White Lightning Axiom: Redux: July 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006


Undiscovered witty title

Hmmm, where to start, where to start. Such an adventure I've had ... INDEED! I went to the Local Home Depot Temple on my lunch break (all 15 minutes of it) and picked up a new splitting maul with a fancy yellow 'unbreakable' handle. Yep, I'll be busting that one too in no time. I did that with a 7lb sledge hammer of the same mythical description. Yep, in my ham-handed grabby-grubbies, nothing is unbreakable unless I am trying to break it. While there, I HAD to stop of at the lunch counter and get a kielbasa with kraut and onions ... because they make the best damn dogs in the world there. Probably not, but the blue-collar guy in me cannot resist the smell of a good sausage in the afternoon. That and they have Dusseldorf mustard and that sends me over the top every time. The poor thing barely lasted 3 minutes before it was nothing more than a beige smear on a napkin and a hint of halitosis on my breath.

Back at the manor, I gave the new tool a test run on a couple pieces of wood. Mmmm, shiny metal tools, glistening in the sun. Ok, it was more overcast and sticky than anything, but the hefty wedge of steel did the job but I managed to mince the rubber neck protection ring fairly quickly. I'll have to get a more robust protector that will withstand the abuse I'll be heaping on it. Buy the time I got a second round of wood, I was already sweating uncontrollably. I made an abrupt, but correct, decision to halt the activities and go cool down before picking up the kids for practice.

The rest of the evening is fairly mundane. Jake cannot stand still at practice, Alexis acts studious but is really looking for weaknesses in her future victims, the Mrs arrives home from her NYC Expedition. Practice ends, I start the short but congested trek back to the manor but today is pizza night. I've already ordered the pizza 5 minutes before practice ends and it'll be 15 minutes before I arrive. That's 20 minutes ... I'm a math wiz dont-cha-know. The pizza is not ready ... new cook, blah-blah-blah, 10 more minutes. Yeah, I'm not in the mood to debate the obvious faults in the excuses. It's a PIZZA ... large with extra cheese. It does not matter, if it is not ready it is not ready and no amount of blather will make it arrive any sooner. I drive the .35 miles to the Manor to drop off the kids and let the Mrs know that I need to go back to the Pizza Joint. She reminds me that she offered to pick it up and I grumble about some nonsense. Fifteen minutes later, the pizza is not ready. Something about a rip in the time space continuum and the effects of time dilation at the speed of light. Yeah. So I head over to Coyote junction and buy a box of cigars. Shocked, aren't you? Well, I'm getting them mostly for the box. The kids need a treasure box and cigar boxes (the nice wooden ones) are the best. I'm getting 10 Cohiba Toro with individual humidors that will make for nice mini-gifts for my cigar aficionado associates. Sad situation arose from this. Now, we have one box and two highly competitive children. I guess I'll have to get another box. Well on my way to being a stinky old smarmy man.

I spent a bit of time sitting in the garage looking out at the rain. A rather ordinary thunderstorm had rolled into the area and was giving us a pretty decent washdown. Not the flooding kind, but the slow steady plod that actually soaks into the ground rather than washing away all the livestock. I sat there with a glass of Glenfiddich Scotch in one hand and my smoldering cigar in the other. The trees were swaying ever so slightly in between muffled firecracker thunder and the occasional flash of dim lightning. Now if I just had a worn out Barcalounger and an old radio, I would be set for the evening. Well, I did have the radio but there was nothing of interest on the NPR station I had it tuned to. The tobacco product was burning quite slowly and nearly an inch of ash was suspended against the pull of gravity by sheer will. I snuffed it out, slid it back into the aluminum humidor and took one last swipe at the scotch. The family was waiting inside for me and I would not let them be denied ... 15 minutes of mindless absorption was enough for the night. Time to go make some kids giggle.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006


