Thursday, August 30, 2007

Maybe I shouldn't have served that pickle relish with her breakfast...

The Princess is delirious. Maybe it was that 4 year old pickle relish that I pulled from the depths of the fridge this morning.

So coming home from the grocery store she told me a series of jokes. Here is a nice sample for your enjoyment.

Knock Knock.
Who's There?
No! You should say "Who is it?"
Who is it?
LavaGirl in a princess dress!

Why did the spy cross the road in front of the truck without asking?
No! You say "Why DID the spy cross the road in front of the truck without asking?
Why DID the spy cross the road in front of the truck without asking?
Because he was at a stop light!
And because he was a house!
And a poop!

As you can imagine, it just kind of went down hill from there. Which might not have happened SOOOO quickly if I had not laughed at her with so much enthusiasm. But the girl is a comic genius.

Hang out with her for an hour and I dare you not to laugh.

Ever wondered about Pickle Relish Wine?

Yeah, me either.

And I doubt it sounds very enticing to the people who will attend our Hot Dog Cookout Friday night.

So with that in mind, I decided to toss out the pickle relish we had on hand. The Princess and I will be picking up a new bottle at the grocery in a few minutes.

Yep, right there on the lid, a sell by date that went by three years ago.
And I'd bet it was in the fridge for a year before that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I am the tennis ball guy!

Do the teacher's at your kid's school put old tennis balls on the feet of all of the student's chairs? Seems to be all the rage around here. Slice a hole and then slip the ball onto the chair legs. Evidently the ball will protect the floors and quiet the noise from kids constantly sliding chairs in and out.

I happen to think it looks tacky. But I don't listen to chairs slipping around all day. Neither do I have to refinish the floors once or twice a year. If I did either of those things often enough I bet I would LOVE this tennis ball trick.

Anyways, I was sitting at work trying to slice tennis balls today with a sheet rock knife, just because it seemed to be something I could do to help out the teachers at The Princess' school. After I nicked my hand with the knife, I decided that there had to be a better way.

Tonight The Talker helped me bore holes with the drill press. We only did 20 tonight. I'll make sure the holes are not so big that the ball will easily fall off of the chair leg. After we make sure these work, I'll drill the rest - almost an entire laundry basket filled with old tennis balls, that I brought home this afternoon.

Yep. 8 years of college and 5 1/2 years of parenting. And this is my contribution to the education of pre-schoolers. Holes in old tennis balls.

Yeah for the tennis ball guy!

Monday, August 27, 2007

You won't find that move in the Daddy Handbook.

I was hanging out at the computer when I heard The Princess let out a blood curling scream followed by that long, deep breath of silence. Then the follow up wail came with even more gusto than the first.

Once I made it to the back of the house to investigate, The Boss Lady was already on the scene. The Princess was getting undressed for her bath while she was standing on the bathroom counter. Why was she up THERE? You try to figure the girl out. I am too busy bandaging her wounds to ask why she does anything...

I took her into our bedroom and got her laughing while she was laying on our bed. It seemed like the crisis was averted. Only a couple of red marks where she bounced off of the side of the potty when she was trying to fly.

Of course, she settled down quickly. Then she was laughing and we were playing Chase the Nekkid Kid across the bed. I guess I won the game. She took a face fist fall right off of our tall bed, onto the concrete floor. That is quality dadding right there! Lots of crying ans wailing ensued.

Simultaneous calls to a neighbor who is a pediatric ER nurse, (I HIGHLY recommend having one of these for a neighbor if you have kids.) and to our Pediatrician's overnight number yielded the same information. No real cause for alarm unless she starts to feel a lot worse.

So we are settling in for the night. The Bruised Up/Banged Up Princess doesn't act like she is any worse for the wear, but I don't know if I could possibly feel any worse than I do now.

1 down, 179 school days until summer.

The Talker 's Kindergarten.

Good report from the teacher and the boy. Day 1 was a rousing success.

Across town The Princess and two other staff member's kids kept things interesting at staff training, when the director realized she forgot to make arrangements for the child care we were expecting. I did not have to pay a lot of attention during training. I was too busy trying to keep The Princess quiet so everyone else could listen.

