White Lightning Axiom: Redux: January 2006

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Weekend Update 20060127-01

Okay, here is the low-down on my charnel house exploits and why I have not been posting regularly. It's going to be rough and sloppy ... sorry folks:

Friday night: Watch BSG on SciFi, stay up till 0200 with Mrs. Throat a bit sore, but I have walking WMD as children so that is expected.

Saturday Morning: I have a medical test for life insurance at 1000. The home visit nurse, Reggie, is about as personable as a chunk of granite. Nice. I'm feeling a bit sluggish but assume it's because I was up to the wee hours of the morning. I bumble about the manor, bring in enough wood to fill both wood brackets and assemble the high-volume air transfer system that I installed below the wood burning stove.

Sunday Morning: I cannot swallow. My adenoids have swollen to simulate a binary sun system and I'm going down quick. By the end of the day, an emergency call to the Doctor is in the works and I'm fearing that I may need to spend time at the hospital. Not good since the Mrs is scheduled to be in NYC for the next two days.

Monday Morning: I cannot speak, swallow, talk, cough or breath through my mouth. My uvula has swollen to nearly seal off my throat and any attempt to eat or drink causes me to gag/vomit violently. The Doctor is stunned and recommends a treatment course but foregoes steroid treatment due to my condition. Comments that he has only seen this twice before in his life and implies that this usually ends up with a tube or an incision. I invoke emergency procedures to ensure should an unscheduled visit to the local medical chop-shop be required, the children are in good hands. Spend the day looking longingly at food I have not been able to eat for 2 days and trying to decode the most bizarre fever dreams.

Tuesday: The Mrs is due back in the evening and good thing. The kids are wondering why daddy is not yelling at them for drinking out of the toilet or why he gave them a whole bag of cheetos after desert yesterday. Two deserts, something is amiss. More interestingly, when I picked up the kids that evening, the Day Care Professional noted that 4 other walking WMD factories had thrown up that day so we have been warned. Jacob has a stainless steel stomach with carbon-fiber belting like his daddy, but Alexis got Mommy's 'Butterfly Wings' digestive system. End result, I was cleaning up sheets saturated with 1.5 hotdogs, 1 mug of chocolate soy milk, 1 adult sized grilled cheese sandwich, 1 helping of soy-beans, 5 pods of peas, 3 gummy worms, one tub of chocolate pudding and enough water to retain the emulsified solids comfortably. It was a long night and fortunately for me, I had no problem since I had yet to eat anything of consequence. On that note, three days no food + antibiotics == flora/fauna on the ropes. Needless to say, the next week is going to be a minimal diet of starchy semi-solids and yogurt.

It is now Wednesday and Alexis is home with Mommy. Not so much that Mommy needed a day off after spending the last two dealing with medical issues in NYC, but rather, Alexis decided that a good-bye hug would not be enough this morning and coated the Mrs with vomit instead. Mommy, being pragmatic, deduced it would be best if she just took Alexis back home, cleaned up the both of them, and spend the day in the manor since a call would be coming anyways. Bird Flu? Pfah! Ebola? Girly stuff. Pandemic? Come over to the Haupertonian Manor for front row seats.

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Friday, January 27, 2006


Desert Dry

It's Friday and my energy levels, motivation and just plain headlight oil levels are all going on fumes. Truthfully, the only thing of note so far is that our little Angel, Alexis the ThunderGoddess; Sender of Storms, chose not to let loose a tidal wave of waste-water in her pull-ups this morning. Much celebration was called for and the masses bowed down before the conquering hero. That does remind me of something about her Brother. Jacob, who will hence-forth be known as Loki, has found that while the toilet bowl is certainly off limits, there are other water related activities that are to be had. Yes, just push that porcelain tank lid off and there is a huge volume of water to play with! Sure, the tank lid makes a horrible noise when it falls to the floor and sends off razor sharp shards, but it's worth the swat on the rear and the inevitable time-out. Of course, when he did this at school the lid did not fall and he got to put both arms in up to his chest and do a little head-rinse as well. Never a dull moment. I'm starting to down-grade my hopes for him. No longer will he be rigorously educated an trained to be Potentate of Unified Earth ... no, he will be a plumber. I'm looking for the low-rider pants now.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006



Alexis, in her usual feminine ways, was being a bit trying last night. After going through Meeting Purgatory with a Migraine yesterday, I needed a rest. A good mental shut-down. So there I was laying on the floor and there was nothing I could do to keep her from using my rib-cage as a trampoline. Giving up, I engaged her in lively and pertinent conversation. It went something like this:She is a bright one and will probably figure me out soon enough.

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It's not the pain, it's the wound that hurts

It's 0530. My alarm is going off. No, wait, strike that. It's 0400 and the migraine that I thought I quashed beneath a tide of pharmaceuticals and pain killers has broken trough my defenses and is dragging me into the painful, burning hell of consciousness. I thrash about the bedroom in a semi-aware state till I manage to find my way to the bathroom. I fumble about with the packet containing my potential savior, Maxalt. My mouth is stuffed with what seems like unprocessed cotton and the next passage, the throat, is a glutinous mass of semi-coagulated sputum. Of a matter of course, the most bitter element known to the gods is used as a primary agent in the pill and it immediately sticks to the back of my throat. I fumble about for a cup on the crowded counter top only to disturb every other upended bottle and finally surrender to the 'mouth under the faucet' technique. That is, only after I deliver a crushing blow to my ear when I make a serious distance/velocity miscalculation when bringing my head down to the spigot. Yes, I fall back into fitful slumber 15 minutes later only to be roughly roused by the alarm clock I knowingly placed out of reach ... on top of the book shelf ... backwards. Within a healthy slice of an hour, I'm on the road and rocketing off to the 0700 meeting with my skull still barely containing the hordes of beasts desperately trying to drill/blast/gnaw holes to the outside world. Along with the 'fake' pain, there is color insensitivity, light intolerance (damn car headlights are like bullets) and low-level nausea. I'm certainly going to be skipping the donuts for the first half of the gathering.

On a less whiny note, swimming went well last night. Again. The kids went in w/o floaters and I only had to reprimand them (and the significantly older Olympic Hopeful) to play safe a few times. Once the teachers showed up, we all realized how 'density enhanced' the kids are and the smaller floaters were applied quickly. Jake can keep his head above water for a few seconds, but his furious dog-paddle (panic does things to your cognitive abilities) would only take him so far. Progress is being made. Afterwards, we all head off to Mt. Fuji and eat a rather enjoyable meal. The owner, after 3 visits, now believes that we are regulars and was more than happy to over-ride the designated seating given that Alexis wanted to sit in the place we sat the last two times. I guess we have a 'reserved' table now.

