Friday, October 31, 2008

A Day with My Computer

For the last few days, well maybe weeks, I have been complaining loudly to anyone within earshot that my laptop has been running unbelievably slow. It has been so frustrating watching pages load a tenth of an inch at a time. Yesterday I decided to do something about it. I backed up anything I could find of value onto an external drive, and then went ahead and formatted the hard drive and started to reinstall the operating system.

Problem One: Apparently, I need to get my prescription for my glasses re-done since reading the Microsoft Product Key off the bottom of my computer was difficult. After squinting as hard as I could, I thought I got it, and then clicked to enter it. I received an  "Invalid Key Code" message. I tried to reread the code, but even with super squinting it still looked the same.

The only number I had for help was from HP, so I called them. After 20 minutes they were able to walk me through the problem and get past the error. (Reboot the computer and re-enter the key code. Don't tell anyone, but I spent six years in tech support and the number one fix for most problems is reboot the computer and try again. Maybe it was the stress that the baby was about to wake up soon that caused me to panic.)

Problem Two: Operating system installed, I started to load the updates like SP2. Guess what? An Invalid Key Code error came up as it was installing. So, I call Microsoft for help. No, this time it wasn't a reboot solution. I guess there are new systems in place for Microsoft to prevent people from stealing their key codes. I talked to the representative and they have to validate my code and give me a different code that shows my code was validated. I was told I could do this online which I will do next time now that I know what is going on. In the old days I just installed and entered the Key Code and I was good. I guess those days are gone.

Problem Three: After getting the updates in and reinstalling my anti-virus I tried to re-open my favorite Google Chrome browser and go through some sites. Well, on some pages it was fast, but then when I go through blogs it goes very slow again. After all that, I found that Chrome doesn't work well with some Flash items on websites. So, possibly I did all this for nothing. I am telling myself I had way to much unnecessary software on my computer before and this streamlined, no additional software added, installation will make life faster and better anyway. I have to think that, otherwise I wasted my day for nothing.

I am back to running everything on Internet Explorer and it works fine. I guess I'll wait on Chrome until they fix the problem.

Finally thought: Hopefully I get my man card back now. Fixing things that probably were not broken is definitely manly. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From Rolling to Driving

Another stage is passing by. My little Q is now able to roll. It happens so quickly once they get the hang of it. First its rocking side to side, and then eventually they accidentally roll over. From then on the idea of being able to move takes over and that's all they want to do. The last few days she has been working on rolling from her back to her stomach. She has not yet realized she could roll to her back again yet, but it will happen. Before I know it she will be crawling for a day or so, or at least it will seem that fast, and then walking, followed by running. Which apparently  to me hunting her down at bed time to catch her and get her to take a bath. At least that is how it seemed to go with T. Maybe Q will be slower at running, or easier to catch. That sure will make my job easier. I don't remember how fast it happened with T, but it seems like it was it was a matter of minutes of his life that he was a baby. Now he is a full on little boy who stops only when he lands in Time-out. From pre-dawn to post-dusk he seems to be non-stop moving around. I try to enjoy every moment of Q's baby days. I know how fast they go, and how much I will miss the moments we had where we could set her down and she would stay there. Already I can't set her on the changing table without practically grabbing a leg to hold her in place.

Here is what I'm finding out; being a parent is a very sad thing if every time you see your babies you imagine them waving out the car window as they head off to college. I really have to stop doing that and start just seeing them as they are and appreciating these wonderful gifts we have been given exactly as they are right this moment. I try, I really do. It is just that seeing T already almost 4 years old shows me just how fast it goes.Once they hit the next phase, they never go back. T is already almost too big to pick up and hold in my arms. You don't know how sad I am going to be the day I can't pick him up to hug him. See! Already tears in my eyes. I have got to stop doing this. Seriously, I need some kind of MAN pill or something. Next post I will write about something very manly just to make myself feel better.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I was tagged by Modern Mommy Blog and I’m supposed to share 7 things about me that you don’t know. That should be easy enough, let's see what I can come up with. And remember, you only get the things my mother can read...

1. I am a closet fan of Miranda Lambert. If someone asked me what I was listening to on my ipod, I probably wouldn't mention her, but when I am not sure what to play I usually pick Miranda Lambert's two Albums. She was a Nashville Star contestant who took 3rd place. I'm not sure who took first that season, but I'll bet Miranda out sells them. 

