Thursday, September 30, 2004
This morning, got up early, mostly because I went to bed early. I thought I would get a good start on the day. I thought wrong. I went through the usual steps and got everything ready for the kids. While the Lovely and Rather Ill Mrs MDMHVONPA slept a bit, I tottered down the Grand Stairs to let the Hounds out to wreak havoc upon our turf. As I went down the second flight of stairs, I caught a whiff of something that just makes my blood boil. It seems that one of my best friends could not wait and let loose a flood of urine. I'm pretty sure it was Katie due to the location and minimal volume. I gave my patented stern glare as the slunk outside to finish off what they had started. I spend a significant chunk of time mopping up the mess and then getting their meals ready. As if by queue, when I open the door to let them in, they slink past me and go settle down on their dog-beds. They know I am not pleased. I'll have to give them less water before bed time tonight.
After a fairly rough morning (I did get to work by 0715), I made a command decision to head out to the local brew pub for lunch with my co-workers. It is Dollar Pint Thursday, so who can blame me. It usually costs us 11-12 dollars so it wont break the bank. On top of that, every 6th lunch is free and if you are in the Pub Club, you get wonderful prizes. Today, I had enough visits to win myself a Pub Club T-shirt. Yeah, I know, big deal. But hey, Wawa isn't handing out merch so I am more than happy to pay my 2$ for beer and 10$ for a plate of steak tips with a mound of mashed taters and a side of green beans. Damn fine meal. Makes up for the crapiness that followed for the rest of the day. I have a major launch for the Skymall Nickolodian/Spongebob project the next morning at 8am. What an utter waste of time and effort. Would you buy a 13 inch television painted like spongebob for 300$? I thought not as well. Jetsam and Flotsam.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Tuesday night fight
Hmm, last night was unscripted. I had gotten to work late so I could not leave till my drop-dead time at 1615. I got home at a reasonable time and did manage to get the 7 course dinners ready for the Twins. Right around the time I had arrived home, the Mrs called to let me know she will be home early and that she was not feeling well. We decided that I would pretty much take care of the kids while she rested in the living room. I got the same bug from the Twins the other day and know how she is feeling. I guess it was not a teething thing after all. It seems that the viruses that the kids give to us have been engineered to be annoying for children and deadly to adults. Either that or the kids have not picked up on how to milk an illness for sympathy yet.
So I spent the evening trying to keep the kids from jumping on my bad leg and defending a napping mommy from the eventual request (assault) that she get off the floor and play. I did pretty good, but they double-teamed me a few times and snuck through. Jacob did his tricks where he tries to pull the blankets off you or crawl underneath and 'snuggle'. After a while, mommy gave up on the napping thing and started to participate. One thing that we found is that while Jacob is great with colors, numbers and shapes, Alexis does not seem to get the color thing yet. I went over the colors with her and she would get one or two right if I did them in the right sequence. If you show her 'blue' and tell her, she will repeat it. Show her 'green' and she will tell you blue. Tell her green and then she will guess it. Hmmm, I hope I did not pass my color-blind gene on to her. After a while, she lost interest and went off to do something more rewarding. I tried to read a few pages of a book that my Big Little Brother loaned me, with little success. Too much action, too many needs.
I tried once again to do some work on the molding on the second level of the mansion and was met with minimal success. Yeah, minimal. I pretty much picked up the drill and made sure that by leaving it plugged in, the bit would actually turn with some vigor. Seeing that, I set it back down and returned to my child-rearing privileges.
As far as things go, last night could have gone worse, but it could have gone better too. The basement didn't flood and the power outage only lasted 15 seconds. The cable was ok and I had access to the internet. The Mrs was going to head out and do some shopping but when she saw the traffic lined up behind outside our property, she passed on that. After we put the Twin Toddlers of Turpitude to bed, I spent a bit of time not really doing much of anything. I had tried to start on the keys again, but the drill would not even turn. I guess it needs a bit more time to trickle-charge. So while I was lolling about he mile-wide waterbed ... I heard Alexis the Coy wake up and complain a few times. Each time, I would sneak in to their wing of the mansion and try to smooth over her concerns. All it took was for me to put her fuzzy blankie back on her and pat on the back for a few seconds. Wow, that was easy, but I had to do that a few times before 2100. The Lovely Wife and I sacked out about then and heard nothing but thunder and raindrops till the wee hours of the morning. Jacob woke up at 3:45-4ish and pronounced his distress with some pretty vocal wails and moans. For some reason, he was totally soaked again. We are already putting a size 5 on him now and I don't know where he is getting all this fluid from. It's like he is sucking out if the air. Joyce hauled him into our bed and we changed him there after I had given him a bottle of warm milk. He polished it off and thrashed about till 0630 when the Mrs and I had been beaten enough. It's hard to engage in a restful slumber when tiny fists of fury and frenzied feet of furor are pummeling your head, neck and shoulders. I gave him another bottle and went off to fetch Alexis while the Nekkid Wife of Showerdom was doing her thing. She has already tended to the Hounds this morning so I did have some reprieve. Alexis was very cooperative this morning and things went well. She was not pleased with her prompt deposit into the kitchen, she was not quite awake yet and found the disruption of her well established sequence of events to be an abomination.