Chutes and ladders

... And broken axe handles. Yeah, I broke the axe handle while trying to split wood last night. Hit the wood square but it split funny and splintered the handle right at the head. The universe works against me. No matter, I have other concerns. The Mrs took off to tend to the MIL in NYC yesterday evening. That leaves the defense of the Manor up to me. Other than the kids doing their thing at swimming lessons and my eventual collapse into slumber at 2130 hours, not much to blather about. I did feel much better in the morning though. Good thing since I inherited drop-off duty. Got the kids to school by five of seven and got back on the road ten minutes hence. The one thing I did find of interest for the day was this:

Yep, that would be Lileks talking about his class reunion. The guy reminds me of why I am so in love with the Northern-Mid-West.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Half way through hell ...

The twins acted up at Karate yesterday. Alexis was busy manipulating the instructor and Jacob was doing his interpretive dance bit that represented uncontrolled perpetual motion. Myself, I'm having my own personal energy crisis. A profound, enveloping and oppressive exhaustion has wrapped me in its iron grasp and is squeezing every last drop of motivation out of me. You know you should go back home and go to bed when you debate weather or not you should get up to use the toilet or rest a minute .. or two ... or, oh boy, I really gotta go now. It must be the turnpike. I wonder if there is a study on the effect of long commutes and resulting fatigue. The kids have swimming today, I fear their mobility. Jeeze, listen to me whine. Anyone got some cheese to go with it?

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Everyone Hates Mondays

Tuesdays are no cup of tea either. Beh. I got a call from the project manager Monday morning. I need to retouch 5 or so screens for the User Requirements document. It's frustrating in that I added a bunch of features that had to be removed in one of the revisions. Now, I get to add them back in again. Argh does not suffice the frustration I'm feeling about that. It is one of the mitigating factors that make me want to toss in the towel on my white-collar tech job and go do landscaping. At least when you dig a hole, it says 'dug'. Till the next guy fills it in because that is what the Union told you to do. Even if the middle guy who was supposed to put a tree in that hole was out sick that week. Never mind, stupidity and fickle twits rule the world.

The commute in this fine Tuesday morning was jolly too. Actually, not really bad till I got to the exit gate and got stuck behind a truck that entered the EZPass lane and became confused. He just sat there while an even larger truck behind me was blasting it's horn. I'm not sure what the problem was, but eventually the fellow got it in gear and left only to proceed to cut off several folks on his way to rt 422. If all lanes were EZPass and some were both EZPass and Cash, this sort of thing would not be such an endemic problem. Like in NYC. I'm such an elitist.

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Monday, July 24, 2006


Weekend Place Holder

Ahh, the weekend ... here and gone as fast as a summer rainstorm. As it was, it rained most of the time so the analogy is exact. Since it was raining and the subtle rumbling of thunder was omnipresent, the trip to Sesame place never happened. Shame, I think I would have fared better prancing about an amusement park rather than trying to engage in housekeeping tasks about the Manor. But enough of my kvetching, let's speak of the Treasured Twins of Tyranny. They did pretty well on Friday at Karate practice. Although, as aggressive as she can be, I find it interesting that during the play part (dodge ball), Alexis prefers to hand the balls to other kids and sit back. Hmmm, she knows how to delegate. Next phrase I'll have to teach her is 'Plausible Deniability'.

Early Saturday morning, we had a power outage. Not that I would notice outside of the fact that the Mrs woke up because the ceiling fan went off and she could hear the noise of silence. As a 'Forever Manhattan Girl', she cannot stand total silence. If there is not a siren or some background noise in the air, there is something amiss. Since we woke up, so did the Twins ... in shifts. Eventually, I abandon the Good Ship Mattress of Slumber to sleep in the basement. Mmmm, nothing like the chilly dankness of a good dungeon. Later on in the day, after attempting to sleep in, I haul off and go to do what can be considered a bit ambitious. I was going to try to chop wood. Yes, yes, I know. Take it slow, don't over do it, take care of you back and neck. Mother nature decided to keep my idiocy in check and sent variable rain-storms to keep me from my appointed rounds. So, instead of chopping wood I clean up and we head off to pick up Family Tank II from the dealership. Yep, that pretty much tallies up what we did on Saturday. Sunday was more of the same except I was able to chop and stack a bit more wood. Wet as it may be, I did manage to pile up one pallet's worth. One of these days, all that wood will be minced and set out to dry. Then I can get back (heh, damaged as my spine may be) to sanding the floor in Jake's room.

