Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just over two years ago...

I completely forgot that the 27th was the two year anniversary of this blog. That's kind of sad. Then again, with it being so close to Christmas, it is easy to forget. Just ask anyone who has a birthday just after Christmas, people tend to forget about it. Actually, my step-mom's birthday is the day after Christmas, so we give her our present when we see her for Christmas. She doesn't get screwed out of a gift, but it's all done together, which isn't much different.

Anyway, the blog. Yes, so two years. Does it feel much different? No, not much has changed here. I looked at last year's anniversary post to see who I thanked for coming by and commenting. It's still the same people. That's okay, though. It's still fun, that's the only reason I started this anyway, to have some fun and be stupid sometimes. Pretty much like a normal day for me.

Speaking of stupid, have you seen the Cat Emery board thing? I've seen things like this a long time ago? How is it any different? I don't see how it would make the cat's claws less sharp. It's not like the thing is going to take them out, or anything.

Sorry, I've been seeing that commercial a lot and had to say something.

A few months ago I joined a group on Flickr that is taking up a little of my time. That's one of the reasons I've been a little lax in posting lately. It's been a lot of fun, but it also makes me want a new, and nicer, camera. And take a photography class so I know what I'm doing.

Also, not to end on a downer, but we just found our daughter needs her tonsils out. As you may know, the kids have had a bad stretch of strep throat this year. I think she has had it five times over the course of the year, so it's not like this was a surprise. It's going to be interesting, she's not a fan of doctors, or anything that includes pain. This should be fun!

So, in closing, I'd like to say thanks for coming by. Especially, Florinda, Cookie, Mr. Unfocused, Dreamybee, Carly, Karen, DC (who pops in now and again) and anybody else who comes by here, whether you comment or not. Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Next year's Christmas card

Sad Christmas tree
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
What do you think? Maybe just one picture in a collage? It might just happen. (Thanks to Mr. Unfocused for the idea.)

In other news, the floors are done! We can walk in our family room without smacking our knees on furniture that is stacked to the ceiling. We don't have everything back in place yet, but the TV, Wii and computer are operational. All the important stuff!

Now, I have ymto get back to the Bears game. Since they are completely out of the playoff picture they are playing well. Figures.

Hope you had a nice Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to wish a very Merry Christmas to anyone who stumbles upon this blog. I hope you have a great one. If you don't celebrate Christmas, have a great weekend and enjoy a good movie that is out there. Better yet, get together with your family anyway, do you really need a holiday to do so?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Weekend Assignment #298: Lost

"You're Lost!"

I think that is one of my favorite lines in Vacation. The delivery, the look on Aunt Edna's face, it's perfect. I can see that really coming from the backseat on a long journey, especially from an old, grumpy lady like Aunt Edna.

Anyway, Karen wants us to dig up terrible memories of being lost. It hurts to think about it.

Weekend Assignment: #298: Do you often get lost, trying to get someplace new? Do you print out a map, or just wing it? And when you do have trouble finding your way, is it an annoyance or an adventure?

Okay, I'm teasing Karen a little bit. It's all in good fun for the Christmas Season!

We try to use Mapquest, Google Maps, or my iPhone to make sure we don't get lost, but sometimes it still happens. Especially when we go into the city. I am not a city person at all. I was born and raised out in the suburbs. Okay, technically I was born in Chicago, but I think it was on the outskirts, barely in Chicago at all. No, I don't remember what hospital, I was just born, geez.

It is not an adventure for me. Not one bit. Just ask Jenn. I get stressed going into the city and get worse if we have trouble finding where we need to go, or where the ramp to the expressway is to get us back to our safe suburbs. I tend to get snippy and cranky when we get turned around, I don't know why. Like Jenn tells me, it's not like we are going to get stuck there and never find our way home, or anything. But, when I'm in a position like that I don't think rationally. I start picture us living out of the car and drinking anti-freeze to survive. It's not pretty.

Have I told you our Hawaii story? (Sorry, Jenn.) Back in 2000 we went to Maui for our anniversary. It was a great time, for the most part. We took a bike tour down the Haleakala volcano, it was really cool up there, in more ways than one. We decided on the bike tour that allowed you to go down on your own rather than going down in one big group. Everything was fine as we cruised down the mountain with the brakes on the whole way. At one point we stopped because I thought we were going the wrong way. Jenn took out the map and said we were going the right way, so we continued. Eventually we were in the middle of nowhere, again we stopped. Long story short, Jenn had the wrong map. We were heading to a completely different bike place. Not good. The next 90 minutes were not pretty, so I won't repeat it here.

So, no, I don't find being lost an adventure. I'm too high strung.

Extra Credit: Is your town or city easy to get lost in?

The town I live in is pretty easy to navigate, I think. Jenn grew up in Chicago, so she doesn't like how you have no point of reference from one town to the next like you do in the city. But, she has grown used to it. Or, at least she tolerates it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O, (pathetic) Christmas Tree!

Our sad Christmas tree
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
This is it! This is all we have up. Aren't we great parents? The kids aren't sure how Santa is going to fit any presents under this so-called tree.

Next year our house better look like the Griswald's. That's the only way we are going to make up for this year.

Oh, the installer said they will come Saturday to install the floor. But we don't have enough moulding. It will have to be ordered. And come after New Year's. At least we can put our furniture back after they put everything in. I think.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

These actually work!

You know how I like to make fun of commercials for ridiculous products, right? Well, let me tell you, Magic Sliders actually work. I bought these the other day to help us move some furniture out of the living room so we could tear up the carpet. So I popped a few under the love seat and, BAM!, I was able to slide it around the room and out of there all by myself. Same thing with the full sized couch. Now, there still was friction and some effort was needed since they aren't really magical and the laws of physics still apply, but it was much easier. It helped out a lot when my brother and I moved the entertainment center out of the room.

So, there. I'm going to recommend a product that I would normally make fun of. Well, actually, I usually make more fun out of the commercials than the products. Am I going to change my ways and give things a chance now? No, probably not. Most of those products like this are gimmicky garbage that doesn't do anything remotely close to what it says it will. Not to mention the commercials make the average person look like an idiot.

See, I just gave you a last minute gift Idea.

(No, I did not get these for fee, nor was I paid to say this. I swear! Call them and ask!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Where we stand right now

Unfortunately we aren't standing on a new wood floor. You didn't think it would be that easy, did you? You obviously don't know me and my luck too well.

It started off okay, Jenn called to tell me they'd probably need more moulding. No problem, I thought. That was an easy one.

Then Jenn called shortly after that. Turns out our floor isn't too level. I think if you poured enough water to cover the entire floor to a one-foot depth, a person standing in the living room would be under water. Now, this isn't something you notice when you have carpet on the floor, but when you have a floating floor installed the floor needs to be flat. Unless, if course, you want all of the wood pieces to pile up at one end of the room over time.

So they needed to pour some cement in some areas and sand it down in another. Ah, the joys of living on a slab.

The cement is now drying, the dogs are spending the night at a boarding place and we are hoping it dries fast enought to be installed on Saturday. What? You thought it would be done by Christmas? Ha! You crack me up.

