Saturday, July 28, 2007


Getting a haircut shouldn't be such an ordeal. For most people it isn't. I guess I'm not most people.

First of all, I don't like getting my hair cut. I don't like to take time out of my day to do it. The other thing is that I don't like telling the barber how to cut my hair. I don't know how I want it. I guess I want it the same. Can I tell them that? "Same, but shorter." That is normally my answer.

When we moved to South Carolina, I found a barber and I have never seen anyone else since then. For three years, Mark has cut my hair. Even when he moved his shop to another town fifteen minutes away, I continued to see him.

About a month ago I drove out there to get my haircut. I got there at 5:45 and he was closed. The handwritten sign on the door said he was open until six. I guess it was slow and he went home. I was agitated for losing thirty minutes of my evening. A few days later, I had another chance to get my hair cut while off from work. I got out there a bit after lunch time. A sign on the door apologized for being closed due to illness.

Doubly agitated, I drove home. Not his fault he was sick, but what a waste of my time.
The next day I got my hair cut. It took three trips out there for one hair cut.

That was a month ago. Last week I went for a haircut after work. I work thirty minutes South of my home and the barber is fifteen minutes North. Left work, drove past my home and to the barber shop. You already know where this is going, don't you?

It was roughly 5:40pm. Closed. The sign still reads that he will be open until six.
I sat in the parking lot and called Cari. She suggested I go to one of the other barber shops downtown. "But I will have to explain to him how I want my haircut.", I told her. I do not like to break my routines.

So frustrated, I decided I would go visit the barber shop downtown. The one with the red and white barber pole out front. I walked in and looked around. This was an old building with creaking wood floors. The room had a lot of character. There were three barber chairs. One chair was occupied with a customer the barber was working on. There was one young man sitting in a chair along the wall. The rest of the chairs were empty.

The barber said hello to me as I took a seat to wait. An old television sat unused in the corner. There were old, sheet metal posters for hair products hanging on the wall. A heater sat on the old wooden floor. There was a hat rack in the center of the floor holding about ten hats. The guy waiting mentioned to the barber that he was wanting a particular hat off the rack. The barber told him he could have it. I listened to the barber talk with the customer about their families. They knew each other.

The barber was a woman. Besides Cari, I can't remember the last time a woman cut my hair. It's not really a problem. It's just an image I have in my head. You go to a barber shop where an old man cuts your hair. Not a middle aged woman. Being in this old railroad town, in an old shop, only exaggerated that image in my head. This woman was out of place.

The customer that sat a couple chairs from me was next. I listened to them chat as he got his cut. Like the previous customer, they also knew each other.

My turn.

"How do you want it?", she asked nicely.
Dang! I knew this was coming. I gave her the standard answer. "Same but shorter."
"Scissor cut or shaved on the side?", she asked.
This woman just needs to cut my hair I thought. Where is Mark? With Mark, I sit down and he cuts. We talk about what's going on around town. He knows what to do. I thought about telling the woman to call him. Instead I answered, "shaved on the sides."
She continued with her inquiry. "How short?", "What size guard to use on the shaver?", and when I told her I didn't know what size guard, she offered several options. "2? 4?"

I was going to start crying. Just cut my hair!

I told her again, "Same but shorter. Not so short it sticks up." She put together her shaver and took a couple of swipes against the side of my head. Then she stopped and held up a mirror. "A little shorter.", I told her. She made her adjustment then did the same. "I think that's good.", I told her. She agreed and said that would be the best length to blend it with the top.

When she told me that, I thought that if she knew that much, why did she make such a fuss at the beginning?

I finished getting my haircut, paid her and gave her a few dollar tip. It really did look good. She invited me back. I drove home thinking I would never return to Mark's shop. He wasted a lot of my time the past few trips. Now that this woman knows how to cut my hair, maybe I'll always visit her. Even if it is a woman.

We'll find out in a month.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What he did yesterday.

Randy had a friend over yesterday and they played outside for a while. I was at work, so when I got home, I asked Randy how his day was. "What did you do today?", I asked.

He answered that he and his friend planted a tree. He must have really liked my surprised expression, because he had a big smile. I asked where he planted the tree and he told me it was in our back yard.
I walked out there to find out what was planted and where it was planted.

