Halloween Night Wrap-Up

It seemed that the night had such promise. After all, it was Halloween on a Friday night. No need to watch the clock and worry about getting to bed at a certain time. Just party and watch scary movies as late as we want, right? Not so much. In the end, it was a pretty big letdown on all fronts…

Of course, the Older Daughter is too old for trick-or-treating. Instead, she spent the evening/night at a friends house. No surprise there.

The Younger Daughter also went to a friend’s house and her mom took them trick-or-treating.

Now that we live out in the country, we don’t get any trick-or-treater visiting the house.

Our best friends have traditionally joined us for an all night scary movie marathon when Halloween is on a weekend. However, they were unable to join us this year.

The Wife and I stayed home and watched some horror movies. Unfortunately, we chose movies that we had already seen multiple times, so we found ourselves actually laughing at the movies rather than being scared.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice quiet evening together. However, this was the first time since we became parents that we didn’t take kids out trick-or-treating. It think we were both mourning the passage of yet another parenthood ritual as we watch our girls grown up much faster than we would like. Sure, the Younger Daughter still has probably 1-2 years left, so we’ll probably be able to enjoy it at least one more outing. However, the writing is clearly on the wall.

50 Random Things About Me

Thanks to John via Chris for this one.

Here’s a meme with 50 seemingly random questions that I will answer with my expert writing abilities.

  1. What do you add to your coffee? I love the smell of coffee but generally need creamer to withstand the taste. Actually as I age and my taste buds die off, black coffee is starting to work for me.
  2. What are you reading now? I have kids. When do I have time to read? During vacation next week, I plan on reading Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca? by G.M. Ford.
  3. Do you own a gun?  No, two (evil laughter).
  4. Are you registered to vote? Absolutely. If you don’t want to participate in our democracy, shut up if you don’t like what’s going on.
  5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Doctors freak me out. I have to lay down when they draw blood out of fear of passing out.
  6. What do you think of hot dogs? I love them, but don’t ever tell me what’s in them or how they are made. 
  7. Favorite Christmas Song? No contest. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas
  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Diet Mountain Dew
  9. Can you do push ups? I don’t know. It’s better that I not try…I might be embarrased.
  10. What was the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend? I’m such a freak. My first girlfriend’s name was Lee. And this was in college (laugh amongst yourselves). The kicker is that I turned her into a lesbian. Yes, I was the last guy she dated before switching teams.
  11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring is my favorite (and only) jewelry I wear.
  12. Favorite hobby? I have kids. When do I have time for hobbies? I guess the closest thing I have to a hobby is blogging.
  13. Do you work with people who idolize you? (Dies laughing and is unable to answer)
  14. Do you have ADD? I do not believe so.
  15. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself? I’ll answer tomorrow.
  16. What’s your Middle name? Too paranoid to answer. You might track me down.
  17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. How can I find a way to be on vacation permanently? Pizza rules. Beer rules.
  18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday. Gas, t-shirt, dinner at Subway.
  19. Name 3 beverages you regularly drink. Diet Mountain Dew, water, beer.
  20. Current worry right now?  Being successful in my new job.
  21. What side do you dress to? I’m not really sure what this means. Left-right? Gay-straight? I don’t know how to answer.
  22. Favorite place to be? The Oregon Coast
  23. How did you bring in the New Year? I watched New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with the Younger Daughter.
  24. Where would you like to go? Hawaii
  25. Name three people who will complete this. No
  26. Whose answers do you want to read the most? I want everyone to play along. Do it.
  27. What color shirt are you wearing? Dark blue
  28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?.  No, I’m not a chick.
  29. Can you whistle?  Yes
  30. Favorite color? Red
  31. Could you be a pirate? Unlikely
  32. What songs do you sing in the shower? Our of respect for my family members, I do not sing in the shower.
  33. Favorite girls name?  Heather
  34. Favorite boy’s name? Jeff
  35. What’s in your pocket right now?  Cell phone, keys, and $0.50
  36. Last thing that made you laugh? I looked in the mirror.
  37. Best bed sheets as a child? Star Wars
  38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? I sprained my ankle so badly when I was a junior in high school that I was on crutches for several day.
  39. Do you love where you live? I like it, but don’t love it.
  40. How many TVs do you have in your house?  5, but only 2 are used regularly.
  41. Who is your loudest friend?  Probably John (sorry John)
  42. How many dogs do you have? Two
  43. Does anyone have a crush on you? Not that I’m aware of.
  44. What are the most fun things you ever did? I don’t know.
  45. What are your favorite books? Refer back to #2.
  46. What is your favorite candy? M&Ms
  47. Favorite Team? Portland Trailblazers
  48. What songs do you want played at your funeral? I don’t want a funeral. Please have a party and laugh about the good times we had.
  49. What were you doing at 12 AM? On the computer when I should have been sleeping.
  50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Morning comes much to early in the day. Can we start it at about noon?