Flash forward a few hours. I'm tired, the kids are wiped out and we all get to be before 2200 hours. Good thing except you already know the coming storm. The 0700 meeting lasted till 0830 where I was treated to an assignment of a 1030 meeting till 1230 and a follow up from 1430 till 1615. Yep, I got nothing done.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Pop culture escapes me ...

I'm out of the loop and am officially an un-cool dad.

I'm waiting for the Amish Hair Metal group with wind-powered amps and Belgian Workhorse backup rhythm line. I'm thinking that neither will do a tour outside the North-East corridor.

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Tyron Strikes again

5 Guilty Pleasures ... who, me?

Ground Rules: The first player of this "game" starts with the topic "5 Guilty Pleasures" and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their 5 Guilty Pleasures as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names

I hereby tag Steel, Dave, Deb, Crystal (If you have not been tagged yet) and the ever dependable Amanda.

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Keep on swimming ...

I don't have much today other than to give a shout out to Altova. It's a work thing but they produced this product line of XML software that is nothing short of amazing. Them Germans, not a really lively group but Hans and Franz are top notch engineers. Their stuff works and does some fantastic transformations/code generation. It has limits but much of this is probably due to my inexperience with the suite or the fact that it is a demo. I'll have to see if the boss-lady is up to buying a honest-to-God-legal copy.

Last night, the Mrs and I spent hours in the basement. No, nothing romantic like that, but rather, going through pile of old papers, cruft and accumulated detritus. We need to make the basement habitable for the kids so we can recover and rehabilitate the living room and dining room. I'm tired of having to tell visitors to 'please ignore the mounds of toys piled up on the sofa'. There is lots of room in the basement, we just need to get our 'priceless treasures' properly crated or disposed of. I am finally letting go of a Mac Plus and 1001 different cables, connectors and other associated artifacts. Although they are potentially useful or 'neat', there is just no need for me to keep the stuff. Now the copies of Civilization II are a different story of course.

Tonight is swim night. We will swim free of the floaters and we will eat a celebratory dinner at Mt Fuji. Of course, I will have to go directly to bed after that since we have a 0700 corporate meeting the next morning. That means I need to get my sluggish hind-quarters out of bed by 0530 to have enough time. Urgh, pray for me and anyone who gets between me and my coffee.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006



And again I say, Harumph! Work got the best of me today and I had no chance of even getting close to a browser of any flavor today. Although engaging, this 'work' concept is disturbing. I sit down at 0800 and before I know it, its already 1600 and I have not even touched my lunch. EGADS! How time and space bends around this exotic and intriguing happenstance invites further investigation.

Other quirks of note: Alexis is not letting up with the 'Diaper Wetting' habit. Most annoying. She tells me she won't but she invariably does. We tried cutting back on her night-time fluids to no avail. The volume is slight, but still there. She really wants to wear underwear to bed like Jake, but we need to make that final step. Perhaps its just too cold in the Manor or she needs a wake-up call. I'll probably have to do a bit of research here since my bribery/cajoling approach is not working.

One last thing. Whatever you do, never invite Civilization IV into your home. Like a vampire, it will lay waste to your life in the nocturnal hours. In the morning, you will get up from your statue like state only when your alarm goes off to wake you up. When you find that you have not gone to bed yet, it is then that the problem becomes apparent. Worse yet, you will go back for more the next night, like a ghoul feasting on the brains of your rotting corpse of a normal life.

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Monday, January 23, 2006


Tip: Have more Man Friends

Got this from the wife's ex-roomie back in her college days. Oddly enough, she (not the trusting and loyal Mrs MDMHVONPA) is divorced now:And this is why the Mrs makes sure that I am indeed, coming home at some time.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006


Weekend update 20060120-22


Okay guys, this is going to have to be a quick update. I'm a bit under the gun with a schedule that, as is the norm, makes no sense on paper and even less in reality. At the top of the micro-timeline in a bubble, we had Fabulous Friday. This is where the Outing that the Mrs was going to desert me for ended up being cancelled due to an unforeseen illness. Not the Mrs mind you, she has a stainless steel immune system. I spent the evening after we put the kids to bed watching BattleStar Galactica. A bit of a waste of time, but I can see how they are developing Baltar's character now. A bit of a sympathetic character but and absolute ass none the less. Speaking of sympathetic, Jake was up about 10 times between 0030 and 0145 before he finally woke for the last time at 0500. It's a plot to wear us down I tell ya. Well, mostly me since I had to nearly push the Mrs out of the bed the last time to get her to wake up. The activity in the wee hours of the morning are not exactly her cup of tea. Not that I find this entirely amusing or enjoyable myself mind you. The alternative is not especially enticing either. Until his little bladder grows a bit or he learns that there is nothing to fear in the bathroom other than me forgetting to put the seat back down, this will be our lot in life. I'm starting to understand why parents seem so ... simple minded. It's the lack of sleep and an overwhelming desire for just one mundane event to go as expected.

Later on in the morning, Jake and I head off to the Outdoors/sportsman show at the Expo Center. A little Father/Son type of thing. He LOVES it. Race cars, tractors, ATVs, Trucks, Boats, animals (some alive, most not) with the added benefit of archery and fishing ... INDOORS! He tried his hand at the archery range and was thrilled beyond words. His description of how he shot the arrow was the most impressive display of using three English words to compose a 30 minute discussion. Sound effects were copious in number. He also did a bit of fishing and learned how important it was to tell the right fish-tale. How a no-catch evolves to an almost-catch of 6 inches to 6 feet. It was a pretty interesting time for him. Turning on all the faucets in the RVs was absurdly involving. The idea of a bathroom in a vehicle was too much for him to resist. Wait till he discovers urinal mints.

Since Ted Nugent was there, the crowds were abnormally large. While the masses were trying to swamp the building we made our way to the back to enjoy some jerky, dogs (hot and cold nose variety), hooters girls and chewing tobacco chachkies. Either way, having a charming and affectionate son along will get you places you don't belong. Better than a dog indeed! But I kept out of trouble for the most part ... Okay Hon? Mr Pete, our family friend was there and can vouch for me. Interesting thing about Mr Pete, Jake is really fond of him and prefers to tag along. I think it has something to do with Jake thinking Pete does not know the mind set of a 3yr old and might let Jake get away with things that Daddy does not. Daddy, what a hard-ass he is. Sheesh, I just wanted to stick my hand in that machine full of spinning blades and bone grinding gears. Nope, don't need that. The Mrs would not let me out of the house with the kids ever again. At least not without a proctor or a monitor.

