Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Milestone

I taught MaxieC how to ride his bike without training wheels today. I'm such a fabulous teacher that it took all of 5 minutes. I think that 12" bikes are pretty easy to learn on, as you're very low to the ground. HannahC learned on a 16", and it took a lot longer despite my powerful teaching skills.

Of course she, like her mother, is quite obstinate and just always has to do the exact opposite of what I say to do. That might have something to do with it.

JackieC the rat is quite sick again. A few months back, she had surgery to remove all her breast cancer tumors (very common in rats. Mostly females.), and she's been doing very well until just recently. The Mrs. had noticed her losing her balance on occasion the past couple weeks, and then yesterday she went all limp. The Mrs. and HannahC nursed her back from the brink by feeding her lots of peeled grapes, and she can move about a bit now, but she's definitely not normal. She is past the average life expectancy of a rat by about 25%, so while we're all pulling for her, I believe that death is imminent.

Poor JackieC.

Yesterday, we went to the Denver Zoo with the 4-H group for a guided tour. It was interesting. The tour was two hours long, then we stayed another 4 hours (at which point the zoo closed, and everyone was cranky from being on their feet all day). Naturally, we didn't go home.

We went to The Mrs.'s favorite Greek restaraunt, which is in Denver near the zoo. And then we headed home.

Well, not quite. Then we headed to Bass Pro to spend all my gift certificates. Oh, and spend we did. I got me all setup for catfish hunting. Just so Carl, Jr. can be jealous, the rod was $130, and the reel was $110. Together, that exceeded my gift card balance by $5. I didn't get anything that was purpose-built for catfish. Instead, it's a lightish surf-fishing outfit. The "catfish" gear looked like crap to me, and the dude at the store said it was crap, too. They make them look really big and strong, but it's all cosmetics. I stuck with a spinning reel, though a pretty big one that also has a trolling mode.

I doubt I'll catch a thing.

I need to find some good stink-bait recipes. Then, I plan to try them out in the back pond where we have two very well-fed catfish (along with 18 goldfish/koi). No hook. I just want to see what these guys like to eat. I saw the black catfish up close for the first time in a while today while I was cleaning algae out of the pond, and he was over a foot long. Oh my. Two years ago when we got them, they were only about 3". The black one has always been bigger than the white one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

There was a time

..that such a thing would have surprised me. But today is not such a day.

We've attempted to attempted to begin planning our cross-country venture to Ellie's wedding, but progress has been halting. However, a great breakthrough occurred today - we figured out what to do with the dog.

Last year, we took him along (as we did the rat), but that was in May. This year, it'll be in July, and it will be way too hot to leave him in the car while we eat meals. So we needed to find somewhere for him to stay. My friend Rico said he'd take him, but then decided that he was going to be out of town during that time. The Mrs. decided to check out a pet sitter she had met in a parking lot. Turns out she lives kinda far from us, but she said she could keep FreddyC at her house if'n he could get along with her 4 dogs.

He had his trial meeting today, and he got along quite nicely. So that's taken care of (at the cost of $30/day). The Mrs. has also found a home for CinnamonC and FluffyC, the guinea pigs. She's working on a home for JackieC (the rat) and LexieC (the toad).

Next step is to start mapping out hotels. Our biggest hurdle here is to decide if we want to stay together or not. This being a humor blog, you probably assume I'm joking about that, but I'm not. There are a lot of political considerations that need to be taken into account on the fambly visits. Kids, if you do for some crazy reason decide to get married, don't ever marry someone from your hometown if you plan to some day move away from that hometown. It complicates things greatly.

I really wanna go shoot my new shotgun. That's the trouble with new guns if you live in suburbia.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A trip to JoAnn's Fabric

The Mrs. loves the fabric store, and there was this coupon for some percentage off everything in the store, including sales, that expired today. She decided to buy the stuff to make MaxieC some blackout curtains so that he will sleep in later. He has a tendency to wake up with the sun.

