Monday, June 29, 2009

Time to Back Up!

One hard drive in my computer is dedicated to porn.

Er... no... that's not it.

Family photos.

I started to realize that at any moment, God could strike the life out of the drive and erase a few years worth of photos that I have taken. If you only knew the number of photos I take in a month, you would understand the amount of data I'm dealing with. In the past, I burned the files to CD's and left them on the drive. There were probably about ten of these discs floating around in my closet.

Out of fear, I started to back up the photos on Saturday and I just finished. No, I didn't work non-stop. I stopped to pee. . . twice.

There are now forty four discs, most of them are DVD's. That equals roughly 150 gigabytes of photos! That number doesn't count the original discs from a few years ago.

Now my family photos are stored not only on the hard disk, but also on 44 CD's and DVD's.
I will sleep better tonight knowing that my family photos are safe. . . mostly.

What if a disc gets scratched?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baby Steps

About a week ago, Randy and I did a 100 piece puzzle. It didn't take long to complete it and it reminded us how fun doing a puzzle can be.

Yesterday I picked up a 1000 piece puzzle at Target and we dumped its pieces out on the card table.

Wow! Going from a hundred to a thousand sure does change the complexity of a puzzle. It took the four of us an hour just to find and start putting the edges together. Maybe we should have taken baby steps and built up to the 1,000 piece.

Give us until Christmas and I'll show you a photo of the completed puzzle. Until then, I'll be straining my eyes looking for that last edge piece that is hidden in the pile.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Best Hike of 2009 . . . so far

The best hike of 2009 isn't a hike that I took. It's got to be the hike that the Governor of South Carolina took on the Appalachian Trail. I'm sure you heard about it earlier this week as his absence became a headline on the national news media.

Gov Sanford decided that he needed a break and wanted to be sure he got that break. He ditched his security detail and took off toward Atlanta. Nobody in his office knew where he was going, just that he called and said he would be gone for a few days. Even his wife was quoted in the news that she didn't know where he was.

On Monday night or Tuesday he called his office and they told the press that he was hiking and would return to work on Wednesday.

DANG IT!!!!!

It was just announced, as I am writing this on Wednesday, that Mark Sanford was out of the country having an affair.

Turns out he was NOT hiking and enjoying the outdoors. He was NOT out clearing his head for another round of politics. He was out cheating on his wife.



Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This is the text I received from Cari while at work on Tuesday: "We need a new coffee pot. . . "

In my head I could imagine her standing over the grave of the broken coffee pot, pleading with it to spit out one more cup. In my vision, she was still holding her coffee cup in her right hand while she pushed buttons on the old machine. After sending her a response that I would bring home a newer, better coffee maker, I suggested she chew on some grounds until I get home. I don't think she appreciated the timing of my humor and I have a vision of what gestures she may have made as she read my text.

You wouldn't believe the reception I got as I walked in the door after work. She was so glad that I was home that she ran up to me and unburdened me of the large box I was carrying. She must have noticed how tired I looked.

As Cari read over the instruction manual, yeah - girls read those things, here are a few of the helpful tips she found:

Problem: The coffee is not brewing.
Possible Cause: the appliance is unplugged.
Solution: plug it in.

Problem: The coffeemaker only brews water
Possible Cause: There are no coffee grounds in the filter basket.
Solution: Add the desired amount of coffee to the filter.
It seems that the people at Coffee Mate don't expect you to know anything.

I looked for the section that tells you how to deal with a wife that hasn't had coffee all day, but couldn't find the solution.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How hot is too hot?

It sure was nice not having to work this weekend. We had a lot of different plans on fun things to do. But as the weekend hours started clicking by, we slowly dismantled our plans one by one.

On Saturday, I walked out to get the mail after lunch. My street was silent. There wasn't a car running, a bird singing, or a neighbor mowing. After getting all the crap in my mailbox out, I started back up the driveway. The grass needed to be cut but the HEAT. WOW! It was hot!

The porch thermometer read 99.1 and it was still early.
We ended up renting a horribly bad movie to watch Saturday night - Stepbrothers with Will Ferrell. Luckily the kids picked Mall Cop and it was pretty good.
Sunday was a good day, but ya know, when I went outside I realized that life had again ceased to exsist without air conditioning.
We had a great time over at a friend's house for Sunday dinner and on the way home it didn't seem that hot anymore. Then I realized that it was approaching nine pm and the weekend hours had all clicked by.
Although all of our plans had been squashed by the sun, we had a good, relaxing weekend as a family.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Squirrel Feeder

I love to feed the birds. There is a bird feeder outside of the kitchen window that I keep filled year round. The birds really appreciate having a nice clean place to come have breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert, and more snack.

If you also keep a bird feeder then you understand the sense of responsibility that it brings. You will also understand the hatred in my heart for the squirrels that attack, yes - attack, the BIRD feeder. Squirrels haven't really posed a problem for me in the years that the feeder has been in its current location. There are plenty of squirrels in the neighborhood, but I have always believed that my dog has kept them at bay.