Should we start a pool now on when it will be done? Oh, I should mention that he's coming tomorrow to see how the floor is drying. If it's coming along he will be able to do it Saturday. If not, Monday.

Think dry thoughts.

While I'm glad I have an iPhone to post this, I wish everything was done so I can get my computer back. I don't know if I can wait until Saturday. I don't even want to think about Monday.

I'm done complaining now. Go have fun!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Carpet removed, stress increasing

Carpet removed
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
This is how our living room and dinning room right now. It's a little darker than normal since sone lamps have been removed and I took this with my phone. It was a long day of moving furniture and pulling up carpet, padding and tackboards. Luckily my brother was able to help, otherwise I'd be working on it until sunrise. Or later.

Tomorrow the guys come to put the floor in. It could take two days, depending on any issues they may have. I hope we like it after all this.

Right now all outlr furniture is scattered through the house with most piled out in the family room. If a burglar came in tonight he'd kill himself walking in. Then we'd be sued by his family since we didn't have a proper escape path for unintended vistors, or something.

In closing, I'd like to recommend having major work done on your house right before Christmas. That way you are too stressed out about the work being done to worry about how far behind you are in Christmas shopping. It's a win-win!

We need to get new siding, so mabye we'll plan that for next Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Don't mess with my Clapper!

Oh, the Clapper. The most famous of cheesy gifts ever. They have have been ramping up the ads for The Clapper since Christmas is coming. You know, it is the perfect gift for the old and truly lazy. Call now!

Here's my problem, the now have a Clapper Plus that comes with a remote. It's like they have brought it into the 20th century now. (Yes, I know it is the 21st century, that's the joke.) It's just another part of my childhood being wrenched away from me! Sure, you can still clap to make it work, but now you have the option of being even more lazy and not expend the energy it takes to clap. That is not the Clapper we all truly love. Who doesn't find the part of the commercial with the old lady clapping and rolling over in bed a classic bit of TV advertising? We all do. Now the old lady can just push about and roll over. That's not exciting. Besides, what happens when the batteries die on the remote. Now she's going to need to call her grandson over to change them. How is that any easier?

I say we all boycott the new Clapper and just buy the old version. Who's with me? Otherwise more classic bits of crap gifts are going to change. I hear the Chia Pet people are coming up with a version that has a fake plant in it. Can you just imagine that?!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Unexpected Christmas treat?

Hostess holiday cakes
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
How long has Hostess sold this "Holiday Fruitcake?" I don't think I've ever seen it before. Not that I've ever looked for a fruitcake, not to mention looking for one in the snack aisle.

My real question is why? Why does hostess, who makes tasty treats, make something that people have mocked for tasting terrible for as long as I can remember? (I'm still ticked off that they changed the recipe for Ho Ho's and ruined my childhood memories forever.)

No, I didn't buy it, though I like to imagine that it is make by taking all the scraps from their other treats and mashing it together. I mean, it can't be good-tasting if it is a fruitcake. We can't ruin that Christmas tradition, can we?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Return of the Streptococci

That doesn't really roll of the tongue that well. Good thing George Lucas used the word "Jedi" or the third movie would have had an awkward title.

As you may remember, we've had quite a few occurrences of strep throat over the Spring and Summer. Well, it's back! Our daughter was officially diagnosed with it on Friday. We knew it was coming. She knew it was coming, that's why she'd pretend like her throat didn't hurt. I think if she could choose between jumping off a cliff and having a strep test taken, she'd jump. Neither of the kids like the stick test. Not that I do, but they are much worse than I am about it. She was crying for 20 minutes before she went to the doctor. Since I had been awake for 30 hours, I didn't have to go to the doctor this time, but it's not hard to imagine what it was like. At least she got a stuffed animal out of the deal.

Now, like I said, we've had this go through the house a few times recently, so the doctor told us to take her to a specialist and talk about having the offending tonsils removed. It's probably a good idea, they are huge so she'd probably be more comfortable. Not to mention that she'll snore less. I wonder what we are going to have to bribe her with to get her to go to this appointment? A toy? Car? House? It's not going to be pretty.

Do the still let you take the tonsils home in a jar? I kind of want to keep them since they've caused so much trouble this year. We could burn them to try and appease the god of tonsils, that way our son can keep his. I'll take pictures if that happens.

I think I mentioned I'm working the midnight shifts, so please excuse the randomness of the posts this week.

Thank you. Good Night!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's the middle of the night, why aren't you awake to entertain me?

That has to be one of the longest titles I've had on here. But, that doesn't really answer my question. I'm working midnights, so you all need to be awake and on Twitter, or Facebook, or anything. It's boring checking out Twitter and seeing nobody has updated. What am I supposed to read? I'm reading the new Dean Koontz book, but reading a book puts me to sleep at 3 in the morning. Reading Twitter, or something along those lines doesn't. Hey, I have to be awake, why doesn't everybody? (Quick, how many times does "read" show up in that last paragraph?)

This was not a fun day. I should say yesterday wasn't. I worked overnight, then had to go pick up my mom at my brother's house, and take her to the doctor. At least, that was the plan. It turned into me going home, picking up my daughter who was sick, go get my mom, have my daughter get sick in the car, go to Target to get her some clothes, call my sister to meet me at my mom's, have my sister take my mom to the doctor, and then go home. Not that I went home to sleep, I just went home. I went to sleep at 4 pm and woke up at 9 pm to get ready for work. I guess you can say I'm a little tired.

We have the TV on at work (no sound) and there isn't even any good infomercials on. That is always one of the highlights of the midnight shift. Instead we are getting "Breaking News" on the Tiger Woods story. From 8 hours ago. I think it is safe for them to drop the "Breaking News" off of it. Don't you think? Speaking of that, I think Larry King had Pat O'Brien on to talk about the whole Tiger thing. Is he really to best person to talk to about this? I guess Kobe Bryant was busy.

That's all I have. I was trying to think of other things I was going to talk about, but I'm too tired to remember. Maybe tomorrow night.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

He had it coming

He had it coming
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Maybe he looked at Quincy the wrong way; gave him the Stink Eye, so to speak. Maybe he was taunting Quincy since he gets to sleep with our son while Quincy has to sleep downstairs. Maybe he challenged Quincy to a fight.

Whatever it was, he lost. Quincy beat the stuffing out of him. That will teach the other toys to mess with Quincy.

I didn't get much sleep last night. Can you tell?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ready for the Storm!

Ready for the Storm
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
It's the "Storm of the Century!" Well, at least the storm of the winter. So far, that is. Really, the way they talk on the radio and TV you'd think we lived in south Florida or something. Yes, it's going to snow. Yes, we might get a good amount. Yes, people are going to drive like morons. It happens every year. I did go out and buy some powdered eggs today. You know, just in case...

At least the Target parking lot is ready for action. Look at that purple and green stuff. I have no idea why the ice melting stuff is that color, I've only seen the white salt that is behind it. The purple stuff kind of looks like a snow cone. A little? No?