Four hours later, we find that the booths are becoming quite similar and there is only so much jerky a person can possibly eat. We head off to meet the Mrs and contentious daughter at Wallmart. Apparently, Alexis was miffed that she was not included in the Father/Son outing. She does, however, point out that Jacob and Daddy are boys while Mommy and Moi-Moi (Little sister) are girls. After being reunited, chastised and then forgiven, I set about to do a bit of agricultural shopping. They already have the garden seeds out so I picked up double packs of spring veggies and an assortment of other delectables. This means I'll have to clean all the pine bows off out of the Haupertonian Agricultural and BioEngineering Test Grounds so I can till under the compost and throw in a bit of sand to get things ready. I'm going to have to pick up new tomato cages since the ones I've been using for the last 5 years are starting to show battle fatigue. No peppers this year either. I've got enough dried, canned and pickled peppers to make Peter go into convulsions. Oh, and speaking of convulsions, we just got our PECO bill ... $290 USD for Dec/Jan. Ouch. We even used less power and gas than we did last year even though it was 3 degrees colder this year. Of course, seeing that we slapped down 90$ on dinner last Wednesday night, I really should not whine.

Ahhh, Sunday Services with the Twins. Something peculiar happened though. It may be that since we did not give them any breakfast, they were hungry and thusly, well behaved. They sat semi-quietly and dipped into their snacks while playing with the few small toys I brought along. Even Jake was polite enough to let me attend the entire mass before becoming bored enough to want to go to the bathroom. I let him know that if he waited till AFTER, he would get the tootsie rolls that the ushers leave for the kids at the back afterwards. They are luring me into a false sense of security. I know it ... I just don't know what they have planned for me. Here is where things start to get fuzzy though. I spent the rest of the day sanding the master bedroom and cleaning it to get ready for the first coat of polyurethane. Now I'm fairly certain that I put the first coat down since the Manor smells like an industrial accident in China, and the floor is coated, but the activity escapes me. I actually used the last of one can and started in on the last one left. I'll probably have to buy more but work only when the weather is nice. The rain required me to keep the windows closed and, well, the results are obvious. Geting up this morning was rough and the upper floors still smell fairly awful. The Mrs noted that when she took a shower, the fumes combined with the hot, humid air made her eyes sting. Yeah, try doing that for a few hours and you'll get the idea. I'm just glad that she did not come home and find me face down in a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff. Preserved forever like a pre-historic skeeter in amber. Can't wait to do the second coat.

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Friday, January 20, 2006


Random Tip of the Day: Own dogs

Caught this on in my random lurking:They are smarter than we give them credit for, even if they do eat rocks and sniff poop.


Ahhh, yes. Friday, I know thee well

Not much to write about today. The DataBase tripe dished up on my plate at work is ... different. It's MS TransactSQL. All I can really say about this is that the best, most accurate description would be; feckless. Not me, but the innumerable quirks and syntactical awkwardness. Counter intuitive is a compliment for this. I've worked with MySQL, Oracle, Aldiscon, Sybase (like MS but even more crippled), Informix, and MS Access. To date, I've only really like Oracle and Informix. MySql is fun if you don't mind a 'RISC' like capability set. No, this database has plenty of power, it's just not really like anything else. Makes transition a bit harder than it needs to be.

I went to my first Knights of Columbus meeting. It was different. I suppose the only details I can really expound on are that we had free beer and Kraut-Dogs at the end of the meeting. Lots of older gentlemen there who were either Ex-Police or Ex-Union type folks. Most could call my father their son. Left at 1900 and back to the Manor by 2200. 'Nuff said about that. The Hall was really nice though. Located near Holy family college, behind the NE Airport, next to the Mail Carriers Union building. Solid blue collar.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006



This article, well written and sculpted from cold, hard logic ripped my guts out. It's lengthy and, at points, requires a couple sips of coffee to contemplate. I suggest you read it and think about how absurd our fixation with pop culture and regional partisan political spats really are.

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Bright, sun-shiny day

No question, the weather fooled me. Gaia sensed my disdain and she went to work on discrediting me. The wind, clouds and the neigh insanity invoking freezing rain ... just cleared up. The sun came out and the pessimistic outlook of sleet melted away. No ice, no absurd commute time, not a single disastrous accident. Well, near me anyways. Apparently there were two tanker truck accidents near by. I'm sure they were scheduled too. Someone out there has a monopoly on cleanup chemicals and is intending on making a massive killing this year. In any case, my prognostication skills have fallen short. Somewhere, the withered ghost of Nostradamus is shaking his head in shame. On top of that, not a flicker of a single light occurred at the Manor. The power was as strong as ever. I'm still sending an email to the solar guys to see what I need should I finally snap.

Swimming went well with an interesting twist. Getting off to complete the S&R mission for the Twin Tyrants was delayed due to Thor. For some reason, the hound decided he was not interested in pooping at the moment. It was too wet or too cold or not sunny enough or the grass was not matted down properly. It took him an extra 10 minutes of cajoling and prompting for him to get down to business. Nice. That cuts into my commute and prep time at the club. Once there, the kids were eager to get right in and start with their hydraulic propulsion activities. Here is the surprise, they wanted to take off the float vests. I was apprehensive at first, but they do need to shed that security blanket so Daddy can have the security of knowing that they could get out of trouble should they find themselves in 'hot water'. The Mrs was a bit edgy about this when she arrived, but is on the same page. Swimming, to me, is one of the most important skills a child should learn ... after crawling/walking. It's not like 2/3rds of the friggen planet is covered with the stuff. Damn tricky Dihydrogen Monoxide. Could kill ya! Someone should make a law.

Out to Mt. Fuji for dinner afterwards. It goes quite well all things considered. I wedge myself full of sushi while the children occupy themselves with the udon noodles. We don't try to pack them full to the back of the throat as we do at home so the meal is considerably less contentious. That, or the two 'Fuji Iced Tea' drinks that I swilled down made me oblivious to their mis-deeds. The drinks were quite potent ... they know me. The light green fluid slipped quickly away. Jake dipped his finger in the stout glass to retrieve a particularly desirable chunk of ice only to find it's slippery coating to be less than tasty, in his opinion. He must believe that daddy only drinks poison.

