White Lightning Axiom: Redux: February 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006


urk v2.5

Busy, busy, busy. Yep, a spare moment in my life is a moment gone to waste. That whole 'cool your heels' thing is a SIN I tell ya'! And sleep? Gotta work on getting a law against that stuff. Perhaps one of the Socialist Party members would take it up. Ya think? Speaking of floating a trial bubble, the kids did quite well at the swim lessons last night ... that I gave them. Since lessons have magically transformed to 1800 hours on Monday, I'll probably take them to the pool on Wednesday nights myself just to break up the week a little bit. They seemed to enjoy chasing me about the pool and going under water seems to have significantly more appeal now that they know to hold their breath. We were in the drink from 1720 till about 1810. Right about then I gave up on the Mrs showing up and assumed that either she was pinned down at work by hostile fire or she was busy monitoring some domestic phone calls ... or enticing information out of a reluctant subject. Either way, she did show up just as I finished changing the Twin Tyrants and myself out of our wet SCUBA gear and packing away the test underwater C4 fuses. Excuse: I forgot to tell her that I was bringing them weather there were lessons or not. Sheesh! Nearly 10 years of wedded bliss and she still cannot predict my fickle ways.

The night out at Fuji started on an interesting note. As we arrived, so did our neighbors along with their children and grandchildren. He was over-joyed to see me after the great battle of the chipper-shredder. You see, BigLittleBrother went about collecting some downed branches from his front yard to throw in along with all my scraps. Given this, and the fact that we hauled a massive heap of machinery across the swampy grounds of the Haupertonain Manor, he was quite thrilled to the point that he grasped me and planted a big old kiss on my cheek. Yeah, not what I expected out of a Vietnam Vet either. He is a surly dude and is a president of a fairly successful company. All decked out in his fur coat, it was a rather surreal situation. Fortunately, they were headed over to the Hibachi grill and we were going to sit at a regular table. Just when you think you had someone figured out, they toss a curve ball covered with a goober at ya. Given that Jake put on another "I'm not going to eat" performance, it was all for the best. That little twerp managed to throw me off my game again. Perhaps tonight, when it is pizza night, things will work out between us.

Back at the manor, we bathe the kids and toss them in bed. I'm completely spent, but neurotically watch TV into the late hours of the evening. Why? Why, why, why. I should take the TV out of the bedroom just to save me from myself. I was watching stupid stuff to boot. Futurama, One Piece, South Park. Yeah, greatly explaining my mental capacity and enriching my cultural inner self. I should hook up a stationary bicycle to a power dynamo so that I have to exercise while I watch. That'll put a quick end to my 'Grand Waste of Time' addiction. Or some sort of lock set on the armour that automatically closes it after a certain hour. Yeah ... I see a market opportunity here.

Woke up with nausea this morning. Think I may be pregnant. No, wait ... it's a virus or infection. Probably the same one that Jake is fighting off and having such a hard time with. Nausea, not hungry ... ummm. Crap, I owe him an apology. No really, if he felt half as awful as I did I can understand why the mere thought of food would turn you off. It's pizza tonight so if he is still sporting a sour gut, it'll be quite evident. The kid never turns his nose up on the cheesy goodness on a crust.

The commute this morning ... sucked massive whale balls. Big time. A semi-truck stalled in the ONLY ezpass-only lane at my turnpike entrance and caused a major backup. Since I was busy shaking my fist and blurting out the most eloquent of salty words, I neglected to wave my ezpass transponder and did not get a data-read green light. Ooops. On top of that, the Mrs called as I was getting off the tpk and I missed the end-point read. There is no chance they will be able to figure out it was my account since the car plates do not match my record. I'll have to contact them or they will send a bill to Enterprise Car Rental. Funny thing, the tolls are $1.50 if you do not use ezpass and 1.10 if you do. I found this out since I forgot my pass on Tuesday. I miss my SuperSaturn. Not only for the fall-back should the pass not be read, but the mileage that I'm getting is ATROCIOUS. I had a half tank on Tuesday and it was bone dry this morning. Had to stop at the turnpike rip-off plaza to refill after the 'you're shit out of luck buddy' fuel light came on at the Mid-County interchange. It only holds 13 gallons .... so a little math tells me that I'm getting about 15.4 mpg. ACK! No wonder it felt so wonderful to drive ... it was screwing me broke. So much for my auto-lieben.

