Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 177 - June 30th

Time to setup the pool!

Day 176 - June 29th

We had lunch today as a family out on the picnic table. It was another beautiful day and it was nice eating outside! We've only had a couple days of rain in the last month and a half or so. It's been quite pleasant, albeit dry.

Day 175 - June 28th

Alexander's 9th birthday is this coming week, but I work both jobs that day.

For his birthday, I took him to see Transformers 2. It was fun. Some of the humor was not good, but the action scenes were very action-ey.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 174 - June 27th

I very rarely talk politics with anyone. Why? Because my views are not ideological and would most likely upset anyone who was a hard core follower of either of the political parties in the U.S. Although I lean towards conservatism in some ways, in others I lean the other way. I am not a Jeffersonian nor a Hamiltonian, but see the advantages and disadvantages in both their thought processes. I don't agree with either the Republicans nor the Democrats on many points.

And I've been mildly uncomfortable with the Milton Friedman/Chicago School direction the Republican party began publicly moving in the mid 80's and was very discomforted with the apex of the Friedman method in New Orleans and Iraq. But I didn't know why.

Until I read this book. Does Naomi venture into cliche's and hyperbole? Certainly. Does she come from a particularly University-liberal stance? Most likely. But she has a lot of facts behind her research and when her conclusions are supported by statements from Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, well, it's hard to label it as rhetoric. Granted, like all statistics, she manipulates some of the results, but most of them speak loudly for themselves. I've looked for conservative counterpoint and read both The Cato Institute and The New Republic's belated rebuttals and found them sadly lacking in substance and filled with even more hyperbole and irrelevant accusations rather than a true defense of the Chicago School, which I expected. I did not find anything from the Heritage Foundation, the biggest Friedman defense group in the country, which surprised me.

The book has stunned me. It has cast the past several decades in a new light and in some ways, made me sad to know what the Washington insiders have done to so many areas of the world. I've always been baffled why the United States supported Pinochet, Saddam and several other dictators. Now I understand the economic reasons and it saddens me.

I would highly recommend this book. But have a happy book nearby for when you need to recharge your batteries. I actually read four other books during the two weeks I took to read this one. Because otherwise I might've descended into anger and I didn't want that. At least it ended on some upbeat notes. That was good! So read it all the way through, it'll be rewarding to finish it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 173 - June 26th

Yesterday, Jill had a friend over. The friend's son and Alexander went frog hunting. They got quite a few little tiny froglets! I snapped several pictures of them and liked this one. Water stains and all.

Day 172 - June 25th

Alexander teaching Sophia how to peel potatoes. Jill made yummy mashed potatoes from their efforts!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 171 - June 24th

Why this picture? And didn't your dad teach you not to mow the lawn in sandals?!?

When I took this picture, I was in pain. More so than the constant pain I've lived with for the last couple of days. I twisted right onto "the spot" during the mowing and nearly passed out from the pain.

Yesterday I had minor outpatient surgery on the bottom of that foot. Similar to what I had a year ago but with a twist! The long months of multiple work I had a year and a half to a year ago were little adjustments to the wart-blister thingy on the bottom of my feet and the pinky toes (the doctors don't have a classification for whatever it is). But this doctor yesterday decided to dive in and try to eliminate it. I didn't realize how deep he went - although more than once he said "this is going to hurt". So I went ahead and went to work last night.

By the end of the night, customers were asking me if I was alright. One coworker said I had pain "etched on my face". It freakin' hurt. Today I spent the day in pain, but not too severe because I sat at my computer all day. Then I decided to mow the lawn. Sandals are the only shoes I can wear that don't hurt terribly by the simple fact of putting them on. And the lawn really needed it.

Ouch. It still is throbbing and it's been an hour.

After taking the picture, I laid down on the patio. And looked up. And saw this. Another not quite finished project. Someday soon, I'll finish the cover.

Then I looked over and saw this. The sky is pretty cool looking.

I thought they made nice pictures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 170 - June 23rd

I went outside over my lunch break, originally to take pictures of our garden - apparently the soil we amended it with this year had seeds in it. Parts of our garden have more lush grass than parts of our yard.

But then Peter and I began a long conversation about the upcoming playset. He told me all about how the "box man" was going to come and give us the boxes that currently were "up in the air" and then I would open the boxes and then I would take out the parts and then I would put the parts together with Mommy and Maranda and Lydia and Alexander and Sophia and Peter and it was like Lego's and then the dumper truck man would come...

and it was just too cute.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 169 - June 22nd

I decided to try and shoot a photograph of me with very little ambient light. And it didn't turn out so great. Mostly because I don't know what I'm doing on that. So instead, I took this nice picture of Jill and I. Except I forgot to look at the camera. The night picture result is below. Forgot to smile on that one. It's been a long day! I just got home from the second job, so I worked 8a-11p today. I'm tired!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 168 - June 21st


And HAPPY 45th ANNIVERSARY to Jill's parents, Bill and Judy. We are VERY proud of that and love you guys.