In my semi-stupor state of 'enhanced' consciousness, we shuffle the kids to bed after an hour of play-time and the requisite bath. Then I retired to SubBasement level 5-H where the ambient temperature hovers somewhere around 13 Kelvin. It's where we keep the super-computer that I've installed Civilization IV upon. The hardware requirements for these 'frivolities' now are beyond the wildest imagination of designers back in the '80s. Oh, for the simplicity of Zork, Pong and NetHack. No, now you need a supercomputer with a singularity power source and a space vacuum cooling system and the memory capacity of God's Hippocampus.

In short, I got to bed at about 0030 when I lost feeling in my fingers. Tossed some wood in the fire and nearly dropped off to sleep just before I heard the evening wails of Jake insisting that he needs to go pee. Of course, he does not NEED to go, it's just a ploy so that he might get the opportunity to slide into bed between the besieged parental units. Not tonight, but he bides his time and assaults our senses, and slothful slumber, at 0530. I cave and plop him among the quilts and pillows so that I may continue my quest for 'just a few more minutes'. Of course, since he woke I know that his cacophonous contention has woken his sister. She, however, will not want to leave her cocoon for anything short of French Toast. Mmmm, French toast. That is the breakfast for today, but if we do not act soon her fortification will soon be drenched in last nights drinks. You see, she is much like her mother and then some. Not only is she resistant to leaving the bed of eternal slumber, she would rather pee herself than to walk 7 meters to the toilet. The act of actually dragging her to the bathroom usually earns you the 'Mark' and you are designated as EEEVILLLL for the duration of the morning. Or at least, till you are out of sight and the complaints of not having the opportunity to get a good-bye kiss/hug/nose-rub begin. Damn, my offspring are quirky already. Let's hope that they will evolve to be eclectic, enigmatic and eccentric. Just plain crazy does not have the same social status, you see.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Random Tip of the Day

No matter what the circumstances, refrain from trying to lick the sink disposal while it is in operation. That is all.


Revenge of Sebastian.


I'm a bit busy/tired/fatigued today but there are a few things to note this morning. First off, some dope in Hollywood turned on the hurricane winds here in Philly. On garbage day apparently. Well, garbage day in the next township which left our neighborhood littered with cheap plastic bins. In defense of the ecologically insensitive winds, my own can (empty) blew out into the neighbors lawn even though it was wedged up against the chimney near the Auto Fleet Docking Bay. I had to go out and track down our own recycling bins and trash cans in the driving rain. I had porters, pack beasts and guides. Fun when you are wearing nothing but a pair of ragged sweats and some flimsy house slippers. Great pasty white hunter indeed! Even the Hounds had the good sense to take care of business as quickly as possible when I let them out. Unfortunately, there were a couple of glass bottles in the recycle bin and they ended up in a 'Million little pieces' all over the driveway. Trash. The glass too.

Given that it is raining, and windy, I'll assume that you all understand the traffic situation here in Suburban Philly. Horrendous. On top of that some dunce at the TPK Commission thought it would be a great idea to put up a warning on the Giant Sign Of Doom that is suspended over the westbound lanes just after the Ft. Washington interchange. There are a handful of dopes that will slow down short of a complete halt to read both pages of the lighted sign to get all that very important data. 'Warning, Rain and wind. (pg2) Congestion ahead.' You know, because we cannot determine the weather without some Authority Figure/Big Brother guidance. You would think they were showing tomorrows lottery ticket numbers. This causes an artificial backup to friggen Spain. Lot's of love out there on the road. Most of it coming from me. Going back again over that cursed ground will be an even greater treat. The warm front it expected to be pushed back by a high-pressure cold front. We all know what that means: Sleet and Freezing Rain.

Speaking of love, I should just call PECO now and tell them my power is out. I know from the volume of rain that the transformer well and the switch are flooded and I'll be loosing my service shortly. It's swim night and I'll not be there to point out where all the equipment is buried. There are wmd out there somewhere and I'm sure it's under my driveway. Every time I have to deal with this nonsense I get one step closer to calling those fellows with the solar panels. Just line up that array of lead batteries and cut my umbilical cord to the grid. I'm done with outside world. Except for natural gas ... I'll need a few years to ramp up my animal methane collection facility. You know, the whole Thunder-Dome pig poop thing. Complete with Aging Diva and contentious Dwarf with a PhD.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I got nothing

Well, there is no new news to report. Zipo. Other than the bizarre cold snap which requires that I burn what little split wood I have left, nearly nothing is new. I hauled in half a face cord to fill up the empty brackets Monday evening. The Mrs had the day off ... Big Pharma Policy and all. So we burned up a bit of wood to keep her pretty little kiester from frosting up. We are now looking at an earlier depletion of fuel wood now. Alas, the $188 for another cord of seasoned split wood is a bit hard to swallow. I'll have to make it last. I think I know what I'll be doing THIS summer. Say hello to my little friend, Mr Splitting Maul.

Morning update ... traffic was thick this morning, but not unusually so. The Mrs had an early morning meeting today (read:0800) so we got up close to the target time and got out of the Manor a reasonable hour. This way, I can catch the yummy goodness that is the Morning Rush Hour on the PA Tpk. Mmmmm, exhaust fumes and the pheromones of rage. Sounds like breakfast.

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Monday, January 16, 2006


Weekend redux

This weekend was ... odd. The Tyrannical Twins were unusually capricious and this resulted in a raucous household ... more so than usual. The little ones have discovered parsimony and subterfuge as a anti-parental tactic. They don't understand much about the concept of lies other than the potential end result. They would make excellent politicians at this point. I don't understand what they are saying half the time, they avoid the subject if it conflicts with their desires and they fabricate outright lies to further their agenda based on the thinnest sliver of half-truth. I think I understand them know ... Politicians without all the philandering.

We got up a bit late on Saturday morning ... 0715 or so. Which is fine. Rip Van Winkle would probably offer some performance improvement suggestions but I think we can live with this. Of course, he did wake at 0500 first and implore the powers that be that he be escorted to the bathroom. I'm guessing that this behavior will go on for a bit till we break them of the habit of having their bathroom activities be proctored. Later on in the morning, Alexis wandered into our bedroom and crawled in between myself and Jake. There is not nearly enough room for all of us especially when the little ones are built of sharp-pointy-angles like knees, elbows and such. Reminds me of that scene from the original 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' where all 4 grandparents are in the same bed.

