivities tonight. She and I will stay home in case any wayward trick-or-treaters end up on our dead end street looking for candy.

Since we will be here tonight, instead of hanging out across town with the cousins, I had to get busy out front this morning. I had to sweep the driveway to make sure the gravel from my exploded pathway does not cause a little kid to fall. Then I had to repair the exploded walkway.

It exploded when I knocked over the retaining wall with my truck about a month ago. Once the wall fell, the gravel has slowly taken over our driveway. As of this morning, the wall is repaired and the pathway is contained once more.

After the hard work was over, we got busy carving our pumpkins. One regular "not scary" pumpkin face as requested by The Princess and one vampire "frowning face scary guy" pumpkin, chosen by The Talker.

I carved his from the bottom up. Instead of taking off the top and cleaning out the pumpkin guts, I cut off the bottom and cleaned it out. Now the vampire pumpkin can sit right on top of one of our landscape lights, no candle needed. Next year I think I'll carve them all like this. Assuming I remember for an entire year.

I think we are now ready for Halloween. But I still think it would have been easier to just turn the porch lights and drive across town.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I was going to

post a few pictures of Halloween costumes past. But then I saw some of my favorite pictures and I wanted to share them instead.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

About Halloween-ed out

The kids have gone to two carnivals this weekend. One at church was a big deal with carnival rides and games and all of the good stuff. The other was a smaller event at the YMCA. Games, candy, pumpkin decorating and hot dogs.

I think it was a toss up as to which one the kids liked more. They had to wait in longer lines at our church carnival, but they got to ride on a Ferris wheel and big rocket swings. The Y gave out t-shirts and they got to bring home the pumpkin they decorated. And best of all, when they wore their new t shirts to bed, the pumpkin design glows in the dark! Cool!

They also got to wear their costumes tonight to church. But we skipped two other events this afternoon. The neighborhood costume parade is usually fun, but we passed this year. And The Princess and I were scheduled to go to a Halloween party at the children's museum. After a busy weekend, I really did not want to play nice with strangers, so we skipped out on that, too.

Tuesday is the big night. Trick-or treating for real. We are planning to make it a family affair, driving across town so that the kids can haunt their cousin's neighborhood.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Uniqua is gonna mess you up.

You better make with the candy, or the gruesome twosome is going to tag-team your house.

For those of you without pre-schoolers, this is Uniqua.

Road trip route options

I have been considering a few different routes for my road trip to camp with Rick. The first route is the most direct and shortest. Plus, JB is sitting in LA, just waiting for me to come visit so I'll probably head that way. I see enough of the freeway between here and Dallas, so that route isn't happening, regardless of what Google says.

The mileage isn't correct on the hyperlinked maps, because I did not spend a lot of time tracing the exact route.

The most likely route.
Also the most direct route, through Shreveport, LA. Right past JB's house and the casinos. (860 miles)

The least likely route. Through Dallas, Google's preferred route. I already see enough of the freeway between here and Dallas. So I will be going another way. (920 miles)

If JB isn't home, I'll make one side of the trip on this route. Along the Gulf coast, to Mobile and north through Alabama.(990 miles)

A little shorter route than following the coast all the way to Mobile, AL. Along the coast, heading north to Meridian, MS then catching I-20. (930 miles)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

At least she said "No."

Is it bad that when The Boss Lady called to tell me she was on her way home, two hours early, that my response was...

Why? Didya get fired?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And they expect me to help them get dressed?

I just looked over my shoulder and saw a usual sight. One child is wearing a shirt, underwear and no pants. The other child is wearing pants but no shirt. And no one in the house ever has on shoes or socks.

I would brag that I am fully dressed, except that I just realized a few minutes ago that I have been wearing my underwear inside out since 6:45 this morning.

OK, now that you have TMI, you can return to your lives.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Me make smoke! And lots of it...

No, I am not spending another day on my fire starting skills. At least not on purpose.

