White Lightning Axiom: Redux: December 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007


Recap 20071228

Quite a bit has happened over the last week that I have not relayed to you all. I had grand plans of composing a seamless essay of titillating detail and happenstance, but my discursive manner will not permit such schemes. No, I will be sacrificing thrust and clarity for completeness and thorough dissemination of mundane fact. Dry, like my vodka martini, thank you. So, WAAAAYYY back sometime last week (Saturdayish I believe), the Mrs and I were relaxing in the new mile-high bed when, out of the blue, the slats that support the whole thing started to fail. Each slat succumbed in succession as a cacophony of wood striking wood echoed through the master chambers. Our greatest fear was not a broken bed frame, but rather, waking the twin tyrants and having to explain the bed and hoping that they did not give a detailed account to every person they meet over the next week. The mind plumbs the briny depths when words of 'truth' spill forth from the mouths of babes!

Now for everything else. We have fireplace issues ... smoke in the house because of a 'cold stack'. We have multiple bed invasions by the Tyrants ... this will pass, and then we will miss it. We have had company parties where we eat and drink to much. Oh, and when I say 'we', it is the ROYAL we. (I.e. 'me'). The bed fell one more time and I got enough gumption to go to the Local Home Depot Temple and pick up a few metric tons of reinforced Tungsten I-Beams to stop that from happening again. Since then, no more issues. The Mrs did get a giggle out of the second time it happened, I just got miffed since I'd be the one crawling on the floor, trying to wedge my massive torso (HUGE PECTORAL MUSCLES!) beneath the frame. Uncomfortable is an understatement. We had much indulgence of the liquid spirits. Especially Jovial Jake who found the brandy liquor filled chocolates. I saw them rapidly disappearing and was going to tease the Mrs for breaking her own 'no booze' rule, only to catch a glimpse of that tipsy little lush sneaking them when he thought I was not looking. Note: He is not a sullen dope when imbibing, his antics will be legendary.

The kids bed rails arrived, but only one worked. We returned the other and will try again. Alexis was upset over the separation, Jake was Jubilant! Of course, with the arrival of 100 screaming maniacs we call relatives, there was much more joy to spread. A good time was had by all since Super Grams and Uber Gramps did a lot of cooking an provided moving targets for the Tyrants. I did actually get some work done around the manor. Finished up a bit of the chair-rail and molding in the master suite. That was a long time in waiting. I also strung some cat5e network cable and finally got most of the upper floors completely shielded with Faraday cages. Networking efforts were complicated by my ineptitude due to color-blindness. I made a series of ethernet cables and managed to reverse the wiring schemes so when I tried to tie them into the punch-down blocks ... the wire-tested flunked me. So, I punched the colors down in reverse order and VOLIA! They were good to go. So now, I have the capability to install web-cams in all the different rooms of the manor ... (insert diabolical laugh here).

When trying to clean the back-50, I broke the pooper-scooper back-hoe when attacking a particularly large and perma-frost imbued pile left behind by Thor. I should train them to use a toilet ... or at least poo in the same area so I have a prayer of cleaning it up. I purchased a new one from the local Pet Goods General Store but have not recovered from the psychic trauma and let the Mrs take care of it. I would have done it myself but I have been on Support Duty all week. I got a couple calls that kept me out of the warm embrace of my familial unit for a big chunk of the week. Sucks, but you know people HAVE TO WATCH THEIR REALITY SHOWS! Gha. Kill your TV, ok?