Anyway, we are going to get some snow tonight and into tomorrow. We could get 3 to 8 inches. We'll see where we end up in that range. Now, If you'll excuse me, I believe some freeze-dried food is calling my name.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #66: Under the Hood

Carly wants some pictures of what keeps our cars running. This is the best I have for you:

Here's a relatively wide shot of the engine compartment:

Here is a close-up. Notice there is no battery here, just a plus terminal to use while jumping. I had to read the owner's manual to find out it was in the trunk. Not today, mind you, but the first time I was looking for it.

That's all I have this week. Not very exciting, I know.

Go over to Carly's site to see what other's have posted.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How we spent a lot of money seeing a movie

To start off we went here. I'm not sure why I'm linking to their site, it is not very good. It looks okay, but it just doesn't work well. We are not the only ones that thinks so either.

Anyway, we did this a few weeks ago. We were given a gift card for Gold Class Cinema last Christmas, I think, so it was about time we went. Plus, with the economy they way it is, we weren't sure how long the place would be around. Movies are expensive enough when going to a regular theater, not to mention a Gold Class cinema.

We asked for a gift card for this place when we heard it was being built. It seemed like a good idea to go to a theater with nice comfy chairs, eat while you are watching it, and most likely have no children making a bunch of noise. We were going to see and "R" rated movie, so there should have been no kids, but you can never be sure.

Let me describe how it works. First, you try to make a reservation for a movie you want to see. You get to pick your seat, which is an added bonus. Then, when you go to the theater you tell them your name, they won't be able to find it because their website blows, but the people are super nice. Ours was reserved under the name "Gold." Not our last name, but notice it is part of the name of the theater. We should have said we were part owners.

So, they greet you and sit you down in a lounge area and get your drink order, then your dinner order. I think this is a good idea since it reduces the distractions in the theater. It would be hard to pay attention to the movie if everyone was getting their order taken.

After we placed our order, they came at sat us in our nice chairs with electric reclining action. How cool is that? We are offered blankets and a pillow, but we decline so we wouldn't fall asleep.

The first thing we noticed was how different the previews are when you are not going to see a "G" rated, animated movie. Sadly, the previews were better than the movie. But that's not the theater's fault. I blame everyone who made The Men Who Stare at Goats. I mean, come on! The previews looked great, but that had all the good scenes, unfortunately.

Our food came, just after the movie started. Since there are no tables, just the drink holder-type things, you have to hold the plate in your lap. But, the plates are designed in such a way that it works. I had a steak sandwich and Jenn has sushi. She didn't like her food too much. But, really, sushi in a movie theater, what did she expect? But, that gave us an excuse to order the cookie platter. So it worked out well.

If you looked at the site a bit, you might have noticed the layout of the seats. It works out really well, the waiters were never blocking my view. Of course, we only had six other people seeing the movie, but I think it would have been okay even if it was full.

Overall, I think it's a good way to see a movie for a special occasion. Just pick a better movie than we did.

 How much was it? Well, I'll let you figure it out. 

(No, I was not paid to write this. But, if anyone who works for them sees this and wants to give me a gift card, feel free. :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekend Assignment #295: Keeping warm

As Karen sits in cozy and warm Tucson, she wants to know what us poor saps in the Midwest (and other parts of this Earth) do to keep warm during the winter. I think it is fitting that I write this up on the day we get our first measurable snow in Chicago. (I think some of the suburbs got some the other day, but that doesn't count.)

Weekend Assignment: #295: Even in Tucson, things can get a bit chilly on December nights. What is your favorite way to keep warm?

Chilly? In Tucson? Okay, I'll cut Karen some slack since she used to live in Syracuse, NY and I see that it is in the 40's there now.

In our lower level it can get pretty chilly in the winter. Part of the reason is because it is an open two-story area in the main living room, so all the cold air pools right by the couches. You can almost see it. Or, at least your breath. Also, the siding on the house is as old as me, it needs to be tossed out and replaced. I think getting some new insulation and siding will help keep the downstairs much warmer. I hope.

When it is chilly, I usually put on what Jenn likes to call my 'old man sweater.' It's just a zip up fleece thing, but since I wear it all the time, Jenn likes to make fun of me. Though, when I am on a stretch of days off I do tend to wear it a lot. It's like the flannel shirt Michale Keaton wore in Mr. Mom. So maybe she's not so far off. Hey, at least it's not a sweater that Mr. Rogers wore, or anything.

We do have a fire place in the family room, but we aren't in there a whole lot. There is no TV, so what's the point?  Also, we've been waiting for the kids to get older. They are old enough now to stay away, but now we have to clean the chimney out and make sure the dogs won't jump in there. Maybe next winter.

Extra Credit: What is the temperature setting on your thermostat?

Because of the chill I mentioned early, we tend to keep the thermostat set at 73 degrees. This way it is tolerable in the living room and roasting in the bedrooms upstairs. I try to turn the thermostat down a bit at night, but I often get caught and have to turn it back up. I don't like to be warm when I sleep.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I don't drink coffee...

Antique coffee
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
But this doesn't sound good to me. No, I'd rather have fresh coffee, please. Thank you.

I imagine this is the kind of coffee you would drink along with the piece of cake from Charles and Diana's wedding you won in an auction. Or, maybe something older. Like a piece of cake celebrating our nation's independence? Either way, I'll pass.

I wonder if the other things in their vending service are antiques as well? I hear the 1985 vintage Twinkie is superb!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No, No, NaNo, NaNo, No!

I couldn't come up with a better title than that. This isn't really an update since I haven't done any NaNoWriMo updates through the course of the month. One would think that my absence from here would mean that I have succeeded in accomplishing the 50,000 word goal. One would be wrong. Now I'm going to go on and list all the people I want to blame for my failure. Okay?


You really didn't think I was going to lay blame on anyone else did you? I'm not saying I didn't try, or that I gave up, I just don't think I had the resolve to get it done in the one month time frame. I had more things to do than I thought I would this month. Not to mention, the midnights I had to do in the beginning, me getting sick, and the kids getting sick.

I'm a total waste of space when I work midnights, just ask Jenn. I thought I could get some stuff done in my waking hours, but I couldn't get myself to do that. I'm sure Jabba the Hut would call me a weak minded fool.

I did pound out some words when Jenn was out of town in the middle of the month. Although, by the end of that week I was pretty tired of being on duty all the time and took a break one day. I did get to do one day of writing sprints with Mr. Unfocused when he was on a business trip. See, that man has the willpower and dedication that I don't. And, he won by writing over 50,000 words. Go congratulate him. Tell him I said so.

So how far did I get? (I just realized I should have told you Mr. Unfocused's numbers after mine so I don't look so weak.) I got up to over 17,000. But, you know what, I'm not too mad at myself. I'm sure if I tried a little harder I could have made it halfway to the milestone, but still, that is 17,000 more than I had before, right?

I think I'll keep going with it though. Why not finish what I started, right? There is always next year!

This April is Script Frenzy month. Who wants to do it with me?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go for a run. I have a Santa 5K to run this weekend and I haven't done a whole lot since my race last month. I'm not sure if my legs remember what to do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey cake and stuffing
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
As you can see, we'll be eating turkey and turkey cake. Not a bad deal!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. If you read this and are not from the US, have a great Thursday!

