Monday, April 30, 2007

The Garden of Pain

At least it isn't the Garden of Death yet.

This weekend was deemed the last possible moment to plant the garden, so after much discussion, we agreed that at long last this would be the year where we wouldn't buy all the plants before any of the watering system was figured out so that I wouldn't end up chasing back and forth to the home improvement store while trying to beat dusk on a Sunday night hooking up the watering to hundreds of dollars of plants.

Yeah, right.

Somehow we again managed to fritter away nearly all the daylight hours before freeing me up to connect the watering, as per usual. Normally, this is completely 100% the fault of The Mrs., but it's possible that I frittered away about 20 minutes installing a new, larger car seat for MaxieC that The Mrs. decided we would spend 45 minutes picking out and buying instead of planting. And the installation of this car seat is completely retarded. In particular the top tether, which should take mere seconds to install but instead has a buckle that requires you to thread the belt through a buckle no fewer than seven times. Yup. Under, over, under, then down to the tether hook, then back to the buckle where it is under, over, under, over. Imagine having to fight this many loops through a buckle to make an adjustment to the length.

There was much cursing.

But, we managed to get 8 strawberry plants, a summer squash, an eggplant, and a bunch of onions/leeks/garlic/shallots planted and all the watering hooked up. Plus, I got the 1/2" tubing run all around so that new garden patches (the garden seems to be divvied up in roughly 2'x6' patches) will be quicker to hook up to the water as they get planted. The Mrs. this morning asked me how quickly I could hook up watering when I got home form work if she planted during the day. I said I could do a couple patches with no problem subject to the caveat that I not have to watch any babies while trying to hook it up. OK, deal.

Well, The Mrs. was busy during the day, putting in a patch of flowers, 8 asparagus plants, and three rows of something else that I don't recall (since it was seeds, and three rows of buried seeds doesn't look like anything in particular. I got home at the normal 6:20 after picking up HannahC from dance.

Immediately, The Mrs. abandoned me with MaxieC while she went inside to cook dinner. After about 10 minutes, I pooped my head inside and asked if, in fact, she wanted me to hook up any watering tonight (since HannahC had given me the low-down on the drive back), and The Mrs. said, yes, she planted three patches, and I should put MaxieC in the back and start working on it.

I quite politely noted how I had said I could hook up watering only if I wasn't watching any babies, and she said to me, "Well, I can't watch him. I'm cooking dinner."

So I didn't hook up any watering. After about five more minutes, The Mrs. decides that she can watch MaxieC after all. I go change my clothes, since I don't want to dig in the dirt with my work clothes on. I head outside to the delicate timbre of MaxieC screeching his head off about whatnot.

Three-year-olds seem to have a penchant for screeching. I wish they didn't.

So I'm out there 15 minutes, and I'm on my last connection for the three rows of seeds. Haven't started the flowers or asparagus yet, though I have carefully laid out all the materials for them, and The Mrs. appears to tell me dinner is ready. This transpires:
The Mrs.: "Dinner is ready."

Me, CherkyB: "Is the world going to come to an end if I don't stop doing this and come in and eat dinner right now?"

The Mrs. : [silence]

Me, CherkyB: "See, I've only been out here 15 minutes, and I only have one of the three things hooked up, but I have everything all set to go."

The Mrs.: [silence]

Me, CherkyB: "So, can I finish this?"

The Mrs.: "Dinner is ready."

Me, CherkyB: "See, that's a statement. That's not an answer. I asked a question, and normally you answer a question, not just give some statement of fact."

Me, CherkyB: [to self] "Self, I'm pretty sure she thinks that was an answer. Better start packing up."
So I packed everything up and headed inside for dinner. The Mrs. agreed to water the other stuff by hand, despite it being about 300 ft. to the hose from the garden. I don't get home until 7:20 tomorrow, and it'll be nearly dark by then.

I wonder how much more stuff there will be to water by hand tomorrow.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

MaxieC, Doodieman

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day. I rented a Barreto tiller and tilled up the garden area. We expanded the area a bit over where the previous owners had it, and it was rough-going over the turf. I decided not to rent a sod cutter to remove the sod first because I'm too lazy to make two trips to the rental place.

The childrens had a great day. They played in their purple elephant pool, which unfortunately got cracked, with the neighbor kids. This iteration of the elephant pool lasted longer than the previous one, though. We'll have to run to Toys'R'Us for another replacement. The last only a couple years then get brittle.

Later in the day, I was in the garage getting myself a well-deserved beers, and I hear screaming:
HannahC: "Daddy! Daddy! Momma needs help!"

Me, CherkyB: [after running to where HannahC was] "Where? Why?"

HannahC: "Daddy! Daddy! MaxieC is running around in the backyard naked and he's pooping and Momma can't catch him!"

Me, CherkyB: "Why does she need to catch him?"
Of course, I went to investigate nonetheless, but I didn't run. The Mrs. was carrying a giggling MaxieC in the back door of the house when I got there, and HannahC pointed me to this pastoral scene, which I have titled, "Not mine."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

God Bless America

[Note: I began to write this on Thursday, but I ran out of time. So most of the time "Today" means Thursday. I'll let you know if and when it starts to mean Saturday.]

Today was a Big Day. It was the day we had to pack up to vacate our rented building at work so we could move into our newly remodeled digs across the street on Monday. This meant that by 3:30, we were all pretty much done for the day. But, not to worry. We had made Big Plans.

See, a week ago at Fat Camp we all got to hear about Rico's obsession with joining the auspicious ranks of firearms owners in America. Naturally, being the patriot that you all wish you were, I fanned the flames all week and organized an outing to the sporting goods store this afternoon after packing up at work. Rico, Bozzetto, The Ice Man, and I all headed out to Sportsman's Warehouse in Loverlyland. Some planned to buy and some to window shop, as not everyone's wife/girlfriend will let him own a gun, because there are an awful lot of womens who are actually godless communists at heart. Some are even worse. They're Democrats.

I myself had two particular things I wanted to look at. An HK USP40C, and a S&W 686P . When I had first moved to Fort TomCollins, I was dismayed that the closest HK dealer was in Wyoming, but The Ice Man had mentioned a week ago that he was pretty sure they had them at Sportsman's Warehouse when he was there checking out new 9mm's. So I hit their dealer locater on the website, and sure enough, Sportsman's Warehouse is now an authorized dealer.


We all headed out separately, since we were all heading to our respective homes afterwards, our offices existing in boxes at the time. Bozzetto and I were parked close to one another, so he tailed me there. When we walked in, we found Rico at the counter fingering a little .22 carbine. The Ice Man was still tied up in a meeting when we left, but he arrived no more than ten minutes later.

A really, really old dude walked up and asked if he could help me, so I asked to see the HK, since I had located it on the wall. The one he handed me was the P2000 40C, though. It's also a very nice gun, but I'm not a big fan of DAO triggers. He then picked up the USP40C from right next to it. Ooohhh, what a wonderful little engineering marvel this is. So simple. So elegant. So expensive. In my mind a little conversation I had had with The Mrs. that morning came to mind:
The Mrs.: "What time are you getting home tonight."

Me, CherkyB: "The usual time. After I pick up HannahC from gymnastics."

The Mrs.: "I thought you had to be packed up and out of the office by 3:00."

Me, CherkyB: "We have to out by 6. But we're going to take a little field trip to Sportsman's Warehouse to look at guns."

The Mrs.: "You're not buying one."

Me, CherkyB: "Rico wants to get one or two, and Ice Man, Bozzetto, and I are going along cuz it'll be fun." [Note: not a lie. Simply a misdirection. Normally, The Mrs. would have pounced all over that. But she let it slide.]
So, after this brief replay, I knew what I had to do.
Me, CherkyB: "OK. I'll take this one."
Heh. I love America. I'm so glad I moved back to it from California.