What else ... Christmas was good, the 'Midnight' mass at 1600 hours was strange. Tyrants were sufficiently enthralled with their gifts and I was happy to see them happy. It's been rough too since my lower ribs on the right side still hurt from last Thursday. Not sure, but I think that either I fractured one or severely bruised it. I've got to remember to be a bit more careful when sparring. That, or start calcium supplements. The big winners this year where Jovial Jake who managed to get nearly every Transformer ever manufactured and Amish Gramps who got a fairly expensive ladder. His old one is held together with spit, chewing gum, twine and mostly prayers. The prayers are from those of us on the ground waiting to dial 911 at the first sign of gravity reasserting it's dominance over man's flights of fancy. Myself, I got a couple bottles of Vintage Single malt Scotch, a bacon press (AWSOME! Now for the bacon salt!) some tech toys we picked up on Black Friday and the warm feeling of a safe and happy family. We also managed to go to the Mrs's Family gathering up in Parsippany on the evening of the 25th. The trip was not too bad since we took the long (but quicker) route over the PA/NJ Turnpikes. All is well at the end of this year.

One cute story before I sign off; The other day when I was heading off to the Day Care/Re-Education Facility, a new red Ferrari pulled up to us at the exit of our development. When I mentioned to Jovial Jake that it looked like some of his toy cars, he mentioned that it looked a lot like Big Little Brother's red car. Not quite, I quipped, but it is red. Then Alexis noted that we should put the car on a tow truck, but a card and a ribbon on it and give it to her Uncle BLB! Well then! I guess we will have to make sure you get that medical research degree so you can cure MS AND cancer so you can afford such gifts, eh? Such a giving heart; I hate to have to teach them about money. They are content to put the bills and coins in the church basket, not knowing what these bits of metal and paper signify. I think their charity will survive though. Unless I make them earn their allowance by picking up dog dip. Yetch.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007


Christmas 2007 Letter

Alas, the mighty giant of 2007 has fallen and the cold days of winter surreptitiously buries it in a blanket of somber white snow. Of course, that is if you don't live in my neck of the woods where we are up to our knees in mud and muck. How was that intro? I was considering 'It was a dark and stormy night', but it was taken. Last year, I wrote a soliloquy of how I spent New Years Soaking in booze and the rapture of gluttony at the Family Friend Seliga's household. I spoke of how I would recant my professed allegiance with the sybarite ways of my heathen friends. Of course, I was quite accurate when I stated that all these promises and declarations made hovering over the toilet would be flushed away next year as quickly and cleanly as the refuse it was. Oddly enough, I was well behaved ... all things considered. Sure, there was a bit of drinking, and smoking cigars, and eating chunks of sugar-coated, deep-fried lard-balls. We discussed manly man activities and planned to go to the annual Sportsman's convention later in the month, only to find out that it had been moved from the usual local location to the wilds of central Pennsyltucky. Alas, it was the portend of an interesting year. Within days, I fully dislocated my right knee during karate practice. There I was, flailing about and writhing in some very real pain. Not the picture of manliness I like to project, mind you. Certainly, you should assume that the Twin Tyrants of Turpitude; Ghengis and Attila, took full advantage of my obvious weakness. Nothing draws the attention of a child like a joint brace that was not there the night before. Anything to gain an edge I me, I swear.

Shortly after my Birthday and the Tang So Doo test early in the month, I contracted some manner of highly infectious and rather persistent virus that settled in my chest and provoked a sinus infection. I was entirely useless for the rest of the month and ended up using two different inhalers just to get through. The Mrs was not entirely convinced that I was on death's door, but gave me the benefit of the doubt. Damn sickly husband, shirking his duties! In spite of my lack of effervescence, I continued to try to exhaust the Tyrants with double dipping Swimming every day followed by Karate practice, to no avail. I swear that aliens abducted them and replaced their innards with some sort of advanced black-hole energy source. The energizer bunny has nothing on these two.