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Haloscan OTL

Don't know if you all can see, but the comments seem to have vanished and I cannot access their main site. I'm sure it will fix itself.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006



Ask the Tolerant Mrs, ask the beloved grandparents, ask the Twin Tyrants. I'm over feeding them and getting much too upset about them not finishing the meal. The plate heaped high with vittles that I've slaved over a hot stove all week to produce. Going so far as to rip strips of flesh from my own breast to feed them and calling it bacon. And then they have the audacity to cast a jaundice eye upon the meal, insisting that pudding or jello is now the preferred vehicle for nutrition delivery. When I was a kid we ate dirt, worms and rocks. And we were happy to have that! I'm trapped between a world of affluence, abundance, luxury that I have been half born into and half crafted, and the world that I knew as a child where you finished what was put on your plate because it was damn hard to come across and Mom spent all damn day baking that bread. Damn Good Bread. Bread made from the ground bones of those who would try to take sustenance from our mouths. Ask the Grandparents and they will tell you that I'm so full of poop that my eyes are brown of course. Truth be told, I think I need to back off on the quantity before I give the kids some sort of eating disorder. I'll still probably end up eating the leftovers and gaining a ton of ugly fat. Dammit.

Swim lessons. Gotta have them. Even if it is inconvenient. And so it will be. I finally managed to corner the new swim director with a barrage of phone calls and she fessed up: no more Wednesday Night Lessons unless they are private. They will have Monday night at 1800 hours though. Starting this past Monday. Thanx for the advanced notice. I had some interesting words to use but I kept them to myself. It looks like I'll be in the pool tonight. Pray that the Behemoth and Kraken don't pull me under.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Starting anew

You would think after the mess that last week ended up as, things would calm down a bit on Monday. Yeah, right. That's not how my universe works. Instead of a downward spiral I've got an ever tightening clock spring. Right now, it's nearing the density of a black hole so watch out for the inevitable time-bending spatial distortion! The Mrs was resigned to staying locked up in the Manor with the Twin Tyrants all day long since it was Presidents day. This holiday is apparently a good reason to shut down the Day Care/ReEducation Camp. I never got that day off as a kid. Today's children are too soft. Don't even get me started on the whole 'up-hill both ways in the snow' bit. In any event, she was more than happy to see me arrive. Getting double-team super-fly sleeper-hold molested all day can take it out of you. Dinner was the usual fiasco of them preferring desert over whatever I had prepared for them. The one bonus facet though is that they figured out that you can eat more than just the peas in sugar-snap peas. MMmmm, good. More intake of greens is always comforting.

In less enriching news, we got another water shut-off notice. The last time we dealt with this, it was resolved as a miscommunication. This time I'm crying harassment. How awkward of a system can they have if they don't know that they have already removed the damn meter and that is why I'm not using any water. Cripes!

Sunny spot: The rental car is costing us 37$/day due to the Merck discount. It's a Pontiac G6 and it is really, realllyyyy nice. I damn near snapped my neck when I stepped on the accelerator. Ohhh, if the mileage was not so atrocious, I could live with a car like that. Take that, all you American car haters! ;)

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Monday, February 20, 2006


On and Off

Well, here we go again. I wanted to post on Friday but I was so damn pissed I could not bring myself to put keyboard to CRT (pen to paper for you purists) to write about it. Long story short, we are down 1 vehicle. But lets go to the back story first. Waaaay, way back to Thursday night. Rhett from KoC was over to work with Mrs and I on life insurance/investment plans while the kids watched Tivo in the Auxiliary Master Bedroom. Worked out pretty well actually. Having given them a bath and all before hand, they were fairly calm and just sat there watching old Scooby-Do cartoons from 1969. Strange preferences. Alexis seems to really like Witches, vampires, bats and other assorted 'Spooky' stuff. Goth in training? At least I won't have to worry about her 'scared of everything' phase. Of course, I've got my 'scared of everything that can happen to her' phase to be concerned with!