2. One of my summer jobs for college was working at a company that printed numerous magazines. I worked on the line loading pages into a feeder that assembled Playboy magazines. It was nice, because of all the cologne ads. The place always smelled like Eternity cologne.

3. I have an insatiable sweet tooth that knows no limits. And for that I must apologize to my wife frequently.

4. I taught a foreign language exploratory class for sixth graders in Wisconsin for three years. I went over German, Japanese, French, and Spanish for one quarter each. 

5. I have tried to teach myself to play guitar for almost ten years and never got much farther than Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,  Row, Row Row Your Boat and Itsy bitsy spider. Luckily my current audience consists of a five month old and a three year old, so I am still good. 

6. I am not sure what happened, or if it happens to all fathers, but the moment I held my own baby for the first time it changed me forever. I have lost some control over my emotions. I cry much easier, I laugh harder, and I have never felt love so strongly. That is some powerful stuff.

7. I once accidentally went into a barbershop in a black community to get a haircut. I was visiting a friend and not familiar with the area. After I sat down in the waiting chairs I realized what I had done. I figured a haircut was a haircut, so I would just stay and get a cut. I waited and I waited. People were coming in and then seated, got a haircut, paid and left, and I still sat there. I wasn't sure what to do. Were they ignoring me because I was white? Should I just leave? As I was trying to decide what to do a nice lady came over and explained the problem to me. Black people and white people have different types of hair. None of the barbers really knew how to cut a white persons straight hair. There was one barber however that felt if I was brave enough he would give it a try. You see, right there I should have left. I understood the problem. It was just a matter of not knowing how to cut my hair, and I was fine with that. I should have said thank you for explaining it to me and walked out, but I didn't. I wanted a hair cut and figured how hard could it be to cut my hair? I thought,"what the heck, I'll give him a try." Well, all I can say is this, if someone clearly tells you they don't know how to cut your hair, believe them. It was the worst hair cut I have ever had in my life. He used the same technique on my hair as he did on the other customers. It was more like shaping the hair and less like the measuring out the hair length with the fingers and cutting the hair to be the same length that I was used to. I hold no hard feelings for that horrible haircut. It was totally my fault for allowing it to happen. My friend who I went there to visit got a big kick out if it. I guess I did too. I received a little lesson in the differences between cultures and have a funny story to tell more than a decade later. I wonder if they still talk about me in that barber shop. 

Here are the seven blogs I am tagging. They all happen to be members of Entrecard whose sites I love and who happen to frequent my site as well. I am looking forward to reading their answers so I can get to know all of them a little better. Also if you are not on this list and want to play along as well, feel free to list your seven things we don't know about you and leave a link in the comments here so we can all go check it out. 

From Melissa's Desk

Small Town Mommy

Hip to Be Mom

Go Graham Go!

The Un-Mom

Our Happy Happenings

Zip 'N' Tizzy

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rhinoplasty at Three?

Bedtimes are always interesting. You never know what will happen. What excuse will he create today to try to and stay up just a little longer? Here is tonight's story and the solution. 

I read T a bedtime story every night. It is our own little private time where we read, talk and laugh.  We read the stories, and he asks a million questions about the pictures. We talk for a while about the pictures and why the illustrator drew things they way they did. Occasionally, I change the words in the story and he catches me. We laugh, and sometimes he changes it in another way. After the story is done we talk a little more about random things. Tonight he told me a story about The Little Mermaid. It had nothing to do with the book we read, which was about a smelly bear and a fluffy bear. Apparently, the little mermaid was swimming and went down a hole. She was falling down the hole, falling, falling, falling, Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! Then she fell onto her head. From what I understand she was OK, but then the lava melted her hair and it was stinky. Luckily for me there were several retellings of the story in different ways. All ended up with something being stinky. 

Finally, it was time for me to leave and for T to go to sleep. As I was getting up he told me he needed to have mommy's sleep mask because,"When I am sleeping my nose hurts very much." (L wears a CPAP mask for sleeping to help her get a better nights sleep.) T got up from the bed and started heading out to find his mother. I stopped him along the way and explained that mommy needs that mask, so he wouldn't be able to use it. Yes, I know rational arguments are not going to work on a three year old, and you are right. It didn't. "But I need it!"  He started back towards mommy again. I stopped him again and tried a different approach. 

"T, Let me see your nose." I turned and opened the junk drawer. I pulled out the only tool I could see which was a screwdriver. 

"I think I see the problem. You need a new nose." I said. He looked at me and quickly started to play along. 

