Friday, October 31, 2008

Swim time wrap up

Since summer had been over for like a week, and the kids are finally wearing jackets to school in the mornings, I took down our sidebar swim time counter. Though we did go swimming in the neighbor's heated pool only a week ago.

The totals:

This past summer, The AtHomeFamily spent
47 hours in the pool.

And we estimate
55 trips down the big slide and
15 flights off the diving board and
30 trips down the REALLY big slide!

Plus one, and only one, really cold jump of of the Barton Springs diving board.

Trick or Drunk

The gauntlet has been thrown down. Smashed, actually.

If anyone had ideas of winning the affection of the neighborhood kids with high end candy, they might as well have left the candy at the store. Because their efforts went for naught tonight.

You see, I decided to take Trick or Treat to a different audience. The daddies and the mommies. And that is who REALLY gets a vote around here.

You see, our candy selection was about average. Maybe even below par for this 'hood. We bought the Costco bag, 5 pounds of mixed candy for $10 or some such thing, nothing we really spent much thought on.

But I did win, for sure! Because we had frozen margaritas. Made to order, right on the tailgate/bar of the 40 year old Chevy.

OK, made to order might be a stretch. As long as mom and dad wanted what I was making, they got one. For all I know, they weren't even that great. But no one was complaining.

Still, I betcha you didn't get none of that for Trick or Treat!

Should of stopped by.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Growing up and going away.
For a few hours, anyways.

This afternoon, after school, The Talker is going home with a classmate. And then that kid's mom is bringing The Talker home a couple of hours later.

The Talker is completely impressed with this since neither The Boss Lady nor I have never been to his playmate's house. Other than a general neighborhood, I don't even know where they live.

So The Talker gets to spread his wings a little today. The little one I toted all over town in the Baby Bjorn no longer needs a ride from dad.

In another few years and I'll be completely useless, so I might as well embarrass the boy now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It takes a lot of calls to be this sick

It is allergy season. Which means I will feel better after someone cuts down all of the cedar trees within 1000 miles of here. And all the rest of that stuff that blooms? It can burn in a raging forest fire. Hopefully fueled by the aforementioned cedar trees. So I called my doc's office on Friday. Got in on Monday and started on antibiotics about an hour later.

Then The Boss Lady got sick Sunday afternoon. Right after she got home from working in the church nursery. So we had to call the church staff Monday morning and let them know that the babies had been exposed to Ebola or whatever virus the wife was hosting. The church staff called the parents of the 2 or 3 kids that The Boss had contact with.

The Boss Lady called into work on Monday, so that I could go to the doctor's office and pharmacy without toting a child. Monday night The Princess felt bad and I was already planning to attend a funeral on Tuesday, so The Boss called in again and since I was feeling fine, I called into work and begged off for Tuesday.

On the way home from the funeral, I started feeling bad. Great, not only did my friend have to handle his mom's funeral, now I probably made his kids sick, too. The Boss Lady called to apologize.

This morning I called in sick. Tonight I was scheduled to help with the kid's Bible club at church. But I called in, to stay home and recover. No sense in making ANY MORE of my friend's children sick...

Somewhere along the way I called to cancel a Thursday playdate for The Talker. And I think I left a message that he would not be at school today, though he felt fine and went anyways.

So now I have a new theory. Maybe I should scrub the phone with Lysol. A bath in hand sanitizer gel would probably do it some good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Better get a bucket...

Go away and don't look back.

We are barfing.


Now, RUN!

Monday, October 27, 2008

News from the coop

The chicks got to play in the backyard for a little while yesterday afternoon. After ten minutes outside, they were so tired that they slept for several hours.

Of course, The Princess, aka Momma Hen, was there to keep everyone in line.

As true today, as it was almost 4 years ago.

Back in November of 2004, I promised that we would someday get together and discuss politics again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Yep, Me Too!

Yes, I voted. Almost two weeks ago, thanks to voter-friendly absentee voter laws. The Boss Lady voted a week ago this past Friday.

And that concludes the political discussion on this blog for another four years.

Come Back on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 and I'll expound on politics again.

So there you have it, I kept my word. Even beat my own deadline by a few days. For this year's political discussion, I'll let a picture do the talking.

