Monday, June 30, 2008

Mowing & Catching Up

I enjoy mowing the yard. I find it gives me time to focus on things I need to think about. There have been many mornings when I have gone into work, energized or curious about some thought that occurred to me while mowing. I run through issues in my head related to work and a lot of times I figure them out while pushing my mower. We purchased a new mower in May (May 2nd I believe) so I'm happy to report the mower is working fantastic. Tonight, I mowed the yard two houses down from us. Our neighbors moved to Oklahoma and now the realtor is paying me $ to mow their yard. I got my first check from them today in the mail, as a matter of fact. That's sweet. So, tomorrow night, I'll send an invoice for tonight and get another check within a week or so. It's awesome.

In other news, Megan's team is the champion of their league. The other team stupidly walked our best batter then hit two of our next batters, then the next batter drove in the winning run.

The team that had beat Alex's team 3 times ended up winning the overall championship of the league. We gave them a tough go of it so it's a credit to our team to have done so well.

I am in North Liberty tonight through Thursday AM. Then we are heading back to Elkader for 5 nights (Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, & Mon) and then we'll come home Tuesday.

I played golf today and shot a 65 for 9 holes. My father-in-law shot a 66. I was ahead by 6 strokes early, then 4, then 3 then 2 then ended up beating him by 1. I needed a good tee shot on the 9th hole and it went where I wanted it to go. Then I was on the green 4 shots later, then putted. Whew!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Finally...

Unfortunately, Alex's team lost their game last night 5-4 so the Rays season is over. We played the Royals, who had beat us twice previously 5-4 so it was fitting that our season was ended by the team that we couldn't beat twice before.

Megan's team, however, won and plays for the championship game tonight. If they lose their first game @ 5, they have to play again b/c it would be their first loss. If they win their game @ 5, then it's over and Megan's team are the champions of their league.

Alex's team only played 1.5 innings on Wednesday because there was lightening. I was asked what I thought about the weather and I said, "Keep the kids safe. If there's a storm, I don't want any kids on the field." I think the person that asked me that wanted me to say, "Let the game go on!" but I didn't feel that way.

Karen made the comment that next week, when there are no games, she will have so much free time, she won't know what to do. I think our nights will get filled up with various other things - we don't have "free time" any more. For me, I have some TWing contract work to get done and many, many CD reviews to write.

Right now, I'm listening to Spitalfield. They have replaced Count the Stars as the band I can listen to over and over.

I haven't been able to find a release date for Metallica's "Death Magnetic." I just know it's September. I can't wait! I will buy it on the day it is released, in the same way I bought their "St. Anger" release on the day it came out.

It's 7:20 AM. I have a busy day @ work ahead of me. Lots of projects, lots of stuff piled up on my desk and not nearly enough time to do it all. There are 3 major projects that I need to get done and they all are going way too slow. I need to put Spitalfield's "Remember Right Now" in my CD player, put on my headphones and tap tap away...

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Momentary Lapse in Pausing

Alex's first tournament game was tonight. His team lost 6-5. We were ahead 5-2 but then the other team scored, obviously, and beat us. Megan's first tournament game was also tonight. Her team won. They are the #1 seed in the tournament and, frankly, some predict they will win the tournament. Both tournaments are double elimination. Alex's team and Megan's team are both playing tomorrow night.

It is 11 and I am exhausted. I haven't felt my legs hurt this much in months. I mowed the front of our yard tonight, then showered and went to Megan's game. I am weary from camping. I hope to regain my strength and endurance soon.

I did see the new Indiana Jones movie. I liked it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Day @ Home

I love my kids unconditionally and always will - what parent denies this?

Yet, I'm amazed at the number of stay-at-home dads that lose their patience with their flesh and blood. I see this often times in the strangest of circumstances. A father cannot make it to work so he is able to sit in his den and do his work from home. Because of Mother Nature, the kids' normal babysitter cannot come to the house so this father inherits daily chores, such as taking the kids to their swimming lessons, instructing them as to what chores they need to accomplish, and feeding them. This father treats each of these simple tasks with apprehension, mainly because the kids are able to question the father's authority and talk back to him. He sequesters himself in his office and does his job, shutting the door, not really giving a rat's a$$ what his own kids are up to. Did they go outside and play? Did they fight with each other? Did they accomplish their assigned tasks?

And time marches on...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How High's the Water Mama? Six Feet High and Rising... - Johnny Cash... I think

I hate blogspot. I had written the best post I've ever written on this blog about my life, about the floods, and about how my freelance contract work is getting going in a positive direction. Clicked "Save Now" and I get an error. Can't return to the post to copy it to my clipboard or anything. So that brilliant post is gone and you're left with this garbage. Have a nice night.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Camping

We're not camping in Elkader this weekend. I found this on You Tube:






It is utterly crazy to watch, even if you are unfamiliar with the town. When they show the bridge with the water underneath it and a gate - when there isn't water gushing by, you can go down some steps. Alex and I throw rocks in the river sometimes.