It's Friday morning, the Mrs is dropping off the Family Tank at the local Chevy dealership to have some work done on the uranium depleted ABS/AWD disks. They find the problem rather quickly and at 31K, figure it is out of warranty. AH-HA! I dumped a load of cash to get the 10 year 100,000 mile option. TAKE THAT! With the flaunting of extended repair warranties, karmic retribution was packaged, dropped and was speeding my way like a Roadmaster stationwagon driven by a centennial blind man. Merrily going about my business of getting on the Turnpike, I was about to go through the 5mph tollgates at 30mph (yes, I'm going slower than everyone else and gaining much 'get out of the way you idiot' glares for my collection. Just as I was approaching the final cattle gate, tragedy struck. The SuperSaturn began to buck and vibrate like a mechanical bull in it's death throes. Next, the underling gods of spite burst through the surface below the car and cast miles of asphalt into the engine compartment ... or so it felt. A horrendous cacophony of metal grinding and shattering components rung out and the vehicle immediately ceased to burn precious gasoline. I pull over after coasting through the collection gate only to see tendril like wisps of white smoke start to rise from beneath the floor-boards. Not good. Looking beneath the carriage, I see fluids pouring out like a cow pissing on a flat rock. Before too soon, the systems would be bone dry. I managed to get the engine to kick over and I drive back out through the gates and let the wounded beast settle on the side of the road. There, I call the AAA hearse and wait for the slow, sorrowful procession to begin.

The trip from the Car-Killing Turnpike to the garage was short and merciful. It ended up costing me 21$ since it was a few miles beyond the AAA boon distance. The worst was yet to come. After looking at the SuperSaturn, Chris (my uber-mechanic) told me that one of the pins in the transmission got loose and shattered the housing before sending shrapnel into the starter cone. All told, about 2500$ of repairs were in order. Normally, I would have told him to take her out to a quiet pasture and put a bullet in the engine block, but not today. We still have 2 years of payments on the FamilyTank so we cannot afford to pick up a second car loan just yet. Urg, this year is starting out rough.

As previously noted, the Parental units were coming down for the weekend along with BigLittle Brother. Since I had access to Gus's Van, I would have the chance to pick up a chipper to take care of all the pine bows/branches left over from our last back-50 dalliance. The thing weighed a ton and when trying to roll it to the area where the work was to be done, we damn near lost it in the marsh I call a front yard. Sure, it was 20 degrees, well below freezing. That meant little to the sun warmed perma-frost though. Eventually, with 500+ pounds of muscle and grunting, the three of us managed to get the mechanical munching maw to where it was needed and spent the next 4 hours reducing a mountain of greenery into two rather sizable mounds of spongy pine mulch. No injuries, no catastrophes, no kidding. The rest of the weekend was spent trying to entertain the kids and recover from 4 hours of strenuous activity. Sunday evening came and went. The family departed and with that, the children passed out around 1900 hours. All is well outside of my deflated savings account.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006


Rollin, Rollin, Rollin!


Hey, yeah, I'm back and feeling good. Well, at least a whole lot better than last week. A lot happened over the last 7 days, but most of it revolved around the software engineering on my current project, shoveling snow and sanding hardwood floors. Entirely too exciting, I know. Barely can speak about it! Ack. The big items are, as trivial as they may be, very exciting to me. Went for my 2nd degree at the KoC last week and had free beer AND pizza. Hot DAMN! Even more importantly, I finally found an insurance company who will cover me with WHOLE life (not Term) at a reasonable rate. I'm not just talking accidental either. The whole shebang and I get my payments back after 30 years as well. Yes, $250K for a measly 86.40$/month and I GET IT ALL BACK. I've been paying nearly 1000$ a year for accidental so I'm really quite beside myself. I've been warning all my friends and co-workers who are getting married or thinking about children that now, before you go to the doctor with an ache or pain, would be the best time to get a nice little CHEAP insurance plan.

Other stuff: Parental Units are coming down for a visit this weekend so I've set out plans to rent the chipper shredder for the weekend. Gus, the Greek Christian Neighbor, is in Greece right now and he left the keys to his van with me so I have a vehicle capable of towing the mechanical maw without ruining the transport. If the snow melts, this should take no time at all. On Monday, I'll let you all know if I lost any limbs to the thing.

