Saturday, June 30, 2007

Just hanging out

I drove the truck out to Car Night tonight. It was my first time to take Marge out of the city limits. It was big fun, just hanging out and pretending to be a car guy. Pics over here.

Big bonus when I got home. The dog had gotten a much-needed bath and the backyard had gotten a much needed mow. Yeah for The Boss Lady!

The playscape sets sail

Back when I built the play scape I wanted to add a huge sunscreen over the swing set. I have tried a few different temporary setups, looking for the right design. But none of these were permanently fixed to the play scape.

Today we found a canvas tarp at Costco that was the perfect size to cover the swing set. For $10 I couldn't pass up the chance for the kids to swing in the shade. We covered the main deck of the climbing tower with canvas sails a couple of years back. I just replaced those canvas covers about a month ago. Our new main sail will surely last us through the summer and hopefully we will get a year or two of shade out of it.

After I stood back and looked at the canvas creation, I realized that this is just what I had in mind all along. Back when we started designing the play scape, The Talker thought we should build a pirate ship. Now the pirate ship finally has her sails.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Even the plumber doesn't have a Sugar Momma

The Boss Lady has gone absolutely freaking mad. And I love it.

She drove a few blocks away on Wednesday to drop off The Talker at a play date. Then she disappeared for a couple of hours. I wondered what she was up to when I noticed that she had taken my car instead of the Beetle.

Turns out cleaning this woman's bathroom is a profitable venture. The plumber who charged us $360 an hour on Monday has nothing on me. The lot where we bought my car is clearing out the last of their 2007s. And they are doing it with 0% financing and rebates to boot. She drove away with a brand new, more nicely equipped Vue V6 with less than 100 miles on it for the same payment as our 25K mile, 18 month old ride. Ca-Ching!

The sad part, I put the dealership through heck last year, looking for a black or blue Vue with tan interior. 'Cause they were really purty. A little too purty, in fact. When they finally found one, I decided against it since the kids would have it dirty too fast. Back then we settled on the silver one.

Now, sitting in my driveway is the exact black ride I longed for back then. Tan interior included. Time to get out the cleaning rags. And for the record, The Talker is totally anti-Black Beauty. He wants "the silver Saturn back, NOW!" 'Cause the new car smells funny and it isn't the same one..."

But what I wonder now is, if The Boss Lady rewards a clean bathroom this way, what do you think she'll do if I wash her car for her? And more importantly, do you guys think she is just trying to get away with not buying me a birthday present next month?

Monday, June 25, 2007

$369 an hour? I want some of that!

The plumber just left. He has an extra $369 in his pocket and we have a working shower again. Everyone is a little bit happier, now. Especially The Boss Lady.

You see, I did not want him to know what kind of grungy we really are, so I scrubbed every inch of the bathroom before he got here. And the only Algebra I know is clean potty room=happy wife.

By the way, we did in fact have lots of friends over last night and the house was a wreck. So what. They all know we are slobs. Plumber Man still thinks we have a pretty clean house and I want to keep it that way. And yes, these are the things that I worry about. OK?

Is it a little sad? Yes. Normal? Maybe not. Quit hassling me, OK?

The repair took him one hour, including a run to the plumbing supply house for parts. But $369 an hour? I think he is in a good business. Surely there is still a nice profit margin in there, even if gas goes up to $5 a gallon and the parts he uses are made of titanium.

$369. I wonder how I can get The Boss Lady to pay me some of that for my role in the clean and fully functional bathroom?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

At least I didn't break the dog poop

Do you ever have a "Breakdown Day?" I have been on a real streak lately.

Yesterday the weed-eater broke. After church l headed over to Sears to pick up a new one. Once home, l finished up the backyard quickly. $115 well spent.

Afterwards l jumped into the shower, and l managed to break it, too. The plumber wants $100 minimum. Home Depot wants $65 for the parts.

Last week I broke the giant-sized dust pan that l use to clean up after the dog. When The Boss went to HD to check on the plumbing parts, she bought a new dust pan.