Well, JoAnn's is in the same plaza at Sportsman's Warehouse, and I've been needing some new fishing line for The Childrens' reels. They both have the original line on them, and it was getting all nasty towards the end of last season. So I dropped The Mrs. and HannahC off at JoAnn's and MaxieC and I headed over to Sportsman's. The Mrs. told me to take a long time at Sportsman's, cuz she was going to get full use out of the coupon. MaxieC spent about a half hour there, which is a really long time for two dude to go "shopping", even at Sportsman's Warehouse.

It wasn't long enough. The Mrs. needed about another half hour, by which time she was all cranky (JoAnn's always makes The Mrs. cranky, despite it being her favorite store). She had two big rolls of fabric for the curtains, plus a curtain rod. These proved to be a little bit too long to fit lenghtwise through the hatch of the minivan:

What would you do?
Cry because you spent so long picking out the perfect fabric, but now you can't get it home.
Turn it a bit diagonally so that the end goes in first and it fits fine.
Keep bashing it into the sides while growling about how your loving husband's brand new shotgun is in the way.
Free polls from

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ohhhh... who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

I'll tell ya, I just don't know where the blogging time has gone.

OK, I do. We've been "spring cleaning" the house, planting the garden, and The Mrs. has been feeling a bit under the weather in general punctuated by the occasional burst of serious, heartfelt, "I'm going to die!!!!"

I'm telling ya folks, if you're not prepared for every medical malady to turn into a major performance, then don't marry someone with a performance degree. The Mrs. isn't going to die. The Mrs. was never even close to dying. Well, at least not any closer than that time she got really "happy" at the conservatory and decided to show her friends how athletic she was by demonstrating how she could jump down a whole flight of stairs without getting hurt and then called me up in the middle of the night (400 miles away) to ask me if she should go to the hospital.

But we're not supposed to talk about that.

As part of the spring cleaning, The Childrens have been boxing and bagging up toys that they don't need any more. Some for donation, some for sellin' at the consignment shoppe (at least until the new lead rules for certifying toys go into effect, which puts consignment stores out of business). Then, they'll be rewarded with new toys of a smaller volume, but likely higher dollar cost.

Probably they'll each get a Nintendo DSi. They need them for the road trip anyways, so we might as well kill two birds with one stone.

I'm thinking of cleaning up the garage so I can make room for a new truck. I have the most devious of plans. See, it goes like this:

My HOA won't let me park a boat outside, on account of the fact that I live in a nice neighborhood, so owning a boat becomes way too much hassle, cuz then I gotta rent some place to park it, go get it the night before, charge the batteries, check everything over, go fishing, come back, clean it all off, then take it back to storage. Hence, the saga of the fishing boat ended with me empty-handed.

Now, the prospect of the Gub'ment and/or the UAW and/or Fiat running Dodge has made me worry about the possibility of not being able to get quality replacement parts for the old truckster. I'm almost at 60k miles, which is about as far as once can expect a Dodge to go without requiring a steady diet of replacement parts. Yes, I know, if I'd gotten the Heavy Duty, that wouldn't be true. But I got a compact (I lived in California, and the compact didn't fit in my garage at all and just barely fit in the driveway). The Dakota, like its brother the Durango, is known more for its styling and class-leading available V8 power than it is for its longevity. You can axe 'Billy about how well his Durango held up once it got to a certain age.

So, if'n I'm replacing the Dakota in a year or so, first you gotta look at all the possible replacements. The Dakota, despite being competely redesigned a couple years ago, remains largely identical to the one I have now (plus, see above about Gub'ment/UAW/Fiat), so that's out. The Chevy/GMC twins, while they've managed to wedge a nice V8 in there, are otherwise non-competitive models, and while Fiat doesn't look to be involved, Gub'ment/UAW ownership is on the horizon. The Frontier (made in USA) and Tacoma (made in Mexico) both have laughably small beds - even smaller than I have now. There are only two serious complaints I have about my truck: pathetic gas mileage (12 city/15 hwy) and the small bed. The Ford Explorer Sport Track I don't even understand the point of.