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Friday, July 21, 2006


Sisyphus rests

Yep, another mundane day. Kids do good in Karate and the wife is there to observe. Later on, she runs off to the Toyota Dealership to buy the new vehicle and produces an internet 200$ off coupon. Making her wait was a bad idea on their part, cost them a goodly amount. A master negotiator, the Mrs is. I'm thinking that GWB should ask her to negotiate a middle east neutrality treaty and have them pay us for it ... in oil. Bet-cha she could do it and get a free Afghan Rug to boot. The Family Tank II will be ready Saturday because I requested a tow-hitch with wiring harness. An extra 400$ but worth it if I should ever need it ... for renting an industrial wood splitter.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006


Brownian Movement

A very boring report today. I went swimming with the Twins and signed them up for the next set of classes. They had the consideration of moving the time of the class to 1745 from 1730. The water company came by and turned on the water to the meter that was already installed but did not turn on the valve to the sprinkler system. No biggie, I can do that myself. Weird thing about that is the repeated calls from Sharkey Enterprises who wants to come out and turn on our sprinkler system ... and charge us for it. Sure, they may walk about and check to make sure all the heads work (which I have done) and replace any broken ones (which I have done), but I don't see the need unless there is a broken pipe somewhere. That will not show up till well into the summer after repeated uses. It's a tough sell for them given that I'm not the typical suburbanite who does not like to get dirty.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Perfunctory Posting

What to say, what to say. It's hot, I'm frazzled for no good reason and no matter how soon I go to bed (after the kids have finally gone to sleep) I do not seem to get enough sound sleep. I got home later than my usual time on Monday so that the kids did not get to go swimming. They did have a rough time trying to get out of bed in the morning. Karate Practice went OK and the Twin Tyrants of Turpitude did not get into much trouble. Might have something to do with the conspicuous absence of Josh. The co-conspirator of chaos. Go figure. Other than the heat (which is absurd everywhere), there is not much to remark on. There is something to be said for being in Zombie mode.

I've got an open question for the plebiscite out there. This would normally be considered a secret but me keeping things from the Mrs is like the kids turning down candy: Inconceivable. In any event, our 10th anniversary is coming up and I need to figure out what I'm going to do for the Mrs. I already bought her a 300$ gift certificate at a local day-spa that she has yet to use. She does not have pierced ears and the only jewelry she wears is the plain gold wedding ring. Makeup, perfume ... nearly never uses it. Honestly, the only things she would use is technology based and she buys it herself. No Steak dinner or Lobster would do anything for her; she doesn't eat it. Hamburgers and crab meat are as fancy as she likes it. Now aside from the Family Tank II (remember, I was driving Family Tank Original at the time of it's premature demise), big-ticket items are not impressive for her. Maybe something regarding the Yankees. Sigh ... Being a considerate and loving husband can be so draining.

