White Lightning Axiom: Redux: October 2004

Sunday, October 31, 2004



As things go about the Haupertonian International Combine World Headquarters and Manor, Sunday was a rather simple day. We got up early and since the Grandparents were here, we all got to go to the 0830 Mass. The children were fairly well behaved and entertained the ushers enough that the were showered with gifts of candy intermittently throughout the service. I had prepared three donations for the collection so the kids got to throw money at the basket when it went by. This was a nice distraction for them. Helps to foster that sharing trait. Of course, when it it their money, that might be different. Later in the evening, they did try to share some candy with our neighbor, Gus. I'll get into that later, but those little innocent actions of profound grace got me right in the heart. After the church outing, Amish-Dad and I chopped wood. We chopped a lot of wood. Ornery, cantankerous wood ... which we countered with being just as ornery and cantankerous. Determined or obstinate ... either way, we win. After we burnt our last ounce of sugar and testosterone, we sat down with the kids outside and carved up the pumpkins. The kids were fascinated. They became even more interested when we started pulling the 'guts' out. At first, when we showed Alexis the end product Jackolantern, she was a little intimidated. She soon shook off any precepts of fear and proudly modeled with the gutted gourd. We later put the Jackolanterns with lightbulbs inside on the front porch and lit them up. They glowed bright orange and were quite a sight. The Mrs retained the seeds and other assorted innards for me to process later. Picking seeds out of that mess was tedious. After copious rinsing and cleaning, I placed them on sheets and gave them a heavy coat of sea salt. Roasted, they are tasty indeed. I eat them whole, the Mrs prefers to take the hulls off. I attempted to influence Alexis by giving her a whole seed, the Mrs protested but the conversion had already started. That girl will eat anything!

With the sun slowly making its way to bid a farewell to October, the Mrs, kids and I hit to street to canvas the immediate neighborhood for goodies. Mostly, to show off the outfits in benefit of the Proud Mrs and I, we go to houses where we are familiar with the occupants. Our first stop was to say hello to our Democrat neighbors. Sharon complains that her Kerry sign got stolen, I offer condolences. In the end, the signs only inflame and annoy. In no way do they influence. One of the main reasons I did not put any signage in my yard. I'm not out to prove anything and I am even less interested in becoming a target for the less disciplined citizenry. Our second stop was to say hello to Gus and Irene. The minute Irene opened the door, both Jacob and Alexis burst past her to invade her home. The Mrs and I were caught COMPLETELY off guard. We ran them down pretty quickly while Gus and Irene watched on with total bemusement. Jacob tried this tack twice more in the evening, but we were prepared after the first attempt. When they got the candy, they were very interested in diving right into it and we had to reason with them that if they leave it alone, they will get more. This logic either worked for them or they were easily swayed by the prospect of running around outside in costume. Either way, we hit a few more houses before coming back home. The sun had finally set and darkness had enveloped the street completely. In disregard for the obvious hazards, drivers on the street were still going much faster than the posted 25mph and I felt that we had been quite fortunate thus far. On the way back, we bumped into Gus out walking with a friend. The children immediately gravitated towards him and attempted to share some candy. Gus was flattered as much as the Wife and I were pleased at their selflessness. Damn fine children if I do say so myself. On our final leg to the front entrance of the Manor, the kids caught sight of the glowing Jackolanterns. Alexis was not interested in approaching them and had to be carried up to the front door. They were not aware we had arrived home and waited while we rang the doorbell. When Gramps and Grams answered the door, they let out squeals of delight and charged on in. For the remainder of the evening, the kids alternately chanted the mantra of 'CANDY-CANDY-CANDY' or 'HALLOWEEEEN' while they gobbled down M&Ms. I think they got the idea.

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Saturday Fun

This past Friday was a lot of fun. The grandparents were coming down for the Halloween weekend. Since they were not going to arrive till after 2100, we thought we would let the kids stay up till then. This is not a decision we typically render with little thought to the consequences. It most cases, the twins go completely berserk and begining to turn on one another. Something about that witching hour of 2000 has an adverse chemical reaction in their tiny forming minds. This time, we lucked out. They were much more interested in playing than in 'mortal combat'. There was much adulation to the Lord for that grace he bestowed upon us. When Grams and Gramps did arrive, we sent the kids down to the wing of the house where they would enter to greet them. Hugs and kisses abounded, followed shortly by the 'tugging of hands' towards the play room. Grand benefits for the Grand parents. Bath and bed followed shortly after a short round of playing and showing of toys.

The next morning, the kids were up at the crack of dawn (along with the dogs). After milk and diaper change, they traipsed down to the guest room and proceeded to snuggle with Grams and Gramps. They were on their best behavior. It was almost like the KNEW that something good was coming down the pike. This was good for me since I had to bring Thor to the vet to show off his bacteria/yeast infested ears once again. I hate to leave the kids when they are in a GOOD mood for once. I usually only get time with them in the evening when they are in a contentious/pissy mood in the evenings. The Mrs wanted me to take my car to the vet since she thought that she might want to use the Family Tank. That, or she did not want Thor's hair all over the place. Either way, trying to shoe-horn a 110lb mastodon into the front passenger seat of the SuperSaturn was not a simple task. Thor is not too keen on being in moving vehicles and tends to cry the whole time the car is in motion. Damn sissy dog. The whole trip to the vet pretty much consisted of him laying his front paws and head in my lap and staring woefully up at me. The minute we are out of the car, he is happy as a lark. Prancing about the parking lot like he has no care in the world. He gets even more exuberant when we get inside. He gets his ears inspected twice and they proclaim that same thing as last time. And the time before that ... and before that. The write a new prescription and take him to the back room to get irrigated. I hear him whimpering away in the waiting room as the technicians go to town on him. Soon enough, he comes bounding out into the front office with one of the technicians being dragged behind him like some kind of damaged anchor. The trip back to the Manor is pretty much identical to the vet. Whimpers and sniveling. Wuss dog.

The second big event for the day is getting a hair cut. Same place, same barber, same precision cut. No accidents. What else is there to say. Only thing is that I can never seem to remember what road it is on. I always think it is on Street Road when I damn well know it is on County Line Rd. Go figure. Stupid memory tricks are not working for this one and I don't get haircuts frequently enough to impress it in my mind.

The Amish-Dad and I spent a big chunk of time chopping wood in the back yard. I would bring my maul down on a particularly difficult round only to have it bounce off. He would take his Maul and just drop it in the same location and the target chunk of wood would magically cleave off. I accused him of using a corked bat. He laughed. It was not a matter of strength, but rather, his maul head was concave while mine was convex. He could get the head to stick and make some progress while I had to rely on brute force to make it split on the first whack. Needless to say, on the more unpleasant pieces of wood, our alternating attacks did reduce the more difficult rounds to slivers. Since he was the one who bought me the maul for Christmas many years ago, he felt pity on me and let me use his maul for the next few weeks till Thanksgiving. Corked bat, I tell you! In any event, that project is coming to a most satisfactory end. One of the more amazing events was the damage we managed to do to one of my wedges. The solid iron wedge got a 15 degree bend in it from an unusually burled piece of oak. Once the wedge was freed by attacks from the other side of the round, we had an opportunity to pound it back into shape ... mostly. It gives you an idea about how resilient this stuff is. Wood bends metal, who would have thought?

After all the dirty/exhausting work, we spent our time watching and participating in the kids play time. After their nap, of course. Jacob stuck to his new train-tracks, mountain, highway set we got from the Wife's cousin and Alexis did her best to interfere. Grams and Grams did bring down some new books for the kids and they spent a bit of time reading to the kids. We try to do that when we can, but the twins seem to consider the Grandparents as non-combatants and behave thusly. After a contentious bath where Jacob INSISTED on having one of the trains from the newish toys, we set the clocks back and pretty much called it a day. We will need that extra hour.

Friday, October 29, 2004



Still nothing happening. We are talking about going to a big food show next weekend with some family friends ... tickets are 19$ each. Yikes. I wonder if you have to pay for children. The ONLY reason I want to go is that Alton Brown will be there. His shows are a total hoot and his books rock. I think my parental units will be coming down this weekend for the big Hallowed Eve costume ball. Should be fun. Alexis is dressed up as a kitty and she just loves it. It's nice that Halloween is on Sunday this year, it was a weekday last year and it ... sucked.



Pretty much zippo happened yesterday. Took the kids for a walk, chopped some wood. Only things of interest is that I slept in till 0700 this morning. Resulting traffic on the TPK was a mess, but that was expected. Today is the big costume day at the Child ReEducation Detainment Center so the Mrs will be taking a bunch of pictures of Alexis in her Kitty Cat Costume and Jake in his Little Devil Outfit. He would not tolerate anything else (Mrs had another costume for him). Today will probably be pretty busy, things are starting to get completed. Oh, I am blessed with trying to fix a 7 page query for inventory. The DBA threw their hands in the air and asked me to do it. Cripes, do your job guys!

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Electric Slide

Wednesday evening was a rewarding experience. Mostly. I say that now as I hack up sticky wads of blown insulation and knead my wretched muscles. It all started at 1530 when I finally had enough of sitting on my rear. It was time for action for this Daddy of action. I jumped into the SuperSaturn and zipped out to the turnpike. All was proceeding well until I got to the State Trooper Barracks about 3 miles down the road. It is situated on a hill off to the South side of the Tpk and has a drive-through road where you can see a trooper accelerating to get into traffic. There was a group of cars and a semi truck in the area and I was determined to pass them before someone pulled out and blocked me. There was no-one beyond this gaggle of goofs. Just as the SuperSaturn hit 85mph, a trooper began his descent onto the tpk ... I could see all the break lights of the other vehicles light up in unison. I figured it was much too late for me and looked in my rear-view mirror in anticipation of flashing blue and red lights. The blurting of the siren and it sucks the will out of my soul. I imagine being on 'World Most Deadly Police Pursuits' as I race off towards my own personal Green Zone. Hundreds of police and trooper cars piled up in mountains of twisted steel. Kinda like the Blues Brothers (the first one, not the bogus second one). It never happened, he just pulled over to the side of the road just beyond the overpass. That is the biggest Bridge Troll trap in the area. As I speed off, I thanked my lucky stars that he was not in the mood to bust me ... today. It's going to take a few years to get that last accident off our record, I don't need a complication like a speeding ticket to add to it. And don't tell me to slow down either, I was going with the flow of traffic, dammit. As soon as the sonic boom catches up to me, I'll tell you all about it. I did make it to the International Haupertonian Combine HQ and Manor by 1600. All time record. Ever.