As I got out there I realized I wouldn't have to ask him where it was planted. What I found was a lawnmower killer. Maybe some sort of strange sacrificial temple.

He was proud of his work, proven by his expression as I examined his work in the CENTER of our back yard. "It's a fence.", he said, smiling.

Good work, I thought. He was protecting his sapling. They had planted an acorn from the nearby oak tree.

After I took a few shots of it, I went inside. I left the fence and the acorn in place for now.

This was better than the two boys' project a few months ago. "Digging a hole to China". The hole started in our yard.

Maybe I should just put the shovels away.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Just met with another bride, groom, and bride's mom to talk about doing photos at their wedding.

I had written on my board behind the desk the date and time of tonights meeting. I also wrote as a reminder to myself :

"Be professional and stuff."

I almost forgot to erase it. About fifteen minutes before they came over, I looked back at the board and saw it.

I showed them some of the photos from the first wedding I did and we talked a little about their plans.

Then they told me they want me to do their wedding!!!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Amateur Hour

We went to church yesterday to find that our pastor was on vacation. When church began, it was not the guest preacher, it was our lay leader.

Our lay leader has not done this in the past. At least, not in the years we have attended this church. As we went, I realized he wasn't following the bulletin. He skipped three things and went into announcements. His posture and voice said he was a little nervous. He read his notes and then asked, "Are there any other announcements this morning?"
He scanned the congregation and pointed toward someone behind me.
"YEAH!", a sharp voice said. The voice was of his wife. She was not happy.
"We would like to say page 108.", she said loudly.
He looked a little stunned. He looked down at his bulletin and looked back at her.

"You forgot to have us read page 108!", she said again.

There was a bit of quiet laughing in the church. We all knew he missed some items, but we weren't going to call him out on it. After she scolded her husband, we all turned to page 108.

I know I couldn't do any better, so don't take this wrong. It was just kinda funny. You get so used to how church service works. When the order is mixed, it becomes very obvious.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

End of Another

Another weekend has ended. What did you do?
I actually had the weekend off from work. Cari got Harry Potter, so the kids and I kept busy. Mostly with Nintendo and swimming.

On Saturday we headed over to the Hagood Mill for a music/cultural festival. They are reconstructing a cotton gin, have a moonshine still, a working grist mill, and several buildings to show other crafts from that era.

We put out a blanket and listened to some music.I love this place. Something that can not be captured in a photograph is the sounds. There was music at both ends of this sight. The stage area is surrounded with these old wooden buildings. We were watching a banjo and fiddle duo play and sing. To my left was a blacksmith, pounding out a piece of red-hot steel. The steady "tink" of his hammer only added to atmosphere.

Inside the grist mill, a bell rang and things got very loud. The building shook a bit. A bale of corn was placed in the hopper and they were making grits.

They have events like this out here pretty frequently, but I have to work most Saturdays. I'm always happy when I can attend. There are a few more pictures from this on my flickr account.

Sunday was another lazy day. Not much got done. Played some with the kids, Cari finished her book and joined us for a few games.

Church was different today. I'm planning on writing about that in more detail this week.

Well, I have to get up and be to work by six tomorrow morning. Wish me luck getting up.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Too Quiet

Are your children well behaved? Are they too quiet? Do you miss hearing them cry and whine? I've discovered the answer to your problems. Take them on a hike.

I drove my family into the woods so we could find Riley Moore Falls. Getting to the falls requires a one mile hike in. Not a difficult hike. Going in, the hike was slightly downhill. Meredith was a little worried about bears. Maybe that's my fault. She asked if bears lived in these woods, and I answered honestly, "yes."

That's when the whining started. Once or twice I thought I heard something stomping around in the woods and I stopped to listen. Both times I did that, Meredith started crying. "Dad stopped because he heard a bear!"

Randy wasn't saying much. The hike took somewhere between 45 min to an hour. We came out of the woods, greeted by a very sandy beach.I had packed some towels in the backpack I was carrying so the kids could swim. When we got out there, they decided they didn't want to swim. They both played in the sand for a bit while I took pictures. A group of boys from a boys school came from upriver with two teachers. They climbed on the rocksand swam around for about thirty minutes. The teachers were pretty cool and told us there were some more sights upriver.

