Monday, December 31, 2007

BananaBelle & Auntie V.

Saturday was departure day around here for many of the family. The Charlotte contingent bolted after supper, followed soon by the Cheeseheads.

We took this mass departure as a sign to go and visit some friends in town before our visit here is finished. I'm sure that the LW's folks enjoyed a bit of quiet too. Well, CP got to go visit her friend AnnaB and they had an interesting time of it. These are two singleton children who are raised by stay-at-home parents - let's just say that "sharing" was an interesting new concept. They had a good time and all of the parents enjoyed getting to catch up and discuss topics of interest divided along gender lines (Boys - Cameras & Girls - Books) CP's Uncle Ian prepared a wonderful dinner for us all and Auntie R. finished our visit off with an amazing brunch. We were sad to go, but on we went.

Something was wrong with Auntie V's car, so the plans to meet her somewhere were on the fritz. We arrived at her place to barking dogs and a happily squealing Auntie V. CP was immediately happy with her and interested by her two crazy pups. Things settled down after a bit and the LW and CP started in on a bit of napping. While they were doing this, I figured out that Auntie V's car, a 2000 model Jetta, had the same problem that we had before leaving T-town. The only thing different was that her brake lights were stuck on and this had drained the battery. This presents an interesting problem due to the shift lock system on her automatic transmission. With no brake switch, the interlock won't let you out of park. After a bit of internet searching, we found a way to get around that and get the car started. This problem is common on this and other VW models and there is a recall (called N4) out there for it.

We let that sleeping dog lie for a while and went to dinner at Lucky Brewgrille. It was a nice place and the food was great. CP enjoyed getting to roam around downstairs and was exerting her will after being sleepy and after seeing what other little people get away with when they exert their willpower. Mostly, she was just sleepy and tired of traveling. She arrived happily at home and is upstairs enjoying a quiet 2+ hour nap as I type this.

Before leaving Auntie V's, I advised her of what to do with the car. This afternoon, she called and said that the dealer had towed it for free (as they were supposed to do) and fixed it for free as well. We were both relieved to hear that she was back on the road....now, if only she'd stop running over stuff and beating up the front of the undercarriage and plastic parts.........they're expensive for VW's.

It's quiet here today and the LW is getting some work done. She just got the yearly note letting her know that big blue can't get their contract stuff together and that she was headed for a cut in her weekly paid hours as a result. We planned and budgeted for it, but we hope that it won't last 3 months like last year.....sheeeesh.....bureaucracy. The joys of being a contractor, I guess. Tomorrow morning we'll be heading to Durdurdurdanelle Arkansas to visit with my folks in order to avoid a 10+ hour drive in the car with CP on the way to Dallas to visit with the great grandmother. This will cut our drive into a 5+hour day followed by a 6+hour day and greatly decrease the need for stress relief/boxing gloves.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On The Road Again

Thursday was takeoff day for the xmas '07 Clark Griswold family truckster travel-a-thon. We loaded the wagon with diesel and stuff and headed out by 6:30am and it was a good day of highway driving....until we got to Deming. They're still doing construction on the cutoff between Deming and Hatch, so we bugged out and went through Las Cruces. It added an hour to our trip and as such, we didn't get to go to the Kaliedescope store in Albuquerque like we wanted. CP rolled with it though and we wound up just going to dinner at the Frontier. Just google it and you'll see. The food was good and CP had a blast running around in the place. It is huge. If you've got kids, it's really easy and we give it two greasy baby thumbs up.

We left the KOA there on Friday morning a bit late and with the time switch, this put us into Elk City later than expected. It's a running theme with us. Late...late...later.... We had dinner in the KOA's little TV room and hung out with the guy running the place while the owners are away. Arden Rapp (spelling?) was the guy's name and he said that he's been on the Canadian and PGA tours before and was going back this year. A nice enough chap...but the skeptic in both of us wonders how much of the story will hold water. Uncle LeRoy should know something about it and we'll ask upon our return. Anyway, there was a little playground there and CP loved it. She didn't love the wind at 2am though and woke up screaming so loud that it almost caused her mom to lose her dinner. It was that much of a shock. The wind was blowing so hard that it caused out little kabin's window curtains to blow around.

We sailed out of there at about 2:30am our time and were happily headed out of Oklahoma. The LW was worried about beating the snow....and worry she did. CP slept quietly for most of the last day of travel because it was dark and the clouds hung ominously low. CP grew agitated by the time her tummy said, "EAT!", so we pulled in at the McD's in Emporia. It was mid-morning and the place was humming. When we pulled in there was old snow on the ground, but by the time we were done with breakfast, the car and everything else was covered in fresh snow. It was blowing hard and really nasty by the time we were 10 minutes down the road. Wouldn't you know that this was the perfect time for CP to load her diaper in the middle of nowhere. Rural highway Kansas nowhere....the worst kind for poopy diapers and blowing snow. We finally found a place that looked ok and made the change. The LW lost it while trying to change CP's diaper on the only thing around....a chair. Why those Koala changing stations aren't all over is beyond us, but we sure could have used one. The LW and I were running on 3-4 hours of sleep and it was just ugly when the snow was added into the mix.

Soon we got down to about 30mph because we just couldn't see where we were going. After a few miles of this, it started clearing up, but for a while it was all white knuckles. It wouldn't bother me if it was just me in a 4WD, but with the little person, even a slide off into the grass with the possibility of being stuck can be dangerous. It was too cold to be outside for even a few minutes. 20 more miles or so and things were still clearing. By the time we almost got to Wellsville, the roads were relatively clear and we punched it back up to 70. Just as I did this though, we went across a bridge where some folks were stopped. Half of the distance across the bridge, a gust of wind moved the car and in trying to respond, I realized why the people were stopped on the side of the road. When I moved the steering wheel, nothing happened; it was a big sheet of black ice. Of the cars stopped on the side, two looked driveable and one had the grill smashed up near the windshield wipers where it had contacted the bridge. It looked like everyone was ok though and we breathed a sigh of relief.

Soon the sign on the road actually showed mileage to the Gardner exit and the LW was all smiles and joy. You could feel the air in the car lighten up and the LW told CP that we were getting close to Grandma's house..this was met with a grin. A few slippery turns later, we walked into a really warm house full of happy family and CP's wild cousins. A good end to the trip.

It's been good to see everyone and get to relax. The LW is using her grandmother's hand-cranked bread pail in making bread today with her dad. The dough is rising near the fireplace/stove and all is well. CP says, "HI" to all her peeps and wishes everyone happy holidays.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tricycle Motor

Auntie M. came over yesterday for a bit and brought her gifts for CP since we'll be out of here for xmas. CP was really happy for the sit~n~spin and the art supplies, but the tricycle has been her joy.

I spent some time at the VW dealership this afternoon after the brake lights went completely out on the car over the weekend. I guess there's a recall for the brake switch, so it was a freebie. It's nice to have the CD service manual with updates and TDIClub.com resources so that I can learn about these things.

The EOS350D came in the post while I was gone. The image on the left and the others out on flickr are the first run. The new business starts soon and should be fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wedding & Presents

I just talked to my bro - he and his girlfriend are getting married on xmas eve. He sounds really happy, so it's a good thing. I had to ask - married on xmas? This isn't the first go for either of them, so they don't want anything even mildly extravagant. It'll be simple and will be at the house that they've been shackin' up in. I wondered why they chose that date and he said that everyone will be in town and they can mark it down for 2007's taxes....good enough for me! They'll go somewhere fun for a getaway and have a good time. Heck, I may have to spring for the string of lamps or maybe the full sized lamp for a gift! FRAGILE! It's Italian!

Fa rah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah....

CP's still not eating a lot of food, but we keep putting as much different stuff in front of her as we can. She's still got plenty of fat and isn't having any problems running us both into the ground, so we're not too worried.

The photo stuff should start arriving tomorrow and we're all excited. Well, I guess I'm more excited than any other grown human in this house. I've been eyeballing this battery gizmo for extended shooting time. The LW and I discussed the stretching out of accessories as this camera earns its keep. I'll have to earn mine too....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stop!....Go!

CP's figured out that she can bring her tickling to a screeching halt by simply saying, "stop". Of course, she learned right after this, that she could make it resume by simply saying "go". It's been fun and she's making the most of it.

