Sunday, June 28, 2009

Prep Work

As you all don't know, we're heading on a road trip in the near future in order to attend Miss Ellie's wedding. This will entail three days of driving to get there, as Miss Ellie is getting married in East Bumblyburg, and there are no airports within a thousand miles of there. Give or take.

Part of getting ready for a long road trip is to clean the vehicle in which you will travel. In this case, the winivan. Now, my childrens, darling as they are, seem to believe that the only difference between a floor and a garbage can is that you can also walk on a floor. Plus, a floor is generally a lot closer. When this philosophy is extended to winivans, well, it can get a bit sticky.

We removed all the "gear" that The Mrs. insists on hauling with her wherever she goes lest any kind of an opportunity present itself for which appropriate gear is not immediately at hand. What I refer to as "the mobile garage sale". The small junk got piled into a laundry basket.

This is problematic. We seem to regularly use laundry baskets to pile junk whenever we're cleaning something, and this cuts substantially down on the baskets available for actually doing laundry. We've had to cut back to just one load of laundry per week because of this problem. Though this morning MacieC put away the socks that were washed three weeks ago and had been left in a basket ever since, so perhaps we'll be able to do two loads a week now.

This laundry basket of junk was then placed in the hallway connecting the garage to the house so that I could trip over it about 6 times during the ensuing cleaning of the winivan.

I took out the seats (which, I must admit, I had only done once before in this van, and I had to check the manual to figure out where they hid away the latch release), and underneath was quite a bit of flotsam. Gooey flotsam. Perhaps what were once gummy bears, some nerds, a spoon from Cold Stone, and some fries with that.

The van got vacuumed, the carpet and mats got shampooed, everything on the inside cleaned, with the leather also getting conditioner applied. Then we washed and waxed the outside. I tried this new Turtle Wax "Ice" polish. It worked pretty well. I got the kind that you can use on paint, chrome, rubber, plastic, whatever, and it won't leave white residue. That definitely worked.

The whole process took about 6 hours. We even had to make a trip to Wal-Mart in the middle cuz we were out of car cleaning products. Now that the van is so fresh and clean, it's a shame to allow the fambly into it. Maybe I'll make them drive around in my pickup all week, and I'll take the van to and from work so that it stays clean.

Friday, June 26, 2009


It's hot and humid in my cubicle this morning. I wonder if they managed to break the first floor air handler when they fixed the second floor's yesterday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

CherkyB, Marriage Counselor

Recently, a Sprouts "Farmer's Market" opened up near us. I put "Farmer's Market" in quotes, as I sure as hell can't tell the difference between this place and a Whole Foods other than that this place seems to have very good prices. It certainly isn't a bunch of guys in a parking lot selling food out of the back of their pickups.

But, as happens with any new market of this sort that opens up, it has unleashed The Mrs.'s inner Bohemian self. The one she tries to hide when I'm around, lest I be moved to perform an exorcism or hand her a Dr. Laura book or some such. It's not so much that I mind that deep down inside she has these trite and entirely predictable white, upper-middle-class pretensions (she did go to music conservatory, after all), or even that I really object to her spending my money on them - one forfeits the right to object to one's spouses frivolities when one says, "I do." No, it's that I object to being inconvenienced by them.

Case in point, today I went to put the iced tea into the refrigerator, as I do every day when I come home from work. You see, I prefer my iced tea cold, and thus I keep it in the refrigerator. The Mrs. prefers her iced tea cold as well, and in addition, she doesn't like ice in it. Thus, she keeps it on the kitchen counter. Well, I suspect that the real reason is the same reason everything we own is piled on the kitchen counter - people just can't seem to make the time to put anything away around here.

However, today was different, as when I open the fridge it was full. Completely full. And right where I was going to put the iced tea there sat a bottle of kefir. "Kefir?" you ask, as no one who would have any kind of Bohemian traits would ever spend time around these parts. Well, other than the one who is prone to head injuries, perhaps.