Now we are all vegging out and recovering from day 1. I bet we are all in bed early tonight.

We are now off for the second school run of the morning...

I just gotta say, the people who drop kids off at The Talker's school need to learn how to put one freaking car into ONE parking spot. Next week I start breaking windshields if they use up two parking spots.

Yeah, drop off time was that much fun.

The Princess and I are off to our school now. And yes I have a Dr Pepper in my hand. Screw going without the good stuff.

I may be new to this whole school thing...

but somehow I just know that I made the right decision when I made The Princess leave her harmonica at home.

The Purple class should all thank me now.

And we are off to get some education.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kindergarten, here we come!

The Talker is heading into the Great Unknown in the morning. The start of kindergarten is now less than a dozen hours away. He is ready. He is excited. His dad is neither.

The Talker and I have been almost inseparable for the last 5 years. From the day he came home from the hospital and I had to go yell at the remodeling guys across the street who decided to cut down a tree right at nap time, to our recent adventures through Lego Star Wars II on the Play Station 2, we have spent lots of quality time together.

I was looking forward to having some time like that with The Princess. But now that she and I are both going to be busy at the pre-school, we won't be spending all of our time together. Presently I am thinking I jumped the gun on getting her signed up for this program. Maybe we should have started in the spring.

As much as I want to hang out with him all day, The Talker's school is going to be his place alone for a few weeks. There are tons of volunteer opportunities up there, but I want him to have fun getting to leave his own mark on the place. So I'll wait until late September until I start looking for something to do up there.

The Princess and I will spend most of Monday at our school. Though staff training for the upcoming school year is NOT what I want to be doing tomorrow. But it should keep me from thinking too much about how much fun The Talker is having without me.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

This way I skip the inheritance tax, $12 at a time

A few years ago I inherited my dad's tiller. Well, inherit might not be the correct word, since Dad IS still alive. Stole. That's the word I need. See, I borrowed the tiller. Even had Dad deliver it to me. And then I never seemed to take it back. So I guess I stole the tiller. It even has a specific spot in the storage shed, so I know the tiller is here to stay.

Anyways, that machine costs me money every time I touch it, so I am glad I only need it twice a year. When I was prepping the garden this spring I blew a tire. It just got so flat that it actually slipped off of the wheel. But I was pretty sure it could be reinstalled and it would still hold air. Then I noticed the valve stem was cracked, probably how the air got out in the first place. I managed to get the stem out, but no way could I install the new one. $3 on a valve down the drain.

I thought I got lucky last spring at a car parts swap meet, when I stumbled onto a booth selling off tiller and lawnmower parts. I bought a tire and new wheel for $12. But it was the wrong size wheel so it would not mount to my tiller. At least I did not pay the full $15 the guy wanted...

So I searched for a tube. After a few stops and a couple of hours of looking, I found one at the tractor store out by The Boss Lady's school. But I cut a hole in it when I tried to install it. Another $12 down the drain. Plus the time and gas for the hunt.

Today I finally decided that I would revisit the tiller tire. Yep, it was still in the shed and still flat. After a few phone calls I found a place that might be able to reinstall my tire. So I ran down there and all of the guys agreed that they could not remount that tire with the equipment in their shop.

One guy finally said he could do it. And all of the other guys dared him to try. I was willing to let this guy take a ribbing from his co-workers if there was a chance that he might be successful, and he sounded pretty sure of himself. Besides, I still have the other brand new tire, if he tore the first one up...

30 minutes later I was paying for my now reinstalled and fully inflated tire. $10 to the shop and a couple of bucks tip to the dude who wrangled my tiller shoes back on. Somehow I knew it would end up costing me $12.

So this year's tilling has cost me $3+$12+$12+12+gas and oil. Pretty steep for a tool that only runs for about two hours a year... No wonder Dad wasn't really worried about getting this thing back. Maybe I should recoup my investment and start charging him tiller storage. Right after I finish up with it tonight...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thus spake Yoda

The Talker was starting to whine because I handed him juice with a green straw, not a red straw. Yoda, a friend from church who is spending the day with us jumped in with some Jedi wisdom. "Remember, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

Wondering now am I this: Yoda's parents, another kid (or two) they might want to raise?