Amongst the four of us, we managed to spend over $2000 on firearms on our little outing. But only three of us bought anything, as Bozzetto is much more afraid of his wife than a proper man should be. I figure this is cuz he's foreign and doesn't understand some of the requirements of being a man in America. Like being able to go out and buy a new gun any damn time you want without needing permission. He'll probably end up moving back to California in a couple years, where the state tells you when and if you can buy a gun, and only if it's not too scary-looking.

The Ice Man was still helping Rico pick out a shotgun, since I don't know jack about shotguns. I had picked out his .22 for him a couple days earlier, and he just got the one I told him to. Some punk came in and wanted to look at 9mm's, and the old guy I had been dealing with didn't actually know anything about semi-autos (which I had discovered when I was asking him about the differences between the P2000 and the USP, since I could only remember a couple from the website). So, being a good shepherd, I got talking to the kid about what he was looking for. Mainly because he looked at me and said, "What do you think of this Glock?"

Well, you know, Glock's are good guns and very popular with the gangstas, but I personally don't care for the trigger. They make a really easy-shooting .45, so I really wish I liked the trigger, but I don't.

But this kid was fascinated by it. Mainly because they had one with a 35-round magazine in it that stuck out about 6" beyond the bottom of the grip. The kid explained to me how he needed a 9mm for self-defense, since he needed something without too much kick so that he didn't have to re-aim in between shots but could just go "bam bam bam bam bam" as the guy was running away.

Really. That's exactly what he said. There's a big university in town. I figure he was probably a liberal arts professor's kid. Or maybe someone from the newspaper's editorial staff. The thing about the children of liberals is that they hardly ever have any money, and Glock's aren't by any means inexpensive (unless you compare them to HK's...), so after a lot of posing, he left empty-handed.

Then I got a little bored waiting for Rico's background check to clear (oddly, he picked the shotgun I had suggested despite me knowing nothing in particular about shotguns), and The Ice Man was still hemming and hawing about whether he needed another gun in the way that people who already own plenty of something yet still want more do, so I asked to take a look at the S&W 686P. This was a gun I had also picked out for Rico. And for The Mrs. And for myself. It's the gun I tell everyone who wants a revolver to buy. But nobody ever does, cuz when it comes time to actually spend your money, everyone realizes that they don't want to spend that kind of money on a revolver.

Man, that gun still has the sweetest single-action trigger you could ever hope for. Nice crisp break with no creep at all. The old dude behind the counter was clearly a revolver man, cuz he got all excited when I asked to see the revolver, and he started bring out more and more to play with. Rico came over to join in the old-school fun. I mentioned to the guy behind the counter that I was considering the 686P for my wife, and he said that it was too hard a gun for most womens to shoot. (Old-school sexism, too. I loves gun shops.) Then he lays down this little aluminum .38 snubbie with a laser site built into the grip. Says it's the perfect purse gun for a lady.

Hmmmmm... If only The Mrs. carried her purse anywhere...

After a lot more screwing around, now waiting for Ice Man's background check to clear, I found the deal of the century. Blue Heron decoys for only $13! Amazon wants $66 for these. You use them to keep heron from eating your koi if you buy them from Amazon. I'm not actually sure why the hunting department would have a heron decoy, since you can't hunt heron, and since herons are territorial and thus will stay away from the decoy rather than being attracted to it. I imagine there must be some kind of tasty waterfowl that likes to hang with heron. Maybe a duck. I'll look into it.

After that, I headed home to show my new toy to The Mrs. But she wasn't there. Duh. She was at gymnastics with The Childrens. So I locked it in the safe. Bozzetto called to say everyone was over at OldC's for happy hour, so I headed there as it's only two blocks from gymnastics where I had to pick up HannahC at 7. The Mrs. returns with MaxieC earlier as his class is only one hour instead of the three of HannahC's.

Ahh, there's nothing like the first big cold beers with the boys after an afternoon of gun purchasing. That night was also Fat Camp, where the festivities continued. Odell brewery was having a promo thing at Lucky Joe's, and we got free T-shirts and a coupon good for two free pints at their brewery tasting room because their rep spotting us drinking one of their products.

Thursday was perhaps the best day of my life.

Friday, I was discussing the previous day with The Mrs. It went like this:
The Mrs.: "How did you find this heron decoy? What made you think to look for it at Sportsman's? Did you know they sold them? Did you ask?"

Me, CherkyB: "Rico bought a shotgun, and we were wandering around looking for where they kept the shotgun shells, which it turns out is in the waterfowl hunting section, and they had a bin of these right next to the shells."

The Mrs.: "You didn't buy a gun, though." [Oddly not phrased as a question.]

Me, CherkyB: "Just one. A USP40C. It's like my 9mm, only the compact model and in .40 cal, which is more powerful. It's an excellent carry gun."

The Mrs.: "Are you going to get a permit to carry?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah. In Colorado, they have to give them to you if you aren't a felon and take a class."

The Mrs.: "That's a good idea. I should get one, too. With all this Virginia Tech stuff going on."
I sense another trip to the gun store coming up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

HannahC, Rancher

Our darling HannahC did her first livestock transaction today. I must admit, I was shocked by it.

As I may have mentioned earlier, we've been raising crickets. It started as just one, but then there were two. Then, more and more. This morning, we were up to nine. A few have passed on during that time, including I believe the first two, which are the only two that had names. Crickets live about 8 weeks total, and I have no idea how old these guys are when we find them. Mostly we find them in the garage.

Well, HannahC was quite broken up when the first couple died, but came to understand how with such a short life cycle, she should expect regular deaths. Almost too understanding. S ee, she was at the Discovery Science Center a week or so ago, and they had a bearded dragon who likes to eat crickets. Reportedly, she got talking to the lady there, and they got talking about crickets, and how HannahC liked to catch them in the garage and feed them until they got big and fat, and how commercial feeder crickets are too expensive for the Discovery Science Center to afford on a regular basis.

That night HannahC discussed with me her grand plans:
HannahC: "I think I want to feed my crickets to the bearded dragon."

Me, CherkyB: "Won't you be sad to see your crickets eaten?"

HannahC: "Well, they're just going to die anyways, so they might as well serve some purpose in life."
Fast forward to this morning, and HannahC had a class called "junkbots", where they make robots out of junk, at the Discovery Center. She and The Mrs. packed up seven of the nine crickets (two were deemed too small). Then, we immediately found another little cricket in the garage, so the remaining collection is back up to three. I dropped HannahC and her crickets off in the morning, and apparently they fed six of the seven crickets to the bearded dragon after class, and then one to the frog. No tears were shed.

As a reward, the Discovery Science Center bequeathed upon HannahC a wonderful prize.

Introducing JackieC and EthelC.

JackieC is the gray and white one EthelC is the solid white one. They were born in February and, along with their litter mates, created a surplus of rats at the center.

The Mrs. is now discussing how to improve the cricket habitat so that they begin breeding. That way, HannahC can become a more reliable supplier of food for the lizard. I asked if there was some way to get paid in terms of membership discounts instead of getting paid in rats.

I was roundly chastised.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How About That

I was perusing my email at work today, and I noticed that in an organizational announcement that went out on Friday regarding the next phase of our project development, one of my primary job titles for that phase has been bestowed upon someone else (the person who will be my boss at that time, in fact). I'm wondering if anyone is going to mention that to me in terms of, say, how it is my job is going to change now that I don't have it anymore.

But, I'm guessing all I lost was the title and not any of the work, given that the title rests with my new boss.

Monday, April 23, 2007


If you come across any of it, let me know.

I've been a bit off my blogging game of late. You see, spring has sprung, and everybody thinks that's a good excuse for either yard work or a barbecue or both. Last weekend, we started with dirt and mulch in the planting beds, and the default plan was to continue with that. Excepting, The Mrs. had been complaining vociferously about her "allergies". So, out of the grand goodness of my heart, I decided to give The Mrs. a break from working in planting beds and to instead deal with rock and water - two substances most people find relatively hypoallergenic - and get the big pond running.

