Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Well, managed to get to work by 7:45. Just in time to pretty much spend the whole day with my new QA Person. This poor lady does not know what she is in store for. I think I will declare today as the official "Mess With The QA Person" Day. Yeah, of course she can make my life so much more miserable than what I can do to her. I must give her some slack though, she has only been here a few weeks now. The task she is doing is one that has only been attempted once before... by me. The feeds group has never had the luxury of having their code shaken down for bugs, and it shows. I was sent a test file from the Skymall folks today and when I tried to run it through the system, the whole thing came crashing down. Why? Because there was one extra comma on each line. Not a very graceful exit condition, but I don't have much control over it. I feel bad for John, my PM. He will get to deal with this over the next week while I'm on yet another vacation. My last piece of work on this is to fix the 'Collateral Catalog' insertion routine. The way I got the system to add in a catalog as a line item does not make me feel very good. I look for every time the order number changes in the file and add in a line number of 101 for the catalog. All I can say about it is that it is done and if some sucker manages to order over 100 different items, then he probably does not need a catalog for more Sponge-Bob stuff. He needs to see a shrink.
I spoke to The Mrs today about the runners for the hallway and grand staircase. I guess a more accurate term would be whined and complained. I really want to get something down to protect the hardwood and my painfully applied sealant. She is doing her best with what limited time she has to find something, anything, that would look decent and handle the traffic. I guess we are finding this process a bit more educational than we had anticipated. The odd size of the hallways and staircase is not making our search much easier. We occasionally break out the tape measure and record our shame by running up and down the hallway. "Three feet wide at this end ... what? 47 inches down there? Wait ... its not three feet in the middle though ..." Our next house will certainly be made from a single concrete slab with no stairs and probably concrete walls ... with iron rebar. The New Haupertionain World Combine Headquarters Compound. I call it my dream bunker, the Mrs calls it my insanity.
I got a little surprise today on my way home from work. The temperature outside was nominally warm, but not so much that if I took it easy, I would not break out into one of my sweat-fests. Once I get started, my body seems determined to purge all fluids out of my body via the pores in my head. Needless to say, I park the car with the windows open a bit and beneath a set of trees that shade the car in the afternoon. This ensures that the hot-box on wheels doesn't melt the plastic strap on my wrist-watch before I can get the AC going. Today, that cycle was not to be repeated ... the ac pumped out hot air for the entire trip. If this kind of disaster had happened in June, you can be certain that the Saturn Limo would be in the shop faster than the sweat would bead on my brow. In this case, I can roll down the windows and hope that the 4x60 (4 windows down at 60mph) will be able to accommodate my cooling needs. I will certainly need to get this looked at though if the weather takes a turn for the warmer any time soon. Perhaps I should think about leaving it at the shop while I'm away on vacation v2.0 next week. Time to call my mechanic and get his bounty/ransom fee ready.
Once the Lovely and Adoring Mrs had finished her carpet/runner foray for the evening, I dropped the dinner activities for the Twin Toddlers of Turpitude in her capable hands and went outside to pound sand. Well, actually shovel sand. I'm getting tired of looking at the same giant pile of sand in the driveway every day. Tracking it into the house, picking it out the laundry ... the fun never ends. I toiled and slaved and hefted and slung. In the end, I thing I got about three of the five remaining tons of sand moved to the Twin Towers construction site in the back 50. If things go well tonight, perhaps I can finish it up and regain the lost acreage on my driveway. If not, it will have to wait till next weekend. I will probably need a few more tons once it is all said and done, there is a 10 foot extension that needs to be put in place for the slide from tower two that will need a lot of fill sand.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Dullish Monday, hyper weekend
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Saturday, August 28, 2004
When we woke to the kids wails this morning, the Mrs and I were not entirely prepared to be awake. The exhaustion that having guests over brings is only multiplied by the demands of the Toddlers of DOOOOOOMMMMM. Once we got the morning bottles, diaper changes and clothing issues out of the way, we all went down to the living room for a spell. The kids ran about a bit, the adults laid out like road-kill on the floor. Soon enough, the opportunity was evident to Jacob and Alexis. They began their usual assault on the prone bodies. This time, however, the Mrs would have no part in this surrender. She nudged me into action and we scooped up the kids on the way to the kitchen. There, we secured them in their confinement seats, gave them breakfast and popped in a Wiggles VCR tape. Back in the livingroom, we laid on the floor at the foot of one of the sofa's and snuggled off into dream land. At least for an hour or so. Occasionally, someone would complain and the Mrs would wander in and try to placate them. Eventually, we gave up and let them back in to play. One of us would wash away the ravages of an unsuccessful slumber while the other would fight a delaying action as cover. Eventually, we had to prod the guests (Paw-paw, Uncle Austin and his new Girl Friend) to get ready for their day-long excursion at the Franklin Mills Outlet Atrocity. That place is another story for another time.