I spent a good amount of time collecting all the supplies that I will need for the work that I will be doing in the attic. Getting in and out of the lower attic is not as difficult as the upper attic, but it is not a walk in the park. It is much akin to saying that sucking a golfball through a 50 foot hose is easier than sucking a 16lb bowling ball through. Both of those are a bit more comfortable than the joy that awaits me. Even on the coldest days of winter, its outlandishly hot in the attic. There are no floor boards either so I must either find the cross beams under the 50' rolls of insulation I spread out or get some large planks of plywood to lay over it. Oh, and I have to watch out for the recessed lighting boxes. Sharp, nasty little buggers they are. So, here are my provisions:

  • 1 electric drill

  • 1 Phillips head bit

  • 1 flashlight

  • 1 load-tester

  • 3 extension cords

  • 1 photolight

  • 1 set of pliers

  • 1 wire cutter

  • 1 wire stripper

  • 4 plywood boards

  • 1 wiring box with lid

  • 4 wire tie-downs

  • 4 wire plug-grips

  • 1 flat head screwdriver

  • 1 Phillips head screwdriver

  • 7 wirenuts

  • 4 lengths of wire (prestripped)

  • 4 screws

  • As I scrounge about and shuffle over the moist plywood board, I feel the presence of the roofing nails above my head. Like thousands of little teeth in a giant maw, biding their time to sink into my tender flesh. To rip away at my unprotected scalp. I hunch down lower and the tiny airborne specs of glass, dust and funk adhere to my sweat moisten skin. With fortune on my side, I find the offending junction box roughly 5 meters into the attic. It is a hack job beyond description. When they put the addition on the house, the contractors obviously did not include any electricians on the team. There is the box and switch from what I imagine was the original wiring still connected but turned off, the wires leading out of the box have not been taped off or capped. The box itself is not attached to anything, it is just laying on the sheetrock that is the ceiling of the kitchen. There are four more wires leading into the box, two of the original cloth romex and two newer ones. One is a black romex and the other is a 4 wire cable. The red wire from the 4 line is apparently not used because it is not connected and juts out from the box like a splintered bone. Crawling closer, I see the problem. Heat from the copper wire load has partially melted the plastic as well as deformed the aluminum wiring in the older cables. This has allowed the wire nut, which is too small for the job, to come loose thus freeing the copper wire. I put the load test probes on the free wires and they have no juice. Checking the copper produces a signal. I carefully climb out of the VietCong tunnel of doom and (with help of the Mrs) find the correct breaker to shut down the circuit. None of the circuits are properly labeled in the fuse box, which is a story for a future date. With the power safely off, I make my way back into the hellish orifice to where I had left the grandfather of all code-violations. Did I mention the wad of electrical tape that was jammed into the box to keep the ground wires from touching the white wires? Did I mention how it had degenerated into a sticky, but not adherent mess? Did I also fail to mention that some of the ground wires were not even twisted to the others? With great zeal, I rip into a mess like a pit-bull with a tape worm attacking a ribeye steak ... with A1 sauce. First, it remove and discard the disfigured wire nuts. I have to snip off the ends of the black wires since they have melted together into an indistinguishable slag. I straighten the cork-screw bodies and extricate the obsolete switch. That will make things a bit easier. First things first, I secure the wire box to a cross beam with the four screws. I then thread each of the wires through the compression plugs and secure them into the wire box. Tighten the compression plugs over the wires and then use the wire tie-downs to make sure that they don't get yanked loose in the future. After clipping all the wires to the same length and stripping 1/2 and inch of the plastic coating, I put new wirenuts on each of the three groups. Secure the lid and collect my scraps. It sounds easy, but being hunched over in 2.3 feet of space with sweat dripping off your nose as you try to manipulate the wires into place is not something I would like to repeat. I was folded over and crouching above the assemblage for nearly an hour with insulation gently screwing its way into my skin. In that time, the circulation to my legs was constricted and they had dutifully fell asleep. The synergetic effect of this with the MS left me with two slabs of heavy meat working at about 10% functionality. I slowly drug my limp appendages back towards the light, lugging the tools and other implements along with me. My hands are slick with sweat so I must be very careful about what I grab for support. I could very well take a shortcut to the glass kitchen table with rather unpleasant repercussions. Once I had sealed up the lower attic egress, I dusted off my hands and declared that this was the end of major combat operations. Then, the Mrs turned on the switch ... and it worked. Perfectly. The fact that I did not get electrocuted was the biggest portion of the coup d'etat for this task. The Mrs sets down the phone, 911 dialed in advance, and runs off with the Family Tank to go retrieve the kids. I shower off the stink of 30 years and get ready for the rest of the evening. I used up most of my energy reserves for the day so it will have to be a mild evening or I am doomed. Oh, I almost forgot, I chopped some wood just for the fun of it.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004


    Democrats gone Wild

    Jeebus! This cannot bode well for the next week. Look for more of this with less of a happy ending.


    Ummm, I feel like a wussy now

    I got this off Whose Paranoid Via Bane Rants. This is the kind of folk that withers the nads of our enemies with a momentary glance. These are the guys who are busting chops overseas. These are the guys who are fighting to keep our way of life, our liberty, our children alive. These are the guys (an gals) who's votes we should count, absolutely. If you hear of any disingenuous twerp trying to discount or void the military absentee ballot, think of how hard said twerp fought to keep your life and liberty safe ... and speak up accordingly.


    If it aint broke ...

    Yesterday evening was pretty mundane. Jacob did manage to get his hands on the fabric on the car roof and rip it down. I admonished him, to no avail. He just kept reaching up for it until I tucked it under the plastic molding. Little vandal. Alexis was having so much fun at the sand pit that she insisted that her coat was getting in the way. She unzipped it and put it aside on the east retaining wall. I chased her about for 5 minutes trying to get her to put it back on. Once again, to no avail. I can only hope that this is the hardest part of being a parent. Yeah, right. The hounds are more difficult than this. I did get around to chopping some wood. About the same amount I do every night. A little at a time. If I can keep it up, it should soon be done. My back does not hurt anymore and my shoulders are starting to get used to it. The only thing that hurts now is this weird surface pain on my right upper thigh. Really upper. Like, pocket location upper. Not an area that I appreciate pain. It wraps around to the lower back on the same side like some kind of flat muscle pull, but it is not the kind of discomfort I usually get with that. Maybe its glandular or some kind of lymph node infection. I don't know, but it is quite annoying and keeps me up at night.

    On the potty front, Alexis did a good job while Jacob kind of missed the target. He tried and tried and nothing happened ... until he got into the bath-tub and the dam broke. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. Tomorrow. We have a bit of work to do then. After the kids had gone to bed, the Mrs and I were puttering about in the kitchen when the telephone started to give it's "I'm messed up" beeping signal. I thought for sure that the thing had finally bought the farm until we brought a cordless phone up from the basement. I plugged it into the phone jack and the electrical outlet and ... nothing. Hmmm, odd. I got a different phone and it worked just fine. This phone did not need an electrical adapter though. The Mrs pointed out at that time that the TV would not come on either. Initially she thought that we were having problems with the transformer again, but the clock on the stove was working. I went down to the basement to check the breakers and they all seemed to be on. As I thought about it for a few minutes, I remember being in the attic when I was laying out insulation and had stumbled over a loose connection box. When the kitchen area was renovated, they had to rewire some of the outlets and the way they did this was very sub-standard. If I had seen this mess before I bought the house, we may not have bought the house. The inspector missed it because of the location. I suspect that the wires in the connection box may have come loose and that is what the problem is. I dread going up to the lower attic because of the insulation that I will have to dig though, the nails digging into my back, shoulders and skull, and the distinct possibility that any fix that I attempt will end up being a multi-day task. There are always complications, which is why this situation exists in the first place. I have to address this though. The Mrs and I spoke about it and came to the agreement that the kids will have to be dropped off by 0700 Wednesday so that we can come home early and deal with it. I'll be in the attic sparing with the electric demon and the wife will be at the ready with a cell phone to call 911 and various bandages/splints. After we get this new task completed, we can pick up the kids. I really don't want them to hear my cursing and swearing as I pry nails from my torso and desperately try to hack up loose insulation from my lungs. If I don't post tomorrow, it's because the hospital does not have a internet ready room for me.

    In lighter news, it looks like the PA Turnpike may be having an issue soon. The toll collectors union (part of the teamsters) have been working under an expired contract for the last year. They are getting impatient and are threatening to strike. The consequences of this are being addressed by the Turnpike commission as thus. If they can get enough people, they will charge a flat fee of 2$ for all exits on the turnpike. That does suck if you usually get charged less than 2$ of course. I would normally pay 1.60$, but since I have EZPass, it will not affect me. Did I mention that I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE EZPass? I think that this would spur more people to start using the service to avoid these kinds of inconveniences. Boy, do I just adore EZPass ... God bless EZPass. EZPass for President!

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004


    sleepless in philly

    Monday wrapped up pretty well. Almost. When I stopped by the Child ReEducation and Detainment center, the kids were more than happy to see me. It is usually easy enough to get them out of the place and into the car. There is the usual requests to be held or to abduct some toy, but that did not happen today. Instead, Alexis caught sight of my keys once we were underway and announced that she would like to play with them. Well, not so much announced as demanded. It was imperative that she get her hands on the magical keys that make the SuperSaturn go Vrooom. I'm not sure how she spotted them in the ignition, I only brought the key and the fob today instead of my Janitor's Dream Collection of keys. She was mightily perturbed that she was not presented with said keys and proceeded to whine the whole way back home. A quick admonishment did not help much either. She merely took this as a sign that I was weakening and upped the ante. A little sob and some welling of the eyes. Yeah ... she was working the routine pretty methodically. Traffic was sparse since I picked them up 15 minutes early. We got home in record time and I sent them into the back yard to play till Mommy got home.