Well, I didn't know WTF kefir was either, so I had to look it up. I'll save you the trouble of hitting the link - kefir is an age-old drink invented in the Caucasus region (you know, the motherland where all white people came from) that consists of some vile concoction made from kefir grains soaked in fermented goat's blood. There is, however, no kefir plant from which kefir grains come. Why, they're not a "grain" at all in the classical starch-family sense. Noooo. It gets even better.
"Production of traditional kefir requires kefir grains which are a gelatinous community of bacteria and yeasts."
Bleaaaugh. But wait, there's more:
"Kefir grains contain a water soluble polysaccharide known as kefiran that imparts a rope-like texture and feeling in one's mouth."
Add "salty" to that description, and you are talking about something that The Mrs. won't allow anywhere near her mouth. At least not since we got married. But gulp this stuff down she does. And why? Well, because it has magical New Age healing properties and is all the rage amongst the Bohemian crowd right now.

So, as we're sitting down to dinner, right after I failed to secure cold storage for the iced tea, I was making fun of The Mrs. for buying kefir. This is what I do to let her know I disapprove of her antics. She gets quite angry if I outright ban her from such foolishness, much like a petulant teenager told not to date The Bad Boy. After a while of her defending the indefensible, she finally whined that I criticize her too much in front of The Childrens.

HannahC then yelled, "Deeeevorce!"

MaxieC inquired as to what this divorce was, as it's not something he had heard discussed prior. So, being the great father that I am, I 'splained it to him.
Me, CherkyB: "You see, son, divorce is when we sell the house, then you two kids and mommy move into a trailer, while I move into an apartment and get myself a hot young girlfriend. Then you'll come over every other weekend and Thursday nights, and I'll tell you that she's your new mommy."

MaxieC: "Why would you want a hot, young girlfriend?"

Me, CherkyB: "Ohhh. Because that's the best kind of girlfriend. ... Well, it helps if she's dumb, too. The dumber the better."

HannahC: "Momma's not dumb."

Me, CherkyB: "No. Not at all. That's a large part of the problem. She thinks I care what she thinks. That's why you want a dumb girlfriend."

HannahC: [holding up a bean from her side of mixed vegetables] "This bean is young and hot and dumb. This bean is your new girlfriend."

Me, CherkyB: "No. That bean could never be my girlfriend. It doesn't have big boobs."

MaxieC: [holding up broccoli] "This can be your girlfriend."

Me, CherkyB: "No. Again, no big boobs. Gotta have big boobs."
The Childrens then proceeded to fashion big boobs to attach to the vegetables out of other vegetables. MaxieC used two pieces of baby corn after I rejected his initial attempt at using only one piece of corn with, "No, she needs two symmetric big boobs. Not one giant boob in the middle."

The Mrs. then chimed in about how it would be preferable if they were both from the same surgeon, and much mirth ensued.

That, dear readers, is a veritable clinic in both parenting and husbanding. I invite you to read it again and again and bask in its wisdom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, That Sucked

Those of you who follow along my facebook account know that yesterday, we went fishing (for the first time this season) and got basically shut out. But wait, there's more to that story...

HannahC had been talking about going fishing for months now. She loves the fishing. During one of our many tornado warnings this month, I replaced the line on her spincasting reel and on MaxieC's as well. I also cleaned and lubed them. Our tornado warnings last quite a while, though we've yet to see a tornado this year near by. We've had 6 or 7 within 50 miles, but nothing really close.

Saturday morning, I started loading up the truck with fishing gear. The Mrs. and MaxieC had decided that they were going, and that means that quite a bit more gear is required. For instance, they require folding chairs, drinks, snacks, moist towelettes, and sunscreen. HannahC and I require fishing poles, a tackle box, and maybe a cooler if we think we're going to be keeping anything.