But I did hope to get the car washed while the kids napped. I also wanted to eat lunch while they slept. Stupidly, I tried to do both at once.

Frozen pizza, with extra toppings carefully added, put into the oven on 450 degrees with the timer set for 9 minutes. Perfection on a plate for lunch.

Less than 5 minutes later, I forgot about the pizza and headed outside to set up the power washer. Bucket, rags, soap, power washer. Let's wash.

When I was rinsing the last of the soap off of the car, at least 15 minutes later, I heard buzzing. First, I thought the fluorescent light in the garage was on the fritz again. Then I realized the noise was coming from inside the house.

Open the door from the garage and like a stinky cloud of smoke, amid the noise of two smoke detectors going off outside the kid's bedrooms, I remembered the pizza.

Alarms quieted, oven off, pizza tossed outside. Boy rescued from the noise and sister still snoozes away the afternoon.

One part of all this isn't really funny. The boy heard the noise and was too scared to come out of his room. Guess we need to work on some more family fire drills.

Especially if I am going to be doing the cooking...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Me make fire. Almost

Rick threw down a challenge for our upcoming camping trip, make fire without a match or a lighter. So I got busy on this prehistoric activity, by Googling it, of course. The first result caught my attention, because it seems likely that I would have a Dr Pepper can with me on a trip.

Yesterday, while the family went to an elementary school carnival, I stayed home to watch some football. And to polish a Dr Pepper can. After more than hour trying to polish with toothpaste and rags, I got the can nice and clean, but not mirror-like. So I cheated and pulled out some metal polish. After 30 minutes working on it with the polish, it was as shiny as I was going to get it.

This is the can, before I started

And after polishing

I was using a bamboo some small leaf bits as tinder, and I used a split bamboo skewer to hold the leaves in the most focused point of light. The can/mirror was focusing a good beam of light, but after a half hour, I saw no smoke or flame, so I switched to use dryer lint for my tinder. Still no dice 30 minutes later.

Trying to prove to myself that it was possible, I snagged the wife's bathroom mirror. Within 10 seconds I set the lint and skewer on fire, using the mirror. Cool!

All in all, my polishing was sub-par. But the polished can might be good enough to use as an emergency signal mirror. Just like starting a fire without matches, though, I hope I never find out for real.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Old school camping

I ventured up in the attic this evening to bring down my backpacking gear. Turned into a fun evening, remembering past trips. Sadly, most of this stuff hasn't been out of the storage crates in 10 years.

I resisted moving the crates to the attic until just a couple of years ago, because storing my gear up there seemed almost equivalent to putting it in a yard sale. I was resigned to the fact that once it was all stowed nicely overhead, it would be a while before it came out again. At least when it was on our closet floor, and then later in the garage, near the washing machine, I looked at the crates often. But up in the attic, the gear was out of the way and out of mind.

I found lots of goodies. My compass, my grandpa's cookset, a group cookset that Pops gave me, a couple of different stoves and about a half dozen flashlights. All left over from different adventures.

In another crate I found the last of my bike-camping gear. Stuff that hasn't been used since I was 22 years old. Packs and bike tubes and repair kits from a time when I decided to move to my summer job by mountain bike. A time when I was about 50 pounds lighter and able to ride 50 miles a day, sleep on the ground and STILL ride the next day.

Tonight I am trying to burn off the remaining decade old gas from my camping stove. I was surprised that it lit without any effort, even though I know the gas bottle was last filled in the spring of 1995. I want to make sure that it is filled with new fuel for this next trip.

Kind of like the way seeing all of this stuff energizes me and makes me want to run for the hills with 40 pounds on my back.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I just don't get it

I am making plans for a trip to see Rick. I am still trying to decide if I will drive the 2000 round trip, and get a few extra days of peace and quiet, or if I will fly to save some time. I am not really big on flying, but if it is cheaper, then it is a no brainer...