Why am I posting this picture on Fathers day? Well, because I worked all day at the second job, came home exhausted and took several blurry photographs of my kids. Then they went to bed. But I took this one clear shot of the fountain area. So, fountain picture it is!

I still don't have these suckers working. I bought new pumps for the head fountains, but now I need bigger tubes for them. And I just haven't had any time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 167 - June 20th

Alexander has become inspired again by the latest Lego catalog. He put together this helicopter from the parts he had.

Day 166 -June 19th

Another day with only the iPhone camera. I spotted this cool penguin sculpture made with scrap metal. I like penguins :)

Day 165 - June 18th

I took three days off this week - originally to build the playset, but the playset is STILL in shipping. ARGH. So I took a short little trip. This is the huge lobby of a hotel. Kind of neat. There was a prosthetic's convention - I had never seen so many artifical limbs in one place. Amazing how technology just keeps getting better on that. Sorry about the grain, I only had the iPhone to snap a photo with the entire day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 164 - June 17th

Taking a couple days vacation from the day job and the project for the day is rectifying one of my biggest regrets about this house - the lack of a light over the sink. My electrical wiring knowledge is rusty, so I kept making a silly noob mistake and blowing the circuit, but a quick reference to an electrical guide got me to say "D'oh!" and do it right. We now have a nice light over the sink. The wife is VERY pleased :)

Went to the doctor today about my aching feet. I call them blisters, but the doctor said they actually aren't blisters, they aren't warts, they aren't anything medically definable he knows of. So I have to go to a podiatrist. That's this Tuesday.

I was originally taking these three days off to build the play set for the kids, but it's not here yet! :(

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 163 - June 16th

I only have one night this week home - I'm either working or on a short day trip every other evening. So I decided I would treat the family to dinner.

Main dish was grilled chicken, red onions and peaches on a bed of arugula with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and a topping of crumbled blue cheese. Drink was a mix of ginger ale and pineapple juice (2/3, 1/3 respective). Desert was double vanilla Breyers ice cream with a topping of chilled peaches and raspberries that had been tossed with a little sugar and lemon juice.

It went over pretty darn well :) When the kids ask for seconds, it makes a cook happy :)

Maranda and Lydia cleaned the dining room and Maranda made name tags and set the silverware for tonights meal.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 162 - June 15th

Why, today, do I have a picture of my laptop showing a photograph from a company newsletter?

Because this is the attachment that was one of the last emails from our former executive secretary, Cindy, before she went on to a different job. One of the items in the newsletter were pictures of the staff back at the corporate office in their Halloween garb. This was Cindy's.

Cindy and her two children were murdered yesterday by Cindy's husband. He then shot himself.

I didn't work with Cindy on a daily basis like my coworkers in Lake Mary, Florida did. But everytime I did, I found Cindy as a vivacious, energetic woman dedicated to her family and striving to do her best. She loved her kids a tremendous amount. She had an easy laugh and a wonderful personality. I am impacted by her violent death and I know my coworkers in Florida are reeling from it.

It's a horrible, terrible tragedy that I find hard to put into words.

Although I doubt it will happen, if any news agencies or blogs or anybody stumbles upon this, please do not post this anywhere else out of respect for the family. I wanted to post something and I trust this is ok. Her family and friends have a long ways to go to reconcile this and I would want to do nothing to dishonor any of that.

Day 161 - June 14th

I was grilling this afternoon and in between turnings, would sit on the porch swing and read this really engrossing book I can't put down. I like our porch swing. But soon it will move to make room for the pool. Which is in that rubbermaid storage container in the background.

I completely forgot to mention on my blog that Saturday, June 13th, was my wonderful mom's birthday! Happy Birthday mom!! We tried calling a couple times, but only got the answering machine. We love you!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 160 - June 13th

Apples! Growing on the tree. Yay!

Ken asked for an aerial turnaround and while there is no current one, here is one about two years old or so. You can see my studly vehicle in the driveway in East and South views. You can see the retaining walls and some of the porch. Kind of neat!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 159 - June 12th

I took vacation next week. Why? To setup the playset, of course. The one I ordered from Meijer's two weeks ago. The one that Meijer's kind of forgot to put on their website, I found out this morning in a phone call, that it takes THREE TO FOUR weeks to ship. I may have it by the END OF JUNE. ARGH!!!

A little while ago, I posted the picture of my ground breaker. That's when I was preparing this spot for the playset. It's a big dirt pile. Peter is loving it, as is evidenced here. I'm glad it hasn't been raining! Major mud pit if it does.