Yesterday, the LW started choking and coughing on some water...go figure...and CP ran over to her and pushed her mouth open to look for what was making her mother cough. She said it was the funniest thing she'd seen in a while. Last night CP and I were playing with the kazoo. She'd laugh into it and start us all laughing. After this, she walked up to me with it in her mouth and had me bite on the other end. It was serious fun and just made us laugh all over.

This weekend, I'll be going to the local photography meetup.com meeting. It seems like a relatively active group of diverse folks with a good deal of experience. I hope that the LW and the baby get out to ride the Toys For Tots ride, but the weather may have something to do with her decision.

There's snow on the mountains and it's beautiful here. (click the little round dots on the right side to see the snow)

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Plunge

The LW and I have been kicking around the idea of my starting a photography business on the side and last night, we decided to dive in. She's wanted me to do this for some time, but I resisted for not wanting to turn a wonderful hobby into a job, but it'll be good for the eventual day that my hands and wrists just can't take it any more.

Our little point and shoot camera is ok, but so many irretrievable images are blurred or missed completely due to the hesitation inherent in such a small package. As you can see, my favorite subject is often too fast for even the flash. The newest prosumer additions to the camera stable will arrive soon and should lead to plenty of holiday pictures. I hope to get a website design going and get business cards in the mix too. I think that candids (as a backup guy for the professional), portraits, and sports stuff will be the majority of what I plan to do.

This morning it was a bit cool, so CP got her overalls on and we headed out for the book store and then on to the feed store. The chicks needed some pellets and scratch - plus the cats were a bit hungry this morning after I let their food supply run too low.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blow!!

Today CP finally figured out the nose blowing trick today and has been showing off her newfound skills. It really helps the LW and I because the snot-vacuum thingy has come to be seen as the enemy.

We've been going for walks with the little person because, comically enough, she puts her hand up to your hand and says, "walk?". Who can resist that? She's become pretty adept at navigating over the landscape rocks and steep curbs that are in front of the houses of our neighbors. Earlier this week we were out and she'd had a little too much sugar (cookies), so we took her into the upstairs floor at the mall nearby. It was quiet and she kept us entertained while she ran through the isles turning that sugar into heat. The ladies working in the store just loved her and even played chase with her at one point. She was happy and tired by the time that we poured her into the car to head home.

Off to see Oma tomorrow...we hope!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pull Over!!

....no, it's a cardigan.... (It's one of my favorite lines from a really crazy movie.)

We were supposed to go to the zoo today, but woke up to drizzle. Instead, we went to the Children's Museum and it was a blast as usual. We were early getting there by about 20 minutes, so we meandered over to the 17th Street Market. We picked up some Oolang tea for the LW and looked at all of the musical instruments that they have there. We'll probably be back for a xmas present or two from there. Once we got to the museum, CP and Teague were all over the place. One of the docents even came over when we were at the fire truck and turned on the lights. The kids got a kick out of it and CP loved all of the lateral running space. We didn't spend as much time in the music room this time, but it was really warm in there. We made up for it in the playroom with the frogs on the conveyor though. They loved that one. They have little stuffed toy frogs attached to a rope operated vertical conveyor setup with velcro and at the top is a ceiling fan with two blades. As the frogs get to the top of the conveyor, the fan blades come around and smack them off which sends them flying across the room. The kids then round them up and do it all over again. It was a hoot. It wasn't working the last time we were there, so this was my first time around with it and I really had fun with it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Every Day...

..is a good day with my lovely wife and beautiful daughter. I woke up to a smiling baby full of laughter. We all played "tickle..tickle" this morning before getting up and getting going.....and she's been going full blast this morning. My LW gave me a wonderful card and a Wailin' Jennys CD, then my maternal grandparents called and sang happy birthday to me. It's pretty funny stuff to listen to, and remarkable because they never leave messages for me, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've been trying to get in touch with my mom, because today is her birthday too (I was a 20th birthday present, of sorts), but her line is busy busy this morning and that's a good thing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Neti Pot

I use the wife's little oriental teapot for sinus irrigation usually, but this time I waited too long after my eyes started watering and sinusitis crept up on me like a fog, and on little cat feet even. It's been an interesting few days of sniffling and sneezing, but I hope to be over this soon because work's beginning to filter in more an more. I'm enjoying that, but it's tough to work when your head feels like a bowling ball.

CP and I have the house to ourselves today since the LW took off on the bicycle this morning. She went down to one of the coffee shops in town today to meet one of the garden coordinators that's now a co-worker. It's really good to see someone else land a good spot that allows them the freedom to work from anywhere with only a laptop computer and a wifi or cellular bb card. CP and I were outside a good bit today and she's now a wheelbarrow riding fiend. Can't get enough of the thing. We go and spend a lot of money on a bike trailer/stroller/hiker and all she wants to do is ride in a $10 wheelbarrow. It just figures.....

I've put out the word to most of the family already that this year we'd like for CP to get musical instruments and art supplies for xmas. She likes stuffed critters alright, but her interest in them fades really quickly and they're quickly tossed aside when crayons or drums are about. CP's uncle Richard has already alluded to the idea of getting her a bullhorn/siren for a gift. He's a funny man for an engineer. CP really likes the musical instrument room at the children's museum here in town. The only thing that dragged her away from that last time was the model trains that were running.

The flickr spot should have some new images from my last round of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Picher Perfect

The LW and I watched a disturbing show last night on PBS. It was an Independent Lens program called The Creek Runs Red. I didn't know that the LW had changed the channel, but I heard someone speaking who sounded a little bit slow. I turned around to see someone who could have very easily been a part of my family down in Mississippi. She was going on and on in an obvious redneck dialect about how lead poisoning hadn't done anything to her or her family and that she didn't know what all the fuss was about. I found it interesting that this person is basically a poster child for learning disabilities caused by heavy metals .......and that by having learning disabilities, she doesn't even realize that she's the poster child.

The show is worth watching. I had basically heard these people speak before. They're all over just about everywhere that I've lived. In Canon City, CO they're the folks that still believe that dirt from the Manhattan project that's stored near the water supply (and almost leaking into the water supply for most of western Kansas) won't hurt them or their kids. Yup, if you don't want to find anything, don't put in the correct monitoring wells....problem solved right? In Mississippi, they're the families of folks that have lived near the cotton fields and been subjected to boll weevil poison and defoliant drift all of their lives, yet continue to wonder why they have so many strange illnesses in their communities. CMT anyone?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Deadlines and a New Doctor

I left the LW this afternoon in a pretty bad state. She was buggin' because her deadline for file check-in was moving up fast and I had to leave for work. Something about a translation department in Japan, I think. Technical writers and their time-shifted global deadlines......

As usual, CP was doing her best to make everyone in the house fully aware of her needs and wants. We try our best to humor her, but sheeeesh, it gets hard sometimes. We took her to meet her new pediatrician today. You might recall that her last doc got fired down the road for messing with the labial adhesions in the old-school, "just separate them, it won't bother her" way. We had to find someone new because if he did that again, I was going to kick his old ass into next year....and then I'd need a lawyer for xmas.

Anyway, the new doc is a really nice lady who took a careful look at CP and judged her to be bright and happy. They have a large waiting room with a playground and CP was happy right from the start. The doc let CP play with her medical equipment and she absolutely loved it. She prescribed some cream ( at $100/tube) for her and things will be just fine soon. Of course, since CP was sick most of last month, we got the standard issue "are you feeding her?" type questions. I tried to explain that she had been sick/off of food for almost a month and that we'd basically been trying to throw everything in the cupboards at her, but little stuff like that just flies by, or so it seems.

CP's happily sleeping now and the house is quiet. The LW wore CP out this evening while I was at work with singing and ring-around-the-rosie. All is well.

Oh, if anyone else out there wondered how to create a backup of their blogspot blog, here's a neat trick:

http://yourblognamehere.blogspot.com/search?updated
-min=2005-01-01T00%3A00%3A00Z&updated-max
=2010-01-0101T00%3A00%3A00Z&max-results=3000


Insert this bit of code into the url line after you change the dates to reflect what you want. Once you're there, using Firefox of course, go to file and save page as. It'll save it so that you'll at least have the files should something go wrong.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What A Difference....

...a day makes. Auntie M. took the baby yesterday and oh my did the LW and I get some things done. I got to work on garden administration stuff as well as go to work. The LW got quiet time to get some work toward her latest deadline completed. It was good to just be able to switch off that constant "where's CP?" buzzer that rings in our heads all day. CP had fun playing with Auntie M. and got to do some finger painting. I'll post the other pics to the flickr spot, so check 'em out.