I spent some time on the travel websites this morning and it looks like driving will be a little cheaper, but not by much. Maybe $200 once you add in meals on the road and taxes at the airport. But I give up two days of quiet, getting to listen to CDs and mp3s that I chose. Surely days like that go for more than $100 a piece.

One thing cracks me up about flying. Since there are no direct flights from here to there, some airlines would route me through Memphis or Houston. Makes sense, since those cities are in the general direction of my destination. Some flights overshoot and connect in Atlanta, GA. And they are some of the cheapest flights. Huh? You are taking me 300 miles out of the way and it is cheaper?

The biggest surprise, besides the fact that it is possible to book a first class flight for only $1600, is that a few of the flights connect through Chicago. Isn't that like a thousand miles out of the way? And it is one of the cheaper possible flights?

Let's see, sitting in Chicago, on a flight to Alabama from Texas... Sounds to me like the pilot is planning ahead to get lost on the way. No thanks, I can do that in my own car.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It would be a lot funnier
if it had happened to one of them

The Princess and I spent the better part of 90 minutes in the bathroom at the Pediatrician's office this morning. I was trying anything I could think of to get her to pee in a specimen cup.

Bribery with suckers and stickers, check. Juice from the pharmacy next door, check. Letting the sink run to provide some background noise, check. Washing her hands with warm water, you betcha. Did it all.

Finally I gave up. The nurse hooked us up with a to-go bag, a specimen cup to take home. As we were loading in the car, she let loose. Luckily the puddle landed in the parking lot and not on me or in her brand new car seat.

We ran back in to change into dry clothes. The nurses, who had watched our potty parade all morning long, all got a laugh at my expense. And me? I still have to play collection agent this afternoon. And then I get to drive it back across town.

Yeah for me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

That's dam funny, right there

The AtHomeTrio went to the children's museum this morning. They have a new wildlife exhibit that we wanted to check out. While we were there, The Talker kept playing with a scene of animals and their riverfront homes. He was especially fascinated by the beaver dam.

"Look dad, I dammed the river. Dam it good!
Now the dam is on a tree. Look at my dam tree!
Now its on a log, look at this dam log.
Look at those bears. I crammed them in the dam. Dammed those bears!"

And he went on like this for about ten minutes. Now if you know the boy, you know that he is a little short on being quiet. In fact, he talks damn loud. And the quieter you try to make him, the quieter he ain't.

So I just let him run his course and tried not to make eye contact with any of the other parents. And not surprisingly, shortly thereafter, we came home for lunch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

That's going to hurt

I hit the gym tonight for the first time in a long time, sadly. August was just too busy, with The Boss Lady starting the school year in her brand new school. So I only made it up there a couple of times. And now today is the 16th, and this is the first time this month I made it in.

September, you ask? I don't know where it went. But I never made it into the gym the entire month of September. And I now have 5 extra pounds to prove that fact.

Tonight The Boss Lady took the kids swimming and I hit the gym. 25 minutes on the elliptical machine and then a couple of sets on 13 different resistance machines. I backed off the weights to where I started, back in July. So maybe that will keep the sore muscles at bay.

Yeah, right. Remind me of that in the morning, when I can't get out of bed.

I was brought to action this weekend, when Rick invited me on a November weekend camping/hiking trip with some of his buddies in Tennessee. I would feel really bad if I drove 1000 miles to camp and then had a stroke on the trail and Rick and four guys I don't know had to drag my fat corpse out of the woods.

So I hit the gym. And I plan to do it again in a few days, if I can still move a muscle in the morning.

Now pass the Advil, will you?

The migration patterns of STUFF...

In college I had a book of quotes that I would refer to often. They were great for speech classes or just for useless trivia. One of the quotes I remember and have held dear follows:

A pile for everything and everything in its pile...
Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger, M*A*S*H 4077

So this afternoon I decided to give the robot a little help. I started sweeping the living room and dining rooms so that the little Roomba would not have so much work to do. Problem is, all of the STUFF. I sent at least 8 pair of shoes down the hall, a dozen pair of socks to the laundry, tons of picture books and puzzles to the mantle and the rest of the stuff went onto the rug in the middle of the living room.

