Friday, November 30, 2012

Decorating. Done.

Last week we got our boxes out of the attic and started getting the house ready for Christmas.   My job, as always, is to drag the extension ladder to the front of the house and string lights along the gutter.  Oh, the joy this job brings me.  I love trying to level and steady the ladder on the ground and then slowly climb as I watch the gutter bend under my weight.  As I get to the top and gingerly lean over to clip some lights I look below to see kids chasing the dog around at the base of the ladder.   I'm going to die.

This year I even noticed a group of Vultures circling high above the house as I was on the ladder.  They must have been hopeful that I would come down hard.  Thankfully, that never happened.
Later, we went to Lowe's and picked out a Christmas tree.  We've given up on our artificial tree for now and all of us going to the store to pick one out is more fun than opening another box from the attic.

After all the decorating was done and the ornaments were on the tree, Cari and I stood and admired our work.

 Decorating.  Done.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Two Players

It's that season again.  Basketball.  This year we will have two players in our house.

Practices have started and that means you can find me sitting in the bleachers pretty much every night except Wednesday's.  From now until Christmas.

The exciting part for me comes in January.  I'm excited to watch both kids and their teams progress through the next few weeks of practice and then start the games all suited up in their uniforms.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Plague Protection

It started with the boy.  High fever and achy symptoms.  A day later the youngest started to cough and have a rough voice.  That's when I knew it was time to be on high alert around my house.  The plague had made it's way in.

Another day passes and Cari started coughing more and more.  Three of the five of us had fallen ill.  After work that day, I hid in a corner of the house with the only healthy child.  Huddled together, we feared the plague every time someone came into the room to talk to us.  "Mom, just text me", my daughter pleaded.

Day four kept two down for the count.  The youngest never caught the full plague and recovered from her cough.

Day five had the boy recovering nicely and Cari laid up in the bed for 30+ hours.

Day six and seven showed everyone recovering nicely.  Two of remained clean through the week the plague attacked.

How did we do it?  Careful isolation of the sick people, orange juice, and cake.  The two of us ate a lot of cake while everyone was asleep and I think that's what did it.  The key to remaining healthy is lots of CAKE.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Leaf Cart

We loaded the cart of the top of the hill and decided to see how it holds up plowing through a few piles of leaves.

So it took a little longer than normal to get the yard raked this year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for Shopping?

I've noticed in the news this week the unfortunate trend of retailers starting to open on Thanksgiving evening. It always seemed kind of an exciting idea to get up at 4 in the morning to run over and line up at Target for Black Friday.   Over the years the time to get in line backed up more and more until people were lining up Thanksgiving day and waiting all night.

Target and other retailers saw pockets full of credit cards just standing outside of their buildings and couldn't wait to run it through the register so now you can start shopping when you shouldn't be.  On Thanksgiving day.

I heard that some people started petitions against these stores opening on a holiday like this.  I believe one petition got tens of thousands signatures.  That's probably not enough to make a difference.  I mean, Texas had over 100,000 sign a petition to leave the USA and they are still a part of the country.  Besides, retailers will look at this petition and then look at the dollars running through their stores before midnight and it will be an easy decision.  

The shoppers have spoken.

In a few more years I'll write another blog that will start, "Do you remember the days when stores were closed on Thanksgiving?"

Monday, November 19, 2012

More rules.

Man, ever since the election someone has been cracking down on the rules around the house lately.  What's next, stricter dress code?  I guess I'll have to wear pants all the time now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In America

This weekend is the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix!!!!

Why is this worth writing about?  Because it's been five years since the WORLD'S top racing platform has been in the USA.  Think about it.  It's a world championship series that hasn't even been running in the US.  These cars are incredible.  The drivers are incredible.  Take a few minutes to watch the race this weekend and notice how fast the car can change directions.  The driver has to be 100% focused every second or he will end up off the track.   The technology they use to build and drive these cars is the complete opposite of what the folks in NASCAR do.  Heck, NASCAR cars don't even have speedometer.

Americans haven't loved F1 as much as Nascar but that hasn't stopped tracks from being developed to lure the high tech cars back to our soil.  This weekend's race will be in Austin, Texas at a brand new track specially built for Formula 1 racing.

In the next year or two there will be another race in America.  It will be called the Grand Prix of the Americas and will be in New Jersey.  That course will be a street circuit with Manhattan as a backdrop.

With just TWO races left in the season the top two drivers are only separated by ten points.

Now if we could manage to get an American driver in one of those cars, maybe we would see some more Americans get excited about the sport.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Last Friday night I stayed up until 3am learning to be a hacker.  As time with my current Android phone has progressed I became more and more disgusted with this particular model.  My biggest complaint with the phone I have is Verizon forcing certain software onto the phone and not allowing me to remove it.  