She woke up this morning at about 7:30 and was just laying around when the LW went in to get her for the liquid breakfast. Grandma called shortly after that and CP actually said "bye" to her. Pretty funny.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Monday

It's Veteran's Day and this vet is going to ship his noisy tot off to Auntie M's place today, so that the LW and I can get some quiet time in the house and some peaceful yard work done. CP slept until almost 10am this morning, so we're getting a bit of a late start with plans for the day.

CP's been chatting a good bit lately. Mimicry has taken hold and she's catching on to different things around the house. Turning everything on and off, putting things in containers and taking them out, and just being a funny little baby in general. It's pretty fun...especially when she says, "COOKIE!".

Violet came back a few days ago. A nice lady a few streets over opened up her back yard shed and a dehydrated and hungry gray cat came hopping out. They looked at her collar and called us. The LW dropped everything and ran to get her. She's been happily recuperating on a diet of wet food and lots of snuggle time.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Missed Doctor, Meatloaf, and Panties for Peace

I could have sworn that CP's appointment with her new doctor was this morning. I was so sure that I didn't really listen clearly to the reminder message that they left for me. I mean really, I had it in my trusty little Palm. No worries. Well, that won't happen again. We got there half an hour early and ready to fill out paperwork only to find that the appointment was yesterday. Ohhhh....I was embarrassed, then mad at myself, then flustered......then the LW got mad at me because I just wanted to get out of there. This started a fight that lasted all the way home in the car. I'll have to call and reschedule sometime soon.

CP's sleeping now after a lunch of cold veggies and hot meatloaf. I found the recipe in the Petite Appetite book that Pat & Alice sent. It turned out really well even though I substituted pepperoncini peppers and mushrooms for the bell peppers that were in the recipe.

Listened to Hightower Radio over lunch since it appears that KXCI has done some program reshuffling. He talked about Panties for Peace. I think that the LW is up for it. Man, those dudes in Burma are crazier than some of the nutjobs running things here.....

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Missing

Violet the cat is missing. She's been gone for a couple of days before and come back, but we're wondering this time whether or not she'll come back. The LW is pretty bummed about it. She's had Violet since she lived in the Ozarks and was married to the drunk trustfunder. We hope that all is well and the LW will stop by the local shelters today to see if she may have turned up there. She's a very friendly cat, and if she slipped her collar, someone may have taken her in thinking that she's a stray.

CP continues to kick the cold that she's had for weeks. We hope to get back into the regular swing of things this week. She just woke up and took her wet diaper off.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween

CP had a fun little bit of Halloween. I say a little bit because even with all of the lights in the neighborhood, it seems as though most folks must have taken their little people to organized events somewhere. We thought about taking CP to the gig at the Parent Connection, but she's still really snotty and I wouldn't wish this gurgling coughing mess on anyone.....well, almost anyone.

Auntie M. came over and had a good time with CP except for the little bits of fright that came with that crazy costume that she had on. We gave out two costco bags of candy by loading up the kids that we did get. The LW had a good time in her witch's hat and really enjoyed seeing the cute little ones. There are some new photos from yesterday on the flickr, so check 'em out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Never Fails....

..that whenever we have an appointment for CP to see the doc, she's in pretty bad shape. It looks like this upcoming appointment will not deviate from that. She started breaking in four canine teeth at once a week or so before my folks showed up and was able to get about a four day break after that. After this "break", she caught a cold from somewhere and had it for a week. Then came another short break where she started eating well again, but last week at both library playgroups, there were kids with snotty noses and coughs. She's got a really snotty cold right now and hasn't been feeling good for the past five days or so. As I look at the calendar, it is rather shocking to see that since the 8th of this month (22 days), she's only felt good and eaten well for about 8 of them.

To top this all off, yesterday we went to Jessie Owens Park and she took a little spill and busted her lip up pretty well. You can see it on the picture on her left side. CP and I will drop the LW off at big blue this week for some sort of seminar, so she and I will on our own. It's really nice not having the security blanket (mama) around and CP seems to focus more of her time on playing and getting into things. I look forward to her not feeling sickly so that I can get back to the Y for some exercise and CP can get back in the playgroups for some interaction with little people.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Flaming Trash Can

I'm running down 22nd street on the way to my office this morning at dark:30 this morning, when I see something dead ahead in the lights. At first I thought that the lights were reflecting off of the plastic sidewalls of the bus stop, but as I got closer, I realized that some moron had set fire to the trash in the can. When the LW and I first arrived in T-town, we really liked the way that the bus stops had purple saguaros made of steel that held the little roofs onto them. I didn't want to see the fire spread to the bus stop and waste a whole lot of our tax money, so I pulled in, pulled stuff out of the back of the packed car, and grabbed my fire extinguisher. As I was doing this, some clown dressed in black comes up and tells me just to let it burn out.

Now, what's a good citizen doing standing in the vacant and dark parking lot of a check cashing place at this time of the morning telling me to let the fire burn out? This guy wasn't a good citizen after all. "Six years in the navy going to expensive flight deck & shipboard firefighting schools and I get to practice on a trashcan that some moron set on fire......" was all that I could manage to tell myself. I put it out as best as I could then started getting back into the car. I didn't even get the door shut before this kid pulls out an old replica German boot brush and tries to sell it to me. "Yo yo man, check this out, it's from the 1930s man.....", was his pitch line. I told him that it wasn't worth a @#it to anyone unless it's authentic and even then probably only to a skinhead whackjob. I called the FD on the way up the street so that they could come by and splash the can with a bit of water and was on my way. I figure that the kid probably was burning some excess things that he'd stolen from an elderly person who might have had a souvenir collection from the war. Either way, it was just pretty sad. On a brighter note, there were only six gunshots loud enough to wake me up last night.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

So...

..your kid participates in one of a string of armed home invasions (bullet proof vests included), runs from the police, and gets his arse shot with cocaine and alcohol in his system........and you want to sue for wrongful death? George and Cecilia Diaz...... get a grip. These guys held a 3 year old at gunpoint for cryin' out loud!

This is unbelievable. This gang of miscreants broke into people's homes on several occasions and took things, terrorized the owners, and eventually some of them got blasted by a homeowner. I don't see how anyone can see the police as being at fault when they were up against fully armed people in the dark and they didn't sit around and ask them politely to come have a chat and some tea. If there's any justice around, this case will get dismissed and they'll have to reimburse the county for court costs.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Big Jim

Today I was thinking of a wonderful guy that I know who has cancer. I looked around on the web and found out sadly enough that the cancer had finally gotten the best of him. He was a good egg and you have to look hard to find folks like him today. They're out there somewhere and you just have to hope that you get a chance to meet them. I'm a bit shocked because Jim was larger than life.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Son...

..you need to get you an 8 to 5 job."

That's what I heard when I called my parents on the phone to tell them about the TV show on PBS called The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard. Little did I know that a phone call to say hi would be seen as a grand opportunity for my dad to tell me basically that taking a few years at home to raise our daughter wasn't good enough for him. I alluded to the fact that the last times I listened to his advice I ended up in the Navy for six years and sold a perfectly good vehicle sending me down a long road to indebtedness.

The LW and I planned on me staying home with CP until she hits preschool and starts freeing up more of my time during the day. Once that happens, I'll be able to open up my available hours at work and get back to regular life....as regular as our life is, that is. I don't know what it is about blue collar thinking that seems to beget blue collar thinking and seems to cloud the view of anything else like dark glasses. I guess when your dad criticizes what you do, you just seem to pass it on. Well, that crap is going to stop with me. I've told the LW that if she ever hears me saying things like, "art/being a mechanic/etc. won't be a good thing for you" to CP that she should immediately smack me with the most solid movable object that she can get her hands around and swing.

I was so mad I almost cursed him (as in: "I've got two words for you and one of them is YOU") and hung up the phone. I called my brother and he was as dumbfounded as I was. He said that he'd love to stay home and spend more time with the girls. A 60-hour a week late-night concrete job helped ruin his first marriage and has kept him away from his kids way too much. He said as soon as his sugar-mama gets all set, he'll quit and be a stay at home dad too.