The commute to work was a total disaster, as expected. I saw not damage or detritus, as I altered my route to take roads that I know would be open. There was congestion, but not to the extent I expected. People are probably staying home instead of braving the wreckage left behind. On one leg of my diverted commute, I traveled through the down-town area of a town called Hatboro. I saw some pretty neat stores and shops there that I had not seen previously. I'll have to stop in sometime and check these out. I also passed the Hatboro Lumber site where I got my 'bar sand' from. I noticed that they had 2 bins of sand. One was tanish in pigmentation like the 10 tons I got, and there was a lighter colored pile as well. When I call for my next delivery, I'll have to see if this other bin would cost more per ton. If not, I think I'll get it. I think it would have less clay grit in it. That stuff stains like you would not believe and retains water for much too long. After getting on the turnpike, things didn't get much better and all the exit ramps or overpasses where completely bunged up. The MidCounty interchange was a giant parking lot. Obviously, the Schuylkill Expressway was still submerged. With all these riff-raff trespassers on my turnpike, I still managed to get to work by 0810. Not too shabby. Hope the rest of the day goes just as uneventfully.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Noah's Ark required
Holy smokes ... all the major routes around Philly are getting flooded. Roads around the Haupertonian International Headquarters are being closed one by one. Bridges are falling into creeks, train tracks are being washed out. Cars are floating down the street. Jeanne is really letting us have it. I can see a line of cars behind the Mansion property trying to ford the huge stream running across PA Rt 232. It looks like we got 8 inches of rain so far and the runoff from the outer principalities will soon be coming down the pike. That, and we have tornadoes dropping down. Heh ... buildings are being exploded and blue collar workers are talking on the news about the 'conrail freight train' roaring through their work-places. Wow ... and we lost power for 15 seconds too. I think I'll have another glass of scotch. Time to break out the bacon too. I'm really grateful that we live on a hill.
Last night was kinda a dud. I really didn't get much done other than lamenting about how awful my mortal wound on my shin is looking. All yellowish and bruised with the big old scab running down the middle. Ick. I did start to put up the keys and molding in the hallway. I nearly forgot that I needed to do that. It would have been a snap except for the fact that my cordless makita pneumatic drill of power +7 can only make 6 holes before the battery dies out. This little gem has the built in battery and you cant just swap it out. Hmmm. I guess I could buy myself a new one for my birthday next year. But wait, I might actually get it as a gift for Christmas. Now wouldn't that be wonderful? Hmmmm. In any event, I got 5 of the key nailed in place. Hopefully I can polish off the rest tonight and then start cutting the molding to the correct size. It would be nice to get this done before I start on the master suite and what will become Jacob's room.
It had started to rain last night at about 2000 hours. A light misty rain that I knew was going to make a royal mess out of traffic in the morning. I had promised myself and threatened the wife that I would assuredly get out of bed when my alarm went off this morning at 0515. This did not happen of course. I struggled into bed at a few minutes past midnight and pretty much crashed immediately. The alarm did go off at the pre-set time, however, Jacob the Joker had gotten to it yesterday and turned the volume up to 11. I nearly wet the bed! After struggling to turn the volume down, hit snooze, turn off the alarm or do anything to make it stop, I collapsed back into the sweet oblivion of a hard sleep till 0630. Then the fun began.