Like Spider/Chicken Foot/Underwear Face Man, Like Sister

The Talker is having a friend over today. Let's just call him Yoda, since he is short and really smart. And on the heels of my posting that picture last night, which was taken several years ago, comes a gem from his sister.

The first word out of The Princess' mouth this morning, "Daddy, When Yoda gets here, I am going to put panties on my head. It will make him laugh."

She ran and grabbed the nearest pair, which happened to be in her brother's room, (you can never have panties too close by when you are just finishing up potty training, you know...) and started wearing them like a chef's hat. Of course, by the time I grabbed the camera she had decided her hat was messing up her hair. So it had already been banished from her sight. And THAT is my Princess.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kindergarten, step one

We went tonight to The Talker's school for Meet the Teacher Night. I don't think we could have been more pleased with the teacher. From what I understand she has been teaching Kindergarten at the school for 20 years or more. So I doubt The Talker will provide her any challenges that she can't handle.

The Boy is on cloud nine tonight. He likes his teacher but he is bouncing off the walls because his best buddy in the neighborhood is in the same class. One of his team mates from out Soccer team last Spring is in the class, too. Good times.

We celebrated a successful evening with a run to Costco for The Talker's favorite ice cream. Vanilla. Yeah, it still surprises me that a kid who will dress like this only likes vanilla ice cream, but whatchagunnado?

The dog won't be going on this trip

I went and picked up my new backpack yesterday. I am now almost fully geared up for my backpacking trip in October. I'm still trying to decide if I should pick up a thicker sleeping bag.

After The Boss Lady got home I started trying out the new pack. I stuffed it full of my biggest pieces of camping gear and some towels. I wanted to see how big this thing really is. After I used up all of the beach towels in the house, and still had some room to spare, I decided it was plenty big for my needs.

I tried on the pack and I walked past The Big White Dog and he FREAKED OUT! He dang near ran me over to get away from the evil backpack. He never barked, but he was not going to staying the same room with that thing. It was pretty funny, so I kept up the torture for a few minutes before I let him into the yard. But after that, he wasn't too sure about hanging out with me for the rest of the night.

Before I let him in for the night I made sure to hide my new backpack in the bedroom closet. No sense in letting that silly bag attack my dog while I am not home.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I sent the following email out to the neighbors this afternoon. Nothing like using a little peer-pressure and intimidation to boost the attendance at our social functions, right.

I figure a neighborhood party is about the best possible way to jump into the hectic school year. And if the first week is a disaster for The Talker, at least we will have something to look forward to. So here's looking forward to a great school year.

We are having a hot dog cookout to celebrate the end of the summer and the start of another school year!

Friday August 31 6pm, AtHomeFam Playscape

We will have the hot dogs with all the fixings and juice/sodas for all. If you want to bring sides or a dessert that would be great. Don't want to bring something? Come anyways. Just because we like you.

If the end of your summer has been a little rough and you need something better to eat or something stronger to drink, never fear. There will be plenty of extra space on the grill and in the cooler.

Everyone else will be here, so I know you will want to show up. Or we WILL talk about you.

Just in case you want to RSVP or need directions to the other end of the street, just call The Boss Lady at work on the first day of school. I bet she would REALLY love the distraction!
Y'all come...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Saying goodbye to summer

Once in a while my Jedi mind control powers kick into overdrive and I am able to keep the kids involved in an activity for more than 3.2 light-seconds. This morning over breakfast the kids and I were talking about how crazy life will be starting next Monday. And the talk seems to have stuck. For at least two hours.

By this time next Monday, The Boss Lady will be off to her school to do all the Principally things that a new school year requires, and The Talker will be off to his first day of kindergarten. Which also happens to be one of the first times in his life he will have to wake up before 7:30 am. And incidentally, it will be the earliest I will have to get up since I accidentally registered for a 7am Human Anatomy Lab class when I was a Junior in college...

The Princess and I will be heading straight from the first day drop off at The Talker's school, to her own school. She will hang out with the other staff member's kids most of the week, while I attend staff training sessions in the morning. Her real classes don't start until after Labor Day.

