Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comments on a Picture

The Mrs.: "Did you actually look at that picture of you standing in the lake?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah."

The Mrs.: [raises eyebrows] "..."

Me, CherkyB: "Well, at least my boobs stick out past my gut."

The Mrs.: "And you're proud of that? Nice comeback."

Friday, July 24, 2009

A brief pet update

We're all still sad about JackieC's passing, but life marches forward.

Apparently quite quickly.

Prior to our trip, (nee Sojourn of Suffering), HannahC released her two toads into our deepest window well. She did this cuz she had found two other toads already in there. Then, she moved another toad from another window well into that one.

Today, we had three really skinny toads looking in the window. There really isn't enough food in one window well to support five toads. So I told HannahC to let some of the toads go.


Instead, she decided to use some of her money to buy a 40-gal. fishtank off Craigslist tonight, and she's going to do chores in order to earn enough money to keep a bunch of toads alive on crickets. Now, we're not even sure if all five toads are still alive, as we haven't found the other two. But this window well is 6 feet deep and has a metal grate over the top, so I know a predator didn't get them. There are a bunch of dirt areas that the toads like to dig into to bury themselves.

But that's not even the good part. No. It gets even better.

Though "better" is in the eye of the beholder.

Our first day back at the ranch (Sunday), HannahC and her 4-H entomology group had a field trip to see an entomology professor at Colorado State University. Apparently, it was a spectacularly good time.

So good that they had to get a doggie bag to take home some of the fun.

And what did HannahC's little baggie of fun contain?

A male and female pair of live giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

This is the point in the story where, if I were less refined, I would say, "I shit you not." But instead, you'll just get a certification of truthfulness. HannahC specifically chose a male and female so that she could breed them.

She also informed me that until "they're tame", they will kick and hiss if you try to pick them up. I have yet to succeed holding one, as when I grab a 3" cockroach and it starts kicking and hissing, well, I guess I just kinda feel compelled to set it right the hell back down again and try to stifle myself from yelling, "Muther f*&^*^er!"

Though, on occasion, an "oh sweet Jesus!" might slip.

Naturally, she moved the cockroaches into the old toad tank, as they need to be kept quite warm, and the toads had an electric heating rock. Thus today when the toads were starving, we had to get a whole new tank for them.

I imagine they'll need a much more elaborate heating system, too. One rock was for one toad. Five toads will probably need something bigger.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Great Trip Summary

Being as that there were just so many bloggable moments on the trip, but I forgot them all, you're going to get a whirlwind photo tour. It turns out we didn't take all that many pictures, but I'm sure you'll live through it.

It's not like you care, after all.

We were in a race against the clock to assure we got to Barfalo in time to celebrate HannahC's 9th birthday. The plan had us arriving the evening prior, and we did not deviate from that plan. We also planned to go to Fantasy Island for her birthday, and we managed to do that, too. There had been some threatening weather, but it cleared up nicely. Uncle Locksmith rode a lot of barf rides with HannahC (and some I also rode, though I'm old and can't handle all that many like I used to when I was young - and no, before you ask, I don't look a thing like Jeeesus.). Auntie Ellie hung with The Mrs. and MaxieC on the kiddie rides.

That evening, we had a surprise party at a local chain restaurant. I can't exactly remember the name, but we did get this photo:

After that, things started to get very wedding-dominated. We were in town to attend the nuptials of Uncle Locksmith and former blogger Auntie Ellie (now Auntie Ellie Locksmith with no hyphen, but still a former blogger).

The Mrs. was one of the bridesmaids, and HannahC was the flower girl, and thus they all got to have manicures as part of the pre-wedding ritual. I believe this was HannahC's first formal manicure. This was done at some little day-spot place in a fancy-pants part of town where there was absolutely no parking to be found for miles and where The Mrs. decided I could just sit in the no-standing zone for hours while she yakked it up with passersby after she called me to "hurry my sorry ass up and pick them up".

Give or take.

I don't have any pictures of the wedding as I was simply crying my eyes out. I always cry at weddings on account of them being so tragically sad. Dr. Kevorkian must be a real heartless bastard to be able to attend so many such things.

But, afterwards, there was a party. I did manage to take a couple photos there, as there was an open bar of sorts. Here are the womensfolk of The Mrs.'s clan. On the left is Gordy, The Mrs.'s hillbilly brother's wife, then The Mrs., and then The Mrs.'s sister Auntie Ellie. Oddly for a wedding, despite looking happy in this picture, none of them are drunk.

Of course, the obligatory Chicken Dance photo. HannahC and MaxieC, being small childrens, are forgiven for their participation.