We drop off the in-laws (and potential in-law) at the FMOA at 1000 hours and head off to our first social engagement for the day. This would be a 5th (?) birthday party for Alex, the first son of some work friends of the Mrs. On the way, both Jacob and Alexis nod off. Either I am driving really well or they are really tired. We manage to get there at 1100 hours, just as things are getting started. Alexis is in her usual clingy mood after waking from her short nap. There are strangers afoot and she has no interest in being a social creature. Soon enough though, she comes to her senses and finds that there are food-stuffs about and at a level that she can see/touch. Much delight was had by her as she attempted to touch the sterno and daddy did his best to stop her. Fortunately, she found that the sausages and the mini-pigs in a blanket were much more fulfilling and tasty. Both of the Twins were in total wild-animal mode as they ran about and played with all the new toys. The area for their exploration was significantly limited and relatively child-safe. It made the tracking/monitoring activities simple enough that the pursuit of something to fill my belly a bit less hectic. I actually got to speak to some people as well for a change. It does help if you start the party with two very strong screwdrivers ... heavy on the vodka. Mmmmm, vodka.
go outside near end ... too hot
drive to pool party, get there by 1500
kids attack pool
Alexis gets used to water again, loved it with daddy
Jacob would not stay out of pool
Twins relax on lawn chairs, guess they were tired
Jacob poop in pool ... ick
didn't get to talk to anyone .. again
nap on the way home
me too, almost
pick up fam at 6ish
talk with Elaine a bit .. nice girl
make lamb chops, leftovers
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Things are still going well. I got a last minute bug to work on just before quitting time, so the last hour went quickly. Launched the process just in time to hit the road. After doing the evening toddler routine, I decided to knock down the jungle that my front lawn had become. It was a monumental task given that I had not mowed the lawn in three weeks. With all the rain we got, it was starting to fall over and retain water. That made it that much more difficult. I could manage about two passes before I had to empty the bag. That involved trudging around the side of the manor and all the way back to the Agricultural Sector. I was using the clippings for weed control where the peas used to be. Since the pea season is well past, I had removed the withered stalks. This gave the invasive clover a perfect opening to infest the open ground.
After the closing bath salvo with Jacob and Alexis, the Mrs and I got down to the nitty-gritty. She started contemplating the much-overdue birthday thank-you letters whilst I waded through my pepper harvest. Soo many peppers, so few preparation routines. I decided to bottle 3 jars as sweet/sour/spicy and puree the rest and boil it down. The sweet preparation involved me slicing the peppers into rounds and required me to find the least blemished within the scores of pitted fruit. It was nearly 2330 by the time I finished the task. The puree was pretty simple: toss in food processor, dump in slow-cooker. After some time, I noticed a tingling in my fingers. The first time this happened, I thought I was having a MS attack. That was until I put a finger to my lips. Searing hotness, peeling away my skin. For some reason, the peppers that grow in my neck of the woods have a peculiar trait of being uncommonly potent. Strong enough to be felt through the most callous and leathery hands. Of course, I put my finger to my lips again and spent the next few minutes telling the Mrs how hot it was. Dufus.