So, I'm left going full-size. And when you go full-size, you're only real option in the half-ton market is the F-150.

Now, I've checked the dimensions of the F-150, and it will not fit through my garage door without the mirrors folded. It's not clear to me if they have power folding mirrors, i.e., mirrors that you push a button, and they automatically fold. If they do, then we might be able to get it through the door (I'm not getting in and out to fold/unfold mirrors every time I use the garage). Once inside, though, I'm pretty sure I'd have to take out the shelves on the left wall in order to open the driver's door, and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to open the right rear passenger door because I have no way to remove the post that holds up the second floor that is right there. I figure if I get the SuperCrew with the 6.5' bed, there's no practical way I'll be able to park it in the garage.

Which means helllloooo fishing boat.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why yes, I have been neglecting you

You'll get over it. I know I did.

There hasn't been a lot to report on the old homefront these day that has any entertainment value. So I'll have to choreblog (given that The Mrs. has squirreled away the camera where I can't find it, I can't even photoblog).

Sunday of course was Mothers' Day, or as it goes by around here The Day of Anger. The Mrs. went out to the hot tub in the morning, and then came back in moments later without saying anything. An hour later, I asked if there was anything wrong with the hot tub, and she said, "It's a filthy, disgusting mess. The water is green. There is yellow mold growing up the sides. I'm not going in there."

Now, I found this odd given that just a couple days prior I had checked all the chemical levels and shocked the hell out of it (as the water was starting to look a little less transparent than I like). So I checked, and sure enough, the water was slightly green and there was some yellowish scum forming around the edges. I don't think it was necessarily mold, but I don't have a better explanation.

I decided to head to the spa store to see if I could score some new filters.

As it turns out, they didn't have any. However, the guy declared my filter just fine. Now, this was actually the owner dude - the guy we had bought the tub from - not one of the, shall we say, less knowledgeable young ladies that normally mans the counter on weekends. So I discussed the problems I had been having of late keeping the tub clean despite the copious amounts of shock I put in regularly and the fact that all the chemical levels always read just fine on the test strip.

He said, "It sounds like your ozone isn't working. That's odd. They usually last a little over a year."

"The tub is two years old."

"Oh. Have you ever changed the ozone generator module?"

"Uh, no. I didn't know you had to."

"You have to change them every year."

I really don't remember that little gem being in the manual, but it has been two years since I read the manual. He also recommended I change the backflow valve for the ozone, cuz they don't last forever either, and then you get water in the ozone generator and burn it out.

And, as it turns out, there's a little window you look in to see if it is glowing purple when turned on. If it's purple, ozone. If not, time for a new one.

No purple in mine. I would describe it more as carbonized from some kind of catastrophic burnout than as purple. Plus, the hose seemed to have shmutz deposits in it. It was a pretty easy change once I gave up on the idea of getting the old backflow valve out (it snapped off in the tube when I tried to remove it) and just cut off the end of the tube. Then, I actually used a pipe cleaner to clean the shmutz out of the tube.

Of course, now the tube was too short. So I had to make a quick trip to Ace for $2 worth of stuff to splice in a new short length of new tube. Then I emptied and refilled the tub. So far, 4 days later, it is holding up very well. The water smells better than it has in a long time (even when it was freshly filled before) - one might even say the water doesn't smell at all. I'm hoping this was the key.

I've finally decided to get the big dent in my truck fender repaired. If you recall the story (which you don't), some f$%knuts smashed into my truck in the work parking lot back in October 2006 and didn't leave a note or anything. Now, it's finally starting to rust. So I'm going to have to put up the $500 deductible and get it fixed. Get this - rather than replacing the fender, they're going to repair it, and they've estimated this is going to take 12 hours of labor. 12 hours to hammer out a dent and sand some Bondo? Can't you build an entire car out of Bondo in less than 12 hours? Maybe not a truck, but something small, like a Tacoma. And then it's another 4 hours of labor to paint it.