    While we were playing, Jacob was doing his own thing by climbing up to the top of the North Tower and going down the super spiral slide. He has no qualms about it, no fear. Alexis on the other hand would prefer that you hold her hand on the way down the slide, only the short slide though. She will climb up to the top of the south tower by herself. She will swing on the low swings by herself as well, but would like you to give her a push every so often. While I was preoccupied with Alexis, I noticed a lack of noise from the other end of the sandpit. When I went over to look for Jacob, I did not see him anywhere. Commence code red panic attack now. There is not many places he could go in the back-50, but he could get into the wood-pile and pull some pretty heavy rounds down on himself or crawl under the mile-long deck. I quickly noticed that the hounds were congregating at the far end of the deck and deduced that my way-ward son may have gone to the end of the deck where he could crawl underneath. Not good. I call out his name and in an instant, he came zipping around the end of the deck at full throttle. My heart starts to move back down into my chest as I walk towards the little joker. I'm going to have to put a bell on him next time we go outside. That, or build a fence around the sand-pit to keep them in a 'safe-zone'. The little wire fences we use to keep the hounds out of the gardens have NO impact on the kids at all. The fence thing wont even happen this year so I guess one of us will have to keep an eye on them.

    While Alexis was atop the south tower, she saw Mommy pull off the street behind the manor in the Family Tank and identified her right away. Keen eyesight, my little sniper in training. She immediately notified her ground based compatriot and they proceeded to marshall at grouping point alpha-omega ... the portcullis leading to the car-park. It was funny to watch them lay in wait for mommy to back up. The minute she shifted into reverse, the both started to leap up and down chanting 'Mommy-Mommy-Mommy'. Almost reminded me of a scene right out of 'Lord of the Flies'. Once Mommy had disembarked and made her way to the sand-pit, the twins began to play in earnest. Swing, ladders and slides were all put to the test ... 110% structural load capacity, shear testing ... the works. Until Eagle-Eye Alexis spotted Gus and Irene across the street in their garage. Nothing escapes her attention.

    Since the kids were keen on visiting our neighbors, we took a little trip across the street. Gus and Irene were very happy to see the little ones and are always interested in letting them investigate their flower gardens. Alexis is usually a bit stand-offish and would only approach Gus once he offered a "Give me five" opportunity. Then she opened right up and laid some skin on him. Alexis and Jacob darted about the flowers and sniffed each on. While Gus and I chatted, the kids became quite brave and went right up to their back door .. and then tried to get inside. This thrilled Gus to no end. He quickly ran inside via the garage and unlocked the door to let them in. Irene, waiting in the kitchen, was delighted to have the two little ones burst into the house. Soon, due to her Greek heritage, she learned that this was a Trojan Horse attack as the kids went to work ransacking their domicile. Once we got all the phones put back on-hook and the televisions turned off, we herded the kids down to the family room where they had some fragile pottery and other breakables on display. Fortunately, they had some nuts laid out on a coffee table that Alexis zeroed in on. This nullified her destructive capabilities due to the nuts occupying her hands. Jacob, was neutralized by the piano they had. He immediately began to compose his first opus much to the surprise to Gus. He was stunned to see how Jacob could do a hack-kneed scale. The little Beethoven spent most of the time pounding away at the ivories. Noisy, but non-destructive.

    Soon enough it was time to leave the shambles of Gus's home and take the kids home for dinner. We quickly spirited the kids away and got them situated. As soon as the Mrs was comfortable, I got a spool of twine and headed back over to help Gus with some lawn work. He had cut down some branches and was in the process of tying them up for the garbage collection the next day. We had interrupted his efforts so it would only be fair for me to give him a hand. It took very little time, we spent most of the time discussing trivial matters, his new snow-blower, our new car, the play set, the garden ... standard small talk. He and his wife are fairly easy people to talk with. I would like to invite them over some day when we get the dog-hair situation under control. Irene has some pretty fierce allergies and I would hate to expose her to something that would make her miserable for the rest of the week. I'll have to talk to Gus sometime and arrange something. After my neighborly acts of good will, I went to the woodpile and split a wheelbarrow of wood. Barely broke a sweat. I picked some of the easier pieces to knock apart, instead of the nasty-knotty stuff that you need 5000lb of pure force to get it to show a flaw or cleave line. If it all went this easy, I would be done by now. I'll get this stuff done some day. Hero-Dad has told me that he wants to help out so we can spend more time with the kids. It will be Halloween weekend so there will be much sugar induced hyper-activity. I am certainly grateful for the assist!

    On the potty front, Alexis managed to make some water, much to Jacobs irritation. He went dry again. I guess he needs to prime the pump. The bigger issue is the whole #2 thing. If I can catch them before it happens, we would be golden. Never have I been so interested in the end product of digestion. Well, maybe except for that very first diaper change. But never since then.

    I did not sleep well last night, it might be the coffee, it might be muscle pain. Not sure. I managed to get up at a touch before 0600 and get on the road by 0640. Things went quickly and we got the kids all wrapped up before they had a chance to complain much. It's nice getting on the road early, the traffic really moves. I have to remember to get into the fast lane if I get on the road before 0645. There were some pretty intense drivers out there this morning. Some a little too reckless. No wonder traffic is backed up, all the emergency braking and such. Perhaps if I got going at 0630 I would not have to watch and wince at some of the deadly maneuvers they make. I did get to work by 0715 though, not too shabby.

    Monday, October 25, 2004



    Monday. Curse word to some, salvation for others. Out of the frying pan and into the fire for a select few. I should not count myself in that class though, it's just a phase between a blessed home-life and a pretty cushy work-life. The evening could have gone better though. Since the Mrs and I have picked up an annoying bug from our kids, we decided to sack out early. For some reason beyond me, we switched sides of the bed. She needed to sleep on one side because her neck hurt so I couldn't hold her that way, so I went over to the 'other' side. Is that it? It almost makes sense, but not quite. I did not sleep well either. Is my subconscious telling me that I need to be on the other side? Odd. Perhaps I did not sleep well because my chest and back hurts from the abnormally high exercise dose I've been getting of late. It's just too darned hot to do much heavy work outside in the summer months which leaves the wet, chilly autumn months for me to demand my vitality return. With great disenchantment, it hobbles back, lesser every year. Perhaps, perhaps, I should cut back on the bacon and scotch.

    Traffic this morning was goofy again. It was smooth sailing right through the usually log-jammed section, then became messy in an area where it is supposed to ease up a bit. Is there an accident ahead, or some construction? Is there a police car with someone pulled over on the side of the road? No. None of these. Today's Suck-Fest is brought to you by the PADOT and their myotic zombie lackeys in their cars. There was one of those illuminated information signs on the side of the road broadcasting that there will be shoulder work on the turnpike between 6pm and 5am for a few days. It is 0700 and people are coming to a near stop to read the sign. In all three lanes. You can't blame the sheep, but you can smack around the herder for falling asleep on the job. The worst part is that the humongous sign of doom just a few hundred meters up the road was blank. This would be infinitely more readable and less of a traffic obstruction. What, did they forget the password or something. This kind of thing can really ruin a day for me. Breath .... 10, 9, 8 ... forget it, I'll just be pissed for the rest of the day.

    It's now time for the Tales of the Twins. Today, we have two installments. One for each of the Twin Toddlers of Terpitude.

    First off, after I had left this morning, Alexis went ahead and delivered a special delivery package in her diaper for Mommy. Swift on the uptake, the Wife asks her if she went 'poopie'. Well, Alexis denied it up and down emphatically. Nope, no poopie here. The odor was fairly prevalent and it was meant as a rhetorical question. As clever as she is, I am happy to proclaim that my innocent daughter is a real lousy liar. Once Mommy convinced her that she did indeed poop and she needed a diaper change, Alexis changed tactics. Ok, so I pooped, but I want Daddy to change me. Ah-hah, check-mate Mommy! Mommy sadly delivers the message that Daddy is not here, Daddy went to work. I can only ascertain the skeptical look passing over her face as she ponders this pronouncement, and then digs deeper into Mommy's decree by asking 'Daddy chopping wood?'. Heh, in a matter of speaking honey, yeah. Daddy chopping wood.
    Our second tail involves Jacob and his fixation with trains. After Mommy had mopped up and got the twins to the Child ReEducation Facility, Alexis went to the correct room while Jacob slipped away to the other room with all the toy trains. Previously, the woman in charge of that room, Catherine, had taken trains away from Jacob to keep them in the room for the other children. He apparently likes to dig through the toybox and gather up all the trains for himself and then haul his booty into his room. He learned quickly and when he saw Catherine enter the room, he quickly surrendered two of the three trains and when she was preoccupied with picking up the toys he had dropped, he tried to hide the third behind his back and sneak out around her. He got to keep the train as both Mommy and the Day Care Professional had a good laugh about it. He may not let on, but he sure is a clever little bugger.

    Sunday, October 24, 2004


    weekend hoopla pt2

    With my trusty new maul handle, I went out to chop wood. For hours upon hours. Now my pectorals hurt and my back aches. I am SOOOO out of shape. I worked hard enough that after the kids went down for a nap, I decided to take a nap as well. The Mrs was going to go out shopping, but not to be out done by the rest of the family, she crawled into bed and fell asleep in my arms. This was to be a short nap. The children have decided that 90 minutes in dream-land was more than enough and began to make a ruckus. We tumbled out of bed and freed the prince and princess from their detainment. Since the Mrs did not make it out shipping, we decided to take yet another family trip, this time to BJ's Wholesale Club. Fun times for daddy! I love that place. I can get a 55 gallon of olive oil or a pallet of beef jerky and not have to explain to the wife that it did not come in a smaller size. Even the shopping carts have enough space for 2 children. HUGE. Since the kids and Mrs were with me, I had to be a tad more restrained. For every 4 things I dropped in the cart, the Financially Conservative Wife put 3 back. I still win. I got my Trenton pork roll, double pack of Sopressata Sweet Sausage and GIANT 100lb SUMMER SAUSAGE ROLL. Heh ... Daddy is having meat tonight! I also snuck in a bag of pitted dates (3lb) and I found out that they now sell Pergo at BJ's ... sweet (in both cases). Did I mention I love shopping there? I still have my membership card from college ... back in 1990. And it's valid ... member of the green label inner circle. This is back when they only took cash and you had to be part of a non-profit organization. Now you can pay with a mastercard and such. How the times change. I can still get a quarter beef carcass though. MEAT!