After a bit of tussling and jockeying for an inch of space, I gave up and produced the scroll of paper I had prepared for the morning activities. I was expecting the Mrs to be out of the picture today so I needed a distraction for the morning. I did not want to start the day off by explaining why the Mommy was not home ... nothing good could come of that. I was not prepared to begin education on mortality with the innocents. To belay this activity, I concocted/created/designed a treasure hunt for the kids complete with a map, snacks at each point and a giant black X where the 'treasure' could be found. If you have ever seen 'Little Einsteins' on the Disney channel ... I even made an overt threat that 'Big Blue Jet' might get the treasure first if we don't hurry up. They needed little motivation though and were thrilled to start their quest. I had spent a bit of time with the map though I am not great artist. Little titles like 'Tumbling Stairway', 'Mommy's bed of eternal sleep' and the 'Puppy room of DOOOOM' were things that stuck in their impressionable minds. The only flaws in my plan were the planting of treats-n-sweets. Apparently, the Hounds had found one of them and made short work of it. I should not be surprised, but I was confused why they ate one of them and not the other. That, and it was raining/sleeting so the act of going out to the towers to climb through the structure did not happen. That cut off about 30 minutes of the hunt. No matter, they found the toys in the basement 'burial tomb' and promptly tore the wrapping and steel reinforced containers to atomic shreds. They spent the day snarfing candy, harassing the 'Big People who Work' and engaging in mortal combat with each other or so we though while the Mrs and I went about our business of house cleaning. The basement needs to be purged so we can recover the living room, dining room and study from the toy avalanche. It was a nice day except for the fact that the weather was dreary. It was very humid out and went from 60 to 20 in a matter of hours. Bletch.

Sunday morning was unpleasant in so much that I had to dig myself from beneath the covers so I could prep Jake to go to church with me. We could have used another Saturday. I managed to bumble through the pre-holiness routine while the Mrs gets the kids ready. Of course, Alexis wants to stay home and Jake would prefer to come along. This is a relief. I just cannot handle two of them when they are mostly awake. I could take both to the 0830 mass but not the 1000 family mass. So out into the tundra Jake and I venture. He notices that it is fiercely cold/windy and makes repeated comments on it while I try to scrape the diamond hard ice off the windshield of the SuperSaturn. Friggen Pennsyltucky winters ... always with the ice. Mass goes well with only two visits to the bathroom. A world's record indeed! Jake shakes hands with as many folks as possible at the sign of peace (know I know how the plague was really transmitted) and is absolutely giddy at the chance to throw Daddy's cash into the collection basket. I left in such a hurry that I forgot (again) to bring the envelopes. I do that way too often. Swiss cheese mind of mine. Every so often I get lucky and remember to bring the tithe envelopes and throw in a few to make up for past transgressions. Hmmm, selling indulgences? In any event, the checks are already signed and money is set aside so there is no great impact to me, just the Holy See's accounting. I'm sure I'm on their recidivist list.

After I replace a dead halogen bulb on one of the security lights (with accompanying plasma laser defense system and sub-radar targeting), we go out to do a bit of shopping and to buy gasoline at the new low of $2.34/gal. Urg ... what happened to $2/gal!? I empty my pockets (in the freezing cold wind) to the tune of 60$ and feebly limp home. I hate to think what my heating bill is going to look like after this cold snap. I'll have to sell another kidney or something. Demoralized, I go home and put on the apron to do a bit more cleaning and some cooking. Since we picked up some sweet Italian sausage at the market, I had to cook a bit of it. You know, to raise my spirits and all. Nothing like a gut full of meat to perk a man up a bit. Funny thing about that though. While we were shopping, Alexis grabbed a package of ring-bologna and cradled it like a baby. She called it her Meat Dolly and insisted we bring it home. The Mrs believes I put her up to it. From then on she referred to it as the 'Circle Meat'. Heh, I'll be making something with taters this week I suppose. Don't want to disappoint my carnivorous offspring!

Jake ... poor Jake. After a day of frantic activity he just did not last the evening. While eating a dinner of sausage, pasta, broccoli and sauce he just petered out. Fell asleep sitting up. This was quite fortuitous for the Mrs since she wanted to trim his nails. Not even the strongest jostle would stir him. We decided to skip the bath and just let him go to bed. I suppose in the future, threats of sending him to bed without dinner would fall upon apathetic ears. Shortly after we deposited him in his warm little cocoon of a bed, his sister, seeing how this all played out, decided that she wanted to go to bed as well. DAMN! This never happens on a week night. The difference with this request is that she wanted to lay in our bed for a bit and THEN go to sleep there. Okay honey, part A but not part B. This compromise was acceptable and the negotiations concluded with her sliding off to sleep in her own bed an hour later. Perfect weekend despite the weather, I'd say.

Early morning update, Jake finally shakes off his slumber at 0230 to request a pee break and promptly goes back to sleep. Since the Mrs is off today, she lets me sneak out of the house early and lets the kids sleep in. I need to get in a bit earlier because of the noonish appointment I scheduled with an insurance agent. You see, I'm paying bo-ku bucks for accidental life insurance to cover the mortgage with a marginal payout should I meet an untimely and gruesome end. That is, so long as it is a horrific death and not something more likely. Such as a virulent staph infection at the hospital. Sooo, I found someone who can get me something for a touch more but covers EVERYTHING. For the same payload. I don't like paying for insurance but it sure is not something that I can afford to ignore. That whole responsible Father thing again. Sheesh.

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4 Tyronic Questions of the Blogosphere

Fours - as Courtesy of Pat

Four Jobs I've Had:
1. Rifle Range Officer
2. Construction Worker (no link, go figure)
3. Souless Credit Card Bank Officer
4. Blamesultant (Hey, I aint gonna get Dooced!)

Four Movies I Watch Over and Over Again:
1. Brazil
2. Dark City
3. Naked Lunch
4. Dr. Strangelove

Four Places I've Lived:
1. Minnesota
2. Salt Lake City
3. New York
4. Peeensyltucky (Leave your mark!)

Four T.V. Shows I Watch:
1. Battle Star Galactica (both series)
2. Ghost in the Shell, SAC (At friggen 1:30 am)
3. Red Dwarf
4. Benny Hill(shhh!)