This morning was good. Kids got up at about 0600. No blowouts, not overflows, no fevers or un-explained rashes, no additional limbs or bizarre psychic powers. Got garbage to the curb just as the lumbering giant disposal truck rattled up to the end of the mile-long manor causeway. Commute to work was easy. Some congestion, but I never came to a grinding halt. Greeted my fellow zombies at the Alter of Caffeine, Temple of the Coffee gods. Any more mild days like this, I'll have to start putting on a smile in the morning. I guess my intense dislike for my current work assignment has more to do with the old axiom: "Familiarity breeds contempt".
Monday, August 23, 2004
First Monday Blues
Ok,ok, I've been bad and I know it. I promise to fill you all in on my the lengthy period of incognito. I just need to wrap up the mess that has descended upon my life because of my lengthy absence. What can I say, the home-land was calling. All Hail Minnesotica! I will try to make a daily update till all the mysteries have been revealed. I swear!
Much to my dismay, my first day back at work has not measured up to my angst fueled fears. The day started out pretty mildly. We woke to Jacobs pleas for mercy at 5am. His exuberance for swimming yesterday left him with more water in his system than the flimsy little diaper could hope to hold. He was sopping wet. I crept into the Child Detention Cell Block A and extracted him from his Retention Unit. He was pretty excited to see me so I had to hoist the mega-ton toddler and get him to the Master Suite as quickly as possible. Did not want to wake up Alexis. That would certainly spoil her mood for the day. The Mrs and I gave him a bottle, swapped his drenched clothing for some nice dry ones and let him snuggle down into the Mile Wide Water Bed. He was happy for an hour or so. Then, when he started getting antsy, I went out and brought in Alexis while he watched 'Bear in the Big Blue House' on the TV. He was neatly seated on the pillows at the end of the bed, behaving like a little angel ... certainly not his modus operandi.
After the seriously delayed morning routine had finally been wrapped up, I went on my VERY SHORT commute to work. Got going at 7:30am, got there at 8:15. Not too bad, traffic was light and vaguely polite. Things were moving quickly even in the usual trouble spots. The weather was nice so I kept the car windows rolled down. Nice. Not the 16 hour driving marathons of the last two weeks. My lower back is still punishing me for those sins.
I mucked around with the Liz Clairborne Gift wrap project for 4 hours this morning just to prove that they had not fixed the problems on the Amazon side yet. Not very difficult. Hand craft 3 separate XML files to specify the product SKU, the price and inventory. Push them up with three different commands and copy the output to show that the product was set up properly to be 'gift-wrapped'. Then, send up and order and get slammed for trying to do a gift-wrap. Four hours. Heh, nice way to come back from vacation, prove that something is broken. While I was gone, the dba folks were busy beating themselves to death with the sequence things. I could only shake my head in dismay. I could create the three sequences in about 15 minutes. That includes the 10 minutes it takes to type in the file to run that contains the commands. Apparently, it took all day to do this task. They are paying heavily for their own design sins. On top of that, they mis-named the sequences because some-one didn't read the documentation. It was easier to have my code changed to match their errors. Tre funny. I'm spending the last 4 hours looking at this SkyMall project for the Sponge-Bob/Nickelodeon project. More hackerism. <SIGH>
I talked to the Lovely and Exceptional Mrs MDMHVONPA today about the dogs. We are going on yet another vacation in a few weeks. This time, to Hershey park ... the sweetest place on earth. At least the drive will be a fraction of what we did for the Minnesota trip. This time, the dogs are going to the 'Holiday House' kennel at 21$/day. Is that each? I forget. In any event, I'm hoping that this vacation will not take years off my life. It just may be relaxing!
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Back in black
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Even worse, a tremendous percentage of "alternate energy" schemes are either political boondoggles or simply ill-conceived. Just one example, ethanol. Heavily subsidised. Warm fuzzy alternative to oil for the Lefties -- kick the towel-heads in the balls for the Farm Bureau types.