Luckily, nothing broke when I put it to use.

Lucky dog.

Edit: Hopefully maybe my luck is changing. I managed to type this post on the Nintendo DS Lite, using the new DS Browser software I picked up last week. And nothing broke.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I think I took a wrong turn at the carburetor

The rain let up for a few hours today. So I rushed out and mowed the front lawn as soon as I woke up at the crack of 9 AM. It rained a little this afternoon and afterward the skies were a nice bright blue, so I ran out and mowed the backyard.

I was just getting a good start with the weed-eater when I had to stop and change the lines. It was starting to sprinkle , but I was determined to reload the machine and finish up the job. Until I tried to start the weed-eater. The rope broke. Crap crap crappity crap. And then it rained a little more.

Later I decided to take a look at the weed-eater. I am surely smart enough to fix that danged trimmer. So I started removing the cover.

I stopped when I realized that I still had not gotten to the part I needed. But I did have a nice pile of weed-eater parts, including the the carburetor and the gas tank laying 6 feet away, on the workbench. So I gave up, since I was fed up and I closed up the machine.

And then it rained a little more. And it is supposed to keep it up all week. Crap crap crappity crap.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


It is raining here. AGAIN. And I know people all over are dealing with drought conditions, heck up until this spring, our lakes were pitifully empty. But I say enough is enough.

If I am going to be stuck inside for another few days though, I could do worse than today. This afternoon I received a big ol' freebie, thanks to my blog reading abilities. Which says NOTHING about my abilities to write a blog, I KNOW that is still questionable...

W, over at Gaming With Baby, recently had a contest to give away a Nintendo DS Lite and a Brain Age game cartridge. Since my brain could use a workout, I entered. And I guess the contest gods thought my brain could use some help, because I won.

The DS Lite looks awesome. And it only took me about 5 minutes from the time FedEx rang my doorbell to have it up and running. Of course, it took me another 25 minutes to complete the first Soduku puzzle.

The Talker is ready to head over to Best buy to look for a game for himself. Somehow I bet my Father's Day freebie won't stay in my possession very long, even if my brain could use a good workout.

Monday, June 18, 2007

AtHomeDaddy, Chauffeur Service

I cruised down to Bro's house today with The Queen Mother and I am flying back home on Tuesday afternoon. She did not have to make the almost 400 mile drive solo for a 4th time in a month and I had a good time chatting with mom on the drive.

Bonuses, her big ol' boat of a car drives like the land yacht that it is. A nice smooth ride on the open road. And the nephew was in rare form entertaining his favorite uncle tonight.

Negatives, the short trip turn around time. And the fact that my mother is the most nervous passenger in a car. EVER. Next trip I spike her iced tea with some horse tranquilizers.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The heaviest Father's Day gift, EVER.

The wife and kids ran out to the middle of nowhere yesterday to pick up my Father's Day gift, a truckload of big ol' rocks. Blocks of limestone that I am going to use to create Walk Way V2.0.

Our garage and driveway are narrow. 2 cars will fit side-by-side in the driveway, but you pretty much need to park on the edge to keep from bashing the other guy's door. The Saturn has several nice war wounds from a close encounter of the door kind with the 68 Chevy.

Since we were always tromping around beside the driveway, no grass would grow there. So back when I added pea gravel as a ground cover around the kid's play scape, I used the last load of gravel to widen the driveway enough that you could step out of the car without getting your feet muddy. On one side my plan worked perfectly. It is a little of a downhill slope and the gravel makes a nice jump out spot.

The other side of the driveway has been a disaster since I laid the first shovelful of rocks. A slight slope keeps the gravel rolling right into the driveway. That was Walk Way V1.0.

After I got tired of slipping on the gravel I built a short retaining wall to contain the rocks. That was Walk Way V1.1. But my wall just added to the hassle. Now we had something to trip on next to the driveway, while we are sliding around on the loose gravel that rolls over the mini retaining wall. Plus, I ran over the wall in my truck, and that did not do it any good.

I tried to redesign the retaining wall when I built Walk Way V1.2. And it helped for a while.