Day 158 - June 11th

Got my replacement A/C in and it works! YAY! I tested it out in the living room. Peter was cute - he has lots of unique language. He uses the word "Yestertime" instead of "Yesterday" and he prefers the pronouns "he" and "she" to the rest - he'll say "She's getting into she's car". It's pretty cute. When he experienced the A/C, he said "It tastes good!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 157 - June 10th

Two sheds! Done! Here we are carrying this one back.

Bonus picture - I used my new zoom lens to snap this picture of the sprinkler. I kind of liked it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 156 - June 9th

Strawberry Fields, Forever...I know where that song is coming from. Some years ago, I planted four or five strawberry plants in the ground surrounding our fruit trees. I now recommend to EVERYONE to only plant strawberry plants in containers. Why? Because those few little plants now cover an area roughly 60 feet long and 14 feet wide. They are persistent. Last year, I weed whacked them to the ground. Apparently that was a challenge - so they decided to do better this year. We tell the kids - go and eat and/or pick as many as you possibly can. More the merrier. We won't run out.
As I was approaching, this critter leaped from the Strawberry Fields where apparently he had been enjoying himself. Have at it, dude! I've only got about eight or nine hundred more strawberries.

Good news, bad news.

Good news. GREAT news. Fantastic news! My mom had her mammogram last week - six months after her chemo stopped. And they found...nothing! YAY! That's so wonderful!

Bad news. I took three days off next week from the primary job. Why? To build the playset I ordered last week. I figured a week and a half was enough lead time. I called them today because it hasn't shipped yet. It may not ship until Friday. Ground. From the East Coast. I may not have the boxes until AFTER my three days off! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. I'm not too happy about that.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 155 - June 8th

The kids have really been enjoying Yard Golf. The goal posts are cheap and I'll eventually replace them with some home built ones, but for now, this works! And Jill rocks at this - she is really good!

And in the background is our "garden" which is absolutely anemic looking compared to my sisters!!

Day 154 - June 7th

Alexander and I worked a LOT this day on our shed #2. I taught him how to use a ratchet and how to screw in screws with the drill. It was a good day. Later, Maranda and Lydia also helped when we put up the walls. It was a glorious day!

Day 153 - June 6th

A BIG day!! We moved shed #1. We borrowed a couple of dollies from our friend Carmen and we found out that happily, it weighed much less than originally thought - only a couple hundred pounds instead of the 4 or 5 hundred I thought. So I lifted it up on the dollies and we began moving it on plywood planks. Until we got to the gate. Where we found out that the roof was wider than the gate. So with Maranda and mom on the back, Lydia and Alexander stabilizing it on the sides and me on the back, we LIFTED it over the fence. Sophia was going to take pictures, but got this picture of a chocolate stained Peter with an incidental pic of Jill and Maranda lifting the shed in the back! (that's the snake bucket on the other side of Peter).

Here's the photo of us rolling it along. I seem to take up a lot of space.....

Here's the shed in it's final location! Time to build shed #2!

Day 152 - June 5th

Jill was gone for a while today, so the youngest kept running to the door everytime a vehicle went by.

Day 151 - June 4th

OK, I got behind on my posting. Oops!

I finally broke down and ordered a portable air conditioner. Why? Because I work in a closed office with two computers and two printers on. I can't have the window open because if the kids are outside, they are inevitably too loud. So I roast. This week, it was hot. On June 4th, it was 86 outside and right around 93 in my office. I was getting drowsy. I found a great deal online and ordered it.

And it arrived broken on June 4th. Here's the drainplug snapped off on the back. Fortunately, today, June 8th, they have shipped out a replacement and are picking up the damaged one free of charge.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 150 - June 3rd

Day 150! I spent all my spare time on Wednesday building the shed. First, I had to get the foundation area level. That's the first picture. Then I built. And built. And built. Just as the sun was setting, Jill asked how it was going to fit through the gate and I panicked. I imagined having to lift it over the fence somehow (it is short, but it is HEAVY). But I measured the width and my gate is 1 inch wider than the shed! Whew!

Saying a quick prayer for my friend Ken and his family: may the brain doctors find out what is up with Bennett today! And give you good news! Let's hope beyond hope that his seizures can be diagnosed. And I'm very thankful that Sophie's family is there to support you.

Day 149 - June 2nd

Worked really hard today. Full day at the day job, then worked until sunset on the shed. Then went grocery shopping until nearly midnight. Just before midnight, we got home and I snapped this quick pic with the iPhone. Nearly $200 spent on groceries - but we saved OVER $200. So there's about $430 in groceries in the back of my car here. Coupons are a glorious thing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 148 - June 1st

The sheds are delivered...