There's only one problem. Growing, harvesting, transporting, fermenting and refining corn into a US gallon of ethanol requires 130,000 btu of energy. The resulting gallon contains only 76,000 btu. Now there's a plan for energy independence.
Pulling oil out of Alberta's Tar Sands is decried as inefficient--it takes about 97 barrels of energy to extract 100 barrels of oil--but an efficiency of +3% beats the snot out of ethanol's -71% efficiency.
I got some kind of 24 hour bug or something yesterday. I was feeling kinda worn down, but it really hit me on the drive home yesterday. Fortunately, I left a bit earlier than normal, around 1530, so the traffic was light. I started to get a bit dizzy and my torso started to ache. Then legs and arms started to go numb. What is up with that! I stayed clear of the wife and kids, hoping not to spread this particular nastiness about the manor. I did help with the bathing, bed time prep and the feeding. Other than that, I was a useless blob of diseased organic matter. I crawled under the covers at about 2100 when then the chills and sweats begin. Ugh, Joyce checked in on me and crammed some kind of pill down my throat. Some time around midnight, the fever finally broke and I tried to get some fitful sleep in my sweat-soaked sheets. Nasty. Weird lucid dreams haunted my restless sleep as I faded in and out of consciousness. Right about 0530, I had enough of the dream committee that was debating the spiritual emptiness of the dark ages and crawled out of bed. Where my sub-conscious mind dredges up this stuff, I fear, is no place for a sane mind. Must have been the fever. I was still feeling pretty rotten, but at least I could feel my extremities and the sweating had stopped. I helped get the Twister Twins up and fed, then let the Hounds of Hell out to wreck the back 50. With all things going smoothly, I got out of the house fairly early and arrived at work by 0645.
I went through my email and found that the Great Lost DBA group had completed the table/index changes at 1845 yesterday. Good grief. I began testing again and almost immediately found that the item table still could not handle the data properly. Add one more element to the unique index please, see you in several hours. Good thing I'm going on vacation tomorrow or I might have come in with an assault rifle and shot up the place. Naw, probably not. I would most likely bitch and moan to anyone who would listen. Since I got in at 0645, I think I will head out during lunch and pick up some poly and a brush from the Local Home Depot Temple. There are two in the King Of Prussia area, both are the same distance from where I am working. I think I'll go to the one with a little hot-dog stand out front and get myself a nice big sausage dog, with everything. Nothing beats these dogs, it is part preparation, mostly ambiance. Something about getting your "Construction Worker's Special" just adds to the taste, I can't explain it. You have to have one yourself to know what I dig so much about this penchants of mine.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
I got up feeling like the underside of an overfed pot-bellied pig trudging through a slew of sawgrass. In other words, not so good. On the upside, Jocose Jacob is feeling much better and has gotten his appetite back to boot. He has finished off his evening and morning bottles with not a drop to spare. He seems more content to sit and watch the television these days instead of trying to mold it into his personal interactive device. That is, by turning it on and off repetitively or amping the volume to ear shattering levels. Alexis, however, still indulges her eminent domain over the television. She does forsake this activity in preference to trying to tickle Jacobs feet in the morning. Way too cute, I suspect it is a diversionary tactic.