Anyways, we talked about the fact that this is the last week of summer and we need to have lots of fun before all of these schools start. After all, they won't have all day to play and terrorize each other, so they better get a lot of that stuff done in short order.

Since we left the breakfast table, The Princess and The Talker have been playing in the splash pools. I got the backyard mowed and I worked out in the remnants of our veggie garden. With this round of green beans, I think the season is officially over...

It sure is nice and easy to have these guys happily playing together. And whatever caused this love-fest, I just hope it doesn't end before summer does.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We have gone old school

When I left my The Queen Mother's house last week I brought home treasures. My favorite blue jeans jacket from elementary school, a favorite shirt that I am sure I often wore with that sweet jacket and my cub scout uniform.

I was a super-stud in blue denim with this bad boy on.

Can't you see the girls just fawning over a cool dude in this? The eagle was painted, the front designs were all embroidered.
I think this was a hand me down from a neighbor and mom covered his name with the striped panel and some iron on letters.

You'll notice a lack of badges and patches.
Much to the relief of the den leaders, my scout career only lasted one semester.

But the biggest treasure of my childhood, at least the main one that survived Bro's cleaning of our bedroom (which consisted of throwing anything of Little Bro's in the closest trash can...), was my Commodore 64 computer. I assumed it was still at mom and dad's house, but I had not seen it since 1991.

Rick created an online ode to his old computers a while back. I followed that up with a post about my old computers. Though I mentioned other machines, this one was my true love. I spent days on end each summer playing games with friends via our 300 baud modems. Of course, most of those guys lived in my neighborhood, so it would have been quicker to play Battleship in person, but in 1984 OUR WAY was way cooler!

Tonight I found the last connector I needed to set up the machine. The Talker and I got everything set-up in just a couple of minutes. Alas, I could not remember how to access the floppy disk directories or how to actually run the programs.

After an hour online I found most of the commands I needed. Luckily there are other geeks still living out their childhood computer hacking fantasies out there. The Talker and I played Frogger, some Dr J vs Larry Bird, some Arnold Palmer Golf and a few other games. Then I remembered that he eventually had to sleep and I still needed to study for the Sunday School lesson that I am supposed to teach in the morning. So I put the machine away for the night. Somehow I doubt it will be put away for 16 years this time...

I'll try to get some good screen shots of the various games and programs but the digital camera wasn't wanting to cooperate tonight. I guess it was afraid I would pull out the Polaroid soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Star Wars Science recap

The kids and I made it home from our visit to the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit at the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History.

This is Luke Skywalker's speeder from Episode I. It is built atop an old British 3 wheeled car. They explained how they made it hover and fly. Very cool.

A princess and her favorite princess.

The Talker and one of the original storm trooper costumes.

I only made them pose one time, of course that is the blurriest picture I caught all day...

All in all, it was a good trip. The exhibit was cool, but I don't know that it was worth the $40 it cost us to get in. The older kids seemed to be having a blast with the hands on science exhibits. Our Star Wars fan really like the models and video clips from the movies. The Talker totally loved the robot show at the end of the exhibit and The Princess loved her puppies that The Queen Mother bought her at Target...

When I get use of a scanner I'll post the pictures we bought of The Princess as Princess Leia and The Talker as Mace Windu. They are very cool.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We're.... off to see the Wookie

I don't really have a post, but I thought it was a good title.

The kids and I are heading over to the Star Wars exhibit in a few minutes. And we have been promised a viewing of one of the Wookie costumes from teh original movie. Very cool!

Trivia time - Who said "I bent my Wookie"?

The winner gets some cheap piece of junk that I'll dig up later. And I'll probably mail it to you C.O.D.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Speeders and Jedis and R2s, oh my...

The kids and I are off for a few days to The Queen Mother's house. Actually, we are just using her place as our way station on our trek to The Ft Worth Museum of Science and History. Why a 3 hour drive to go to a museum? Because they have Star Wars.

Now that is what I call science!

Besides, The Boss Lady is in a full court press to get the school year started. She won't be around much this week. I think I saw her packing an overnight bag to work this morning.