After they left, I finished taking my shots. On the way out, I stopped and found a geocache in the woods. Actually Cari found the location based on some clues, and I had to climb into the woods to retrieve it.

The hike back to the car was obviously a mile. Randy's legs were so tired he could hardly walk. I knew this because he reminded me every fifteen seconds. Somewhere around half way, he stopped complaining. Only because he complaints were hard to hear over Meredith's cries.

We actually did have a good time out there and it was a really cool waterfall. But I learned, once again, that if my kids are starting to behave and I miss that sound of crying and whining, take them for a hike.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I'll write more later tonight if I don't fall asleep. If I do fall asleep, check tomorrow. I'll be writing in the morning.

I heard this quote on NPR today and came home to research it.

"the day people stop bringing their problems to their leader is the day that leader would have lost his leadership among them."
Gen Colin Powell

When they stop bringing you their problems, it's because they either lost faith in the leader or feel that the leader doesn't care. Either way, the leadership is gone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Randy and Meredith were playing paper/rock/scissors in the car.

"1, 2, 3" Then they each called out what form their hand took.
Randy, "scissors."
Meredith, "rock." Meredith mocks Randy with her win.

Again they play. "1, 2, 3", I hear.
Meredith, "rock."
Randy, "bomb."

Bomb? Seems that a bomb can defeat all three elements of the standard game. Randy was not going to lose.

Meredith wants to go again. "1, 2, 3"
Randy again calls, "Bomb!" He is determined to win.
Meredith calls, "Jesus!" She laughs a bit and explains, "Nothing can beat Jesus"

Relaxing Moment

At the time, it had been a while since getting out to take photos. I found a spot to go while driving to work. It was a spot that I drive past going to and coming home from work each day. I just never noticed it before. Right there, on the side of the road is a patch of sunflowers.

My first day off after making the discovery, I got up and going earlier than normal. I jumped in the car with my gear and got out to the patch.

It was really nice to get out and get some shots taken. The sun was still a bit lower in the sky, so the lighting was great. I got down on my knees among the flowers taking shots. It didn't take long to notice all the bees buzzing around. I tried to ignore them, but they were all around me. Twice, they seemed to buzz a little closer. It was as if they were checking me out. I jumped up those two times and thought about leaving. I was able to calm myself and continue.

I didn't use the flash much for these shots but wanted to see what I could create with some off camera flash. My first attempt was a bit strong:

I made a few adjustments and it came out better:

It was great to get out and make some photos for a little bit. Always a very calming experience for me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I woke up the other night itching. My ankles were killing me. My upper legs and my armpits were killing me. Everything seemed to be itching. After getting up the next morning, I realized I had been bitten by something. . .a lot.

I'm now into day two of this pain and the bite areas have formed clear blisters. It's gross. They itch non-stop. I put on some anti-itch cream. They allowed only temporary relief. Before going to work this morning, I put more cream on the bites around my ankles and covered the blisters with band-aids. Tonight the only relief I had was when I removed the band-aids. The pain of ripping leg hair out was enough to make me forget about the itch for a few moments.

So what bit me? For a while I thought it was a spider. Then, I found out today that the nasty creature eating my flesh is called a CHIGGER. I was complaining about the bites to someone at work and he diagnosed me.

I read the wiki page for CHIGGER. It doesn't make me feel any better. At this point, I have to suffer through the bites until they heal themselves. The bug has already left me. And after it left me gave me a present. About fifteen presents.

I believe I picked up the bugs on Glassy mountain. I went there alone the other night to try and get some mountain shots as the sun was setting. Here's what I got. Hope the shots are worth a week of pain.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And the baby is. . .

Now get out of my office.

What happened?

You all know Cari loved this!
RJ was correct. The other morning, the kids were building a fort in the living room. I have some experience in building forts with couch cushions, so I assisted them in the construction process. THIS photo was taken in the aftermath of destroying the fort.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Girl or Boy?

We hope to know the sex of our baby on Thursday when we go for another ultrasound.
Based on the Drano test, I'm going to say that it is a girl. Cari is thinking it will be a boy.
I'll let you know on Thursday who was right.

