Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Hmmm, then there is our TSD (Karate) efforts. After many hours (of beatings) and extraordinary efforts (of getting beaten), I've managed to acquire my black-belt. Now, I'm just 2 years away from my 2nd degree! Uff-da! Now, the twins are just a few months away from their own Junior Black-belts. Really, their TSD is rocking. Regular little jedi-ninja destruct-o-bots space pirates, they are. They did well enough to get 3 trophy plaques each in a National tournament down in AC. I scarfed up a few myself, but I'm considered a 'Senior' which just scares the poopers outta me. Where is my AARP card, eh? Speaking of nearing my Autumn years, my back problem was taken care of this year. Went to PT for weeks on end during lunch and fixed it up good, but I have to play nice or it roars to life ... oddly, never during TSD practice.
Jake is enjoying Cub-Scouts and Attila is starting to open up in Girl-Scouts. We were fortunate earlier in the year to enjoy a lot of activities because of this. Camping early in the spring was chilly, but Attila got to come along and everyone found out what a thrill it was using outhouses with stainless steel pooper-potties. YIKES! Talk about an adventure. We also had a sleep-overs on the Battleship NJ as well as a over-night experience at the Trenton Thunder ballpark. With the ballpark, we slept in the outfield after watching the game. They are apparently a farm-league team for the NY Yankees ... The Wife's favorite. That evening, we ended the night (morning) watching a game on the big-screen where the Yanks ended up going for 16 or so innings. Speaking of professional baseball, Genghis and The Mrs went to a MLB game in the new stadium up in NY. It was the Yanks vs the Twins. The Mrs, sensing the outcome, dressed Jake in Yankees apparel. He still rooted for both teams. He loves a good game.
Summer vacation was fun. The whole family went on down to DC for a couple of days over the July 4th weekend and saw a few sights. Most importantly, we went to both Air and Space Museums where Jake was lucky enough to see Jetfire from the Transformers 2 movie up close and personal. Not to forget Attila of course, she got to watch the Panda`s gorge themselves or slumber effortlessly amongst the bamboo. The groves of bamboo gave her an idea ... we should get a panda that could live in our backyard! Egads ... we already have dogs, fish and chickens. How about some goats and a pig while we are at it. Speaking of chickens, we set up our flock this year and they were coming along nicely till it came time to shut down the rooster choir. About 10 of the 11 found themselves at the wrong end of a plucking with a great deal of assistance from Grams and Gramps. The twins did not realize that they had become dinner until it slowly sank in that the unnerving quiet from the back-yard was the calling card of grim reaper. They took it pretty well though. It was harder for them to understand that we are going to be eating the eggs that have been recently been laid rather than trying to hatch them!
Now, on to the major financial reports - the old SuperSaturn POS had been giving me quite a bit of problems. The various repairs were starting to mount to a point where I needed to get rid of the car. It was a bit earlier than I had hoped for since we still have over a year of payments on the LAST new car we got. Rats, there goes my plan to buy a small pacific island. After putting in new struts, new tires, front disks, radiator and coolant pump, I spent about 600$ on a car worth 500$ ... not a good investment. In the end though, it would cost less to fix the car than rent one for the time it took us to get the new vehicle. We ended up buying a the same model as the Family Tank v2.0 ... a Toyota AWD with curtain airbags, reinforced roof supports, impact beams in the sliding doors, sidewinder missiles and 50cal machine-guns behind the headlights. Paying two car loans is going to be a tough haul for the next 1.5 years, but the security and low apr made it worth it. I asked about the live organ donation program and they said I was not eligible for any points off if I promised to donate my kidney due to my Scotch consumption.
And then there is school. Attila is still stomping everyone in her class spelling bee and Jake is eating up the math studies. Not to brag, but as a disclaimer - they are atrocious at each-others strengths. With the load of classwork they get each night, I cannot imagine how any child could succeed without a lot of attention from their parents. I do not recall 2nd grade being like this. Of course, computers are default knowledge for them ... scary. I recall that a 30mb hd with 1mb of ram was a months salary. Now you can get a terabyte with 4gb ram for under 1K. Less than a fancy tv! Ooops ... crabby old man mode setting in. Durned kids, GET OFF MY LAWN!
The Mrs is doing well ... she expects to have conquered the server world within a few more years at her job. Not much we can say about that though since she really is a double agent for the CIA fronting as a Boss for the Triad. No just kidding. Sort of ... but not really. Maybe.
Now it is time to whine. The daily schedule that we grind through is enough to make even the saltiest marine cry for mercy. I'm supposed to be at work by 6am every day (make it by 6:30 at latest) so the Mrs can be there to send the kids off on the 8:10 bus. It stops at the end of our mile-long driveway so we have that going for us. If things go well in the morning, I spend my time getting the dogs fed and let them out to finish the final processing of said food. These days, its a bit of a challenge because it is pitch black and finding those steaming landmines is tough if I forget a flashlight. While I'm out there, I make sure the chickens have food and water. Of course, the damned water will be frozen solid so I have to rectify that. I really need to run electric out there for a heated watering can ... the solar panels just wont cut it. Back inside and light a fire to heat the Manor, set out breakfast, open the shades, turn on the aquarium lights, shower up and hit the road. At 2:30pm, I'll hit the road to fetch the Twin Tyrants from school if they do not have any after-school programs; Tuesday - Urban Dance, Thursday - Mad Science, Friday - Young Rembrandts. Every other Monday, we have Cub Scouts and every other Thursday it's Girl Scouts. I run the Cub Den so that's not too bad, they all come to me. Once a month I'll have a Scouting Council meeting on the first Monday and the third Friday is a Pack Meeting. On the Pack meeting days, the Tyrants have to miss TSD (karate) which is a shame because that is DODGE-BALL FRIDAY. We send out the hordes of little critters itching for a fight and let them pummel each-other with balls for 15 minutes. Quite entertaining. Nice thing about Friday is that it is also 'Junk Food Day' where I pick up dinner from Taco Bell. As far a Genghis is concerned, the Taco fulfills all the nutritional requirements a growing boy needs and will do his best to break his 'world record' of eating 5 tacos in one sitting. Attila focuses on the meat-n-beans half-pound burrito which I am fairly certain is categorized as a Crime against Humanity by the UN. She is unnaturally fond of passing wind. They have piano lessons on Tuesday from 4:30pm till 5:30 and the swim team practice is on Monday and Thursday from 7:30 till 8:30. Of course, when nothing else interferes we have TSD for the kids from 6pm till 7 and after, I do my own training from 7pm till 9ish. So, the weekdays are a bit of a byzantine schedule, nay, a herculean effort to maintain. Homework and reading gets squeezed into the commute time between events and a large portion gets done on the Sunday before for the HomeWork we are expecting (spelling, math, reading). For the Adults, its laundry, cooking and prep. Lots of prep. I have a bag of snacks that they kids grind through after I pick them up. Hard boiled eggs, lobster, mandarin oranges, little smokeys, yogurt tubes ... loads of finger foods. A busy lifestyle, but it keeps us distracted. If they had a spare moment, I fear for the world. They would surely start plotting their conquest. Jake already likes chess and risk way too much.
I certainly hope you found this letter informative, entertaining and that it has left with a warm glow ... but not gastro-intestinal distress.
Love, Hope, and Monkey Butts - MDMHVONPA, The Mrs, Genghis, Attila, Cyber-Thor, Katie-bot, the Attack Hens and surviving Fish.
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