Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fastest cleaning in West Austin

A co-worker of The Bass Lady's just called. The two of them have been working on a project for a while. Turns out the co-worker, with her family, are stopping by in about 10 minutes.

They are coming to our house.

On the day after a bunch of my family left.

And my family leaves a disaster in it's wake any time the herd goes away. I was planning to spend much of next week getting the house back in order. But we managed to get the public parts of the house "clean enough" in less time than it took the friends to drive across town. And I have to say, for 10 minutes work, it looks pretty good.

But no fair peeking in the garage or master bedroom, where the clutter was thrown while we were "cleaning".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Odd Family (Traditions)

Does your family have any really odd traditions? Mine does.

In fact, I am currently participating in one of the oddest things we do every year. It is 6 AM, the Saturday after Thanksgiving and I am in my spot. On a downtown street, sitting in a folding chair, with a blanket wrapped around my legs.

Because it is 6 AM and it is cold. Meaning Texas cold, which evidently equals 52 degrees, FoF.

So why am I here, sitting in a chair beside Congress Avenue, overlooking the state capitol? I am waiting for the start of the Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade. Also known as the official kickoff event of the AtHomeFam Christmas Season.

In a few hours there will be 100,000 people crammed into downtown to watch the parade. And this parade has grown so important to our family that I come down early in the morning and camp out on a good spot. The Boss Lady and kids come into downtown a few hours later, ensuring that we get a prime viewing location AND the kids get some decent sleep.

Like most great family traditions, this one has kind of murky origins. The Boss and I came to this parade several times before the kids were born. And we have only missed one year (due to rain) since The Talker was a baby. But we made up for that miss by accident one year, when we showed up a day early, toy donations in hand, to end up seeing the Aggies march into town for the UT vs A&M football game.

Several times we have waited hours before hand at a good spot only to have a late arrival come sit their family right in front of our spot. We always have enough room for extra kids to cram in, but blocking the view of the AtHomeKids is a bad idea. So I have moved my camp out time earlier and earlier over the years to get here and hold a great spot. And then I defend MY house! Last year I decided we had found the perfect viewing spot, so this year I made extra sure to get to our spot on time. Of course, when people ask, I'll lie and tell them that I only arrived "10 minutes ago". No need for future early arrivals, you know.

Anyways, I have the laptop in hand, and there is wifi available all over downtown, so entertaining myself for a few early morning hours should be no problem. In case I get really bored I also have the Kindle and my iPod. Otherwise, if you need me, I'll be sitting here on Congress, waiting for the fun to start.

And wishing I had brought along a potty...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The completion of the face burning

A follow up to my original post from Halloween day:

I have finally completed all four weeks of treatment for actinic keratosis. Hopefully now my face will start returning to it's usual level of baby-scaring ugliness.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The sounds of home

You know, this house never really sounds right without some noise. I think that is why I have not really settled into a groove while the kids are at school. It is simply too quiet. So I find myself breaking up the quiet with errands and chores that involve gas powered tools.

Right now there are 4 different clocks chiming the 8 o'clock hour. None of them are exactly on time, but I like them, because they need my help to keep going. Guy Clark is playing on my iPod that is connected to the home theater system. Good music to go with the ice cold Shiner Bock in my glass. And the dishwasher is running in the kitchen. The sound of a chore done by someone (or something) else.

All is right with the world.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Darth had a hard day @ skool

Look who fell asleep on my couch:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tooth Fairy Tricker - Patent Pending

The Princess just brought me this.

A treasure from the school lunchroom that she had managed to keep up with all day. Just a little, white piece of plastic from who knows what type of lunch container. I sure HOPE no one was going to eat it...

She told me to "Be very careful. I want to use it tonight. Don't lose it." After that serious warning I asked what I was holding. Turns out "it is a Tricker. A Tooth Fairy Tricker."

"Please Daddy, can I put it in my tooth box and see if she leaves me a prize?"

Of course, I am torn. Let her scam the Tooth Fairy? Times are tough all over and a 5 year old has to do whatever it takes to get by, right? Or should let her know that we are not going to sell counterfeit teeth to an apparition.

Ripping off the Tooth Fairy might be some time of federal crime or something; now that I am involved I am sure the Feds would just love to run us up on some conspiracy charges. Besides that, we live in Texas. Five year olds are still eligible for capital punishment down here. And I am not taking the rap for The Princess if this plan goes bad...

Face eating, week 3 of 4

A follow up to the post I made on Halloween, about my recent adventures treating widespread actinic keratosis on my face.

Here is the picture, just to get it out of the way:

The good news is that even though the redness and dry skin is a lot more obvious, and I am sick of explaining what is up, the medicine does not burn nearly as much any more. Hopefully only one more week of treatment and then a few weeks until my mug is back to it's normal level of ugliness.

The molt is on...

I knew the day would come, M&M, our only laying hen surely could not keep up with our family's egg needs by herself. But I have to say, the girl did an admirable job. We have not bought eggs since April. For a few months, up until Dog Attack v2.0 she had the help of Butterscotch and Fillet. But even when they were still helping out, she laid most of the eggs.

But now, with the longer nights and cooler days, egg production has stopped altogether- interrupted by her first molt, the periodic loss of old feathers and growing new ones. While molting chicken either stop egg production or lay much more infrequently.

We haven't seen an egg from the coop in a week. So this morning I had the sad duty of buying eggs at the grocery store, since the wife needs to bake for a work lunch tomorrow and she will be bakin' like a toasted cheeser for the family feed next week.

Boring white eggs, because if I want the $$$ eggs,
I'll just wait on M&M to quit molting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Network this!

I know, I know. Blog postings have been painfully infrequent and sub par around here. But life hasn't been that interesting lately.