I slacked off last night and didn't take care of the basket full of peppers that the Mrs and I harvested last weekend. I certainly need to do some of this tonight or get rid of the produce. It WILL go south in the coming weeks that I am absent. The commute in to work was the standard bumper-sucking love fest. The fun was about to begin as I waded through the slew of mail about the primary key issues from yesterday. Seems as though the people on the DBA side sit around and wait for me to leave the building before they start to ask questions. Questions like: "Is it ok to drop the table with test data in it? I cant help you if I cant drop the table." Ok, well, duh! Drop the TEST TABLE WITH TEST DATA. Moron. But wait, it gets better. The 'natural keys' they imposed on the table are unique, but the uniqueness has an issue with the fact that the same order/item id can be submitted for action multiple times, thus breaking their half-assed, crack-pot ideas of not using generated keys to enforce uniqueness. I after resolving the problem from yesterday, it took an hour to make the table available for me to test with. At that point, I immediately found that the same issue existed in 3 other tables that can only be rectified by using the 'post date' as part of this natural key insanity. The worst part, I had to create a generated key for the only adjunct table that works. Why they spared the 'misc transaction' table from this idiocy is a wonder. ARGH! Breath deeply ...10,9,8.... ahhhh.
Ok, here is the question for anyone that thinks that they know me: Am I a Moderate Conservative, Far Right Conservative or a Libertarian with Conservative tendencies.
I seem to have collected these labels from various sources. I like to consider myself a Jacksonian Conservative, but perhaps I am confused. Hmmm, introspection. Tastes good with a nice IPA and a slab of rare beef. Extra bloody.
To hear liberals tell it, free speech is under siege. When crooner Linda Ronstadt imposed her unsolicited fawning views of America-basher Michael Moore on a Las Vegas audience at the Aladdin casino recently, a large portion of that audience did the principled thing: They got up and left. The management at the Aladdin asked Miss Ronstadt to do the same. These people must have been First Amendment insensitive; according to the New York Times, they interfered with Miss Ronstadt's "right to express a political opinion."
But didn't the audience members have the right to express their opinions? And didn't the Aladdin, which was footing Miss Ronstadt's bill, have the right not to be made a forum for political discourse? No, says Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten. When the "drunken mob" at the Aladdin refused to take Miss Ronstadt's rants sitting down, the "most fundamental of liberties came under assault," he claims.
Talk about thought-crime double-plus-bad!
Monday, August 02, 2004
Oh, Jumping Jehosephat! Jovial Joker Jacob woke up at 3am and pretty much kept us awake as he tossed and turned for the next three hours. We tried to subvert his devious plan of exhausting us and allowing his sister to usurp control of the Haupertonian City-State, but to no avail. Fortunately, we had assumed that her impromptu nap yesterday was a planned event on her part, so we were prepared. No coup today! We gave him a half bottle of milk and he slept past 6am, thus enabling me to let the hounds out and cutting off their support troops. In any event, I still managed to get to work by 0745. This will be a short week, no more than 8 hours a day. So many things to wrap up before the Great Migration.
At work, I was greeted by the fact that the settlement processing I had launched on Friday had failed when I got to the adjustment phase. As it turns out, the thing that is supposed to make the inserts into the database unique, was not unique. The incoming data showed that the selected data could indeed be duplicated if there were two different types of identical data. An adjustment and an order can have the same date, id and line number. Curses, foiled again. I am happy that I am not responsible for the schema development, but the resolution of this error could take all day.
Once again, I have neglected to do my timesheet for my employers. The employers who cut my check that is. My contractual employers got their timesheet his morning. It will the last time I do my timesheet for them through the supplied mechanism since they have changed to a new product called PMOffice. It is an abomination. I feel badly for these folks who must manage and report on this mess. Even the technical staff here is having issues on the profound micro-management required to make this thing work. I find that no matter how much money, education and tool you throw at a cultural problem, a broken society stays broken until there is a dramatic change. Dramatic enough to make the denizen question the underlying truths on which their society is based. Here, it is sloth and jealousy with just a peppering of anxiety. Hard nuts to crack.
I skipped the lunch thing today. All I brought was 3 tomatoes. I gave one of them to C* since she seems to enjoy them so much. The other two were absolutely delicious. I cannot tell you how good these things taste. They are NOTHING like the little rubber balloons of grainy pulp that I get at the grocery store. I had a cup of coffee (french vanilla, light by my standards) and a cup of tea. I'm sure I'll be in dire straights by the time I get home tonight. Just the right condition to start emptying the fridge. Good thing, I have 3 lamb chops that need cooking ... I think they will make an excellent starting point in my quest to eat my way through the fouled joke I call the Refrigerator of Certain Rot.