And now, the sweeping and mopping are done, the little robot is cleaning up my left overs and the STUFF sits on the rug. When the rest of the floors are clean enough, it will be time to move the pile and let the robot have a chance at the rug.

This would be the perfect time to actually put all of this crap away, right? But why does it never seem to happen that way? I'll start with the shoes. Easy enough to sort into proper places. But by the time I really get rolling on the STUFF, something will come up and the pile will sit.

Oh, it may get moved off of the rug. It is a pretty rug, and I hate seeing it all cluttered up. But when it does get moved, I'll bet that less than 50% of this junk actually lands in it's proper place. Most of it will migrate to a more remote corner of the living room, to be dealt with later.

Or, at least to be moved back to the rug, later. When the robot needs some room to run.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I wanna ROCK! (the baby)

Kid's music is a lot cooler than I ever knew. Don't know how I missed it, but there is evidently a whole series of lullaby music for the little rocker in the house.

You want your baby to jam to Metallica? Amazon can hook you up? Got a grunge baby? They can roll out the Nirvana.

Classic rockin' the baby to sleep? How about some Led Zepplin? Or is your little hard core toddler more of a modern rocker? Maybe a little Coldplay or Radiohead will soothe her to sleep.

The Boss Lady found the Metallica disc on sale at Best Buy. We had no idea there was a whole series dedicated to our little rocking toddlers.

Now, won't some of these bands return the favor? If the Wigggles had a Marilyn Manson backbeat I might be able to handle more than a few minutes at a time. Just think of the possibilities...

Metallica could really jam out on Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes. Or Megadeth could thrash out to Oscar the Grouch's You're Beautiful (Just As You Are).

Anybody know how to get a hold of Kid Rock? I bet he could really kick some ass on Isa Turn the Wheel.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Can't sleep. Must Blog.

Wide awake before sunrise. So I started cruising the net then I ended up in my own archives. So here are a few posts from the past that still make me smile:

Please Don't Shoot the Armadillos

The Voices I Hear
Did ya know?
The Talker Gone Wild
Breaking News - Awwww Sh*t!
One of my proudest moments
Is this really it?
How to Dismantle All Feelings of Youth

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wanna cause a mild panic?

Be a good looking white guy, late 30's, carry around an extra 20 pounds or so...

Then call your wife at work one morning and tell her your chest and neck hurt really bad and that you are short of breath...

Pass the kids off on a neighbor so that you can go the hospital...

For fun, get a little nauseous and dizzy while you are waiting for your wife to come home to drive you to the ER...

And just wait till you see how fast the Emergency Room staff jump when you come slinking in complaining of chest pains and the rest of the above symptoms and being a goooooooood looking fat white guy.

Anyways, all is well now. Back home after a morning in the ER. Did not get a good explanation from the docs. But all blood work and tests looked OK.

Which is good for me. Because I sorta like being a fat, handsome white guy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

An odd mix of stops

This morning I was really not wanting to stay at home. I wanted to get out of the house for some fun and adventure. Or at least some exercise.

I planned last night to head over to the Y for a morning swim. But last Thursday, during the time that was scheduled for family swim time, there was a swim lesson going on, so we only got to stay in the pool a few minutes. I don't know if it was a one time deal or if the printed schedule is wrong, but I decided it wasn't worth disappointing the kids a second time.

So we headed to the opposite side of town and strolled around Cabela's. The kids are always up for the trip down there. They love the laser shooting gallery, so we usually spend more money in there than on anything else. And like usual, as soon as we spent all of our gallery tokens and checked out the animal displays, the kids were ready to leave.

We stopped at Chick-fil-a on the way home and I hoped that some time on the playscape would wear them out. But it got crowded in there and the kids were ready to hit the road pretty soon.