Finally, I decided to heck with a walkway, I started putting in a flowerbed. Then I realized that would cause a lot new of hassles. So I removed part of the walk way and added a flowerbed out by the street. Thus, the worst area of gravel spill-over was eliminated with Walk Way V1.3. And I have left it alone for a few months.

All of that to say that The Boss Lady and her truckload of rocks are on the way into the ground. No more pea gravel on the driveway. Now we will have a nice limestone path, Walk Way 2.0.

We started working on the new path this afternoon. The Boss Lady and The Talker removed the pea gravel while I started digging out the soil to lay the new rocks. We got about 1/3 of the path laid in a couple of hours. Hopefully I'll get it all finished up on Sunday afternoon.

But my real desire is that I never need to think about designing Walk Way 2.1.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Summer Break!

The Boss Lady is on her summer break for a couple of weeks. She is looking forward to loads of quality time with the kids. And I am looking to accommodate her dreams. So I'll be hiding out a lot in the next few weeks.

They are all off at swim lessons now. I was going to get up early and hit a hiking trail for a few miles. But the house was nice and quiet so I did the responsible thing. I went back to bed and slept like a baby.

I need to pitch in a little and clean house today. We might end up with a few surprise visitors after our family reunion on Saturday. And I have been a complete slob this week. I would blame it on the kids, but their rooms are the only half-way clean spaces in the house right now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Head trauma is HI-larious

"A shot to the head. It'll help 'em focus."

The kids were being crazy yesterday. So I told The Boss Lady that I was thinking of making the above our new family motto.

And even though I never got around to smacking the kids upside their big ol' melons, the new family motto kept me giggling all day. The Princess must have gotten wind of all of this talk. 'Cause last night in line at Costco she nailed me with an uppercut right to the... well, you know. I guess she thought I had lost focus.

And you know what, a shot to the you know what'll help you focus, too. Yep, I was able to focus on the pain in my groin real well.

I wish they had sent me a free copy...

No this is not a "paid review". I actually bought this book. OK, I know, technically The Boss Lady bought the book for me, but still...

If you need a hint for Father's Day, I have a good one for you. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden. I found it at Costco for about $13.

The book is a great collection of stuff. Stuff that every boy should know. The rules of soccer and stickball, a list of the fifty states and capitals, how to build a tree house, how to hunt and cook a rabbit and loads of info on secret codes and ciphers. After all, where else will a boy learn to use milk and urine as disappearing ink?

OK, up on my soapbox for a little bit. There is waaaaaaaay too much pressure on boys to NOT act like boys. Dirty, smelly, loud and messy boys just don't seem to be tolerated very well anymore. So I am thrilled to see this book. It is kind of like a license for boys to do boy stuff.

Even if your "boy" is just a grumpy old fart sitting in his recliner, celebrating Father's Day with this book will make his day.

Here is a link to the book at Amazon.

But now it is time for me to go. The boy and I are off to make an electromagnet. Yep, that's in the book, too.

Edit: I had to come back to this post. I mis-typed "secret codes" above and it came out "secret coeds". Now if they would give some advice about co-eds, that REALLY would make this a dangerous book for boys!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It must be summer

I need to get some headlights for my lawn mower. It would be the only lit-up push mower in town. But now that summer is almost in full swing it is too dang hot to mow at a decent hour.

The last two nights I have been out mowing at dark. The yard does not look great, but after I edge and weed-eat in the dark tomorrow, I am sure it will look better.

The kids and I worked on the playscape today. We found a new piece of canvas to replace the roof on the climbing tower. Hopefully that will help keep them from melting when we play out there at 10 in the morning. Last year I hung some king sized sheets over the entire playscape. It wasn't pretty, thus no pictures, but it kept the direct sun off of us and the kids could play out there into the afternoon. I think I'll be working out a similar system this summer.