While I'm on vacation, I'm not entirely sure that I will be doing much blogging. I may be able to squeeze in a topic here and there, but hearing the blow-by-blow of two day drive to Minnesota's midlands may not be 'good reading'. More on that later.
FUN FACTS ABOUT DEMOCRATS
* Democrats chose the donkey as their symbol because the Democrat base smells as bad as one and has the same verbal skills. In the donkey's defense, it's smart enough to understand a butterfly ballot.
* The name Democrat comes from the combination of "demo" - which means "demonic" - and "crat" - which is a term for something unidentifiable which you scrape off your shoe.
* If your skin pigmentation is dark enough, you may be legally required to vote for Democrats.
* Democrats are big into class warfare. They also are for gun control which has caused the deadliest firearms to be too expensive except for the rich to buy. So, if class warfare ever goes to blows, it won't last long.
* No matter what legislation the Republicans propose, the Democrats call it "just a tax cut for the rich." When Republicans proposed to free the slaves, Democrats called it "just a tax cut for the rich."
* The base of the Democratic part is thought to be angry, drunken dwarves, but they may in fact be gnomes.
* Plus some are pixies or something similar.
* Though there are more registered Democrats, they don't vote as much as Republicans percentage-wise because of their tendency to be distracted by shiny things.
* Democrats have lost most of the men's vote because they're a bunch of girlie men. Don't tell them that, though, because they'll cry.
* Democrats are always trying to get into your wallet to spend money on their wacky ideas. If you see a Democrat near your wallet, hit him on the head with a rolled up newspaper. You have to catch him in the act or he'll never learn.
* To do better in elections, many Democrats are trying to allow felons to vote. Next on their agenda: Allowing foreign terrorists to vote.
* Trial lawyers can and do vote for Democrats... probably for the same reason convicted felons and terrorists would.
* While the Democratic leadership is currently devoid of any real leadership or substance, they may try and make up for that with important-looking hair.
* Some Democrats may have served in Vietnam. You can find out which ones by seeing who tells you that fact over and over and over.
* And over and over and over.
* Many Democrats intensely hate Bush because it's easier than confronting the irrelevancy of their ideas. It’s funny to dump a bucket of cold water on them and hear them blame Haliburton.
* If you're plagued by Democrats, they can be scared away with snakes, guns, or concepts of individual responsibility.
* Bill Clinton, who cost the Democrats their majorities in the House, Senate, and Governorships while he was president, is still venerated by Democrats because... uh... I guess they're just frick'n retards.
* Democrats will often visit maternity wards and shake their fists angrily at all those who escaped the wrath of choice.
* Democrats are secretly trying to destroy capitalism. If you see a Democrat near capitalism and looking suspicious, immediately report him to the police.
* You can't set fire to Democrats without a permit.
* In a fight between Democrats and Aquaman, Aquaman would be slurred by an NAACP ad that links him to lynching.
* Every so often Democrats will roam the countryside eating everything in site before plunging into the sea. That might be called "Earth Day."
* The Democrats have built a giant statue in tribute to Michael Moore which eyes glow red, shoots fire out of its ass, and constantly demands tributes of ham.
* Or maybe that is just Michael Moore wearing a gray sweat suit. Whatever it is, don't let it fall on you because it's heavy.
* Democrats are convinced Bush lied about something. They're not sure what... but they know it's something! Come on; Clinton lied all the time... Bush must have lied at least once!
* The foreign policy ideals of the Democrats involve waiting for the mighty France to approve anything they plan on doing. This should allow them to snap into action about the time half the earth is destroyed by radical Islamists.