There's another issue related to this. Cari has declared that I will lose my office if we have a boy. The computer will go back out in a room adjacent to the kitchen, the office will transform into a bedroom again.

This is a nightmare to think about. I love this office. I have threatened to bolt the door shut to prevent my stuff being removed. Last night, Cari asked me what solution I propose if we have a boy. She doesn't think it is fair for Randy, 8, to share a room with a baby. I wouldn't answer her question. I told her that I didn't need to worry about it, because we are having a girl. No reason to play, "what if."

She doesn't want to hear my "what if." She won't like the solutions I have. Every solution I have involves me keeping the office.

I'm going to fight to the very end for this room.
After Thursday, when I announce that we are having a girl, this will no longer be an issue.

Any bets?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Biggest Brain

How big is your brain? That's a question that the Wii game of Brain Academy asks. You perform a series of tasks that involve compute, memory, identify, visualize, and analyze. At the end the game gives you a score based on how many you got correct and how quickly you answered.

I quickly took the high score spot in the house. That was before Cari sat down to play. By the end of the evening, she had the high score.

The next night after work, I stayed up and took the test until I had the highest score. It only took me four tries.

I worked early the next morning and by ten, I received a text from Cari. It didn't say anything, it was just a four digit number. One that was slightly higher than mine.

We went back and forth like this a few times that week.

A few days ago, Cari came into the office and wrote another number on my dry erase board. It was a MUCH higher number than we had previously achieved.

I haven't played since then due to work. I'm a bit nervous that I won't be able to beat her score. What then? Could that really happen? Nahhh...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's over! . . . mostly.

Back on June 9th I played photographer for a wedding. On the way home from the wedding I remember questioning myself to Cari. Did I get all the right shots? Did I set the camera up correctly? Will the bride be happy?

After getting home and sorting the photos, I honestly didn't feel a lot better. After about two hours, I really saw what I had taken and felt MUCH better.

Roughly fifteen hours of work went into this photos. Fifteen hours of sorting and ranking to find the best. Then adjusting the exposure, the crop, controlling the shadows and color.

Then I went on vacation. When we got back, I called the bride and told her I had 132 photos ready for her review. She would need to select ten to be printed as 8x10.

The bride and groom came over tonight. I used my dual monitor setup to make this run smoothly. I set the monitors to mirror each other. While watching on one monitor from behind the desk, I flipped the other around for them to view across from me.

As they selected photos, I marked them in the software. Then we viewed just those, to narrow down the 8x10.

They were very happy with the pictures we got for them. NOW, I can rest my mind. The bride liked them.

I gave her two CD's. Each contained a .pdf of the photos (marked with my name and e-mail on the photo).

I just uploaded and ordered her selection and now I'm going to bed.


You got a sticker on your chin!

Monday, July 02, 2007


I got home around 5:30 tonight. As I was driving around the corner and headed toward my house I saw a group of people standing in the street. They were gathered in front of the Atheist's' house.
As I got closer, I noticed that one of the mob was Cari. Another of the mob was the neighbor from across the street.

"Hey!", I thought to myself. "I live on one of those streets where all the neighbors hang out in the road talking." How cool is that?

Instead of pulling up and going into the house, as my usual anti-social self, I decided to walk over and see what was going on. The group was Cari, our neighbor from across the street, the Atheist, and his wife. . I wasn't greeted with "hello." or "how was your day?", They asked, "Where's your shoes?" I had taken off my shoes on the way home. When I took them off, I wouldn't have guessed that everyone would be staring at my feet, as they were at that moment.

Then I noticed the 17 year old boy from across the street cutting the Atheist's yard. His mom saw me watching him and told me he was getting $20. Then she turned and looked at my yard and asked me if I wanted him to cut mine. He's trying to get gas money so he can drive the truck. I explained I was trying to get gas money too, and could not afford to pay anyone to cut my grass.

We all stood there staring at the boy cut grass for a while. That's the nice thing about paying someone to do some work for you. You can stand and watch them work while you do nothing, and have no guilt about it.

By the way, he didn't have shoes on either.