As we were driving through town I remembered a friend telling about how his daughters love to go to the Texas Memorial Museum. We detoured to the museum and the kids had a great time. Well worth the $2 we had to pay to park.

The Talker loved the Pterosaur and The Princess really liked the Onion Creek Mosasaur.

Me? I really dug the Glen Rose Dinosaur Tracks that they have on exhibit outside of the building. That and the stairs. Beautiful winding staircases that take visitors between the four different exhibit floors. They are very nice.

Plus, the stairs are great at wearing the kids out. After climbing up and down the stairs, both kids were snoozing in the car on the way home.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

There is more than one of me...

Tonight I am heading out on the town. The local Stay at Home Dads group is gathering at a local watering hole for a Dad's Night Out. A once a month chance for the dads to gather without a diaper bag in sight.

I usually end up missing DNO because of other scheduling conflicts or because I am just to wiped out to get myself dressed. But tonight I am heading over early. And hopefully staying late.

And to add to the excitement of a free night, I am going to cruise over in the truck. That is one of the real perks of DNO. The dads that have project cars usually bring them out for that one night. And tonight is the truck's unveiling.

What do you bet that the other dads will be jealous of me and Marge? By the way, just in case you haven't seen it lately, here she is, in all her multi-colored glory.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I think the milk has gone bad...

and it is affecting the baby's brain.

The Princess jumped up from breakfast and ran across the room to look at a picture on the computer. Then she floored me with her commentary:

"That is a picture of me when I was in jail. I had juice in jail. When I was in jail the police officer took me to jail."

Now as far as I know, she never has been arrested. I don't think she has even gotten a jay walking ticket. But I guess anything is possible when she is running around town with her brother and mommy.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Working the boy

This afternoon The Talker and I drove our truck over to Home Depot. Hard to believe, but after having it 18 months, this is our first trip to HD in the truck. Anyways, we bought 20 bags of mulch for the flower beds and trees.

While we were there, the boy had a job to do. He counted the bags as we loaded them onto the cart and then made sure we got all 20 loaded into the truck. Then he had to pick out the best looking plants for his little garden plot beside the playscape.

After he wakes from nap we will plant two mum plants, one yellow and one purple and his very own rosemary plant. The kids won't touch a veggie, but they both love fresh rosemary and oregano. We already have several of each plant, but he really wanted one of "my very own".

Once Home, I got most of the mulch spread in the front yard. While I was at it, I cleaned up and weeded all of the flowerbeds. Then I got the front yard mowed.

Somewhere in the middle of all of that, my boy helper disappeared to take a nap.

Smart kid.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It was one of those days

that makes you feel like a real great parent.

The boy got sent to bed early for being too rough with his sister. And his dog. And his mom. And his dad. Some friends at the park, one who already has a broken arm. Pretty much anyone or anything he came in contact with today.

So instead of bitching and complaining anymore, I give you video of a day that was more fun, from back in August.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I can't wait.... 55!

5 weeks, 5 days Until Cars comes out on DVD.
Thanks to KB for the head's up. We went to the Disney store and pre-ordered a copy, widescreen edition of course.

When you pre-order at the Disney Store, they give you a set of 4 small posters and a folder/poster that shows all of the Cars characters. Online, you get a $10 gift card with your order.

We will be framing the posters and hanging them in The Talker's room. Or my room. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Maybe I should eBay it...

'Cause I sure won't be needing this for a while.

Print it out and make your own AtHomeDaddy Halloween mask!
But I am not responsible if it gives your children nightmares...

Plus, seems to not be much competition on eBay if you search for used hair gel. I could corner the market.

A surprise guest

Maria came home while The Law Talking Guy was watching the house over the weekend.

The Talker wanted to take a his bath in our tub. I send him in and he comes streaking into our bedroom and yells. "Where did you get that cool paining?"