* Every time someone votes for a Democrat, baby Jesus cries.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
It rained Friday night. Really hard. Noah stopped by and asked if I could loan him some galoshes. This was right after we got home from Pete's place at 11pm. Yes, the kids were still awake and going full tilt. I don't know how they do it, but I'm certain that they manufacture nutrients from water and air. Since it was so late, we decided to just change them into their pajamas and give them their nightcap of milk and snore-all. We will bathe them in the morning, which we hope will be sometime around 8 or 9am.
Flash forward to an ungodly hour on Saturday morning. That would be 6:30ish for you refreshed purveyors of my tripe. The kids are making a ruckus that cannot be ignored and the dogs are howling away. Did I mention that they, (the dogs) dance about at the foot of the grand staircase till they hear the manor security alarm system deactivation tones? Well, there they were, groaning and whining and dancing away. We let them roam about while we were over at Pets's place and they apparently sucked all the water that their monstrous bodies could hold. Now, they had to purge in a bad way. Hold it in guys, I've got an assault on the front lines to deal with right now. I started filling the tub right after the kids got their morning espresso with milk. Jacob was thrilled at the concept of being able to splash the Overlord Oppressors in the morning. Alexis, however, saw this deviation of THE SCHEDULE as an affront to all that defines humanity. She acted accordingly and wailed the whole time. Once that joy was completed, we had ample time to lounge about with the kids and get belted with various toys. But not too much time. We had to prepare for a visit by some of the Mrs's work friends. These two, the Bardwells, had a story-book life. They worked at the same company. He proposed to her in Paris, they married and had an enormous wedding. Moved to Puerto Rico for a short time. Came back and got a McMansion. Then started pumping out kids. Then, it was over. Now, its no sleep and all work for them! Their two kids are rather endearing though. Alexis likes Alex quite a bit. He is about 2 years her senior, but he is summoned and beckoned consistently to come and 'Blay'. Xavier, still a crawling toddler is of interest only as a 'baby' to identify. Both kids have shockingly blond hair and I recall that Xavier has the most stunning blue eyes. Of course, he is allergic to wheat and dairy. I would certainly trade the blue eyes to get rid of the allergies, it is a miserable situation for the parents. It is a God-given grace that the little bugger is absurdly cute. They brought over food, but in my own bizarre way I felt the need to supply food in over-abundance as well. We had a nice London broil that I sliced into quarter inch strips. Six wursts were also prepared along with all the condiments. A whole kielbasa was set out. All meats were grilled to perfection on one of the 3 grills peppering the expansive upper deck out back. Just past the mess hall, through the french doors and you will find them. It was humid and hot when I started prepping the food and the heat from the nuclear powered grill that Hero Dad had bought for me nearly incinerated me as I tried to season the steak. If it were not for the 200% humidity, I would certainly have lost a limb. Fortunately, the sweat cascading off my body acted as a barrier and merely vaporized as I did my culinary best.
After a fulfilling meal and a short play-time. We sent our guests packing along with several tons of food left over from the dinner. You may have notice that the kids played right through their nap time and showed no signs of abating. A surge of pity must have come over the Mrs who snatched up the two of them and took them out shopping for bobbles. Bobbles and trinkets for her cousin's wedding. I'm not going to complain. During play time, both Mr Bardwell and I nearly passed out from exhaustion. I swear that the carpet in the front play area is emitting some kind of chemical that makes adult men pass out. I've experienced the effects and seen it in work. I submit that we carpet the middle-east with this and let them sleep their lives away. Let the children and women take over. It would lead to a unheard of peace accord where the men would be packed into giant super-tower barracks with bunk-beds to the sky. The Haupertonian name would decorate these 'coma wards' and be a symbol of peace for millennia to come. <sigh> For now, I must file these top-secret level black plans away and get back to work on the AA Emplacement of the North Tower.I frittered my time away but did manage to get two of the 4x4x10 weight-bearing components in place along with a few cross-beams. Not much when you think about it, but doing it alone with only my hordes of uncompensated workforce is not a trivial task. Hanging from the top beam, trying to get the support lumber just right before punching holes for the bolts ... argh, a formidable task indeed. Making sure it is level and square is just one more complexity that makes having only 2 arms that much more frustrating. Note to self: work on the bioengineering effort to attach additional arms with sufficient bone and sinew to make them viable. Extra fingers would be nice too.