Final update: We had a wing-dinger of a storm last night. Rolled over us at roughly 1930 hours and showered us with marble sized hail. Sure cooled down the region a bit. It was 69F outside and 77F inside this morning. Apparently, it was gusty enough to approach tornado force winds. That resulted in many downed limbs and power loss in all the wrong places. The twin disasters of Traffic detours and gridlock pranced gaily into our lives. I was mentally prepared for it this time. So calm was I that when I saw an elderly man on the side of the turnpike this morning, I actually pulled over and helped him change his flat tire. He tried to offer me a reward but I countered that it would be best if he just did the same for someone else when the occasion arises. On the turnpike, mercy is in short supply.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Sizzling Hot Bod

I nearly ran out of time to write about this weekend. I'm getting awful with time management here. I feel my Type-A powers slowly slip away. Might be a good thing, you know. Anyways, we stayed up really late on Friday Night. Late-late as in 2300 hours nearly midnight late. The Uber-Grandparents were coming down on Saturday morning to play with/tend to the Twins which would give the Mrs and I some bandwidth to go shopping for Family Tank II. I monopolized their visit to get a few things done though. Power washing the siding, picking beans, cooking, etc. I actually got the Pastoral Expanse mowed before they arrived so as to spare Hero Dad the agony of walking behind a roaring hot motor in the melting heat. Yeah, it is DAMN hot around here too. The lawn is suffering and I won't have the sprinkler available for use till the Ever Difficult Water Company turns on the meter that they have been threatening to remove for the last 8 months.

News Flash: I'm bending to the winds of change and I am allowing the Mrs to introduce a (gasp) non-domestic vehicle into our fleet. Yes, a Toyota Sienna. Upside: 85% manufactured in the US. Downside, I still feel dirty. No matter, I'm just happy that she will be happy ... and safe. Curtain Airbags and reinforced frame. When visiting the myriad of sales folk I let them know that MY parameters were AWD,ABS,Airbags (Front, passenger, curtain) and reinforced frame and sides. The space shuttle should have it so good. The rest of it was the predilections of the Mrs. And then there was the haggling. I'm awful at that so I left it in the more than capable hands of the Wiley Wife who lives for that sort of thing. Myself? The price is the price and if I do not like it, I'll go elsewhere. We only visited 2 places and I found that the second confirmed my dread of such folk. The first though was fantastic. We intend on visiting a 3rd this coming weekend but I imagine that our first hit will be our final choice. That, and the sales guy was a father of twins as well. Young guy, really fresh and charismatic in that he was not a purveyor of smarmy vibes.

Sunday was nice. I could bring both of the kids to church since I had back-up. In the heat of the day, we cranked up the powerwasher and Amish Dad crawled up on the roof to get those hard-to-reach places. A good activity on a hot day since you are constantly cooled by micro-fine droplets of water. A few other activities and then dinner by Super Mom. Grams can sure cook up a dinner that is fulfilling. Right before dinner, the Minister-In-Training Brother In Law came down from NYC to stay overnight. He was going to pick up the Father In Law who had stayed with us for the week and was bored out of his mind when the kids were at school during the day. Tis a shame that it took so long for the kids to warm up to him. Actually, it was Alexis who was stand-off-ish and Jake who would plaster himself to the nearest affectionate target. So when the kids were in the house, he had 'stimulation'.

Monday: All I can say is that we got a 215$ energy bill and had brownouts. It's going to be a rough week if this heat-wave does not crack soon. With the bill, we actually used 20% less electric this month as opposed to 1 year ago. The solar attic fans and the fluorescent bulbs are doing the job. Next step will be solar panels ... but I'm going to have to wait on that for a bit. At least until I get the car loan payments under control.

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Friday, July 14, 2006


Cranky and Curmudgeonly

Running lights. What the blue-blazes is it about people that makes them think it is ok to blast through that light thinking that the 15 seconds possibly saved (the next light 15 meters down the road is red ... ass-hole) will pay off given the consequences. You think I'm a bit indignant about this? Twice, this evening, the daredevils of PA roadways have slid through intersections after the light has turned green in my direction and cars have started moving through in an expected manner. If I were medicated, I would have probably have let it slide ... but I'm "Pain Motivated" and cranky as hell. I need my flying car.