"Yes, I think I need a new nose because my nose always hurts when I am sleeping." He started to giggle a little looking at the screw driver. I bought the screw driver closer to his nose and pretended like I was taking the nose off, and then putting a new one on. 

"How does this nose feel?" I asked him. 

"That nose feels better. It doesn't hurt anymore. That's because you changed my nose, right daddy?"

"That's right T. We changed your nose so it won't hurt when you are sleeping." 

And with that, he turned towards his own room and went back to his bed. I tucked him in, and kissed him on the head. "I love you T. I will see you in the morning for milk and coffee.

"I love you too daddy. Good Night."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cool Blog of the Week - FIVE

Making a choice for Cool Blog of the Week is always difficult. Do you know how many cool blogs are out there? I read a lot of blogs each week, and some of course are of topics I am not interested in, but there are so many that write on topics I love. Remember when Lauren and Ural were my pick for the week? They are travelling all over, and I find that fascinating. They are currently in Thailand if you haven't checked in on them in a while. I also picked The life of Casey Emerson. She is a writer, and I have always been interested in writing, and people who write. I picked Girl in Georgia's blog because, well, she is my wife and I love her so it should go without saying that I am interested in everything she has to say, and all the ways she chooses to express herself. And finally, last week I chose The Army Wife. I was in the military, and I know how tough it is to be a soldier, and she was able to help me better relate that to how the people who love and support the soldier feel during the difficult times, such as when on deployment in a combat zone. 

So each week I find someone whose blog speaks to me on a personal level. Hopefully when I share it, other people can see some of the same things in those blogs that make me enjoy reading them so much. That brings me to this week's blog. For those of you who don't know me, and even for those of you who do, you may not know I love food, and have even gone so far as to become a fan of the Food Network and several cooking shows. Yes, it's true. I love watching Chef Ramsey crack the whip in Kitchen Nightmares in order to straighten up a failing restaurant and get it back up and making a profit. He reminds me of a drill sargeant that didn't get enough sleep. I also love to watch him challenge chef-hopefuls in Hell's Kitchen. There is something about watching what it takes to make great food and run a restaurant that captures my imagination. I know I do not have anywhere near the organizational skills to do that, but I can dream and I enjoy watching how they make those incredible dishes. 

Recently I stumbled upon a blog written by a woman who runs a restaurant with her sister and her mother. I swear some of her posts are funny enough to be material for sitcom writers. She has a unique perspective of the restaurant business and shares the serious and the hilarious aspects of it with her readers. The title of the blog alone made me want to check it out, once I did I was hooked. The title is It's Gonna Take More Than a Hamburger to Make Me Happy . 

Why you should read it? Don't tell me you haven't wanted to know what goes on behind those kitchen doors after you place your order. What do the people cooking your food talk about? How do they respond to bad customers? It is like being a fly on the wall and seeing how the owners and cooks see things. She also talks about daily stuff that an outsider wouldn't think of. Her most recent post for example talks about the Laundry guy, and what happens when he arrives with their linens. It seems both funny and sad at the same time. It is very real and easy to relate to. 

Click on the link below and take a peak into life behind the scenes of a family restaurant. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

It's Gonna Take More Than a Hamburger to Make Me Happy

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Mayhem

Just a couple of things to add today. First I want to close up the voting poll tomorrow morning. If you want to get another vote in for your candidate of choice vote today. You know me, I am completely unbiased on it, so vote anyway that makes you happy. OK, maybe unbiased is not exactly correct. 

Secondly, I added a new page to the site. I love to play games every now and then, so I thought it might be nice to just add some fun games to my own site. Now when I want to play I know where to go. Thanks to google gadgets I have been able to add Frogger, Black Jack, and Checkers. I plan to rotate other games in from time to time as I get bored. Feel free to join in and play some of the games. There is a link on the right side that says Arcade Fun. Just click it and enjoy yourself. 

Finally, for those of you not persuaded by my Obama posts and are looking for more people who support McCain/ Palin, then I would like to encourage you to check out another of my favorite blogs. You know it must be good if she is a McCain supporter and I still like reading her blog. Check out Melissa's Desk. I thought it only fair that if I was going to openly support a candidate that I should at least give the opposing side some equal time. I am sure that when it comes to writing something good about the republican candidates it would be best left to someone who feels more passionate about it. Here is a link to her post entitled NObama for all of you ready to jump right in.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Silly Sunday

[caption id="attachment_174" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Swamp Monster for President? "]Swamp Monster for President? [/caption]

Yes, I can see now why we should elect this man for president. I was sooo wrong about him. Let's all sing a nice rendition of Bomb, Bomb,Bomb Iran together to celebrate.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Did He Just Say That?