I guess from now on when I call the parents, I'll just talk to mom. Whaddaya think readers? Anyone else out there had this happen?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Migration

Finished up this morning with moving my website stuff from iPower to BlueHost. It wasn't really any fun, but it's now up and running. The two points that gave me fits were the MySQL database and the email stuff. I think that I screwed up with both of them. The database wasn't really backed up like it should have been and the email stuff was probably just that the mail server and the rest of the site come up at different times after the change. Still...it sure beats dealing with iPower - what a waste of money. I've been with them for 3 years and this last year it appears will have been a wash. That company pretty much has gone down the crapper in the past few years. Google them on the web and you'll probably find that they sucked before that.

The bright spot in the middle of this was Algis over at HitCode. If you need a calendar so that people can make appointments with you, this is the hot ticket. There are plenty of places out there that'll charge you $25/month to let you use their websites, but this solution works on your own website. You buy it...you own it. Algis will customize the template for you and provides wonderful customer service.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Elk & Pizza

CP's grandparents rolled into town this afternoon on the heels of a five day guided elk hunt in Coyote, New Mexico. It's good to see my folks and they look tired from travel, but happy to see our little person. We were regaled with stories of humorous guides and elk who seemed to know how to only show the wrong ends of their bodies from behind trees. Of course, no hunting story is complete without the requisite hard bed story....... CP was a bit shy tonight around them because dad's pretty much deaf and talks really loud around/to her without even realizing it. Tomorrow should be fun. Pumpkins to carve and halloween costumes to pick out.

CP and I got out the other day and went to the Children's Museum downtown with Aunt Carie, Teague, Caden, and Ashley. It was a wonderful trip and the kids were completely pooped by the time we were done. They all came back here for lunch and a bit of chicken chasing. The Children's Museum has some really great things for small people and CP will probably get a membership so we can go there often. Percussion and trains were a big hit.

Monday, October 15, 2007

system32/DRIVERS/pci.sys

For the second time this year, the wife's work laptop has crashed and taken her data with it. The hard drive is shot, but I put it in the freezer to see if anything will help it. I've downloaded PC Inspector, but I can't even get the laptop to get recognized by using a Cat5 cable or by putting it right into the router. Nada. The "new" (next victim) laptop is here, but it's a pain to get all of her remote stuff to come up and run.

Our rescue kitty is settling in and has only peed on me once so far. I scaled the wall at one of our gardens to get at the mewwing little stinker and it's been on the mend since. It must have fallen sometime or been injured somehow. The left hind leg isn't what it should be. The resident cats don't care for it much, so we've kept them separate. We hope to find a happy home for it soon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Back In Action

CP has broken free of her teething/cold distress and according to the LW, was able to eat a lot of dinner last night. I had to work last night and when I came home CP came toddling to the door excitedly repeating, "Dadddyyyyyyyyy". It was the best welcome home that I've had in a long time and it really cheered me up. The LW is happily sleeping again, although she did oversleep a bit this morning which led to a last minute conference call scramble.

I picked up the prints and film from the first rolls to go through my "new" old Graflex 22 which looks just like the one in the picture at right. This photo is borrowed from the folks at Graflex.org. I used their site quite a bit when deciding on which large format camera I'd like to get in the future. That's when I found the 22 which makes a 2"x2" negative. It was a relatively inexpensive camera back in its day, but it makes pretty good images. I'll get accustomed to the reverse viewfinder someday. The first test roll was pretty impressive, but I wasn't really testing it with good film. The stuff that I used expired in 2003, but the prints were still good. If business keeps rolling along, I'll be headed toward a Graflex Speed Graphic or Super Graphic 4x5 camera. There are plenty of them on eBay, which is where I found this camera.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

101 and Risin'

How high's the readout mama?
99 degrees and risin'

That may not make too much sense to you if you don't like the music of Johnny Cash. It appears that our "flood" of baby heat might be caused by the new teeth that are trying to break through. Last night she was at about 99 and this morning it had moved up to 101. She's sleepy, but still ate breakfast and in contrast to other kids I've seen, doesn't fuss much when she's feeling bad. She just slows way down and prefers that everything else slow down to meet her pace.

Last night we went to the GABA meeting to see pictures from a bike trip that some folks had taken to Prague and the surrounding area. It was a great presentation and we almost made it all the way through it before deciding that it would be best to get the sleeping tot home to bed. We enjoyed getting to see some of the gang there that we knew also. We both realized after getting there that it was just nice to be out of the house.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday

Earlier this afternoon, a car came flying down our little dead-end street. I heard it from out in back of the house where we were busy playing with CP. We're accustomed to this sort of thing, so I cursed as I usually do and we went about playing. A few minutes later the LW heard something in the yard next door at the apartments. There were two people running through the yard and hopping the fence. There was also someone who ran through the alley on the other side of the house.....now, this seemed a bit odd. We ran out front and found a car parked in our neighbor's driveway. The neighbors had evidently come out of the house to see what the people in the car were up to and they just took off. I hopped on my bike and rode down the street to find a guy and a girl walking toward the main street and looking around...a lot. They saw me coming and started quickly walking the other way.

I rode back home and got the car...and my phone...and went back out sightseeing. On my way out of the neighborhood, the LW said that a car drove down the street and then backed it's way out. I found this car at the flower shop. The guy had been hit by the people who parked their car at the neighbor's house and ran. He had chased them across town. I found the runners out by 22nd street and called it in to the folks at Tucson Police Department. In a half hour or so, the TPD showed up and after descriptions were discussed, they went out searching for the runners. It's no surprise that they didn't find anything. They may as well have big neon signs on their cars.

A little while later, the owner of the car that had been used in the hit and run by the runners showed up and told TPD that she had loaned her car to a black guy so that "he could go to the Circle K". Oh, she didn't know his last name. She had come down the street earlier and lied about it not being her car. Just a few minutes ago, they let her have her car back. I found out that the guy has been doing "till picking" around town. (when the register opens, cash is grabbed) Sooooooo...... you loan your car out to someone and they use it for robberies and are involved in a hit and run. I guess that a hit and run is a class 3 misdemeanor roughly equivalent to stealing a pack of chewing gum.

As she drove her car away, I yelled "STAY THE #@$* OUT". She slowed down like she was going to stop, but then probably thought better of it. I was pretty bent. The TPD officer advised me that she'd probably file a complaint against him because I was standing next to his car when I yelled at her. I advised him to have his supervisors give me a call if anything was filed.

Tomorrow I'm off to find shotgun shells....and I'm reconsidering that handgun offer from my father-in-law.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Toys

We dropped by Tiggy-Winkles last night to see about picking up something for my wonderful niece who turns 8 this weekend. Yes, I know that my gifts are always late..... So I'm walking through the isles and see some funky little backpacks. The girl in the store comes over and starts telling me all of the neat things about them, which was nice, but then we saw the price tag. The one that I happened to be looking at was in the $130 price range. The girl goes on to tell me about the company and how it's a small US company and how well designed the products are. At this point, I'm figuring that the bags must be made in the US and that the high price of the bags is because they are made by US workers...right?.........ERRRRRRRRRRRRR. There's nothing on the tags at all that mentions where the bags are made, but down inside the bag is a small white tag: Made in China. WTH?! I showed it to the store girl and she went on to tell me the percentage of toys in the store that were made in China...blahblahblah. $130 for a bag that's made by folks that get a living wage and benefits here in the US is one thing, $130 for a bag that's made for $10 in material and $0.13 in labor....well, they can kiss my a$$.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Shorty Stubbs

Just got home from work and walked in to find this on the computer. Evidently the LW had been reading it. I just can't believe it. Shorty was the kind of radio personality that you dream of having in your town and now he's gone.

Shortly after the LW and I got to this town, we noticed the dearth of radio stations other than unclear channel and jbg. The shining spot on the radio was and has been KXCI. The LW has her favorite programs and so do I, but sometimes they overlap. Shorty's "Country Fringe" program on Twangin' Tuesday is one of those programs. You just never know what you're going to hear, but it's guaranteed to be good. The music he played sometimes reminded me of the old stuff my grandparents used to listen to when I was a kid....real twangy stuff that wouldn't pass for jack s#*@ in corporate Nashville these days.

A few years of listening to Shorty on Tuesday nights just wasn't enough. Knowing that he's gone is enough to knock the wind out of your sails.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mahna Mahna

It's a little clip on youtube from Sesame Street and it has a catchy little song. So catchy that CP can't get enough of it. She seems to think that the sole purpose of our computers is to show her this little video. It makes things interesting sometimes. I'm just about tired of hearing it.

