Monday, July 31, 2006

Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen

Except maybe The Mrs.

It is now about day 18 of listing the house, and no offers. In a bizarre twist of fate, in San Schmose if your house does not sell within the first 21 days, you have to drop the price. Nobody buys a house "older" than 21 days without a price reduction. So, our original "priced-to-sell" price is now "priced-to-really-really-sell." Meaning no new minivan for The Mrs.

Shhh... don't tell her that.

Went to a business update meeting today, which is a meeting where they go over how well the company and your business unit are doing. My business unit is doing pretty well, it seems. But the company is not doing as well. Oddly, there was quite a bit of focus on a new product out of FC and how great it was and how it was stealing market share from the two big competitors at an impressive rate, and how demand is up up up. This is the product line that FC depends upon for their lifeblood.

Too bad that history has shown that when a product starts getting unusual hype in the update meetings, it's usually doomed. Maybe it's good that no one has bought the San Schmose house.

I started packing up the office today. I am finding that I am throwing out about 2/3 of the stuff, and packing the other 1/3. I threw out all my old IEEE journals today. Plus directions on how to run some CAD tools that we haven't used for a couple years. And power savings ideas for a project I worked on 6 projects ago.

Oddly, I'm starting to feel nostalgic for this place. In particular, I'm going to miss that my cube has 4 walls. For some reason, those FC guys only like to have 3 walls. It doesn't seem to have reduced their goofing-off time appreciably, though. They just goof off away from work by coming in late and leaving early.

Our neighbors across the street hosted a going-away BBQ for us on Saturday. It was fun, except Dennise abandoned me in the pool with our two kids plus one of the other neighbor kids so that she could sit with the adults and drink. I spent the first two hours chasing MaxieC back and forth between the pool and hot tub and refereeing squabbles between HannieC and he neighbor kid. The Mrs. was kind enough to pour me a beer every now and then, though. Finally, some other, older, neighborhood kids showed up, and I dumped the kids on them. Then I got to talk guns with their dad.

Bratwurst soaked in beer and onions was served. Yum...

I'm getting real tired of not living in the house, only sleeping there. There's no soap at any of the sinks (tucked away underneath in the cupboard where you can't see it), cuz soap is ugly. There are only decorative towels, so you can never dry your hands. We can't eat anything messy. On the weekends, we leave at 10am and return at 6pm so that no one can come see the house.

We spent yesterday at the SF Zoo. HannieC declared herself "bored". She believes she is now too big to enjoy a zoo. This is, perhaps, because she has gone to a zoo more times in her first 6 years that I have in my entire life. MaxieC really enjoyed the giraffes.

On the way home, we stopped at The Sonoma Chicken Coop for dinner. It was horrible! My dinner was inedible (though, to be fair, I had a splitting headache from the complaining at the zoo and during the long drive back from it), and The Mrs. did not care for hers, either. The kids liked theirs. This place got rave reviews from many people. I don't know why. Their brewhouse pale ale wasn't too bad.

Hmmm... Now I am home and the rest of this post got disappeared somehow. I don't remember what I said, so I'll wrap it up.

Friday, July 28, 2006

What a Bunch of Depressives

Oye, what a whirlwind trip out to FC that was. The trip out there went OK. I got to the hotel a little earlier than I expected, and I wanted to send an email to a guy at work with the final version of this thing I had written on the plane. Opened up the old peecee, and the wireless connected, though with only 2 bars of signal. I logged in, as I had done every day the previous week so that The Sister could check her lack of email from The Boyfriend.

Then the signal dropped. I wandered all around the room trying to get a signal. I stood in the tub. I held the peecee up to the ceiling. I went by the window. Zero to 1 bar of signal. Checked my watch; still time to meet the guys at Old Chicago. Call up the front desk and ask if they have a signal repeater, as a lot of hotels do. They don't know what I'm talking about, but give me the tech support phone number.

I was suspicious, as the entire section on connecting to the internet was missing from my hotel directory in this room. I know this as, of course, we stayed in a different room last week and I had read the instructions there.

I call up the tech support line, give the nice lady the hotel and room number information. Tell herI can't get a reliable signal. She says, "That's strange. There should be a strong signal in that room."

I wonder if their cue card tells them to say that, or if they actually have a signal strength map for each hotel they service. I'm guessing the former.

She has me diddle around with my peecee wireless setting, which naturally don't make a damned but of difference cuz you can't create a signal to receive by diddling your peecee settings. But you have to humor these tech support folks or they can't proceed.

She puts me on hold. Comes back a few minutes later. "I'm going to have to escalate this. Your access point is not responding, and I'm going to file a ticket to have it rebooted."

Wow. They have remote access to the network and can tell when there's a hardware problem. Fancy. I'm happy. I go to dinner, though now I am a touch late from being on hold.

I get to the OldC about 5 minutes late, and CJ and MoustachioP are waiting. M-P brought along his son, who told me his name was something like Mr. T. Then we had to wait for El Toro, who ambled in from under the cork tree presently.

Now, as it turns out, this was like some sort of group therapy meeting for chronic malcontents. I'm not sure why, but it seems that maybe this is the crowd that either I am drawn to or is drawn to me. It starts out innocently enough, with nobody able to figure out what they want to drink, since normally they have some kind of beer on sale, and you just take that, but tonight no such luck. I got some local brew from Odells. It was drinkable, which is about the best I could say about it. El Torito ordered Michelob Ultra-watered down. I can't remember at all what MoustachioP got, but I swear it was like a lemonaid. But he had his kid with him, so I cut him slack.

CJ was the wild card - getting the Long Island Iced Tea. Someone said, "CJ, I didn't think you drank." He says, "I'm starting to."

Now that, my friends, is one hell of a line. CJ is damn funny, when taken out of context.

I started to explain to CJ how long island iced tea is kind of a chick drink, and I was about to say, "In fact, it's more of a fat chick who realizes she's going to have to debase herself again tonight with whatever barely literate, penniless creep is left in the bar at closing time and who will probably throw up on her pillow and then never call her back so she might as well be good and drunk by then kinda drink," but then I said to myself, "Self, explaining the finer points of drinking to CJ is like explaining why you prefer reruns of VIP over reruns of Baywatch to your dog. Sure, he'll listen intently, he may even cock his head to one side and perk up an ear. But you know you're basically just talking to hear yourself."

So I was quiet after, "it's kind of a chick drink." Plus, you know, CJ went to great trouble to put together this gathering on short notice and in competition with a poker game, so you shouldn't rag on your host.

You should wait until you're home, then rag on him in your blog. He's too tired, what with the new baby, to read the blog anymore, so it's safe.

Then, with a few tiny sips of alcohol in them, the guyz let loose. El Torito starts talking about how he wants to move about 30 miles south to be located midway between his job and his wife's, so she doesn't have so long a commute, but how he can't cuz he's pretty sure we'll all be out of a job when they shut down the sit in a couple months.