Valentines day came and went. I lobbed 3 boxes of chocolates (milk) at the Mrs; one from me and 2 from the kids. She is happy and the kids are happy since they got 5 tons of candy hearts. I'm using them in barter for reasonable behavior. Like last night after swim lessons. Oh, the old swim program director has left and the new one is less than competent. Mrs Wilda and her daughter ran the program so I'm not sure what went wrong. We may have to just hire Mrs Wilda to do private lessons for the kids if this new director can not get her act together. Alexis is trying to perfect her back-stroke/butterfly right now. She really looks like a frog when she kicks her legs in unison ... quite a sight for a girl who was terrified of the water not more than a 18 months ago.

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Got this in the mail from a friend and a patriot:

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006



Okay, things have been INSANE over the last week. I'm well but my time management skills have been demolished! More to come.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006


Bird Flu on the move

Progress thus far:
Romainia: Suspected bird flu outbreaks detected in Romnia
Nigeria : Nigeria scrambles to contain bird flu strain
Turkey: Turkey bird flu is deadly strain

Now that it is in Africa, the migratory birds will bring it back to Europe this spring and it's all down-hill from there. Of course, Europe will come up with a vaccine fairly quickly now that their head is on the block ...

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Doctor, Doctor, Give me the news ...

Last night was a busy one. The universe had a few surprised up it's sleeve for me. Nothing I could not handle but annoying none the less. Since Wednesday is Swim night, my schedule after work is absurdly compressed and there is no comfort gained by clear traffic on the Turnpike. No, I get to the main artery that leads to the Manor and find that it is backed up for a good mile with very little movement indicating either an accident or some other natural catastrophe. As it turns out, a major road, CountyLine Road, was blocked off at the Reading Railroad crossing. This Grade Level crossing is part of the reason that the road itself is only one lane. That, and the Turnpike Bridge are the two of the main bottlenecks. On either side of these 'Natural Obstacles' the road is 2 lanes in each direction. Closing down this section results in a significant detour and this gridlocked the entire area. I have a half mile between the Manor and the Day Care/ReEducation Facility and it took me nearly 15 minutes to grind through. I expect this to be the status quo for quite some time. The irritating part of this is that I had no warning or idea that this was going to occur. Thank you PADOT.

We were a few minutes late for swim lessons, but other than that things went well. Since they were the only 2 at the pool, Mrs Wilda was able to dedicate her full attention to them and they are doing much better w/o the 'floaters'. Watch out Marc Spitz. Since it was close to Valentine's Day, the kids got a packet of heart as a gift which I quickly confiscated so that they would not go into a sugar induced thermo-nuclear cold fusion meltdown at dinner. Yes, dinner. We got our usual seats at Fuji and found that our service was as impeccable as ever. Nice standard. I had my Negimaki while the Mrs had her Udon noodles and California roll. The children enjoyed their pot-stickers and Udon noodles. This time Jovial Jacob declined to take a taste of my Fuji Ice Tea. He learns! Daddy only drinks poison. The mix was even more potent this time and it quickly soothed what was ailing me. Angels descended as a halo of light illuminated me ... Cherubs floated about and sang praises to the anesthetic powers of the slick green liquid that ran down my parched palette to warm my gullet. Soon enough, the awful pain that has been griping my innards melted away instilling me with a positively GLOWING feeling of calm and relaxation.

Here is the kicker, I had a doctor's appt later that night at 2000 hours. So, no pain, and the doctor is saying 'WTF!?'. Yep, it was just the fact that I did not have enough hard alcohol in my system. Although, they did take a pinch of flesh, a cup of urine and a gallon of blood just to make sure. The scary part is that the doctor on call at the practice was a fairly young and inexperienced member and confided in me that she did not quite know what to think so would consult some of the more senior members. When I indicated that she should talk to my Primary Physician in regards to my 'condition', she was surprised to find out that I had MS. URK. Do I need to say anything about reading my records ... like the FRONT SHEET!? Nervous Nelly indeed.

