Saturday, February 28, 2009

Race Day 2009

Today is race day for the Pine Wood Derby 2009. As in the past, the kids race against each other by grade level and then all the adults race at the end. I'm sure it is obvious who will win by looking at this picture. I mean, seriously, can anyone beat the CHEESE car?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Naked Wii

Let me start by telling you that there is no accompanying photo with this post.   So you can stop looking for one or hiding from one now, whatever your preference.

When we first got Wii Fit we made it part of our routine.  Five days a week for thirty minutes or more.  Cari and I were both getting better at the exercises as we were getting stronger.  As Christmas approached we slowly got out of the habit. 

In the past few weeks we've talked about starting to use it again.  Cari was scared that she had gained weight since last using it three months ago.  She refused to get on.  I used the same excuse and let the balance board collect dust under the couch while I ate a bag of Doritos.  Cari put an end to our stand off by putting herself on a diet.  She has worked really hard and decided yesterday that she would get back on the Wii.  

As the Wii tested her balance and weighed her, she cringed with anticipation.  Her Mii stood next to the scale and the meter started to climb.  It stopped well short of her previous measurement and she looked back to smile at me.  She had lost more than five pounds since her last weigh in three months ago.  

She jumped off the balance board and told me it was my turn.  I put my bowl of ice cream breakfast down and stood next to the board.  As I was starting to select my character and prepare to get on the board I was scared that I would fare much worse.  This IS a competition.  

If you haven't played Wii Fit before, you should know that there is an option before you weigh where you select how heavy your clothes are.  How should I know how heavy they are?  In the past I would choose between two and three pounds depending on what I was wearing.  It was just a guess.  After you select the option, the Wii will deduct that much weight from you when it displays.  

Not this time.  NO guessing for me.  I stripped naked in the living room and changed the option to ZERO.  I stood on the balance board and waited for it to measure my center of balance.  Cari came back from the kitchen with a cup of coffee.  When she saw me standing there naked she asked, "What are you doing?"
I told her that I wasn't taking any chances and she ran out of the room.  I knew she was looking for her camera and I hoped that the game would hurry up and weigh me.  

When Cari came back with the camera, I was almost done and I started to plead with her NOT to do it.  

My clothed Mii stood next to the scale as I begged Cari not to take a photo and my bar stopped short of the previous weight.  I was down three pounds.  

Thankfully, I too, had lost weight. . . 
. . . and Cari never got a photo. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'll Take It

A friend at church had a house fire recently and now she is in need of a lot of things. Another family at the church had an elderly parent die and gave the furniture to the burned house victim. There is no humor in either of these situations, but it is funny how things came together to help someone out.

I was called the other day to help move the furniture from house to the other with some men from church. I happily went and started loading couches and tables. On our last trip we were told to take the "icebox" to her.

I walked to the front porch where it was sitting and saw a wooden box. There was a door on the top that opened to reveal a square chamber lined with a metal. On the front face another door opened to reveal a small chamber with one shelf. This area had some type of enamel coating on it. This was literally an icebox. An antique.

The block of ice would sit in the top opening to cool the insulated box below. A tube went from the bottom of the ice area to the bottom of the refrigerator. The wood piece at the bottom of the front is hinged so you could slide a water pan under the box. As the ice melted, the water would collect in the pan below. If you saw a puddle of water under your refrigerator then you knew it was time to empty the pan. In the photos you can see a small hole drilled in the front panel near the bottom of the ice chamber. Some models had a tap installed to drain the water out. I'd imagine this water could be used for drinking or cooking, and not just a drain.

We took the icebox to her and showed her what she was getting. She told us where to place it and said she was going to use it as storage. I told her to let me know if it ever gets in her way and I would be happy to take it out of her way.

When I got home I did a bit of research on the unit based on the metal name plate on the front. The best I could tell is that it was likely made around 1900 and sold for $10 including shipping.

I saw antique stores online selling similar units between $600 and $1200.

Not only did I get to spend a few hours helping someone that needed (and appreciated) it, but I got to see a cool piece of history. It also allowed me to take a few minutes and imagine life without the massive refrigerators we all now own. Certainly not an easier time to survive.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Bobbies

Randy is part of the Media Spark club at school.  They help in the media center and do some extra projects.  Here is Randy's extra project telling you about a book he read:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


When I walked into my office at home, the first thing I saw was tulips sitting on the table. I paused for one second and tried to think if I had ordered them for Cari, realized I did not, and walked out.

"Where did the tulips come from?"