The Princess is loving this weather. The veggie garden has to be watered at least once a day and she has become quiet the watering expert. Anything to get to splash around for a few minutes. The Talker seems to be more interested in the Star Wars video game than anything happening outside. And since it was in the high 90s today, I can't blame him.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

You'll have to do

Why is it that the family is gone all weekend and I have had a nasty headache for two straight days? Too much PlayStation? That is a possibility, except that I haven't messed with it much since Thursday night. Maybe it is because Rick is now winning the truck race.

Although I gotta tell you, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is the coolest thing ever. OK, it's not as cool as an 82 year old truck. Even better that I found the game used and got a few bucks off since the instruction book was missing. Heck, I would have never read them, anyways..

There is no one here to whine to about my headache so thanks for letting me moan a little.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pictures for my people

I know you guys have been waiting patiently. And I am not a man to deny my public. So I present to you a few side by side shots of our pretty blue things.

And just in case you are keeping track, day one of my home-bound vacation has been a huge success. So far I have made one trip to the hardware store, one trip to Cabela's,one trip to the used video game store and two trips to the barbecue shop.

Rock on!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Garden update

So I should have dug up all of my potatoes last week. Turns out they were the perfect size back then. Last night I was working out in the garden while the kids played on the oft' ignored playscape, I decided to dig out the last of the potatoes. Man, are they big.

I wanted to get oodles of small new potatoes. Turns out I got a lot fewer gargantuan sized tubers.

The one on the left, is about what I wanted to grow. The one on the right is as big as my fist. But I bet it still tastes good. I'll let you know after I feast this weekend. I planted a second crop of potatoes last night. Hopefully we will have a second harvest in the early fall.

In other garden news, we ate the first two peppers last night. The Talker even ate one.

On a dare. To get an early parole from time out. Now THAT is my boy!

We have two watermelons on the vine. They are the size of tennis balls. Good for the 4th of July, maybe. Cucumbers have some little ones on the vine, too.

I have bean picking (it's a pun, not a typo, damn it) about a pound of green beans every day. So we are now freezing them for later in the year.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lost Weekend

It looks like the wife and kids are heading out of town for a long weekend. I could go with them. But I don't wanna.

It was just going to be the girls heading out, but The Talker caught wind of the trip and he decided not to miss out on the fun.

So I'll be home alone from Thursday afternoon until Sunday night. And I have absolutely no plans for the entire weekend. Can you say "Good times"?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

8 Random things about me

OK, this has taken me a while to get around to, but Bears in Exile tagged me. It has taken me so long, because I had to think up some things that were not listed last time.

In no particular order, I present you with 8 random things about AtHomeDaddy.

5. I can't read a magazine without ripping out all of the little card inserts. Actually, I can start reading, but once I find a subscription or advertisement insert I stop and yank them all out before I continue reading. In fact, I was reading Newsweek just now, I stopped to pull the stupid little cards out and I thought "Hey, this is random, I should blog it..." How's that for random?

By the way, Rolling Stone is the absolute worst about putting crap in between the magazine pages

14. I have more shoes than most women. But I usually stick with wearing the same pair for days on end. Last summer it was some old Birkenstocks, now it is a pair of blue Crocs. But there are at least 5 pair of tennis and running shoes in my closet and in the garage. Then there are a couple of pair of Justin boots, one pair of hiking boots and one pair of black shoes. When I dress up it is with black cowboy boots. The same pair I wore to our wedding. They have been re-soled 5 or six times.

Π. Speaking of boots, I have one pair that have been re-soled at least 20 times. They are a pair of Justin boots that I bought in the fall of 1992 in Justin, Texas. Who would forget a thing like that. They are wicked comfortable but I haven't worn them since my grandmother's funeral. My boots got muddy at the grave site and I still haven't cleaned them.

17. I once had a Siamese cat who I named after my favorite singer, Margo Timmins of The Cowboy Junkies. Margo moved with me 3 or four times, but ultimately ended up living at my parent's house. Then she died. The cat, not the singer...

666. I used to sleep with a Cowboy Junkies CD playing. The same CD. Every night for 5 years or more. Then I lost the CD. And I haven't slept worth a damn since.