The LW and Auntie M. did really well on the EuroFresh ride this past weekend. The LW teamed up with a gal from Willcox that really helped her with paceline tips and she really enjoyed it. On the way back they dealt with a headwind....for 22 miles. Auntie M. was pretty well beaten, but still had a great time. It was an accomplishment for them both and I was impressed. CP seemed to really enjoy being out and about for the day.

It's getting tougher these days to keep CP inside. I just turned around and she was up on top of the dining room table. She's a climber. She's also begun to mimic things that people say, which in my case, could cause problems. She'll even start the ABC song, but she trails off into mumbles and smiles. I had planned to finish this post, then head to the Y, but CP got really whiney about not being allowed to scramble everything on the desk and then fell asleep in my arms. We'll go later, I hope.

I got word from my brother yesterday that his first trip to CO, one that I've wanted to be a part of for years, was ruined by poor trail selection and bad decisions. What a nightmare. I've tried to get him out to CO since we lived there about four years ago or so and there was always some excuse for him not to go. Now, he has another excuse...this trip not only cost him time and money to get there, it cost him bike parts as well - busted graphics (brand new) and a bent/broken chain guide that'll probably need a little TIG work. I can't for the life of me, understand why a local would take people out on front range trails (other than the easy stuff at Rampart) that are of the hike-a-bike variety or are illegal when you don't have street plates. Why not just head to Canyon City for a warm up on the Tanner Peak Trail, then on to Salida or Sargents for some fun trail running in the wide open spaces? It'll just be twice as hard now to get him to come to AZ to ride.

in other news: Who needs a manufactured distraction to keep the heat off of the new Gonzales than a little bit of O.J. Simpson craziness? Links aren't really needed for this one, now are they?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tubes and Tomatoes

The LW has been a bit under the weather for a few days. We both think that it's a bit too much regular coffee, but we don't really know for sure. She's gone rounds with these symptoms before and the last time our doc had to give her some belladonna to calm her gut. She's in the back sleeping right now.

This weekend Auntie M. and the LW are doing the EuroFresh Ride. They'll do 22 miles out to the EuroFresh facility for a tour and then 22 miles back to where they started. I'll be running a personal sag stop with CP. We'll take the chariot so they can hitch her up and let her ride too, but the superjetta will be the backup. I just finished putting super-thick tubes from Pima Street Bikes in both of her tires.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Seeds and Change

Tried to do the click-n-ship thing with the complete order that I'm sending back to gurney's - get this - when you punch their return address into the USPS site, it tells you that the address isn't good and won't let you print a label. So, I'll be off to Choates this coming week to send their junk back. Thanks to Chile for this article.

Made DVDs for the family today. Auntie M. rode out to the mountain with the LW this morning and has spent the day with us. It's just amazing what another set of hands can do when there's a 16 month old little person running around getting into everything. Anyway, the slack created by having Auntie M. here allowed me to put together videos for most of the spring and summer movies, so they should be shipping out soon. It's pretty funny to see how much CP has changed in just a few months.

I came across this blog today (mmmmm...technorati) linked to a garden blog that I help run. It looks like an interesting read and it's interesting to see how gardening hooks people and reels them in.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Season 2

We picked up the first Muppets Season II DVD the other day at Casa Video. We're on the episode with George Burns right now. CP seems to like them, but they don't hold her attention for too long. The LW and I however are really enjoying them.

Our swampy has been working better now that the humidity dropped below 30% and the promise of a cooler fall season is right around the corner. The LW even had to turn the thing off this morning because it was only 75 degrees outside. That's a nice change.

Auntie M. came over this long weekend and played with CP a bit. We took quite a few pictures and I'll post them up on the flickr site soon. Last night was a trip to Lakeside Park. CP really liked the idea of a lake with ducks and she conquered the slide in no time.

I'm still waiting on my order from Gurney's (ordered seeds and strawberries Aug 18th) and I sent them a note to let them know that I didn't appreciate them second-guessing my order dates. Hopefully the "customer service" person will write back with the president's name and address soon so that I can let him know about what I think of his delayed shipping scheme.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Read Listen Sweat Repeat

Read a funny Violet Blue article today. It discusses burning man and the gifts that sometimes keep on giving. The LW was laughing out loud.

Also, while listening to KXCI this morning, we heard a song by Jason Isbell called Dress Blues. Pretty sad stuff. The song didn't really hit me until I heard the part about "bombs in the sand". It made me think of all of the faces that only Jim Lehrer has the stones to show at the end of his broadcast.

CP continues to exert her will lately. She's climbing everything, nodding yes when she wants something, and becoming quite clingy when we drop her off at the childwatch room at the Y. We went last night and she fell asleep while we were upstairs on the weight machines. She's keeping us busy just trying to keep up with her.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Green Light

At the 22nd & Kolb stop light this morning after dropping the LW off at big blue, a blue toyota truck pulls up behind me. Well, we're both in the turn lane to go left, and around here the green arrow trails the green. Freaky, but it seems to work ....sometimes. The light turned green and there was about a 1/2 mile of traffic coming toward us in the other lane. Some people like to creep into the intersection, but I've found that sitting at the line until the light is just about to give me the green arrow allows me to stay out of the intersection (emergency vehicles anyone?). I still end up beating the other guys through the intersection, so it's usually a wash. This time, the guy in the pickup starts honking at me and moves right up on me so that all I can see out the back window of the wagon is grille. He honks some more. Can you see this now? There's no way to turn, but this asshole just wants me to move up. What do I do? Sit there. When he honked about the third time, I put it in reverse and backed up toward him. He stopped honking. We cruise down the road and I get to my turn off and, using sign language, tell him that he's #1 in my book. I hope that this guy visits downtown LA for some hot lead & manners therapy some time soon.

Went out to the mall with CP for a new SAHD playgroup that's starting after we got back home from dropping the LW at work. CP and I ran into the mom that does the Cinema La Placita event while we were at the mall playspot and had a nice visit too.

I hope that the dad group takes off. The Tucson Moms group has a huge following and does all kinds of cool stuff. I'm glad that it is out there as a support system, but I'd rather not be around any talk of scrapbooking or get the stinkeye from a group of women who think that the friendly neighborhood atheist is just there to eat their children. Sitting in any spot where alot of moms congregate, you can just feel the looks of "hmmm, no job for daddy?" and, since I don't wear my wedding ring (work & it's small since my fingers are stronger now) the, "oh, a single dad out to pick up women with his cute little prop". Sheesh.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Literate

A good friend from NorCal sent the link to this article recently and it was a good read. It discusses societal changes and the no-child-left-behind mess that's being thrust on the kids of today. I have never really given much thought before to oral and written language and how much help I had in acquiring it. As a kid, I assumed that everyone grew up around both sets of grandparents when they were kids and had roughly the same experiences that I had.

The difference in experiences came to visit our home recently, but after reading the above linked article, I can now understand what I was seeing. It was good to read the part about comic books turning the author's experience around when he was young. It was reassuring to know, since the LW went down to Heroes & Villians and picked this up as a reading stimulant. It worked quite well and I hope that it will be the start of many things good and helpful.

I'm pretty confident that CP's education will be supplemented heavily by the LW and I, but what about all of the kids who struggle so hard to learn the answers that they don't have time to learn how to question their world or don't have the wisdom of a grandparent on tap?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Selling

My 4WD sold yesterday. It was sad to see it go down the road, but it has a good home with some really friendly folks. A guy purchased it for his mom and she was really happy about it. I told her that it was still my baby and that she'd better take good care of it. It went for $4200 and that has already been applied to balances that we were carrying. It basically paid off CP's birth and my knee work from a while back and that's a good thing. Our insurance rates will drop and our debt has been reduced to the price of a used dirt bike. Yayyy!

The LW is selling her jersey as well.

Auntie M. is over today playing with CP. I got out in the garden and pulled everything except the eggplant and butterbeans out. I turned the chicks loose in the garden and they went right after all of the grubs they could scratch up. The LW just went out to work in the herb garden which is pretty weedy after the recent rains. I'll be working to drain the cistern pretty soon and get the pipe clogging stuff figured out....ugh.

And under the selling out this country heading:

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse from my previous post, the LW sent me this link yesterday about the proposed "Real ID" program. Schnikeys!! Soon there will be an office of state bar coding where the state will just tattoo a bar code on your arms..... I sent a link to my folks, but they probably won't read it.