The big pond had big depths - perhaps four feet at its deepest. Well, The Mrs. had declared this a drowning hazard and insisted we fill it in. So, I spent quite some time in the morning moving rocks from our decommissioned pond into the murky depths (well, not so murky given there was no water in the pond) of the other pond. The pond we have decommissioned in order to make room for the hot tub is a strange beast compared to the remaining ponds. It seems to have been an exercise in mortar. Everything is mortared together in that pond. All the rocks on the walls, the rocks on the bottom, even the liner itself is covered with about 1/4" of thinset.

So this "moving" of rocks actually entailed getting out the 14 lbs. digging bar and chiseling out rocks, big and small. The Childrens even got into the act, with me piling little tumbled river rocks at the top of the flagstone staircase that leads from one pond to the next, and them trucking them down, using their shirts as baskets, to dump into the murky depths. It was great fun.

Once we got the depths mostly filled, I began to add water. It takes about 4 hours to fill the pond with a garden hose, so I started filling before we were completely done. This irked The Mrs. to no end, but I was unfazed. I then pulled out the pumps and filters for a good spring cleaning. The Mrs. could take it no longer, and she grabbed the digging bar and liberated more rocks so as to overfill the depths.

Now, as I noted before, the decommissioned pond was an exercise in mortar. The working pond was an exercise in dry-stacking. Nothing at all is mortared together. It depends upon gravity for all the walls, etc. And gravity is about as friendly to this pond as it is to a woman who went through her early years never having lost her "cute baby fat" and has suddenly come crashing upon 40.

One of the great design features of this pond is that it is ringed with Arizona flagstone that slightly overhangs the rim. The rim is produced by stacking 2 foot long, 4 inch wide strips of flagstone around the edge of the pool. Dry stacking, in the masonry sense which means no mortar, as the rim is actually mostly underwater when the pond is full, and thus "dry" isn't the first word that springs to mind.

So, anyways, The Mrs. comes stomping along and notes that two of the flagstones tip up and try to dump you into the pond if you step on the overhangs. These are right in front of one of the benches that flank one of the waterfalls on which she likes to sit guzzling fruit-flavored "martinis" with the neighbor lady. And The Mrs. prefers that she and possibly the neighbor lady are the only things tipsy in that general vicinity. Thus, a tipsy flagstone walkway is right out of the question.

Now, here is what I love about woman-logic. The Mrs. declared that we needed to find some rocks to pile on the end of the flagstone away from the pond rim to counterbalance the weight of a full-grown adult stepping on the overhang. Rocks. Piled in the middle of the walkway. And somehow this is an improvement.

Being a man, I coolly assessed the situation. The flagstone itself is just sitting on mud, which has been eroded a bit by the rain. And the rim on which is balances is also a bit tipsy. I try to replace the mud with pea gravel, but it is only a minor improvement. Yup. What's called for here is a nice concrete base and some mortar. A quick trip (as if there's such a thing...) to Lowe's for supplies and a million other things that we're just going to pick up since we're there anyways, and I'm excavating for a 4" deep, 100 lbs. concrete slab. The thing I love about Quikcrete is how you can mix it right in the ground. Sunday morning, I mortared the flagstone to the slab, and now it is rock solid. Literally.

Saturday night was a bit of an event. It was Cavitation's going-away barbecue, and somehow I had scored an invite late Thursday. I figure it was cuz MoustachioP was out of town. So, for the first and last time, our famblies got to meet. Unless, of course, the rumors of the Cavitations returning to Fort TomCollins after the ex-pat rotation in Costa Rica are true. There's even odds that they're true given it is Mrs. Cavitation who is spreading them.

HannahC just loved playing with Bozzetto's kid RyanC. I think she thought of him as the little brother she never had. Small, complacent, and loves to fetch.

That is all.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Some Observations

I don't have any kind of coherent theme to this. I've been thinking a lot about it, and there is nothing there. So, I throw it out because I haven't made a cent off my advertisements since Monday.

At what point in time did it become customary for the man to take the middle seat on the airplane, letting his wife/girlfriend have the window? Was it about the same time that womens started to be in general wider than their husbands/boyfriends?

I was on a Horizon Air flight from Portland to Denver Wednesday night, and they had free beer. Horizon Air often has free beer. I wish they flew somewhere other than the godawful Pacific Northwest. United never has free beer. But, I had gotten to the airport early given that my meeting had wrapped up an hour before scheduled, so I had had dinner at the airport bar where you can "upgrade" to a 22oz beer for just $1 more. I had upgraded a couple times, and quite honestly, I was tired and had a long drive home in the middle of the night (landing at midnight), so I passed on the free beer and had free Diet Coke instead.

OK, you can all get back on your chairs now.

While I was reveling in free Diet Coke, my suitcase was on a junket to Bend, OR. From there, it went on to Seattle, WA, after which it decided to return to Denver. It got to my front door 21 hours after I did. The nice lady at the baggage office in Bend left me a voicemail while I was on the plane to tell me what a naughty suitcase I had, so at least I didn't have to screw around for a half an hour staring at the conveyor belt and wondering if all the bags were out. I got to go directly to the baggage office to file a missing bag claim form, despite the fact that the airline knew both where my bag was and on what flight it would arrive back in Denver already. The lady in the Denver airport asked me if there was anything distinctive inside the bag.
Me, CherkyB: "There was a pair of jeans and a couple shirts."

Baggage Lady: "Everyone has jeans and shirts. What color was the shirt?"

Me, CherkyB: "Uhhh... blue."

Baggage Lady: "Everybody has a blue shirt. I need something distinctive."

Me, CherkyB (to self): "Self, how is it that the Bend Oregon office is able to tell it's my bag from the luggage tracking tag that has my name on it and a barcode that is linked to my name in the tracking computer, plus I have a little name tag hanging on it with my address and cell phone number, and I already got a call on the cellphone to tell me they had my bag, but Denver, with the world's fanciest automated baggage handling system, needs to know what's inside the bag in order to determine it's mine? I'm not telling her about the boxer shorts with the smiley faces that say 'get lucky' all around the waste band."

Me, CherkyB: "Uhhh... Oh, there's black and white camouflage sweatpants." (Which are actually pajama bottoms...)

Baggage Lady: "There you go. That's distinctive."
Next time, I'm packing a gun. They can't lose your bag if you pack a gun in it. I hear the best thing to do is to pack a BB gun, which the FAA requires you to declare as a firearm and requires the special firearms handling, but it won't get you in trouble in the 10 states that frown on you having pistols without all kinds of special licenses and registrations. One of the special requirements of the firearms handling is that you are allowed to lock the case it is in with a lock that cannot be opened by the TSA - which is I hear the only way to guarantee fancy camera equipment is not "misplaced" during shipment in checked baggage.

Today, I was chatting with Cavitation, and he was noting how he thought this post made him look like an optimist. I explained how, to me, he seemed like an optimist. I coined a phrase, "judging the gray areas up". I'm sure he'll blog about that at some point, so I won't.

Last night at Fat Camp, I learned two things about Rico. The first, and most surprising, was that he has latent firearms envy. He spent the greater part of two drinks discussing the joys of firearms with The Ice Man and Me, CherkyB. The Ice Man shames me a bit by having so many firearms he can't even keep track of the number anymore. But still, Rico had some serious jonesing going on. That's kind of infectious, so The Ice Man and I will likely be headed to the gun store sometime soon, and we'll try like heck to take Rico along. He'll probably try to puss out because he's afraid of what his girlfriend might think, but I think amongst the labbies we have enough Right-Thinking Americans to at least get him in the store and into possession of a little Ruger 10/22. These things are the reefer of the gun world, serving as the gateway weapon that opens the door to a whole world of new joys and experiences.