I think I just lost my first argument to my three year old son. Well, I am not sure it was actually an argument per se. All the same, I am sure I was the one who lost. T was playing a video game by himself, and as usual he was asking a lot of questions as he played. 

"Why is that doggie rolling around?"

"I don't know.", I said, hoping that would suffice.

"Why is that doggie rolling around?", he asks again as if I hadn't spoken.

"The doggie rolls around and runs over the racers. Stay away from the doggie.", I say hoping that a longer answer will work. 

" Daddy, but why is the doggie rolling around?", he asked relentlessly. 

"T, are you listening to me? The doggie is there to make you go slower. When you are racing you want to go fast, so stay away from him.", I say hoping that would finally end the discussion. 

"Why is the doggie rolling around?", he asks. I see now he is playing a game with me and it will go on forever unless the chain is broken. We are sitting side by side on the couch. I lean over to him and get forehead to forehead with him. "YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME ANY WAY, SO STOP ASKING ME ABOUT THE DOGGIE!", I say loudly, laughing as I say it. I assumed this loud comedic response would make him laugh and the string of questions about the doggie would be over. I mean he is three years old. I am his dad. I assume I have won this round and sit back up. 

T looks at me, shakes his head slowly and says, "You are a strange, sad , little man." I looked at L, (my wife), and we both started laughing. I was laughing so hard I was crying. 

"Where did you learn that from?", I asked him as I tried to catch my breath from laughing so hard. 

"That is what Buzz Lightyear says to Woody when Woody was yelling at him." he explained to us. I was just so impressed that he could take a quote from a movie and use it so appropriately in a crazy conversation. Sometimes he seems more like a teenager than a three year old.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to Win the Election

It is a crazy world, and from what I can tell there are so many people in America who seem to have no ability to think for themselves at all. I am sure those of you reading this are smart enough to tell when you are reading something if it has any truth to it at all. Most of us can even tell when what we read or hear is a lie based on a truth.  Some of the best lies have just enough truth behind them to make them seem real. After following along with the election this year I know it is too late to announce my candidacy, but if I could, I have a good strategy all set up. It involves taking a page from the McCain / Palin playbook. Here is my first speech to get my campaign off on the right track:

[Step One -  Invoke God, as if he endorses me]

My dear Lemmings, the country, which was created by God himself for good people like us, is in dire straights.

[Step Two - Add lame humor]

No, not the Dire Straights band from the 80's, but the dire straights that means real bad situation. What we need in a time like this, my dear Lemmings, is some strong leadership.

[Step Three - Say you have a specific plan but don't say what it is]

We need someone like me who can take the hard stance, make tough decisions and stand up for our country. I can fix our economic problems my dear Lemmings, and I'll tell you exactly how. My opponents won't tell you how.

[Step Four - Start telling some lies that could possibly be true but probably are not]

Heck, Sen. Obama is most probably a Buddhist since .3 percent of people in Kenya are Buddhists and we know he has family ties with that country. We know what Buddhists do with money, right? They give it away. Do we really want to elect a man who would go and give away our hard earned money? Of course not! And Sen McCain, well, his ties to Barry Goldwater run deep. Barry Goldwater is a libertarian from Senator McCains own home state of Arizona who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Why we are not digging into this obvious act of racism in his past, I do not know. And someone who would be an acquaintance of a man like that could not possibly have a good plan to fix the economy, and if he did would it ignore all people of color?

[Step Five - Repeat the lies again because that makes them true]

So, my dear Lemmings, I ask you, who do you believe can fix the economy and get you back into your over priced homes? [Wait for them to stop chanting my name before I continue] A possible Buddhist, a man who is an acquaintance with a person who voted against Civil Rights Act of 1964, or me, a devoted leader who has told you time and time again exactly how he can improve the economy within the year. You do want your homes value to return where it was right? You do want your home loan to be cut in half, do you not?

[Step Six - Throw in more God talk, it can't hurt you]

Then, my dear Lemmings, the choice is as clear as the back of your hand, which was created by God himself specifically for you to use when voting for me. 