The next month, the Mrs's Father came to visit. The children love to have Gung-Gung around. He must believe that we are raising the them as some sort of twisted psychological experiment. Every day he woke, he must have pondered what fresh hell he would be exposed to as they leaped on him at the truly warped hour of 0545. And speaking of grandparents, they got a lot of 'one on one' time this year with the 'can do no wrong' twins. They spent a week with them for summer vacation (vacation for us, mind you), another week when we flew out to Minnesota to reconnect with the ever burgeoning clan, and then yet another week when we all flew down to Disneyworld. Oh yes, that last trip was a rather spectacular experience. We learned all about the new TSA rules and what turbulence can do to Alexis's timid inner ear. We made great use of those free 'doggie bags' they have on the air planes. Of course, the opportunity to have a meet-n-greet with EVERY SINGLE PRINCESS on the Florida subcontinent made it all worth it. Jake, however, was thoroughly enchanted by the trip and the trip alone. Even though he did have a make-out session with various princesses and sullied their reputation. That was not the high-point of the mission for him. On the last leg of our return flight, he was even invited to survey the cockpit and 'play' with the buttons. Yeah, with today's regulation I would love to see anyone but that little conniver make their way into the inner sanctum of flight control.

I spoke earlier of the Karate Test early in the year. Since then, both Alexis and Jacob (code names: Attila and Ghengis) have tested successfully every three months along side of me. They are now both Green Belts and hot on my tail. They are now sparring in full gear and learning their first weapon forms with a staff. Needless to say, at 5 years old, they can be a rather formidable force but prefer to beat the tar out of each other when they have their gear on. This is good for my health and the welfare of my aging bones. I just barely beyond their level and have the opportunity to learn and practice what they know before they do. It keeps them interested and the rapid synchronous progression makes sure that the sibling rivalry does not become off-balance by the "I'm a higher rank than you" nonsense. Of course, if I manage to pick up another injury or virus, I'll be cow-towing to their on-the-mat demands! EGADS!

And then there is the Manor. We finally put most of the final touches on Jakes room and the Master Suite. Given that, we can start to consider the future of the various bath rooms and power rooms. These will be considerations on though since we had to purchase a new water heater around Memorial day. I had been interested in replacing the ancient paleolithic era unit we had with a new-fangled tankless version, but found that the clearance for the exhaust pipe would not be sufficient. I was fortunate in that when the heater unexpectedly failed (the bottom actually rusted out!), the ever prescient Hero Dad and Super Grandma were there to lend a hand. Saved a few bucks by replacing it ourselves, but had no other alternative since it failed the Sunday before Memorial Day. What were the odds of that!? Other budget dings came in the guise of a failed washer that may have been the result of a clothing label getting lodged in the sewer pipe. About 25 foot down into the line ... that was A LOT of fun snaking out. I smelled of rotting detritus for days after fishing it out. I would have insisted that the Mrs do the laundry by taking it down to the local tributary (if it were not for the damned gators that were discovered lurking along the banks!) and smacking it on the rocks ... but then she would have a weapon to smack me on the head. That, and I do the laundry so the logic is completely flawed.

Speaking of V8 head smacks, I made a few trips to the emergency room this year. Once for Alexis who smacked her hand with a hammer and got a few XRays and a splint for her trouble. From hence-forth, it was known that if you play with daddy's Death-Tools-Of-Doom, you will get a 'Fat Finger Tummy'. Not sure who cried more on that trip to the local chop-shop. Later in the year, we had purchased a new set of beds for everyone in the Manor. Yes, the children too. We finally ditched the Mile Wide Water Bed. It was wrecking my back and keeping it heated to the correct temperature was getting expensive. That and the durned thing leaked. So, the Mrs and I settled on a style that looked good in the room and was not too expensive. One night shortly after we had assembled it, I was picking up various bits of dirty laundry (haphazardly strewn across the floor by your's truly), and I bent over to fetch and errant sock, I stumbled. After a blinding shock charged through my head, I picked myself up from the floor and pondered what had happened. Then I started to feel the tell-tale throbbing pain of having been smacked in the head. Putting my hand to the offending location, it came back slick with blood. I had plowed my forehead directly into one of the posts at the foot of the new bed and opened up my eyebrow right down to the bone. Well, that little adventure got me to the front of the line at the emergency room. They get nervous about people sitting in the waiting room with gushing head wounds. Makes the other patients edgy when you stop moving. I was in and out in less than an hour with about 12 new bits of fishing line. Another year, another scar.