As I said, I learned two things about Rico. The second was something that I guess I should have already known, but that I hadn't really noticed. He has a very thick, powerful set of beer goggles that he whips out right around drink number three. Wow. That, and he seems to have some kind of bizarre fascination with girl's shoulder blades. I don't pretend to understand that. Fat Camp is growing stranger as the attendee list morphs. I think it's the lack of oxygen in the air.

Or maybe it's just me.

Rico and I, after having been abandoned by most of the regular lunch crowd who had to go to a celebration for project we don't work on, decided to hit Hooters for lunch. After the fiasco last time, this time I took charge of the situation. I headed us right for the table next to the drink station. All around much better results. We got a waitress who, shall we say, qualified for the job in two very special ways. The overall quality of the staff was much higher today (maybe we should only go there on Fridays), and as an added bonus, one of the waitresses spilled bleu cheese dressing on the floor right behind me, so two of the young ladies got down on their hands and knees to clean it up with rags while Rico sat there with one of those uncomfortable "I feel awkward and dirty watching this" looks on his face as he watched, slack-jawed. Sadly, that all went on behind me.

The food still sucked, though. I had the Philly cheese steak this time. It was dry and overcooked.

The Mrs. is sick. She thinks it's allergies. Poor The Mrs., having to shovel two tons of dirt and mulch tomorrow when she's sick.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Da Pain, Da Pain

You ever have one of those days when right before you're about to settle into bed, you are suddenly overcome by an entertainingly voluminous amount of flatulence? Though, for some reason, you think the entertainment value is a lot higher than maybe your spouse thinks it is? Well, I had one of those night last night.

See, it started out as a day like any other day. Meaning, I was removing My Beloved from My Precious (I've decided to name my tractor), since all that hype about a foot of snow turned out to be nothing more than an attempt to get me to waste hours of my life getting ready for the snow only to have barely a flake fall, and none whatsoever hit the ground, so that I could then waste even more time converting back to mowing capabilities. And while I was doing that, The Mrs. was cooking up grand schemes about how we could start yet another project in the yard before finishing the mulching project we had started the day before.

We had begun mulching the planting beds on Saturday, as I mentioned in the previous post, and we had a bit more to do in the front and all of the back to go. But instead of finishing that, The Mrs. decided that we should get some dirt to fill in the two "aborted" ponds in the back. One had already been mostly filled in with sand and turned into a pumpkin patch before we bought the house, but the other sat with some rock in the bottom, collecting rainwater. I called it "the West Nile garden". See, as the woman-reasoning went, we would want to mulch over the filled-in ponds, which would then be planting beds, so how could we dream about finishing the mulching before filling in the ponds?

There's no arguing with woman-logic, as there is nothing to argue against. It's like screaming at the wind to stop blowing. Or something like that. It's not as tasty an analogy as I know you, my faithful, mouth-breathing readers have probably become accustomed to. Just pretend you're reading The JohnnyB and keep moving. I know I will.

So I guestimated up how much dirt we needed to fill in the one pond, then I doubled it to account for the other. I guestimated because, being a man, I'm supposed to be good with that spacial kinda stuff, and it was a long long walk to the garage to get the tape measure, and the amount of dirt I needed exceeded the capacity of my pickup bed, so I would be making multiple trips anyways.

For the record, we had exactly 1 wheelbarrow full of extra dirt when the job was done. Damn good guestimator I am. However, we've since added on additional dirt requirements, so I'll probably end up going back for more next week anyways.

Now, I know a bit about dirt. I know that it weighs about 1 ton per cubic yard. A cubic yard is the size of a "standard" bucket on a front loader. It is also the volume that will fit in the back of my pickup, which, being primarily used for commuting, is one of those pickups with four doors and a back seat that take up 1/3 of the damned bed volume. However, I also know that my payload capacity is around 1400 lbs, which is less than a ton. Plus, that includes driver and passengers, and I had along with me The Mrs., The Childrens, and FreddyC, as going to The Dirt Place is a remarkably exciting event.

So I sent my wife in to negotiate for a half yard at a time. The place in San Schmose had a "small" bucket that was a half yard (though, from what I can tell, it was actually more like 2/3 of a yard, so two small buckets was quite a bit more than a big one), but this place did not. She came out with a story I wasn't very excited with, so I went in to talk to the young chap.

The conversation went like this:
Me, CherkyB: "A yard of dirt weighs about a ton, right?"

Dirt dude: "A-yup."

Me, CherkyB: "I only have a payload capacity of 1200 lbs." (Subtracting only 200 lbs. for family+dog, since I know I can cheat the payload a bit.)

Dirt dude: "There isn't hardly a pickup made that can't take a whole ton."

Me, CherkyB: "Huh? No small pickups or half-tons can take a whole ton."

Dirt dude: "Any F150 can. Hell, even a Ranger can."

Oooo...them's fightin' words. The Dakota can take about 50% more payload than a Ranger, which is the crappiest little toy pickup money can buy.

Me, CherkyB: "You've put a whole yard of dirt in a Ranger?"

Dirt dude: "A-yup. All the time. You won't have no problem, weight-wise."

Me, CherkyB: "OK. Give me a whole yard."
And I didn't have a problem. I felt guilty, having the whole fambly in there while overloaded. But hell, if a Ranger could do it...

So I ended up with two yards of dirt and another yard of mulch. We still need probably two more yards of mulch to finish, since we didn't finish that job having started the dirt job in the middle.

I cooked both lunch and dinner on the new BBQ. I got all four burners going both times. It was fun. But something gave me gas. I had horrible dreams all night that I was in the hospital for exploratory surgery on my abdomen which they had to do without anesthetic in order to figure out what was wrong. Every time I woke up, the belly hurt horribly, so I was never quite sure it wasn't true.

Oh, and the covers were floating up all night, for some reason.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cavitation, Psycho-therapist

I'll miss my little coffee chats with Cavitation. He seems genuinely interested in trying to force his unique, cheery life view upon me, as though his soul is crying out for some kind of validation to justify its suppression under this false guise of direction and purpose. Naturally, I see right through this. But I play along, since he's on his was to Costa Rica, and I can keep up the clever ruse for another couple weeks to humor him.

Back on Friday, he asked me the bizarrest of questions. He had apparently been mulling over my description of the various joys that children have brought to my life, and he said something that went more-or-less like this,
"So, what is it that makes you tick? What goal are you working to?"
Naturally, I answered completely truthfully, as I really cannot keep up the clever ruse for another couple weeks to humor him.


See, I never really planned my life past the point where I had a career, house, wife, kids, dog, pickup truck, and lawn tractor with snow blower attachment. The only thing I really have planned at this point is death. Not right away, mind you, but at some point years into the future. I really have no idea what one does in between.

Cavitation didn't like my answer, so I think I may have changed it to "alcohol" at some point in an attempt to lighten the mood. I don't so much enjoy talking about death, as it's a bit of a conversation-killer. A lot like talking about what you saw on The View this morning. Or American Idol. Ooooo Sanjaya!

But, eventually, he got all happy-eyed and triumphant and declared, "You're having a mid-life crisis." Then he went off on a riff about how people are having mid-life crises earlier than ever because they're putting off children, so they hit their late twenties and have nothing left to live for.

I guess I need to go out and get me a sports car like El Torito got when he had his midlife crisis like 8 years ago.

But, instead, I went out and got me two cubic yards of mulch. Gorilla hair mulch, not killer mulch. Tomorrow, I'll go get more, since it didn't quite do the front planting beds, and we still have the back to go.

An interesting thing was that last night, The Mrs. and I watched Click. In this movie, a guy gets a remote control that lets him fast-forward through the boring parts of his life, and he ends up fast-forwarding pretty much all the way to his death. It was a remarkable coincidence that this movie arrived from Netflix on the same day that I had that conversation with Cavitation. And then, at the end of the movie, The Mrs. said, "This movie is your life."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

If they gave medals for being stupid

I would have won one today.