We are about to blast off. So, see you guys from the next galaxy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

5 years and counting

Monday marks a pretty big day around here. 5 years ago, on August 13, 2002 I quit my decent paying, supposedly low stress job to become a Stay at Home Dad to an 8 month old boy. He looked something like this on that day.

OK, truth time. When we got up that next Monday morning, I helped the boy get dressed. Then he looked EXACTLY like this...

And since I already understood that it was important for mom to know that we had kept busy all day, I emailed her a few pictures that afternoon.

Since that day, a whole bunch of other stuff has happened. Lots of it involving a little sister. And we have tried to keep emailing The Boss Lady with some of the best scenes from our days. Here is the day The Princess' laugh made it's first appearance.

The girl has always known how to accessorize! And her clothes have usually matched...

Unlike Big Brother who has often gotten confused by the whole dressing thing. Takes after his old man, no?

But the boy has always at least been able to sleep without needing further instructions on how to lay down on a bed... Yes, she did sleep that way. But she was asleep and there wasn't anyone here brave enough to move THAT sleeping baby...

Well, after 5 years I seem to have goofed 'em up pretty well. Just think what crazy crap they will be letting me photograph in another 5 years...

I have never stayed in a job for five full years. I usually have gotten bored after a couple of years and found something else to do. But as you can see, after 5 years, we still haven't run out of things to try around here. So I think I'll be keeping this job for a while longer.

Camp on!

Rick and the boys from northwest 'Bama are planning another backpacking trip. Last year's trip was a blast, so I am heading out there in a couple of months. Another 2000 mile drive to enjoy a 20 mile walk in the woods! I could fly, but that would shorten the trip by a day and a half, so the VW and I will be road tripping this October.

And one of the best parts of any great adventure started last night. The buying of the gear. My pack last trip worked fine, but once I Becca-ed* one of the other guy's packs for a while I realized that a nicer backpack would be in my future.

Thanks to, I'll be sporting a new 5500 cubic inch internal frame pack. It is not the biggest pack on the market, by any means. But after I saw how these guys carry enough gear for an attack on Everest, I don't want the biggest pack on the trip. Those guys can sniff out empty space and they would likely fill it with cast iron cookware or an oven or something.

Maybe we'll see Becca on the trail again this year. Either way, I am sure I'll have enough space in the new pack for my rocking chair!

*Becca-ed - verb, a really, really useful verb

definition - to act as a personal servant. In ways that one can only imagine...

origin/usage - Becca packed out all of the gear
for her boy toy after keeping him busy all night long in the Tennessee wilderness. He got Becca-ed real good and then she Becca-ed the gear home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Calendar madness

In the past years The Boss Lady and I have tried lots of different ways to keep ourselves and the family organized and on schedule. Paper calendars. PDAs. Heck, FranklinCovey has made a mint off of us. The problem has always been keeping our calendars in sync. Hers, mine and ours had always been a tough goal for us to achieve on the scheduling front.

Last spring I started setting us up with Google Calendar. And so far it is working pretty well. Since we can each access the calendar separately and remotely, though the wife's work IT department won't let her see it from her desk, keeping everything up to date is a lot easier.

I never thought a calendar, online or otherwise, could make me sad. But I sat down this morning and started inserting important dates from The Talker's upcoming school calendar. Then I added dates to note from The Boss Lady's school calendar. Since she does not work in The Talker's school district, the dates aren't exactly the same. Though winter, spring and summer breaks are basically the same weeks. Each school calendar gets it's own color, so we can hopefully keep the chaos to a minimum.

After I locked down most of our upcoming school year, I added in dates of note from The Princess' school calendar. Then it hit me. We have a really pretty, multi colored calendar. Also, life is about to get real dang busy around here. At least we will be organized enough to see the chaos coming when it happens.

Johnny Depp stole my daughter's toy!

No, not that guy. This one is cute and smells a lot better.

The director of The Princess' school evidently brings her dog to the office on a regular basis. I have no idea why, but the little Cairn Terrier (think Toto. The dog, not the band. Please stop making this harder than it has to be...) looking thing's name is Johnny Depp.