Got a call from 'Firemans Mutual Insurance' or something like that. Must be the woman's insurance company from the accident. I called at 1645 and the woman had already left. Her shift replacement had no idea what the call was about but promised to call back. Yes, the infamous promise of a callback to the feeble minded who are expecting service from a rep who has panicked and only wants to escape. I let her off the hook knowing these fraudsters are only trying to foist their workload on the customer.

And then there are the kids. Talk about foisting a work-load. But it's a labor of love, right? So anyways, Jake goofs off in Karate Practice and gets benched three times. We have a little heart to heart and I try to guide his cognitive process to a place where he will start to connect actions with consequences. It's a rough road and he is the kind of child who lives in the moment. A wondrous place and I have to smash it. Make me feel awful, really. Part of the problem is that he is actively involved in the sport of 'Goofing' with Josh, another 4 yr old with ADD. Yeah, a pound of sugar and a 100 megaton nuke are just a blip on the radar with these two mixing it up. The instructor indicated that he will be making an effort to bring these two along in the Friday Class. The Mrs is going up to NY with the FIL who has been staying with us so he will not get enough attention from me since I'll be doing my best to keep the both of them (Tyrannical Twins: Attila and Ghengis) distracted.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


Sorta-Daily Diatribe

Short, sweet and to the point. The new,new,new swim program director at the club has quit and that leaves the whole lesson plan in a tail-spin. The kids did not graduate to the next level which would have made our lives soooo much easier. Argh. I'm none to concerned about it, I just would like to pay the same amount for a 45 minute class instead of a 30 minute class where the kids are not learning anything. The reason: not being able to coordinate kicking with strokes and not being able to reverse direction while swimming. Whatever. All I know is that the kids both can now swim back and forth across the pool with no assist and ZERO fear. This artificial assumption of authority and a shoe-horned structure is just a bit south of nonsense given the chaos induced by the repeated schedule changes every 3-4 months. And yes, I'm cranky. Ptthhhhhttt.

When we arrived back at the Manor, I immediately noticed the Replacement Vehicle the Mrs had selected from Enterprise Car Rental. A big old while Chevy Trail-Blazer. Egads! I could faintly hear the money being siphoned out of my wallet as I considered how much gasoline we will need to fuel the thing for a week. One week. That is all we get. Since the Family Tank was officially totaled, they will only pay for 7 days of rental. If they could have it repaired, we would get 30 days. Argh. We will need to move quickly to find a new vehicle. The insurance company is working on determining fair market value but could not get power to the odometer to find the mileage. We are expecting around 15K (for a n '03 with 40K miles on it) and that will help cover the 11K I still owe on the damn thing. What is left (minus the 500$ deductible) will go towards the WWII German Half-track Sud Kampffahrzeug 251 I'll pressure the Mrs into selecting as Family Tank II.sdkfz-250

Another odd thing to add on here ... when we got back from swimming, we also noticed a line of emergency and police vehicles lined up along the street in front of the neighbor's house. The Big Chuck and his Mrs are out of town a lot so I thought it could be a break-in or something. I then recalled that they had some guys working on their basement the other day and figured that someone had mucked up the security wiring. Indeed, it was only a police car, two fire-chief cars and a fire-police car. Of course, Jake, Alexis and I went to go sit at the curb and watch to see if some REAL fire trucks showed up. Fortunately, none did. One of the Fire Chief cars did pull up to us and handed 'trading' card to the kids who were THRILLED. Basically, they are profiles of some of the local fire-fighters and officers. Neat gimmick for kids and it gives a warm feeling to the parents that there are safety tips on the back. It's nice to have public service officials who understand that interactions with the community reap rewards far beyond a smile of a child.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006



The Tyrants seem to be doing well. Mostly. Jake is still a bit jumpy, or spoiled rotten. Our first day back at karate practice and he could not stay still. Managed to get into a bit of a row with another kid and got himself benched twice. Lost his belt and candy privileges to boot. He'll need to 'earn' his belt back at the next practice session. Heh, it's a bit of a hoot that he gets so worked up over the belt, but it's a good tool for the teacher to use. Perhaps he is still a little strung out on sugar. No matter, it's swim night tonight and we find out if he graduates to the next level. That would mean classes on Tuesday and Thursday from 1800 till 1845. It would certainly make my life a bit easier.