It all started last night, after a day of The Mrs. hyping our big impending doom snowstorm. I had been contemplating putting My Beloved back on the tractor in anticipation, and I finally decided to do it when it looked like the alternative was sitting up making balloon animals all night.

I decided to time myself. It took me precisely 3 min and 21 seconds to remove the mower deck. Putting back on the blower didn't go as smoothly. Step #2, installing the drive mechanism, caused me to lose confidence in my memory when it didn't go right back in on the first try, and I ended up digging out the manual only to learn I was doing it right. It's just very finicky about being centered before lifting it up. At the 31 minute mark, HannahC had a compooter problem, and I had to go reboot it for her. I stopped the timer.

Unfortunately, when I finished the job and checked my timer, it still said 31 minutes. I never restarted it.

But the whole thing was maybe 45 minutes to an hour. It takes a lot longer to put back on than to take off. Next time, I'm sure to be faster.

The tractor was facing into the garage, as when I had removed the blower, I'd driven it to the back and unhooked it there so it would be out of the way. But if it's going to snow, you need to be facing out of the garage so you can blow the snow as you exit rather than having to back out and turn around in the snow before beginning the clearing operation. I decided that since it was 11:30pm, and MaxieC was asleep in a bedroom above the garage, I would not fire up the tractor to turn it around. I left that for this morning.

This morning, The Mrs. had a dental appointment, so I was home watching The Childrens until about 10:10 when she got home. Then I immediately went out to the garage to turn around the tractor before heading to work. I cleared the 165 plastic vehicles that had somehow migrated behind it, started it up, released the parking brake, and hit reverse.


Hit forward.

Nothing. No movement. No sound of anything trying to move. No vibration. Nothing.

I figure I must have left the transmission in neutral, as I had to roll the tractor to put on the chains the night before. The little lever is in the back where it cannot be moved when driving since, according to the manual, it should never be moved with the engine running. Fine. I shut her down and go around back.

The lever is not in neutral. It is engaged. I flip it in and out a couple times just to make sure. Then I tried again. Nothing.

Rats. Must have knocked the drive belt off while futzing around the night before installing My Beloved. I get under the tractor and check. The belt routing looks fine. I pull out the manual to compare just to be sure. Yup. It's fine.

So I wiggle the belt. Wow, it's loose. Way too loose to drive anything. Strangely loose given that I mowed the front lawn, gave MaxieC a joy ride, and then drove the tractor into the garage just a week ago. The tensioner spring is OK. The tensioner idler wheel moves back and forth freely. It just stops before the belt is tight.

I decide, just to make sure, to check the driveshaft that drives the pulley. That same driveshaft drives the power takeoff through an electric clutch. I start her up and hit the power takeoff engage. My Beloved starts churning her blades just fine.

OK, driveshaft is working.

I consult the manual. There are three possible causes for loss of motion, according to the trouble-shooting guide. Number one: the parking brake is on. I check this again for the millionth time. It is not on. Not only is it disengaged, but I pushed the tractor out of the garage with no problems to get a look at it, which I never could have done with the brake on.

Number two: worn/broken drive belt. Definitely something wrong with the drive belt or its mechanism.

Number three: air in the transmission, which can come from too much pushing it around in neutral. I follow the purging directions, and nothing improves.

Now, I'm smart enough to know that it's probably not the belt. But I can't find anything else wrong. I mean, it's just a belt and a couple pulleys. And the belt is loose. It would all make sense if there was some kind of spontaneous stretching failure mode for belts. But this belt already has like 70 hours of runtime on it, and belts don't stretch much after the first few hours. I can't imagine how the belt could have stretched an inch while just sitting there in the garage for a week. But it's my only hope of being able to fix it today.

I decide to go get a new belt since, if it's not the belt, I'm going to need a spare anyways.

A guy at work had been telling me about a belt supply place he found up in the north end of town. All they sell is belts. I grab my parts manual, locate the belt and part number, and head to the store. It's about 15 minutes away. When I get there, I stroll confidently up to the counter, parts manual in hand, and say, "I need a drive belt for a Husqvarna lawn tractor. Here's the part number."

"Uhhh... that's a Husqvarna part number, and we don't carry Husqvarna brand belts. I'm sure I have the right belt in another brand, though."


"But I don't know what belt that would be, cuz I don't have anything that would cross-reference to a Husqvarna part number. Bring me the old belt, and I can give you the right one."


I head home. On the way I am struck with brilliance. The place I bought My Beloved was a Husqvarna dealer and repair shop. They must have the belt, or at least know what is the right one. They are 20 miles south of where I am, though. Then another flash of brilliance. "Self, why don't you stop at home on the way and call them first."

So I do. The nice lady takes the part number, disappears for a bit, then comes back to say, confidently, "I don't stock that belt in a Husqvarna brand. I'm sure I have a compatible drive belt, though, as I stock just about every size. Just bring me your old belt, and I'll set you right up."

Great. Now I have to remove the old belt before securing a new one. Whatever.

I start looking into the belt removal and quickly discover that it cannot be done without removing the blower first. Argh!

So I start removing the blower. First thing I remove is the crank for the direction of the chute. Mere seconds, as it is just one cotter pin. Then, I remove the height control lever assembly, which comes off almost as quickly as it is just one hand nut.

As I remove the height control lever, my brake pedal pops back another 2 inches.

Oh you have got to be kidding me.

I hop on the tractor, fire it up, and it moves just fine.

The mounting rod for the controls had been bent in about 1/4", and the brake pedal was just barely rubbing the side of the assembly and getting stuck halfway up. Not far enough down to have the brake on, but far enough down to disengage the drive belt. I bent the mounting rod back.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed I was singing a little song to myself that I had made up without even thinking about it. It went like this:
Oooohhhh, I'm a f'king idiot.
Yes I'm a f'king idiot.
I'm the biggest f'king idiot
You ever seen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Digging for Gold

Last night as I was trying to write the masterpiece about Bozzetto and the grill, I was sitting at my blogspot in the center seat at my bar. HannahC came wandering down and sat in the stool to my right. She was making balloon animals. She got a balloon animal kit for Easter (pump, long skinny balloons, and possibly a book (she may have already had the book - accounts differ)). She wanted to make a ladybug.

Now, as it turns out, I learned how to make a balloon ladybug on Sunday because she needed help. She knew how to do it it, but she just couldn't coordinate all the little twists that have to be kept going at the same time (seven of them) when making the legs. I was trying to help her with my right hand while blogging with my left.

We got the ladybug made, but the blog post suffered a bit. But that's Me, CherkyB, always putting the fambly first.

Right as we finished the ladybug, The Mrs. came down and sat at my left. She began monitoring my online activity to make sure I wasn't trying to pick up any strange womens over the internet, and that none were trying to pick me up. What she saw was me goofing around reading blogs and clicking on ads. I call this "unwinding". The Mrs. had another term for it. She called it "wasting time." Then, this was a real gem, she said this to me:
"What do you make, like 50 cents an hour blogging? Can't you find something to do with all your spare time that pays better? Like find a part-time job or something?"
Then she made me switch seats with HannahC so that they could make a Chunky the Caterpillar balloon animal together. What a piece of work.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Challenge, Met

Bozzetto and I have a long-running feud regarding Home Depot and Vermont Castings grills. It all started way back at Hooters, as recounted in this tale. On the way to lunch today, I axed MoodyT, who was driving, if'n we could stop at Home Depot on the way back in order to settle the feud once and for all. Bozzetto had provided some old links discussing how Home Depot had carried some crap version of my grill a number of years back, but nothing current.

The kids seemed marginally interested in this plan, and much discussion ensued about the various reasons for choosing one particular grill over another. Rico at some point asserted that having stainless steel for your grilling surface was most optimal because of some bizarre reason like his hot aunt that he's always had a thing for had stainless steel grill grates. This right after I had noted that I had ceramic-coated cast iron (which is actually called porcelainized cast iron), as Rico is one of those people who can only feel good about himself if he's running other people down.