The floodgates come wide open at that point. "Well, I don't expect to make it until they shut down the site." "I expect to be laid off in a month." "I expect to get fired by the end of the month." "No, I'm going to get fired first." "Big Boss never liked me - he's going to single me out to fire as soon as the next round of layoffs happen."

I think CJ and MoustachioP got into some kind of competition as to which on is going to be fired first. El Torito is at least going to stick it out until the whole site gets shut down. I kept thinking to myself, "Self, what in the hell have you dragged your fambily into?" I managed to get so depressed that I only had one beer.

The next morning, of course, I realized that we normally have a few upbeat guys to balance out these idiots, but all those guys went to the poker game cuz it sounded like more fun than sitting around with a bunch of depressives trying to outdo each other with who is going to get fired first. The poker game, as it turns out, was hosted at a house just a couple blocks down the circle from my new one out there.

Speaking of the new house. Here are a couple snapshots from it that I took when we were trying to figure out what carpet and paint we wanted after we were in contract.

This one here is MaxieC on the built-in trampoline in the back yard with our realtor. The Sister, aka Ellie, is taking the photo from a different angle. I'm standing in what will be HannieC's bedroom looming out the window when taking this photo.

This next one is also taken out the window of what will be HannieC's room. She has an excellent view.

Here's a picture at the foot of the basement stairs. MaxieC is looking up at the electronic basketball game, which is not included with the house. The wine cellar door is to the left in the photo.

Here's a shot of the bar from the pool table room. The pool table isn't currently in this room (it's in the living room upstairs), but it's clearly proportioned for a pool table and even has a pool table lamp hanging in the middle of the ceiling. I'll have to get me a pool table.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Pox on You and Your Geology Degree

On day two of The Week of Pain, we also managed to find a really nice house up on the hillside. It had a wonderful view of Fort Collins, and it was in a small development surrounded by open space preserve about 1/4 mile from the entrance to Horsetooth Reservoir's boat launch and beach. That house was nearly perfect, and it had 6 or 7 bunnies sunning themselves in the front yard when we pulled in. The Childrens liked that a lot. These were of the rabbit variety, not the Playboy variety.

But could we buy that? Noooo... We kept thinking about how my brother DougyC, who seems to be an expert on all things involving freshwater (not snow and not sea water, mind you, as there are different experts on those topic in the fambly), always complains about the earthen damn used to create that reservoir, and how it's toast in an earthquake, and how their seismic retrofit over the last few years was mere false security, and how the whole mountainside will wash away one day. I'm paraphrasing there a bit, but you get the gist of it. So, we eliminated one of the best houses based on that. That, and it was an awfully long commute.

[This next part expands on some comments I made here. I wrote all this, then I said to myself, "Self, I think you already wrote about this." So I checked. Yup. I covered some of it in not much detail. And I'm not deleting all this great work.]

We also found a decent almost-complete house in Windsor that was quite pricey and did not include any landscaping or window coverings. It also included a big loft area where they had put a built-in bench right up against the railing. That made the ~4ft high railing more like 2.5ft high, and we were pretty sure we'd lose one if not both of The Childrens over that. I bet if we called the housing inspector to ask about that, it'd be a code violation. Plus, we got a copy of the CC&R's, and they were, shall we say, punishing. They specified things such as how many birdfeeders you could have (only one) and if you could have a basketball hoop (yes, but only a portable one, not one affixed to the house or garage, and it had to be put away out of sight whenever it was not being used). All lighting must be aimed down at the ground or up at the house. No light shall be aimed such that any part of the beam leaves the owner's property. Motion-detecting lights are not permitted except for limited use as security lighting with the written approval of the lighting plan from the architectural review board.

Scah-rew that.

So, after the second Day of Pain, we were left with basically nothing we wanted, and there were only about five properties left to see. Our dear realtor was pressing us to pick properties for a second visit the following evening, since we'd finish seeing everything for the first time in the morning.

That is what led to the beer-averting depression.

Day three of The Week of Pain turned out to be much better, though. More on that to follow, eventually.

I'm back out in FC tomorrow night and Thursday to go to the home inspection. Probably blog a little tomorrow night, since beer is not on sale at Old Chicago, and that is the venue that CJ decided to book.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rolly Coaster Blogging

Never finished this post, though I started it a week ago. It's from our trip to Bonfante Gardens last week. HannieC went straight for this coaster, the Quicksilver Express.

A Brief Interlude

Some thoughts not related to our house-hunting trip that just need to get written down before they get unthought.

Sometimes when presented with an opportunity for humor, you connect right off the bat. Sometimes, it takes longer. A lot longer.

Tonight, The Mrs. made guacamole to go with dinner. She makes excellent guacamole, and tonight was no exception. One of the ingredients of guacamole is fresh lime juice. For that, you use one of these jobbers:

I was washing up the non-dishwashable dishes tonight after dinner whilst The Mrs. put little MaxieC to bed, and a thought occurred to me. A long time ago, maybe 4 months, The Mrs. invited some of her girlfriends over for margaritas. She enlisted me to make the drinks, as making drinks is something I have, shall we say, a bit of experience with. Plus, you know, I don't know why, but you always get some crazy girls-gone-wild idea in your head when your wife says she's having all her girlfriends over for drinks. You know it's not going to be that way, yet you'll hang around to make the drinks just in case. I think men are programmed that way.

I think women know that, and that's how they have kept us subjugated for so long.

Anyways, I'm mixing up the second batch of margaritas, and one of The Mrs's friends wanders over, points to the juicer thingee, and says, "That's called a 'reamer'."

Now, I quickly go over in my head what the appropriate response to that is. If this were one of the boyz, I would have countered with, "You'd know, wouldn't you?" But that's not something you can necessarily say to a lady. Or maybe the old standby, "That's what she said." Or perhaps, "Jealous?"

But again, none of these things can be said to one of your wife's girlfriends.

So I said that only thing I could think of. "I know. But I can't say that with a straight face."

To which she replied, "Me neither," and giggled. Then she wandered off.

Tonight, I'm washing the reamer, and I'm thinking about this episode when it suddenly hits me.
I'm sorry. Did I leave my fly open?
God is still speaking,

I bought some portable DVD players at Best Buy today. Big hassle that was, since they were supposed to come with a $19.99 carry case free, but they were out of the cases, and I got a massive run-around that ended basically with a GFY. These are for the flight from SJC to DEN that The Mrs. has to take with MaxieC and HannieC while I drive the pickup with the dog. I learned on this last trip that HannieC will sit tansfixed watching a DVD for just about the whole flight. It's a 2.5 hour flight, and you can't use electronics for the first and last 20ish minutes, so you need a moovie that's a bit under 2 hours and over 1.5 hours to fill the whole flight. We've been using my work laptop to play her DVD's, but I'll have that with me for this trip. Plus, it's pretty complicated for The Mrs. to be able to set up and run on the plane with two screaming kids. And I'm not allowed to give her the passwords or anything.