How about we recount some less horrific and gristly activities this past year. The garden got an early start around Mother's Day. Did extraordinarily well and we managed with a bumper crop of pumpkins and tomatoes. We still have carrots in the ground at this time. And speaking of greenery, the zoysia grass is starting to spread nicely. I hope to transplant it to the back-50 sometime soon since the hounds of hell have pretty much managed to poison every inch of lawn with their acid urine. Anti-agricultural pursuits were taken as well with the removal of a few diseased trees on our turf as well as the neighbor's. I had the chain-saw so I got to keep the wood and they did not have to pay for an arborist to soak them for $1500 a tree. Win-win. Well, except for the arborist who is SOL. Speaking of soaking, we went with the Season Passes to Sesame Place again this year. Managed to get there several times when the crowds were not too oppressive with the crashing waves of unwashed humanity. There were times that we did go which were educational experiences. Things came up regarding what tattoos are and what they look like after 60 years ... and what body form/swim garb combinations are considered fashion no-no's ... and in some cases, atrocities against humanity. My mind screams madly now just thinking of it.

The Tyrants started kindergarten this year and have adapted nicely to it. We have found that augmenting their in-school activities with regular reading and flash cards have helped them improve their reading skills and they are at a point where they can actually read entire pages of age appropriate books (with a touch of help). Math is a bit tougher unless we relate it to jelly beans available for consumption or countries ripe for conquest.

Let's wrap up the year with an oppressive load of saccharine sweet platitudes, shall we? Shortly after we got back from our Thanksgiving trek to the Family FOB in Ithaca, we ran out to the local mall (which one, eh?) to get the annual Real Santa Photo of the Tyrants ... only to find that he decided to take the year off! A slightly different Real Santa had taken his gig for the season. The children noticed immediately. I'm hoping that last years cage match between Jake and Old Saint Nick was not the impetus for this sabbatical. This time though, both the little ones smiled and told Santa what they would like to see under the tree. Something about 'dispatching our foes' or some other oddity. The remainder of the last of this bear of a year is spent of setting up the tree, shopping for non-toxic gifts and returning all the toxic ones as we discover them via our own lab tests. Yeah, we let the 'Labs'; Thor and Katie, lick them and if they don't like them, they are returned. Oh, and a bit about me. I've finally got my weight down to 185, I'm doing the Sunday School Sargent at Arms thing again and I get to work the support detail this year during Christmas. Take the good with the bad.

Have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (drink scotch, it loves you more). Love, Hope and TiVo - The Clan Haupertonian

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Tiny violins

I have a few things to whine about from the past few days. Some that I can do nothing about, and some that I have a direct impact on. Of course, I will not deal with them other than complaining mostly due to my superior ability to whine. And speaking of whining ... last night at the pool, we were treated to the constant screaming of a toddler being water-boarded. Well, not really. There was the swim instructor, a single child, and the father constantly pushing the horrified boy into the pool to induce him to try to learn to swim. I'm not sure, but I think that the child was not ready to be put in that situation. I'm almost certain that the father was told that he would have to get involved with the child's upbringing and give mom a break. Not so good though. 45 minutes straight - wailing at volume setting 11. Egads.

Speaking of wet, the traffic has been rather disappointing due to the slick conditions. Rain is the culprit here, not snow or ice. There is enough salt laid down that if we did get anything resembling winter weather, we should not have a problem. So much salt. So expensive. None the less, there have been at least two major accidents over as many days on the limited stretch of road I travel. What is with these people!? Nuts with cars I tell ya ... Almond Joy on a roll. I was going to complain that the wood I recently chopped was too wet to burn. Ya know, I should have known better. Now I'm going to have to take all of it out of the brackets and put it outside. And then replace it with the seasoned wood. Gha ... I can be such a noob sometimes. Oh, and on a tagent, the word of the year as determined by Merriam-Webster is "w00t" .... sigh. Thusly, another step in the decline of western culture.