She looked up from the couch as I stood in the hallway still wearing my coat. "They are for you."

Cari got ME flowers? It caught me off guard. I was probably just as surprised as she would have been if I had sent HER the flowers.

Seeing the shock in my expression, she said, "I thought they were pretty and that you might want to photograph them."

I thanked her for the gift and went back into the office. I'm not sure anyone has ever gotten me flowers before.

I spent the next little while with my camera and the tulips. After about fifty shots, I loaded a few of them into photoshop to add some texture and try some different things.

These tulips were a great surprise to come home to. Normally, I would buy Cari flowers and after giving them to her, take them away so I can photograph them. I didn't have to give these back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wii Buzz

I am so tired.  For the past few months, the Wii would make this horrible buzz noise anytime a disc was in the drive.  Especially if I played in the evening when the house was a bit quieter, this noise would drown out the sounds of the games.  

To fix the problem I ordered a tri-wing screwdriver from Japan and consulted the experts. . . yep, Youtube

Last night I took apart the Wii and found the offending piece of vibrating metal on the disc drive.  I followed the instructions and it cut 90% of the noise.  I got a bit greedy and went for that extra 10%.  

After my repair was complete, I put a disc in to check the sound level and I realized that something was HORRIBLY wrong.  The disc would only spin partially and then the Wii would shut down with an error message.  I BROKE THE WII.

I undid my fix and adjusted a few things and brought her back to life.  That was a very scary ten minutes sitting on the living room floor at one in the morning with a pile of parts around me.  

Next, I put the 90% fix back and did a test.  NO NOISE.   PERFECT.  I FIXED THE WII!
After putting it all back together I only had one extra screw, but I found a home for it after a quick review.  

Popped in a game and played for a few minutes without any buzzing.  

And that is why I'm so tired this morning.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Darling. . .

There are a lot of names that a daughter might refer to her father.  I believe the more common ones are daddy, dad, pop, pa, father, or papa.

I guess that's why I was surprised to find a valentine on my pillow last night from Meredith that said, "To: Ed"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

User Included

On the box for attic stairs:
So is she the user?
Um.. "Cari, I'll be right back, I have to get something from the attic."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breaking and Entering

I was surprised to hear the Yankee at my door so I went downstairs to see what was going on.  She had locked herself and her kids out of the house.  

She came over to see if I knew how to open her door with a credit card.  
"Yeah, I do know how.  Use it to call a lock smith.", is what I thought about saying but instead I told her I would come over and try to break into her house.  

In all this time I might (MIGHT) have spoken to Mrs. Yankee neighbor once.  It was a little awkward walking over to her house with her.  What are you supposed to say?  "So. . . you're a Yankee, huh?"  I'm not sure how that would have went, but I didn't want to create a problem since I was about to break into her house.  

I had an old credit card in my hand and I mentioned the weather.  She agreed how nice a day it was and I told her it is a good thing she didn't lock herself out last week because it was only 20 degrees last week.  The conversation seemed safe and lasted until we got to her house. 

I got right to work and started jamming the credit card into the door.  The door remained closed and I had now had a bent up credit card.  I ran home to look on Youtube for advise.  If anyone knows how to break open a secure lock, it's the freaks on Youtube.  While I did a quick search, Cari took  the card and tried it on our house.  She got it on the first try, but when I ran over to get some pointers, she couldn't reproduce her feat.  

I carried a ladder back to the Yankee house after I complained to Cari that she faked breaking into our door.  She says she didn't lie, but how do you break open a door once and then suddenly forget how you did it?  Seriously!

When I arrived back at her house, I had Randy with me.  Yankee was sitting on the porch and her kids were running around on some kind of sugar high.  I climbed my ladder and started checking her windows.  They were all closed but I spotted one that wasn't locked.  I popped the screen and lifted the window.  She seemed very happy with my progress and was already thanking me as I shoved Randy through her window.  Randy landed with a thud on her hard wood floors that made me laugh and Yankee wince.  After the thud we heard, "I'm ok!"

The boy opened her door and was proud of his handy work.  As we went home he told me how he broke into their house and how much fun it was.  By dinner time it seemed that he had become an expert on climbing through windows.

So much so, that I was beginning to think he wanted to make his own how-to video for Youtube.  

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A New Model

One of the hardest things for me to learn about photography is dealing with a model. When I first started getting into photography I stuck to inanimate objects. Flowers, trees, rocks, etc. . . Then I moved up to waterfalls, birds, and bugs. All of these subjects take direction very well. They always appear natural and comfortable in front of the camera.