    The evening is not complete without me doing some feat of super-daddydom. The clothes washer that my Hero-Dad and Maven-Mom purchased for us when we moved in had become 'unhinged'. One of the 4 rubber tub stabilizers had snapped and whenever the spin cycle would kick in, the thing would bang and jump about. If you have ever looked inside at the guts of a washer, it is a giant tub with a big engine bolted to the bottom. The tub is suspended from 4 flexible steel rods and loosely held in place by 4 adjoining rubber bands. They look like something you would see on a Soloflex. As a matter of course, the one that was in the most inconvenient corner had snapped in two. It took a bit of inspection and deduction, but I eventually determined how to pop off the front cover. RTFM you say? Why certainly, if I was up to spending 35$ on the manual. You see, we got this at a scratch-n-dent store in Delaware and it was 'As-Is' which meant no manual. The online manual was of no help either ... the illustration shows the front panel magically floating away from the machine proper. I tried to invoke the force to float the panel away, but it just sat there. I blame my MS for not allowing me to use telekinesis. As it turns out, all you need to do is poke two clips with a flat-head screw driver and it begins to open up. There are a few pegs and tabs you need to work with, but that is just a matter of finessing the panel a bit and ... ta-da ... it comes right off. The next part was getting the top off which required me to remove the control panel. This was a bit irritating because I needed a star-screwdriver. I had one that I bought in 1994 to work on my car because the odometer needed replacing. I never used it since. This could have stopped me cold. God coming to the rescue again, telling me to get on with it and spend more time with the kids. With 50% of the thing in parts, I could now get one hand into the back of the frame and unscrew the last connector holding the fractured damper in place. You know what will happen, the screw heads where hex and I fortunately had a hex driver that my Big Little Brother left at the Manor (Insisting that it was mine to start with). Well, the screw and hex-nut driver come out and drop to the bottom of the washer. They both promptly roll out of sight. ARRRGHHH! I was on my belly, searching the uneven bottom for a glimmer of light to betray the location of the way-ward parts. Dragging my hand through machine-oil and years of lint, I was hoping to luck out and find them. I finally became frustrated and was going to tip it on an angle in hopes of hearing the tell-tail rattle of metal on metal when I spotted the wayward parts. They had rolled to the other side of the machine, probably attracted by the magnetic engine block ... how fortunate! In no time at all, I slid the new damper in place and put the hex-nut screws back in. Then the top, control panel and front panel. Super dad is on a roll! Damn I'm good.

    To cap off the evening of victory, Jacob did his potty job again and had quite a bit of success. Seems that he knows that to make water, you have to push a bit. Next time, we will have to catch him before #2 and see what he thinks of that. Once we clear that hurdle, the $$$ that we throw away in the price of diapers can be used for more ... productive purposes. And no more stinking diaper pail. That is worth the effort in spades!

    Saturday, October 23, 2004


    weekend hoopla pt 1

    A lot of nothing got done this weekend. While the Mrs and Horde was out in the Family Tank, I took some time to finish up that wood work in the upper hallway. It was about time too. I had a few surprises in store for me, of course. The longest piece of molding that needed to be put up was about one inch too short. There was no way in hell that I was going to stop work for this. I would have to buy a new, longer piece of wood, spend the week finishing it and then put it in place. No friggen way. In stead, I got one of the keys that I had prepared for the Master Suite and put it at the end of the length, thus buying me 3 inches. I'm a friggen genius. With that finished, I could go outside and ... well, chop wood. I'm always taking about this wood chopping that I'm doing, and it happens enough that Alexis is starting to say "Where'd Daddy? Chopping wood!". I only end up going out for an hour or two, but that is enough time to get me tired and sweaty, even in this weather. I am making a modicum of progress though. I manage to break down enough wood to fill a wheel-barrow or two every time I go out. I fully expect to get the rest of the wood chopped and stacked before Alexis and Jacob go off to college. Today, I did not quit because I had exhausted my energy level, I quit because the last swing snapped the head of the maul off inside of a particularly difficult chunk of wood. Well, doesn't that just but the breaks on the task at hand? I guess I'll need another new handle.

    After my adventures in lumber-jackery (is that a word?), I cleaned up and got ready to go out. The Mrs had some coupons for 5$ and 25$ off that expired today. This time, the coupons were for Sears Hardware. Now there is a shopping trip that I can not turn down! We packed up the Family Tank and headed on down the road for a quick family outing. The plaza that the store is in is probably no more than 2 or 3 miles away. A fairly short trip where most of the time it takes to get there is spent idling at various traffic lights and stop signs. We quickly find a parking spot that is close to the entrance and head on in. The Mrs puts Jacob in a cart and I let Alexis walk into the store while holding my hand. She likes the feeling of independence. She also likes picking up rubbish off the floor and handing it to me. Gotta have a clean shopping environment, don't you know. I head to the back of the store where I remember the maul handles were stocked, but notice quickly that they had re-arranged the store since the last time I was there. They have appliances now. Weird, they must be trying to compete better with Lowes and Home Depot now. I find that they moved the handles about 5 meters up the aisle from where they were. As we passed the Christmas cruft, Alexis points out each mechanized automaton and correctly names it. "Tree!, Horsey!, Puppy! Snowman!" Where did she learn what a snowman was? Hmm, someone is teaching my little girl things that I did not know of. Disconcerting. She helps me pick up rubbish off the floor and from among the axes and mauls and sledges. Then she picks out 2 new handles for me ... and a splitting wedge that must weigh more than her. Friggen muscle girl. We also go pick up some water filters ... she thinks we need at least 6 ... I talk her down to 4 and we call it a Mid-NorthEast Compact. Then she pulls an Arafat on me and goes back for more. Nope, cant allow that, lets go look at the checkout counter, ok? We stroll down the aisles to the checkout, but she senses the deception and starts to dart about. I'm holding some rather encumbering goods so all I can do is hold on to her hand and give the cashier a well practiced pleading look. She seems unimpressed but rings me through along with the 5$ coupon quickly. I scooped Alexis up and had the jaded cashier load me up with my goodies. We went out to the Tank and got strapped in. The Mrs was right behind me and we had a discussion about eating out tonight. Why not, the kids may or may not eat, but we could always supplement their diet when we got back to the Manor.

    We had initially intended on going to this little chain restaurant called Bartucci's. It is the same place where I proposed to the future Mrs MDMHVONPA so many years ago. They make a pasta and chicken with white sauce that she enjoys so much. We had initially planned on having the wedding rehearsal dinner there, but Friday night was not available for that. It is a very popular place and this night was not an exception. There would be a 45 minute wait and that would be about 40 minutes too long for the kids. Instead, we went to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant in the same plaza called Oriental Perl. We have eaten at this place several times, at least 3 times with the kids. Jacob enjoys the fried noodles and Alexis will pretty much eat everything else. I ordered some sushi and confirmed my suspicion that they should have stayed out of the raw-fish sector. The seaweed was nearly indestructible and the roll contents were dried out. The rice was improperly seasoned and ... well, it was just plain 'ick'. I didn't eat half of it. The shrimp dish was pretty good though. I think it was called 'Two Moons Over Gracious Mountain' or some nonsense like that. It was two kinds of shrimp (butterfly deep fried and stir-fried) with various veggies. Jacob tried some of the shrimp, but found it too chewy and returned to his fried noodles. Little bugger will only eat fried foods, that will have to change.

    The grand finale of the day was bath time. Jacob once again did his potty trick, but only had a little bit left over. He knows exactly what to do and seems so thrilled that he managed to put water in the potty. So much so that he really want to play with it. SIGH We will have to try to dissuade that behavior as quickly as possible. Playing in the potty is a big no-no. Ignore the dogs, they don't know any better.

    Friday, October 22, 2004


    Monday Mundacity on Friday

    This Friday was pretty lousy. Jacob got up at 3am (much to The Wife's disconcerting) and that tipped the scales from 'average' day to 'slightly annoying'. To complicate things, I got in the wrong (read: annoying) lane on the tpk. The left two lanes between my interchange (Willow Grove) and the next one to the west (Ft. Washington) are a definite red-flag. I don't know why I did it, must have been lack of sleep or something. There was a driver (of sorts) in front of me with handicap plates who was driving quite strangely. There was no cruise mode, just rapid acceleration and full-on breaking. It's hard to keep pace with a person like that. At work, there was a delay in our launch date because of the MLB (Major League Baseball) site. Cant load the new JAR file until the World Series is over because it might disrupt the sales that the MLB site gets at this time of year. And if that is not enough, the new B2B staging machine was still set up improperly. It did get resolved by the end of the day though, so that is one minor victory. The final kicker was the massive query that we need to get inventory counts. We gave it to the DBA group at the beginning of the month. Just today, an old acquaintance comes up to me and asks me if we are serious about the query. I confirm the insanity and let him know that it is a canned query that is in use in production now. He pisses and moans about being given this at the 11th hours. I tell him that we did give it to his boss on the 1st. I feel for him, it is certainly a Dilbertian quandary.



    Interesting smell in the office. Its the smell of kerosene in one of those death-trap space heaters. They have just turned on the heat in the building and I think one of the burners is not working quite right. It's just in our area too, where all of us prostitute contractors sit. Perhaps they are trying to gas us so they don't have to pay for our services? Hmmm, doubtful. Probably some jackass thought it would be a good idea to test the HVAC system during work hours. Brilliant. The fumes are agitating my senses and I can feel the impending return of the migraine from hell. They shut it down and try again, this time no sudden rush of fumes, but it may be that our clothing and sinuses are so permeated with the noxious exhaust that we can no longer tell. If this happens again, it will certainly be an OSHA situation or I will start burning incense.

    On the way back home, I was fighting down the return of the killer migrane, I barely noticed that my traffic karma was on the positive side. I was doing my best to keep up with the rest of traffic going at about 107mph and got to my exit in record time. As I was exiting the Turnpike Speedway, I could see from the overpass that the traffic going west was nearly at a stand-still and the eastbound traffic beyond my interchange was suddenly coming to a halt. This could only be bad news for my fellow speedway racers, but it was no matter for me today as I trundled off in my SuperSaturn. I had a routine to complete at the Manor. The gnashing of teeth and the wails of lament were distracting me.