To bed at 2200 hours, up at 0100 to take Jake to the bathroom and up again at 0645. More than enough sleep and I'm feeling quite well. Traffic this morning was messy, especially the Laser Beam sunlight of Blindness at the KOP exit, but tolerable. Looks like February might actually turn out to be a good month. Now if that 6 more weeks of winter BS would go away ... 20 degrees is cutting into the budget you know.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006



Ohhh boy, was last night ever a spiral slide into the frightening world of frantic action. First off, I was scheduled to have one of the Knights from the Knights of Columbus to come over to discuss insurance with the Mrs and I. You see, all I can really get in the line of insurance is accidental death and that, given the blessings God seems to heap on me, is unlikely. I have been through so many situations where I should have shuffled off my mortal coil (Read: Turnpike) that I'm certain that I have a battalion of guardian angles looking after my sorry hide. No, it's going to be a virus that gets me for certain. That, or I'll make a visit to the Hospital and raging incompetence will be my undoing. In any event, the KoC has insurance that will cover me. Of course, since there is another person present at the table while the kids are eating dinner, there will be no quarter given. The whole time, Jake and Alexis are asking their usual questions, assailing the guest for papers, rummaging through his pockets and insisting that they need to leave the table for whatever reason. Of course, they have learned that 'I feel sick' will get immediate attention. Given that, the 'Boy who cried wolf' syndrome starts to take effect. Now Alexis was the one crying wolf the most and Jacob started in near the end of the dinner. Noting this, I let him loose and told him to go to the bathroom if he wants. That, the toilet of unending hydraulic entertainment, is his ultimate goal. 99% of the time. This was the 1% case and he demonstrated that projectile vomit and a tile floor can result in the most artful displays. He lost 1.5 hotdogs, 5 pods of peas, 1 mug of chocolate soy-milk and 1 whole grilled cheese sandwich. In the resulting 'art', I saw the image of Elvis. I did! I thanked St. Elvis that Jake was pointing AWAY from our guest since in previous excursions he found that the 'Guest Lap' was quite comfortable. I would have been less mortified if I had not been on my way to another room to perform interdiction duty on Alexis who had found that the Rosary presented to the Mrs was an object that she must possess at all costs. I managed to produce a diversionary rosary just about the time I heard the tell-tale spatter of semi-digested materials hitting the floor at terminal velocity.

In spite of the peripheral distractions and the 101 different phone calls, the Mrs and I learned that we could get reasonable coverage AND get out money back in the end. Rhett, doing his best under trying conditions, saw that our other investment/insurance coverage through Amex/Ameriprise could not be beat but did indicate he would like to see what he could do. We will certainly go for the pure insurance given the rates for myself are nearly identical to what I'm paying now for accidental. As previously notes, we all know how little I think about paying a thousand dollars a year betting on my own demise. One of the phone interruptions happened to be our neighbors Gus and Irene letting us know that they would be going on vacation to Greece for a month. I think they like the fact that I check in on them every so often. Not that I'm a busy-body, it's just that they have nobody except each other now and nobody else in the neighborhood really talks to them. If I'm the token Catholic, they are the token Orthodox Christians. Apparently, the trial regarding their child's death due to vehicular homicide just finished and the 'child' who ran the red light and killed her got 1 year in prison and 3 years of probation. With this final closure, they needed a break. It's been a few years now and the anti-climatic ending occurred in conjunction with both of them coming down with some sort of strep. Seems to be going around. I went over to have a short sit with them and asked Gus if I could borrow his van while he was away. Needless to say, he was EXTREMELY pleased that I finally asked something of him. I now have access to a vehicle that can tow the chipper shredder so I can dispose of all those pine branches I have left in the back. Now all I need to do is get healthy enough to spend a weekend devoted to the activity. Amish Dad is tied up during tax season (interesting timing on my part) so I'll have to see if I can get SuperMom and Little Big Brother to come down and help the Mrs with the Tyrannical Twins when I abandon them. Hmmmmm.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Because I care ...

I am currently working on some software regarding regulatory training and spotted a little ditty use for privacy code. When the disclaimer link is clicked on the following text is displayed.
Yes, it's Latin. If you go through the trouble to translate it, it does not come remotely close to explaining the privacy policy of the company. This standard piece of Latin text is what is referred to as 'pig-latin' and is often used by website designers as placeholder text until the real text has been written to replace it. I guess it wasn't that important to the company and they just forgot.
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Bad Blogger!

