Thursday, March 30, 2006

What's that smell?

What's that smell? It smells like the exhaust of a car burning some high octane racing fuel. It smells like rubber burning off of a tire. It smells like Nascar!

If you think it is exciting watching 43 cars get around an oval track as fast as they can, then you can only imagine how exciting it is to watch ONE car get around a smaller oval track. That's exactly what we did this past week.

Our local track down the road is a small flat oval. Similar to Martinsville, where Nascar will be this weekend. That fact, together with our proximity to Charlotte means that some Nascar teams bring their cars down here to test.

No real big names for the most part.Then Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed up. They wouldn't let us into the stands, so people lined the outside perimeter fence that is up on a hill. When the fence line got full, people parked on the hill and stood on top of their trucks. Some people shouted at Jr., others held up signs. He didn't respond to either.There was also a helicopter in the infield.It was later learned that the helicopter is owned by Tony Stewart, but he wasn't there. You know when you borrow something from a neighbor and keep it in your garage for six months? I wonder if the same thing applies when the item you borrowed is a helicopter. I wouldn't know because my neighbor doesn't own one. Guess those are the problems you deal with as a Nascar celebrity.
Junior is familiar with this track for another reason. His dad and his grandfather both ran races here. In fact, his grandfather's name is on the backstretch wall for winning track championships in the 1960's.

It sure was fun standing up on that hill watching Jr. run his laps. Maybe it was just those exhaust fumes getting in my head.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

new things coming

We recently got a new video card. It took away the capability to get video from our old camcorder onto the computer.

So, we went and got a new camcorder. This one is digital and uses Firewire to download to the computer. This means I hope to have more videos on here again soon. All the previous videos on this site were low resolution from our camera.

Getting the camcorder to work with the computer was not fun. First we spent $50 buying a firewire card to give the cord a place to plug in. Then I spent a night trying to make that card work and recognize when the camera was plugged in. It wasn't working and I had no way to test where the problem was. This is my only firewire device so I wasn't sure if it was camera, cable, new board, or computer.

Cari took the camera and cable to another computer and said it worked great. At least I knew how to narrow my search after that. To make a two day story into anther two sentences: Iit was the motherboard. I had the proper cables in a box.

Camera gets along great with the computer now. Last thing I will have to do is find a place I can upload these videos. I don't really want to pay a monthly charge for uploading my videos. Can anyone recommend a place that is near free to hold my videos?

More excitement coming tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Not that well traveled

On the way home from Walmart (yeah, I go to Walmart too) Randy started a conversation about Yankees. I swear I didn't start this one. He started by saying something about not being a Yankee. He said the word like he had just gotten away with cussing.

One of the cool things about having a boy is that I can mold him in any direction I want. Last year I told him it was better to be Republican and he went around calling people he didn't like, "democrat". Now the boy is disgusted by a Yankee.

Cari told Randy that she was a Yankee because she was born in Illinois. He replied with, "Well, dad isn't a Yankee!" Cari jumped quick on that statement and pointed out that I was born in Chicago. Randy was not willing to give up the fight and replied, "That is kinda South, right dad?"

His mother continued to tell him that even he would be a Yankee. He was born in Florida but Cari swears everyone in Florida is from the North, so Floridians are Yankees too.

Randy and I started to fight back but Cari changed the topic. She brought Randy's other hero into the mix. Jeff Gordon. Jeff is from California. Not a Yankee, not a Southern boy, but a Westerner.

Randy: "I'm a Westerner!"
Me: "Boy, you have never been out West! You are an Easterner."

Then it occurred to me. I have never been West of the Mississippi. I guess I never really thought about it, but I have lived my life confined to the East coast. Next vacation we go on I'm going to drive out to the Mississippi river and stand on the other side for a few minutes before we continue on.

Randy: "Well, at least we aren't Yankees. Right dad?."
Me: "That's right, boy."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's getting late

It's late and I'm tired. Before I get to bed there are two things I want to tell you about.

I keep my bird feeder full all year long. To fill it I buy Wild Bird food. Appropriately it says, "Wild Bird Food" on the bag. Directly below that line in a slightly smaller font is, "For Birds".

WOW! Bird food. . .for BIRDS! I am afraid that is one of those labels that someone put on because a person misused the product at some point.

I have one more crazy bit of information for you. As I was checking headlines over at tonight, I came on this one:

CNN TV: Are you getting enough sleep? 10 p.m. ET

10pm!!! If I was getting enough sleep I wouldn't be staying up late enough to watch that.
Good night.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I'm not feeling too Irish

St. Patrick's Day was just another day of playing dress up. We all wore our Irish shirts and decided to go into town.

What a good night to go out to eat. We let the children decide where to go. They really only know about two restaurants because we don't go out very often. They chose the Olive Garden. A great Irish restaurant. Dinner was pretty good and the children even behaved. That means Randy stayed in his chair and Meredith used her inside voice the whole time.