    Jacob had a really successful day as well. When we were getting ready for bath time, I had set out the training potty. Jacob came running into the room as usual, did his happy dance because it's splashy-splash time. After I had stripped off his diaper, he began to climb into the bath tub to join his sister. I asked him if he would like to sit on the potty. He looked at me quizzically and slowly lifted his left foot out of the tub. Dripping wet, he waddles over to the potty, plops down on the seat and then looks down in anticipation. Then he pees. The little bugger is smarter than he is letting on! Or maybe, I'm SUPER DAD!!!!! The kids and I were playing Superman with capes earlier in the evening and maybe we are truly a family of super heroes with secret uber-mensch powers. Or maybe, it's time for the kids to start potty training. I'll stick with the former and abandon the latter, it suits my ego.

    Thursday, October 21, 2004



    Kissing cousins? Hardly.
    (stolen from Lt Smash)


    Voter Fraud!

    You have got to be shitting me!
    Less than two weeks from the November 2 presidential election, the legal team of Democratic contender John Kerry, as well as activist groups, have already filed a number of voting-related lawsuits in the state.


    Parenting is EZ

    Lileks is PISSED!
    I heard a fascinating interview on the Medved show this week with a droning professor who lamented the failure of feminism to drive more women out of the house. She’d done a study of high-achieving women whose marriage notices were printed in the New York Times, and found that several years out, almost half had quit their jobs to stay home with the kids. Apparently they hadn’t internalized the New Truths, the Blazing Facts, the Glorious Realization that the highest calling in life is to sit in a veal pen on the 34th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper and type up depositions while Consuela teaches your children how to write their ABCs.

    It takes at least 1 and 1/3 of a parent to effectively raise at least 1 child (per the experience of the Wife and I) so this rant is right up our alley. I would love to stay home with the kids, but we are trapped in our veal pens so we can pay for their private schooling ... ghaaa!



    I had a migrane yesterday. I could probably rattle on for pages about it. In the end, it was a horrible experience and probably one of my worst ones yet. I felt it coming on for about 12 hours before it really plastered me at 1600. I cobbled together the dinner for the kids and stumbled out the door to the SuperSaturn. I managed to pick up the kids and get them home without having to pull over. I heard some words from the Day Care Professionals through the buzzing static about a lost sippy cup. I was not too concerned because we had 20 of the things at home. The Mrs was home when I pulled into the driveway. She was talking to our Nice Neighbor Marvin. In my stupor, I just let the kids out of their seats and they immediately ran over to where the Wife, Marvin and their two dogs were standing. They have 2 yellow labs that are about 1/2 the size of ours. The kids like them because they are 'kiddie-sized'. When I opened the portcullis to the Back 50, the twins immediately darted over to the sand pit and began their evening routine. I pretty much stood like Colossus, bestride the narrow world. Stolid and stoic ... except internally writhing in anguish. The Mrs tried to entice them inside, but the impetus was upon my shoulders to stomp my feet and lead the troops inside. Every thundering step sent a blinding spear of searing pain up through my right eye and into my frontal lobe. Thank you God for imbibing the children with a cooperative spirit this night. Once they were secured in their restraining chairs for dinner, I slunk up to the master suite and lolled about until sleep finally claimed me in her numbing embrace.

    I woke at 0515 to hear Alexis chirping her usual 'I'm awake now, come get me.' song. As soon as I was sure that the Migraine from Hell had left me, I warmed up the milk and brought her in to the master suite. Jacob had not shaken off the mantle of sleep yet, so I let him be. As soon as I finished tending to the Hounds, I came back to the two lovely ladies and snuggled up to them in the warmth of their love ... and the heated waterbed. Running about the house in your underwear when it is below 60 F can be a challenge. Alexis and the Wife just laid there, chattering to each other and exchanging butterfly kisses. While I was letting the Hounds out, I heard on the radio that the Yankees had managed to loose the final game of the series to the Sox, thus becoming yet another entry in the record books. They won the first 3 and lost the last 4 ... how embarrassing. The Mrs was disappointed, but like Yogi Berra would say "We made too many wrong mistakes." (On why NY lost the 1960 series to Pittsburgh).

    Karma owed me for my suffering, thus traffic was light and I got to work at 0730. On the way in, I heard Oh Fortuna from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana on WITF (not WITR) just before the 0715 Susalarm March Time. I was trying to explain to my co-workers what the song was like, but quickly learned that the co-workers in question are unsophisticated cretins. Children of artless grace and simple pleasures. They thought that Oh Fortuna was either Canned Tuna or Oh Suzzana. Either way, only one of my fellow wage-slaves got it, C*, and commented on it in any extent. Whatever.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2004



    Yesterday, I had to fill up the SuperSaturn at 2.02$/gal. There is an independent gas station near the Child Detainment Center that is primarily a car wash so the price is typically lower. Having to spend 20$ on a weeks worth of gasoline in painful. I recall the good old days of .75$ gas. That was when I had to fill up a couple of times a week in my POS Ford Taurus that I drove to Delaware every day. Man, I have to get one of the hybrid cars that can go 60 miles on the battery before falling back on gasoline. Since my commute is a measly 30 miles, I could easily make the 30x2x5 mark without burning much gasoline. How do you like them apples OPEC?

    When I brought the kids home, it was still quite wet from the previous rain shower. Enough so that I was not even going to consider letting the Dynamic Duo go play in the sand pit. Never the less, Alexis chanted her 'Go to playground.' mantra when we got home and became quite upset when I explained to her that it was too wet and we had to stay inside. That dog did not hunt for her. I fought against her unbending will to get her inside and in her restraining chair. Once she finally acknowledged that she had lost this battle, she settled in and ate her dinner. Jacob is a bit more understanding about the whole thing, and is much easier to distract with his train book. He is so much easier to work with these days, looks like we are in the middle of another personality shift phase.

    I had to do a few things around the house to maintain my manly-husbandly position within the organization. Since I could not go outside and chop wood or lift heavy rocks, I figured that I would try to do something about the drain in the master bath. The water in the shower was backing up a bit. I'm not a big fan of wading in my own filth and when it backs up that , the tiles tend to get dirty quite a bit faster than usual. I've pretty much resigned myself to the thought that just dumping some draino into the mess will probably not do the job, but I might as well give it a shot. As I kneel down on my bad knee to get a better shot at hitting the target, I feel a brand new kind of pain. I'm now oblivious to the old ache that I acquired from smashing my shin into the ladder after falling 20 stories from the top of the South Tower. This is a sharp, piercing pain and I immediately know where it came from. A few days back, I was chopping wood (surprise?) and I had slipped on some bark that had been knocked loose through my efforts. I went down hard on my knees and hands, which resulted in a good share of cursing as I dusted the grime and such off. I did not notice at the time that a fairly substantial sliver of wood managed to penetrate my black kevlar steel belted jeans and worm itself into my left kneecap. The end had snapped off with my dusting efforts. I did not realize that I had a foreign body in my system until I put sufficient pressure on it. After I finished routing about the shower drain, I went about routing about and draining my knee. I wont go into gory detail, but '*/?@^&%#*OUCH!' should be explicit enough to boot-strap your imagination. It still hurts today and I imaging it will hurt pretty much the same tomorrow.

    The Lovely Mrs MDMHVONPA came to bed late, and I got up a bit late. 'Nuff said about that. She was obviously tired and did not wake until I had already showered and tended to the Hounds. Once the children had their fill, I began to change them. The Mrs had come out of the master bath and started on Jacob. Much to her chagrin, he had managed to exceed the liquid capacity of his diaper and required a clothing change as well. I'm not really sure where all this fluid is coming from because it seems as though the total volume is in excess of his body. Some sort of dimensional rift must have formed in his bladder that is taking water from some alternate reality world (See the flop Water World) and diverting it's content to ours. How does that Occam's Razor Postulate go? "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" or "plurality should not be posited without necessity." In laymans terms, use the simplest explanation. He peed a lot.

    Had lunch with the boss lady today ... and as usual, nothing of consequence was discussed. Location:Shangrila Menu: crispy eel sushi, miso soup, soba noodles with peanut sauce, hot tea End Result: I'm full.


    Next car

    Hmmmm, I want this for Christmas. Why? This is why ... dammit.


    Slow day

    Blogging will be slow today .. well, because nothing much is happening. And my head hurts. And my feet are tingly ... and I'm in a foul mood.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2004


    Heh, who would have guessed

    I looks like Arnold is working his way into being Ronald Reagan Pt2 for California. Check it out over at WOC I think that the censored quote at the bottom is interesting, but would prefer something bold from one of the Conan flicks.



    Did the usual thing last night. Pick up dog poop in the yard. Play with kids in the sand pit. Start them on dinner until the (mostly punctual) Wife comes home. Go chop wood. Play, bath, bed for the kids. The one thing out of the ordinary is that I got to catch the Part II of the Farscape mini-series. Fantabulistic. Standard colossal clash of civilizations. Back-stabbing galore, some good guys win, some die, all the bad guys get their just deserts. They went into great efforts to make sure to wrap up most of the major loose ends and really left no logical means by which to continue the series. The only conduit would be the son and I can pretty much guarantee that it would be as disappointing as the short lived Children of Dune disaster. Oh well, its good to go out on top I suppose. I can only hope they don't try something stupid like 'Son of Sun'. < shudder >

    I went out to close my car windows last night and obviously did not manage to do that correctly. That may have been the root cause of my inability to get a restful sleep last night. That latent thought, grinding away in the back of my mind. It was raining pretty good when I got up and the window that I had not closed all the way was the driver's side. Thusly, the seat was saturated and required two towels to keep the seeping moisture from finding its way to my rear end. To make things that much more pleasant, the insurgent Sebastian Raindrop and Friends made sure traffic on the tpk was completely log-jammed. I don't think I got over 40mph the whole time. Total Slow-Laneville the whole time. The Mrs had an even worse time. She was getting all dolled up for a big 'Face-to-Face' meeting today with some big-wig suit in the corporate ladder. Jacob, to his credit, had the worst diaper blow-out to date. Total record setter. EVERY thing from shoes to shirt had to be changed. Nothing like digging elbow deep into a diaper first thing in the morning. At least the rest of the day cannot be much worse. Hat-tip to the Wife for keeping it together.