Gone Fishin’

As a kid, I loved going fishing with my dad. However, it was about 25 years ago, as a teenager, that I grew bored with fishing and stopped going with my him. My guess is that it probably broke his heart to lose that special time.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when we were discussing our upcoming camping trip with the Younger Daughter. She informed us that she would like to learn how to fish. I have actually been wanting to take the girls fishing for a number of years, but things just never fell into place. I decided that this time, nothing was going to stand in the way of making it happen.

Last weekend, we went down to the local sporting goods store. I was a deer in the headlights looking at the overwhelming variety of gear available. Thankfully, a friendly and helpful lady helped us to pick out the appropriate pole, hooks, sinkers, bobbers, and bait that we would need to catch some tasty trout. Just a smidge over $100 later, we were out of there.

Now it seems that she was simply too excited to wait a week for the camping trip to commence and wanted to give it a whirl yesterday evening. Not wanting to disappoint, I relented. Given my typical bad luck, I was sure that I would fall in the water, end up hopelessly tangled up in fishing line, have fishing hooks stuck in my face, and get arrested for catching some obscure fish that is on the endangered species list.

Thankfully, things were not even close to being that bad. Yes, some things went wrong. We did have some minor tangling of line here and there. Oh, and I managed to drop the pliars through the slats of the dock…never to be seen again. But it was an amazingly relaxing and peaceful time together. It was quiet except for the birds and the sounds of fish jumping.

So, after 25 years, I again have the patience to enjoy sitting in a chair, lazily waiting for a fish to bite. Whether one actually bites or not doesn’t really matter. It’s amazing sitting with my daugher and enjoying some very special together time in a peacful setting. I realize that in all likelyhood, she’ll one day find this to be boring and move on. But I’m going to enjoy every moment until then.

Farmer Brown, at Your Service

As you may know, we have approximately 5 billion animals. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. I believe the Older Daughter took the time to count and found that the number was 26.

Anyway, since we have so much free time on our hands, we decided to start a small garden this year. A few weeks ago, I planted a couple of tomato starts courtesy of a friend who had way too many. Funny thing is, The Wife is the only one in the household that likes tomatoes. She even asked why I was planting them. My reply was, “can’t we do something nice just for you?”

The Younger Daughter and I went out this evening and planted a hill of cucumbers and 3 hills of pumpkins. So the tomatoes and cucumbers will be for our use and any we’ll give any extras to friends. With the pumpkins, we’ll keep a couple but hope to sell the rest. You know, another attempt to make this ranch pay its own way. It won’t be any sort of huge windfall, but every little bit helps.

We have talked about having a garden for years, but this is the first time we actually followed through. So I have no idea if this thing will actually work. I mean, I took a look at my thumb and it is not the least bit green. Good or bad, you’ll see and here the results right here. Stay tuned…

Dorky Humor

We had an enjoyable Saturday afternoon/evening. The Younger Daughter is over at a friend’s house for a sleepover and the Older Daughter didn’t have any plans. So, we convinced the Older Daughter to join us for dinner at the Olive Garden. We had a great time and enjoyed some great food (as always, too much, but hey…) and great conversation. It was a rare treat that we enjoyed. However, the Older Daughter quickly grew tired of the puns I kept throwing out. She finally said, “Mom, make him stop.” Sorry, I’ll never stop with my dorky humor. It is just a part of who I am.

Get to Know Me Better

Rick tagged me on this meme. Thanks man. Let’s get ‘er done.

The rules are:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1) What was I doing 10 yrs ago?