Plus $32.50 for the "4x4" decal. That's the only part they're actually replacing.

I managed to eat a very quick lunch today then run to the body shop for an estimate. $988. Robbery, I tell you. Then, I had to call my insurance company to see if they'd still pay a claim that was almost 3 years old. They had to "re-activate" it, but that took mere moments. So I'll be dropping the truck off the day before we had to Barfalo for Ellie's wedding, and it'll be ready and waiting when we return.

Then, I can look up what the value of my truck in "good" condition will be as opposed to "fair". I hear that Dodges lost 6% of their value after Chrysler filed for chapter 11, so probably that fancy fender paint will be the most expensive part of the vehicle. Well, until I replace the shocks, which it is also badly in need of.

That is all. Carry on.

Friday, May 08, 2009

It appears to have been cancelled

My new feature, which was to be a multimedia extravaganza, appears to have had the plug pulled on it by The Mrs. See, I was farting around with my new video editing software (which really, really sucks as it turns out - good thing it was free) along with some sound and picture editors trying to figure out the easiest way to take a still image, record a voiceover for that, and then splice it in with some video footage, when The Mrs. walked in and was absolutely convinced that the fake stills, voiceover, and goofy video I had recorded just to figure out the software was actually evidence of me carrying on some affair with an unknown woman over the compooter.

The unknown woman talking to me in the voiceover, oddly enough, was actually a recording of me that I had pitch-shifted up using Audacity, which is a kick-ass free sound editor. So, The Mrs. is mad at me right now for making a recording of me asking myself a question, and then a video of me answering myself.

And thus dies "Ask CherkyB." It had such promise, too. Sigh. How I suffer for my art.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The joys of prostate health

On AM radio, you hear a lot of commercials to buy gold. Today, though, we got to hear a commercial for a homeopathic herbal concoction for prostate health.
HannahC: "Hey Dah, what's 'sex drive'?"

Me, CherkyB: "Umm..." CherkyB must run through the possible answers before speaking:

(It's something men have all the time and women have until they get married.)

(Ask your mother. She might remember.)

(It's the thing that makes men want to earn more money.)

(You know all those Girls Gone Wild commercials on TV?)

Me, CherkyB: "So, you remember that video with Howie Mandel about how babies were made? You remember what 'sex' was?"

HannahC: "Yeah."

Me, CherkyB: "Sex drive is the thing that makes you want to have sex."

HannahC: "OK. What's a prostate?"

Me, CherkyB: "[blah blah blah] and when you get old it often doesn't work right."

HannahC: "I see."

HannahC: "Dah?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yes?"

HannahC: "Are you too old to have sex anymore?"
Oh sweet Jesus.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I'm thinking of a new feature

I'm not sure what to call it yet, as I have two or three different versions of the idea. But, you know, now that Andy Rooney is dead, I sense a vacuum.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Momma is one of Those

HannahC had a talent show today. I had to pick MaxieC up from the gym at 6:00 and drive us to the show. Being that this was the evening drive, Michael Savage was on the radio one of his satiric resignation bits.
Michael Savage: "Oooooh, I think I'm going to become one of those people who just shuts up and gets along."

MS: "I mean, what have I got to complain about? 99% of people just looooove Obama."

MaxieC: "Momma is one of those."

Me, CherkyB: "Huh?"

MaxieC: "Momma is one of those. Momma cares for Obama."
I wonder what it is that they do all day when I'm at work.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

They're Not All Winners 3

Given that it has been 6 months since the last installment, one can't help but notice that, while they may not all be winners, damn close to all of them are. Oh, the quality of entertainment delivered by Me, CherkyB is absolutely top notch. I'm like Top Gear, only without the need for a continuous stream of automobile props. Or the need for two sidekicks. And not British.

OK, nothing like Top Gear, but top notch nonetheless.

So last night was an action-packed night, being Friday and all. First, upon returning home from work, I realized I had forgotten to pick up HannahC from gymnastics because she changes her schedule every week, and I had thought this Friday she wasn't there. Not to worry - I had plenty of time. I rushed back to get her and had to stand around for 15 minutes while she puddled around in the locker room jibber-jabbering with her friends.