I plan on eating as little as possible until we go to my mom's for dinner. Unfortunately, I have to work during the day and some food is going to be supplied. I have to show some willpower, of which I have none. I better wear the stretchy pants tomorrow. Maybe the rest of the week, too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Assignment #293: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

At least in the stores it is. So far we still have green grass. Let's hope it stays that way for a while.

Karen's assignment this week is about the holidays and when they start for us.

Weekend Assignment: #292: Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving ahead, and Christmas advertising has begun. So how about it? When do the holidays begin for you? Do you avoid thinking about Christmas and Hanukkah until after Thanksgiving, or is any time after Halloween okay? Is it time for Christmas lights in your neighborhood, and do the neighbors agree with you? How about Christmas music? When does that become okay, if ever?

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas decorations going up in the stores right after Christmas. It has nothing to do with the fact that Thanksgiving isn't here yet, or that it contributes to the commercialization of Christmas. I don't care about that. I just hate that it makes me stressed out thinking I have less time to get presents. True, Jenn does most of the shopping now, but I'm a last minute shopper, so I don't want to think that last minute is here already. Does that make any sense? Sure, you could say that the decorations up early would remind me to go shopping so I'm not doing it on the last minute, but that's just stupid. Once I realize I have a month-and-a-half until Christmas I just forget about it until the next time I go into the store. That's why I avoid stores from now until December 22nd. It's easier on my heart.

What was the question again?

Oh, yeah. I have noticed people put up lights on their house, but they aren't turned on yet. Here in the Midwest you put them up when the weather is nice. That way when you go to turn them on and they don't work when it's cold and snow, you can say that at least you made an attempt.

And Christmas music? Well, that's playing here on the local "Christmas" station. They started last week, which is a little late for them. I want to say they started right after Halloween last year, but it might have seemed that way. I'm not against Christmas music this early. My problem is there is not enough good Christmas music to start this early. Unless you want to repeat the same thing every day, you need to dig deep into the Christmas music bin. When you are dragging out Christmas music sung by cats or dogs, you need to have a better plan.

Extra Credit: Have you bought any holiday presents yet? If not, when do you think you'll start?

Actually, we have bought a few gifts. We bought a Wii due to a special sale, and we picked up a few games today because of a sale. We are out of control! Jenn is going to his some stores on Black Friday. I'll be asleep. I mean, keeping an eye on the kids!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trying to sleep here

Trying to sleep here
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Doesn't Cruise's head look freakishly small here? I know it's the angle that I took this shot from, but still, it looks weird.

This is his, "Can you keep the key clicking down? I'm trying to sleep" look. Jenn is in Tampa this week for a work thing so I took the time off to keep an eye on the kids. Somebody has to, right?

So, I'm trying to catch up on NaNoWriMo. I'm quite behind, and I don't expect to make the 50,000, but I'm over 12,000 now. I'm pretty happy about that. This month started off poorly due to work, and illness in the household. hat's my story and I'm sticking to it. I hope I can get halfway to 50,000. That would make me happy. Hey, it's my first time! Don't give me that look.

Now I need to go clean up so I can get the kids at school.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #63:Downtown

This week Carly wanted us to take shots of our downtown area. Even though I live in a suburb, we have a decent downtown area. We have a several large buildings and hotels, but they are not all that close together. I could have gotten a shot with all of them, I think.

I had a good plan for this week's assignment. I knew where I wanted to go to get a shot or two of the downtown area in my town. Unfortunately, when I had the free time from work I was sick. But, I did get something!

But, I did get these in the outskirts of the downtown area. For some reason we have a little Helistop right in the middle of town. I've only seen it used a few times, but still, it's neat to have it.

To cheat a little and show you what I mean, he is a shot I took a few weeks ago coming into town. You can see a couple of the larger buildings. (Sorry, Carly. I had to sneak in an archived photo.).

Now, go check out the rest at Carly's site.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekend Assignment #292:The Oldest thing

This week Karen wants to know what kind of old stuff we have in our houses. It's kind of like that show where you find old stuff in your house and hope it's going to make you a millionaire. That's not going to happen here.

Weekend Assignment: #292: What is the oldest thing in your house or apartment?

By far the oldest thing in our house is one of my coins. I'm not a big collector, but I have a few things I've picked up since I was a kid. A few I got through the mail, but most of what I have I got through the regular money circulation channels. I used to wait tables, that is the best way to get a lot of change. Especially when you work in a restaurant that caters to old people. It was not unusual to get a tip of 78 cents. At least this was the before people had easy access to tip calculators, I probably would have been given pennies cut in half if that were the case.

Anyway, my oldest coin is a 1895 Indian Head Penny. As you can see, it has seen better days; about 41,600, or so. Exciting isn't it? Imagine, this coin has gained about 5000 percent in value since it was made. Of course, since the value started at 1 cent it's not that big of a deal. I wish I had a ten dollar bill laying around that had gained the same value.

As I was looking through the coins I have, I found some I had forgotten about. Don't worry, I won't bore you with the all of them. I found a few from other countries that I forgot I had. I have some from Israel, Mexico, Sweden, Italy, and the tiniest coin from the Netherlands. Look how small this is compared to our old giant silver dollars.

Isn't it cute? It's like a tiny baby coin. Can you imagine carrying around those tiny things and trying to find it in your pocket to buy a Coke?

Extra Credit: Is there anything from your childhood that you've managed to hang on to all these years?

I have a lot of things from my childhood at my mom's house. The kids have brought a few of them over here. My son had brought my old Star Bird spaceship toy home a long time ago. I loved that thing as a kid.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Originally uploaded by Mike F.
This is what happens when you go to pour dog food out of a giant container and the lid isn't secure.

Jenn decided this was something she had to take a picture of. Obviously I was the one who made the mess, but I blame the dogs for needing to eat. And the maker of the dog food container. I'll take about 10 percent of the blame. Sounds about right.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekend Assignment #291: It didn't work

I don't like when things don't work. I get very angry when I spend my time putting something together and it doesn't work. Especially since it takes me ten times longer than the average person to put anything together. Much like Peter Brady, I'm not mechanically inclined. Karen wants to dredge up bad feelings in this week's assignment:

Weekend Assignment: #291: Sooner or later, everyone buys, is given or otherwise acquires something that just doesn't work as expected. Tell us about that useless, broken, fraudulent, glitchy, disappointing acquisition.

Extra Credit: Did you eventually end up with something that worked?

I had some trouble coming up with a good story for the week. I know I've had many things not work, but I couldn't come up with anything good. I have several examples of kid's toys that didn't work as advertised. (When did Hot Wheels stuff becomes so poorly made?) But, nothing of mine; until I looked into the yard. Then the anger flowed back into my memory banks.

A few years ago I bought a new lawn mower. I won't mention the brand, let's just call it a "Zorro." I bought the new Zorro because the lawn mower I had was a little old and didn't cut very well. Or run very well. So, I brought home the box that the Zorro was in and set out the parts. There weren't many things to put together, just the handle and maybe the wheels. I think that is right.