I hope you found this political banter enlightening. Come back on November 12, 2012 and we will do it again.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The next AtHomeDaddy cruiser?

I am pretty sure I have found my next ride. If I could figure out a way, I would sell all of the kid's stuff and The Boss Lady's car to get in a Dodge Challenger SRT8.

Someone in the neighborhood has a Hemi Orange one and I successfully stalked it long enough that I caught a good look at it. Pretty sure AtHomeDaddy needs a black one, though.

So, I know your mutual funds aren't worth chicken feed right now, but anybody want to float me a loan for $45,375?

News from the hood

A quick count this morning revealed that everyone is still alive and kicking around here. 4 people of various ages and intelligence levels, 2 cats, 1 dog and 4 chickens all accounted for. So we are already off to an OK start.

Nothing great going on here. Pizza Party Playdate with lots of cousins hanging out here on Friday night. Football and lots of shopping at Target on Saturday. FYI, I may never see my wife again, Target has opened a store less than 3 miles from our house.

Racecar Man and his family offered up (OK, I begged for it) a dog kennel that they used for their chickens and rabbits. Yep, the same rabbit that died while in my care. Sounds a little suspicious? I don't know. Whatever do you mean?

Anyways, we moved the kennel/coop down to our house yesterday and I am going to prep it to become Chicken Cractor V2.0. The old Cractor played no part in the demise of my birdies but I figure we need to be more like Fort Knox around here if I am going to protect these new chicks. Since the new chicks have a few more weeks of kitchen living, I have a while until I have to have that project finished up. Translated from AtHomeDaddySpeak that means "I won't even start on that project for a few more weeks."

Anyways, life is good, allergies are not. The wife and girl are off at church. The boy, the pets and I are taking turns playing Wii, surfing the internet and eating chicken feed out of a Tupperware bowl.

Good times!

Just a little blog housekeeping over here. I started using labels with my new posts. Check the right sidebar for categories. I'll add new labels as the lies stories grow unfold.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The re-chickening

Yep, I am a soft touch. Yep, the kids pretty much walk all over me and get whatever they want. We all know this, so move along.

We are back in the chicken business. The kids were so excited when I let them know the Buff Orpingtons and Light Brahmas were back in stock at the farm store that I could not see making them wait until Saturday to pick up our newest feathered friends.

Since the last birds thrived (except for that whole ending thing...) I decided to go with only 4 birds this time. Six were fun, but the reality was that 6 mature 7 pound chickens were going to hard to accommodate in coop space. Four should work better when they are full grown.

But if neighbor dog gets these, then I guess we will shutter our backyard poultry operations.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If you build it,
they still won't have a clue what it is

The Talker has rediscovered his Star Wars Trading Card Game. He likes baseball cards and he like the idea of Pokemon card (though he has no idea what to do with them), so The Boss Lady bought a set of these cards a while back.

I'll admit, I have no freakin' clue what to do with these cards, either. But the boy and I like checking out the pictures and he likes reading about the different characters and ships pictured on each card.

The set came with little parts and pieces for models of some Star Wars ships that you(r dad) can assemble if he needs to get a good grouch on. Yep, wanna see dad pissed? Have him help with the card game models!

I just spent almost an hour on this one. Possibly because I am an imbecile, possibly because there are no directions to be found anywhere.

When I finished, The Talker said, "Cool! What is it?" Heck, son, I figured you would know. All I know is it had 14 or a billion pieces and it is about the size of a quarter.

I feel like complaining to higher ups about the micro-models, but evidently The Boss lady has experienced the pain. Seems she has put together a few already.

Maybe she used The Force.

Or maybe she just knows where the @)(#*) instructions are hidden.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dead chickens - Bringing neighborhoods together since 2008

OK, our little chickens really were celebrities in the neighborhood. Most of the neighbors have wondered and asked why they haven't seen the birds in the last few days. And everyone is united in sadness for the chickens.

But I really had to wonder about one neighbor's sick sense of humor yesterday.

You see, his wife came over with a bag of stale bagels to feed the chickens. When I told her about the bird vs dog Backyard Battle Royale, she told me "My husband said they were dead, but I thought he was joking."