I started cracking up and went into the bathroom to find Maria staring back at me from the shower, in all of her velvety, nekkid glory. So now that Maria is home, I have to bide my time. She needs to get back over to The Law Talking Guy's house, but not until I find the perfect time.

We really need a new house/dog sitter. Preferably one that I have not hassled with a soft porn black velvet painting.

So I now present to you, most of Maria. I gave her a nice bikini to keep this a respectable place.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Talker Takes You to the Fair

As we were making our way out of the fairgrounds I handed off the digital camera to The Talker. These are a few of his shots:


A cool golf cart

Sister's hair

A kid's view of the crowd

Want more? Go here to see all of The Talker's fair photos.
Go here to see the rest of the fair photos, taken by me and The Boss...

Scenes from the road

Why you should never… take the highway painter out for drinks over lunch.

Click on the pictures to get a bigger view of my tax dollars at work...

Our Day at the State Fair

The main thing to know, if you ever venture to the Texas State Fair: bring cash. Lots of small denomination bills. And if you think you have enough money with you, go ahead and grab a little more at the ATM before you hit the fairgrounds.

Thanks to one of The Mother of the BrideÂ’s friends, we had great tickets in hand before we arrived. What made these tix great? They were free. $0 invested.

We got to the fair early to make sure we were able to rent a stroller big enough for both kids. $10 for close parking and $15 for the stroller. And we had not even made it in the main gate, yet.

As soon as we got inside the park, the kids hopped in line for a kidÂ’s activity and I headed over to the coupon booth to hand over more of The Boss Lady's hard earned money. $20 for food, drink and ride tickets. Now we are $45 into the day and we have been at the fair for 15 minutes. Ouch!

The kids did some farming and then we hit the petting zoo. We dropped a couple of bucks there, for food for the goats and emus. Then we watched a Frisbee dog show, brought to you by TXU and Purina, while we ate an early lunch of corny dogs. Bought with coupons of course, because your money ainÂ’t not no good here, mister.

At some point during the morning I found three bucks worth of coupons on the ground. So we spent them. No, I donÂ’t have any remorse for not turning them over to the proper authorities.

After the dog show, The Talker really wanted to go check out the Kid Fishing area, brought to you by Toyota trucks. So we meandered across the grounds to find the pool where they were stocking catfish for kids to torment with live grubs. It was almost exactly like shooting fish in a barrel, except there were no guns. Instead Toyota trucks provided short rods without reels and bobbers with Toyota logos on them.

Our kids didnÂ’t land any catfish, but while we were there a 10 year old hooked one, proving that it could be done. Big fun AND free.

We actually kept cash in our pockets for a little while. After the free fishing frenzy, brought to you by Toyota trucks, we headed over to check out the master of card stacking, brought to you by MetroPCS.

After we left the CardStacker, we headed over to the Kidway, the midway for kids, brought to you by The Boss Lady, because believe me, the coupons came out on the midway. $10 more in coupons got us two ride for The Princess, Three rides for The Talker. Later, for $4 in cash, the kids each got to play one game. Both of them won the smallest stuffed toys ever made.

Once we bought more coupons, we got a junk food fix for everyone. And that concluded our coupon adventure at the fair. $32.50 worth of tickets bought, $35.50 worth of tickets spent and $9.34 worth of goods and services received. A fair trade.

We spent another $10 on drinks before we left the fair, but we were able to use cash for that purchase. Apple juice, milk and a couple of Dr Peppers. Now that is a good use of $10.

On our way out, we stopped by the Dallas Police DepartmentÂ’s Mounted Patrol stables. They have a small chroniclingonicling the history of the Mounted Patrol and the K9 units. The Boss LadyÂ’s grandfather was a member of the Dallas PDs mounted patrol until he retired. And The Boss Lady found a picture of him in one of the exhibits. Cool! And free.

We made stops at a couple of vendors as we walked to the gate. The Boss Lady got some freebie shirts, backpacks, books and bookmarkers for the kids at her school from a group promoting the new Charlotte'’s Web movie that should come out this winter.

