Monday, March 30, 2009

It takes a lot of work to make a party look this cheap

The Princess' 5th Birthday is coming up Sunday. Saturday is the more important date, though, as far as she is concerned. Birthday Party Day! Also known as Makeup And Jewelry Art Party Day! (I know The Boss Lady made a trip to the arts and craft store last weekend to get supplies, but I am not sure what the whole "makeup" thing is all about.)

Before then I have a laundry list of things to get done:

The laundry - What self-respecting laundry list of to-do would not include laundry? Can't have a mountain of clean laundry devouring the couch when the guests are here, right?

Mopping - There is a lot of non carpeted floor in this house. And it has been a long time since any of it has seen a mop.

Scrubbing the grout - The most hated of all chores. Never grout tiles with a light colored grout. You will hate life while bleaching the grout lines back to a light color.

Vacuuming the carpets and ceilings - Yep, ceilings. Our house has that "popcorn" ceiling texture and it needs a dusting.

Dusting everything - The weather has been awesome and the house has been wide open for several days. Mini blinds to baseboards, it all needs a wipe down.

Cleaning the kitchen - I think I need a sandblaster to do the job properly. Why did we buy a white stove?

Bathrooms - We have kids. You figure out the rest. And wear a haz-mat suit if you go potty, OK?

Kid's rooms - Seriously, I think The Boss Lady spent like 3 hours driving the slaves helping the kids in there last weekend. You wouldn't know it by looking though. That chore will wait until Saturday morning, no need to clean the mess two more times before the party.

Clutter removal/reorganizing/hiding - You and I both know that most of this crap is just going to end up on the floor of my bedroom closet that morning anyways...

And now the list of things that I will ACTUALLY get finished before the party:

Backyard - Mow, weed eat and edge, poop patrol, the preacher's kids will be here for goodness sake, and making sure everything is weed free. Hoping to get that done on Friday afternoon.

Front yard - Same things but I will get it done Saturday morning. No need to waste a good first impression.

The entire yard has to be watered, too. No need to kill my grass with 1000 little feet trampling everything into oblivion.

Plus, I really hope to get around to washing Marge, too. It may not make or break The Princess' party, but you never know when the dads around here might want to check out the old lady.

See, I told you it takes a lot of work to throw a backyard birthday party.

Now I am wondering why we didn't talk her into a bowling party instead.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What weather?

This week we have seen several days of much neded rain. The yard and garden appreciate it very much. The rain just means that I have to mow again soon, so I am a little less thrilled.

We also had several nasty thunderstorms and hail recently, including about 10 minutes of racquetball sized stones falling from the sky. The neighbors lost windshields and in their cars and skylights in their houses. We were luckier and only ended up with some nice sized dents on the hood and roof of my car.

I am sure that every house in the neighborhood will be getting new roofs soon. The insurance adjuster comes out in a few weeks to look our roof over. And like the robins in spring, roofing companies have guys circling our neighborhood, looking to make some nice quick sales in the aftermath of Blizzard 09. For the record, even if we do need a new roof, we will wait until the summer, to make sure that we are not working with some fly by night company.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The woman has been holding out on me

Girl Scout Cookies have long been a vice of mine. But I thought I had made it through the sale season without going on a cookie bender. I don't think I bought a single box this year.

Last week there was a mysterious box of Carmel deLites in the kitchen so the kids and I finally ate them yesterday. Didn't know where they had come from. Didn't ask. Just assumed that they had been here several days, so the cookies were fair game.

When we polished off the cookies, The Boss Lady casually mentioned the other boxes out in the freezer. Turns out there are 8 more boxes out there.

Make that 7. I have just about finished off this box. By myself.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not completely useless birds

To answer the most common question around here, no. No eggs yet. These hens are living the good life, and not doing their part. Lazy birds.

Anyways, there is one byproduct of chicken farming that these girls seem to make plenty of. And I have been making use of that today. Poop!

Two or three times since we brought our first hens home I have filled up my large composter with the pine shavings that I clean out of their coop and nesting boxes. Each time it fills, And I take that "bounty" and spread it over the grass in my front yard. Who needs to buy fertilizer when I have the world's laziest hens making it custom for me?

After I spread the composted chicken poop around the yard I'll water everything in real good. And next week I'll mow the yard to mulch up the last of the pine shavings. Thus, the week of yard work comes to an end and the yard looks great!

But I sure would like an omelet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I couldn't skip the growing season after all

I swore after last year's miserable failure of a garden that I was quitting. No more gardening for me. I was moving into the poultry farming business.

Remember that? Yeah, well, evidently I forgot.

Now that we have had a little rain, and the grass is greening up nicely, I hit up the garden center. I wanted to pick up a couple of plants to fill in the new flower beds and pathways that I created a few months back.

The Boss Lady really likes my 'maters. (You can take that ANY way you wish...) And even though I happen to think they are evil, my wife gets what she wants, (except for a husband that folds clothes. She can get one of those after I am dead). So we are planting a few tomatoes and some veggies.