[Step Seven - Talk about things that people ask you while you travel around. Especially if it is negative about your opponents]

As I travel around this Great Land, I hear from many people who want to know, does John McCain really have a secret room in all of his houses where he holds cock fighting tournaments on a monthly basis? And every time I tell you straight out, I have no idea. And if he did, would it be any of my business? Possibly, but we first need to ask Senator McCain about this and see for yourself how quickly he denies it. Nothing is more incriminating than a strong denial. I am guessing he will say "no" pretty emphatically, so that would mean he probably does. 

Now, my dear Lemmings, I also hear people asking me about Senator Obama. They want to know if it is true that Senator Obama only passed his political science classes in college because his basketball coach talked to the professor and they made an "arrangement" where his scoring percentage on the court could be used as a part of his grade. I tell these people, look, I am not an investigative journalist. If you say that is true, then maybe it is.

[Step Eight - Add a few more "possible truths" to keep the press focused on researching your opponents past and not have time to ask about your detailed plans for the country]

But the questions do not end there. They want to know if Senator Obama uses the term "community organizer" as a way of making his actual job in Chicago of Big Daddy Pimp sound more presentable to the public. Now, my dear Lemmings, I hear you and I am not one to make up rumours about another candidate. So if you tell me those are facts, well, who am I to disagree with you. And regarding your questions about Senator McCain storing large amounts of gold in the basement of one of his houses in order to protect himself when our economy collapses, I just say that the neighbor who saw the trucks unloading it may or may not have seen actual gold bars. I can't be sure so I will not be so arrogant as to question the Senators right to store gold bars. 

[Step Nine - Final Step - (I know ten would have been better, but McCain's mind isn't as strong as it once was, so he only uses nine steps) - Wrap up with another God mention, restate some lies, remind Lemmings you have a detailed plan, thank them for their vote.]

So, in conclusion my dear Lemmings, I thank you in advance for your vote. It is because I have a detailed plan to have the bank give you your home mortgage back with a big PAID stamp across the top that you are voting for me. It is because you don't want a possible Buddhist handling your money, at least until he gives it away, and you don't want some guy who has so many doubts about our economic future that he possibly hordes gold in his basement, that you are voting for me. It is because I am a leader you can trust to bring change to Washington that you vote for me. Finally, it is because I go to a church you have heard about and no one from my church has set themselves on fire in a protest, and no one from my church has had a youtube video made about their pastor. And unlike Senator McCain's pastor, my pastor doesn't know a guy from his days in Bible college that got a minor pregnant. We don't have THOSE kinds immoral things happen in my church, Praise be to God. Let us pray that OUR God let's us win this election so as not to make their God appear stronger than ours. Amen. 

God bless you all, and thank you for your votes in November!

[Step Ten - (This is from Palins playbook. It is only one step long) - Leave quickly like you are in a hurry. Don't answer any questions because you may end up looking stupid. ]

Oh, I am so sure I could have won this election if only I had known these steps earlier.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

Sometimes things happen in ways you don't expect. When there is a toddler around it seems that things seldom actually go anywhere near where you had foreseen them going. Of course there is a story to go along with this statement. 

During my free time I like to go online and brows the blogosphere searching for things fun to read, educational, or helpful to making me a better parent. Today I was reading one of the blogs I follow,, and they posted about an interesting online program for teaching children phonics. It is a program that requires a subscription fee to use, but they provide a free trial of two lessons. T was sitting near me, so I decided to give it a try. He seemed interested in it on my laptop, so I went ahead and pulled up the lessons on his computer. He was clicking away at the letters and hearing the sounds. He is just starting to get that sounds and letters go together, he is not great at it yet. So, I was helping him a little bit by prompting him to click the sound button, which repeats the sound. I was hoping he would hear it enough times and start to make connections. It seemed like it was going well, until he had to say 'B'. 

The letter 'B' became BEE, and it went downhill from there. 


[caption id="attachment_143" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="T testing out some phonics software"]T testing out some phonics software[/caption]

Here T is, playing with the game online. He was having fun, and rapidly it became more interactive than expected. He said the letter 'B' and suddenly he was up on his feet running across the room. "Come on Daddy, I am a bee and I want some honey.", he yelled back to me. I got up, interested to see where this would lead. I followed him into his bedroom, where he must have coincidentally been playing as a bee earlier in the day. I walk into his room and see this:


[caption id="attachment_144" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="T buzzing like a bee. "]T buzzing like a bee. [/caption]

T is flapping his arms and buzzing like a bee. He tells me he wants some honey, and then quickly heads into the hive to get some. (The hive is a collapsable laundry basket.)