Well, I charged up the batteries when I got home (early - more on that later), and when MaxieC went to bed, I broke one out for HannieC to play with. She loved it. She sat at the kitchen counter on the barstool we bought but perhaps intend to return (despite having a bar at the new place) eating Oreos in milk and watching Narnia. I honestly can't stand this moovie. However, there is one bit I find entertaining. There's this goat-boy called "Mr. Tumnus" in the moovie, and every time someone says "Mr. Tumnus", in my head I hear Fat Moother say, "Mr. Numb Nuts."

Those of you who know Fat Moother know exactly what I'm talking about.

The stupid house is trying to keep me from selling it. First, three sprinklers go bad in the front yard at once. Then, the dog barfs on the carpet and leaves a stain that can't be cleaned. Then, a sprinkler goes bad in the backyard when we're on the house-hunting trip and geysers all over. Happily, that was fixed by a neighbor who was watching over the place. Then this morning.

I'm up with MaxieC not too terribly early (back on Pacific time, after a day on Mountain time), and he's walking through the kitchen with me. He stops in the dining room and says, "Ooops. I walked in the water. My foot is wet now."

What? What water?

"In the kitchen. The floor is wet. Careful, it's slippery when it's wet. I accidentally walked through it."

OK, so my kid, who is only 2.5, understands the implications of a wet kitchen floor, and he knows he's not supposed to walk on the floor when it's wet. This is all great news.

Except why is the floor wet at 7:30 in the morning?

Let's see here. MaxieC shows me where he stepped in the water. Yup. a puddle there. Hmmm...follow the puddle all the way across the floor to the refrigerator, where it heads underneath.

Argh. Ice maker connection. I roll the fridge forward and look for water. There is water. I feel the connection at the wall - dry. Feel the connection at the fridge. Wet. Wet is bad.

I dry it off, and the wetness comes back. I get a wrench and tighten up the connection. It's a compression fitting, and I can tighten it about 1/4 turn. I wait. No more water. No more water is good. I put the fridge back.

Crisis averted.

About 3pm, I'm sitting there in my cube IMing with a guy in Fort Collins who is complaining that I don't own a particular feature of the processor I just joined there, and that feature is related to what I do own, and that he doesn't trust the guy owning it, and that he knows it would be too much for me to do that and also do the job I actually have, but could I please keep an eye on the guy who just this week started owning it? And The Mrs. calls. "There's a puddle of water from the fridge all the way to the dining room."

Shoot. I'm on my way. Roll the fridge out and shut off the valve.

I call my realtor. Hell, it's his job to worry about this stuff. He says my home warranty will cover it, but I should take a look to see exactly what's wrong before calling them, cuz usually it's something easy like the compression fitting.

The Mrs. calls back. Can't get the valve to budge. The neighbor (the sprinkler-fixing one, damn good neighbors, these folks), can't either. She tells me not to break it off in the wall trying to shut it off. She repeats it.

I get home. Roll the fridge out. The compression fitting is still leaking, but almost imperceptibly so. I can't imagine it would create any puddle at all. Not in this heat. But now I'm also in the realm of having to hypothesize mutliple failures - what are the chances of there being two leaks at the same time?

I go to work on the valve. Ever cautious that The Mrs. has told me not to break this off, in other words forewarned me that she'd be using this as one of her "my husband is such an idiot" stories, I get two wrenches.

Boy, you snap off one water main feed and go without water for two days, and your wife never lets you forget it.

I get the valve unstuck very quickly, and I turn it all the way with the wrench. The drip does not stop. In fact, now the valve is leaking, too. So the thing is leaking at both ends. Then I notice that the 1/4" copper tube connecting the wall to the fridge is dripping in the middle. Hmmm... One drip every two seconds. That's a pretty fast drip. Much much faster than the tiny weaping at the fridge connection. Drip. Drip. Drip. That's my culprit.

I get a bucket to put the coil in. As soon as I put it in the bucket, it lets loose with a spray. I get down there with the wrenches again and try to shut off the valve. No luck. I shut off the main. I take off the copper tube and the valve.

Quick trip to OSH, where I talked to my favorite plumbing department guy. He gets me everything I need. I fix it right up.

I spend like half of dinner trying to get The Mrs. to acknowledge how handy I am. She seems to be more focused on how I did not fix it right when I found it in the morning. Or on how great her guacamole is.

Marriage. Bliss.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


The Week of Pain has drawn to a close. Slowly. And painfully.

All of my regular readers may have noticed that I haven't posted for slightly over a week. The Fambly and I took a vacation, of sorts. We went out to beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado to do a little house shopping in the mornings and evenings, and for me to start my new job there in the afternoons.

It all started out beautifully enough. We took a limo to the airport, checked our bags at curbside, and were informed that we all had middle seats. Now, I've flown back-and-forth to Denver may times, and I have generally had a middle seat. But it is problematic when you have a 2-yr-old, like little MaxieC, and you can't sit next to him. HannieC, being 6, might make it a little longer - say up to 30 minutes - before freaking out. But, the flight is 2 hours and 30 minutes.

We got hit with what I would consider a classic bait-and-switch marketing campaign. I don't know why this is legal. If I were Eliot Spitzer, I'd investigate it. I was making the travel arrangements online at one of my favorite online travel sites, and I was making darned sure we found a flight where we could sit together. I discarded the first, and cheapest, flight out because there were no seats together. I managed to find a flight out and a flight back where we could get seats all next to each other. Then, as soon as I hit purchase and agree to the non-refundable nature of the transaction, it sends me a little update. "Your itinerary has changed." What has changed? "Seats assigned at check-in."

Why is that not illegal? Why can they give you a seat assignment when making the purchase, and then take it away as soon as they have the money?

But, anyways, it all worked out. The gate agent was able to get The Mrs. and MaxieC next to each other, and she was able to get me an aisle seat two in front of HannieC's middle seat. When the guy in the aisle seat next to HannieC showed up, I just said, "Hey, would you mind switching seats? They didn't seat me next to my daughter, and she's very worried about flying by herself." No problem. He gets an aisle closer to the front, and he avoids sitting next to a screaming 6yr-old.

Dennise's sister met us at the gate. She had flown in from Barfalo to be the nanny during the trip, since The Childrens cannot possibly sit still long enough to let us actually look at a house. Now, I have to admit I was against this idea. See, I still remember the time we brought her brother in to help with HannieC after she was born, and The Brother promptly got drunk and broke his ribs in the hot tub. So, instead of him helping take care of HannieC and The Mrs., the Mrs. had to help take care of him. I expected a similar amount of usefulness from The Sister, though without the getting drunk and breaking of ribs, given that her life appears to revolve primarily around sleep and eBay.

I've got to admit I was wrong on this one. The Sister provided pretty good childcare, and her continual pining away that her boyfriend, who is out of the country on an archeology expedition of some great merit, didn't email her enough gave me an endless source of material for cheap shots. Poor The Sister.