3. I absolutely hate spaghetti. And tomatoes if they aren't cut microscopically small and cooked into something. And that is all there is to say about that.

97. I like fishing. I hadn't fished in years and I started again about two years ago. I don't go often around here, but when we go to the Gulf of Mexico, I can be found sitting on a pier with a fishing rod close by.

8. I started blogging just so the grandparents could keep up with the daily goings on of the kids. Then all of you guys came around and started listening to my stories and lies. So keep coming back or I'll just be muttering to myself.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Anybody need some cable repair?

Guess what is missing from my front yard?

Yep, the cable company repair job that started on February 7 is finished up. Right on time!

I came home from dropping off The Talker this morning to find a crew working in the yard. Evidently they finally decided to put the cable into the hole in the ground. After all, they paid someone a bunch of $ to have the trench dug in the neighbor's yard, they might as well use it.

It is a bittersweet success. It is finished and that is the most important part. But it has taken at least 25 emails and I bet a dozen phone calls to get the work finished. Add to that the 5 or six different work crews that have been over here trudging through the yard and I am not happy about the hassle.

The crew did a decent enough job on the trench, the front grass is already healing pretty well. But inside of our yard, the trench went through red clay that wasn't backfilled properly. After several heavy rains it is already starting to collapse and erode. So in the end I'll end up fixing their mess again. Ugh!

The last contact I got from the company said that someone from their Management Team would be contacting me soon to discuss the hassles of this project. I hope they do.

I have already decided that the only way they cam make me happy is to give up some freebies. If they hook me back up to the system and give me service that includes more channels than we get now from DirecTV, for two years AND all for FREE, that might go a long way toward making me happier.

But, seeing how long it took them to bury a new line for my neighbor who IS one of their paying customers, I won't hold my breath while I wait for a manager to email me. And I bet we will still be paying for DirecTV at this time next year.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cheaper by the baker's dozen?

While I was waiting at the DVM to get the VW titled, I started thinking back on all of the cars that The Boss Lady and I have used up over the years.


76 Peugeot 504 diesel, traded for
84 Olds Cutlass Supreme stolen, recovered, rebuilt and sold for
94 Ford Escort wrecked, rebuilt, totaled and sold for 95 Escort


69 VW Beetle, sold for
1991 Ford Escort Hatchback, traded for 90 Sable


90 Mercury Sable, wrecked, rebuilt traded for
98 Ford Ranger, our first new car, traded in for
01 Ford Windstar, traded for 06 Vue
95 Ford Escort Wagon, totaled (see a trend?) and sold for
95 Mazda 626, soon to leave our driveway

The current rides

68 Chevrolet C10
, my truck
06 Saturn Vue, the family car
01 VW New Beetle, the wife's new car

Garden bounty

My potatoes are in! My potatoes are in!

I have been looking forward to this all season. My first time growing potatoes looks to be a big success. We will be boiling some of them up at our shrimp boil tonight. This was only 1/4 of my crop. I'll replant the smaller ones, to see if I can get a second crop this year.

The rest of this morning's haul was nice, too. Carrots, a little more leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes for the wife, basil and a mountain of green beans.

One of the reasons I garden is so that the kids will try new things when we harvest. This morning the kids went crazy wanting to eat the carrots. No one wanted to eat the "Mickey Mouse Potato". I'll let Mickey sprout and then back in the dirt he will go.

I bet my tips REALLY sucked...

I seldom remember my dreams. Nightmares? I used to have them a lot and I could recall every last detail for days on end. So I don't quiet know what to think of a dream I had last night but I could recall the entire thing when I woke up.

I was working for Domino's Pizza. I was the delivery guy at the one right in our neighborhood. Which in reality is a Papa John's Pizza store. I don't even know where a Domino's is near here.

They kept sending me to deliver pizzas to addresses I did not know. So I would drive up to my parent's house to use their computer to check Google maps. My folks live 3 hours away.

For some reason the customers were all mad at me when it was taking 6 hours and 30 minute to deliver dinner. And you should have seen how pissed the manager was after my third 7 hour delivery trip of the night...