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
1. Minnesota, Starbuck (No relation to SG)
2. Disney World
3. Disney Land
4. Grand Canyon

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1. The whole damn blogroll (oof!)
2. Dictionary.com (Horrid speller)
3. Gmail - anyone need an invite? (thnks to Re:Becca)
4. Wikipedia

Four Favorite Foods:
1. Kielbasa
2. Bratwurst (Cheese filled is nice)
3. Steak
4. Cheese and Wine

Four Places I'd Like to Be Right Now:
1. Bed
2. Bed With The Mrs
3. Bed with the Mrs and Twins
4. Bed with the Mrs and Twins in San Diego

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging:
1. CC
2. Amanda
3. Erik (Token Guy)
4. Mouse

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Friday, January 13, 2006


Alas, poor Thursday ...

Today, I'm not too 'up beat'. Is it because today is Friday the 13th? Not sure, but I think the weight of the world on my shoulders just crept up a few notches. Something about the universal constant of gravity increasing or something. Friggen universe, always messing with me. I spit at thee from the dark depths of despair! HAH! I think this case of melancholy-light has a lot to do with the 'stupid project' (which I actually like, kinda) and the stupid traffic (which has been awful of late) and the stupid wireless repeater issue at the manor (which the Mrs fixed).

Actually, the repeater thing worked out fairly well. We get lousy signal strength on the top floors of the Manor due to the black-out blinds and various wiring projects (gone horribly wrong). The anti-NSA lead shielding doesn't help much either. In any event, I pressed the Mrs into service and insisted she call the Support Line while I entertain the Tyrants. About 90 minutes later, the node was configured and there was an index card of notes regarding the missing instructions that should have been in the user's guide. Little things like the fact you need to have the node hard-wired to configure it and the name of the node needs to match the name of the router, etc... The Mrs was relieved and a bit tweaked about it ... but happy no less that she can surf the corporate intraweb at top speed. Cisco/LynkSys ... our savior, our nemesis.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006


Wait a minute!

Got a good laugh about this at Charlie's place.Best Blonde Joke I've read in a while!


Swiss cheese memory


Swim night did not go so well last night. Sure, I managed to get home, let the dogs out and get the kids to the pool on time. Little things along the way frustrated me immensely though. The little nits and such that when looked at in the micro view should not raise an eyebrow, but the atomic mass of the sum had an obnoxiously overwhelming presence that burdened my sagging sanity. For starters, I know my memory is awful these days. A lazy hippocampus is a horrible thing. So many semi-trivial things make it through but semi-important items just don't fire properly. First off, I damn near forgot the bag-o-gear when I left the manor for the SuperSaturn. The second attempt revealed that I was missing the swim-diapers (required at this age, even though they DO leave the pool and ask to go potty ... several times). When I got the diapers, I forgot my keys! The dogs were getting a bit concerned over my rapid departures and arrivals. The master, he goes insane now. So sad ... so sad. Now, time to lick myself!

Right about the time I was nearing the final phase of the Search and Recovery for the Twin Tyrants, the skies opened up and the light rainfall became a torrential downpour. Those are the Torrential Downpour ... official designation by the often hyperexcitable weather folk. It was accurate this time around. The excessive precipitation caused the standard panic on the roads and ate up the buffer time I allocated for the short trip. I did manage to make the deadline and escort the kids to the pool with seconds to spare. Only to find that Mrs Wilda was no-where to be found. The other mother there with her child noted her absence and I made the obvious deduction that she was probably delayed due to the inclement weather situation. Eventually, Mrs Wilda, her husband and their Daughter arrived and everything was fine. Till the lightning started to strike. Yep. Winter Lightning. Everyone was required to leave the indoor pool because ... it's a metal building. Of course. Urgh. Rules are rules and after the second strike (each requiring a 10 minute wait), I called it quits. Well, this command decision did not go over well with the tyrants. The immediately started their evasion techniques as I tried to corral them and put their towels on. The whole time they were screaming for Mrs Wilda and doing the usual 'dual-direction split' maneuver in order to fluster me. The onlookers were initially amused till they became obstacles and found that a 3.5 year old can get up a bit of steam before using the back of your calves as a buffer stop. Eventually, I calmed them by lying and telling them that we could come back on Saturday. I reeeaallly feel bad about that. No, really, I do! Of course, karma was an instant bitch and the kids started demanding their 'post-swim dum-dums'. You do know I forgot those. Instantly, the outrage was professed and I had to lie AGAIN and tell them that Mommy had them ready at the restaurant. I'm going to hell.

I met the Lovely and Patient Wife at Angelo's Italian restaurant after we had wrapped up the swim session and 'escaped' the dead-locked parking lot. We had a fine meal where Jake was being his usual grubby-touchy self and generally making a mess. Alexis announced that she had to poop and afterwards gave an in depth evaluation of her bowel movement including color, magnitude and velocity. Darling, you make daddy happy knowing you will not date till you are 30.

We had some touch-and-go moments, but the kids are starting to understand that when we eat out, the etiquette rules are not as loose and fancy-free as they are at home in the 'Haupertonian Food Fight Training Center'. Soon enough, Mrs Manners will be wowing the Heads of State with her ability to blow peas out her nose and Jugular Jake will be illustrating the fluid dynamics of drinking cup mechanics.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Down the other side of the peak

Hmmm, let's see here, what can I write about. The new project is requiring adherence to 21 CFR Part 11 and is a bit prickly about auditing. THAT is a subject which comes up alll the time in polite dinner conversation. Yup, for certain. Just ask Frick and Frack, the Compliance brothers here and they'll tell you ALL about it.

Perhaps I'll just stick to personal stuff. Like how my angel of a daughter figured that since she did not want to finish the LAST BITE of her sandwich, she would cover the table with semi-digested hotdogs, grilled cheese and milk. This is the third time she had performed this little act. Worst part is that she does it knowing full well that we are just going to bathe her and put her to bed right away. She is a rather crafty little one so I'm not sure what the motivation is. She KNOWS the end result but she still takes that last piece and crams it all the way back into her throat till she gags. Urgh.

Speaking of motivation, I've pretty much depleted all of mine when it comes to getting up in the morning. My leg still hurts from a while back. Feels like hot water is being poured over it. Strange, annoying, keeps my up at night, but tolerable. That and L'Hermitte's sign has re-emerged. As a frequent keyboard peeker, this can be EXTREMELY disconcerting. It interrupts my train of thought. Derails it even. There were fatalities. Damn corrosion, I need an upgrade to my spinal column. Something in a titanium sheath would be nice. I'll settle for something less conductive though. Of course, I'm not going to get this option pack any time soon.

