Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Yankees are coming!!!

Yankees, ugh. I don't like the baseball team either. The new neighbor is from Massachusetts. He has taught me that New England Yankees are the worst kind.

On the second occasion of talking with Cari, he started making comments about how much money I make. What the heck is this guys problem? He stood in front of our house talking with Cari. She had run outside when she saw him out. There is a story coming about that too. Anyway, he told her that I must make a lot of money to live in a big house and her stay home. Stupid bastard doesn't even know my name and he wants to talk about how much money I have?

His ugly wife was walking around in the street the other day trying to figure out how to get garbage service. We don't live in the city, so you have to call a private company for stuff like that. Cari thought she would go out and give the lady a number for the company we use. By the time Cari went out, the lady was back in her house two doors down. So Cari walked over and knocked on the door. Cari heard them walking around and there was two cars in the driveway. The lady had been out just minutes ago. They didn't answer, even with Cari's relentless pounding on their door. Friggin' Yankees! Run your own trash to the dump! Bury it in your yard! Whatever you people do! Get out of the South! GO BACK WHERE YOU BELONG!

Maybe I need more rest. I'll keep you updated as they continue to irritate me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

When animals attack!

If you think having two young children, Cari, and myself in a house is crazy, imagine what happens when you add two cats and a dog.

The dog will not go upstairs. The cats live up there. The trick is that the cat food and water is kept downstairs. The dog spends a lot of her day outside and this provides ample opportunity for the cats to eat. The dog loves cats. A special kind of love. A kind of love like I have of hamburgers.

Sometimes in the morning, the cats start coming down the stairs while the dog is still inside. The clicking of the dogs' nails start getting faster as she dances around staring at the cats. The cats growl and hiss, and sometimes show their claws. This is all very entertaining to watch when it doesn't happen at five am.

I was getting ready for work one morning when this started happening. It was about five am.
Here is a diagram, to help you visualize what I'm going to tell you.
You can see from this drawing why I stick to photography.

I was in the bathroom with one cat sitting on the counter. The dog was very excited about this. As I got out of the shower, the two animals were quietly staring each other down. I walked into the bedroom and saw the other cat sitting on the bed. It was looking at the dog.
This is when it got good.

The cat in the bathroom lost patience with the dog and jumped down, hissing with claws raised up. The dog got scared and started to back up into the bedroom. This prompted the other cat to hiss loudly and show claws behind the dog. The dog freaked out and try to run down the hallway, but her feet were slipping on the laminate floor!

The cats don't seem very scared of the dog, just irritated. The dog is very interested in the cats, just not interested in their claws. I don't blame her.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The only way I know

One thing we did on Thanksgiving was rake up the leaves. This may not sound like fun, but it was.
Of course, after making a pile of leaves, the entire family must throw them and roll in them. Essentially spreading them back out in the yard. This is only our second winter here, so this is still a new thing to us. I'm sure the neighbors look out at us like they would at a zoo exhibit.Meredith prepares to jump in the pile like she would a swimming pool.

After raking the leaves up for a second time, there is only one way that I know to get rid of them. BURN THEM! This method is also the quickest way to get the children out of the pile.
Of course I didn't burn my children in a smoky pile of leaves. What actually happened was the four of us were having a leaf fight. Leaves were flying everywhere and even going into everyone's shirt. Until . . . someone shouted, "SPIDER!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Working in the dark

CSI, (the original one, not the Miami or NY variety), is one of my favorite shows. They have great characters, interesting stories, and some really cool science.

Something that I have noticed recently about CSI is that these people love to work in the dark. If you watch the show, you know that the story is based around the night shift CSI crew. Most of their work is done at night.

That still doesn't explain this:
While this guy performs an autopsy, he uses one small fluorescent light. He puts that light in the corner and puts a sheet over it. Yeah, that just seems to bring out the details in a dead body.
There is never a fully lit office or workspace. Here's a guy doing some DNA tests. Very sensitive and careful testing, where every detail matters. Turn the lights off before you start.