Maybe we need more days named after Saints.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Chemical Man!

Last week Randy was out playing with a neighbor boy in our yard. When I got up to check on them they were spraying something all over one of my oak trees. I got out there and found they had sprayed a bottle of cleaner on my tree.

Randy and I had a lesson about chemicals in bottles. He now knew that anything in a bottle could melt his skin. Problem solved.

Well, mostly solved. Later that week he was caught with an empty bottle outside. This bottle had been filled with Round-Up. Cari grabbed him up and interrogated the boy. Through her skills learned while watching CSI, she found that Randy sprayed our holly bushes with Round-up.

He didn't learn his lesson. Cari sprayed the hollies with water and today they still look pretty good. Randy got a severe sentence for his continued abuse of chemicals.

All this is happening while I'm trying to be better than the Yankee two doors down.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Just a little confused

The Yankee two doors down cut his grass a few days ago. It really helped his yard look better. The weather has been warmer the past few weeks and the grass is starting to come back a bit. The weeds have also started making their come back.

Cari said she saw him out there and he looked confused as he tried to navigate his push mower around the yard. Maybe that one tree he has threw him off. If I had been home to see it, then you would certainly be looking at a picture of it.

The next day as I drove to work, Yankee was out with a trimmer wandering around the middle of his yard. A place that needs no trimming. He was wearing a dust mask and ear protection that you would only find on an air craft carrier.

Cari reminded me that some guy from Massachusetts will NOT have a better looking yard. We got to work cutting our grass and pulling the weeds. Two bags of fertilizer sit waiting to be spread.

Yankee boy doesn't stand a chance this summer.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Busy week

I haven't written very much lately because I've been working a lot. I also haven't been reading the blogs I like to read this week. I hope to catch up soon.

Here is something that happened at work early this week.

I went out to see a customer about his floor. After he removed the tobacco from his lip his was able to describe the problem he was having. I stooped down and was checking the area and the guy was right next to me.

"Those are some nice prison shoes you got on.", he said to me. I wasn't really sure what to say. They are black dress shoes to me. Not really dress shoes I guess, but shiny black shoes I wear to work. He continued without my reply, "I have some too." This made me think he was trying to be friends. I looked up from the floor and smiled at him. This gave him the feeling to keep up the conversation. "My prison shoes are brown, not black like yours."

Ok. This is getting weird. I glanced over at his shoes. He was wearing some old sneakers that had holes big enough to see he wasn't wearing socks. He must have caught my glance because he said, "I'm not wearing them right now." I didn't reply, but I had several rushed into my head.

The next day I came to put some caulking in the area he needed help with. I asked if I could get my paper towel wet. He took the towel and put some water on it for me. Then he said, "If you need more, I have plenty of it." He didn't really sound like he was kidding.

Oh, and he still wasn't wearing his brown prison shoes.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ran out of candles.

He made it!

Today marked Randy's seventh birthday! He had his birthday party over a week ago, so this has really been a week long celebration.

We got him the camera I had mentioned a while back. Some of the things he has pictures of now are his sisters behind, me sleeping, half of a dog, most of a cat, and the gazebo at the park. The last shot was taken after climbing to the top of the playground. When he gives me a bit more selection, I'll put some up here.

He wasn't sure what he would be getting for his birthday because Cari had a talk with him last night. Her question to him was why should he get any presents for his birthday? She did all the work of giving birth to him. Her logic was that SHE should get the presents. So, she turned it on him and asked what he got her for his birthday. He tried talking about all the things he does for her and how great he is, but she just kept saying he didn't do anything to get born. She should be the one getting celebrated!

Tonight we got him a nerf dart gun set. You get two vests and goggles, two guns and twenty velcro darts. We ran around the yard for a while trying to take each other out with dart guns.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Signs of Spring

One of the first signs that winter has ended in our area are the flowering pear trees. They are really the first tree to start blooming and putting color in the fields of grey and brown branches.
There are a lot of pear trees around town. The drive to work is littered with these white trees.

We had our windows open last night and one of the neighbors had his mower cranked up first thing this morning. Ah! Spring time!
That's always the way I want to start my morning. Nothing more peaceful than a mower desperate for a tune up chewing on pine cones. I sure hope you read a lot of sarcasm into that last sentence.

The birds have been attacking my feeder at a record pace. They don't seem to get much fatter, so I'm not sure where the thirty pounds of seed I put in last week went.

I'm pretty excited about spring. It will give my mountain hikes a completely different look too.

Good Night

It's 2:30 am. Good night.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I want to buy a boat

About six months ago I went to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact it had been ten to twelve years since my previous visit.

The lady getting ready to clean my teeth asked why I waited so long and I told her I had been busy.

She brought out her heavy duty cleaning equipment and went to work. Then I had some x-rays done. Then she poked around looking for cavities. She couldn't find one.