    Monday, October 18, 2004


    Start the week with a bang

    I planned to take the morning off today, that makes it a pretty good Monday morning. The carpet guys are supposed to show up some time between 0730 and 0830 so even though I had waken up at 0500, I sleep in till 0630 but still have time to spare. Jacob had woken up at 0500 and the wife wobbled off to sleep with him on the futon for an hour or so. We are not sure why he does this, and we are aware that we are reinforcing the behavior by caving in to his demands, but once we get the other room ready and separate them, the whole baby monitor thing will come to an end. 'Bout time, they are getting a little too old for that business.

    The reason I'm staying home this morning is so that I can be available for the Carpeting Guys to come and install the runners. The fabled stair and hall runners will finally make their final leg into our grand Manor and be pressed into history. The ETA is some time between 0730 and 0830 ... they arrive at 0820 only because I head outside and see a tan van slowly circling the access street. This is either a terrorist van packed with explosives, nukes and bad english or the carpet guys. I take the risk and make my way down to them to acknowledge that this is the place they are looking for. The van does not blow up, but pulls over to the side of the street. Small victories. Jeff and his cohort pile out of the van and introduce themselves as the guys who Frank sent to install the runners. I escort them in through the main portcullis and into the Manor. The minute one of them spoke, the Happy Hounds became concerned and immediately started to bark and skitter about the tile floors. No amount of coaxing and stern warnings would quiet them down. I eventually let them out back so that they could tear up the lawn and harass each other instead of annoying everyone in the house. Jeff and co made short work of the runners and were out of there within an hour. All the while, bang-bang-bang with the staple hammer. The end results are masterful and aesthetically pleasing. Quite a bit less than the original estimate of four hours! I guess it was a Scotty swag. I toyed with going to work, but since it was already 0930, I might as well stay home and get some stuff done. My company has a peculiar time-off policy. You must take vacation/sick time in four hour increments and if you work less than a four hour block, it comes out of your vacation. Soooo, if I work 7 hours, it would count as 4 hours of work and 4 hours of vacation. Same as if I only worked 3 hours : 8 hours of vacation. Bogus? You bet. Here is the kicker, we still bill the customer for that time ... net profit for my company. Bastards. Of course, we all cook the books a bit. If I'm short an hour one day, I'll make it up over the rest of the week. As long as we don't put it on paper, it's frowned upon but not discouraged. The pay is good and I get 4 weeks of vacation, one week of sick time, 2 personal holidays and all the other usual company holidays. No complaints.

    On my mini-vacation, I pretty much did a bunch of stuff about the house. Laundry, scrub shower, clean up kitchen table, wash dishes (twice), take out trash, recycling, distribute toilet paper to various locations in the Manor. Mostly lots of laundry. I tried to fold as much of my own stuff while laying out the Wifes things. Some of her more dainty articles are a mystery to me. How do you fold those things? She never liked the way I folded the laundry and usually ends up refolding it anyways. Personally, I really don't care how my underwear is squared away. Origami it is not. As soon as the micro-vacation started, it is over. I bring in the hounds and lock them down at 1130 and get on the road. The traffic is predictably light, but since I am not familiar with the state police that patrol at this hour, I take it easy and stay below the speed of sound. Work is dull, just some miscommunication on some orders that needed explaining. How to spread that over four hours was the challenge. Perhaps, there will be adventure to be had on Tuesday.

    Sunday, October 17, 2004


    weekend is bust

    On Sunday, we eventually said our good-byes to our guests and Alexis did her usual "Please don't go!" fit. She hates it when people leave, you have to sneak away, under cover of darkness or she will become very upset about your abandonment. She will be checking the guest room for the next few days to see if they are still around before she gives up on them. Shortly thereafter, we put the kids down for their afternoon nap. More for our well being than theirs. I was going to rinse off some of the grime and sweat from chopping wood and the Mrs was going out shopping while they napped. The Wife and I were in the middle of gazing deeply into each others eyes when the phone rang. It was our former guests. I thought that they had forgotten something like the last time they were here (they left the keys to their condo behind). It was not that innocuous. They had missed the exit to the turnpike from Rt 1 and in the process of turning around, they had gotten a flat tire in a very dangerous place. The Wife is steadfast in not driving on Rt 1 because it is so hazardous so she implored them not to do anything. She would send me out with my AAA card and we would get someone else to come out and do it. The wife sends me out on a mission. A fools mission as it turns out. I thought that I could probably just get the can of fix-a-flat from my trunk and send them on their way. It was not to be so. I found them eventually on the southbound lanes of Rt 1 about 1.5 miles north of the turnpike. And it was the most dangerous place they could have found. Just on the other side of the hill in an area where the slow lane averages 65-70 mph. The sides of the road are littered with various car parts, shattered glass and remnants of previous vehicular misadventures. When I circled around and pulled over in front of them, I saw the extent of damage to the tire was beyond hope. It was shredded so badly that it had nearly come off the wheel. Further inspection revealed that all but one of the lug-nuts had been removed ... a locking nut. Now this was an after market locking nut and an exhaustive search of the car did not turn up the key that would allow us to remove it. Our hope rested on the inbound AAA fellow that he had the necessary tools to rectify the situation. We were disappointed when he took one look at it and shook his head. This was not like any locking nut he had ever seen and it did not match any of the keys he had. We would have to wait another 45 minutes for a flat bed tow to come and take the car to a local garage. Our frantic calls to the car's owner, my cousin-in-law, were to no avail. He maintained that the key was in the trunk ... or the glove compartment ... or 'you should have checked first'. Heh. The most frustrating angle of this whole episode is that this was the ONLY wheel with the locking nut on it. Murphy, you heartless bastard.

    Once the Flat Bed arrived, we got everything all put together again and started off towards the Neshaminy Mall where Sears had an Automotive Shop that just might do the trick. I rode int he tow truck with the car while my in-laws drove my Super Saturn behind us. The trip to the mall was short and as I arrived, I got a call on my cell phone. It was the in-laws who were no-where to be seen. They could not get my car started. It looks like the time we spent with the emergency lights, head-lights and radio on had drained the battery to a point where there was not enough juice left to turn it over. ARGH! I have the portable battery booster in the trunk, but did not think that it would be a good idea to tell them to use it. I would have to call the wife and have her meet me at the garage so I could drive over to them on Rt 1 to start my car for them. Since the wife will not drive on Rt 1 (I can't blame her for that), I would have to wait for her to arrive at Sears AFTER she wake the twins up, lock down the Hounds and put the kids in the Family Tank. After I had gotten all that arranged, the Sears mechanic comes up to me to inform me that he can't take the lock off, he doesn't have the right key. I doubt this because it is a shop manager saying this and I know that they want to cut out early. They barely looked at the nut. Fortunately, the AAA driver is still there and I negotiate a deal that he would take me to the local Pep Boys shop that he know will do the work for us. This guy is getting a tip. Damn decent of him to give us a break. I guess my easy-going conversation with him on the way to the shop and my obviously grungy appearance gave him the idea that I was a hard-working blue collar type of guy who could use a break. The tow ended up costing an extra 6 dollars, chump change. I gave him 10 and called it even. I called the wife and gave her the new coordinates for the rendezvous point. She will drive on Street Road where this shop is located so she does not hesitate at all. I run into the store and wait in line to ask to get the tire changed. Explaining in great detail about the problem with the lock, they indicate that it is a rough job and they might not be able to do it. They will do their best, but if they can't get the lock off, they may have to snap off the bolt and replace the wheel with only 4 of the 5 bolts remaining. I didn't see a problem with this since I knew that the car is currently running with only 3 of the 5 lug-nuts on each wheel. It looks like last time the car had it's tires rotated, the person responsible never put the 2 original locking nuts for each wheel back in place. The Mrs arrives about 15-20 minutes later and we swap missions. She watches over the car while I go rescue the abandoned/stranded travelers. It takes about 15 minutes to get there and about 45 seconds to get the car started. I love my portable battery. Mike looks on with great interest indicating that he could probably have done that, I acknowledge that point but also know in the back of my mind, that his new wife would never forgive me if he had electrocuted himself. With Karen in the Family Tank with the kids and Mike in the Super Saturn, we head back to Pep Boys. When I arrive, they have just gotten the car into the garage. Since there is no reason for the Women and Children to be here, they go off to a Crap ... err, Craft Store and do some shopping while Mike and I watch the awfully lopsided Eagles-Panthers game on the grainy color television in the waiting room. I watch with disinterest as the clock ticks down ... Mike's Fantasy Football team had some link to the Green Bay Packers game which they lost. This is not his day. Every so often, I see the mechanic I talked to about the problem run back and forth with a pneumatic drill in his hand. I hear the tell-tale rat-a-tat-tat and grinding noise of each mis-match. I was sure that he was going to come back any moment with the bad news ... and then I look up to see the tire coming off the car. SUCCESS! It looks like Mike is not going to spend the night after all. They slap on the replacement tire and throw on a new lug nut to replace the one they had just taken off, destroying it in the process. Good. Damn thing is no good if the owner can't even take it off. In the end, the tire change cost 10.60$ with the additional 10$ that I did not tell them about. In gratitude for saving their butts, they volunteer to take us out to dinner. We meet up with the Ladies and Well Behaved Children and head off to a restaurant called 'Nifty Fifties'. Every time I drive by the place, I say to whoever is in the car, 'We should stop there sometime.' ... and then we never do. Finally, we are not heading anywhere else and we are very hungry. Its very clean and has a pretty limited menu. Hot dogs, burgers, fried everything and malted shakes. Works for me. I order a couple of boats of fries for the kids and two bacon wrapped hot dogs with cheese wiz. The buns are fried in butter. My heart nearly stops cold as I order it. There are crayons and paper for the kids and they are entirely too busy coloring to be a problem. They can't get enough of the malted shakes either. The evening is turning out pretty nicely. After we finish dinner, I escort our way-ward guest to the gates of the turnpike before cutting the cord. With a honk and a wave, we part ways and I head off to the Manor. As I pull in through the security gates and up the grand causeway, I notice that the Family Tank is not in the car-port yet. They should have been here for at least 15 minutes ... not good. I call the Mrs and find that she has stopped to refuel at the local Hess station ... Good enough, relief washes over me. Rule of 3 has been broken. Since I did not bring the security card and password generator to get into the Manor, I head out back to split wood until the Mrs gets back. I do a pretty good job on the smaller rounds and get enough split to build a couple of stacks. As soon as she dis-arms the anti-personal devices in the Manor, I head in and release the Hounds. We put the kids in the wing with all their toys and I head out to chop more wood. A couple more stacks and back inside I go to help put the kids in the bath and to bed. A quick communique with the parental units and the evening is done. It's a good thing that tomorrow is Monday, I don't think I could do another day off this weekend.