And some cantaloupes. And watermelons. A couple of varieties of peppers. Some green beans. And a few more flowers.

But that is all. Because I am NOT gardening this year.

Monday, March 16, 2009

If he starts telling jokes about old ladies and tall fences, then I will KNOW he is my son

On our 4 hour car ride today, The Talker asked me "Hey Dad, you know how to make 12 bucks?" Since I haven't had a real job in almost 7 years, I answered, "No, you got any good ideas?"

"Yeah, first you get 8 quarters and then get a 10 dollar bill from mom. Then you have $12!"

Awesome! My son is a leech. I couldn't be more proud.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We are outta here!

The Talker and I made an agreement not to get sick on our camping trip, so we postponed departure until Sunday. By the time we arrive at the trail head it will be partly cloudy and about 70 degrees. Because that is what the weather guy is promising and I know the weather guy wouldn't lie to a boy about his spring break camping trip... Hopefully the weather pans out, but if not, we will just wing it.

The upside to the two days of rain? Looks like we will be able to light a campfire. The whole area was under a burn ban for weeks, so we were planning to not have a fire at night. Now we SHOULD be able to light up without risk of burning the entire 50,000 acre national forest down.

Our drive will kill most of five hours, since we are planning to stop at least once in each county we pass through, to pick up a geocache. Then while we are out there we will be doing a whole lotta nothing and a little more geocaching. Best of all, will be the chance to hang out, just a dude and his boy, in the woods. Good times!

Originally we were planning to come back on Tuesday afternoon. Now I think we will return Wednesday. No computers or blogging on this trip, so see you guys when we get home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Where's that geocache?

A few pictures from our adventures this weekend.

Birfday Boy is hot on the trail...

Found it!

Read more about our geocaching adventures over at

Monday, March 09, 2009

Backpack packing

Yesterday I drug my massively huge backpack out of storage. This morning I started packing away some of the gear that we have ready for this upcoming trip. Now I am wishing I had bought the even more massively huge pack. Still have food and assorted gear to pack and I'm almost out of room in my pack.

The Talker will be wearing a pack rented from REI. We can't pick that one up until Thursday afternoon. If he likes this trip, I bet we buy him one for the next trip. This time though, I'll tote most of the crap so that he can get used to hiking with a pack.

We leave early Saturday morning for a 3 hour drive to the National Forest. But even the drive should be nice, because we will be cruising through small towns and through the Texas country side the entire trip.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Get ready to camp!

The Fam and I went up to Dallas this weekend for my nephew's 6th birthday party. Good time all around, though the visit was much too short.

On the way home we stopped at the sporting goods store to buy the last of the gear that The Talker and I need for our camping trip that is coming up this weekend. The boy and I are backpacking in to the Sam Houston National Forest for three days of camping and hanging out like savages.

Now he and I just have to make it through the next 5 days without getting into trouble. Or buying too much more gear.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Blogging lunch

Sitting at Olive Garden playing with Lauren's iPhone.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fence Warz,The Beginning of Final Chapter?

The Fence Warz have finally reached a resolution. The neighbor has to get permission from each of the adjoining neighbors to keep the big fence and she has to have some more support added to the 8 foot tall sections that enclose our backyard.

We told her she could keep the back half of the fence that adjoins our property at 8 foot tall, but the front half must be lowered to 6 foot. She agreed and is paying for the materials. Evidently her fence guy doesn't like me anymore, so I am doing the rework.

Funny thing is, this is exactly the way I asked to have the fence built in the first place. But it took a couple of months, tons of hassle and threats from the city to make it happen.

Sunday afternoon I started lowering the front half of the 8 Foot Tall Wall O' Wood that sits closest to our house. I was going to just cut the whole top off of it and be done with it, but I decided to rebuild and re-frame the whole mess instead. I'll decide at the end if the extra support rail is necessary or not.

The newly lowered sections. Still have about 30 feet to lower.

I could lower the fence 2 full feet.
Instead, I built the shortest part 6' tall so overall the fence is only losing about 18".

The section that is remaining 8 foot tall still needed a center support rail added, so I started working on that this morning. I was able to fit the new support in without removing the4 fence pickets, so that helped speed things along. Still, the more I work on this fence, the more I just hope it all blows away in a thunderstorm.

Evidently, the "professional builder" doesn't own a level. When you stand back from this fence, the mismatch of level and un-level support rails is kind of like an assault on your eyes. But I could not bring myself to build something half-assed just because someone else did before me.

I am thinking that I will hide all of this mess with a row of pickets on our side of the fence. But I can add those later.

So in the end, I have about a hundred threatening emails from the neighbor. And a fence that is always going to look craptacular. But the upside is the whole mess is settled. And that is good.

I haven't yet decided if having the neighbor never speak to me again is an upside or not. But like the fence, I am leaning that way...

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the cheesy enchiladas.