[caption id="attachment_145" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="T, the bee, in his hive."]T, the bee, in his hive.[/caption]

On the plus side, 'B' was the correct answer to, "Which letter makes the 'buh' sound?" However, at this rate it could take a while to get through all the letter sounds.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cool Blog of the Week - Four

[caption id="attachment_139" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Geissen Depot - Gate Shack"]Geissen Depot - Gate Shack - C Battery 2/2 ADA[/caption]

I joined the Army as an MP in 1985. My first duty station was in Geissen, Germany for a HAWK missile battery which no longer exists. I was assigned to a squad of MPs in the company and our mission was to protect the site through access control and physical security. Basically, I was a gate guard who also occasionally walked the perimeter of the site to insure no one entered without authorization. We searched vehicles and checked IDs of any one coming onto the site.

I spent the greater part of a year in this shack before the unit deactivated and I was reassigned to another unit. In fact I spent Christmas eve and Christmas night of 1985 on duty in this shack. It was the first Christmas I had ever spent away from my family. It was difficult for me, and for a lot of others who were there over the holiday, but you realize that you are doing something bigger than yourself. Evil doesn't take the holiday off, so neither does the military. I was young and single back then. I couldn't even imagine doing that now that I have my own family. I have no idea how so many men and women in the military today are able to go on those long deployments to Iraq and leave their spouses and children behind for over a year at a time. I have so much respect for them and their families.  

So, as the holidays approach, remember that there are millions of families who will have an empty seat at their holiday table. While you are enjoying a family feast, just take a moment and give thanks to those who will be out defending our freedom so we can sit together and freely discuss politics and worship which ever religion we choose. 

It so happens as I was out reading blogs I came across The Army Wife blog, written by a woman named Jess. I have been following it for a while and every time she talks about her husband it makes me so glad I was single when I was serving. 

Why You should Read It: We always think about what it must be like for the men and women serving those long tours in a war zone, but we often forget the strain it puts on their families who have to struggle on each day without them. They wait, counting down days on a calendar hoping that they will come home when they are scheduled and won't be delayed fo one reason or another. This quote comes from Jess's blog:

"PS: Do ya’ll realize that in 30 days, Anthony will be gone for a whole year. Time flys doesn’t it?

PSS: I applied for a job at Wal-Mart, I need something to keep me busy.

PSSS: I want to buy a handgun."

And in a different blog she wrote: 

"My husband’s company lost two soldiers two days ago. This is the main reason why I have been hiding out. We are not sure what happened, it’s under investigation. Just please pray for the family members of these soldiers and for the soldiers who served with them." 

I can totally feel for her. I hope that everyone can take a look at her site and say "hello" and "thank you" to her for all she has to go though so that her husband can be away fighting our battles.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Touch a Truck Day

This week end we took T out to Touch a Truck Day. It was an excellent idea, and I had never heard of anything like that before. It was just a day set up by the city and county governments to let young kids come out and have a hands on experience with the vehicles they find so fascinating. There were vehicles there like: 

[caption id="attachment_131" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="My son drives a fire truck. "]My son drives a fire truck.[/caption]




 The Ladder Truck. I think this was one of his top two favorites. He spent a lot of time climbing on the truck, playing with the shiny parts, and climbing in the seats.





I think the Ambulance won top honors with T. They hooked him up to the EKG machine and showed him his heart beat. He also got to play with the seat belt on the gurney, which oddly enough was almost more exciting for him because he could demonstrate to everyone how it worked. He opened it, and put the belt back together several times. 

[caption id="attachment_132" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="My son tours the ambulance."]My son in tours the ambulance.[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_133" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="My son in a GradeAll Ditch Digger"]My son in a GradeAll Ditch Digger[/caption]








Another truck that he enjoyed was the GradeAll ditch digger. It was huge, and he got to get inside and play around a bit with the handles and horn. 


Also, they had a city bus, a street sweeper, two police motorcycles, a police car, the bomb squad had their robot out for him to watch, John Deere tractors, and even a garbage truck. It was a nice way to spend the morning together as a family. Little baby Q even had a good time rolling around in her stroller, and Mommy was the photographer for the trip. We followed up the morning with a nice lunch, and then home for naps. Well, at least we tried to get T to nap.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin-Biden VP Debate Winner Is...?