So, the lab guys like to work in the dark. What about the CSI team themselves? Out at the scene. How do they work?
You got it, in the dark. Go into the house where someone was murdered and start looking for the evidence. Don't turn the lights on. That little pocket flashlight, that runs off of two AA batteries will do it. Looking for that smallest hair in the carpet? How about reading that fake suicide letter? Do it in the dark, if you are going to do it at all.

There are times when the lights need to be out so they can use their fancy equipment and lasers. But there are several times in each episode, I just sit and ask myself, "Why didn't they turn the lights on?"

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Go help yourself!

Our neighbors from two doors down moved last week. They moved to the house directly across the street from us. They are pretty good friends of ours. That means Cari offered to help them move. She also offered me to help them move. Last Saturday was a big day for them to get going and I didn't have to work. Cari got up early and went over.

Cari was trying to persuade me to get over there. I told her that I would not paint, but I would be happy to help move furniture and boxes. Pretty much all the work that was being done at that time was painting. So, I stayed home. When I got tired of playing on the computer, I went and lay in bed. I watched Nascar qualifying and started to fall asleep. Cari, again, came home and told me to at least go over and see the pretty colors going up on the walls. After I declined the offer, she went back to work, and I went back to watching television.

The kids were running back and forth between the houses and managed to keep me from falling asleep. This didn't put me in a better mood. So, the third time Cari came in and told me to get over there, I got up and put my shoes on with a bit of disgust. I was putting on a bit of a show, much like a child. The show was to let Cari know I was not happy about going over there. I put my hat on and pulled it low over my eyes. I reminded her that I would not paint, and from looking out the windows I knew no boxes were being moved.

Inside the house, I saw a lot of people painting. They were painting a lot of colors. The neighbor said that she didn't think I was going to get off the computer. I corrected her by telling her I was trying to take a nap.

Cari picked up her roller and started back to painting. Without saying anything, I walked back to my house. Cari didn't ask me to help any more that day.

That is not the end of THIS story. Later on in the evening, Cari came over and told me that they were having pizza and I should come have some.

"I refused to help them all day, I certainly will not go eat their food now.", I informed her.
Then she offered to buy me some dinner and I could eat it at the neighbors house with everyone. "You don't get it. I'm not going to their house today. I did nothing to help them.", I explained.

The end of this story is that I ate pizza. With Cari. . . in my house.

Later this week, I'll tell you about the Yankees that moved onto my block.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


We have one of those small refrigerators under the counter at work. We keep bottles of water in the freezer part in the morning to be sure they get VERY cold by the afternoon. We noticed recently, that a very odd thing was happening when a bottle was opened.

Taking it out of the freezer and holding it up, it was still pure liquid. Very clear, clean water, and not frozen. As the bottle is opened, the water crystallizes before your eyes. Starting at the top, the water turns to a icy slush. The slush quickly forms through to the bottom of the bottle. This has become daily entertainment for us. "Quick, he's going to open a water, everyone to the office to watch ice form!". Many have witnessed the amazing ice trick, but nobody could explain the science behind it.

I did a bit of research online, and it seems we are "supercooling" the water. In the freezer, the water is below its freezing point (32 F), but the clean spring water doesn't have a place to start the crystallization process. When you open the bottle or if you shake it up, you will create a nucleation site in the molecules. I found this was the best site to read about it: Department of Energy

It's a fun trick. So, if you don't have a lot to do today, go watch water turn to ice!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You don't have to HURRY anymore.

The boy is learning to use the technology available to him.

As we approach Christmas, he is influenced by marketing geniuses.

He has chosen several items to teach Cari and I about. When a commercial comes on while the kids are watching television it is very common to hear, "MOM! DAD! COME LOOK! I WANT THIS! HURRY!"

We use TiVo to record things we want to watch later. We also use it to avoid watching any commercials.