My in-laws camper is on the above page. If you look in the left corner, there is a cabin. My in-law's cabin is about 5 campers 'up' from the cabin. They can't get to the camper to investigate the damage but all assumptions are that the camper is totaled. Their current thought is that they will not purchase a replacement camper, which effectively ends their summer camping excursions to Elkader where they have had a permanent spot for at least 4 years - maybe longer. There is a lot of revenue being sucked out of Elkader. I question whether we will actually camp in Elkader this year. I don't think the water will go down as quickly as an optimist and think that the water will still be an issue 2 weeks from now. God can feel free to prove me wrong...

Supposedly, the movie theater has water in the basement and so does the bank that is on the corner. The bank's computer system is in the basement so I hope they have a good backup!

My hope is that the predicted rains hold off.

Marching On...

Karen has walking pneumonia and feels like crap. It works out okay when she wants to go to bed early because I don't feel guilty for going downstairs to the den and working on some (paid) hourly side work. I'm currently proofreading a software's online Help. I have a meeting on Friday with a client, and I expect another client to have work for me yet this week. All of these are side ventures that do not interfere with my day job, but they all have to do with my writing and proofing skills and sharpening them by doing work outside of my daily job.

I did get to edit a couple of marketing brochures yesterday, which was a nice change of pace. I hope to continue to do that.

Back to Karen going to bed early. I picked up some hamburgers @ Fareway and grilled them. They tasted really good. I put some of my Rendezvous barbeque sauce (from Memphis 2007) on it and that made it perfect.

It's 12:20 AM so off to slumber I retire.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Grind

A day into the grind and wow. Last night @ Alex's game, we were told the game was called. We told that to the other team. Then, a couple of minutes later, the umpire said that the game was delayed, not called. When we told that to the other coach, he said his players had already left. So, Alex didn't play.

We went up to Megan's game, where there were a couple of rain delays before the game was over with her team winning. She made the last out b/c she was playing 1st base, the ball was hit, and she caught it. The ump called the batter out.

The worst feeling in the world is having stuff break. When we got home, Karen told me about how the garage door opener is acting up. You have to hold the button in for the door to close. What a pain in the a$$. I hate stuff like this. I used to get all in a tizzy about it, but now I have a different attitude, one of "Okay, there's a reason this is happening. What is it so I can fix it?" It's part of being a homeowner that after 14 years and two houses, I'm finally catching on. There's still the "you've got to be kidding me' gut-level instinctive reaction I have to something 'broken' or 'not working' like the garage door, but I'm more positive about it. I think it through and try to figure it out. It used to be my first instinct to immediately call the 'expert' and have them look at it. My experience is that there is rarely good news when it gets to that point. Kind of like the mower in May - by the time it gets to 'this doesn't work,' it's already too late.

Only a game tomorrow night for both kids. Megan has a double-header - Alex has one game. Thursday is North Liberty Days, Friday is leaving for Elkader and this weekend is relaxing.

One sub-plot brewing is that Karen is battling a horrendous cold - she's staying home today. I told her that I didn't care about camping - sitting around the campfire in the cold air isn't going to help her feel better. While I like camping, I think there's more important things in life that.need attention - her health! She is going to the doctor today. I'm putting our chances at 60% we will go camping. Based upon what the doctor says, that number may dip below 50% later today.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Boston in Iowa

According to Pollstar, Boston is coming to Iowa on Friday, July 18, 2008 @ the Jones County Fair. It would be really neat to see them play, even without the original members all present.

Seventh Day

Last night was Anthony and Jess' wedding. We stayed at the reception until 11:30. It was a good party. One of my friends was the DJ and one of my co-workers was the security guard. There was a lot of alcohol consumed - 3 kegs plus bottles of champagne, a bottle of Crown Royal, a couple of 40 oz Bud Light bottles, and some cases of beer that were purchased after the last keg went dry. Since I drove home, I had one beer.

It's 7:20 AM. I know we have a lot to clean up in the house - yesterday's prep for the wedding has left the house in shambles as far as stuff laying around. It is going to be a day of cleaning up, I think. The mountain of laundry has multiplied magically and I have a suspicion that we will start thinking about next Friday, when we leave for camping in Elkader.

So Anthony and Jess start the next chapter of their relationship. On the way home, Karen mentioned that the next 'milestone' in our circle of friends will be Megan's graduation from high school in 2015 and Alex's in 2017.

I can tell you that I would need as long as I can get to prepare myself for even considering the prospect of walking Megan down the aisle. I can't conceive that situation - I'm not ready to even admit that day is even a possibility. I'm in denial that she will be a nun, something she assures me she will *not* be.

In the meantime, life will go on and she will grow older, wiser, and more sure of herself. She and I danced to some songs and ... I'm just not ready.

In other news, the sun is not out yet. It is cloudy and I saw lightening earlier.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Really, it's okay that it's Raining Today but...

I really hope it does not rain tomorrow. Jessica and Anthony are being married and I *SO* want a beautiful day for them.

I want sunshine, but not heat.