I checked the instructions to see what needed to be added to make it run. All it said to do was put gas and add the oil that came in the box. No problem I can do that. I think I was done and ready to go in 20 minutes. I was feeling good about myself. Now it was time to cut grass and try the sucker out.

I pulled the handle to get the motor purring. No dice. I expected that, though. The thing was brand new and I expected it to be a bit difficult to start. Pull again, and again, and again. Each pull was raising my blood pressure a little higher. Not because of exertion. I can't remember how many times I pulled that stupid cord, but it did start eventually, but it didn't stay running. No, why would a brand new Zorro start and stay running on the first day? That's silly.

I don't know how long I kept working at it, but I eventually gave up and used the old mower. The one that didn't cut well or run well, ran better than the new Zorro. I was not a happy camper.

I can't remember now how I figured out the cause of problem. But it boiled down I followed the directions. See, for whatever reason, there was already oil in the mower. I over-filled it and messed it up. It had about double the amount of oil it should and it wouldn't run properly. I was able to get some out and get it going eventually (not the same day of course) but I was still ticked off. My guess is, someone bought it and put the oil in and returned it, though I could be wrong. Maybe the company was trying to screw with me.

This is why I need a handy man to live in our shed. It would make my life much easier.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ed Grimley's love child on Dancing with the Stars?

Look at this clip of Aaron Carter on Dancing with the Stars, especially at the 30 second mark.

Now, let's look at Ed Grimley dancing.

The resemblance is uncanny!

That's all I have for you today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate, running and family

Last Sunday I ran in the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K in Chicago. I think Jenn had found out about this race last year after it was already over, but we knew we wanted to do it this year. Who wouldn't want to run in a race that has hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and candy bars after the race. You'd be crazy not to!

Turns out,  A LOT of people thought the same thing. Last year I heard they had a bout 2500 people. This year it was about 12,000. Maybe more. I don't know if they expected it top be this big, but I had some concerns after the sixth e-mail letting us know about a change in the parking, packet pick-up, more parking issues, etc. I was concerned this had grown too big, too fast and was going to be a logistical nightmare.

I went with their plan of parking at Navy Pier and taking a shuttle they set up over to Montrose Harbor. I don't know that area well, not that I know much of the downtown area well, but I guess there is not a whole lot of parking in that area. After the 5th e-mail warning me that this parking lot would fill up quick, Jenn told me I should leave around 5:30am to get there and get a spot. Good thing we changed the clocks back that night! Let me tell you one thing, I had thought about not going. I really thought this was going to be a complete disaster. I had visions of standing around and not being able to get to the race, of chocolate running out, and lack of porta-potties. I'm not sure what I was more worried about. Probably the chocolate. But, I went anyway and it was mostly due to the fact that I was meeting my second cousin there.

I should back up here. See, I've never met my second cousin, Kristina. I know, you are wondering why that could be, especially since we lived close by, heck we went to the same high school for one year after mine closed down. I know! I know! Let me explain, okay? So, she is my dad's cousin's daughter. Got that? But, since my mom and dad divorced when I was very (I mean very) young, I never lived with him so I didn't get to see a whole lot of his family. Except the closest relatives of course. I didn't know where she lived. I didn't know she was in my school. I just didn't know.

Anyway, back to the present day. See, there is this thing called Facebook. You may have heard of it. Jenn and I have a friend on there who Kristina is also a friend of, she saw something Jenn wrote on our friends wall, let's call her Jenny, since that is her name, and she reached out to Jenn. Then, after many messages back and forth we set up to meet at this race.

It wasn't easy. She was coming in from Wisconsin(!) and meeting a friend and then taking the "L" in. Of course, there was a problem so she was delayed and didn't get there until after the race already started. So, after I finished she texted me and let me know when she was done, but I was in the longest line ever to pick up my gear, then we finally met there and met up with her friends. (It was actually a little more difficult, but I decided to spare you some of the details.) The extra funny part was that I went to school with two of her friends that she brought. Weird, but cool!

We all talked for a little bit, her friends asked how the heck we never met, then we had to part ways to go back home. I'm sure she wanted to go to sleep since she was up at 2 am to get there. much crazier than me getting up at 5. We are planning on getting together for another race in December. This time Jenn is going to come, and hopefully we can get some lunch, or something.

So, back to the race. The line at Navy Pier was long, but once they started getting some extra busses running, it was okay. There definitely was plenty of room at the race site for all the people. I don't know how the chocolate supply was since I only ran the 5K and people were still running when I left. Oh, and there were plenty of porta-potties, too. I know you were on the edge of your seats for that news. Overall, it was fun. I'm glad I went, though I didn't need any more chocolate in my life one day after Halloween.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Full moon tonight, you know what that means.

Full moon tonight
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
It's crazy day! Good this this didn't happen on Halloween. How would I figure out who was a real werewolf from a kid in a costume?

Blogging may be a little light this month. I'm doing something a little crazy, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. I'm a glutton for punishment, what can I say?

I will be back soon to tell you about this weekend's race. It's a good story. Really!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekend Assignment #290: Sick Call

My Internet connection as been spotty today, so I hope I can finish this and send it out.

Anyway, Karen wants to know how often we get sick.

Weekend Assignment: #290: Are you one of those lucky people who hardly ever get sick, or do you tend to catch every cold or flu or virus that comes along? And when you do get some infectious disease, do you stay home, or try to keep going?

I don't think I get sick that often, but my frequency has increased since we've had kids. They are little bacteria and virus factories. When I do get sick, though, I get sick. Like, incapacitated sick. I don't know why, but I'm useless. I just want to curl into a ball and die. My head will hurt, my back won't let me stand up straight, basically I look like an 80 year-old man who was born without a spine.

There was one time when I was sick as a kid, I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I passed out and smacked my head on the linen closet door. I wasn't sick when I went to bed, and I didn't realize anything was wrong when I first woke up, but as I was standing there the room was growing dark and I knew something was wrong. I tried to get back to my bed, but, obviously, I didn't make it. The door still has the dent on it. I should have taken a picture of it to post along with this. Just imagine one of those doors with the slats on it, and the bottom 1/6th are a bent into the shape of a head.

Extra Credit: Are you getting a flu shot this year?

I usually don't get the seasonal flu shot, but I will probably get the H1N1 shot, if it's available for my age group.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And that's Perfection!

Remember this game? The kids found it in the closet of my old bedroom a couple of weeks ago. It's still works. I decided to use this for my picture for the Flickr photo group theme day -- Play. It turned out okay. I forgot how high the pieces flew.

Do you remember the song from the commercial? I do. For some stupid reason I had memorized it when I was a kid. I watched a lot of TV, what do you expect?

I also remember my brother playing a trick on me about that stupid song. We were in bed, back when we shared a room, and he kept asking me how the song went. So, I'd sing it. He must have asked me ten times, trying to pretend like he didn't remember. Then he said said, "Does it go like this?" and he started signing it. Only, it wasn't him. He had recorded me on his cassette player (those old shoe box-sized ones) and played back my voice. For some reason this pissed me off, which is stupid, but being the youngest of the family I yelled at him just loud enough for my mom to hear and get him in trouble. Being the youngest was the best sometimes.