Still, if you can't get enough of AtHomeDaddy know that I am available to you in real time elsewhere.

On Facebook

On Twitter Because some jackhole has already registered AtHomeDaddy. Dude better take care of MY brand. Of course, he was quick enough to jump on when it opened up...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Mercy Rule here

I was out in the backyard, cleaning the chicken coop and patio with the power washer. (Yes Mom, I was wearing The Hat. And Sunscreen.)

While I was working, The Princess was up in the playscape, playing dolls and The Talker was holding one of his imaginary baseball games. This afternoon he was staging a rematch of Game 7 of the 2004 World Series.

And along with no Mercy Rule, I gotta tell you, there is no Curse of the Bambino in play on our home field either.

The final result?

Boston Red Sox 100, New York Yankees, 0. (And one clean chicken coop.)

The Mommy Speaks...

"Good morning, guys. Would you like me to take you to school today?"

"No", said the girl.

"Oh, that's OK"
, said the boy.

And mommy said, ""Well, then, let me rephrase. I am GOING to take you to school. So there!" as laughing daddy was running out of the room.

I did not know that The Boss was going in late today, so I could be annoyed that I am missing out on sleeping a little late, but then I would have missed that conversation. Which makes it worth giving up a few extra minutes of shut-eye.

Plus, I knew that The Boss would soon be stealing the only Dr Pepper in the house, so today was not the day to sleep in.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Facing up to the whining and bitching (and burning and itching).

A followup to a post I made almost two weeks ago:

The short answer: Yep. Still burns like a @#(*_@)$*)(#%&(*^@*&^# !

The long answer: Yep. Still burns like a @#(*_@)$*)(#%&(*^@*&^# ! And it hurts like a @#$)(#&% when ANYthing touches my face. And anything includes stuff like pillows, clothes, air. You know, stuff like that.

In the next two weeks I have been assured this will get worse. So much bitching and moaning to look foward to!

Let's get cooking!

After almost seven and a half years at home, you might think I have this house husband thing down pat. But one of the many domestic duties I have still yet to master is cooking for the family. Oh believe me, I have cooked enough food during my time that we are not starving. Far from it. I just have not gotten GOOD at it. But now the kids are gone to school 8 hours a day and I have been trying to step up my kitchen skillz.

Let's start with the House specialty. After years of resisting, I bought a crock pot a year ago. I wanted it for a specific item, pot roast. Now my pot roast is finally good enough that I served it to my own mother. I have pretty well conquered the gas grill, too. Burgers, hot dogs and chicken are no problem. Sometimes I even branch out a little and grill some veggies. I bought a smoker last year and I can crank out a pretty good smoked chicken.

I even do pretty good when it comes to putting an entire meal together. Fruits, veggies (almost always green beans) and other sides. But I seem to be in a cooking rut. We eat the same things frequently. The biggest problem with that is that the kids have grown resistant to trying new foods.

Recently I have brought out some new meals, baked potatoes and all the fixings and several different stews. The black beans I made from scratch tasted blech. Tonight we are eating chicken fajitas and I just finished a batch of home made re-fried beans. They turned out OK, but hopefully a second effort will be a little tastier.

When I turned into AtHomeDaddy I looked for a cooking class. Never did find one that wasn't geared at gourmet or specialty cooking. But now, after all these years of trial and error, I seem to be getting the hang of the kitchen.

The clone should watch his back. Might be spies nearby

The Talker hit the Mother Lode a couple of nights ago. Halloween costumes on a 90% off sale at Target. He scored a Star Wars Clone Trooper costume for $4 and a Darth Vader for $2. Needless to say, the boy can hardly be talked out of his new gear.

This morning he wanted his Clone Trooper picture taken. While I was trying to snap a decent shot, I noticed that we had an extra set of eyes watching our every move. M&M the Hen may be a double agent for the Jedi. Because, as The Talker just informed me, "the Blue Clone Troopers are bad guys and they fight the Jedi. When Anakin Skywalker was a..." (At that point I just sort of quit listening since his Star Wars talk can go on for a while.)

A Clone Trooper can not be too careful around here!

The eyes are watching. Always watching.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Random notes from the AtFarmFam

Life is kind of status quo around here lately. The kids and chickens are cute. The weather is perfect. The Boss Lady is working hard and I still have a face that feels like it is melting off.

Not that any of those thing are bad (OK, the face thing sucks a lot, but I have always been ugly.) But there just isn't a lot of blog fodder in the normal routine.

So here are the pictures:

The earlier dark hours have cut into M&M's egg production, but the other hens should be starting to lay in the next month to six weeks.

This may end up being my new favoritest picture of the brood.

The Princess, ready to go to her cheer leading gig at the high school football game.

And now the video:

Just to prove that she really is my kid.
(There are a couple of other vids on my Facebook page
if you are a glutton for the cuteness that is my daughter.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

And the teasing shall begin in 3... 2... 1...

Having the doctor scare the pee outta me in regards to my chances of developing skin cancer, has made me do some strange things. For example, I spent money on myself at the makeup counter this week. Which is something I hardly ever do. Plus, I have been slathering sunscreen on day and night.

Finally, this morning I have been out on the hunt. Big game was not my prey. Instead, I have been stalking big hats. The likelihood of me staying inside all the damn time is slim. So I need to do the next best thing to keep the sun offa my face and neck. Luckily, I live in Texas, so even if I look a little a whole lot silly, I can still get away with wearing a cowboy hat.

OK, remember, this thing is a precision medical device. So be gentle and don't hurt yourself laughing. Dr's orders.

On a little more serious note, you can see how the medicine is starting to tear up my skin pretty good in that first picture. That is, if you can get past the laughing...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Clean up day

Here is how the modern, urban chicken farmer rids himself of unwanted post-Halloween pumpkins.