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.