We get along nicely.

So, after lunch at Johnny Carino's, where it was double-punch Tuesday, and where MoodyT got so tired of our company that he went and spent half the time at another table filled with a bunch of yokels we often refer to as "the Oak guys", we went to Home Depot. There was nary Vermont Castings grill in sight. Bozzetto picked up the Home Depot grill guide, and it listed every grill they sold and compared their features. They do not sell Vermont Castings. And the guide also notes that porcelainized cast iron is the best all-around grill surface.

Let's recap. I was right. Bozzetto was wrong. I was right. Rico was wrong. MoodyT just whined about how I've never invited them all over for a BBQ (having had the grill for all of 4 days, two of which were snowing), but he wasn't wrong about anything.

Bozzetto was man enough to issue a public retraction buried in the comments section of that old post where no one will ever see it. Much like the way the NY Times issues corrections to front page stories four days later buried on page 17 under the bra advertisements. I thought I might highlight it for you all, because I'm very concerned about accuracy in media.

HannahC, Insult Comic

HannahC: "Here's a little joke I like to call you that I don't know if you'll understand."

Me, CherkyB: "Try me."

HannahC: "What does YSB stand for?"

Me, CherkyB: "I dunno."

HannahC: "You smell bad. Ahhh hah hah hah hah!!!"

For the Record

I, for one, find myself strangely disappointed that ZhaZha Gabor's husband isn't Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern's biological father.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm Celebrating

It's 10:23pm and both childrens are in bed. I spent most of today at work creating an Excel model for an algorithm we call "dithering". I'm not going to explain what that means. The algorithm that was there when I was hired doesn't work right. It's too optimistic and will cause the part to overheat. So I kicked off a giant battle to not commit to making this feature work. The end result of that battle was that we did not commit to making it work, but I got the job of making it work.

I was supposed to do that by the end of March, but I didn't. I had thought about it a lot, but couldn't figure a way to make it work that wasn't a big bandaid mess. Then, a few days ago, I was struck with a revelation while in the shower. The $12,000 shower that no longer leaks. There's something inspirational about a good hot shower with a showerhead above and four body wash sprays all going. It was an idea so simplistic I figured no way could it work.

Today I finally got time to work on it. I worked and worked and worked. Bozzetto even came over at one point, and I didn't talk to him I was so engrossed in this thing. I think he thought I was mad at him, cuz as I was hustling out to pick up HannahC from dance class (which I had exactly 6 minutes to do without being late - I wasn't late), he said something that sounded like, "Are we OK?" I wasn't sure if it was the royal we, or if he meant was I mad at him, or if I just misheard him. But I had zero time to spare and simply replied, "Yup," and kept walking.

He'll be OK.

Then, at home after dinner, I kept working on it during the time I'm normally watching MaxieC watch TV. I almost never work from home anymore. Not since I had kids. So far, I've evaluated the basic case that I was thinking of when I had my revelation as well as two of the four possible scenarios that might break the underlying assumptions, and the theory has worked in all cases. It's not even that far off from the theoretical optimum in most situations. And these were the two scenarios I expected might break it. The other two I'm pretty sure won't.

The beauty is that it is an almost trivial modification to the pre-exiting algorithm. Just simple linear scaling of one of the terms. Damn it's good stuff. I must be doing something wrong because real life never works out this well. But tonight, the heady glow of triumph is about, and I am taking advantage of it.

I am right now sitting on my front porch with a glass of Maker's Mark on the rocks and a Partagas Black. It warmed up like 40 degrees today from yesterday (really), so I can do this without a jacket despite it snowing all day yesterday. I've never actually sat on my front porch before. It's nice. The koi pond waterfall is right below me, and it provides a wonderful background din. I can't even smell Greeley.

OK, well now I need a jacket.

Had lunch with Cavitation today. We went to Carl's Jr., where they messed up both our orders. That place messes up orders about 50% of the time. It's amazing. On the way home, we got to discussing a certain idiosyncrasy regarding cancer risks in women, and I told him something that probably ruined his day.

This morning, the most bizarre thing happened. I got out of the shower, came downstairs, and The Mrs. told me that last night's post was one of the best ones I've done in a long time. I liked this one a lot more, and the Hooters one, too. Hell, the Something Not to Do post had Tinfoil in hysterics in his cube. Someone even walked all the way over to my side of the building to report that to me. But it was really weird to have The Mrs. compliment me on a blog post. I checked all over the basement for pods.

FreddyC goes in tomorrow for a tooth cleaning. General anesthesia is called for to clean a dog's teeth. It's his second time in his 8 years. Probably his last. They don't like to do general on older dogs. I sure hope he doesn't die. I love that dog.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Is $1100 My New Quarter?

A stroll down memory lane.

Long, long ago, back when we used to live in Santa Clarabelle and before we had The Childrens, I had a friend named Sludge Weckeni. Yes, this was so far back in time that I was still allowed to have friends. Yet I still remember it vaguely, but enough to tell the story. For some reason Sludgy was telling a story about his theory on quarters. It went like this:

Remember when you were a kid and video games cost a quarter, and you used to have to really think about whether the game was going to be fun enough to spend a quarter on, but then as you got older, you didn't have to think about it as much anymore because a quarter didn't mean much to you. Then, you thought twice about the price of a movie. Especially of buying popcorn at the movie. Then, older still, it was the price of admission to an amusement park, or a fancy stereo, or a big-screen TV.

He had some theory about how every person had this price threshold in their mind below which they didn't even bother to give a thought as to whether or not to spend it frivolously, and this price grew as the person got older. And, here's the profound part (if, in fat, Sludgy was ever actually profound), most of your agonizing about money in life existed for purchases right around this value. Less than that, and it was a no brainer; more, and you did a much more black-and-white needs-based assessment of the purchase that was unemotional. But your emotions got all tied up in purchases around the threshold he so aptly named, "your quarter."

Now, fast-forward to the past™. It was Saturday, and I was driving the fambly to the library, which is way the hell on the other side of town. The library near us is quite small, so is found to be inadequate. Because the library to which were were headed is way the hell across town, we get to take surface streets to get there. The one we like is the one that goes by Stink Pond - a pond that is on the south side of the road, but hidden behind a berm on the north side is the local waste treatment percolation field. It stinks to high heaven in the summer, and since the only thing you can see from the road is the pond, you assume it's the pond that stinks. Hence the name.

When I got to the end of the road, there she sat, parked in the field near the corner. In her windows was written "$1100" along with the obligatory "Runs Good". Through my mind flashed the possibilities. This was something I had never even dreamed of buying before, but there it was, and only $1100. About the price of the air hockey table. Less than half the price of the snow blower. About 1/3 the price of Carl. Oh, the dreams I dreamed. This would be the coolest ride in the world. Everyone would insist I drive to lunch every day. Imagine the looks when we all roll up at Hooters in this baby.

What was it that was parked in the field of dreams?

That's right. $1100 buys you a short school bus. Hell-yeah!

I actually thought about it, but I don't have anywhere to park it. Oh well.

Now, we gotta back up another week. I was poking around the back deck, and I slid aside one of the flagstone slabs that forms the cap for one of the decorative boxes on the deck, and inside I found a couple really long weenie-roasting forks. HannahC was with me, so we formulated a plan to cook marshmallows on the build-in BBQ that sets the deck on fire after MaxieC went to bed. Unfortunately, it was so windy that we couldn't get enough heat in the grill to accomplish the task. So, industrious folks that we are, we moved the party indoors and toasted them on the indoor BBQ.