Yes, I've been bad. I've neglected my adoring throngs of fans for nearly 4 days now. So sorry, really I am. It's just that, well, my kidneys hurt. I know that sounds a bit peculiar, but I think the four days of fasting in conjunction with the antibiotics and the loads of pharma may have caused some sort of enzyme imbalance. Feels like someone took a base-ball bat to them. I'm fine in the morning, but by mid-afternoon I'm a wreck. Forget the evening, I'm useless. I've scheduled a bitch session at the family doctor's practice on Wednesday night after the kids swim lessons. Let's hope that I have nothing to complain about by then. Still, even if the pain is gone it does not mean there is no longer a problem. Nervous Nelly, eh?

Saturday, even with the aching organs, was mildly productive. Changed the dryer vent hose. Entertaining. 10 years of lint and other assorted evolutionary organisms were cast out into the cold. Since I had the dryer and deep freeze pried away from the wall, I did a little house-keeping back there. I think I may have found out what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. Just generally tons of crap and a stack of lost buttons. Buttons, in the land of the lost. Battling the SleeStacks and trying to keep Cha-Ka from smashing everything. So much for that 'routine expedition'. Once I jammed the hose in place and roughly rocked the utilities back in place, I focused on the 'hounds of hell' and the mess they left in their room. Step one, strip down their beds, confiscate all their toys, leave them with nothing. Step two, scrub the funk of ages from their fur. Step three, wash everything with a healthy dose of bleach. That takes all afternoon and the act of just trying to pick dog-hair out our your mouth when your hands are caked with the stuff can drive a man insane.

Sunday brought the Superbowl where we spent the evening at the Seliga's place. The kids ran wild while Pete and I puffed cigars out in the driveway in sub-freezing temperatures. Sure, I felt like crap but a moment of peace is like a gold plated fruit of knowledge: Covet and Savor. The kids did not get a bath that night but were tired enough to just not care all that much. Same went for the parents ... the caring, not the bathing part.

Monday, well, it was as it should be. I'll try to keep up to spec from now on. It is so much easier to be witty and cerebral when you are not feeling the weight of guilt pushing you down. This work thing; it just keeps getting in the way!

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Friday, February 03, 2006


Real Genius Meets the 21st Century

All I can say is ... wow.Any one remember Real Genius?

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Thursday, February 02, 2006


Pandemic Rising

Once again, I've fallen short of my own expectations and have not been blogging on a daily basis. I'll blame Butros-Butros Gali and his damn Black Helicopters. Yesss, that's it. And the French are in on it. Anyways, the Mrs is sick. Hacking, coughing septum splattering all over the mirror sick. The kids are on the mend though. There is much coughing but no sign of any ear infection for Jake yet. I did take him to the pediatrician's for a quick lookover and they found nothing. They did give me a script for antibiotics ... just in case. They know him well and figure that I'm just being responsible by getting him in as quickly as possible but he will be subject to the rampaging bacteria sooner or later. Poor little guy, hope this curse does not live with him much longer. Hate to see them sick.

I, however, feel MUCH better. Food never tasted so damn good. So good in fact that I went out with the guys for lunch at the local brew pub for 2$ pints. I miss the 1$ pint days but I'll survive. After a plate of cheese nachos with everything, two beers and a hickory burger with extra bacon, I was truly sated. Startling. I actually had food left over on my plate and that is not something that my mother taught me. My stomach shrank. This might bode well for my weight 'problem'. Yeah, I could stand to loose a few pounds. Again, startling.

More startling news, Alexis has had two dry mornings in a row. Not sure if this is because of the stool loosener/antibiotics combination we gave her that extracts every last drop of fluid from her body, but she is about as pleased as punch about it. Lots of positive reinforcement from the Mortal Enemy/Nemesis/Parent Front helps. So proud of her, we are.

Final 'shocking' note ... I'm getting old. I sent off a happy birthday notice to my Big Little Brother on the 1st, the 2nd is Dirt-Rat day (damn, 6 more friggen weeks), and the 3rd is my day of remembrance that my mortal coil is unwinding. Sheesh, 38 and I still have not founded an inter-galactic empire. I need to get my but in gear. Anyone else here remember 45 records, B&W tv (w/o remote), manual typewriters and when unleaded gasoline was something fancy cars used?

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