Work has been a real bear over the last few days. First thing when I got in on Tuesday, I was associated with an issue that I had not clue about ... because the name of the responsible party who was SUPPOSED to get the email had the same first name. So, due to a typo (Brazil anyone? Buttle ... Tuttle), I was appointed as the owner. Then, around noon, I return to my sensory deprivation/isolation chamber to find an ominous sticky pad note. I call the number and POW! I get tagged with an Internal Affairs type task. Select 100 (really!) different bugs found in the system, find out who is responsible, why it happened and how to avoid it in the future. Nothing says 'I hate you' to a developer like picking at the open sore of poorly tested or written code. This is going to make me a pariah in the group fairly quickly if I do not handle this delicately. A lot of the upper management are focusing on the effort as well (Hammer for review, reason for small bonus). Do I need to tell you that I did not sleep well last night? Oh, and my back still hurts.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Weekend Redux 20071211

Well, I'm going to be quite busy over the next few weeks, so please don't shoot me if I miss commenting on my regular blog reads or skip a few posts ... like I did yesterday. I was a bit laid up you see. I thought it would be a FANTASTIC idea on Sunday afternoon to chop up all that wood that I, as a mendicant lumberjack, pulled out of Gus's yard the previous weekend. So, chop-chop-chop I go and rip-tear-shred go the muscles in my back. The next morning, I could barely get out of bed to shut off the alarm clock. I had to slither out like some sort of spineless slink and whimpered the entire time. I let the Sympathetic Mrs know that I would not be moving that morning and slept from 0730 till 1730 straight! I really needed that, since I have been going into a 'spoon deficit' situation for weeks now. But enough of my surly simpering, what did happen this weekend?

Friday night was a hoot. Alexis decided to rat out her brother to a Mom in the pool changing room. She let this stranger know that Jacob was a player and had a lot of girl friends. Interesting in so much that she is not the type of girl to talk to strangers. I think it was the opportunity to take a swipe at her sibling that compelled her. I need to pay more attention to that since it seems she is developing the 'mean little girl' attribute a bit earlier than expected. Not as noticable as Jake's 'spastic little boy' act, and certainly not as cute. Rapprochement is forthcoming.

Saturday was mostly a wash. The weather was nice, which was a a nice turn of events since we were going to spend two hours driving up to Parsippany and another two on the way back. My artifice in finding a route that was only 65 miles instead of 115 was not as fortuitous as initially thought. The 'short' route took just as long and consumed as much gasoline as the longer, less direct route. In fact, we were treated to a Trademark Jersey traffic construct called the 'CIRCLE' as well as various jug-handles and convoluted left vs right exit ramps. On the upside, there were no traffic accidents (although, the police were as omnipresent as the traffic devices) and the return trip to the Manor was uneventful as it could have been. I was concerned in the first steps of the trip back when we headed down an access road that went from rough to unpaved and then finally to weed-grown. I was having visions of a chain-saw wielding mad-man, but then realized I was in North Jersey and I was the closest being to that description. Soon enough, the Observant Mrs spotted the signs for the on-ramp and we were under-way. On the downside, the children were rather impossible from the moment we arrived till the moment we strapped them into their restraining seats. Not enough exercise, most likely.

Sunday: well, I've already told you the results of that expedition in faulty perspicacity (heh, even I had to look that word up). To start the day, we had Sunday School of course. A new girl, Sam, came in to assist with what ended up being a VERY BUSY morning. As a matter of course, Jake made sure to assault her with hugs at every available opportunity. Shortly after class, I zipped off to the Local Low Price Gas Station (and car wash; they always ask but I'm afraid the POS Super Saturn would melt) to transfer Alexis to the Family Tank V2.0. This is so the Mrs and Alexis can go to the Nutcracker ballet at the Bryn Athen Playhouse. Jake, who found out about this was reasonably upset. Next time, according to him, Alexis would go see a movie with me and he would go to the Ballet with the Mrs. He was the only one comfortable with that arrangement. He can barely sit still through the movie and would only do so after I acquiesced to giving him a full sized package of twizzlers and a promise of McDonalds afterwards. We saw 'Bee Movie'. Horrible. Honestly, just bad. He seemed to enjoy it, but I think it was the twizzlers.