Scurry-scurry. Rush, bustle and scamper. I bolt through the morning activities like a lab rat through a maze that has become all too familiar. Warm the milk, add vitamin drops. Shave, brush and floss while the Mrs showers up (hmmmm, nekkid wife - wink-wink). Let the dogs out, clean up the bile (why they lick till they puke is beyond me). Fill their food and water bowls, let them back in. Fetch the toddlers and give them their bottles. Change the diapers, put on pants. Make sure the TV is tuned to Disney to appropriately brain-wash them. OOt? A hiccup in the plan, Alexis has overflowed her diaper and her onsie is wet ... change the onsie too. Oh my God, the morning express is off it's tracks. A five minute delay, devastating! I guess her wetness was a comment on the wetness awaiting me outside. As soon as the Mrs wandered out of the shower, I jumped in and made a play for a new personal record for the quickest shower. I quickly went about my business all the while listening to the twins pounding on the door, demanding that I come forth and engaged in mortal combat. As soon as I got dressed and fluffed up my thinning hair, I got underway. First, I scooping up Alexis and deposited her in the kitchen with her blanket, doggie and other assorted plus toys. The Mrs and Jacob were right behind me. I grabbed my lunch, planted a kiss on each of the lovelies that I would be leaving in my wake and bolted out the door. Admonishing the Hounds on the way out to the 15 car garage, I let them stay out to reduce the potential that they would howl and moan that they could hear activity in the mansion but were locked in their kennels. It was nearly flawless.
Traffic this morning was gruesome as expected. I needed to stop for gas and that actually saved me 15 minutes by allowing me to skirt around a long line of traffic ... legally. Everyone slowed down to read the sign over the turnpike that was proclaiming that it was raining and there was mist to be found. I hate that sign. If social order ever breaks down, you will find me attacking that monstrosity with a file. All in all, my pet raindrop 'Sebastian' and I are having a pretty good day though. Hope it lasts.
Academics or Dogmatic Fluff
Monday, September 27, 2004
Friday, September 24, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Coming up for air
Friday, September 03, 2004
Taking responsibility for ones own actions
Holy smokes, this guy is saying that the US and Isreal are not in cahoots to rule the world and foment violence among muslims. That sound you heard is Hell freezing over.
"Iraq was occupied [by the U.S.] a year ago. [However], before that, there was violence in Iraq that killed over one million Iraqis, Iranians, Kurds, Kuwaitis, and others. This was not done by the Zionists, the occupation, or America. This was done by Arabs and Muslims of Baghdad.
"The number killed in Algeria and killed by other Arab regimes surpasses the number of Palestinians killed by Israel. Those who were slaughtered in Saudi Arabia a few days ago were peaceful Muslims who were walking in the street… There is no occupation in Saudi Arabia, no American bases, no American presence or American army…
"I maintain that there is, unfortunately, a culture of violence that existed before the Americans came to Iraq and the Gulf, even before the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and before the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.
"In my opinion, it is [precisely] this comprehensive logic that is harming these young people and making them think there was [once] a good [Islamic] empire reaching from China in the East to Andalusia [in the west], including Chechnya…"
Last night was one of those unpleasant experiences that you know will haunt you later the next day. The kind of awful that won't cause you to throw yourself from a bridge, but will make you a fairly surly for the next 24 hours. Like a trucker on his last sip of tepid, weak coffee, knowing that the rest of the haul is going to require a measure of will that just may not be there. The night started out pretty nicely. The Mrs got home early enough to come along and help pick up the Toddlers. That gave me the opportunity to move the retaining wall blocks to the Twin Tower construction site. These things are about 30lb each and I had a good 40-50 of them to take care of. I let the Haupertonian Hounds out so they could run around while I was working. Half way through my transportation effort, I noticed that Thor had become agitated by something out in the garden. So I had the uncompensated workers stop their work while I went to investigate. I had set out a live trap among the carrots to catch the rabbits that have been making short work of the greenery and it looks like something was in the cage. I could see the scratch marks about the base of the cage and hear the frantic rattling as I approached. I was disappointed at first, thinking that there were more rabbits and I had only now caught the second. Upon lifting the cage, I find that it was a squirrel and not a voracious carrot-eating rodent. I'm not a big fan of squirrels either, but they only dig up my bulbs so I don't bother them much anymore. The bulbs left in the flower gardens are down deep enough now that they don't usually get molested. In any even, the Hounds are intensely interested in the cage and I let them sniff and prance about the cage for a while. Eventually, Katie ends up knocking over the cage and releasing the poor terrorized rodent. The two spent the rest of the evening racing back and forth along the fence where they last saw their fuzzy little victim dart off and rechecking the trap to make sure that it was still not there. Now that the Hounds were distracted, I could get on with the task at hand. Without having to worry about tripping over an inquisitive spectator, I managed to finish while there was still light outside.