10 years ago the Older Daughter was 5 and the Younger Daughter was just 5 months old. I remember attending the Older Daughter’s dance recital that year–very cute. We were just settling into our previous house. I also started a custom software development business with a buddy–it didn’t work out.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

  1. Post to my blog (check)
  2. Get some laundry done (in progress)
  3. Check on the status of a job application (check–no answer yet…grrr)
  4. Do some more work on our business website (probably not going to happen)
  5. Blog surfing (check)

3) Snacks I enjoy:

  • Cheez-Its
  • soybeans
  • beef jerkey
  • popcorn

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

  • Build a nice new house on our ranch
  • Buy a monster motor home and travel
  • Do charity work

5) Three of my bad habits:

  1. Staying up too late
  2. Procrastinating
  3. Not eating right

6) 5 places I have lived:

  1. Lebanon, Oregon
  2. Ontario, Oregon
  3. Cheney, Washington
  4. Boise, Idaho
  5. Caldwell, Idaho

7) 5 jobs I have had:

  1. Petroleum Transfer Technician (some people call it a Service Station Attendant)
  2. Clerk-Typist
  3. Computer Lab Consultant
  4. Software Engineer
  5. Database Administrator

8 ) 5 peeps I wanna know more about:

  1. Bekki
  2. Jon
  3. Bonnie
  4. Allison
  5. smysore

8 Things About Me I’m Pretty Sure You Don’t Care About

Okay, my posting rate has been a little slow over the last few days. So I’m lifting a meme from John to get things moving along again. With this meme, you basically tell 8 facts about yourself and then tag someone else. I’m not going to officially tag anyone, but be a good sport and play along okay?

1. Both of my grandpas were named after famous people: Jesse James and Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure meeting either one (neither the grandpas nor the actual famous people).

2. I have ridden in the back of a police car and briefly checked out the county jail. You see, back in junior high, we had a zero-tolerance policy for fighting. If you were caught, you automatically got to ride to the county jail–about 13 miles away. They scared the hell out of you by showing you some cells, then your parents got to come pick you up. The fight was so minor that it was not worth it. No charges were filed. In retrospect, I should have drawn some blood or something for all the trouble of having my parents pick me up from jail.

3. Several years back, I was a good sport and took Irish dance lessons with the Younger Daughter. For the record, she grew bored of it and decided to quit–not me.

4. My biggest traffic pet peeve: Not using your turn signal. In an earlier post, I threatened to develop a tactical nuke capable of taking out a car. I would definitely use this on those who can’t be bothered with such formalities as signalling turns.

5. I am a sucker for cats. I could easily be one of those freaks that has like 47 cats. I hope this doesn’t threaten my Man Club membership.

6. In junior high, I once told a counselor that my goal was to be an NBA basketball player. For some weird reason, he thought I should have a backup plan, but I didn’t think so. For the record, I never even tried out for basketball. Oh yeah, and I’m 5’9″. Thankfully, I did come up with a backup plan.

7. I was so painfully shy in my younger years, that I never attended a single dance–not even the big ones: homecoming, prom, etc. That’s probably my single biggest regret from my youth.

8. Many years ago now, John and I decided at around 3pm to drive from Portland, Oregon, to Vancouver, B.C…for no particular reason. And we just turned around and drove right back after grabbing some fuel and snacks in Vancouver. A 12-hour round-trip if I remember correctly. Crazy. And one of my fondest memories.

My Failed Career as a Mechanic

About 10 years ago, I picked up a crappy old Mazda 323 so that we could save money with the forthcoming birth of the Younger Daughter. A buddy and I went to lunch a few times per week and he kept chiding me about not having a working radio. One day, he’d had enough and took a look to see if we could fix it. As it turns out, the fuse servicing the radio was simply missing. So, in our infinite wisdom, we randomly removed fuses from other slots until we found one that was “not doing anything”, and placed it in the radio slot. Awesome, now we could listen to some tunes on our drive.

As we were driving back to work on a very hot August afternoon, I noticed that the temperature gauge was rising. I finally had to pull over as it reached critical levels. Opening the hood, I noticed that the radiator hose had burst. Apparently that fuse was doing something after all. Yes, we removed the fuse servicing the radiator fan. Hey, I don’t claim to be a genius all of the time.

Busy, Busy, Busy

As spring approaches, the kids’ activities really start revving up. The Older Daughter is in track and has practice after school everyday. In a few weeks, she’ll be starting up driver’s ed. She has to be there at 7am for classroom instruction. 7am!

The Younger Daughter has horse riding lessons 3 times a week and is participating in horse shows several times a month.

On top of that, both kids have 4-H meetings a couple of times per month.