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Friday, December 07, 2007


Friday Rut?

Another slow day ... thank God. I've been feeling a bit worn down of late and could use a good 'RUT' to lay in. Perhaps tonight I should get my recalcitrant rear to bed when the kids settle down and tuck some Zs into my investment folder. I'll need it since we are planning to go up to Parsippany on Saturday for a 1st birthday party. Yes, the same people we went to for a wedding ... where I rolled the Family Tank V1.0. This time, however, I plan on being a bit more wary of my fellow travelers. Since gasoline prices just dipped below 3$/gal here, we should not have to raid the Holiday Slush Fund just to pay for the fuel and tolls. Of course, this will pretty much eat up the whole day so I'll not get a chance to put up the lights on the Manor. Poor me. Ooot ... dripped some sarcasm on my boots there, pardon me. And on that note, I'll see ya'll on Monday, have a safe and warm weekend. Well, even you Miss Chris ... all warm and such in AZ. GRrrrrr.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007


Fresh Snow

Hrmmm, let's see here. It snowed a bit here in Pennsyltucky. Just a light sheet of ethereal snow. And as a matter of course, half the automotive pilots on the local roads completely went off the deep end and tried to induce reverse cranial rectal examinations. Most of the snow melted, only to be replaced by a diamond strength layer of ice. Slicker and blacker than teflon. Half the autos were going 15mph, the other 150mph. Just looking at the POS SuperSaturn was putting my life in danger. On top of that, it looks like I have a slow leak in the rear passenger side tire. Fine, I'll have to pull it off and let Chris the Uber Mechanic patch it this weekend. You know, because I have nothing better to do.

In other news, my shoulder hurts. No good reason, but it seems to be more of a muscle ache variety of hurt rather than a barometric joint reaction. I'm hoping that it will not become a long term issue as I will need to do a lot of shopping for the Mrs this year. She does not typically go for the sparkle and shine of baubles, but the 'neato' factor in technology sends her over the edge. I can see her eyes glaze over as she pages through the new geek-toys on sale at the local electronics monger. Yep, expect she'll want that new robotic tank this year.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007



No posting of any considerable extent today. In deference to my readership, I'm spending some of my free time trying to put together the Annual State of the Haupertonian Empire Christmas Update.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007



Fortunate for me, Sharon the Snow Flake tagged me or I would have nothing to blog about!

1. Do you put up a real tree or artificial? Only the best for you babe ... real.
2. When do you put up your tree? 1st Saturday after Thanksgiving or the next weekend.
3. When do you take down the tree? Take down? Ummm, when the needles are gone.
4. Do you like eggnog? Yes Spiked or not? Yep, by the gallon ... of rum!
5. Favorite gift received as a child? Electric train ... Poor, poor Nell.
6. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Underwear ... womens.
7. Favorite Christmas movie? Come ON! Christmas Story!
8. Have you ever recycled a present? Once ... booze. I can only drink so much!
9. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? DATE LOG!
10. Favorite Christmas song? Great Alleluia. You know, I remember all the words!
11. Most annoying thing about this time of year? These days? Lack of the requisite 7 foot snow drifts.
12. What you love most about the holiday? The gestalt and how my children enjoy it.
13. How many reindeer did Santa have? Does it matter? They were all delicious!
14. Best Christmas memory? Hint: It has to do with food and drink.
15. If you could have one Christmas wish what would it be? That the joy would not get stale.