WHAT PART OF YOU MUST HAVE PAPERS TO FLY FROM STATE TO STATE DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND!?!

Can you imagine having to show your passport to enter the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone? Think about that for a minute.

What if I live in a noncompliant state?

No federal agency will accept your state-issued driver's license as a valid form of ID. You will need to use a passport at federal buildings and parks, and for domestic air travel.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Quick...

...said the shrub....with illegal/warrantless wiretapping going to court and Padilla's case going to the jury, we need a distraction! - anyone...anyone.....oh, yeah, I've got it, we'll declare the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization! These clowns have known for a while just who is funding the muslim brotherhood and their ilk and haven't done a thing about it. Methinks this is just another part of the show.

Now for some flip flopping....deferment style: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=6BEsZMvrq-I

What's next? What can possibly top endless war and .....?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lips Are Sealed

Took CP in for a well visit and all looks ok. Her weight is a little low at 19lbs, but she's 31" tall. Still in the curve for growth, so no worries. The doc looked at her adhesions this morning and decided that it would be a good plan to tease them apart without any topical anesthetic. Cripes...5 minutes on the web shows that this isn't a good idea with vaginal adhesions. As if this wasn't enough torture for her, she was in for two more shots as well. I took a happy baby to the doctor and brought home a bleeding, unhappy ball of a child. It didn't help that the appointment was scheduled in her nap time either. So, this afternoon, we decided that our pediatrician has had his ass summarily fired and relieved of duty. We'll be finding a female pediatrician soon.

Two garden meetings should keep me busy this weekend and we'll be cleaning up around the house. Auntie M has agreed to come over and hang out with CP. It's an amazing thing to be out in the yard at the same time as the LW. It's only happened a few times in the last 15 months and I look forward to it.

CP has been recognizing things from images lately. If you show her a picture of an airplane, she'll do the sign. It's the same with other things. She's a smart one in my book.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

ABMT

Going through the paperwork machine that is the AZ Board of Massage Therapy renewal and it's pretty straightforward except for a couple of things. I overlooked the grammar problems including an apostrophe where it wasn't needed (th'at looks' reall'y pro'fesshnull), but when I got down to the CE and payment parts, it was more than I could stand. They'll send you a wall certificate with your license for an extra $25. What? $25 for a slice of paper that you have sitting there in a box? Gotta call BS on that one.

Then there's the CE stuff. I'm required to have 25 CE credit hours - ok, I've got that part, but when you get to the part about whether or not the stuff you have is approved, here's what it says: "It is your responsibility to make sure that a course is offered by an **Approved Provider**. There will never be a published list of courses. You need to find a course that you would like to take and make sure that course is from an approved provider." What? This seems a bit circular to me. It's your responsibility, but there's not a list to confirm whether your provider is on it or not. Thanks!

The pièce de résistance however, is the payment part. Please enclose a money order or cashier check ONLY in the amount of $75 made out to the "AZ Board of Massage Therapy". ( NO personal checks accepted) Are massage therapists just such deadbeats that the state office that maintains our license paperwork will not take a check from us? Cripes....this is enough to make one question their vocation. No wonder people make those "happy ending" jokes......our own license bureau doesn't take us seriously.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tiggy Winkles

Our treat for CP yesterday was a trip to Mrs. Tiggy Winkles toys over at Grant & Swan. We'd have gone to Kid's Center, but they close at 5:30 for some reason. Man, another 30 minutes might make for some more business. Anyway, CP had a great time, touched everything, and came home with a little toy jeep and a set of hard maple ABC blocks that are made in Bread Loaf land...Middlebury, VT. We almost picked up a book too, but the selection at Kid's Center is really great, so we waited.
We made the mistake of letting her sit down and play a kid size piano made by Melissa & Doug. Holy schnikeys....we thought that she'd wake the dead with that thing. It's a good thing that we have ABSOLUTELY NO ROOM IN OUR HOUSE FOR IT! Oh...she got a kazoo as well and can play it better than her mother.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Soft Hum

Sent the nephew packin' this morning and the dust has begun to settle. The hum of the freezer and the computer's power supply fan can actually be heard now. CP's adjusting to the new quiet and getting back to being the star of our little show. I can only imagine what my folks went through with my brother and I when they were 30 or so. A 10 year old and a 7 year old...I guess that an ATV was the only sensible answer, leaving the alternative of sending us out into rush-hour traffic as a backup. Here I thought for all of these years that they were just joking when they told us to go play in traffic. Nope.

Yesterday was my first visit to that place where a kid can supposedly be a kid. Sheesh! We walked in on rainy day and it was pure bedlam. I really liked their idea of marking the hands with the black light ink as we entered. From the front gate, we made our way through a large pizza as the nephew made his way through 129 tokens (one was given to CP for the teletubby ride). CP had all of this stuff around - games, kids, a scary band of moving furry critters on stage..... and all that she wanted to do was move the chairs in the big open portion of the dining room. Not just one either...she wanted to move all of them. After the pizza was gone, the nephew and I discussed the economics of $13 worth of tokens (to be raced through as fast as possible, of course) which turned into tickets, which in turn were exchanged for two small rubbery squishy toys and a big rainbow lollipop. The lesson seemed to sink in, but who knows. He was indeed being a kid.

He said that going to the pizza place was one of the best days of his trip here which also included:
- a week-long skateboard camp at a park Skateboarding magazine rated 9/10
- purchasing a new skateboard at a real skate store
- leaning how to help raise poultry, harvest eggs, then cook them
- a good lesson in how not to call mommy 20 times a day
- a visit to the International Wildlife Museum
- dropping my Sonicare toothbrush in the toilet
- seeing the Simpsons movie
- a rained out camping trip to Mt Lemmon
- his aunt buying him some really amazing comic books
- getting some business advice and a great brochure
- a good lesson in how to manually do the dishes

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Kids & Rain

Crying, crying, crying.....not the baby, the nephew. He fell in the skate park the other day and happened to have one of his prized status symbols, his phone, in his pocket. It was completely ripped in half and I listened to all of the things he was afraid of on the way home. His worst fear - over the part about how his mom would ground him forever, was that there was some outside possibility that his mom would take away his dog Buddy. Of course, that would never happen, but maybe the fear of that thought will make him think twice about riding the skate park without a new phone in his pocket. Yeeeeeeeahhh....that'll never happen - as soon as he knew he was off the proverbial hook, he was prancing through the house bragging about how he was getting a new camera phone. 10 year olds with camera phones - just doesn't seem right. When I was ten years old, you were the greatest if you had a bike with at least one new tire.

It's been raining here and both trees are now leaning. It keeps raining the nephew out of the skate park in the evenings. We hope that it will let up soon to drop the humidity and get him out of the house and on a skateboard soon. CP's picking up all kinds of signs and word stuff. It's pretty funny to see her walk through the house and recognize sounds and planes flying over.

Gotta go chase her right now...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sauna

The car is fixed and running even better than before since I changed the fuel filter as well as the alternator. SuperDave showed up on Thursday for his visit. It's been pretty good so far with some swimming and skateboarding already. He seems to really be interested in the chicks and that's something that I didn't expect. All kinds of questions have ensued relating to eggs, feeding, and care. We'll probably build some more nesting boxes this coming week. Unfortunately all that the LW and I seem to be doing since SuperDave showed up is fight and bicker about various little stuff. Hopefully that'll change soon. Sometimes I think that our next anniversary gift to each other should really be a set of boxing gloves.

It's steamy here.....like Mississippi even. The rain continues to pound the roof, the washes, and the poor broken tree out front. So far in three days, the tree's been bent 45 degrees in 3 different directions. SuperDave and I took the truck out this afternoon for some over-the-hood wash runnin'. We covered the entire truck with one splash. Damned kids!

Note to clouds: We've had enough rain for a week or two....move along please.

Tomorrow is yard cleanup for the LW. Auntie M will come over to watch CP while all of this is going on. SuperDave and I will go to one of the gardens to do some irrigation line repair. A dinner is planned tomorrow night in honor of our little guest and it should be a good time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In Threes

My alternator arrived this morning from Peter at TDIParts.com along with a belt and a glowplug. This should fix the car and get the CP hauler back on the road. Threes.