Now, I've been pricing new BBQ grills to go with the new deck, and I can't for the life of me figure out how someone justifies a built-in. The built-in models cost about $500-$1000 more than the exact same grill as a portable, and you then get to throw a few hundred (at least) bucks at building it in, and then when the wind shifts, you're SOL cuz you can't reposition the grill. On top of that, it'll be a long time before we settle on a deck design, and I need to start grilling long before that (having missed out on all last summer and fall as I have not had a working grill in Ft. TomCollins). So after a great deal of research, I settled on a Vermont Castings VCS4007 which I ordered online at

At this point in the story at Hooters, Bozzetto interrupted me to say, "They sell those at Home Depot." I don't know why he throws down an insult like that out of the blue. I should have punched him right in the mouth, but I simply said, "No, they don't," and I moved on.

But then he argued. Little bastard is quite tenacious. All I can say is that neither the Vermont Castings dealer locater nor the Home Depot web page give any indication of this being a grill that can be purchased at Home Depot. I'd actually have to set foot in a Home Depot to research it beyond that, and that is never pleasurable.

Eventually, you just tune out Bozzetto the way you tune out a nagging wife.

The grill was delivered Friday in a big shipping box. And then it promptly began snowing. I tried to wait for good weather before assembling it, but the entire fambly just nag nag nag nag nagged me about it all Saturday. You can tune out a nagging wife, but you can't tune out nagging from all three of them.

So I went out in the 27 degree weather to put the thing together on the back deck. The whole fambly joined me. I put them to work removing the blue plastic film that covers every piece of stainless to protect it from scratching. That took a couple hours given that the cold weather stiffened the plastic such that it tore instead of peeled, and of course our fingers went numb pretty quickly, too.

Hours later, I had the grill all set up and working. I cooked a steak.

Then today I installed the rotisserie and cooked a leg of lamb. It was very tasty. That aluminum foil pack on the left is a "smoke pack" that you make by taking water saturated wood chips and mixing in some dry ones, then wrapping in foil and poking holes through. It's the best way to make smoke on a gas grill. I learned that from License to Grill.

Friday, April 06, 2007

News Flash

The liquor store was out of Yukon Jack.

That is all.

A Swing and a Miss

Yesterday, Cavitation graced us (Bozzetto and Me, CherkyB) with his presence for lunch. I believe it is the first time since I've lived here that that has happened. He normally runs home at lunch time. I don't know what goes on there, but he always comes back tired and cranky.

Anyways, Bozzetto managed to convince Cavitation to come along by letting Cavitation choose the venue.

He chose Hooters.

So whatever kinda lunch it is he goes home for nearly every day, I can only conclude it is better at Hooters.

Now, the Fort TomCollins Hooters up by the university is now closed, so your only choice is the newer one right off the highway in Loverlyland (just two exits south of work). Imagine that, a tiny little town like Fort TomCollins used to have two Hooterses. Alas, we just didn't have the backbone to support a big pair of Hooterses.

I had been amply cautioned by many coworkers that the Loverlyland Hooters wasn't going to be like the Hooters you see on TV. See, I had never been to a Hooters before being as there has never been one anywhere I have lived at the time I was living there. They seem to build them just as soon as I move away, though the nearest one to San Schmose is still 25 miles away despite me having moved 8 months ago.

We waltzed in there and surveyed the land. There were a couple tables right by the drink station around which many waitresses were congregating, filling up drinks and bending down to get stuff out of the cupboard beneath the drink machine. I don't know what stuff, as I couldn't see what with all the bending down in hot pants going on in front of it. So, having been directed by the "hostess" to "sit wherever you want," we began to make a bee line for those empty tables by the drink station. Then, suddenly, Cavitation veers off course.
Me, CherkyB: "Whaaa?? Where are we going?"

Cavitation: "Over here by the windows."

Me, CherkyB (pointing and being confused): "Bu-bu-bu-but over there there's..."

Cavitation: "I don't like the regular tables. I like to sit up at the high tables."

Me, CherkyB, figuring maybe the regulars know something he doesn't: "OK."
Well, this Hooters had about 8 waitresses. We got the ugly one. I mean, all right, she wasn't like toss-your-cookies ugly. She just had a really gigantic head on a very small body, and she stood with her shoulders hunched forward which sort of accentuated her lack of talent in the restaurant namesake department. Picture Dave Mustaine, only as a girl. But she was great at bringing refills.

I got very confused when I was ordering and she asked me if I wanted to upgrade to fries as a side dish for $1. Fries are an upgrade? I took the potato salad. It was maybe 2 shot-glasses worth.

The food was pretty lousy. I kept looking around the room at all the guys in there having lunch and thinking to myself, "Self, look at all these perverts, in here paying too much for bad food just so they can ogle some young girls in tight pants and low cut T-shirts. What a bunch of pathetic losers."

But then I would notice that the table I was headed to originally had a waitress bending way over and squeezing her, um, arms together as she was taking their order. And I was angry. Angry that I had let Cavitation lead us astray. Angry that I had let some clearly inferior intellect steer us away from our goal. Angry that they offered "breaded" as an option for the wings, and my two companions has ordered them that way without even thinking about it.

Anger makes me happy.

So then Cavitation decides to talk about blogging, since between the three of us, we have four active and two dead blogs. He said, "You know that Something Not to Do post? I didn't get the ending. It was all good, but then I just didn't get the gums bleeding part."

I noted how I am always concerned that my humor is too obscure for most of my audience who, as we've well established, is a bunch of dullards. Then I said, "But the real test will be if Bozzetto understood it. "

Bozzetto immediately replies, "With CherkyB, I know it's always about [redacted]."

Hah! So my humor is not too obscure for Bozzetto, but is for Cavitation. Man, he must really be distracted by the move or something. First with the bad table selection and then with the bleeding gums.

I'm going to just say a couple words about Fat Camp. When we were at Lucky Joe's, there was a birthday party for some girl at the two tables next to us. She had like eight girlfriends and two dudes with her. The bar kept sending over free pitchers of wheat beer with lemon floating in it. By the end, most of the girls were up on the dance floor doing their bizarre modern western kinda stomping dance. There's a lot of pounding your feet into the floor, like if you had cowboy boots on, and then hopping in the air a bit. It's one of the funniest things in the world to watch a drunk college girl do. Then, on the other side of the dance floor, there was a couple of drunk lesbians who kept threatening to make out, but never quite got there.

And beer is only $2.50 a pint.

God, I love Fat Camp.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I Just Don't Know What to Say

I'm really drawing a blank here. So I'll start out with just some stupid conversation I had with MaxieC while putting him to bed tonight. When we put MaxieC to bed, usually one of us parental units is required to lie on his bed with him until he falls asleep. This is how that started tonight:
Elmo: "Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. That tickles."

Me, CherkyB: "Uh oh. I think I sat on Elmo."

MaxieC: "Yeaaaaaaaahhhh."

Me, CherkyB: "Elmo is a retard."

MaxieC: "Yes he is."
I don't know why they thought it was a good idea for me to have kids.

I had a meeting with my boss today, and afterwards I was thinking about it to myself, and I said, "Self, I bet she thinks you are insane. You were just an hour of rambling, incoherent mess." But, as far as people who work for my boss go, I'm probably more entertaining in 5 minutes than the rest of the bunch in a week. (Though a couple of them show some promise.)

I don't know that that is necessarily a good thing.

Later, I checked with StinkyJ to see if I go insane every spring, since he happened to be instant messaging me during my time of reflection and has known me for quite a while, having recruited me to my last job. He wanted to go on and on about how all winter I am always in a funk, since he's much too important to ever talk about what you want to talk about, but eventually he admitted that I burst out of the funk each spring in an explosion of insanity and then settle back into the groove.

Sometimes I wish I weren't a complete nut-job, but we all have to play the hand we're dealt.

We now have seven crickets. Somehow, every time one is discovered, even outside, it has to be added to the collection. They never make a sound. I don't know if that is good or bad. It just is.