It was not a horrible experience really and I felt like I should be good for another ten years. The dentist is not a place I like going.

Then the dentist came in. He poked around too, and couldn't find anything. Then he said, "You should get your wisdom teeth pulled. All four of them." As he spoke, he drew a large red "x" over each of my wisdom teeth on the chart. I didn't say anything, but I know the color left my face. He then told me that they didn't have any cavities. The wisdom teeth are so far back it would be hard for me to keep them clean was his reasoning. Whatever. See you in ten years.
Sounds like the guy was trying to earn some money toward that new boat.

That was six months ago. Time to go back for my six month checkup/cleaning. The same lady came in to clean my teeth and she remembered me. The cleaning process didn't take as long this time. Again, she poked around and found zero cavities. The dentist came in and poked around. He said, "you still have those wisdom teeth, huh?"

There were a lot of things I was thinking about saying to him, but I didn't say anything except, "they aren't coming out."
They don't hurt. They aren't rotten. I'm keeping them in my mouth.
Maybe I should have requested he pull my front two teeth out. They are kind of in the way when I'm trying to brush those hard to reach wisdom teeth.

I knew then that I would never, EVER, like this dentist.
So he proceeded to check a little closer on my wisdom teeth since I decided to keep them. He poked and scratched at them. He said he couldn't see or feel any cavities. Whew. Then he pulled out a little thing that looked like a laser pointer you would buy at Target. The dentist (jerk) told me it would measure the density of my teeth. He touched the end of his pointer to each of my wisdom teeth and it made a squealing sound.

"Yeah, you might have the beginning of a cavity in each one of those.", he said.
I thought he might have the beginning of a cavity in his head. Let's use his density meter up there.
He took the red "x" off of the teeth in my chart and replaced it with a yellow mark indicating a cavity. Again, the color left me. This was going horribly wrong. He said if a cavity gets too bad in my wisdom teeth, they could crack when he tries to fill them, and that would cause even more issues. I suppose he never earned that money for his new boat. He certainly would not be getting one soon based on my appointments.

I left without placing any appointment for cavity fillings. This guy wants nothing but to destroy my wisdom teeth. I really believe he has it out for my teeth. He was successful in causing me to freak out the rest of the day. When I got home, I researched cavities on the internet for a good hour.

After reading, I have started some new habits. Number one, I brush and then rinse with Listerine after EVERY meal. There is NO snacking between meals because that is the time your teeth are under the most attack of germs. I drink more water because the fluoride in the water helps throughout the day in your saliva. Every night before bed I rinse with fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that your teeth will use to REBUILD any damage done. Your teeth can not fill an existing cavity, but they can rebuild weak areas.

Cari feels that I am getting a bit obsessive about this whole thing. I'm not too sure if she is right, I feel like I'm just being cautious.

One thing is for CERTAIN, I will find a different dentist before I ever go back.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

It's in the shoes

Cari had a lot of pride when she showed off her new shoes to me. The problem for me is that I'm not a girl. I have brown shoes for work, black shoes for church, white tennis shoes for being outside. Maybe that's why Cari's new green shoes scared me. She asked me what I thought of them. After a quiet chuckle, I told her the shoes should be on the blog. She smiled and agreed. The problem was the reason I wanted them on the blog, and the reason she felt they should be here didn't match.

I was preparing to poke fun at the green shoes.

That was until the green shoes attacked her feet. After that happened, making fun, would just be rubbing salt in the wounds.

Yesterday Cari wore the shoes for the first time. An hour later I saw the green shoes laying under a table. They didn't have any feet in them. "Cari, what happened to your awesome shoes?", I asked her.She turned and showed me the back of her ankles. In just an hour of wear, she developed blisters, the blisters broke, and she bled all over her green shoes. I put the salt down and decided to try and be nice. She said the shoes were so horrible they would be going back to the store on Monday. Cari was pretty disappointed they didn't work out.Last night when we were preparing to go out again she asked which pair of shoes would be better.

I chose the white tennis shoes of course.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Study Time

My last hike was a scary one. Paw prints stamped in the mud proved that wild animals were out to get me. With that in mind, I decided to head to the zoo and figure out what was hunting me in the woods that day.

Identifying the predators was only a partial success for me. My technique was very basic. At every exhibit I checked their feet. Any one of them could have been my stalker. Well, maybe not the tortoise, but any one of the large cats could have been my predator.

This meant I would have to study all the cats in the zoo. The good thing about this is that they all behave about the same.

The weather was awesome outside and it was late morning. This would be the time to really check these animals out during their most active state.
Maybe I would see them gnashing their teeth. Blood would be dripping from their jaws. They would look and behave just as I pictured them while in the woods last week.

The fact is what I pictured in my head is NOT what I found.These cats do nothing but sleep.

They also are not native to this area. So my research was a total waste of time.

But I did get a picture of a baby orangutan with mommy.As for my hikes. . .I'll just have to carry a bigger stick.