    Saturday, October 16, 2004


    weekend or bust

    Friday night was a mess. The rain had managed to force it's will upon the unsuspecting motorists. The roads in King of Prussia were particularly congested. There was a backup on 202 North and 76 West and 276 East that all just ran together. All of the roads that I take to get home. What is normally a 30-45 minute trip took 1.75 hours. Nice. I got home just in time to let the dogs out and then turn right around and go pick up the kids ... in the rain. The Dynamic Duo were none too pleased that they were not allowed to go outside and play on the Twin Towers. So we sang "Rain-Rain Go Away...". That seemed to appease them. For some reason had a really good appetite tonight ... the meatballs we got from the larder seems to appeal to them these days. More protein for their genetically engineered bodies and brains so that they grow up to be the GRWC World Domination Leaders they are meant to be.

    While I spent time with the family (instead of chopping wood), we practiced colors with Alexis, the Queen of Shriek. She must have been playing me earlier because the colors we show her get correctly identified about 80% of the time. The Purple and Blue are tough to distinguish unless I show them to her together. I can't blame her, I'm sure it is Barney's fault, that Godless communist shill. Her command of verbal skills and conceptual thought is fairly impressive to me, but hey, I'm biased. After we sent the kids to bed, the Wife stayed up a bit longer than I did. I really can't remember when she came to bed, but her time is pretty much allocated to preparing the wedding nick-nacks for her cousin's Chinese Banquet. They are expecting 550 people, and you know more than that will show up. This is the doing of her Grandparents and I am so grateful that Grandma decided to show her popularity with this granddaughter and not with Mrs MDMHVONPA. I guess grandma knows how to pick her battles and the battle of wills with the Wife would not have gone too well. They both are pretty stubborn and this is coming from a pig-headed arrogant male who cowers at the though of pissing off the Mrs. (To the Wife: I love you for this Snuggle-Buns.:) )

    The kids slept in a bit, much to our relief. They were wide awake at 0715 while we were very blurry eyed and not quite cognizant of our surroundings. We fed them and then provided soft targets for them by laying on the floor and letting them jump on our heads while we tried to sleep. The Mrs got tired of the charade quicker than I and took them into the kitchen for breakfast while I dozed off for an hour or so. Forcibly woken from my blissful slumber, I got up to see what needed to be done on this 48 hour weekend of work. First things first, kick Katie out of the garden, because she knows better than to be in there. Next, chop wood. Chop-chop-chop. Help the Mrs feed the kids ... chop some more wood. Chop-chop-chop ... hack-hack POUND with the sledge. Urg. Wife goes out shopping, take a break ... lie down, fall asleep. Well, that was not planned. The Rip Van Winkle act was not planned, but it sure was appreciated. The Wife came back to the Manor and had the decency not to wake me ... mostly. Eventually, I did have to get moving again, but the few hours I did spend napping was pure nirvana. A desperately needed nirvana. Refreshed, I spend time with the kids and wife while we await the eventual arrival of the newly married inlaws.

    Since the rain had started up again, I made note of that fact that it was steadily growing in intensity. Typically, it would either become a soppy snow or hail in this type of cold weather. Sure enough, it soon became hail. Not the basket-ball size stuff you hear of in the Mid-west. It was the pea sized variety that immediately shattered and melted when it make contact. Nice to know that we don't have to suffer that environmental catastrophe here in Pennsyltucky. After the hail and rain let up, I started to prep the grill for when our guests would arrive. It's STEAK tonight! I'm cooking up 3 filet mignons, 2 rib-eyes and 1 porterhouse so there should be more than enough to go around. They arrive eventually and Mike is more than happy to assist me in destroying the abundance of red meat along with six of my premium beers.

    The children enjoyed having new targets to practice on and endeared themselves by addressing the inlaws by their names ... so cute, so adorable, so manipulative. We eventually put the Machiavellian Munchkins to bed and conduct adult conversations where the nouns and pronouns do not need suffixes like "Horsey" or "Mikey". Scientific fact: Children destroy your grammar and vocabulary. I hit the sack at 0100 and know that I will pay for it the next morning at 0500 ... the Wife however is betting on the wrong horse. She stays up with Karen till 0400 working on party favors and other paraphernalia. As I predicted the kids wake up at 0530 and we ignore them until 0600. We lay about and play with the kids until Karen finally wakes up and I run outside to ... ummm, chop wood. Seeing any pattern here?

    Friday, October 15, 2004


    $2.02 USD/Gal

    Take a look at these listings and remember that 1 US gallon = 3.7854118 liters. The price is in the description as dollars/liter. These data points were collected some time ago.


    The last yard

    The wife got home early last night, I guess work was a drag for her too. It was a pretty mundane evening. It was raining still so I didn't go outside to inspire my legions of uncompensated workers to chop wood. Instead, I spent time with the family and recover a bit from all the physical abuse I've been heaping on myself. After we put the Extraordinarily Enchanting Cherubs to bed, the Mrs and I did the snuggle/cuddle/etc thing and slowly drifted off into an blissful slumber ... more or less. And of course, we were up at 5:30-6:15 to finish off the week. We currently have nothing planned for the weekend so it is my greatest hope that I can actually get something accomplished. Like the last of the wood-work on the upper floors, that would be nice. Since we have will finally have the runners for the grand staircase installed on Monday morning, I especially keen on getting that finished up.



    Lizzie Edwards responded on ABC radio to Lynn Cheney's comment about Kerry being a 'Bad Man':

    She's [Lynne Cheney]overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs… I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences… It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."

    I'm sure she would have responded in kind if her children were attacked, with the full support of the legions of Right-Haters all screeching 'HOMOPHOBE'.

    Thursday, October 14, 2004


    Best Debate Quote

    "You know, he talks to the workers. Let me talk to the workers. You've got more money in your pocket as a result of the tax relief we passed and he opposed. If you have a child, you got a $1,000 child credit. That's money in your pocket. If you're married, we reduced the marriage penalty. The code ought to encourage marriage, not discourage marriage. We created a 10 percent bracket to help lower-income Americans. A family of four making $40,000 received about $1,700 in tax relief. It's your money. The way my opponent talks, he said, "We're going to spend the government's money." No, we're spending your money. And when you have more money in your pocket, you're able to better afford things you want. I believe the role of government is to stand side by side with our citizens to help them realize their dreams, not tell citizens how to live their lives." George W Bush


    Landslide victory

    Some may know that I'm a Registered Republican ... with mostly Libertarian/Jacksonian views. Given that, I am praying that whoever wins the election does so with an incontestable landslide. There has already been enough vitriol and pre-election violence to indicate that if things come down to a thin margin, there is going to be hell to pay. The lawsuits will be filed within minutes of the results for each state and given that it will involve a Supreme Court Ruling, you know there will be small scale riots. The last thing I need is Jimmy Carter saying "I told you so!".


    Rainy morning

    I decided to pick up kids early since I got a call from the Ever Busy Wife that she was at Acme picking up the baby wipes, early being 1700 instead of 1730. Well, at least that is what I thought I heard. What she really said was that she was leaving work to go pick up the baby wipes at Acme. Not the same thing. She did eventually arrive at the Haupertonian International HQ and Manor at 1830. Long after we had finished our extended play time and were well into dinner time. At the beginning of dinner, I had loaded up the twins' plates with their various favorites and ran out to knock a couple of pieces of wood apart. After getting a couple of pieces of wood split off, I would run them up to the winter wood pile and then run into the house to check on the kids. I did this several times with sweat running down my brow an dripping off my substantial proboscis. They seemed pleased with the meal and had done a fairly good job at polishing their plates by the time Mommy got home. Jacob was being his usual interesting self. He would sit there reading his Thomas Tank Engine catalog, periodically shifting it to the side to see what was on television for a moment, then taking a little bite of the fish sticks and returning to his involved reading. He was almost mimicking the behaviors I had seen in my grandparents in their lounge chairs. It was uncommonly amusing.

    I spent an hour or so chopping wood. Some of the larger rounds are nearly impossible to penetrate. There are so many knots and burls in them such that the maul just sinks into the wood without starting a reasonable crack. I end up having to take the wedge and pound it in with the 200lb sledge hammer. There are some pieces that I think I will need to rent a gas powered splitter to break them down with. After some frustration when the wedge is fully involved in a round, I go for softer targets and split some of the smaller rounds. Two more stacks are built on the winter pile and I call it a night. I learned my lesson from last winter and have brought out the tarp to cover the wood this time. Trying to start a fire with wood encased in snow and ice is no simple task. Ounce of prevention and all, ya know. My shoulders are starting to ache and I've got a blister on my thumb now. Good thing it is going to rain so that I can get a break from this for a bit.

    Once the Unbearably Adorable Twins are bathed and put to bed, the Wife heads out to do some shopping. As it turns out, the sale on baby wipes is over TODAY and she needs to get to the other Acme to buy up their stock. After she leaves, I sit down to write a bit of my blog and read a bit more, but find my flagging energy level is not up to it and crawl into bed early. An hour or so later, the wife calls to let me know that she is pulling into the driveway. Out of the bed I stumble to calm the dogs. They get pretty riled up when someone enters the Manor unexpectedly. That pretty much means anytime after 0700 hours, they are guaranteed to bark and skitter across the floor to see who the hell is intruding at such a later hour. I usually escort them outside so they can watch the Wife maneuver the Family Tank up the Grand Fairway to the car-port. It eases their watchful and suspicious minds. Its good to have such paranoid guards, but it wakes the kids and that is something that I would prefer not to have to deal with.