Here is Me, CherkyB fixing my hair after a long stint out on the dance floor. I worked up quite a sweat dancing like nobody was watching. But of course, everybody was watching. The CherkyB is quite a spectacle in person. I had to take a break when The Mrs.'s hillbilly brother, 'Billy, started doing a dance he called "scooping the cat poo".

Apparently, he does most of the cooking.

Days later, of course, I had to listen to a half-hearted lecture from my father about how I drank too much at the wedding. My dancing often gives people the impression that I am rightiously drunk, but as I like to 'splain, that's just how I look when I'm happy. If I was rightiously drunk, I'd be falling down a lot and belligerant.

Or, at the minimum, I'd being doing a lot of one-liners about your momma.

No, despite there being an open bar, CherkyB did not manage to even get much of a buzz on. The drinks came in 4oz. glasses which were filled to the brim with ice. Then maybe a thimble full of some nasty well liquor was added, and the glass topped off with coke or tonic or whatever. Unless one ordered 4 or 5 of these at a time, it was impossible to get a proper drink.

But, naturally, with both The Mrs.'s fambly and my fambly there, and both having prepped for weeks to tsk-tsk me about my drinking given that I am the last bastion of fun in either fambly, I couldn't very much walk away from the bar with a handful of these little doll tea party glasses. So I buried my grief (as I said earlier, I find weddings to be tragically sad) with endorphins released by getting my groove on on the dance floor.

Of course, the end result was the same. Tsk tsk.

A few days later, we hit Fort Niagara. This is the fort in NY State that is at the mouth of the Niagara River where it joins Lake Ontario and, until very recently, was the only defense that we had against belligerant Canadians.

Now, of course, Canadians aren't allowed to own guns, so they are no longer a threat to anyone other than people who consider fine cuisine to be a way of life. So Fort Niagara is a tourist trap where people go to take photos of their kids with cannons.

That particular picture was taken in the south gatehouse where the on-site guide gave us such illuminating gems as, "This is where the soldiers slept, like all next to each other. And those are shelves where they, like, kept their things and stuff. Upstairs, you can see Toronto."

One of the more interesting things was the three flags flying in the courtyard. You can see the Union Jack, Old Glory, and the solid-white surrender flag.

Wondering why the white surrender flag was up there, I opened up the handy-dandy self-guided tour pamphlet they gave us upon entry. It said,
"Flying in the courtyard are the British, American, and French flags, representing the three countries that have controlled the fort during its existence."
OK, now I get why the white flag is flying.

After our visit in Barfalo, we headed up to the Milwaukee area to visit my brother and his wife. Finding Wisconsin isn't too hard. You just follow any one of these:

We went to Mauthe Lake in Kettle Moraine for a nice picnic and some canoeing and swimming. Well, more standing around in the water than swimming.

On the way home from Wisconsin, we waved at the "Janesville" exit and yelled, "Hi, Rhonda." Just like we did last year. We stopped in Elk Horn, Iowa for lunch. Elk Horn is famous for having The Danish Windmill.

Then we spent my birthday at the Coco Key Water Resort at the Holiday Inn in Ohama. I don't have any pictures of that, as only a moron takes a camera to a water park.

Monday, July 20, 2009

RIP, JackieC

Well, today was the day we had been expecting for a while. HannahC's delightful pet rat finally reached the point of no return, losing her ability to walk, stand, or eat, and The Mrs. took her for her last ride to the vet.

The vet and staff had seen quite a lot of JackieC over the last few months, and they were a bit attached to her as well. They made HannahC a little keepsake clay heart on which they inscribed "Jackie" and did an impression of her front pawprints.

It was a very teary day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I'll have a trip wrap-up written sometime before the next trip. In the mean time, you get a Certified True story to keep you entertained.

We arrived home safely at about 6pm yesterday after two weeks of travel. I had set the A/C to 85 degrees while we were gone, since nobody (not even pets) was in the house. Naturally, we had a heat wave, so when we got home all tired, the first floor of the house was 85 degrees, with the second floor (where all the bedrooms are) being 90. My A/C is marginal at best, so even with a judicious application of the whole house fan plus a reasonable cool-off once the sun went down, by the time bedtime rolled around, the upstairs had cooled to 80.

The decision was made to sleep in the basement, which was somewhere in the high 60's, I think, in terms of temperature. HannahC had a head cold, and the gain in elevation had caused her quite a bit of suffering, so she crashed out on the couch in the basement. MaxieC slept on a cushion that was occupying the space where the guinea pigs would normally have been. The Mrs. and I got the spare room.