The house hunting went very badly the first two days. On Monday night, we went and saw what I thought were the four most-likely-to-purchase homes of the roughly 14 that met our requirements. They were all problematic. 3 of the 4 backed up onto very very busy streets, and the 4th one was junky. We loved one of the houses, but the busy street was too much.

The second day, we saw stuff from a new development. It was mostly new construction, with two house being a couple years old. We really liked one of the almost-done homes (done Aug 1), but it was at the top of our price range and came with no landscaping at all nor any window coverings. And once we got a copy of the homeowners associations rules and regulations, we got scared silly.

That night, we were a bit depressed. We were to see the final houses the next morning, and then start revisiting those we liked the next evening. And we didn't really like anything all that much. The Mrs., sensing my despair, arranged for The Sister to babysit The Childrens after they went to sleep so that she and I could go to the hotel bar and have a bit of beer.

I was too depressed to go. I said, "What if I really don't want a beer? What if I just want to go to sleep?"

The Mrs. said, "I don't think I have ever heard you turn down a beer as long as I've known you."

That'd be 26 years that she has known me.

More later.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I have to post less

The Mrs. just told me, "You're ridiculous. You spend three hours a day for a readership of four." That's the thing I love about marriage - that you can always count on your wife to support you in your hobbies. And I think my readership is at least 8 regulars with a couple irregulars thrown in there.

I updated the mug shot today. When you live alone, it's hard to take decent mug shot photos of yourself. The one below was my favorite, but it got overruled by the good taste committee.

I gotta get me a new mugshot

This shot of me on a train at Legoland is quite old. I was going to take a picture of me wearing my "I make stuff up" t-shirt today, but then HannieC wiped ketchup all over it at dinner.

I have nothing to say

I used up all my best material posting wise-ass comments on The JohnnyB. Not that it's going to stop me, given that I had record high pageloads again Wednesday. Not record high ad revenue, mind you, but record high pageloads. 58 of them. Seems someones who work at the same company as I do decided to go back and read all the old posts during the course of the day. But, since I collect no personally-identifiable information, and there are about 6000 people with the same internet address there, that's the best I can do.

Since it's late, I'm going to make this quick. I got two complaints from StinkyJ today that I need to publicly address. The first complaint is that I have made casual reference to Mexican babies twice in the past week without crediting him as the originator of the slur. Now, StinkyJ is 38 years old, and I've met a lot of Mexican people (particularly given that I live in San Schmose) who were older than 38. So, using my God-given powers of deductive reasoning, I'm going to say that there were Mexican babies prior to StinkyJ even being born. Further, if memory serves, there was this little thing called "The Mexican-American War" that went from 1846 until 1848. Again, using those same deductive reasoning gifts, I would say that there had to have been Mexican babies at least as far back as 1846, probably a bit sooner given the fight that the Mexicans put up in the war. Babies - not so good at war.

So, giving credit where credit is due, StinkyJ invented the term "Mexican baby" just two weeks ago. I should have made note of that when I said it.

The second complaint I got from StinkyJ was that not enough of my posts revolved around him lately, as was reported to him by BrainkyP, since he himself stopped reading quite some time ago. This is an odd complaint. One that gave me pause. My entire world revolves around me, but apparently I have somehow given the impression that my blog revolves around StinkyJ.

So I gets to thinking. "Self, why is it that StinkyJ is worried that I don't have enough posts revolving around him? Hmmm... What could it be... Oh, yes. Perhaps it is that StinkyJ's wife used to read the blog a lot in order to get a feel for what StinkyJ was like away from the home. Could it be that he has felt himself a minor celebrity due to publicity at Me, CherkyB? And now, when his wife reads the blog, she only hears about me, CherkyB?"

How about that. Perhaps I should put up a link to, but I keep getting a 404 error when I try to go there. If I can't find it, how can his wife? His blog, I mean.

Then, since we're on complaints, BrainkyP today complained that his father would like me to refer to BrainkyP's son as a "Peruvian-Serbian baby," not a "Mexican baby." Well yes, I did use the term "Mexican baby" twice, but never in reference to BrainkyP's child. Perhaps he should take up this complaint with StinkyJ, the originator of the phrase and owner of all licensing rights, and not with Me, CherkyB.

And since when did BrainkyP's father start reading this? Answer: he didn't. So the complaint as directed towards Me, CherkyB, is fabricated completely by BrainkyP. Now, I can't say that given that BrainkyP is still my boss for another 4 days.

Finally, to wrap up the complaint in-box,a complaint from Me, CherkyB. BrainkyP, you name is BrainkyP, not BrankyP. It has never been BrankyP. It has always been BrainkyP. Just cuz The JohnnyB spelled it wrong on his blog doesn't mean the spelling has suddenly changed. You start spelling your name right, or I'm going to start deleting your comments.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stupid Dog

The dog ate my dinner. Literally. I was eating dinner, a wonderful spread of baked chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes. I ate the corn and potatoes, and then there was a knock at the door. It was our realtors needing us to sign the listing papers (we listed tonight!).

So The Mrs. set the dinners aside on the kitchen counter. When the realtors left, I had to get MaxieC ready for bed. Then, I went to eat my chicken. No chicken. I figured The Mrs. had put it in the fridge to avoid spoilage. I searched the fridge. No chicken. I search the other fridge. No chicken.

When The Mrs. came back from putting MaxieC in bed, I asked about the chicken. "I didn't take your chicken. I thought you had put it in the fridge."

Stupid dog. Now we're on barf watch. The videographers are coming tomorrow to shoot the 3D virtual tour, and we're on barf watch.

I had to have microwave taquitos for dinner.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another Banner Day

If by banner day you mean nothing at all interesting happened all day. You know, like a banner day by The JohnnyB's definition.

Here's the thing, though. I am dedicated to bringing you the highest quality entertainment in the blogosphere, excepting, of course, FrankJ's "In my world" for which there is no equal. But, you now, FrankieJ has kind of lost his edge since he got all married and turned most of his blog over to a bunch of idiots.

That's one thing you'll never see here. Me, CherkyB will remain a one-man blog. Yes, I pledge to you that I will never - let me say it again, never - have enough readers to justify bringing on a bunch of idiots to write additional content. Given the piss-poor ad revenue of this site, I'll never even be able to pay a bunch of "undocumented guest workers" to translate Spanish-language blogs into English so I can rip off the content. No, you're stuck with my boring life as seen through the eyes of someone perhaps ever-so-slightly perceptionally challenged and prone to dramatization.

Or, you know, I could tell you about what I had for dinner. That's how not just one, but two of my "tribute" sites ended their long, painful death spirals. Hitting the ground flat and hard, screaming the whole way down, with restaurant cuisine blogging. The last remaining copycat site is flirting with disaster on the food blogging as well.

So here's what I've done to keep you, my avid reader and ad clickers (as if!) entertained. I have taken upon myself to try to finish as much of my liquor as possible before the move to Fort Collins. Why is this? Well, it seems that there is a rumor floating around that it is illegal to drive through Utah with out-of-state liquor.