Last week I got a text from Cari, "Squirrel on feeder." When I got home the feeder that was full in the morning was now empty. The top had been disassembled and the contents spilled to the ground. With hopes that it was a one time deal, I filled the feeder back to the top.

Unfortunately for some very hungry birds, the feeder was emptied again by the next afternoon.

After dinner last night, I discussed this issue with Cari and the kids. Randy suggested I poison them but the girls thought that it sounded too harsh. I decided to post a warning to the invaders. I am going to post a sign that says, "Warning: POISONOUS to squirrels." At this time I won't actually poison them. This is just being posted as a warning. As I described my sign dangling from the bottom of the feeder, I demonstrated what a dead squirrel might look like. Cari said the sign will be more effective if I include this photo.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Date

For our 13th anniversary Cari planned an awesome date for the two of us. She found a place for each kid and we headed into downtown Greenville.

Cari got us a room at a nice hotel right on the river near Falls Park. Our room was a corner room that had windows all around and some great views of the river below.
After check in we started walking toward downtown, looking for some dinner. We hadn't made it more than a block and the rain started pouring down. Cari was prepared, as always, and opened up our umbrella. We waited out the worst of the storm under the awning of a store front while we watched several people get soaked trying to run across the street. Within ten minutes we were on our way again.

After loading up on candy at the General Store we decided we should get some dinner. We had a great dinner at Wild Wings and headed back to the park.

I had to stop at the room to drop off the ten pound bag of candy I was carrying when it started to rain again. I set up the camera gear and took a few pictures while it rained.

We finished our evening without kids back down at the park with some Starbucks coffee.
Cari and I don't often get a night out without our kids and we had the best time enjoying the quiet and spending time together. We did a bit of people watching while we were sitting on a bench near the falls. There was a photographer sitting in the mud taking shots of the falls for what seemed like TOO long. There was also the girl dressed up and in heals too tall for her. With every step, her ankle folded over. It was hillarious to watch her trying to look good while falling over.
The hotel was excellent, the park was great, the meals were tasty, and the company was the best ever! I didn't even get arrested for swimming in the falls naked! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reason #792

Reason #792 to live in a small town:

When your car won't start at the local grocery store and you call the mechanic, he comes to the store to check on your car. After seeing to it that your car works again, he won't even accept a tip.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Our latest family field trip took us back to Georgia where we visited the Mayfield dairy. Although we were able to buy some great ice cream at the end of the tour, only milk is produced at this location.

We had expected to see some cows but were quickly informed that all the milk they produce is trucked in. Once off the truck, Mayfield processes the raw milk to get it ready for the grocery store.

We all had to wear hairnets before entering the production area. Have you ever tried keeping a hairnet on your baby for twenty minutes? If you are looking for a good challenge, give it a try.

No pictures were allowed during the tour, there were a lot of top secret milk processes they were explaining to us. Maybe they were trying to protect themselves from industrial spies. I suppose the spies don't know about the free tours.
On the way out, we did spot one cow. It was sitting on the trailer and it is HUGE.
About those industrial spies, maybe Mayfield doesn't know about the Trojan Horse.
The kids were good on the way home, they were just chatty. It was nonstop talking in the car. At one point I just turned off the radio because it was just adding to the noise levels. Cari tried to take a short nap, but the constant, "Mom!", kept her up. One of the things Randy was talking about was that he no longer wants to buy store brand milk. It has to be Mayfield milk from now on.
The sign says, "Please don't climb on me - I'm old - Thank you."

Friday, June 12, 2009


We were driving home yesterday afternoon and saw a car in the next lane with a "Eire" bumper sticker.  Next to it was one of the flag of Ireland.  

I started asking Cari who would put a "Eire" sticker on their car?  She told me they are probably Irish.  Easy enough to figure that out.  My next question to her was, "What do you think they look like?"  

My question seemed to indicate they would look like some freak from another planet.  At least that is how Cari took it.  She seemed a bit offended or irritated that I would suggest that Irish people look like freaks.  Really, I was just suggesting that there may be some quality that identifies them as Irish.  Maybe they are wearing a little leprechaun hat and smoking a long pipe.  Maybe they are holding a beer in their hands.  I didn't know what to expect.  I just knew I needed to catch up and pull along side of the "Eire" car.  

As we approached we noticed there were three people in the car.  I told Cari that I had to keep my eyes on the road and she needed to let me know if they looked like freaks.  Once beside them, I glanced over to see the little bearded leprechaun for myself.  

What I saw was a driver with a book on the steering wheel, READING!   Once I noticed the driver was reading a book, I sped away and didn't even get a look at the driver.   

I guess we'll never know what people who put "Eire" on their cars look like. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Restaurant Review: sandwich edition

There are a lot of places that serve subs for lunch.  For me, I only eat out about once every two weeks so I want that sandwich to be a good one.  