My back/neck/etc are not in much better shape today than yesterday. The prescription I got was for 60 pills of Naproxen Sodium at 500 mg. Yeah, that would be Aleve. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. The doc hinted that I could steal some of the Mrs's 'Good Stuff', but noted that he would NEVER recommend that to anyone. I'll break out the old Acetaminophen/Codeine (Tylenol 3) that I have left over. Only four pills but it should carry me through the week. Of course, taking narcotics is not helping my attitude towards work much. Go figure. I will, of course, stay away from the liquid libations. I try to take the stuff right after I get to work in the morning. This leaves me cranky on the drive in and just as much a curmudgeon on the commute back to the Manor in the evening. As it should be I suppose.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006



Sorry it has been so long again folks, but once again I've found myself with much more on my plate than I can handle. Seems to be a recurring theme with me, eh? Call me a recidivist, I suppose, but let us go over the salient points for the last two weeks. There is a lot here with a crescendo towards the end so stay with me as I titillate your senses and compel you to read on with rapt attention.

Friday: I'm suffering from low morale, sub-standard motivation and near zero inspiration. A rather dark round of prospects given that it is Friday. You know you may be bordering on depression when you find that your only emotions concerning Friday is the omnipresent animosity for the Inevitable Monday. The one saving grace is that my Parents were coming down to 'Kidnap' the kids for the weekend. A few days with the Grandparents and no 'Mean Parents who make you do stuff' is good for all parties. The Mrs has picked up a dual DVD player with 2 screens for the car so that they would be able to keep the Twin Tyrants occupied during the 4 hour trip from Philly to Ithaca NY. It was in our best interests to make sure that this experience was well received by the other parties so as to insure future emancipation deployments. Guess who was being emancipated. Once the kids vanished, I got to do a little wood chopping and chores that I usually had no bandwidth to get done. A fine situation indeed.

Saturday through Monday: The Mrs had to leave for NYC to pick up her father from the Airport. He was flying in from China to attend a wedding that we were all invited to as well as an excuse to spend some time with his only grandchildren ... so far. While the Motivated Mrs was on the lamb, I went about the Manly Father Business at hand. Cleaning up the Great Labrador Mountain Ranges of dog poop. Mow the newly uncovered lawn. Sand and slop the wood floors. Enjoy the chemical fume enhanced reality from the mineral spirits and polyurethane. Spread out wood chips from the forest of white pines Hero Dad and I had chopped down last fall. Chop MORE wood, because you cannot chop just one cord. Husk and freeze a few gallons of peas from the Agricultural Sector. Hoe weeds out of said garden. Cross-cut shred a few months of newsprint and lay it out in the garden to keep down the weeds. One of the best uses for newsprint, reading it can be toxic. Chop wood ... again, but stack it this time. And finally, on Monday evening at the twilight hours, go to the family friend's house out in Downingtown. "Giant David" is a former co-worker who happened to have gone to college with my father but the two never really met. Peculiar since they both now enjoy wine and some of the more sybarite pursuits of life. The whole family was back in time for this (with the exception of the FIL and the Big Little Brother) so we all went on the expedition in the Family Tank. It was a good hours drive and once there, we met up with my current co-worker 'C' and a former co-worker 'Always Sunny' and her husband, the owner/brewmaster of Victory Micro Brewery. A good business to be in, you know. When times are good and people are happy, they drink. When times are bad and people are depressed, they drink. Indeed, the children where rambunctious, adorable and refrained from being destructive. Strange. We ate, we drank, we enjoyed each-other's company and promised to do more together soon.