Now, back in the day before we had kids and all that, we used to occasionally have a party where we had our friends over. If there's one thing I hate, it's having your friends over and not being able to serve them whatever it is that they like to drink. So I took it upon myself to get the Mr. Boston professional drinking book and getting everything it said you should have for the "well-stocked bar". We then immediately stopping having parties and started having children, which are much more fun.


OK, I'm able to go on now. I've dried up the tears. I'm sorry you had to see me like that.

I still have most of the stuff for that theoretically well-stocked bar, though most of it is no longer original.

I took a quick headcount and got 28 bottles. I have to average right around a bottle a day if I need to have it all gone before the move. Not gonna happen.

Maybe I could have a party. Except you can't have parties when your house is for sale because the house has to stay in immaculate condition.

Not to mention that I no longer have any friends that I could invite to a drinking party. Damn near everyone has one or two kids in tote and needs to be home by 8pm.

On top of that, I've mostly traded in my friends for co-workers. Apparently, you're not supposed to admit that out loud. StinkyJ's wife is apparently upset with me because I told him that we weren't really friends, we were co-workers. And then, naturally, he ran off and told her I said this because he was apparently shattered given what a great badge of honor it is to be befriended by a borderline-lunatic. Then she yelled at him.

Let me give you a little advice.

1) Never get married.

Now, when you choose to ignore this advice as we all have, keep in mind this: your wife will do everything in her power at all times to drive a wedge between you and whatever friend she thinks you might have at the moment. All women do this. They can't help it. Don't take it personally. They take territorialism to a whole new level compared to what a man could imagine. If your woman is not right at this moment trying to drive a wedge between you and any of your drinking/poker/fishing buddies, you should worry. She's either getting some action on the side, or she doesn't give a rat's ass about you. Next thing you know, you'll be having Mexican babies even though neither you nor your wife is of Mexican heritage.

The survival of the species, however, depends upon adaptability. So, Man has invented this loophole called "coworker". "Coworker" is like a get-out-of-jail free card. If there's one thing women like more than being married, it's money. Married women will never, ever jeopardize the money stream, as it might mean they'd have to go back to work despite retiring at age 35 so you could move to Chandler. A place that is, quite literally, as hot as Hell. Too hot to move to, but not too hot to retire so that you can not move to, just so long as you never actually move there. But don't worry, we're pre-retired in case you ever want to move anywhere. That way we only have to worry about one career.

I hear the weather in Fort Collins is a lot more temperate. That could be a gigantic lie, but I don't care. I've been there probably 20 times, and I've never not encountered a beer sale at whatever restaurant I have had dinner. Right there, I am sold.

So, let's say you want to go fishing. You are married, so no way in hell are you allowed to go fishing because fishing is perceived as those two greatest-of-all-evils: 1) fun and 2) a waste of time.

#1 is yet to be proven. It's hard to argue with #2.

So you do this [dramatization]:
Me, CherkyB: "If it's OK, StinkyJ wants to take me and HannieC fishing on Saturday."
The Mrs.: "Hmmm... How long will you be gone for?"
Me, CherkyB: "I dunno. Probably until like 2-3pm."
The Mrs.: "Well, why do you get to go have fun and leave me at home to watch MaxieC?"
Me, CherkyB: "I'll have HannieC with me. She's 90% of the workload."
The Mrs.: "Riiiiiight..."
Me, CherkyB: "So, here's the thing. StinkyJ can really help me in my career. I'll schmooze him the whole time, you know, maybe I can get a big raise or something."
The Mrs.: "Oh! Well, certainly take as much time as you need fishing! Can you go both Saturday and Sunday? Why is it only until 2pm? What did you do to make him not like you and need to get rid of you so early?
Me, CherkyB: "Hey, StinkyJ. Can you go fishing on Saturday? I think the Mrs. will let us go if we take HannieC and I ask real nice."
StinkyJ: "Of course. My wife doesn't give a rat's ass what I do."
Oh wait. StinkyJ's wife usually does give a rat's ass. That last part I made up. But let's not get sidetracked here - the point is that wives do not mess with coworkers anywhere near as much as they do with friends. So keep your friends close but your coworkers closer.

But I digress.

I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out of there was a way to drive from San Schmose, CA to Ft. TomCollins, CO without going through Utah. The answer is, "Of course there is, but you'll spend more in time and gas than you'll save by not pouring your liquor out in the gutter."

The cost is ~300 miles and 5 hours. One needs to ask if 5 hours of me and the dog traveling in the pickup is actually a cost or a benefit, but let's pretend for a second that the dog gets carsick pretty easily. I did more research. I used my knowledge of federalism that said, "Self, Utah should be able to regulate what you bring into Utah, but they should not be able to regulate what you bring through Utah. This would be interstate trade and pretty clearly under the dominion of federal law."

So I dug a little more and came up with this jobber. I can take the stuff through Utah if'n it's going to someone outside Utah. It'll be going to me outside Utah. I figure I'll tape up the boxes really well and put shipping labels on them with my new FC address. Plus, I won't spend the night in Utah. That's a bit of a problem cuz it's 8 hours to Utah and 12 hours to get past Utah. In an 18 hour drive, Utah is a convenient overnight. But I can do 12 hours in a day. No problem.

So, really, I'm trying to drink through my stash just so I can keep up the excitement of the old blog.

Other horrible developments today: The Mrs. has begun to doubt the intelligence of me driving all the stuff I said I was going to drive in the pickup for the move. Why is this? Well, I've spent a lot of time referring to my trip as, "Driving the bomb."

Why? Cuz the inventory was this: propane, gasoline, paint thinner, ammo, and alcohol. All the stuff that the moving van company considers too dangerous for them to ship. Plus the dog.

Today, The Mrs. decided it was time to modify my move plans. First to go, the gas cans. Both the regular and the 2-cycle. "After all, gas cans cost like $10. It's not worth you blowing up."

Then, the propane. "Buy a new grill when you get there. And a lot of the houses have built-in gas grills." AndyP is signed up for my old grill if this goes down.

Most of the fertilizer I can put down on the grass. The ammo, despite being about 700 rnds, takes up maybe 1/4 cu ft. I can get rid of the paint thinner pretty easily (and it costs like $3/gallon). I can consume the gas, except for the 2-cycle gas which I can give away easily. So now the bomb is looking more like a junket.

You watch. A week from now I'll be driving the whole family in the minivan and shipping the truck.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Nothing Broke Today

If you don't count my spirit.

Today was HannieC's sizth birthday. She was very obsessed with the time, as she was born at 1:31pm (or something tlike that) and insisted she was not six until that time. She got a pogo stick and a kids Razor scooter, among other things.

Not much to report. A boring blog update. Verging on JohnnyB boring. I took apart two of the three shelving units from the compooter room and stuffed them in the shed. We went to see the movie "Cars", which was quite good.

That's about it. I'm going to bed.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

And just like that, all is right with the world again

Odd how that works out.

This morning, the relo lady calls me to say she's ordering up the third market value assessment, and she's going to tell them to put a rush on it.