We stopped by for a few minutes this morning to drop some supplies off. The Princess was dressed in her finest, blue plastic princess shoes, pink shirt, blue jeans, white socks. Hey, once they dress themselves, I don't ask. In fact I could not care less what she wears as long as I did not have to put the clothes on her.

Along with this fab outfit, was the best. accessory. ever. The sparkly golden purse. stuffed with Disney princess figurines. At some point, Johnny Depp got hold of Jasmine and he ran off.

My Princess thought the entire event was pretty funny. The dog must have thought the girl was in pain when she squealed with laughter. He tucked his tail and ran back to drop the toy at The Princess' feet, so we averted a crisis by laughing at Johnny Depp.

And any day laughing at Johnny Depp, dog or man, is a good day in my book.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Here's a good DON'T for you

Don't swat a gnat away from your face while you are picking cayenne peppers in the garden.

If you do, you just might hit yourself in the eye with pepper juice on your fingers. And if you did poke yourself in the eye, while coated with cayenne pepper juice, be prepared. 'Cause it is going to burn like heck for hours.

And in other garden news, we picked our last cucumber this morning and then we pulled the vines out of the ground. We are shortly going to plant some fall veggies. I can still pick about a pound of green beans every day, though the vines are starting to give in to the heat. Hopefully we can keep ourselves in fresh green beans until later in the fall. since the rain has gone away and we started back on watering the garden this morning. I don't think I had to water at all in July or this far into August.

But now I gotta go wash my eyeball some more...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Working for a living

I have spent a few hours this week at the new job. The kids have been up there with me the entire time. I don't actually start staff training until the 27th, but I need a little time to get stuff set-up in the shed. What a deal, getting paid to clean a shed and watch my kids play on the playground at the same time.

Today we collected a bunch of scrap wood from around the school to use in our projects. Now I just have to sit down and figure out WHAT those projects will be.

Man this working all the time can wear a guy out.

Monday, August 06, 2007

At least she did not turn my kids into twins...

One of my 5 year old twin nieces, I still can't tell them apart, has discovered the best part of being a princess. It isn't the dress-up. It isn't the make-up. It isn't the fancy hair or pretty plastic jewelry. Tuns out it is all in the wand.

Yep, she runs up to anyone who annoys her and waves her magic wand at them. Then she pronounces her "spell". No mistaking her desire, since she is nice enough to cast a one word spell. "Frog!"

So now everyone in the family is turning everyone else into frogs. Worked great for me in traffic yesterday, too. Feel free to use the magic if you wish. And if you don't? Frog!

By the way, my opening line was just a joke. I REALLY CAN tell the twins apart. One has red hair. The other has dark hair. Better keep you eye on that one. She will turn you into a frog.

Friday, August 03, 2007


I decided that sitting around the house in my underwear all weekend while watching Strange Brew did not sound too exciting. So the whole fam loaded up this morning and hit the road.

See you guys on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I can die a happy man

I stopped at PetSmart to buy kitty litter. That isn't the exciting part. Unless you are a cat. Wait for the good stuff.

The used video game/DVD/CD store is right around the corner. I stop in once in a while to look for games on the cheap. Lately I have cruised the the movie section, looking for some of my old favorites. Tonight I found the end all, be all movie of my young adult beers. Years, I meant to say my young adult years.

The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew

The wife and kids are going away for the weekend and I'll be in front of the TV all weekend. So take off you hosers.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Who left a couple of kids over here?

The Talker and his sister have changed places with some strange kids. And some one might be wanting these guys back. But if they stay around a few more days I won't swap back.

The gruesome twosome have been awesome since mom left town on Tuesday morning. We went out to dinner last night, at our favorite catfish place, and I can't recall a time they were better behaved in a restaurant. Way to go kiddos!

Today they kept the streak alive most of the day. They played in the blow-up pool in the front yard while I got The Boss Lady's car cleaned inside and out. They played in the yard while I got a little yard work done. They both napped. I better stop bragging or I might cry...

Anyways, Just wanted to let you guys know that I am still alive and kicking. But after a few days with these kids, that hasn't been too hard.