I was very excited to watch last nights VP debate. Not because I care about the issues, because seriously this is the VP debate. If I want to hear about issues I'll wait for the presidential debate. I was excited just because of the entertainment value it could possibly have held. It was the same reason I love to go to hockey games. Hockey is a great game and everything, but I go to see who gets slammed into the boards so hard the glass breaks, and who gets thrown out for fighting. I watched the debate in anticipation of seeing someone blow it so bad that the whole world would be talking about it for decades. This debate surely had the potential to be exceptionally entertaining. Unfortunately, the show was lacking in that and ended up being a serious debate. 

The debate didn't change anything for me. I don't see her as a leader, and I still wonder how she was able to run Alaska. Here are some things from the debate that annoyed me:

1. "Now, John McCain thankfully has been one representing reform. Two years ago, remember, it was John McCain who pushed so hard with the Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) reform measures. He sounded that warning bell." Yes, thank God he sounded that warning bell, if he hadn't sounded it who knows what might have happened? We might be in a real pickle right now! Oh, wait! The great "Maverick" wasn't able to get enough people behind him after sounding the warning bell to make a difference. I guess if I thought about it enough it might make me think that John would be a good Vice President. Someone who could see something that could be wrong and tell it to a real leader who could actually make a difference using that information. Palin said it best,"People in the Senate with him, his colleagues, didn't want to listen to him...". Does that sound like a leader to you? By that standard, I should be president. Heck, no one listens to me either!

2. When asked who was at fault for the current economic problems, whether it was the borrowers, or lenders who were at fault Sarah stated," Darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house. There was deception there, and there was greed and there is corruption on Wall Street. And we need to stop that."  That is a good answer for Joe six pack I guess. A good answer for the people who lost their house and want someone to blame, but a real leader would have been able to put some of that blame on the borrower as well. Let's face the facts, I have gotten home loans in the past, and I have never had a lender tell me,"No, you should borrow more than that. Think bigger and better!" No, People look at houses, find one they want, decide if they can afford it, and then apply for the loan. So the first problem is the borrower making a bad choice, and not thinking it out beyond the first six months of the loan. If you apply for an adjustable loan you have to assume it will go up at some point. So, the borrower has some blame here and Palin ignores it to pander to the common person who is looking for a way to pass the blame onto those with deeper pockets. Of course the lenders are not right either and do deserve some of the blame. It is their job to go through the process and make sure the applicant actually has a way of making payments on the loan they applied for not only at the time of the loan, but also when the rates go up. If anyone should know that rates go up, it would be the lenders. They definitely should reap what they have sown. If your lending policies have gotten you to the point of failure, I am sure there is another bank that will happily buy you out at half your value. Buh-bye!

3. How many questions were asked to Palin that she completely ignored? She ignored them because she had no answer. In other words, she lost that point and was hoping to answer a different question she could at least recite a much rehearsed lie for. For example:

BIDEN: "Gwen, the governor did not answer the question about deregulation, did not answer the question of defending John McCain about not going along with the deregulation, letting Wall Street run wild. He did support deregulation almost across the board. That's why we got into so much trouble."

IFILL: Would you like to have an opportunity to answer that before we move on?

PALIN: I'm still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. 

Did she ever come back to that? Of course not. And this happened several times. She had a question staring her down that she had no good answer to, so she ignored it. Better to change the subject than to have another Katie Couric moment. 

Over all, she had survived the debate without amusing us all. I guess that was the best she could hope for, especially without John McCain sitting in the chair next to her. There is no doubt though that as a debate, Biden won this hands down. 

::: Don't forget to vote in the poll to the right if you haven't already. Thanks! ::::: 

Baking Cookies

Most of our little family is stricken with a nasty little cold. All of us, except for baby Q. That is so lucky. It is so sad when a baby gets a cold. I am guessing the germs came from T's preschool friends who love to share such things. As is typical, T ended up with the lightest case of the virus. That is a good thing for him, but for some reason L and I always get it worse. She started getting a sore throat one day, and then I got it the next. Then we got sinus stuff, and then lung stuff along with coughing. The whole nine yards. All of this happens of course when I had to get the house ready for chickens to arrive. 

It has been almost a week now that we have been fighting this cold. We are all coughing yet, but it seems to be lessening a bit. Feeling like I had a bit if energy I asked L to pick up some cookie dough on the way home from picking T up from school. I thought T and I could have some bonding time and bake some cookies together. Nothing like a project that ends with eating cookies. 