So. Yeah. If she though that was his type of joke then that man might just be a monster.

Not really sure why you would WANT to...

The Princess has been in an inquisitive mood this morning. All the good questions, in rapid-fire, game show format. Here is a sampling of the morning inquisition.

"All snakes are green, right daddy?

No baby girl, some are...

OH yeah, brown. You can't paint a real frog, right daddy?

Nope you can not paint live frogs.

But you can paint dead ones, right?"

Boy, am I glad it is only a 5 minute car ride home after the car pool drop off!

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's going to be a magical day!

Want to know how I can tell? Because the dishwasher told me.

Which can be taken a number of ways...

1. Mike has finally lost it. 6 years as a stay at home dad has rotted his last brain cell.

2. The dishwasher can predict the future? Kick ass!


3. EVERY dirty dish in the house just fit into the dishwasher. At the same time!

What a great way to start a Monday!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Grandpa, we have a problem...

there are two pickets off the fence and a dead chicken on the porch!"

A follow up to the chicken slaughter.

The neighbor is out of town. Her dad, who lives a couple of miles away, is stopping by everyday to collect the mail and check on things. Her son is staying at the house and caring for the dogs. I don't know if granddad knew we had chickens, so imagine the 18 year old's surprise when he stepped out on their back porch and found the dead bird. And more so for grandpa when he got a call Thursday evening that started off like that.

They had no idea that the dogs had gotten all the chickens. Most of the carnage was in a corner of our yard not visible from hers. Grandpa stopped by this morning, offering to pay for the chicken. When I told him we had lost 6, he offered to pay for them all. I won't be asking them to do that, but it was a nice gesture.

Grandpa is stopping by later with a nail gun and a compressor. We are going to reinstall the fence pickets with ring-shank nails that should stop the dogs from pulling off the pickets. Then I am going to line our side of the fence with hardware cloth wire fencing to further protect future flocks.

Along those lines, the kids and I went to talk to The Chicken Lady at Callahan's General Store. I wanted to check if she might have more Orpington or Brahma chicks. But if she had something different that would make a suitable backyard chicken, we might have bought a few. But everything she had in stock can fly as an adult and she recommended that we wait until she gets more Orps or Brahmas. We will call on Thursday to ask.

Since God loves Texas and we have mild enough winters, she keeps chicks in stock year-round. So at this point we will just wait until she gets more in stock and we will be back in the chicken/dog food business.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

After further investigation

Kodak is officially (most of the way) off the hook. I don't think he is the dirty(est) dog on the block.

I found a couple of fence pickets that have been hastily reinstalled on the back fence. Two dogs live on the other side of the fence. And I believe one or more of them got a free chicken dinner. Kodak might have been involved in the chase and the festivities, so he doesn't get a total free pass.

While going CSI: Chicken Slaughter Investigation Unit around the backyard, I did notice the fence and that the neighbor's dogs were wet (looking freshly bathed). Neither of them confessed and I don't have a chicken web cam (yet). So I may never know for sure.

Still, I am going to ask the neighbor. I don't want to start a fight or cause a problem but if Kodak is the chicken eater, then we likely can't have chicks again. If it was the neighbor's dog(s), then perhaps with some fence reinforcements, we can try again.

Only we will get less tasty chickens next time.

It must have been an epic battle

But the chicken troops evidently didn't muster enough man power, err hen power, to put up much of a fight. Especially for fighting a turncoat.

The dog had a 6 course chicken dinner this afternoon while we were at Costco. Yep, the same dog who snuggled up next to the brooder and looked like he wanted to protect our chicks. 'Twas all an act.

Evidently he just wanted to make sure they were big enough to eat. No sense in chewing through all of those feathers for a chicken nugget, right?

So we are out of the chicken business for a while.

For the record: Burial with full chicken honors, took place immediately following the battle, in the dumpster behind the convenience store up the street.

Guess it's good I didn't go...

I missed a camping trip with Rick and the Alabama gang last weekend.  I am also missing the trip this weekend, because they went when camping I wasn't expecting them to go camping.  And evidently they aren't camping when I thought they were.  So I guess there is not much point in driving to Alabama this morning.