Shortly after the Mrs got home, the rain started again. Not surprising given that the air was so soupy that I could swim to the top of the structure and just skip the ladder. Apparently, Alexis had fallen asleep the minute the Mrs had left the Mile Long Avenue on the way out of the Haupertionian Manor and did not wake till she was back home. That should keep here bizarre energy reserves replenished for a good 4 hours. The rest of the night went as scripted. Bath, clothe, feed and sleep. I let the Mrs know that I will attempt to attend the 7am mass this Sunday and she gets to pick which of the Two Troublesome Toddlers gets to stay home with her. She chose the cuddly one, Jacob and let me take the Queen of Shriek.
Sunday morning started out with a light and intermittent rain. Not enough to turn on the window-wipers, but enough to be noticed by the hounds. I did manage to get everything together for the 7am mass, with massive support from the Mrs. So much stuff to carry along for a one hour outing. Everything went well, Alexis behaved as best as she could, hugging and snuggling away for about 30 minutes. The last 30 minutes was comprised of a pretty low-level resistance effort. A few loud exclamations and not much else. She helped deposit our contribution to the collection basket and performed a few antics. All in all, a very easy time for daddy. Upon returning home, I spent a rather large chunk of time laying about with the kids. It was more of a languor filled malaise than any participation on my part. I suppose the heat and activities from yesterday affected me more than I estimated. Or was it the three beers and two glasses of wine. Me thinks the later.
Ages later, it was time to put the two down for their afternoon nap, with great pleasure on our part. Within moments, they were peacefully dozing. The Mrs went out to get her hair cut. I never like the way her hair looks after it gets cut, but my preference for long hair has no play in the argument when she brings up the choice between short hair/easy prep vs. long hair and hours of prep. While she is out getting her flaxen locks hacked off, I run a couple of network line to the kitchen. This has been an on-going issue where the wireless hub just does not have the power to get past the interference from EMF and various impedances from the 1st basement level to the kitchen. Not a very difficult task once I find the best place to punch a hole in the wall that I can get access to from the basement. The only issue is that the panel that I put in place requires a hole in the wall that makes it nearly impossible to put securing screws in place. This will require some clever engineering sometime later. I only ran 2 cables and need to run a 3rd some time in the future. This should be enough for our current infrastructure needs. Once the Mrs came home, I showed her how to punch down the Cat-5 and wrapped up the activity with time to spare.
I had a few more Action Items I needed to wrap up for the day. One of them was to perform a supplementary harvest of the Agricultural Sector. The Mrs graciously offered to assist which cut the duration down considerably. I pulled in a basket of various items including extra-large jalapenos, green beans, peas and a bumper crop of tomatoes. Next year, I think I will not plant any cherry tomatoes and only have 6 plants. That, and only 6-12 peppers as well. I'll also cut back on the green beans to perhaps only 1 or 2 rows. Two mounds of squash would be adequate as well. I have an extra-ordinary surplus of crops this year, except for the onions. They crapped out because of the extensive moisture. No great loss, at a few dollars a bag, growing onions is a loosing proposition. With the harvest completed, the kids instinctively knew that they should begin their protestations. A strange thing happened when they woke, they forgot that they were mortal foes and decided to sit quietly and page through books together. While they were busy playing nice with each other, I took on the hardest task of the weekend: Bathing the hounds of hell. It was an arduous task and took exceptionally long. This is never an easy job due to the size and mass of these creatures. It's like bathing a rabid Kodiak bear, it has no desire to be bathed and is intent on displaying it's displeasure. After bathing the dogs, I needed to take a shower to sluff off the sweat and dog hair. Nothing like dog hair on your face while you are dripping with sweat. Kodiak dog hair, with sweat ... yum.