Now, it is a fun idea, but it leads me to a couple of questions. First, how clean can a little boys hands ever really get? I just ask because his job was to roll the spoonful of dough into a ball and place it on the baking sheet. As I watched him rolling the ball around and around in his hands I was wondering, how well did he really wash those hands? 

That lead to my second question, will a 350 degree oven really kill those possible germs in 12 minutes? If it were not for the fact that they are delicious cookies, I may not have risked eating them. 

T didn't resist eating them either. In fact, he started eating the dough about 30 seconds into the rolling process. I showed him how to roll the dough into a ball, and then gave him some dough to roll by himself. His first ball, dropped a chocolate chip onto the table which he picked up saying," Oooops, a chocolate fell off.", and then he ate it. Finding it tasted delicious, he smelled the ball of dough he rolled and tasted that too. At that point I figured we needed to clarify the rules of cookie baking or there will be one upset tummy and no cookies when we are done. Rule: He can eat that one, but the rest have to go on the baking sheet. He did a great job with it after that. The cookies, which may or may not be little balls of cold virus, turned out perfect. Even T's Mommy approved of the finished product. We need more bonding time like that. =-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You Know You Are a Dad When...

The other day I was holding Q. Actually, I had just fed her a bottle, and holding her up on my shoulder so she could burp. She was up with her head the same height as mine, and she slowly turned her head to look at me. As her face got adjusted so that she was looking me in the eyes, her mouth was inches from my nose. At that moment the burp had climbed all the way up, and came flying out of her mouth at full force, right into my nose. Mmmm, baby burp smell. =-) This got me thinking about what other things happen to me now that would never happen to me prior to being a dad. I thought maybe I should see if I could make a list of things that fall into those categories. 

1. I definitely never had a baby burp in my face prior to being a dad. I assume, like most dad's, I stayed far away from small baby like creatures when I was not a parent. I had a slight fear I would be asked to hold the baby, and most likely I would do it wrong and break it. Now, a nice baby burp in my face just makes me happy knowing that she won't be hurting from a gas pain later. 

2. Walking through the house in the dark used to be relatively safe. Now I walk as gently across the floor of my living room as I do across the chicken house floor when it is filled with curious baby chickens, who tend not to know they shouldn't run under the boots. I learned in the chicken house to shuffle along the floor to avoid making space for a chicken to run under my feet. In the living room I also shuffle to avoid another incident where the plastic Buzz Lightyear caused me to fight back tears of pain as I walked across the room to turn on a light. 

3. Prior to being a parent my conversations, although not always fully mature, seldom had me using voices of muppets. Now I spend time on occasion reading to T while having my Elmo voice ask me (the Daddy voice) leading questions about the story. I hold Elmo in one arm, and T in the other and all three of us talk about the story as I read. T really likes hearing Elmo's crazy thoughts about the story and characters, and he always corrects Elmo about what is really happening. 

4. Before I was a parent, L and I would have spontaneous dates anytime we didn't feel like cooking. We would start out by heading to a nice dinner and then possibly decide to take in a movie without giving it a second thought. Now, a date is something few and far between due to the intense planning that is involved. There is the notification of relatives to make sure we can get one of them to baby sit. Usually the honors go to grandma and grandpa. Next is finding a good day to do it where we both will have the energy to go on a date. Believe me this is often the most difficult part. Spending the day with a toddler and a baby, or even just one of the two, can drain the energy out of you fairly quickly. Next is the fact that we have to get the kids to grandma and grandpa's house early enough so that we can grab a quick meal, then catch an early movie so we can be finished in time to get back, pick up the kids and get them home in time for bedtime. It is basically more work to take some time to ourselves than it would be to just sit at home and hope the kids go to sleep right away so we could watch a movie on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. 

5. In the pre-parent years I could finish typing a sentence without having my face grabbed. I say that because as I was typing the last item T decided he wanted to show me something. He started talking to me, and I was trying to quickly get my thought down before it faded away. I didn't type quick enough for T. He isn't shy about making sure the audience is paying attention. He grabbed my face and said,"Daddy, listen to me, I have to show you something." He put his hands on my cheeks and turned my face so that we were face to face. Eye contact while talking is important you know. And yes, I do need to work with him on the virtue of patience, among a few others. In Spanish we say 'poco a poco', which means little by little. Life is a journey remember and he will learn all things in their proper time. 


Just a side note: There is a poll on the side. Please cast your vote for your presidential candidate. It seems a bit one sided so far. Thanks!