My second complaint was that Verizon has given up on updating the phone so getting the latest software means buying a new phone.

That's when I decided to become a hacker and put the software that I want on the phone.  As I was reading I realized that it was very possible to fix the phone that the way I wanted it.  It was also very possible to completely break my phone and render it useless.

I read the process of "rooting" my phone and then I read about the problems people encountered before I even touched my phone.    At three in the morning I decided I had studied enough and went to bed.   Saturday morning I was drinking my coffee as I reviewed my notes one more time.  I plugged the phone into the computer and went back to the good ol' command prompt.
 Ah!  This brings back the memories of working with DOS.  You remember DOS, right?

The first process did take a couple of hours, but before lunch I was sending out my first text.  I never encountered any major issues that would have caused me to sweat.  The phone has been given new life.  Now that the phone is hacked and the security broken, any more updates I put in will take about fifteen minutes to implement.   

Is there any kind of hacker certificate that I should be applying for?  I just hope hackers don't have to stay up until 3am every Friday night.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Game Night Trophy

Last week our family game night was a round of Ticket to Ride.  We purchased the USA 1910 expansion cards for this game and we used the Big City destination tickets.  This made some of the big hubs get crowded quick and several of us had to take the long way around.  
The big story of the night was the inclusion of our new game night trophy.  You can see our trophy in the picture below.  It's a statue from Nintendo that the winner of each game night gets to take to their room.
We first introduced the trophy about two weeks ago during a game that Meredith won and took the trophy that night.  A week later we were playing the above mentioned game of Ticket to Ride.  Meredith brought the trophy with her, but she didn't leave with it that night.  

I did. 

Thursday, November 08, 2012


It's true what parents say.  When there is too much quiet there is a problem.  It's near impossible to have silence in a house with three kids.  Unless they are all asleep or someone is plotting to be in trouble.

When the background noise of talking, throwing, and breaking slows down you better stop and see what is happening.  Your youngest daughter might be applying her own makeup.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Is This Camping?

As we were planning our next family camping trip last month, Cari and I started to get nervous about cold weather.  We started looking at the possibility of cabins and she ended up finding these small units at Lake Hartwell State Park in Fair Play, SC.
I'm not sure I would call it a cabin.  It's basically a bedroom.  There is a set of bunk beds and one full bed in the room.  There is an air conditioner / heater and lights in the room.  It's also cheap.  Where most cabin rentals are at least equal to a hotel, this rental is around $30 a night.  Is this really camping?

 This past weekend was our trip and the weather was amazing.  Lake Hartwell State Park is a great camping area and we found very few other campers joining us.  Our campsite was on a hill but was laid out perfectly.   There were steps leading down from the "house" to the fire ring and picnic table.
From there a few more steps down lead you to the lake edge.

During the weekend we ate pretty well causing me to wonder, "Is this camping?" 
For one dinner we had what Randy calls "hobo" meals.  It's ground beef mixed with vegetables and some A1 sauce.  Wrap the mix in foil and throw it on the fire for a while. Results are delicious.
We also had a great sausage and egg breakfast one morning.

We also made s'mores for dessert but with these giant marshmallows.  I bet you can't eat more than one.

A few other highlights of our weekend include:

Playing monkey in the middle at the playground.
Beautiful scenery.
A few games around camp
Plenty of relaxing.
Our little cabin made a big difference and we all loved it.  It made sleeping comfortable and it was much roomier than climbing over each other in the tent.  It turns out that camping doesn't have much to do with comfort or eating good.  You can have those things and still be camping.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Food Post

I've encountered a couple of great foods this week that I need to share with you.

The first is: PICKLES.

Now pickles are nothing new to me, but this jar of pickles is different.  This jar was home made.  A co-worker does a garden every year and each year she pickles jars of her cucumbers.  She normally trades with other people at work.  One guy keeps bees and will trade her pickles for honey.  Another person is a hunter and trades deer meat.  This jar, she gave me for free.  They were delicious.

The second food I wanted to share this morning I don't think is as interesting as the pickles, but so tasty I had to include it.  At a fall festival we picked up a few caramel apples to bring home.  This is no ordinary caramel apple.  This is a deluxe model.  Whoever made this knew what they were doing.  Do you see how thick that coating of caramel is?  Oh!  It's perfect.  On top of that they chose the most crisp and tart apples you can imagine.
The stomach ache I got from eating the entire caramel apple after dinner last night was totally worth it.  I would gladly put myself through that again.

Friday, November 02, 2012