Then, finally, the moving van estimator calls up to make an appointment. Only 4 days after he was supposed to call.

And, surprise surprise, the landscaper shows up and fixes the sprinkler.

While all this is going on, our realtors are taking all kinds of pictures of the house for the web page and the flyer. The lady realtor (it's a man-woman team) goes into the spare bedroom that we use as an office and tells The Mrs. to get rid of the bookshelves because they make the room seem small. You may remember the saga of the bookshelves from such posts as this one and this one. These are big, heavy shelves as can be seen in the photos on the second link there. It would have been nice if they had said something when we were clearing out the house and still had the PODS rather than waiting until the day of the photoshoot to say it was all wrong.

Then, another surprise, the realtor asked to do the third assessment calls and is heading right over. It's about 1:30. I skeedattle home to be there, as sometimes the childrens can be a handful when strangers are around, and I don't want anything to cause delay.

MaxieC was asleep for his nap already when I got there, which was about 5 minutes before the realtor. She comes in and says, "I understand it's my job to be a tie-breaker."

Yup. Two estimates already, but they differ by 7%, which is more than the allowed 5%.

She rolls her eyes.

She says, "What are the two estimates?" Then she says, "Oh...maybe you're not supposed to tell me that?"

I think to myself, "Self, I'm probably not supposed to tell her that. But no one ever told me not to tell her that. And if I do tell her, it certainly could make life a lot easier."

So I tell her the first number. She says, "I can see that." I tell her the second. She says, "Yeah, I can see that, too." Then she says something about how there's a pretty wide range on these things, and it's mostly a judgment call on what you consider comparable. She asks about the rules.

I tell her, "They take the closest two of the three, average them, and I can go 5% higher than that. But I plan to list at $X pretty much regardless of the math." $X is almost exactly 1/3 of the way up from the lower estimate to the higher.

Then she wandered from room to room taking pictures, as they are required to submit a picture of every room. MaxieC got to be in one of them, since he was asleep on his bed during this. She did lots of gushing about how nicely the house was arranged for selling and the wonderful floorplan. Then she got to the compooter room.

"Suck it up and put these shelves in the garage. This is a big room, but they make it look tiny."

Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow. That's right, I'll be figuring out where I can stow the shelves I just put in in May. They're too big to fit in the shed, and really too big for the garage even. I'm hoping I can disassemble them into planks that I can store in the shed. I think I can. They appear to be highish-end pressboard screw-together stuff, if there is such a thing as highish-end in this segment. If not, I'm going to either have to truck them to the dump or find some friend who will store them for a few weeks.

The best part of it is that they are earthquake strapped to the studs with lag bolts, so when I take out the shelves, there will be spackling and painting involved. I hope I can find the paint.

But, at any rate, right before she left, she said, "Now I can't promise you exactly what I'm going to do with the price, but I took a quick look at the comps before coming out here, and I'll have no trouble coming in between those two prices. You don't worry at all. This is taken care of. They'll have it on their desk by 11am Monday. Have a restful weekend."

Our network connection has been iffy from home the last few days. I've had to reboot the DSL modem a lot to get reconnected. Tonight, I couldn't get connected at all for a long time. The modem just kept going through a bizarre light sequence on the front, over and over.

I bit the bullet and called tech support. I was promptly connected to a nice fellow called "Alex" who had a fairly thick Indian accent. I'm guessing Alex was his stage name. He ran a line check on my line, had me reboot the modem a couple times, and had me remove the line filter. In the end, he said, "The line check came back 'out of service'. That means either there is a line problem or you modem is bad."

Yes, I knew that before I called, since the router was working fine with all the computers able to talk to it, and the modem status lights were telling me it saw the router but could not find the DSL line each time I rebooted it before started blinking that bizarre stuff.

He then added, "Based on what you are reporting of the modem lights, I'd say your modem is bad. Go buy a new modem."

Grate. This is 10pm, and tomorrow is pretty heavily booked with it being HannieC's 6th birthday and all, so probably no DSL until Sunday. The Mrs. will be especially unhappy, as her only solace, her only escape from The Childrens is the hour or so she spends on email and Yahooooo messenger with her mom each night.

I'm all pissed.

Then I gots to thinking. I said, "Self, I remember you had another DSL modem left over from when you had Covad DSL at the old house. I remember you saw it when you were organizing the compooter room back in May when you got the shelves. Self, you didn't throw it out, did you?"

"I sure hope not, Self. But I can't remember. If you still have it, it's in the bottom bin of the storage thing in the closet."

Woo-Hoo! Right on top. Gotta dig a little to find the power supply, as despite being the same brand, it was a slightly different model and the old power supply did not fit. Plus it in, fire it up, and 20 seconds later I'm back in bidness.

So, to recap, the delay in listing the house appears to be cleared up, the sprinklers appear to be fixed, the moving van people are coming out, we're going to be listed on our target date, and the DSL connectivity problem is fixed.

Not too shabby for a Friday.

I'm sure I'll pay in spades tomorrow.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

And it all comes apart in the end

Finally, 10 days after the ordering of it (vs. a 48 hour requirement), the relocation people got their second estimate of my house's value, and it was more than 5% different from the first. It was 7.1% different. Apparently, that now means they have to order a third assessment, which means we may miss our expected open house next Saturday, and we may not be listed when we're out of town in Fort Collins looking for a house on the 17th-22nd.

I am still trying to figure out what exactly this relocation specialty agency does for me other than cause me worry and delay. I have found exactly zero value-added thus far, and substantial value-subtracted. But i have to deal with them if I want my closing costs to be paid by The Company.

A couple days ago, when we were cleaning the carpets because we thought the relo agency was going toa allow us to sell our house, the stupid carpet cleaner hose broken again in the place I had repaired it. Having had enough of it, being the third break in the same spot, we went out and got a brand new one. We figured that our Hoover had lasted quite a bit longer than the Bissell, so we got another Hoover. It's fancy-pants. The Hoover SteamVac All Terrain, which is the SUV of carpet cleaners. It's quite a fun little toy. It eliminates the problem area of the previous model by not having the hose under stress all the time, and it also mixes the soap and water on-the-fly. Because of that, it can do this thing they call "auto-rinse" which means it dispenses soap and water when going forward and just water when going backward.

The Mrs., however, loves it most for its clear plastic extraction tank. It's the first one we've had where you can see the dirty water it sucked out of the carpet in the tank.

Also, the sprinkler system that I so carefully fixed in May sprang a leak again in exactly the same place. This time worse than the first time.

As luck would have it, the sprinkler head next to it also started leaking pretty badly. Then, on Tuesday when I was mowing the lawn, I mowed off the popup of the one next to that. So, out of 8 sprinklers in the front yard, i managed to have 3 of them down at the same time. The mowed-off one was easy to fix with a screw-in spray head from Home Depot for $2.99, but the other two require digging and underground investigation. The landscaper is coming tomorrow (or so he told me when I talked to him about a ahlf-hour ago) to fix them. He was supposed to come this past Monday but did not show. He said he was sorry, but ave no excuse.