One of the troubles with going Saturday morning was that we didn't have worms nor did The Mrs. have her fishing license. So we planned a quick trip to Ace Hardware where both are available. However, The Mrs. never allows an opportunity for blackmail to pass, so she put all kinds of pre-conditions that had to be met prior to us leaving. Most involved homework or 4H project work. The end result of this was that we left our house at 11:45 and still had to go to the store for worms and a license.

Of course, there aren't any fish at all that bite from noon until 4 around here. The sun is too bright. One baby bluegill was caught by MaxieC, and that was it. So, The Mrs. vowed that we would go in the early morning today.


I knew this was going to go horribly wrong the minute The Mrs. described her plans for the night. She said that The Childrens would need to go to bed early so that they could get up early to fish, and then as soon as they went to bed, we would watch one of her godawful moovies. Well, she may not have said godawful, but when The Mrs. picks a moovie, that's about the best you can hope for.

She got HannahC to bed by 10:55pm, and then we started The Mrs.'s moovie. It was Doubt, and it was horrible. Very plodding, effectively no sub-plots whatsoever. I don't understand why anyone would think this was a decent moovie (though it gets 7.8/10 on IMDB). One of the more annoying aspects of it was the fact that it was ostensibly about a Catholic priest suspected of molesting a boy (wow - very original plot there), but it was riddled with Protestant terminology. Newsflash - Catholic churches do not have "pastors". Because of this, it made it feel like some ignorant left-wing screed against Catholicism as opposed to a drama.

Finally, this horrible thing wrapped up, but by then it was close to 1am. 1am is not when one goes to bed if one plans to go on an early morning fishing expedition.

We got fishing around 10am today. Not at all unpredictable, but a pretty lousy time to go nonetheless.

The Mrs. caught the only keeper - a 6" bluegill. I spent much of the day either baiting hooks for The Childrens or trying to catch a big catfish (or a medium carp) using first Vienna sausages and then bluegill guts at bait. MaxieC caught about 12 bluegill, the biggest being about 3". In three months, this pond will be great.

We also got to watch a pair of turtles do the nasty. For the entire time. Turtles, it seems, take their time about most everything.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Poor JackieC

JackieC, HannahC's pet rat, has taken a sudden turn for the worse tonight. Last Monday, the vet gave her a steroid shot and put her on Cipro, and she seemed to recover almost fully. However, the vet said that it was one of two things: either she had pneumonia, in which case she would be cured, or her cancer had spread to her brain, in which case she'd get better for a few days due to the tumor shrinking from the steroids and then get sick again.

I guess this means it's door #2. The Mrs. just did a nice job of explaining to HannahC how we can't take JackieC back to get steroid shots every week and how we'll do what we can to keep her comfortable but that she probably won't be getting better this time. HannahC handled it well, I think because she already expected JackieC to be dead by now given how bad she was two 10 days ago.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The New Pets

One of the joys of being out of town is discussing daily life with your childrens on the phone as opposed to face-to-face. This is a little gem was from late last week.
HannahC: "Dah, when you get home you have to empty one of the mouse traps."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh?"

HannahC: "Yeah. I checked all the traps, and there was this big, disgusting mouse in one of them. The one by the stairs in the garage."

Me, CherkyB: "Why didn't you empty it?"

HannahC: "Well Mom and I tried turning it over and shaking it, but it was really stuck in there. It didn't come out. It's really huge. Like, its nose at at the one end, and its tail is all the way at the other. And it's stuck. Momma said you have to empty it when you get home. So you remember as soon as you come home, empty that."

Me, CherkyB: "Uh. OK."

HannahC: "You know what else?"

Me, CherkyB: "No."

HannahC: "Do you want me to just tell you, or do you want to guess?"

Me, CherkyB: "Ummm...Momma yelled at you for not doing your schoolwork?"

HannahC: "Yeah, well duuuhhhh. I mean something unusual."

Me, CherkyB: "Momma didn't yell at you cuz you did all your schoolwork without complaining?"