Randy uses TiVo to record commercials he wants to show us later.
At least now we don't have to "hurry" when a commercial comes on.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

What have you done to my lights?

Our bathroom light bar holds six bulbs. We had let them burn out one at a time until only two were left burning. Cari went out last week and purchased new bulbs. When I was in the bathroom that evening, I noticed all the lights were working. There was a bit of dust still on two of them, so I knew that she didn't change those. A quick quarter turn to the left and they went out.

A bit later, Cari came out of the bathroom complaining that the only two bulbs she didn't replace stopped burning. I couldn't hold back my laughter as I walked past her and tightened those bulbs.
She didn't love the joke as much as I did. The next day at work, I told this story to my friend, Rick. As I told my story, Rick got this crazy look in his eye and face lit up. This is an expression that I am very familiar with. Rick provided me with an idea to continue my joke on Cari and he provided the props needed.

Last night was MY moment. The plan was to wait until Cari went to sleep Saturday night and then make my move. She would realize my genius Sunday morning as she was getting ready for church. The problem was that I fell asleep on the couch waiting for her to fall asleep.

I woke up at two am. After checking that she was asleep, I went and got the small disks. I went in the bathroom with a flashlight and closed the door. As I unscrewed each bulb I held my breath. It seemed like I was making so much noise. With the bulbs out, I popped in the small disks that cause a bulb to randomly flash on and off. While putting the bulbs back into the sockets, I thought I heard Cari moving about. At that moment I was about half done with my setup. For a minute, I thought about abandoning the project. If she woke up and went into the bathroom before morning, my joke would be ruined.

After another minute of holding my breath, I finished with the bulbs. I flicked the switch and all the bulbs came on. Then, randomly, they started flashing on and off. SUCCESS! I turned the switch off and quietly snuck into bed by two thirty this morning.

At seven, Cari woke me up, "What have you done to my lights?"
I thought about playing dumb, but the big smile on my face was going to give me away. I turned my head away from her and asked what she was talking about.
"All the lights are flashing. You need to fix this. How did you do that?", she continued.

As I got up to start un-installing the flashers, I was laughing. Cari's last words this morning as we were getting in the car for church, "I will get you back."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

all will be

Estoy enojado

Yesterday I read an article that said the Florida legislator is proposing that all students from kindergarten thru second grade be required to take Spanish. The key word for me being, "required". Not offered but required. The school day wouldn't be any longer, and I don't believe there is any empty space in the current school day, so something would have to give. Math, maybe? Nope. They are talking about reducing or dropping art, music, or PE.

That's Awesome! Let's give up culture for learning someone else's language! (I sure hope you picked up the sarcasm in that line.)

If I still lived in Florida, I would be writing letters like mad. I propose taking the money they want to spend on this madness and using it to check work permits on the citrus farms. Check the guys working the sugar in the Everglades too.

Many schools offer English as a second language to students. Take some money and expand that program. They want to come to the United States, they should learn English. They aren't on vacation here. They are not tourists.

Learning a second language is a great thing for students, but do not offer only one choice, and then make that a mandatory class.

This makes me irritated. I have seen job applications offered in Spanish and English. If they can't read an English job application, then how in the F'ing world are they going to function in this friggin' job!?? None of the managers speak Spanish! 95% of the customers don't speak Spanish. Guess what, you can't work here unless you speak ENGLISH!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sit Down!

Cari and I went hiking at Glassy Mountain. When you get near the end of the trail, there is a spot at the rock face that you can sit and look out. I call it the look out area.

It can be kind of scary up there, for me anyway, knowing that one slip and you are tumbling down to the trees below.

When we got to the look-out area, Cari was standing near the edge. She was looking out. I was standing a few feet behind her getting my camera out and putting down the backpack. Just before I went to join her, I dropped my bottle of water near the backpack. The bottle bounced just a bit and started it's way down the slope. Cari heard me say goodbye to my water and she lunged for the bottle! Maybe she wouldn't call it a lunge, but from my point of view, it was definitely a lunge. She took a step toward the bottle at her side and bent down a bit. The bottle was sliding fast and was gone by the time she took that step. For a second, I thought my wife was going to catch that water for me, when she got to the bottom.