This Friday, the Mrs is deserting me. It's the family thing and she is intending on putting a cap on this boiling vat. Off to NYC she will venture leaving the raucous but predictable Manor for a battle-royale no doubt. If all goes as planned, we will not be getting phonecalls in the middle of the night about the latest slight or transgression. I will dutifully press on with household schedules and do my best to entertain the tyrannical twins. Perhaps I will duct tape them to the hounds. More likely, I'll have to plan out a treasure hunt with a map and a bag of goodies at the end. We'll see how creative I feel when the bell tolls for thee (me). More short-term, I need to get my act together and prepare for swimming tonight. I'll need to add some ammo to the magazine in the SuperSaturn and re-charge the EMP/Quark Accelerator before leaving tonight. It's raining and the turnpike will be an orgy of love and peace for certain.

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Monday, January 09, 2006



Long weekend. Sure, it was only 2 days and flew by in a flash, but I still have to say that. It's in the contract, you see. Signed in blood, small print, Helvetica. Yep. But lets go back to the beginning. Waaay back. All the way back to ... ummm, Friday afternoon. I got the news that I would be assigned to a NEW project in spite of the fact that I've only been working on the old project for some 8 hours now. Okay, fine. The work is in it's initial stages so the requirements and design are still a little loose. Apparently, I'll be required to attend a meeting on Monday at the client site along with the rest of the team to discuss the project. The client site is in Princeton NJ. About 30 miles north of the manor and 60 miles away from Corporate HQ. I think I'll drive so I don't need to get a ride all the way back to the HQ just to turn around an drive back the same way to get home. In other work news, we are apparently getting into negotiations with an old boss of mine from MBNA about a bunch of work that he needs done at his new company. He is a really good guy and you always know where you stand with him. A few years back, he found out that he had some precancerous growths so they removed a set of his organs (spleen, gall bladder, etc) and turned him into an instant diabetic. I suppose since he is married, has three kids and so forth, the choice was real obvious. I let the boss lady know to tell him I said Hi. We exchange Christmas cards every year but have had limited contact outside of that. It'll be nice to 'ping' him again. That whole cancer thing ... seems to be a real prevalent thing in my life these days. Hrmmm. The silver lining of that little nugget is the news that the Petite Mother In Law is going to be sent home and seems to be doing much better now.

Saturday was spent mostly slacking away the morning and getting ready to bring the kids to a birthday party (4th) for another set of twins. Odd thing about that is there were only 6 kids at the party, each of whom were a set of twins. Next year, we will expect another one of the Duality Wife's friends to have a set of twins ... something in the water. Reminds me of the movie Brazil where the 'Hero' was speaking to a protagonist about his kids ... 'How are the twins?','Great, but they are triplets now ... just had a third one cloned.' Yikes, these folk all work for Pharma ... something in the coolaid at the lunch counter indeed. We stayed at the party till 1800 hours and helped clean up while we talked. Since the kids were playing so well together, it was a fairly good experience. The parents had a few moments of relief and the kids got to jump on the sofas. The kids dozed off the minute we got out of the driveway and were in blissful dreamland with their balloons and partybags firmly secure in their tiny clenched fists (of doom). They had a quick bath (in mortal combat) at home and went right to bed. Even with the relaxed conditions, the Mrs and I were still quite tired. I even nodded off at one point and the Mrs took a picture of Alexis putting a play-drill to my head. If the photo ever makes it to the net, I'll make sure to post it.

Sunday was a late morning as well. I brought Jake to the noon mass with me and he was actually a polite and mostly reserved little man for me. He had his books, toys and snacks but showing up 15 minutes early for services is usually a portend of sorrowful endings. Sure, he had to go potty about a dozen times throughout the hour long test of wills, but he did not wet himself, throw anything, assault the priest or grab the communion chalice. Very well behaved, yes. After that, I brought in wood to refill the brackets (both empty or nearly so) and took down the last of the Christmas lights. The sudden increase in my exercise was felt deeply the next day, of course. On irritation about the lights ... it turns out that the local rodent family members have developed a taste for electric wiring. The damned squirrels chewed off one light and severed a few lines on another string. Two lines out of five were made dangerous. Now of course I could fix this but the chance of shorts and fires is considerable now and I would only use these outdoors ... way far away from the manor. I should just toss them and get 5 sets of LED lights instead. We'll cross that bridge next December.

And then there was Monday. We got up late because some gremlins were playing with the alarm clocks. Go figure. I had to shuffle everyone out the door so that the Mrs could make a 0900 meeting at work. She was a tad late, but not as late as her boss who called the meeting. My Princeton meeting was not till Noon so I had to be at the office before 1100 to turn around and go right back up that way. Nonsense. The meeting was 4 hours plus 2 hours of commute. Rough day.

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Friday, January 06, 2006



Wow, already the 'same-old, same-old' is starting to settle in. The project I was assigned to does not seem to be going anywhere fast. About 8 hours over the last two days. Oh well, I'll manage. Of course, I have about 2 years of email inbox clean-up to do so that should keep me out of trouble for a few days.

Last night, I was going to head off to the MCRC NeoCon Secret Cabal and World Wide Conservative Conspiracy meeting but decided to hang back. There have been mitigating factors. The Mrs's Mother just recently had surgery for ... of all things ... breast cancer. There were complications due to her miniscule stature and allergic reactions to the blood thinner. I'll expect the Caring and Merciful Wife to need to head up to NYC soon to oversee a few issues. It's a harrowing experience for sure. On top of that, constant nit-pickery by her Grandmother has been a sore spot. Her aunt is also undergoing a similar procedure for a lump. Not a blood relation, but it still puts that very real specter of doom in the fore-front. On top of that, she was just informed that a family friend of ours passed on. We had sent a Christmas letter to their family but just now found out that he had departed shortly before thanksgiving. She was close to this fellow and the news was just too awful. It was best for me to stay at home and make things as easy as possible for her. There will be other nights to swill scotch and hatch evil plans of dominating the beer-nuts. Now, it's time for me to be a real man and support my family. Not so much financially, but emotionally. You cannot buy, elect or outsource that.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006



I caught this over at the Ex-Donkey Blog and I have to agree with pretty much whit what Gary says. It seems to me that there needs to be two people going to jail:Something about dereliction of duty comes to mind and a little oath when he became a judge. I hope his electorate tosses him out. Now excuse me while I go vomit in the toilet.