I still have Electronic Perfection, which was nothing like this game. It was a lot more like Simon. I don't recall playing that too often. I wonder if it still works? Anybody have 10 C batteries for me to use?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Poised for attack

I see you
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Sure, this squirrel looks all nice and cuddly up there in the tree eating his little nut, but he would grab you by the throat in a second if you let him. Or, maybe he'd chew through your power line to your house and let all your food spoil. Either way, squirrels are pure evil. Don't. Ever. Forget.

How is your Monday?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #60: Black and White Photography

It's been a while since I've been here on the blog, and even longer since I joined Carly's photo shoot Monday. But, I'm back now. I think I have more time now. I hope.

Anyway, this week Carly wants some Black and White photos. I have a couple. Nothing special.

Here is shot I took earlier in the week. Actually, I took it before I knew the theme for the week. It's part of the kids swing set, but I like the old time-y look it gets in black and white.

This I took today. It was originally in color, but since it was so gloomy and dreary outside, it looked like it was in black and white. I've gone back and forth a few times, and I can't tell the difference. The birds look a little creepy against the gloomy sky. Don't you think?

That's all I have this week. Go check out the other photos!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Death Troopers sounds like a great idea

A few weeks ago a happened across a post on SF Signal about a book called Death Troopers. I'm not a Star Wars book reader, I'm not sure if I've ever read one, but this was a Star Wars horror novel. That sounded very interesting to me. I read a a little more about it, derelict ships, horrific disease, possible zombies...what's not to like? Just check out the cover!

The book is written by Joe Schreiber. Now, I'll admit it, I hadn't heard of him before, but the idea of the book was just too good. I checked out his site and noticed that he was going to be at a Borders close by yesterday, so I went. I thought it would be a good idea to see what he had to say about the book, and what it was like writing a book in the Star Wars world was like. It turns out, it was a lot of fun.

Joe was lead out by some Stormtroopers and others from the 501st. And they guarded him during the talk. See:

Now, like I said, I've never read a Star Wars book, nor gone to s Star Wars signing, so I don't know if this is normal. I also think it was safe to say I was the only one there who hadn't read any other Star Wars novels. These people knew there stuff. I'll leave it at that.

Joe himself was super nice. After the short reading he made it more of a conversation with the audience. Always a good idea in my opinion. He also took his time with each person who got their book signed. I mentioned how my son was getting into Star Wars now, but I have to hide this book and paraphernalia that I got since it was not meant for a boy of seven. It turns out he also had a son the same age, but he also said how when he was the same age when the original Star Wars movie came out he was pretty scared by it. Which does make sense, there was some scary parts there for kids that age, like me. It was a PG movie, so that only makes sense. But, yeah, Darth Vader is a bit scary, not to mention Jabba the Hut, or many of the characters from the Cantina on Tatooine. (Sorry, my inner geek just popped out.)

I haven't read the book yet, I just got it that day, but I think it is a safe purchase if you are an Star Wars or horror fan. Even better if you are both. (No, I didn't get anything for free to say that.)

By the way, I haven't told my son where I went Monday night. I don't think he'll understand that it's something he can't read yet. I can't show him the pictures either, he'd be extra mad if he knew there were Stormtroopers there.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Well, that was longer than I had planned

Yesterday I went for a run. I had taken a bit of a break due to my shoulder/neck problem, and my leg was bothering me a bit after my last race. But, after reading Mr. Unfocused's tweets about the Urbanathlon I was going to do this year, I decided I better get moving again. I was feeling pretty good yesterday, so I decided I'd go out and run 5 miles. I figured I'd take it kind of slow to make sure nothing was hurting, and it would give me a good idea how I'd feel for the race I'm running in two weeks. On a side note, I find it funny that I refer to these as races. That's what they are, but I have no chance of winning, so I should just call it an organized run. Don't you think? Oh, but this race (sorry, organized run) is pretty cool. It's called the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. Yes, lots of chocolate is involved. How do you pass it up?

So, yes, I went for a run after work. I set out at around 4pm and started out a little fast so I could warm up. It was a bit chilly yesterday. I was feeling good. My leg started to bother me a little around 3.6 miles, but it was a manageable pain. I would stop on occasion to stretch and it would feel better, so I was happy. As I was nearing the house I checked out my Garmin watch and saw I was at 4.88 miles. Nearly perfect for just guessing on a route. I wanted to make sure I did the full five, just so I could make sure I beat my virtual partner, so I had to run passed the house. That's when I noticed something i hadn't expected. One of the cars was gone. I knew Jenn said she needed to get a few things at Target, but she was going to wait until I got home.

When I stopped a few hundred feet from the house I checked my phone. Jenn tried calling three times. Not a good sign. I called her back and she told me she was at the vet. She wasn't positive, but she thought Cruise might have swallowed a magnet from a dart set the kids had. She saw him chewing something, it sounded like metal, and the kids couldn't find all the darts. She took him to the vet to see what they had to say. Now I was stuck outside the house without a key and she was a couple miles away. I stood out front stretching out for a bit and noticed there were no cars at any of the neighbor's houses that I knew. Great.

As I tried to look casual in the front of the house so as not to raise any suspicions, Jenn called me back to say the vet was going to do an x-ray to see if the magnet was in Cruise's tummy. I think they should have tried to stick metal on him first, just to keep the costs down, but I'm not a veterinarian. Since it was going to be a while I told Jenn I'd head that way and which roads I'd take. I was starting to get cold so I needed to start moving.

This time I plugged my headphones into my phone so if could hear if she called, and I set out for the vet. I was walking at first, but with the breeze and drizzle, I soon realized I needed to jog to stay warm. Wouldn't you know it? I was one block away from the place when Jenn called and said they couldn't see anything. So she picked me up, we headed home, and within 2 minutes the kids found all the darts. Sigh. Our son decided he was going to write down some rules of the house after this experience. Yes, keeping the darts upstairs was first on the list.

What's the moral of this story? Always take a key when you leave the house for a run. Or, just don't run. (I think that is going to be Nike's next tag line.)

The good news was that I ran 7 miles instead of 5. The last two were pretty slow, but who cares.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend Assignment #288: Columbus Day

Since Columbus Day just passed Karen wants our opinion about the holiday:

Weekend Assignment: #288: Columbus Day seems to have become a largely disregarded and maligned holiday in recent years, as the dark side of the explorer's legacy has made inroads in the public's perception. Do you think that the voyages of Christopher Columbus still merit a national holiday? Why or why not? And if not, what holiday would you propose to replace it?

Extra Credit: Did you even get Columbus Day off from work or school this year?

Yes, I think it still does merit a holiday. Sure, he wasn't a perfect man, but we do owe a lot to him. If someone else had discovered it, would things be different? We we be the same nation we are today? Who knows, a lot happened from the first time he came this way and the time we actually became a nation. (That was in 1776 in case you weren't sure). But, since he is regarded as the man who discovered America, we should celebrate his day. It only makes sense.