This is where the disagreeable part of my evening starts. Our oldest son has been a picky eater for quite some time now and it has only been getting worse. We had a little show down and he seems to have won this round. He would not eat his fruit unless you mixed it in the sugar laden yogurt. His eating habits are a complete converse of Alexis' omnivorous behavior. She will pretty much eat anything you put in front of her. Beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, rice, tofu. She is eating stuff that I would NEVER touch as a kid. She even tries stuff on her own accord like tomatoes and peppers. It baffles me how contrary the two are.
The rest of the evening went a bit sour as well. The Mrs was desperately trying to get the merchants at the carpet shop to call her back so she could schedule someone to come in and get OFFICIAL measurements for the runners. To no avail, I guess we will have to wait till after the vacation to get the measurements and order the rugs ... which will probably take a few weeks to get here. Procrastination aside, this kind of poor service really ticks her off and the last thing I need is her in a sore spot when we go on vacation.
For my efforts in trying to get my Eldest Son of Dooooom to eat his fruit, he took a belated revenge upon me by waking up at 1am and LOUDLY voicing his discontent. I went in there a couple times to console him but to no avail. The third time, he woke Alexis and I had to sooth her consternation as well. Then there was a period of calm ... until about 0500 hours. He started up again and this time, I let the Mrs try to sooth him. She gave it her best maternal shot, but to no avail. She ended up bringing him into our mile-wide water bed, but that too did not satisfy him. After an hour of him thrashing about, we gave up and let him have his morning shot of milk. I had an agreement that I would be minimally involved this morning with the kids so that I could get off to work as early as possible. This would allow me to leave earlier and get the final layer of sealant on the floor done before it gets too late. There is nothing less enjoyable than trying to navigate the local roads in Philadelphia during rush hour on a Friday of a long weekend. Everyone is off to the Jersey shore for one last shot at skin cancer. Good news it that I did manage to get to work by 0700 and have put in time earlier in the week so that I can leave at 1400. I can only hope that this all works out. Hershey is only 100 miles away and it is a straight shot down the Turnpike. This should not be too bad.
Russia and Terrorism
Thursday, September 02, 2004
One more time
Ahhh, Thursday. The best thing about Thursday is that it is the promise of Friday. A Friday before a long weekend ... even longer still since we will be going to Hershey Park for yet another vacation. A little too soon for my tastes, but It's the date that the Mrs picked do go we must! I slept a bit better tonight. Either its the cooler weather or the fact that the Mrs changed the bed sheets last night. In any event, I did not wake from my blissful slumber till 6:30am. The Twins didn't complain and the Hounds didn't howl. The later is a bit disturbing because by the time I got down to the "Hall of the Hounds", Katie had already taken matters into her own paws and relieved herself on Thor's bed. Not good. Now I will certainly need to wash the soiled bed covers, the towels and the blankets tonight.
In spite of getting up late, I did manage to get to work before 8am. I am so damn fixated with getting to work before 8am. I know that if I leave after 1615 I will have a rough time and I NEED to do 8 hours a day, but this 0815 thing that is stuck in my head seems a bit neurotic. Some day, I'll spend some time thinking about it. Some day, when I'm retired and sitting in a boat on a placid lake ... fishing my days away. Ahhhh. ... WAKE UP! Whew, almost had a pleasant thought there for a second. No quicker way to ruin a day than to think of things you much rather be doing. One of the things that I don't want to be doing is fixing my car. The fabric covering on interior of the roof is coming loose in the back of the car. Not sure how that happened, but it will need some attention. It is not causing any mechanical or performance issues. I only see it when I look in the rear-view mirror. Flapping away like two flags in a hurricane. That makes me look again, and think about fixing it. And I look again, and again, and ....argh! It just bugs me and I cant seem to remember to fix it unless I'm on the road looking at it. Damn OCD. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, for you sane folk) I think I'll put together a list of things that I need to deal with before I go on vacation.
There, that should do it ... hmmm. I think I have a few things to do.
fix car roof pack up kennel wash dog beds,blankies,towels move retaining blocks to back yard Purple Heart donations
I did the QA assist thingie again this morning. She is coming along. Once she figures out how to run the system without errors, she can start introducing problems and give me something to work with. Instead of doing what I'm paid to do, I will probably spend most of the day doing blog stuff. I'm just too pooped after we put the Twin Toddlers to bed to do anything but lay about the floor and lament about how tired I am. Then I watch a few hours of mindless television programming. Mostly junk. Last night, I noticed that our channel 14 is gone. It was the Starz channel with some nice movies on it. We got it for free, but no more. Comcast wants us to upgrade to digital and they are motivating us by taking away the premium channels. The Mrs was thinking that maybe we should switch, but I'm not going for it. We don't watch enough TV to make it worth while. Then she said that it might cost less. I don't think so. I guess I'm an old curmudgeonly old fart, I don't like change for no good reason.