Then, upon returning home a second time, I immediately set forth trying to clean up the breakfast and lunch dishes enough to have room to serve dinner. See, The Mrs. likes every meal to require at least two different size plates and/or bowls per person, and then a serving plate or bowl (along with a serving spoon or tongs) for each and every dish, plus at least one, preferably more food prep items. Thus, for example, a simple breakfast of pancakes for three (I don't normally eat breakfast, instead using the time to sleep in before leaving for work) will create the following carnage:
  • One mixing bowl
  • One measuring cup to measure the powdered mix
  • A different measuring cup to measure the water
  • Two beaters from the electric mixer
  • A spatula to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl when mixing
  • A different spatula to control the pour when pouring the batter into the pan
  • A frying pan that will not be dishwasher safe
  • A spatula to turn over the pancakes
  • A second non-dishwasher safe pan to fry the sausage links
  • A different spatula to roll the links so they cook on all sides
  • A splatter screen to keep the sausages from splattering hot grease
  • A colander in which to wash the grapes
  • A bowl in which to serve the grapes
  • A bowl for each child so that they can put grapes in there and not keep sticking their fingers in the main serving bowl
  • A plate on which to serve the pancakes
  • A big fork to move pancakes from serving plate to eating plate
  • A plate on which to serve the sausage links
  • A set of tongs to get sausage links from the plate
  • A plate to put the butter on
  • A butter knife
  • Three forks
  • Two knives, one for each child
  • A third knife because HannahC didn't like the original one cuz it was not a steak knife
  • Three juice glasses
  • A coffee mug
  • A milk cup because MaxieC decided he wanted milk instead of juice after the juice was poured
Now, if it is a good day, the non-consumed food on The Childrens' plates will be dumped into the sink in the general vicinity of the disposal. The disposal will not be run. Then some dishes will be piled up in the sink on top of the pile of food, and the napkins will be placed in the syrup on each plate, and then the plates stacked upon one another so that the napkins can properly fuse to the plates before I get home.

If it is a bad day, everything will simply be left on the kitchen table, pushed into my spot (since I'm at work and thus not using my spot) when it comes time to make lunch (with an equivalent use of dishes).

Yesterday was apparently a good day.

Now, the prior night I had noted how the entire house was a wreck and that The Fambly should plan on spending some time cleaning up while I was work. The Mrs. informed me that she had never "signed up" to clean or cook or do dishes. All she had "signed up" for was to raise The Childrens. I noted that the only thing I had signed up for was to earn the money, and I also noted that the only way I could detect what she did all day while I was gone was to log into the credit card website and watch the numbers spin by on balance.

So that pretty much guaranteed that the first thing I would have to do upon returning home was the dishes. It was a nice added touch that the groceries from the trip to the supermarket two days ago were still all lined up in bags in the hallway, and The Mrs. was complaining that the back of the van was filled with more from a trip to Sam's Club yesterday but that she didn't have anywhere to pile them. She did "try" to find all the perishables and get them into the refrigerator or freezer, though. She did not have confidence in complete success on that.

After eating dinner (a dinner of guacamole and Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips), it was announced that it was hot tub time. So we hit the tub for a while - at first just The Childrens and I, with The Mrs. joining us a bit later. Afterwards, they all just went inside, leaving me to put in the chemicals, close the lid, and collect the empties. It was about 41 degrees out.

This finally brings us to the topic of the post. Upon returning inside, The Mrs. and I were changing out of our bathing suits when the following transpired:
The Mrs.: "So..."

Me, CherkyB: "What?"

The Mrs.: "No. I'm not going to say it. You'll just get mad."

Me, CherkyB: "Well, now I'm going to get mad either way, so you might as well just say it."

The Mrs.: "So...was it cold outside?"

Me, CherkyB: "I dunno. Did the earth suddenly develop more mass?"
They're not all winners.