I am tagging Diane, Liz and Brain Cheese

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Monday, December 03, 2007


Weekend Redux 20071203

I had started this Sunday Night ... but alas, the anti-soporific allure of the Television captured my attention and I ended up watching 'Tin Man' on the SciFi channel till the wee hours of the morning. These vicissitudes in my sleep patterns are doing me no good, I know. Sometimes I just want to watch a show without a squeaky clean animation character. Speaking of characters, the dodgeball/swim night went well on Friday ... followed closely the next morning of me hauling my sorry sagging rear out of bed at the absurd hour of 0745. The tyrants were rampaging though the house and this always invoked the 'WHINE' factor in the hounds. They understand if they simper long and loud, I'll eventually let them out to do their stuff on the back-50. Then, it's off to administer the death penalty to another innocent evergreen. I went to a small farm that I spotted on my commute to work that was selling live trees for $30 a pop. Free-range, yup. So I met a man by the name of Emmo who apparently had a son that went to Cornell! Funny. Even funnier was the damned ATM at the Wawa that I usually stop off at was out of order so I had to find a different working one. Cost me about 15 minutes. After I gingerly transported the 50 foot pine strapped to the top of the SuperSaturn POS with spit, duct tape and gumption, I cored it out and hauled it to the Grand Cathedral in the Manor with a bit of help from the Mrs. As you know, I have some slight balance issues and have learned to NOT TRUST my internal ear. Just because things feel like they are tipping to the left or right, that means nothing to gravity. I have to judge my 'uprightness' by checking my surroundings. Makes swimming a real bear. In any event, the Mrs gave her 'Seal of Approval' and the strings of lights were added. Ornamentation would come later at the deft hands (and myopic minds) of the Tyrants.

That afternoon, the whole clan spent time outdoors raking up leaves in the front expanse. The Mrs would rake to the curb, I would run the mower over the area to suck up the remaining leaves and detritus. Rake, mow, blow, suck ... ummm, yeah. We cleared out the front fairly well leaving mountains of leaves which were promptly blown back into the grass and garden beds. Damn. We had to do it though since we were expecting nasty weather the next day. With continuing unpleasantness through the rest of the winter. Indeed, it snowed that night and made a terrible mess. While we were at it, I had the Tyrants take the truck load of aging pumpkins from the front porch to the Agricultural Sector and SMASH THEM! HULK SMASH PUMPKINS!!! Heh ... time and place for everything, you know. They were starting to get a bit soft so it was time to dispose of them. I'm certain I'll get a lot of 'volunteers' next spring after I till them under. After the Mrs and I finished up with the leaves (the Tyrants abandoned us for the comfort of the wood-burning stove), I ran across the street to help our neighbor, Gus, with a couple of 25 foot tall trees that he needed to take down. Yep, just could not get enough lumberjacking in so I started in on the arboreal work in the local area. It took little time but the chain on the semi-commercial saw started to dull before we got to the hard part ... cutting the stump flush with the soil. Leaning over with a roaring chain-saw ... yep, I'm destined to be sore the next day. To cap off the day, I made some Bohemian Goulash and load of Beef Stroganoff for the week's meals. The Mrs made chicken wings (ACK!). The cavalcade of leftovers is never long lived. I'm not sure what I would do without the double-blessing of ground beef and pasta.

Sunny Sunday ... not so much. Snow, sleet and just general nastiness. This impacted the attendance at Sunday School too. Only 4 little smiling faces showed up ... all talking about how they were going to build snowmen and make snow angels in the slop that laid about the ground like a sodden quilt. Of course, we had to stop at Dunkin Donuts afterwards, and share the plunder with the Mrs back at the manor. The Tyrants decorated the tree and put nearly all their ornaments within the first 3 feet from the floor. Looks good to them I suppose. We rearranged some of them and filled in all the empty spots. I spent the rest of the day bumbling about with laundry, feeding the wood burning stove and puttering about in the garage. I did manage to get the automatic garage door openers rewired so I did not have to use the remote to open the durned thangs. Good to get something accomplished. Oh, and I finally put up the wall Spackle over the patches in the closet wall. Now for the paint and the new shelves ... I can finally put my clothing in the same room I sleep in!

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