Most times I will head over to Subway or Firehouse for lunch, but recently I have continued my mission to find great local restaurants to feed me as I avoid the chains.  
I headed over to Main Street Deli in Anderson and found the parking lot mostly empty.  I looked over the menu as the cashier waited to take my order.  Their sandwiches are named for the streets in Anderson and there is plenty to choose from.  I asked the cashier which one is the best.  She explained some of her favorites and I ended up with the River St sandwich.  Turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and blue cheese on toasted rye bread.  The sandwich comes with chips and a side.  There are four or five sides to choose from and I selected a cup of fresh fruit.  

It only took a few minutes before they brought my lunch to me.  The sandwich looked great.  Do you know how fast food places use fantastic pictures of their food for the menu and then your lunch looks nothing like that?  At Main St Deli, the food looks great.  They could have taken photos of the sandwich they served me for their menu, because it was perfect.  

The chips came with a dish of onion dip.  I didn't expect that and it is small touches like this that make this place a step above everyone else.  

It seems somewhat silly to write this review because there is roughly two people reading this that live close enough to eat in Anderson.  It's just that I was so impressed with Main St Deli that I wanted to take a moment and write about it.  I have eaten there several times now and each time the service was top notch.  The food looked great and it tasted even better.  

A friend at work said it was too expensive.  I spent nine dollars on the food I described above with a sweet tea.  Had I went to Firehouse I would have spent probably eight dollars by the time I got a drink and chips.  It's well worth a dollar to find a sandwich that tastes one hundred times better.  

If you ever find yourself in Anderson, South Carolina at lunch time, I strongly encourage you to find Main Street Deli.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Lucky 13

I have been lucky for 13 years now to be married to my best friend!

Saturday, June 06, 2009


While doing some tree trimming, I came across this nasty looking group of insects.  

My first reaction was to scream like a girl and run in the house.  Then I returned with my camera, but stood at a distance.  Meanwhile, Cari was researching the beast on the google.  

Turns out what we have is a group of the Florida Preditory Stinkbug
They eat other bugs and don't hurt the tree.  

I wanted to put them back in the tree and Cari wants them gone (murdered). 
While she was shopping I put them back in the tree.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Spider Bites Don't Get You Out of Work

Last Friday I discovered a spider bite on my thumb while at work. It was a bit swollen and red with two white dots near the center.
I ran to my boss holding my thumb up like a three year old to his daddy. Well, perhaps I didn't run, but I did show him. He shrugged his shoulders as to say, "so what?".
I explained how a deadly toxic spider had bitten me and now I had a list of symptoms rushing through my body. He looked uninterested as I pleaded and he responded with another shrug. I hadn't directly asked to go home, but any reasonable person would see what I was going for.
My argument continued and I sat down on the floor, with my thumb elevated like a hitchhiker, for effect. Finally he spoke.

"I think you can finish the day with only one thumb. This job doesn't require you to have a thumb."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Another Dam Place

I found this photo on Flickr a while back and became very interested in it. The photo was taken at a lake I had never heard of and is no more than a twenty minute drive away.

(The photo can be found here on flickr. The guy with his arms up sliding is Joel Gillespie.  He had a friend take the photo for him.)

Last week I had the opportunity to drive over to Clemson and find lake Issaqueena while the rest of my family took a nap. The lake is off the beaten path and somewhat hidden away in the trees.

I turned down a dirt road leading to the dam but stopped when I saw a sign for a cemetery.

As I walked down the narrow path, every sound in the woods seemed loud. I was alone and in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere. Mud in the trail revealed the paths of animals. My senses were sensitive to my surroundings.

The path went up a hill and then widened at the top. After pausing to absorb the view, I started toward the walled cemetery in the woods, when a loud crashing noise came from my left. I froze. My heart was racing.

The turkey ran in front of me gobbling and ruffling her feathers. I'm not sure who was initially more scared of the other. She followed me the short distance to the end of the trail and watched when I turned to leave.

Back at the car it was only a short drive down the bumpy dirt to the lake and dam. Standing near the dam, it was easy to imagine people sliding down into the murky water. The surface seemed rough and steep.
I later learned that the platform I was standing on for some of my photos was also used as a launching pad for an awesome rope swing in the past. Someone had installed the rope on the tallest tree but it didn't take long for the managing authority to cut it down. The story says that the rope was quickly re-installed in the tallest tree on that part of the river. One account said that the rope swing would give you a two second free fall into the river! Several more times the rope was cut and then re-installed. Finally, the authority cut the tree down.
A trail went into the woods from the dam and toward the lake. The trail emerged at the shore and into a wide open view of the water.
Lake Issaqueena was quiet and I knew that I had found a treasure hidden in the woods.

Although it is posted to not climb on the dam, I read that it is still a popular summer activity. During my next trip to the lake, I hope to see some swimmers in action.