The Mrs. decided to screw around for a while on the compooter, as she was starved for it. I had brought my laptop along, and thus I had a half hour of internet when we were at hotels, and on occasion had some at my parents' or Ellie's, so I wasn't jonesing as badly as she was.

I hit the sack.

At some point, I released some excess methane pressure that had been building up inside. I went right back to sleep.

About 20 minutes later, The Mrs. came to bed. When she lifted the covers, she exclaimed, "Oh geeze!" and then stumbled out of bed to turn on the big giant fan we have down there (required for when her hillbilly brother visits, as he's used to sleeping outdoors). And then the stank hit me. I misdirected:
Me, CherkyB: "Did you fart?"

The Mrs.: "No. You did."

Me, CherkyB: "I don't think it could have been me. I don't think anything could make that kind of a stink and still be alive. That smells like death."
And it did, too.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

SoS, Days 3-5

We arrived safely. So much activity, and so little internet availability. I only have internet when visiting my parents or Ellie (who we don't ever visit). So I get about a half hour every couple days to actually use it on account of we're visiting the rest of the time.

Yesterday was HannahC's birthday. We went to Martin's Fantasy Island in the afternoon, then had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese's in the evening. A good time was had by all. I have had a splitting headache ever since, though.

Tomorrow is Ellie's rehearsal dinner/picnic, and then it's the wedding on Saturday.

No barfing as of yet.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

SoS, Day 2

Opportunity squandered.

We decided to sleep in until 7 this morning as we had a "much shorter" day ahead of us.
Much shorter" in this case being about 1.5 hours less driving. Of course, a lot of that driving would be in areas east of the Mississippi - meaning decrepit roads with endless construction zones where nobody seems to actually fix anything but instead merely tears it apart more, and toll boths galore. Thus, we decided to get up only an hour later than we had the first morning.

Nothing like burning 2/3 of your margin before the opening bell.

'Course, we were already packed the first morning, and we had to re-pack everything today. That only took about a half hour, though.

And then we spent a half hour eating breakfast.

And, for some reason, today we had multiple potty emergencies (including one of my own - lunch at Denny's was maybe a bit greasy) and ended up stopping roughly once every hour.

Then since we weren't in a hurry, we went on a leisurely 20 minute bug hunt at our first stop. HannahC is collecting bugs for a 4H project.

And we played at a playground for half an hour at another stop.

The bridge over the Mississippi on I-80 is closed, so we had to detour.

All in all, we managed to arrive at our hotel in Maumee, OH, tonight about 2.5 hours later than we rolled in to our hotel yesterday. Quite a feat given how much shorter the trip was today.

At least I can keep an eye on my truck. You can go here, click the "Check you vehicle here" spot in the upper right, and then look for vehicle 26936. Oddly, I can't find a direct link for that as it appears to be a dynamically generated page. Doesn't look like they've done anything yet, but my status is now, "Vehicle is being dis-assembled." I suppose that's better than nothing.

Sojourn of Suffering - Day 1

In general an uneventful day. I started out taking pictures of each state, as The Mrs. decided to do some of the driving, but after two states (Colorado and Wyoming), I ended up driving.

We hit some fog in Wyoming, which is better than the Blizzard we hit in Nebraska last year. It wasn't particularly dense fog (visibility was about 1/4 mile), but it was enough to freak out The Mrs., who has apparently never driven in fog on the highway. She developed this habit of every time she got close enough to just see the back of a vehicle in front (remember- a 1/4 mile in front) she would slam on the brakes. When I queried as to why this was, she said, "I need to slow down until I determine how far away it is."

This is why it used to be illegal for women to have drivers licenses.

Only two other things of note happened on the trip.

First, shortly after I started driving in Nebraska, I passed a little red car with Colorado plates. The ladies in the car got very excited that we also had Colorado plates, so a little later, they zoomed up next to us and started waving. So I waved back.

The Mrs., naturally, was infuriated by this. She began to berate me for, apparently, hitting on girls in another car (Visions of Christie Brinkley in a red Ferrari on National Lampoon's Vacation, I imagine). Then, an SUV passed us, and The Mrs. said, "There - why don't you wave at her, too? Oh, she's fat. I see. You don't wave at the fat ones?"


Later, The Childrens were watching Ghostbusters on the DVD (and hating it), when The Mrs. heard the voice of Bill Murray.
The Mrs.: "Childrens, that man talking right now is named Bill Murray. He is one of the best comic actors of all time."

Me, CherkyB: "Billy Murray?"

The Mrs.: "Yes. He's a genius."