As late as Sunday afternoon, about the time that those guys were coming back into civilization and resuming their normal lives, I was still trying to figure out a way to get myself to northern Alabama for their fall camping trip.  I had been telling Rick since August that I couldn't make the trip, but I finally and permanently resolved that it just couldn't be done this year.  On Sunday.  

Seems that I should learn to work a calendar better.  That or quit spending my precious few brain cells thinking about camping trips that I have officially declined to attend.

Of course, did I tell you that The Mother of the Bride will be here?  All weekend?  

Maybe it is time for that road trip after all.  Rick, whatcha doing Saturday?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicken pic'n

New chicken pictures from this afternoon when I was supposed to be doing laundry instead of taking pictures of my chickens.

Took a hike

The Talker and I went to church Sunday morning while The Princess and The Boss Lady hung out at home. They wanted to stay home and clean house. Which worked out nicely because the boys wanted to not clean house. In the end, The Talker and I had a nice boys day yesterday.

After church and lunch (and a quick nap on the couch), the girls were watching Annie and the boy and I headed out on the greenbelt nearby. We hiked two miles or more in the greenbelt. Most of our hiking was on trails, but we spent a lot of time exploring in the dry creek beds. We had a blast and saw some cool stuff.

Monarch butterflies, cool rocks, tiny fish in the creek. They were all out there, waiting to be found. But more than anything it was nice to have a couple of hours to just chat with the boy.

I didn't feel like dragging the camera with us yesterday, so we have no pictures, but I am hopeful that these are the types of images The Talker recalls from his childhood.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The half that got away

The Princess woke up this morning and she was begging to go to The Boss Lady's school.  Or something like that.  She was up an hour earlier than normal and I was still groggy when those major decisions were made.

Anyways, The Boss Lady took The Princess with her to work.  Those kids were only in school until noon, so I was supposed to pick up The Princess by 1pm.  They left the house at 6:30, and The Talker was riding in the carpool this morning, so I had half a day to myself.  

Or so I thought.

I was in and out of the grocery store by 8:15, leaving the biggest chunk of time unscheduled.   


Then I remembered what all I forgot to do yesterday.  Suddenly my free time was filled.

I needed to get some planning done for the kid's church activities, tonight.  So after working on it at home, I headed up there at 11.  The next thing I knew it was 1:10 and I instantly went from working at my own pace to being 30 minutes late getting  across town to get the girl picked up.

We got home.  We met The Talker at the bus stop and we left again to run an errand for a buddy.  We got home and now we are grabbing some quick dinner before we head out for church.

And when we get back to church I am asking Jesus something.  

What happened to my day off?!?

Because I know you really do care

and I don't want you to worry all day.

The chickens survived their first night outdoors. They have now moved to full-time yard residents. It is hard to describe the amount of stink that six chickens can give off when sleeping in your living room. But they ended their cushy living Monday night with a bang. A big stinky bang!

The bird-girls now have a sleeping space set up in the storage shed, as a transition to the coop. I'll keep them in there overnights for a couple of weeks and then they will make their home in the coop (once it is actually finished). This way they are a little more secure from predators and I can get them used to the cooler weather outside at night.

Of course, I could have moved the chickens out to the storage shed weeks ago. But until the stink-fest Tuesday morning, they had been pretty good house guests. But like in-laws and microwaved fish, eventually the smell just gets a little too strong.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

News from the 'hood

The chickens are heading to Show and Tell Day at The Princess' school this morning. I took the birds up there a month ago and the kids in her class had so much fun that I ended up taking the chicks to each class at the school. Today, after we make a chick appearance in The Princess' class, I hoping the chicks can just hang out with me on the playground all morning.

As far as the rest of the family news, nothing exciting going on around here. No births, deaths or new pets to report. Sorry to disappoint.

It rained last night. Which is good. Except the dog found the garden gate opened this morning. 110 pound solid white dog in a 200 square foot mud pit. Nice! Anybody need a good deal on a brownish colored Great Pyrenees dog?

The best news for our family is that the crazy neighbors (No. not the ones with dogs, cats AND chickens. Those crazy people are us!) are moving away. I'll admit I assumed they were getting divorced, since I have only seen the husband moving things out. And I didn't really care.