Tuesday: Attended the Southampton Days Parade at 0930. The Tyrants fluctuated between being transfixed and stimulated by showers of candy cast upon them. They sat still till Sparks the Fire-Dog made a move towards them. Alexis fled in terror and Jacob utilized the diversion to make a frontal assault. Quite entertaining. Later on, the haunted hay-ride rolled by and a similar scenario played out. A cavalcade of emergency vehicles from the surrounding townships rolled by in every conceivable shape and color. Jake was certainly getting his fill. Near the end of the display, A barrel-chested man with a fire-team of security started to stroll up the street. Initially, I thought it was yet another glad-handing small time local political hopeful till he got close-enough to be recognized. It was our governor, Ed Rendell. Now do not get me wrong, I'm not a man to cast ill will towards him. He was a great Mayor of Philly and an incredible Cheer-leader for PA in general. I'm just not a big fan of his. Neither is Alexis. Jacob, however, shocked everyone when he ran out into the parade and gave him a big hug/kiss/raspberry. A politician in the works. Jake will certainly do well as either a Diplomat or a salesman. Alexis, being dear to my heart, just uttered a single phrase in spite and crossly sat down. More flies with sugar than vinegar dear. After the parade, we went back to the manor to have some fun in the Elmo Sprinkler and pick beans from the Agricultural sector. Beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. The onions have a ways to go and I still need to cull the carrots.

Wednesday: Work, chop wood.

Thursday: Work, chop wood (seeing a trend here?).

Friday: Chop wood, no work. Drive to Parsippany NJ to attend the rehearsal for the wedding that the Tyrants have been invited to participate in. This involves stopping off at multiple locations in one of the least favorable driving environments this side of Beirut during the 1975-1985 timeframe. The kids had a birthday party in the morning with their class-mates. Grams had baked a couple hundred individual cakes shaped like trains or Pooh to share with all the little sugar-starved munchkins. Then, after the rehearsal, we had a Chinese Banquet where ANOTHER chocolate covered cake was presented. Essentially, several cakes in less than 24 hours were presented to the kids. They know not what want is. I remember as a kid, we were lucky to have a mud pie on our birthday ... and we were HAPPY to have that! Honestly though, Super Mom really did the best to make sure that we got the best she could bake for us, but I'm fairly certain that such abundance never rained down upon our undeserving little rears.

Saturday: This is where things get interesting. We had a morning appointment at a local Arboretum for pictures prior to the wedding. It was only a few miles from the Hotel ... which was between the wedding site and the picture site. We arrived 30 minutes early which gave me the opportunity to look about at some of the fantastic Japanese maples and some rather interesting grasses that grew upwards of 12 feet. Perfect for the easement. Now, we have a bit of time before the wedding starts so start to retrace our steps back to the hotel and then on to the church. No big deal, it's a nice straight road most of the way and I'm cruising along as the wife ticks off each street we cross. We are about to cross the last street before the road where the hotel is located (Smith Road) when a car suddenly appears before me. What? Next thing I know, there is an airbag deployed in my face and the sound of breaking glass is filling my ears. The Family Tank is air-borne. Wait, we are turning over ... no, we are spinning. Glass is every where as the world spins before me. There is no standing still, no life flashing before my eyes. Just the sudden inversion of my line of sight as the kinetic energy of the car blasting through the intersection flips the mini-van through the air and pancakes it onto the roof ... which quickly collapses into the driver and passenger compartment. We spin about and come to a grinding halt as bits of engine rain about and gasoline from a full tank sloshes forth to coat everything. Next thing I recall is me pulling a distraught Alexis from a pile of glass and running her over to the side of the road. I'm not sure at the time how I or she got free, but I dart back to find the blood covered Mrs pulling Jake out and her Father quickly following her. I'm in shock and do not realize what is happening. As I recall this now, I find with swaths of lost time from my memory. People are running out of buildings about us asking what they can do or if anyone is hurt and all I can say is "I'm not sure, I'm not sure ...". The Family tank is totaled. The only part NOT damaged is the rear hatch. Clothing and papers not weighed down by bits of auto or glass is blowing about the road. I turn to see the Mrs speckled with blood as it slowly soaks into the fibers of her pink silk blouse. Since the roof of the vehicle had caved in, both the Mrs and I took a pretty good whack to our heads. She got the worst of it since she slipped out of her seatbelt. That is how she managed to release our precious treasures from the seats that functioned beyond design parameters. A great swelling and a split scalp greatly concerned us, but we were focused on the less capable of family. Police, ambulance and onlookers arrived ... but no witnesses to support our contention that we were in the right. To make a long story short, my Parental units were in the area along with BigLittle brother and were promptly upon the scene to wisk away the stunned but mostly untouched twins to the wedding. They still had the seats in their car from the weekend. Someone was looking out for us. In review, the whole incident should not have gone so lightly. After we arrive at the wedding, we seclude ourselves in a back room and begin the long and tedious process of filing an accident report with the insurance company. Flash forward several advil and cold compress towels, we make our way to the reception after finding that renting a car on Saturday afternoon, especially for a one way trip, required a signed and stamped authorization from God himself. Hitching a ride with another member of the wedding party who happens to live near us, we make it to the reception just before the ceremonies begin. Jake dances the night away and is quite a celebrity. He entices quite a few older women to dance with him, but focuses on the daughter of the people we caught a ride with. It goes so far as to have produced multiple pictures of smooching and hugging. We are considering a monitored play-date since they live in upper darby.