I read in this month's Modern Drunkard that the "watered down Jack Daniels" is out. They switched from 86 proof to 80 proof two years ago and have never been forgiven. Oddly enough, the freaking wikipedia entry even mentions how Modern Drunkard condemned them for it. I don't know what to mix in my Coke anymore. Maybe absinthe, which is "in". I mostly have been compensating for the 3% reduction in alcohol content by using 50% more, but apparently that is not stylish enough.

Speaking of which, Bozzetto has been sending me prices for the liquor store loosely associated with Sam's Club. Unfortunately, he's been sending me 750ml prices, so they have no meaning to me. I have to send him back to price out the 1.75L bottles. Good kid, that Bozzetto. Always thinking of others. A real humanitarian.

I sold the double-stroller to Cavitation. I got 1/8 of what The Mrs. paid for it a mere three years ago. Wow. Now I am 8 cubic feet closer to being able to park in the garage. I need to be able to get into the garage once to hoist the cap off the pickup soon. We are in desperate need of mulch. Not so much killer mulch, but regular mulch.

Why is HannahC still up? It's 11:00. I need to check into that...

The End of an Era

Someone found my super-secret blog. I'm not sure exactly when, but it was some time in the last 4 weeks (I haven't been over there in a while, and it doesn't log the dates of comments properly). I am hereby terminating the super-secret blog, so all you people who are googling "cherkyb super-secret blog" and getting hits on either my weather blog or Cavitation's blog can just cut it out now.

Something Not to Do 9

Yesterday, I was chatting with Cavitation, and he told me a very interesting story. When I got home, I related it to my wife.

Me, CherkyB: "Cavagnaro was telling me today about how stressed out he was over his move, and"

The Mrs.: "Cavagnaro or Cavitation?"

Me, CherkyB: "OK, Cavitation."

The Mrs.: "I can't keep everyone's name straight."

Me, CherkyB: "[sigh]"

Me, CherkyB: "Anyways, he was telling me about how there was tons of paperwork, and he has to spend all day on the phone with all the relocation people, and now he's gotta deal with fixing everything the buyers of his house here found in their home inspection, and it's all very stressful."

Me, CherkyB: "I asked if when he's really stressed like that does his wife start in about what a big mistake the move was, and how she can't believe he's making the family leave here for a temporary assignment in a third world country away from all their family and friends just so they can go through this all over again in two years, and how this is all his creation so he better shut up and deal with it?"

Me, CherkyB: "And he said, 'No. When my wife sees I'm stressed, she says, "What can I do to help you?"'"

Me, CherkyB: "And I said, 'Hmmm...that actually can happen?' "

The Mrs.: "You said that out loud, or you thought that?"

Me, CherkyB: "I thought that. I try to keep up appearances in real life."

The Mrs.: "OK."
Now, fast forward about two hours. We're having a conversation while cleaning up the dinner dishes. I suddenly come to a realization, "I know why you are all pissy about the quality of my blog. It was PMS weekend this weekend, wasn't it?"

Then, a couple minutes later, The Mrs. says somewhat sarcastically to me, "What can I do to help you?"

To which I reply with no pause whatsoever, "Are your gums bleeding?"

That, my dear readers, would be Something Not to Do.™

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

MaxieC, Diplomat

Moments ago:
MaxieC: "Mommy, I want to take a bath with you."

The Mrs.: "With me? Why me?"

MaxieC: "Because I hate Daddy."


You write one blog mentioning Karaoke, and AdSense decides to run a whole bunch of "Are you gay?" ads.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Deck Pressure

The deck pressure has become relentless, yet with a delicate touch. I think we'll begin soliciting bids in a week or so. I'm wondering if we need to hire a professional designer first. It would likely be the right thing to do, as then the bids would actually all be for the same job.

I spent like half of yesterday messing with one of the ponds in the back. I had drained it, and I got in there with the hose, a scrub brush, and a pump and really cleaned it out. MaxieC was in charge of the hose for a while, but he kept shooting me with it. After he shot me right in the face, I grabbed it and soaked his head, and then he went screaming off to The Mrs.

Problem solved.

I also bit the bullet and put the mowing deck back on the tractor. I sharpened the blades first, and then mowed a bit.

Tonight at dinner, MaxieC told me a knock-knock joke he made up. It started like this:
MaxieC: "Knock knock."

Me, CherkyB: "Who's there?"

MaxieC: "Blow."
Which brings up an interesting story from a while ago. HannahC and I were preparing some kind of food, and HannahC said, "I wish we didn't have to eat meat." "Why not?" "I wish we didn't have to kill the animals. In fact, it's my dream that everyone stops eating meat."

I sure hope that HannahC isn't becoming a lesbian. Or worse. A Democrat.

On Saturday, the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine had an open house. They gave tours, had demonstrations (including an apearance by the Top Hogs), and had a little mini petting zoo. The thing was "hosted" by all the vet students. Which made me think of this classic as I continuously scanned the horizon for signs of trouble. I did hear one of the students say to one of the guests, "And I just loooooove animals sooo much!" But she didn't look familiar. Maybe if she had had a beer in her hand or something.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Karaoke Was the Highlight of the Trip?

As you all know by now, there are two things that I never blog about. First, is the name of The Company as well as any information about it that could be used to identify it. Companies get really cranky when they get blogged about, and they like to fire people who work for them and post unauthorized information on the internet. Second is when I'm out of town. This is because The Mrs. gets uneasy when I'm not home and doesn't like people to know.

Naturally, though, we have NavieA-B who can be counted upon to fill you in on both counts whenever the mood strikes.

So, as you must have read by now here, I made a brief junket out to Santa Clarabelle to check in on the project that I left in the lurch in order to improve my life by an order of magnitude by moving to Fort TomCollins. I can honestly say that only one person from my project was happy to see me back: Peanut. He was nearly beside himself with excitement. StinkyJ managed to spend the whole time complaining that I didn't say enough redundant things just to hear myself talk in the day-long face-to-face thing I was there for, and BrainkyP only cared to know whether or not I was going to see Spanky later so that I could give him a plaque. The JohnnyB decided to stay home pretending to be sick despite me having set aside an evening for his grand plans that apparently included a blogger summit, if NavieA-B is to be trusted.

However, I did manage to have an excellent time nonetheless. Wednesday night, when I arrived, I met Cavitation, WoodyWoody, and Dude at SC-13 for some beers. Then we hit my favorite sushi bar in San Schmose where, after I ordered, the waitress said, "Ummm...that seems like a lot of food." Heh.

After that, Dude wanted to head into the bar of the restaurant next door cuz he saw a hot chick walk into the restaurant and he figured she was sitting all by herself at the bar just waiting for Dude to come along.

But she wasn't. She was in the restaurant eating with her boyfriend. So, crestfallen, we hit the street. Two blocks away is the legendary Den at Fourth Street Bowl, so we headed there. None of us had ever been there before, but GerryP used to go on and on about how much he and Fat Guy loved the place.

Well, my goodness, it was just like the review. A complete dump. When the karaoke started, I nearly fell off my chair. A group of, ummm, slightly mentally challenged individuals showed up and started bellering up a storm. Holy smokes, I can't remember the last time I was so entertained. One of the ladies kept coming over to our table to try to get us to sing, too. We're all used to that since we are, each and every one of us, formidable chick magnets. (My powers even extend to the blogosphere, though I mainly seem to attract married womens there, much to the consternation of The Mrs.) I kept thinking to myself that I should get up there and do my impression of Davie Lee Roth covering Louis Prima's "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" medley, which, if I do say so myself, I do dead nuts on. Hell, I thought, I'm in a dump where nobody knows me (except for Cavitation who is leaving the country, Dude, who has kept secret for years that little incident when we were installing the porch roof, and WoodyWoody who I can just say was too drunk to remember anything if he blabs) in a town in which I do not live and very rarely visit. But then I kept saying, "Maybe after one more drink."

You know how many drinks it takes before I'm drunk enough to get up to do Karaoke?

Neither do I.