"You sit down right there!", I yelled at her. She started to try and calm me down a bit, but I continued, "It's just water! Stop moving, just SIT DOWN!"

She sat down on the edge of a mountain, looking out at the fall leaves.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Food on a String

I really learned something during the week of Halloween. I learned that if you tie your kids' food to a string and make them try to get it without use of hands, that I would be entertained for a very long time.
(click this picture for a MOVIE)

We did this "game" at a Halloween party. I have now rigged my own food from a string above each chair at our dinner table. Some things are easier to eat from a string. A hotdog, is very easy to eat from a string. Apples, not so easy. Some things are difficult to attach a string to. Rice is not a good meal from a string, you tend to eat much more string, than rice.

Plans are in the works to put the dog on a similar feeding plan.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ear Game

Randy loves to play games. He came to me asking if I would try a new game with him. Maybe I should have suspected some trouble based on his evil grin, but I agreed. After I sat on the floor and stood nose to nose with him, I was ready for the game. He said, "It's called the ear game."
Before I could ask how to play, he started the game.

He grabbed my ears and pulled them sideways away from my head. This did not seem like a fun game, but I let it continue. Randy said, "Now tell me ten trees that I know." The trick is that with someone pulling your ears off your head, it's hard to think of ten trees. I listed a couple, Maple, Oak, and Christmas as he counted my answers. Then we hit a problem. I said, "Birch."

"I don't know that tree.", Randy answered. Then he pulled harder on my ears. We were both laughing now, as I desperately tried to think of trees that a six year old would know.
After I answered the tenth tree, he released my ears. Quickly, he reached for them again in an effort to start round 2. At first I avoided being pulled into this game again, but he eventually caught me. The challenge for round two was to name ten things he knows that goes on pizza.

Ten toppings later, I stood up to keep my ears out of his reach. I don't think I could have handled another round at that time. Don't worry, I got revenge when I grabbed HIS ears and said, "Name ten banks that I know."

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Why do I have to decide among the THIRTY TWO feet of retail space devoted to toothpaste? Some stores probably have even more if you count all the whitening products. I just want to brush my teeth. I need a toothbrush and a bit of toothpaste. The toothpaste does not have to have pretty pictures on the tube. It does not have to be three striped colors, it does not have to be in a pump tube.

I don't like to shop. I want to get in and get what I need so I can leave.

I don't want to live in a communist country, where my neighbor and I are issued toothpaste that we must ration for the next five years. Capitalism is awesome. I think it is great that Colgate and Crest can go out and make every stinking variety of paste. Sometimes we go overboard.

Air condition filters bother me more than toothpaste. They have an ENTIRE aisle devoted to air filters at Lowe's. There are so many sizes. Why can't the air condition manufactures get together and have some standards? No reason really, they choose not to.
Small, medium, and large filters will be your sizes. Then you will get to choose between good, better, and best filtration. You know what? I just took an aisle of product and reduced it to NINE ITEMS! Better for consumers because there will be less confusion. Better for retailer so they have more room for other products. The manufactures can help this. They don't want to help.

Is there a need for more than NINE types of toothpaste?

It's late. I'm going to go brush my teeth and get in bed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Candy Day!

A few pictures from Halloween.

In our house, we had a PIRATE . . .
and a . . . well, you figure it out . . .We started out walking around our block with a neighbor. We were doing just fine. Then the other neighbor pulled up. A truck pulling a flat bed trailer that was holding about six kids. We hitched a ride with them. The truck would stop in front of houses with their lights on and ten kids would jump off this trailer and run to the house. It was kinda funny to watch.

The result is what you would expect. Excessive amounts of sugar in the house. I'll be sure to do my part of getting it consumed.