    Since I went to bed early, it is a matter of course that Jacob the Jovial Joker should wake up in the middle of the night, about 0300 hours I think. The Wife likes to handle this problem because all it involves is putting him on the futon and snuggling with him as he sleeps. She is into that, my fat rear wont fit comfortably on the futon with him. She came back to bed an hour later and we ended up sleeping to well beyond our normal time to wake. It of course, was raining outside so I can blame Sebastian the Raindrop for this insurgency. Since we woke at 0730, traffic on the local roads would only be that much worse. Once we got underway, my predictions of traffic mayhem were proven correct. Philly roads: Just add water and POOF Instant Asshole. I'll stick to my guns and stay in the slow lane, thnx. Got to work at 0930 ... and much to my surprise, not many other people had arrived yet. Heh, same problem I imagine. Since I got to work late and have no plans on staying for my full eight, I will be going out to lunch for the Dollar Pint Thursday at Rock Bottom. Might as well just write off today in full.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004



    The people who did the dirty work here are the the same ones running around with bombs and knives. Imagine these animals living next door and tell me that we could reason with them. Just reading this makes my good eye twitch.
    A US-led team of investigators working in northern Iraq has discovered a mass grave containing hundreds of bodies, including that of an infant with a gunshot to the back of the head.
    The skeletons of foetuses, children clutching toys and men apparently killed by machine-gun fire were amongst the dead found in nine trenches in a dry riverbed in the village of Hatra.



    Not much on my mind today except for the loads of house work and chores that are not getting done. Yesterday, I went through the standard post-work routine. It is pretty much the same Mon-Fri.

  • Make the kids a five course dinner

  • Pick up kids from the Child Reeducation and Internment Camp

  • Play on the Twin Towers/AA Defense Installation till Mommy comes home

  • Chop wood till it is either too dark to see or I lop off a limb

  • Shower/rinse the grime off

  • Play with the kids till 2000 hours

  • Draw bath/bathe children

  • Feed them a night-time bottle

  • Put them to bed by 2100

  • Let dogs out to pee

  • Then we have a few hours to ourselves so we can get a few things done about the house. Laundry, eat dinner, maybe some tube time. We can't do anything too noisy like vacuum, work in the garage or nail down wood-work in the hallway. Even if we were free to undertake such activities, we would be much too exhausted to effectively do them correctly. I am almost to the point where I think that convincing the Mrs that we need to hire a Maid or something for a few days, just to help us get caught up. It makes me feel a bit of a failure for not being able to manage our simple plot of dirt with a home on it. Maybe a few days off or a few half days during the work-week to catch up would be enough. Its good that winter is coming, less yard work.

    Getting going this morning was interesting. I woke up early at 0515 to the sounds of Jacob's complaints. I laid there for a bit hoping that he would go back to sleep, but that was not in the cards today. We got the milk ready and then brought the kids in and just kinda lied about and played till 0615. It was semi-cognizant and hazy, but they were happy to flop about on the bed as the Wife and I provided our prone bodies to be guard rails on the sides. The trip to work this morning started out as an exercise in why you should get a full 8 hours or sleep. First off, I felt a kind of rumbling vibration as I drove down the local roads to the turnpike entrance. It did not take me long to figure out that I had left the emergency break on. OOftah! That cant be good for the car. Further down the road, I look at the console and see that I am low on gasoline. I got 275 miles out of this tank and know that I can only count on 330 tops. I kind of like having to stop for gas in the mornings. The traffic leading to the last turn on 611 south is usually backed up for a mile and that will mean that 4 or 5 light changes will go by before I even get close enough to see the damn signal. Except when I need gas. I will get into the right hand lane and pass all those angsty motorists in seconds, moving to about 1 or 2 cars from the light and then zipping across the street to the gas station when the light is green. It takes no time at all to pump 10 gallons into the Super Saturn (DAMN! 2.02$/gal now?) and then jump onto 611. I can avoid a good 15-20 minute wait that way. Similarly, if I stick to the right hand lane on the turnpike between my interchange and the next one, I can count on passing all the trucks and cars that just passed me moments ago and saving another 10-15 minutes. Patience grasshopper. Its a good way to start the day.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004


    Tired already

    I was up late ... again. Had to watch a useless mind-numbing movie that kept me up till midnight. Stupid. Then the alarm goes off at 0500, and 0515 ... and on, and on till I finally get up at 0630. WHY! Why am I compelled to watch this tripe on television. Gha, time to move the remote to the Mrs's side of the bed. Alexis had the right idea and slept in till about 0700 when I was finished with various morning tasks. Since we were away this weekend, the laundry didn't get done (meaning that I did not do it) and I had to wear Blue Jeans instead of my usual work-day black ones. Hell just froze over, did you hear it? No? After digging up some pants to wear, I got Alexis up and started. She left her puppies behind, but later went back to get them. Oh well, the Wife will have to deal with that later. I got my timesheet done for my gracious employer and got underway. Late, but still getting to work by 0800 ... Notice problems with Skymall Evil Spongebob orders and adjust. I suppose the only variation in my day at this point will be what part of my battered body is hurting or acting up. Stupid eye twitch is annoying and my foot hurts (cause you hit it, you fool). Nothing to complain about, nothing too strenuous. Fine, blog away. I did do a bit of testing on this god-awful MarketWorks/DealHaven inventory feed test. It is a wretched task. Every test I run has a 20 minute query in it and I just have to sit there and wait. This is the improved query in test, I fear the performance issues that we will see in production. The other joy of this task is the lack of source control, which means that my changes to facilitate testing get overwritten on a regular basis, thus blowing my test out of the water. I learn this after waiting 20-30 minutes for the queries to finish. Gnashing of teeth and pained wails issue forth from my isolation chamber. Oh well, I get paid the same weather or not I enjoy the work.

    Monday, October 11, 2004


    So turns the grist mill

    It's Monday. Its 0630. I'm awake. Ok, I'm mostly awake, at least my body is moving about and my mind is keeping most of my person free of the various obstructions. I feel a break-down coming up on me, I feel it in my bones. More accurately, I feel it in my leg bones and the big hard one atop my shoulders. I waddle into the Child Detention Center to find the Excruciatingly Adorable Twins jumping up and down in their cribs yelling "DADDY-DADDY-DADDY!". Well, at least someone in the house is still a morning person ... without coffee. I spring Jacob, set him on the floor and he takes off to go harass mommy. Alexis sees me coming for her and starts to gather up all the necessities. Blankie, Puppy I, Puppy II, Pacifiers and Minni Mouse. Jeeze, I can see how she takes after the Mrs already. She has more stuff to bring along with her for a 1 hour trip than I bring to work for the day. Of course, I would love to bring a stuffed animal and a blanket to work for a nap. Maybe she has the right idea.

    I get to work by 0800 ... barely. It is a national holiday so there is a noticeable drop in traffic. Even the usual bottleneck areas are less of a catastrophe than usual. Then again, the people who get this particular day off are Banker types and Govt workers ... do they commute at the same time I do? Something to ponder for the day other than the impending election/civil war ... in America, not Afghanistan. I do the typical Monday Morning thing with my co-workers as I regale them with the tales of tribulation and triumph from the weekend. As usual, they proffer their condolences and elicit comments about their mighty accomplishments over the weekend. Sure, its is a mundane and most likely pointless exercise. Hey, it at least makes me think I have caring comrades at work.

    Work is a bummer, it is mostly tripe about a new app server needed for the new B2B JAR for the MarketWorks tender type of PayPal. Ghaaa, interacting with humans ... what a pain. For the most part, I spend my valuable time diddling with this blog and keeping updated on world events. I find that with the Twins, they would rather do things for themselves these days rather than being spoon-fed what I feel is right for them. Its the same way for me with news. Let me decide what is important and what can be left out. Too many filters between me and the facts can really distort my world view and that is not something I appreciate. Especially when the distortion is leaning in a direction that I would rather not go.

    Had a talk with the carpet guys today ... someone will contact me this week when it arrives. Harry, Lou, Mark, Frank and Rob are on my list. Either they deliver, or they will get an unpleasant visit when I unleash the dogs and kids in their warehouse. When Alexander went through Turkey and said "No stone shall remain upon another." about a city of Greek traitors who fled to the backwaters of Persia to re-settle. That's what they will get. Smoking rubble. Well, probably not.

    Home duties abound. Take out trash and recycling. Take care of the bin full of rotten/liquid tomatoes in the fridge. Get dinner ready. Blah-blah-blah. Let kids play after I pick them up. It's all good. I did have to play a little trick on Alexis. The day-care professionals told me she had a melt-down when they took her new puppy away. They didn't want it to get dirty outside and she was not to interested in giving it up. When she was playing at home, she was not going to surrender it. I had her set it on the stone-block wall where she could see it and she would come back every few minutes to check on it and pet it. Eventually, she picked it up and ran to the top of her tower. I just asked if I could hold it for her while she slid down the slide. While she was busy with that, I put it above her field of vision and she forgot all about it. I should be a politician. In addition to learning of Alexis's fondness for Puppy II, I've also learned that they have an affinity for Swedish MeatBalls again ... I guess that the Mrs will be making a run to BJ's soon.

    As a final act of destructive capabilities, I went out to chop wood forgetting that the maul with a loose head is very dangerous. You can probably guess it, but I managed to slam the head down on the bridge of my foot. I was certain that it would hurt a lot more than it did, but I suppose the pressure from boot kept the swelling down. While I had the boot on. Once I took the boot off, it hurt like a SOB. I got fed up with this kind of nonsense and found a nice wood wedge and a few pieces of metal to secure this thing once and for all. It seems to be holding, but all hammering actions will be conducted with the sledge hammer from now on. Ya fool idjit! I spend the rest of the night stacking some wood that my neighbor across the street had set out on the curb. If he is not going to use it, I certainly can. I get 3 good stacks out of it. I need to get the wood set up and covered next to the house ASAP, winter is coming and I have a really bad feeling about the natural gas prices this year.

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