Oh, and it looks like $4/gallon gas may be just around the corner. I’m going to contact our local gas station to see if I can arrange to direct deposit my paycheck into their account. They’re going to get all the money anyway…let’s simplify things.

She Inherited My Crappy Cooking Gene

I’m no genetic scientist, but I think that the crappy cooking gene must be dominant. The Wife is a wonderful cook, but as you heard earlier, I can burn water. Unfortunately, the Younger Daughter is following in my glorious footsteps. She wanted some macaroni and cheese recently. So she pulled a box of Easy Mac out of the pantry (remember now, easy is part of the name). She dumped the ingredients into a bowl, put it in the microwave, and fired that baby up. A few minutes later, a horrid smell filled the house. I mean this was really bad. Something along the lines of how smoldering cardboard might smell–only not that good.

I noticed smoke pouring out of the microwave, so opened the door and pulled the bowl out. Looking inside, I saw a very think, brown liquid along with some very nasty looking noodles. It was obvious that she had missed a step–that is, adding water. The noodles were actually starting to melt/burn. The microwave still really reeks, even after cleaning it. I’m not sure if the smell will ever disappear. (One last reminder: This was Easy Mac.)

You’re very welcome kids–no extra charge for the dysfunctional kitchen tendencies you got from me.

Cute Valentine’s Story

Okay, cute is not a word I like to have associated with anything I do, have, say, etc. I think there may even be a Man Club rule against using the word. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty girly word. But there may be an exception on Valentine’s Day.

This evening was extremely busy. The Younger Daughter had a horse riding lesson and the Older Daughter had a soccer game. Romantic Valentine’s, huh? But hey, that’s life and we roll with it.

On the way home, we picked up a couple of heart-shaped pizzas from Papa Murphy’s. When we got home, I tried to cook them. Yes, I had some issues as always, but got some assistance and pulled it off.

I placed the pizza on the table and we all started loading up our plates. The Wife slid a piece onto her plate, then I slide a piece onto mine. We looked down and noticed a strand a cheese still connecting our two slices between the two plates. We simultaneously said “Awwwww”. Any other day of the year we probably would not have given it a second thought. But on Valentine’s day, it was pretty cool. How appropriate. Not only are our hearts connected, so are our heart-shaped slices of pizza. Cuuuute!

Let’s Dance

The Wife, the Younger Daughter, and I went to see Riverdance at the Morrison Center tonight. As a card-carrying member of the Man Club, I am legally restricted to very minimal interest in dance. This is a good thing. I don’t need, nor want, much dancing in my life. Riverdance is my guilty pleasure in the area of dance.

I freely admit that I do like Riverdance. They put on an amazing show. I think that each performer burns about 25,000 calories during the performance. Their feet are moving at an astonishing pace. I’m impressed with the near-athleticism of the performers and amazing choreography involved. That’s the part I enjoy and that’s where it begins and ends. I think there is some sort of story involved (yawn) and there are the occasional musical interludes between dances (extra sleep time for me). They also bowed like 27 times at the end. Give it up. Yes, we know you are awesome. Get off the stage so I can go home!

Don’t let my (occasionally negative?) comments stop you from seeing this show. It is very good.

Washing The Dog

Okay, so the Younger Daughter was washing the dog last night in the bathtub. In the middle of the bath, she came out carrying the dog and heading for the kitchen. When I asked what she was doing, she informed me that the hot water had run out in the bathroom, so she was moving to the kitchen sink. Should I be worried about the lack of common sense? Then again, maybe you don’t know until you think it through that each faucet does not have its own hot water supply.

Gotta Love Public Educashun

Our family had dinner at Garbanzo’s (the best pizza in the Treasure Valley by the way) last week. While waiting for our pizza, we were going through one of those trivia question things that you often find on the tables in mom-and-pop restaurants. Things were going pretty well until we came to the question “What country is north of Idaho?” The Younger Daughter (4th grade) answered Alaska (hello, that’s a state, not a country); The Older Daughter (9th grade) had no clue. I was floored. I consider myself reasonably intelligent and thought that The Wife and I (and even the public schools) had done a good job of educating our kids. How could they not know that Canada is north of the United States?

To give them a chance to redeem themselves, I asked a follow-up question: “What country is south of Texas?” Crickets could be heard as I waited for an answer. Once again, they had no clue. How is this? What geography are the public schools teaching our kids if not such basics as what countries border the United States? I am now convinced that our country is doomed.