I have since moved to the next level. Photographing people. I get the most practice on this work with my family. They each provide a different challenge to me as I try and capture a specific photo.

Boy - wants nothing to do with being in front of the camera. One shot, two if I'm quick, and he's gone.

Girl - LOVES being in front of the camera. She will pose and smile for a long time and loves every minute of it. The challenge is that she exaggerates each pose and expression so much that you don't get a natural pose from her.

Baby - doesn't take direction well and crawls off set crying if you try to pose her more than once.

Wife - normally shows a lot of patience for the camera as I learn to move the light source and camera angle. The challenge here is that she sometimes looks uncomfortable in front of the camera and this comes across in the photos at times.

With these challenges, I sometimes revert back to a subject that can not throw things at me.
So you can imagine my families excitement when I came home with a new model -

The new model doesn't have a name yet (any suggestions?). He is fun to pose and doesn't complain no matter how long you ask him to hold steady. The package said that he can be put into any human pose.

Guess what family! When I play with my new model and find a photo I like, I'm going to ask you to re-create the moment. It's like a crazy game of Twister without the color dots and spinner, but still provides the uncomfortable positions and lots of falling over!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Here's some of my recent adventures in Animal Crossing Wii. . .

One morning I went out to get the mail I noticed a line of line of burried treasure leading to the sea.
Unfortunatly, this line of treasures was nothing but a trap set by my children. I spent the next ten minutes digging myself out of a hole.

I was really happy to have my friend, Rake, come to town for a visit. I wore my new wrestling mask and he wore the shirt he has been wearing for the past two weeks. BUT he brought me a pile of apples so I didn't complain about his wardrobe.

After we got sick of eating apples, we went to Cari's house while she wasn't home. He did a little dance while I had my back turned. Maybe he was still a bit wound up from the apples. It was either that or Cari's couch is just THAT comfortable.
After we left Cari's house, we went to my house.

Um. . . yeah. Then Rake had to go home.

I've also had my friend, Scrappy Girl come over for a visit recently. We have exchanged a lot of presents in the mail over the past few weeks and she sends the BEST presents.
On one visit to my town, she wore her Santa suit and we ran around town pestering the neighbors.
At some point we ended up upstairs. . . at Cari's house. . .
it's not what you think.
After she left I wanted to send her a present for visiting. CARI suggested I send flowers. I ran to the store and purchased some flowers. Wrote a note and attached the flowers. As I was running to the post office to mail them Cari spoke up. "Not ROSES."
I looked at Cari sitting next to me. "It was YOUR idea!"
"I said flowers, not ROSES!", she complained as I mailed my ROSES to my friend.
I hope to set up a day when we can all meet up in town together. I'm waiting for my chance to show off my fishing skills! True that!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I will never become a fashion consultant.  EVER.  Especially with the way I see things at 5:00 am.  

Tuesday I was getting dressed for work when I chose a gray long sleeve shirt with a thin black pattern in it, gray pants, and black shoes.  

On my way down the hall I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I thought something didn't seem right.  I backed up to stare into the mirror.  My brain was still sleeping and it took longer to process what I was looking at.  I was fully dressed with shoes tied when I made the decision that I should change pants.  Yes, it would have been easier to change shirts at that point, but I really wanted to wear this shirt today.

I stumbled over to the laundry room and found a pair of black pants.  Thankfully they were mine and not Cari's or the kids.  It seemed like it was an awful lot of trouble to change and the chance that what I was wearing was fine made me pause.  I thought about going up and waking Cari to get an opinion from someone that really knows.   Waking Cari up at 5am to get an opinion on my outfit didn't seem like the smartest thing to do, so I changed into the black pants.  

Would you believe that after all that early morning drama that I didn't get one comment on how nice my shirt was?  
When I got home I noticed that my gray pants weren't laying on the floor where I left them.  I asked Cari if she had seen my gray pants.  She asked if I was talking about the ones that were left on the floor in the kitchen.  

I didn't remember changing pants in the kitchen, but I had to admit that it was the pair I was asking about.  I started to explain what happened but stopped when I noticed she was staring at me.  She said, "I can't believe you would even try to wear the gray pants with that shirt!"

Monday, February 02, 2009

A New Age

Happy birthday, Cari!  I won't tell everyone how old you are like your daughter did during church yesterday.  

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Tray is Empty

If you look closely, you can see the streaks on her tray.  Those marks indicate eating had stopped and finger painting had begun. 

And yes, I stood on the dining table to get this shot.