Bottom line, I apparently stink at fixing stuff.

But, I guess it could be worse. I could be The JohnnyB and need 18 months and $20,000 to paint my living room.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's an Interesting Thing

Today, I got 85 pageviews according to Google AdSense (the folks who handle the advertising on the site), 44 according to statcounter, and 42 according to Google Analytics.

Now, 85 pageviews is quite astounding. My all time record is 55 according to Google Analytics. And never has AdSense disagreed with the other two by more than a couple views (They have different lagtimes, and some of them drop a cookie on me to ignore if I look at my own site, whereas others don't). So then I investigate further. I have two defined "channels" of ads on the site. The "ad box", which is up above the posts by the google search window in which actual ads are placed, and the "link box" which is down at the bottom of the right column and has context sensitive links to pages of pertinent links. I can get the stats individualy for both ad locations.

When I check it, I see my ad box has 85 pageviews, but my link box has only 42. Now, there is no way to actually display the ad box without also displaying the link box on my site. The only way I can think of that this could happen is if someone copies the java code from my page and drops it down on another page.

So that gets me to thinking. Hmmm... I know someone who redesigned his page today. And my little statcounter jobber told me that there were some interesting pageload hits, including one to my template, from a certain comcast site in Sunnyvale that also happens to be the last known IP of this person. So I take a gander at his new website design, including taking a peak at the page source, and I notice that the ad client codes for his ads and search box happen to be my ad client codes.

Odd how that works out. Now, maybe Google made a mistake and assigned him the same ad codes as me. But that'd be one hell of a coincidence, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July

A photo essay of the first half of our day. After that, we had company over and didn't take any pictures.

The childrens shoe up for a donut breakfast followed by an excursion of bar stool, scooter, and grocery shopping.

Donuts. Yumm...

MaxieC sneaks out after breakfast for a little tailgate golf while The Womens finish up their eating and prattling.

What's this? A quick stop off at the car wash before the grocery store? What a treat!

Hey Childrens. You ready to go through the carwash?

Rainbow soap. You have to pay extra for that.

Ooooohhh...washy washy washy...

Scrubby scrubby scrubby...

Rinsey rinsey rinsey. All clean.

MaxieC helps us load up all the groceries next to our new bar stools. Oddly, the Fort Collins beer was the only beer on sale today, so I broke down and bought it.

Whew. Back from all that shopping. Time for a little break in the camper.

Hmmm...HannieC has the root beer. MaxieC has the slice. I wonder who has that bottle in the middle.

A little play with the only toy left that isn't in the PODS. The Thomas train set.

James pulls the load up the big hill. No holiday for James.

The Mrs. made this pasta salad for dinner tonight. It was really good. MaxieC picked out the recipe, apparently.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Darned PODS

Today, I did many house-prep things. I finished polishing the grout off the tiles in the master shower, I cleaned up the crawlspace thingee under the stairs, I vacuumed the garage, and I put the cap back on the pickup.

I had to put the cap back on for two reasons. First, it was dangling from the ceiling of the garage on its winch, which is right outside the door from the family room. It hang about 5' 6" off the floor, so normal-height people bang their heads on it if they don't duck. We didn't want people looking at the house to have to duck to get into the garage. Second, I'll be driving the truck to Fort Collins with whatever stuff the moving company won't take (primarily alcohol and propane), and I don't want anyone to steal that stuff.

Putting the cap back on was an ordeal twice over. I started lining up all the re-attachment equipment, which is basically a couple wrenches and the cap clamps. I quickly realized that, though I had set aside the clamps, the nuts and washers used to affix the clamps to the cap were packed away neatly in the box that held all the hardware from the dresser I took to the dump.

And that box was one of the first ones into the PODS.

So, after a round of The Mrs. making fun of me for being an idiot (though, I still remain the best she could do), HannieC and I were off to OSH to buy more nuts and washers. There are a couple spares on the mounting rail that do not have clamps, so I grabbed a set of them off that to make sure I got a match.

I quickly learned that though the bolts appeared to be 5/16", the nut simply would not go on. Eventually, after a lot of trial and error, I stumbled upon the metric fastener section and discovered that this was something called a "No. 8 - 1.25". Oye. But once that hurdle was jumped, it was smooth sailing. Until I got home.

The way these cap winches work is you back up under them, and then hoist the cap up off the back of the truck. To reinstall, you need to back to up the same spot and drop the cap down. You need to do this with roughly +/- 1 inch of precision. HannieC decided she would come along for the ride, and sat in the back seat while I did the maneuvering. I backed in, got out, looked at the alignment, and then made adjustments. After about the third round of adjustments, HannieC started whining.
Aren't you done yet?
Don't you know what you're doing?
Come on, this is easy. Don't you know how to back up?
Did you do it wrong again? It's so simple. Why do you keep doing it wrong?
Come oooonnnn Dad. You're wasting my time!
Now, as you all know, I'm a very even-tempered person. But every man has his limits when it comes to nit-picking backseat drivers. Finally, I said, "Look. You have two choices. You can be quiet, or you can go in the house."

"But why can't you just do it right?"

"This is hard to do. I'm trying to line it up just right by looking in the mirrors. And it's a lot harder to do if you're constantly criticizing me from the back seat. I don't see you up here driving if it's so easy."

Great. I'm reduced to having a marital spat with my 6yr. old daughter. And people wonder why I hate long weekends.

"But Daddy, if you'd just stop messing it up and do it right, I wouldn't have to criticize you."

"Stop. Either stop, or get out and go in the house."

"But Daaaddy, that's what women are supposed to do. Men do stuff, and women criticize the way they do it. That's what Mommy does, and you don't make her go in the house."

I have no response to that.

I swear I'm not making this up. HannieC, certified super-genius, has latched upon the Meaning of Life just shy of her 6yr-old birthday.

Well, eventually The Mrs. came wandering out into the garage to see why I had been backing up and going forward a couple inches at a time for like 5 minutes. I put her to work as a spotter. I said, "I'm going to back up. You tell me when this lip here gets 1/4" from the back of the tailgate."

Bam. Done in 10 second.

I'm gonna have to send that HannieC to military school.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Did you hit "next blog"?

One of the interesting things I have learned since installing the statcounter is where and when people come from. I have noted that for about 30 seconds right after I post, I get a number of pageviews from other blog sites that I have never heard of, and then nothing much other than my usual readers trickling in throughout the day. I'm guessing the "next blog" button algorithm chooses most recently updated sites. Average stay of these hits is zero seconds.

That's right. No one ever reads a thing. I do this myself, clicking "next blog" and rarely reading anything. I did, however, begin to notice that every blog it took me to had been just recently updated.

So, did you get here via "next blog"? Maybe drop a comment on this post.

What Goes on When I'm not Here?