I want winds, but not gusts that will mess up her hair or play havoc with anything.

I want the rain today but not at the risk of causing traffic issues in getting from North Liberty to downtown Iowa City. Dubuque Street was closed yesterday so that means having to go out to the Dodge Street exit in order to go downtown. That means taking longer to get from the church to the reception at the South Slope facility in North Liberty.

I want the start of their marriage to be perfect, even though I admit, marriage is not perfect. A $2000 knee surgery bill is unpredictable and has impacted an otherwise perfect world. In my vision of a perfect world, there would be no $2000 medical bills. By itself, it's not terrible, but add in other expenses and you get a lot of ...

Was I digressing from my point?

I really hope the day is gorgeous for them. Karen is going to South Slope ~2 to help decorate the reception area. I think that's when it'll really hit.

My job at the reception is to pour the drinks. While I did that @ Travis' reception (Travis is Jessica's brother), this time, I am going to have a bucket that says "Tips for Anthony and Jessica" for when people come up.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thur

Bill and I fixed the door on Tuesday night.

I got a $2000 bill from the hospital for my knee surgery. Do I look like I have $2000 laying around?

Megan's team won last night.

Alex plays tonight & Megan is going to an "End of the Year" party / sleepover so she will miss tonight's game.

Life is good. Except the $2000 hospital bill part. That is not so good.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday is Sad

There was a plane crash in Iowa City today. You can read about it @ kcrg.com. A two year old little girl had surgery for her club foot in Iowa City and was being flown back home to Georgia. The plane crashed shortly after take-off and the little girl died. Think about how tragic that is. Then, turn off your PC and go hug the ones you love. Did the mother of this child know it would be the last day for her to hug her daughter? Nope. Now get off the PC already and get to work, loving the ones you care about in your life.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

1 Door Down

On Sunday night, Karen noticed our bedroom door screws were loose. I went and got a screwdriver and, like Tim Taylor on "Home Improvement," screwed up what should have been a simple project. I over-tightened the screws and made the hole larger than the screw. Therefore, when Karen went to close the door, one of the screws came out and all the other ones were loose. The solution was to take the door off the hinges because the screws wouldn't tighten. Now, with two kids, you need a door for privacy.

So, I went to the toolbox and found some plastic sheaths that I thought I could pound into the frame and then screw the screw into those. Well, I didn't have the correct size plastic sheath so I couldn't do anything with it.

Yesterday, I stopped at the local hardware store and asked the guy that worked there what I should do. He said that my plastic sheaths wouldn't work. The hole needs to be deeper so that it can expand. He suggested putting some epoxy in the hole and screwing the screw into that. So, thinking I had epoxy at home, I didn't buy anything there.

On the way to CR, I called Karen to tell her about that. Then, the more I thought about it, I wanted a second opinion so I called Bill. Bill and I used to be neighbors and I was the DD for the van he rode in on Saturday night for his future son-in-law's bachelor party. So I explained the situation to Bill and he suggested putting toothpicks into the hole with epoxy, letting it dry and then screwing the screw into that. He then said, "If you're going to work on that, maybe I'll come over and help you."

So, tonight, Bill is coming over to help me hang our bedroom door. Karen and Alex are getting haircuts so Bill and I will be able to hang the door easily. Bill said it was a 5 minute job but my jobs are never - ever - as simple as that. There are always complications and misconceptions about expectations and reality.

Are you like that with household projects? It seems like what starts simple never ends up that way and what I think will be complicated is effortless. The Saturday I found the blinds in the rafters of the attic and decided to hang them - that should have been more complicated than it was - yet, they went up easy. Screwing the screws in a door - that should have been simple and yet, Bill is coming over tonight to help me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Race Continues

Yesterday, we had some neighbors come over to enjoy the patio and our company. It was a good afternoon - we were sitting outside for ~5 hours. The sun was gorgeous. I like sitting in the shade, though, and there was enough for me to sit in.

Other stuff: back to baseball / softball tonight. Alex is in Coralville; Megan is in North Liberty so that means I can't watch her and Karen can't watch Alex. I would much prefer to have all of our games in NL so that there is a more likely chance we can see both kids play in their game.

Work is going to be crazy. I have a lot of tasks to do to prepare for something that has to be done most likely this week. I am going to start on them when I arrive at work and, hopefully, be able to get all of them done today.

Gotta go.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

3 AM is the new Midnight

I was up until 3 AM Sunday AM and up until 3 AM on Saturday AM. I guess 3 AM is the new midnight, which is my self-imposed stop what I'm doing and go to bed time of the day. I find that if I stay up past midnight, I tend to be slower to wake up in the AM - and I consider myself a die-hard AM person.

Yesterday, I drove by the two houses that are close to my parents' house and neither one of them are anything I'd be interested in.

It's 11:10 and I need to leave @ 11:30 to grab the kids from my mom and dad's house in CR. That's why this is short.

Club Scene in JW

The video below is from a movie that was rated R by the MPAA. Viewer beware!