HannahC: "No. Maybe I should just tell you."
Ya think?
Me, CherkyB: "OK. Tell me."

HannahC: "Well, when I was checking the mousetraps and I found that big, disgusting mouse, I also found these really neat little white larvae. I don't know what they are, but I saved them, and I'm going to raise them to see what they turn into."

Me, CherkyB: "Did you find those, like, on the dead mouse?"

HannahC: "Yeah, some of them. They're really cool. The squirm around a lot. I really like them."

Me, CherkyB: "Right on the dead mouse? Like, in the mouse trap on the dead mouse?"

HannahC: "There were some there, but there were also some just near the mouse. I scooped all of the ones up that were near the mouse, cuz I didn't wanna touch the mouse."

Me, CherkyB: "Uh, Hannie, those are maggots."
At least she hasn't made me take them to the vet yet.

My Creative Little Pains

So, I'm mowing the lawn yesterday, all happy cuz I'm mowing the lawn, and every time I drive by the swing set (where The Childrens are playing), I notice that there is a pungent odor of dog poop. I figure that I must have run some over, since I don't ever pick it up before mowing, and I quickly located some on my front tire. I dismiss the problem as not related to the swing set, but instead related to the fact that the only time I am driving into the wind is when I am headed at the swing set.

Yet, after a while, I realize I have started to mow into the wind in other parts of the yard, and it doesn't smell like dog poop. Just when I am downwind of the swing set. Hmmm...

After finishing the yard, I investigate.

Oh my.

The Childrens have made "compost". They have done this by taking a 20-gallon Rubbermaid container that we use as a toybox, filling the bottom 3" or so with cut grass and water, into which they have mixed all the dog poop they can find as well as all the bunny poop they can find. They have done this earlier in the week, as the grass is all festering already, though you can see large chunks of dog poop floating around on the muck.

HannahC explained that I bought composted steer manure for the garden, so composting poo must be the way to go.

There was a lot of yelling after that. I put the lid on the box.

Then, during dinner, we noticed that we could smell this thing all the way in the house. More yelling ensued. There may have been aspersions cast upon people's inate intelligence.

Happily, The Childrens were sent off to bed early that night. And thus The Mrs. and I ended up out in the back yard under the flood lights trying to shovel this mess into a garbage bag, which we then triple bagged, and then hosing out the container in a remote corner of the yard.

The stank was really quite something.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Road-Weary Traveler

I got back home Friday after a major boondoggle for The Company. I am located here at the Fort TomCollins facility, but my next assignment is on a project largely located in my old Santa Clarabelle site, so I flew there Monday to meet some peoples. Except it's not all in Santa Clarabelle, so on Tuesday I flew up to the Hillsbrothers, Oregon site in the morning then back in the afternoon. Except we're getting some of the internal parts of the project from the ZenaFolsom, CA site, so I flew there Thursday morning and back Thursday afternoon. Finally, I flew home Friday.

Oddly enough, most of the trip turned out to be a big waste of time. Many of the people I was supposed to see decided at the last minute that they were too busy right now to meet with me. The guys in ZenaFolsom were very helpful, though.

While I was gone, The Mrs. took Jackie to the vet. They thought she had pneumonia and gave her a steriod shot plus a prescription for Cipro (you know - in case it was anthrax). She's seems to have largely recovered, though she is a bit weak still. Apparently, there was lots of nursing that went on while I was gone to try to get Jackie better.

My ankle really hurts. I was using the gas-powered weed whacker around a landscape rock bed today, and it fired a rock back at my ankle. Ow.

I bought a new suit today. The last suit I bought was for The Mrs's father's funeral over 10 years ago, and I'm a lot fatter now so it doesn't fit. I also got three shirts, three ties, and three decorative pocket hankies to go with it. This way, Ellie can get married three times before I have to recycle a look.

We're having rib eyes from Sam's club tonight. It's after 8pm, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of cooking going on, so I suppose I'll have to go check on that.