We send the kids and FIL home with the Grandparents as the Mrs, LittleBigBrother and I catch a ride to the Newark train station to schlep our way back to Pennsyltucky on the railways of the unwashed. Shortly after arriving home, I take the Slightly Broken Mrs to the Emergency room where they keep her for 4 hours as a potential Head Trauma case. No XRay or CT Scan till they are certain she is not pregnant. This is done via a 1 hour blood test. Teach us to go pee before going somewhere. Urine samples are tested within a few minutes. They patch her up and send us home. I am entirely uninterested in having myself checked after noting the absurd amount of time it took to get through the 'tests'. Tough-guy does not need tests. Fool.

Sunday: Sleep in and find that the hurting will now commence. Tough-Guy looks on as the Mrs frolics under the sunlit meadows of medication.

Monday: The Grandparents have gone and Tough-Guy is a simpering schoolgirl as the inevitable effects of severe whip-lash settle in. Cannot sleep, loss of appetite, limited mobility and profound depression over future financial complexities have rendered me impotent. The Mrs drops off the kids for a 1/2 day of daycare just to give us a slice of bed-rest. Well, more like ME some bed rest since her prompt adherence to the doctor's orders has granted her a reprieve from excessive and unnecessary suffering. That, or she is significantly more tolerant of pain than myself. Probably a good helping of both. Later in the day, a triple dose of OTC pain relief has given me the moxie needed to take the kids swimming. They are nearly impervious to the events that have transpired outside of their laments over the lost Family tank and admonishments of how Daddy flipped Mommy's car. No mercy.

Tuesday: The kids have absorbed nearly a full day of day-care tempered by the 'Water Play Day' events. Kids+Water nearly always results in joy. I manage a 1/2 day of work and spend most of it recounting the events to coworkers who are stunned by the fact that I even walked away from it all. I had a doctor's visit in the morning who pensively remarked that he would not have expected to see me at all in this capacity. Also stated was the prognosis that if the worst is not over by now, I would need to go in for a few XRays and other non-invasive probes which would likely result in Physical Therapy. Asking if I had any numb extremities only resulted in my observation that the back page of my phone-book thick file would state that my cohabitation partner, MS, had already steeled me to those symptoms. Indeed, the last two weeks will have numbed me to any further events. Here is to the hopes and payers for the rest of the summer being mundane, dull and asymptomatically uneventful.

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