Last night's storm was pretty strong and our little mesquite tree didn't make it through. It's been twisted at the base and is just leaning over in the yard. The LW is pretty upset about it and wanted to go right out front and prop it up, but couldn't because I was working and the baby was going nuts. It's a costly wind that blows around here this time of year. I just went out to put the laundry up on the line on the most humid day so far this year and realized that the door switch on the washer isn't working, so the laundry isn't getting the spin cycle - everything is soggy on the sagging line. Add in the car not working right now to go with the broken tree and the spinless washer and it's pushing the LW to the limit. Threes.

Working again tonight and it's nice, but the LW needs a break. I think that I'm going to give her the boot tomorrow after I fix the car and just get her out of the house somewhere before she looses it and beats me up with a bat in my sleep.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Home At Last

We finally rolled into T-town yesterday afternoon after a fun trip with some interesting twists at the end. We left town on Thursday the 12th and here's the official rundown:
Thurs 12th - Tucson -> Van Horn, TX (~450mi) Enjoyed the KOA Kabin there and the great breakfast the next morning. CP toured the grounds in her new sandals and waved to everyone.
Friday 13th - Van Horn, TX -> Austin, TX (~450mi) The LW found a little studio to rent there near the SoCo strip and it was really nice. CP really enjoyed having her own space. Went out with everyone to Stubbs BBQ for some great food. Jen found this wonderful BBQ place - nice work!
Saturday 14th - Wedding day - CP spent some time with the family in the hotel and at the pool before the wedding. The wedding was nice...and short! Within a few minutes of sitting down and playing the music, they were done. It was a nice gig even from the "cry room" at the church. Got to see Vanessa B. and it was a good thing. Spent some time at the reception (good time) until the noise got really loud for us and the baby. Retired to our spot for some quiet time with Mr. Lard and the Betsy.
Sunday 15th - Austin, TX -> Cary, MS (~too many miles) A quick breakfast with the family over stories of twisted beds and cereal in sheets. Then for some hugs and we were on the road again. The LW had the computer up and going for a search of BioDiesel outlets, but there weren't any on the way. The road was nice, but long on this day.
Monday 16th - Cary, MS CP got her first taste of southern home cookin'. She had fried catfish and hush puppies. Alot of them both! She got to see plenty of family and enjoyed her stay.
Tuesday 17th - Cary, MS -> Bolton, MS (short drive) After lunch we had to pack the car and get going to honor our "even time" with both families mandate. It was good to see my dad's side of the family. We arrived in Bolton and woke up the grandparents from a nap. It's good to wake up to CP though...unless she's in your bed kicking you, that is.
Wednesday 18th-19th - Bolton, MS Got to see plenty of my mom's side of the family. It was a good time. CP wowed everyone with her recently realized bipedalism and that toothy grin. Before we knew it, we were packing the car again and off on the road.
Friday 20th - Bolton, MS -> Euless, TX (~450mi) Left in the morning to get a head start on this trip because our time with Gramma would be short. It still took us most of the day to get there. The LW had the laptop up and running with the broadband card and was able to use google maps' traffic function to route us around all of the ugly stuff in Dallas. Real-time traffic updates are sweeeet! We got there around 5:30pm, but it was a breeze. CP was ready to get out of the car. After a short visit with Gramma, we headed off to the pool for some much needed playtime.
Saturday 21st - Euless, TX -> Van Horn, TX (~450mi) Left Gramma's after some wonderful bagels and fruit that Jan brought by. Thanks Jan! It was so nice to stay with Gramma again and I think that we've seen her just about as much as the LW's folks have this year. We rolled into Van Horn expecting our KOA Kabin to be waiting, but instead found that someone else had taken it from us. I guess some lady named Deanna checked in even though she had a reservation at the KOA in Ft. Stockton. This led me to ask, "What kind of idiotic Texan misses a town by 100 miles?!". Well, this idiot took our room for the night, so we were off to find a place to stay. It was raining and we were tired, so we just pulled into one of the many motels in town and hit the sack.
Sunday 22nd - Van Horn, TX -> Tucson (~450mi) Got ths stuff sorted out with the KOA folks and the lady was still blaming the KOA for letting her check into the wrong one when we got there. Lady, you missed your town by 100 miles and weren't even on the correct interstate! Milton at the KOA even told her, "You signed someone else's credit card receipt, didn't you look around at anything?" I just hope that she's not in healthcare! They refunded our money and payed us back for the difference in the Kabin and the hotel price. Good service. After this was settled, we were on our way back through familiar territory. I had heard some squeaking from one of the idlers under the hood on the a/c-power steering-alternator belt, but figured that we'd make it home ok. Well, I figured wrong. 60miles or so East of Lordsburg, NM the pulley on the alternator exploded and cooked the belt for the three devices listed above. I heard a loud thud/rumble and immediately killed the engine and coasted to the roadside. The pulley has a sprag clutch to accomodate the diesel engine's funny crank speed antics and it went south. I pulled the belt and made sure that the pulley wasn't going anywhere. Since the car has daytime running lights, I pulled the headlight fuses to conserve battery power. Cripes! We were in the middle of nowhere with almost 200 miles to go. We rolled the windows down and called Brandy for backup if needed. We kept driving and driving with no indications that the battery was even getting a workout. The diesel uses very little energy to keep it running anyway, so we were lucky. The car got us home with what appears to be plenty of battery power left. I would guess that we probably could have gone for quite some time just like we did.

It was a good long trip and we enjoyed it. It really was good to get out and see family and the countryside. CP did really well and we now know just how many miles we can cover safely in one day before she has a meltdown. The car did well except for the hiccup there at the end of the trip, but that can't really be planned for. We got roughly 45 miles/gallon for the entire trip and it sure was nice to see the needle on a quarter tank with almost 600 miles on the odometer.

Expect pictures soon everyone.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

RoadBlog

The LW is driving us through Monahans Texas right now...and I'm getting serious about what was a joke: making a bumper sticker on CafePress that says, "GIVE TEXAS BACK!". Man, besides that Starbucks back at Midland with the tattoos, this state hasn't really impressed me any. Leaving Euless this morning, we saw 3 crashes on I-20 in about 10 miles. People were just crazy there. Maybe some of those nutbars will go to LA for a .45 caliber traffic manners class on the 101 or 405. Anyway, we're on our way to a KOA Kabin in Van Horn. It's a simple little place to stay and it's got good folks running the show. We'll probably leave early enough to put us back home in T-town by lunchtime.

This has been a good trip so far and I think that we'll be keeping the broadband card. I hope to post details and photos of our "10 Days on The Road" when we're back safely at home. CP says "HI" to everyone and keeps telling us "more fishes"!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Water

Woke up this morning to the wife going around the house and unplugging things. Lightening and rain came soon and the trickle of water into the cistern began. It was a good sound and I was able to relax a bit after getting out on the ladder yesterday and finishing up with some flashing and gutter work. It's nice to see something work around here. (update: I evidently got too much concrete in the drain piping for the cistern; so much for something working.)

I just got the link to a place that sells boiled peanuts in a can that can be ordered this morning from Alice. I can't wait to try them out. It's been quite a few years since I had any of them and I hope that they're close to being as good as the peanuts that my grandmother once made.

CP went out for a ride with the LW this morning. CP left the driveway laughing and came back sleeping. It was good to see the LW get out and about for a bit. We're supposed to go visit Aunt Carie and Teague this morning, but we may have to wait just a little while.

Later this week we'll be gearing up for the trip to Austin and beyond. It should be fun.

My buddy Pat sent me this photo with the caption, "Image I'd most like to see in tomorrow's paper - front page". It'll never happen though. He'll get a bad case of "potential witness syndrome" or his plane will mysteriously crash into the ocean before he ever hits a courtroom. In the meantime, the crap propogated by this clown and his puppets will plague this country for generations. What a rat.

Friday, July 06, 2007

3 Cars

The old Jetta found a new home this afternoon and went on its way. It's good to have it gone and I was able to park my truck in its spot again. Hopefully the truck will find a new home soon.

It rained here today and it knocked the temp down from 107 to 93 in a few minutes. It was the first rain and we enjoyed hearing it running from the roof into the cistern.

CP is back in action and has been walking back and forth between the LW and I. It's a little thing, but it sure is funny to watch.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

EVDO

The LW and I have discussed her moving about the country while working and the main problem that came up was that she needs to be hooked in during the day and available on her work IM-type-setup when we're away from our home internet connection. It doesn't sound like much of a problem - hey, just find wifi hotspots, right? -- until you figure in the child factor, the money and time involved in tracking down a usable wifi hotspot, and the restricted travel timing.