This morning, after everyone stopped yelling at each other, we managed to go to a toy store to exchange some duplicate presents HannieC got for her birthday. Then we went grocery shopping at the grocery store in the same plaza. MaxieC got tired of shopping right towards the end, and he started hollering. Not crying or throwing a tantrum, but just hollering. I was trying to settle him down, and then he started yelling, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! You shut up right now!"

People started looking at me, so I said in a forceful voice, "Shhh... We don't talk like that. I don't care what they teach you in day care."

Hee hee. MaxieC has never been in day care a day in his life. He learned to holler, "Shut up," like that from me just yesterday. You see, we were driving back from the mall, and there was this rubber chicken, and both The Childrens wanted to play with it. HannieC refused to give MaxieC a turn, so The Mrs. took the chicken away and gave it to MaxieC. Then HannieC threw a tantrum.

It was like 11:30am, and this was about her 20th tantrum already. I just couldn't take it. She was screaming her stupid head off in the back seat, and MaxieC was screaming in response. The Mrs. was trying to referee this from the front passenger seat, but controlling HannieC is near impossible if you are holding her in your arms, much less from the front seat when she's in the back.

So I snapped. We were at a stoplight, and I let loose with a gigantic tirade centered around the phrase "shut up". It actually kinda seemed to shut HannieC up, but MaxieC then started yelling "Shut up!" all the way home.

Later today, after getting home from the grocery store, HannieC was playing the front yard with her friend from up the street, and MaxieC was running around like a crazy idiot. I had been instructed to take MaxieC inside so he could wash his hands (lunch was coming soon), but he did not want to go. So while running around like a crazy idiot, he also started yelling, "Shut up! Shut up! You shut up right now, Daddy!"

This time, the two guys who are the sons of our next door neighbors were in their driveway loading up the van for what looked like a camping trip. They stop, look over, one of them points at MaxieC, they look at me, and they start laughing their asses off. I put my hands up in a shrug and say, "I don't know where he learns this stuff."

So I guess in the last two days we have established that a) I am a bad parent, and b) I lie to cover it up.

But you know, I don't think I'm any worse of a parent than my parents were, and they were considered exceptional parents in their day. I think people have unrealistic standards of parenting.

Oh, and c) if you are buying rubber chickens, get one for each child. Don't expect them to share.

It's moving weekend for TommyO and family. They are moving a total of two blocks to what TommyO described as, "the big, blue house on the right." It certainly is blue. Oh my is it blue.

Since I own a pickup truck, I am often involved in moving. That doesn't bother me, since it's usually good exercise that does not involve chasing after childrens. An actual conversation that happened this morning after I had been up watching The Childrens for about 4 hours:
The Mrs.: "Why are you in such a bad mood?"
Me, CherkyB: "It's that I just don't like children."
The Mrs.: "We have two delightful children."
Me, CherkyB: "I didn't say that I don't like my children. I said that I just don't like children."
So I got to schlep over to TommyO's to help him move at like 4:00. We were moving "the garage" today. My greatest fear in moving is that nothing is packed, and garages are pretty much unpackable. So nearly nothing was packed. But not much needed to go into boxes, and we got a great deal of it out into the truck and his station wagon (that he calls an SUV) in short order. We made one more trip after that where we unloaded the junk in his attic that should almost all have gone to the dump rather than to the big, blue house, but the dump charges money to throw stuff out, and attic space is free.

Towards the end of the unload, it's about 6:00, and we were going to grill pork chops. I call The Mrs. and tell her to start the grill cuz I'll be home in about 25 minutes. I get the machine.

Then, when I actually start driving, I call again. Again with the machine. So I call her cell. I get voicemail. Fine, she better not be mad at me for not telling her when I was getting home and ruining dinner.

When I get home the first thing I note is that the grill is not lit. I also note that the message on the answering machine has been listened to. I go outside to query, and The Mrs. says, "I got your message, but the kids have already eaten."

A little later, she looks at me all smiley and confesses, "I had a half a glass of white wine. C&D (our across the street neighbors) came over for a happy hour while you were gone."

What goes on at my house when I'm not there? Well, at least neither of my Childrens looks like a Mexican.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

An inauspicious start to the long weekend

I think the whole fambly got up on the wrong side of the bed. My day started like this:

12:45am. I'm sound asleep. The Mrs. starts poking me.

Me, CherkyB: "Huh???"
The Mrs.: "Is it going to beep like that all night?"
Me, CherkyB: "What?"
The Mrs.: "The oven."
Me, CherkyB: "I don't know."
Then I went right back to sleep. See, The Mrs. had been noting rather frequently how we had to clean our oven before listing the house. Well, our oven is self-cleaning. But we used to have a bird, and you're not allowed to run an oven on self-clean when you have a bird in the same general area. So we've self-cleaned our oven I think twice since we've gotten it for the top oven and maybe once for the bottom. Both needed it.

I was doing dishes last night, and The Childrens were up in bed. I decided that'd be a great time to self-clean the bottom oven cuz we wouldn't be needing it any more that night, and there'd be no chance of a little child poking at it while it was mega-hot. I started up the bottom oven on self-clean. You can only self-clean one oven at a time due to, I imagine, heat and electrical constraints. The self-clean runs for 3.5 hours. I guess I started it around 9:15pm given when The Mrs. woke me up to complain about the beeping.

Now, being an incredibly sharp person, I was able to figure out a nuber of things in between when I said, "I don't know," and when i fell asleep immediately thereafter. The first was that the oven beeps when it is done with the self-clean. The second was that I could not hear the beeping. The third was that if The Mrs. was so darned disturbed by the inaudible beeping, she could walk downstairs and hit the "cancel" button just as easily as I could. More easily, in fact, since she was both closer and still awake.

Fast-forward to the morning. I was awakened by little MaxieC. He had climbed into bed next to me, and was poking at me. I was lying there, trying to ignore him. Then he said, "Daddy! Look at this!" I rolled over to see what he wanted, and he smacked me in the eye with the nosecone of a plastic airplane.

Me, CherkyB: "Ow!"
MaxieC: "Airplane!!!"

Oh, to be two again.

I spent most of the rest of the day so far trying to find a replacement spring for the front door handle. I don't want to replace the whole handle, cuz there are 5 identical handles in the entryway: the double front door, the closet, and then the double doors into the dinette. I'd have to replace them all in order to make them match. I went to a total of 5 locksmith shops. I learned that very few locksmith shops are open today. Of the two that were open, the first guy said he could maybe, maybe order the part, but I'd have to come back Wednesday for him to say for sure. The second guy said that they hadn't made a spring system like this in 20 years and that no replacement parts were available since it was a pretty cheap set even when it was brand new. He recommended total replacement.

I went home determined to fix it. I took apart one of the other handle sets and looked how the spring should be. The ends of circular spring are bent out at 90 degree angles against a couple of spring stops, and one of these bends was broken off. I putterred around with it and managed to unwind the broken end a half turn, rotate the spring a half turn, and then put a new bend in the unwound section. Hah! Works perfectly.

The Mrs's reaction: "You should have done that a year and a half ago."