He is the one that made The Boss Lady think she was about to get beat up and the reason my kids have seen someone hit their own dog with a 2x4 board. So, umm, yeah. Move along, loser.

Anyways, we found out that THEY are moving AWAY and taking their yard of junk with them. 4 parts cars have already been extracted from the backyard! And The Boss Lady and I did a little dance for joy.

So now I can finally be the only crazy guy on the block! Well, except maybe for Never Mow the Yard Guy and the other dude who has been building his own lawn sprinkler system for three years.

And just for the record, my project truck lives in the garage, hidden from the neighborhood. Not in the backyard. That would be tacky.

Besides, the backyard is where the broken dishwasher lives...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Do you ever

Type up an entire entry, re-read it and decide that it is just too stupid to post?

Yeah, me neither. (As evidenced by the 1425 posts I have made to this blog...) That is, until this morning.

Consider yourself lucky that I just deleted the insane ramblings I was about to post about the carpool and eating lunch each Monday at The Talker's school.

I'll hit the highlights in case you really need to know...

Carpool = love.
Lunch with 20 first graders and a 4 year old in tow, does not.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The training train has left the station. Again.

Along with this little 20 hour a week part time job of mine, I am supposed to keep up with 20 hours a year of additional training.  Not much, granted, but I really didn't agree to giving up weekends chasing down individual 1 hour training sessions at the local Jr College.  So last year I just didn't do it.

OK, I wasn't being quiet that stubborn.   I intended to finish up the training hours.  I just never got around to it. The school pays for the classes and pays for the time spent training, but life is already busy enough and it isn't like CPR or first aid training, that might save a life.  (I stay current on those classes, now.)  These trainings usually present new theories on preschool classroom management or new craft ideas for 3 year-olds.  Not stuff that I chose to worry about on Saturdays.

I realized that I needed 16 training hours to catch up for last year.  The school director was really worried about it.  Me?  Not so much.  She suggested that I find an online training.  Bingo!  I found one online class, good for 20 hours of training.  The school paid for the class and I collected a week's pay for sitting in front of my computer for a few evenings.

After I finished up the "class", I sent in my score sheet.  Then I found another 20 hour class that I can do over the Winter Break, to take care of this year's training requirement.  Thank, internets, for making my life easier.

One little problem.  I didn't pass the first training.  

There were 6 sections on the score sheet.  I needed 70% on each section to pass the entire training.  I missed 6 questions out of 120 or so.  Not bad, I thought. In fact, I aced 4 of the sections.  I missed one question on another.  But I missed 5 questions on a section that only had 15 questions.  Garnering myself a 66% for that section.

They mailed me back my answer sheet, instead of a nice little certificate to prove that I was current on my training hours.  But these people must be preschool teachers at heart.  They don't want students to feel bad about themselves, so I was allowed to correct my errors and mail my score sheet back in.  

That correctly answered sucker was back in the mail in about 20 minutes.  Technically, I only needed to correct HALF an answer, to pass that section with a 70%, but I don't like to push my luck, so I corrected all of the errors...

And now I must wait another week or two to prove that I am worthy of chasing little kids around a playground for 4 hours a day.  Even though we all know that is really ALL I am good for.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ring a ding a ling.

Last October I had to replace my wedding ring. I ended up finding a really nice silver band that I like a lot. The fact that it only cost $45 was a nice perk.

After I screwed up my ring finger knuckle years ago, and added a little (quit laughing) weight over the years, my original ring was nearly impossible to take off. Still, I managed to lose it, because I am THAT good.

Last year's ring was a size bigger, than my original wedding band, to make up for the still sore, and still fat, knuckle. Evidently it wasn't enough.

A month or so ago I noticed the silver ring was making my finger hurt. Because I am REALLY , really smart, I finally figured out that it was too tight.   Monday I took that ring back in to get it resized, but the design of the ring makes it impossible to resize. (OK, I bet someone COULD do it, but it is a $45 ring and the shop that sold it to me couldn't/wouldn't do it...)

So I traded the old new ring for a bigger copy of the exact same ring. This time I added another size and a half.

Now life is good. My finger doesn't hurt.  And so long as my finger doesn't mysteriously widen itself again next year, I think this ring should be around for a long while.