At the last stop of the day the kids got candy for throwing newspapers at a target. And in case you wondered, the papers, targets and candy were brought to them by The Dallas Morning News.

In the end, we all had a blast. But I am not adding up all the costs, because I don't want to cry.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Train Day

The kids and I cannot pass up a chance to ride the trains in Dallas. So this afternoon, The AtHomeFamily, three nieces and The Mother of the Bride went out riding the rails.

We caught the train in North Dallas, after an accidental detour to Plano, thanks to a highway that I am sure wasn't there the last time I cruised through this side of Dallas. Anyways, the kids had fun going downtown. Everyone was tired and a little cranky by the time we got back to the car but we made it back to TMotB's house with the same number of kids and adults, so evidently it was a successful trip.

Now The Boss Lady is getting the kiddos ready for bed and I am hanging out at McDonald's stealing bandwidth from some poor sucker in the apartments across the street.

Thanks for the email fix, dude. Now go buy yourself some encryption.

Life on the road

It has been a busy 48 hours.

The Boss Lady and The Princess took a one way flight out of town on Friday afternoon. Now, as far as I know that isn't something I should worry about. After all, she left the boy.

This is the second year that the wife and daughter were on a race team in support of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's Walk for the Whisper. Their team raised a couple of thousand bucks for the NOCC.

Simultaneously, 250 miles away, the boy and I spent Friday night trying to camp out in the backyard. And howling at the moon. We ended up in the house, but not until almost midnight.

We would have stayed up later, but he had an 11 soccer game on Saturday morning. So we had a restful morning then went to battle with the red team. The Talker scored a goal. His first. He also scored one on his team's goal later in the game. But he still does not want to talk about that...

As soon as the game was over, we drove up to UNT to catch a football game.

As we were driving through Ft Worth, we passed an air show and got to pull over on the high way and watch The US Air Force Thunderbirds perform. We were too far away to hear the jets, but close enough to see the entire performance. Super Cool!

It was fun cruising the old campus and showing my old haunts to the boy. He was not impressed. And I was a little blue, because Crumley Hall, one a haven of upperclassmen (and women, hubba hubba) who participated in all sorts of evil and carnal activities while we ran up our parent's credit cards, is now a women's dorm. It is very pretty now and smells NOTHING like it used to. Sad. Very sad.

Still, the boy and I sat in Procrastination Corner, a nook in the lobby where my crew and I spent most of our non-class hours (and quiet a few class-time hours) and creeped out the Co-eds for a little while. Which happens to be almost exactly what me and my buddies did when we sat in Procrastination Corner, now that I think about it.

Edit: Monday 10/2/06 - It just gets worse. Today in the paper, I saw that our old greasy spoon dive of a cafeteria has gone healthy. How are these skinny little kids going to survive college while they are eating salads?

We watched the first half of the game and then we headed to The Mother of the Bride's house to hang out with three of The Boss Lady's nieces. The Talker actually chose to leave the game early. He was excited to play with his cousins.

And I was excited to get to The Mother's house, too, because I had not checked my email in almost two days. Alas, not a single unprotected wireless network was within range.

So this morning I sit blogging in the parking lot of a computer repair shop. It was simply the first hot spot I could find. We are definitely not at home. The WiFi cloud there is so thick you can almost touch it. Here, not.

In the morning we are headed to the state fair. Big Tex, corn dogs, a petting zoo and a huge car exhibit hall. What more could a boy or his dad want?

Just in case you wondered, the wife and daughter are looking forward to the fair, too.

Oh yeah, I forgot to add, that somewhere during the weekend my almost bald brother became The Sibling with the 2nd Most Hair. I got tired of seeing all of the grey hair and I fixed it. No grey to be seen. Or red or blond. Shaved. Smooth.

Last time I shaved my head, I had lost a bet with a 7 year old. This time, it was just me and the razor. The razor won.