As for the dark side of his legacy, as Karen points out, no, he was not the best human being. That is something we have to remember, to avoid things like that again, but also put behind us in a way. You know? Let's not repeat those mistakes.

Also, I think we have to give this man special props. He was wrong on his charts and route, he thought the Earth was much smaller, he thought he was somewhere else when he got to the Bahamas, yet we still celebrate him every year. How awesome is that? If Columbus were around today he'd be a CEO of a major money losing corporation. Am I right? Also, notice how no GPS units are named Columbus? See, Magellan knew what he was doing. Well, I should say he knew what he was trying to do. If he lived he would have been successful in his endeavor.

But, I digress.

I did have Columbus day off this year, but it was just by chance. It's not one of our holidays at work. But, it made it easy to go see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with the kids.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A decade and-a-half, minus one

Fourteen years ago today Jenn and I were married. I know I am lucky, but for Jenn it's like she hit the Mega Jackpot.


I'm kidding of course, it's pretty much the other way around. I was lucky enough to meet her in college and still can't believe my luck.

We don't really have much planned for today since it's a weekday, but I did pick up something special for dessert. That's the most important meal of the day anyway, am I right?

Don't expect me to get all mushy here, it's not for your eyes or ears. I think you understand.

I'll be back tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's been a busy weekend!

As you know, Jenn ran the Chicago Marathon this weekend. Unfortunately, an injury caused her to stop at the halfway mark. She was not happy, of course. The day before the race when we took the dogs to the boarding place she pulled something in her left leg. She was limping the night before the marathon, which is never a good thing, but she went out that morning anyway. She put a lot of time and effort into getting ready for this, there was no way a simple muscle pull was going to stop her. I give her a lot of credit for that, I would have wimped out immediately.

We all stayed downtown that night, and since the hotel was on the race route, we all went out to see her at the 2.5 mile mark. She was already limping a bit. Again, not good. But she kept going. I left the kids with the grandparents and went out with Jenn's sister, cousin, and her sister's boyfriend and hopped on the train to go to the 8 mile mark. She was still running, but now she asked me for some of the Aleve. She was limping a bit worse, now. But she said she wasn't going to stop.

At this point we went back to the hotel since the 12.5 mile mark was only a few blocks away and I could meet up with the kids again. Before we got there Jenn sent a message asking us to pick up a knee brace for her. That was new, and certainly not a good sign. By the time we saw her she was limping much worse. The new problem arose in her knee on the opposite side. At this point Jenn said she may call it at the halfway point if the brace didn't help. We all thought that was a good idea. About ten minutes after we saw her she sent me a text saying she was stopping. Her knee now hurt more than her other leg. Based on how she has been walking the last two days, it was a good decision.

We are all proud of her. She tried her best. Heck, she tried period, much more than I would do for a marathon. That's just crazy. Not to mention she raised over $1200 for Children's Memorial Hospital. So, can you join me in a chant of:

"Way to go Jenn!"


In other news...

You may have noticed a new widget on the right side of the blog. See it? Well, about three weeks ago the someone from the Schmap Guides sent me an e-mail saying one of my photos on Flickr was short-listed for inclusion in there new Orlando Guide. They asked if I would be interested in allowing them to use it. So, I checked them out to make sure they were legit and then agreed. What the heck? So, turns out they chose to use mine, as well as several others. But still, it's kind of cool. Oh, you can go here, then bring your cursor down to the Epcot and watch as the pictures change on the upper-right. One of them is mine. Just look for my one by Mike. I think I'm the only one with that name there. So, that was kind of nice.

There's more, but that is all the fun stuff for now. I need to go make dinner. Sloppy Joe's, anybody?

Edit: Turns out you can get my picture from the widget, too. You need to scroll over the map to get to Epcot then click "photos" and you can scroll through them. Not much easier, I know.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Marathon Weekend

It's the marathon weekend. And, I don't mean it's a long weekend. Well, it is a holiday weekend, but that's not what I mean either. Should I just get to the point?

This is the weekend that Jenn is running the Chicago Marathon. Sorry, The Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I need to make sure I get it right, just in case the FTC thinks there is some kind of blogging shenanigans going on.

Today Jenn went downtown to get her racing packet at the expo. I was supposed to go with her, but I ended up napping. I've been a little under the weather the last two days. I think I got it from Jenn since she had a bad cold about two weeks ago. At least it's me and not her!

Tomorrow we head downtown in the morning to drop off the dogs, come back out here to take our son to basketball, come home and get everything together, then go downtown again to get to our hotel. Yes, I know, we live in the same area as the marathon, but it's not easy to get there that early and Jenn wants as much sleep, and as little stress, as possible on the morning of the marathon. Plus, the hotel is part of her birthday present that was a few days ago. I mean the night's stay in the hotel. I didn't buy the hotel for her.

On Sunday, when it's going to be in the 30s(!), Jenn will head to the starting line, and the kids and I will go outside to see her run past the hotel just past the two mile mark. Then I'm going to go off with her sister and cousin and try to get glimpses of her throughout the race. I'm sure Jenn is happy it is going to be so cool the day of the race, but I'd like it to be a bit warmer. Say, 20 degrees or so. Seventy-five would be perfect!

Right now Jenn is watching The Spirit of the Marathon to get all psyched up to run the race. I'm here typing on the keyboard because I have no spirit for the marathon. It's too long. Way too long. The human body wasn't designed to run that far. That's why we invented cars. And before there were cars we made animals take us where we wanted to go.

So, to sum it up, we have a busy weekend. Not sure when I'll be back, probably not until Monday is my guess. I may have to carry Jenn around the house after she is done and I can't type while doing that.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

See, I listen sometimes.

Believe it or not, I actually went to the doctor to get my neck and shoulder checked out. As Jenn said, my family likes to see if things like this go away and not go to the doctor, but I went against tradition. I'm a trailblazer. A rebel. You can even say I went rogue. (Maybe I should have someone write a book about me, for me. Zing!)

Anyway, I went to the orthopedic doctor due to Jenn's, her her physical therapist sister's, urging. I was hopping not to need an MRI, but that wasn't the reason why I wasn't racing to go see the doctor, no matter what Jenn says. But, I wasn't looking forward to getting in the tube that looks like a cross between a sun tanning booth and Spock's coffin in Star Trek II.

The doctor came in and asked me what hurts and what I did. Of course, this was the day that everything felt the best, but I did my best to describe the problem. Then he had me perform some tasks. I had to make a fist and squeeze his hand, hold up my arms, push down on his arm, look at the floor, look up, and I think at one point he told me to pull his finger. I don't know why.

Then he started his doctor-speak. I understood, C6 (which was my apartment number in college), impingement, nerve, x-ray and anti-inflamatories. So, I guess I did something in my college apartment and had the nerve to impinge my anti-inflamtories. Whatever that means. All I know is I have some medicine I need to take and do some physical therapy for 6 weeks. The good news is I don't have to go back unless it gets worse. I always hate doing the follow up appointments. "So, everything is good? Great, thanks for wasting an hour! Go pay up front."