Recently, that telephone company from Overland Park, KS and it's rivals started releasing what's called EVDO Rev. A in certain cities. It's mobile broadband that runs from cell phone towers and it's pretty fast for what it is. It's supposedly up around 2meg-down/500k-up in some towns. It seems as though Verizon limits bandwidth, even though they say that they don't in their marketing stuff, so they were out. I did a bit of research on the forum that the folks at the 3GStore.com maintain and this technology looks like it'll clip the travel tether that we're on and allow the LW to work as we zip down the highway to Gramma's and back. This morning I picked up a Pantech PX500 card and we'll test it locally and on the way to TX soon. The only downside is that it's $60 per month for service, but for the freedom to stay wherever we want and go wherever we want without worrying about somebody's sketchy wifi setup, it looks pretty good.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sickly

CP started her day with vomit and has stayed with that theme through several mealtimes and a couple of baths necessary to clean her up a bit. She seems somewhat content otherwise, but we can tell that she's a little bit off the mark. I wonder if she has another appointment with the doc coming soon. She always gets really nice and sick before those. She's in the tub washing off the latest round of regurgitated breast milk right now and I can hear her splashing around.

The LW and I got up this morning to try and finish sealing off the cistern. It isn't too bad, but I can't imagine climbing down into the 2' diameter tanks. The 3' is pretty easy to get into and move around. Tomorrow we should be finished sealing it and we'll be ready to install the overflow pipe and route the guttering. Finally.

The company that hosts my work website figured out that they hadn't been charging me for some reason over the past year. To correct their mistake, they decided that it would be great if they just reset my entire account. If your emails are bouncing back, this is the reason. This "correction" involves taking down and rebuilding my website and email setup. Oh, and I get to do all of that. If you're thinking of web hosting, stay away from iPowerWeb. I think that I'll be switching everything to dreamhost some time very soon.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Beaches!

CP loved the sand and waves. After the LW and I had finished our traditional pre-trip argument, we were on our way out of town at a little after 3pm. It was a smooth trip and the BioDiesel from the GOGO Mart had the TDI humming down the highway. We made a few stops between here and SD. Once up around Eloy and once over near Yuma. CP was a bit grumpy about being trapped in the seat and we stopped when the LW and I thought we'd go mad. The stop out near Yuma was interesting. Desolation and intense heat struck us as we got out of the car. CP could have cared less though - she was free! We put her in the back part of the wagon and let her crawl all over things. The remainder of the trip there was uneventful and we made it to the Pine Valley Inn by around 9pm. By this time, it must have been in the high 60s there in the hills and it was nice just to have the windows down. As with pretty much any low-cost strip motel there were the WT regulars who didn't give a damn who was sleeping inside because they wanted to let their dogs bark at the night and sit outside everyone's doors and chew the fat until 2am. I'll save dirty diapers for them next time and put them right under their room's air vents. The dogs kept waking the LW up, so she "woke up" groggy.

We bid that place and its noisy inhabitants a hearty "@#$% you!" in the morning and were on our way to the beach. CP enjoyed her little stop at the McD's outside El Cajon and was all set for a morning of toes in sand. We ran by Mission Beach on the way up to La Jolla and were headed up near the kids beach. We walked in the grass south of the kids area and got down near the water for a bit. CP played with a small crab for a bit, but eventually the excitement of all that water was too much for her. We went up toward the kids' area with her in the backpack (thanks Ma!) and it was a zoo as expected, with not only tons of kids, but harbor seals as well. CP didn't care, so we took her down into the little cove just south of there. She had a blast! She got to play in the waves and just kept going back for more even though the water was around 65 degrees. We all had a good time there and after drying off in the grass a bit, CP was ready for a nap and we were ready for some food.

I drove around a bit and found The Spot with the LW's help. It wasn't where I remembered it being, but it didn't matter. We had a good lunch and, as luck would have it, got seated next to some crazy people who couldn't shut up about mixed breeds being allowed into the Westminster dog show. Anyone seen that movie, Best In Show? I swear these guys could have been the basis for the characters in that movie. I didn't feel bad about CP's noise or messiness next to those clowns. The staff was really great to us and made everything good. I think that they could tell that we were tired. After that, we were off to the Birch Aquarium to see the fish and sea critters. CP had a good time at the big windows where there were large fish up close, but was less interested in the smaller windows and crowded areas. There was a display there that discussed the number of pounds of CO2 expelled per 100 miles for different vehicle mpg ratings and different fuels. We were pleased to see that the TDI, when running Biodiesel, was almost off of the bottom of the chart at 11lbs.

By this time, it was about time to check in. We headed up to Del Mar to check into the Doubletree and ended up going through a bit of town and into the mess that is the fair. We made it easily enough though and in no time, the LW was walking back to the car with a big smile and some great cookies. The room was really nice and the staff made sure that CP had a crib and that it was set up. We tried to get CP to take a nap, but I think that all of the excitement of the new place..and the elevator...kept her from sleeping. There was nothing left to do, but to head for the pool. Back in the water again, she was having a great time. It was the first saltwater pool that I've been in and it was really nice. CP seemed to like the lack of chlorine and was just all over the place.

Just when she was done swimming, we headed off to dinner at the Cafe on Park. It was a good place, but once again, the noise got in between the waitress and what the LW actually ordered, which is a pretty funny reversal, and she wound up getting some sort of salmon thing. It's usually me that nobody can hear, and yet this is the second time in recent memory where her order was screwed up. She said it was great though and really enjoyed it. By 930, CP was toast and we didn't hear too much out of her for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning was quiet and good. We woke up late, for us, and ambled down to the buffet breakfast in the lobby. CP was a bit testy, but I think that it could have been that she knew that there was a beach waiting somewhere out there. I was a bit undecided about which beach to go to and we didn't really have a plan. I figured that the beach just north of Torrey Pines would be good if we could find a parking spot. Well, as luck would have it, the road seemed to lead us right to the beach just north of Soledad Lagoon. It was $8 to park, but that got us a nice spot next to a bathroom and shower and it was worth every cent. I'd advise anyone going to a beach in San Diego to do this exact same thing. It saved us from having to put a sandy mess of a child into a carseat...and we were relatively clean and happy as well. It was about 4 minutes drive from the front door of the hotel, so that helped as well. A warm bath put CP back in sync with the world and we were prepared to start the trip home.

CP did pretty well on the way back home and seemed to really enjoy snacking on goldfish crackers. We stopped a few times for breaks and to make us really appreciate how well the air conditioner in the wagon worked. The cats met us at the door, told us to turn the cooler on, and seemed to ask us why we had brought their little tormentor home with us. The chicks were all sitting near the misters on the coop pretty much asleep, so I just had to close the door before heading in for the night.

This trip, our first family vacation ever, was a hit and a good pre-run for the upcoming cross-country trips that we have planned in the next few months. The way things are going, I see a good many trips in our future in this car. Next time out though....we'll pack along some music or talking books.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Slip Slidin' Away

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

Perception of the passage of time is rattling around in my head this morning. It seems like yesterday that the last entry about Oma's visit was posted and yet here I am again....7 days later and it's passed in a blur. The car has new treads, and some clothes have been washed, and CP took her first steps this week!! It's funny to look at all of the changes that CP has made in a year as well. Things big and small float off into the ether if not recorded on paper.

CP and the LW are snuggled in our bed right now enjoying the way the swamp cooler overcomes the last bits of heat from the previous day. I started puttering in the yard well before sunup. The chicks were out for a bit, but are locked away this morning because the concrete for the cistern is coming soon. This will be one yard project finished and it's taken much too long to complete. I'm hesitant to jump into projects that are new, costly, and that have a huge potential for costly irreversable errors, so it's just been a hole in the ground - a reminder of what happens when I'm unsure of where to go with a project. The LW has been kind about it and will be really excited to finally see it finished. I talked to my brother the other day, and of course, he's got all of the information about concrete that I need in his head. If he lived closer, we could knock 3 of these things out in a day and still have time to go ride. I'll think of him today as that gray mud screeches along the shovel blades.

We're all making a break for the coast this weekend. The LW and I need a respite of sorts and it'll be nice to just get away. Saturday morning should find us either at the Birch Aquarium or at Torrey Pines reserve. It'll be good to see CP experience the ocean for the first time and it'll be the LW's first trip to the left coast as well. I look forward to seeing how things have changed since I lived there in '99.