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Nothing new today. Odd. Well, other than the swim lessons last night. I managed to get the troops in line and we made it to the swim club a bit early. After everyone got suited up, we were in the water at 1735 ... a tad early. Mrs Super Swim Teacher and her daughter were there and I could not keep the kids out of the water. We could either go to the 1730 or the 1800 lessons so I suppose we will be doing the 1730 from now on. Jacob really liked Mrs Wilda's Daughter who is the administrator for the club. Odd how that worked out. The one down side is that the Mrs will not be able to arrive before we finish. She will be able to meet us at the restaurant afterwards though.

This week, the restaurant of choice was Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria. This is the same place where I proposed to the Mrs back in '94. One thing I never seem to remember is that week night (Mon-Thurs) service is tediously slow. If you order something that is a specialty plate, be prepared to wait. It took nearly an hour for the adult meals to arrive, which was bad and good. Good in so much that we could focus on making sure the kids ate what they wanted and bad in that the kids were finished and agitating to leave by the time we got our searing hot plates served up to us. I wolfed down my veal (I know, I know ... it was not very good either) and shuttled the tyrants off to the manor while the Mrs stayed behind to wrap up the tip negotiations and do a little shopping afterwards. One interesting thing is that we met a gentleman and his wife in the booth next to us during the wait. The kids were playing your typical kid-flirtation games and they just had to comment on how wonderful these little deviants were. The man was very loquacious and amiable. Looking at him, I would have guessed that he was in his late 50's but he told us that his 70th birthday was right around the corner. He looked GREAT. Must be the red wine. I'll have to look into that.

Oh, and on the power front ... no problems today. Of course, this recent experience has spurred me into looking more seriously at a heat pump to get the preferential RH electric rates and supplement that with solar panels. It seem that we only get ripped badly in the summer months (4 in total) where we get charged one rate for usage up to 500kwh and then another that is bit higher after that. When you blow through 1500 kwh in a month, it adds up. August and September can be fairly expensive months. Oh, and that off-peak power stuff ... not such a good idea. Trust me.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Power to the People

We have been enduring the standard mid-winter east coast rains for three days now. Three days of unending piddling and bone scraping cold that cannot be flushed out no matter how high you turn up the furnace. Ah, the furnace, burning away precious income by the bucket. The rain has had a marginal impact on traffic, but I've not concerned myself much with that. I was assigned to a new project already and my mind is busy digesting that right now. It helps when my attention is diverted from the minor annoyances of life. Keeps the grinding down to a minimum.

Speaking of annoyances, when I got back to the manor last night, I found that we had lost power once again. Well, first time this year. I did not notice this till I opened the 5000 cubic refrigerator and noticed that the light did not come on. Since it was rather chilly in the kitchen, I did not deduce that we had lost power till I saw the LCD clock on the stove was not lit up. This half power loss thing is common among our issues with PECO/Exelon. I immediately made the connection at that moment and darted down to the file room to get the number to report the outage. If you get on this quickly it might be addressed within the next 24 hours. This is the first outage of the year. Hurrah! I interact with the automated emergency phone option witch and have my 'trouble ticket' entered into the system. Little did I know that the problem was more wide-spread than just the manor. I continue preparing the children's dinner with our operating kitchen appliances and then go let the hounds out to do their evening dance of doo-doo. While intently inspecting the ritualistic prancing of the cyber-mammoths, I notice the glaring blue light of a laptop in the front seat of a utility truck up the street a bit. It's about 100 meters away and I become interested. It could be a telephone or water company truck. If they have been doing any work in the area it could explain my problem. I let Katie in (she takes care of her business quickly) and leave Thor to his own devices. I have to remind him every so often why he is outside in the first place ... such a absent-minded behemoth. As I approach the vehicle I find my spirits rising. It's a PECO truck of all things! Ah-hah! I tap gently on the window and explain to the startled minion the problems I've notice. Just then, my ticket pops up on his screen and he suddenly become increasingly interested in my tale of woe. I point to the exact spots on the ground where he will find the line, the switch and the transformer. Each is under a few inches of water except for the transformer which is in a pit ... under about 5 feet of water. This is the same pit I noticed steam wafting skyward like a Nuclear Cooling Tower over the last few days. I thought it was just warm water from a sump pump discharge ... know I know differently.

Early in the morning, the power went out a few more times. Intentionally. There was a giant pump truck and several other vehicles planted about the street where the problem transformer was located. A small army of union men were standing about and taking long drags on cigarettes to warm their lungs and waving in broad circles and the work zone. Eventually, the power was restored and we reset our clocks so we could wake at the crack of dawn. Perhaps they will get around to replacing the whole damn installation ... but I'll wager that the transformer has pcb contaminated oil and they don't want to touch it till absolutely necessary. I'm looking harder at Off Peak Service and Solar Installations now.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Back in black

Yes, yes. I know. I should have let you all know I was going to go into hiding for two weeks. Oh, but what a great vacation. When I intend to be on vacation, I mean it! Complete separation from the cyber-world/blogosphere. No mail, no AIM, no blogs. Nada. Well, except a touch of Civilization IV ... complete time vacuum. In any event, things went fairly well. Logs on the fire, comfort food abounded. Mostly good things happened. Some bad shit went down, but that's family for ya. The kids were the center of attention and got more gifts in one day than I got my entire life. As it should be. Amish Dad got a joint-venture gift from Big Little Brother and I ... a $400 chainsaw that makes trees fall by just taking it out of the case. The Mrs bought herself a Tivo with a 100 bazillion GB storage capacity. We are all happy with that. I get my two shows (Good Eats, Ghost in the Shell) and that makes me happy. Now I can watch everything I want in under 40 minutes before 0200. Grams, well she got heaping mounds of cuddling from Jake every morning. Damn, can that kid manipulate! He is going to be trouble some day. Unlike his sister who is trouble now. She has discovered that playing parents against each-other can bring mixed results but has a rather substantial success rate. New Years was great too. Jake made it all the way till 0400 and was ready for more till we bolted him into the chair. He passed out in 5 minutes. Alexis did not go much beyond 0200 which is fine. She was up at 0900 the next day though. Urgh. We pretty much just bummed around on the 1st and the kids seemed to be content to be TV slugs as well. Good times. Hope you all had a fairly respectable vacation and thanks for asking about me. Sorry 'bout that. :)

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