The best part of the night was when I took the dogs for a walk and Cruise decided he really needed to go the left when I went to the right. Now everything hurts again. Stupid dog. I thought they are supposed to sense when something is wrong and help you? I'm going to buy a little barrel to put on one of the dog's collars and put my medicine in it so he can bring it to me. Good idea?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mr. Krabs gets some help

Mr. Krabs has searched the galaxy for help to protect his secret formula. I don't think Plankton will try to steal the formula with these guys on the job.

(No, I didn't set this up. My son did. Really.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #57: Weeds

Carly wants photos of weeds for this week's assignment. That shouldn't bee too hard since they grow everywhere.

Take this guy for instance. He found away to grow on the ledge of our building at work. There is no soil there for it, or anything. This is taken with my cellphone, so pardon the quality of the shot. I would have zoomed in a bit if I had my regular camera. You'll have to click on it to get a good view.

I don't know if these clovers are technically weeds, but they grew here without being planted, so I consider them to be weeds. These showed up in a planter at my mom's house and she has decided to water them and keep them. Not bad looking for some wild growth.

That's all I have for you. Fall is approaching, so the weeds aren't as prevalent as they normally are.

Go check out the other photos through the link back to Carly's page.

Friday, October 2, 2009

weekend Assignment #286: Far Away.

Karen wants to know where we want to go? At least she not telling me where to go.


Weekend Assignment: #286: What is the #1 place you'd like to visit that you haven't been to yet? Do you think it's likely that you'll ever get there?

I've been trying to think about the number one place I want to go. For some reason I've been having trouble coming up with the numero uno place. For a while it was Hawaii, but we went there about nine years ago. Then it was Australia, but not so much anymore. I still want to go, but I'm not looking forward to two days traveling. That is a long time in an airplane.

I'd like to go to Japan some time. Jenn and I were just talking about that the other night. Not that we are planning to go soon. We were just talking about if we'd like go sometime. The verdict was yes, we would. I might need to pack a big lunch, though. I don't know how much food I'll like there. Jenn will eat sushi all day, so she'll be fine. Can I get some Chicago style pizza delivered out there?

I'd like to go to Europe as well. We could hit England, Italy, then go up to hit Sweden, Norway, Denmark; that might be a long trip. I'll wait for the Euro to lose some value so it's a little cheaper. If that ever happens.

So my answer is Australjapaeurope. I just made that up.

Is it likely that I'll make it to all those places? It's tough to say. Depends on the economy, jobs, kids, way too many things to calculate right now. But, I certainly hope so.

Extra Credit: What is the farthest place from home that you've ever been?

The farthest place I've ever been is Maui. We are planning on getting back to Hawaii in 2011. I'm already planning where I want to play golf. You need to have priorities.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Can you OD on Ben Gay?

Oh, I hate to think what kind of searches lead people to this post...

It seems I have become old. Yes, I've been using Ben Gay all week. You might say to yourself, "But, Mike, you are a strong young man. Surely you just need it because you are working out too much."

Ha! You crack me up. And don't call me Shirley.

Do you know how I hurt my shoulder and neck? No, really, do you know? I have no idea. All I know is I was talking to Jenn and it felt like someone was poking me in the shoulder with a pencil. That pencil transformed into a dagger, which was slowly twisted around and yanked up to my neck.

When it first started, it was no big deal. I started moving my shoulder around to try and work it out, Jenn ran out to pick up some food, and when she came back I was nearly incapacitated and sitting on the couch. It was very weird. I wasn't lifting anything when it happened. I didn't just finish a workout. I was just standing there. I'm pathetic.

That all happened on Friday. I've spent the last few days downing Aleve and slathering my shoulder and neck with Ben Gay. My pillow smells like a menthol factory. I'm at least smart enough to wait until I get home from work to put the stuff on.

My shoulder feels a lot better today, though my neck is still sore. My guess is something is out of whack in my neck and causing the problem. Jenn has been telling me to make an appointment at the orthopedic doctor near our house. She's probably right. I like to wait for these kids of things to go away on their own, but it's taking a while and I can't do anything. When it is bad it hurts to walk, let alone run or do anything remotely physical. Heck, it hurts to lay in bed.

As I said, I'm old.

Maybe 60 minutes is looking for someone to blog for them...

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'll give you whatever you want.

Ransom? (3 sixty 5 -- #25)
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
This sign always cracks me up when I see it. It is semi-threatening, don't you think?

You have my headlight? What do you want? I won't call the cops, I swear. I just want my headlight back!

No, I haven't been drinking. Why do you ask?

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #56: Autumn

Carly wants something to do with Autumn this week. I took a few shots, some turned out better than others.

Here is a leaf full of holes. This was caused by a bug infestation that we had. Most of the leaves that fall from this tree look this way now. Let's hope it doesn't happen next spring.

Here is an attempt to show the red leaves showing up on this tree. It look really cool when it is all red. I'll try to get a shot when it is all red.

That's about all I have. Go to Carly's site and see the rest!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

So, these things happened

I feel kind of lousy today. I'm not sure if it is because I'm coming down with something that has spread through our house, or if it is only because I pulled something in my shoulder/neck area. I have no idea what I did, all I know is my shoulder started to hurt last night then the pain dial was slowly increased to medium-high. My shoulder doesn't hurt much now, but my neck does. It hurts to move my head. I need a neck brace. Anyone have a spare?

Anyway, onto the point post. Yeah, like there ever is a point to any of my posts.

This was a good one. As I've said before, we have a new dog that we adopted a couple of weeks ago. We have all the paper work from the place we adopted him from, as well as all the vet visits, but a few things weren't filled out completely. It wouldn't be a big deal, but Jenn was taking the dogs to the daycare place today to get Cruise used to it since they will be spending the night there in a couple of weeks. So, I called one of the vets to get documentation of one of his shots. That call worked out fine. No problems. Then I called the second place. I'll transcribe it here:

(Voicemail answers. I don't listen to the message): Beep!

Me: Hi, my name is Mike and I adopted a dog that was recently brought in to your office. His name is Cruise or Jerry. His patient number was (i don't remember right now) and was brought in by a person name Carole...

(Here is where I look a little more closely at the paper)

Me: Oh, Carole, I'm calling you and not the vet. Never mind. (Click!)

Yes, I'm an idiot. I guess I don't know how to read. Needless to say Carole called us later to check on Cruise. I had to explain how stupid I was and that there was nothing wrong with Cruise. We haven't put him in a hospital yet. I swear. She's probably regretting letting us adopt the dog right about now.

The next story is almost as good. I got home from picking up the kids from school and stopping at my mom's. It was about 4pm when I got home. I check the voice mail and there is a message from one of the parent's from school. He was calling to make sure his son got to our house okay after school. No, you didn't miss anything I wrote, we didn't have him. I didn't pick him up. Now, this wasn't my fault. We left a message for them the night before saying we'd bring him on on Friday. I guess they didn't get the message. Our at least the husband didn't. By the time I called him back he had everything cleared up and was picking him up at school. It's not as bad as it sounds since they have after-school care and his son is always there anyway. He just needed to know where to get him.

I guess it all boils down to voice mail conspiring against me for some reason.