On a lark, I decided to go out with the gang for 'Dollar Pint Thursday' at the local Rock Bottom tavern at the KOP Mall. Oh boy, its been a while since I've put away a couple of pints and it sure feels good. A manly burger with onion, spicy mustard and horse-radish and 2 pints of Double-IPA .... ahhhh. Why did I give this up! Oh, yeah, because I feel like a slug for hours afterwards. Good thing I'm just reading design documents and lending assistance to QA right now. I don't think making critical decisions about work or finance right now would be a good thing. But, oh man, does my stomach feel content.
This morning, I got a call from the Lovely and Tolerant Mrs MDMHVONPA which I missed. She quickly followed it up with an email about the price quote for the runner. As soon as I saw the voicemail light blinking, I gave her a call. I knew it was her because to date, I have only gotten 2 types of call on my phone from people who would leave messages. Lonely man, I am. While I was dialing her new number, I was reading the email she sent me and saw the numbers for this exercise. 1600 dollars for a pretty rug. Good God. At this point, however, I'll pay the price to just get it over with. The installation is 150$, which is a bargain. If I had to spend 4 hours putting in my own rug, I would not value it at 150$. I would value one hour with my children at roughly 250$. In the grand scheme of things, I think that this is an extremely fair price. I told her that I would pay for the CC bill that is charge appears on, no quibbles. Yes, she has her own last name and her own bank accounts. I have no problem with that. She pays small bills, I pay big bills. We get paid the same and in the end, we have enough money to make things work with a bit to spare. I once floated the idea that we should have one bank account, but that went over like a Narc at a Grateful Dead concert. I pay for the House, the cars, the condo (mostly), insurance and such. She pays the rest. Granted, I do build up some surplus savings, but I usually end up needing that when the life insurance and car insurance bills come due. Now that we spend an extra thousand dollars on car insurance, that buffer is even more important. So, 1600 dollar carpet it is. It still feels awkward.
Looking at my to-do list, I'm wondering if I should add 'mow the lawn' to the list. I probably wont do it. I do need to get the donations for Purple Heart set out though. I got quite a bit of stuff from the basement that needs to go and I might as well let these guys get first pop at it. They always need a bag of clothes, and I have stuff from my high-school days that I just don't need. These shirts fit snug when I was 145 lb. Now I'm at 190 and snug would be a very generous term. I can't even use them as work shirts. A little bit of sweat gets on them and they become a second skin. Nearly impossible to remove and not much of a barrier for insect bites. Damn skeeters go right through them like they were some sort of gossamer toga. Naw, they can have my old track t-shirts and ratty old denim pants, I'll take the dual pleasure of a less cluttered basement and a tiny line item to deduct from my taxes.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Mow the Lawn Wednesday
Well, ok. I'm probably not going to mow the lawn tonight. I will probably spend my sparse and valuable discretionary time shoveling more sand. If I were to mow the lawn, I would certainly need to fertilize it and spray weed killer on the infestation of crab-grass that has sprung up from no-where on the side of the yard that I rarely visit. And if I go on a weed-hunting trip, I would certainly need to pay attention to the invading weeds in the flower garden beds. And if I mess with the flowers, I would have to mess with the herbs and the veggies. This one simple task would quickly evolve into a day-long endeavor. If I put it off, I wont have time to do it till I get back from vacation. I think I'll swallow my home-owner's pride and just let it slide for a week.
After the Mrs got home, we went off to pick up the kids. She got home quite early today, and she was bearing gifts! A sample of the runner that we will be installing (or having a more qualified party install) in the hallway. Yeah! I'm hot for runner samples! It looks really nice too, Greek keys down the sides and just dark enough to hide stains and dirt. I can see that we will need to vacuum it once a week though, because the dog hair will show up on it like a democrat at a gun swap. After we executed the PickUpToddlers routine, I ran outside and I started in on the sand pile again. I had been dumping the sand into the Twin Towers construction zone by just tipping it over the east wall, but I had managed to fill it to the rim. I now had to actually go into the pit and dump the sand, but not where the South tower was going to be erected. It took a bit of extra work, but now all the sand is finally off the driveway. All I have to do now is extend the area and east wall about 12 feet south and ... well, order more sand. SISYPHUS anyone?