Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wish I had a cat...

...then I could convince myself I'm just coughing up hairballs.

Seriously, I thought nighttime cold medicine would knock me out and suppress such things, but 10 minutes after I dozed off I woke up feeling like something was clawing its way up my throat.  Now I can't not cough.  Hopefully a cough drop will fix it and I can get more sleep.

Note to self, you need to write more.  And read less, its either that or quit working...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In the sky...

Is it superman? no.  Is it a plane?  no.  Its tweeting so it must be a bird.  Nope it just bill joining twitter.  Yep I joined twitter (@billysixtoes) today.  And why did I join?  Amazon was offering a free $5 streaming video credit if you started following them. I'm cheap as Josh says.  I guess I need to learn about hashtags now...

Monday, August 29, 2011

A walk to forget...

I walked, it wasn't vigorous, but it was with my wife and baby, and that made it nice.  The humidity didn't make it nice, but it was bearable.  I didn't write, but there is still a few hours left in today.  Maybe I'll just have to go ahead and do that...

still don't know about the race horse thing...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Return...

The summer hasn't been kind to me, but I feel the energy returning despite the horrid heat.  I think its time to return to my new years resolution of setting monthly resolutions. I wanna write and I wanna dance.  Wait that isn't right.  I want to write and I want to scuba dive.  Nope, not quite.  I want to write and be more active.

So there are three or four more days left in this month so I'm going to say my goal for this month is to mow the lawn.

Woo hoo, I accomplished my goal!!!

Oh okay that feels good.  I'm already off to a great start. So what do I wanna accomplish for September.  I'm torn between setting a single goal and setting two different goals to try and accomplish.  I tried the running thing while writing back in March and April with poor results.  But part of that was that I got sick both months.  So maybe I should start off small on both fronts since I haven't done either.

How about I walk vigorously for three to four times a week, and get back into writing by spewing out 500 words a day....should be somewhat easy to accomplish and not to draining.  I might also try to cut down on the number of times I use periods consecutively in any given post.  I've only done it once in this one, but I've been known to abuse them in the past on here and on facebook.  The period police might come searching for me soon.  Oh no!....

on an unrelated note, why do people say they have to pee like a race horse?  Do race horses pee more than regular horses?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Parei-what....

I said Pareidolia.

What's that, you might ask.  Well let me tell you.

pareidolia (ˌpæraɪˈdəʊlɪə)
 -n
  the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features (def courtesy of dictionary.com)

I just learned the word today when I saw someone posting pics of peoples burnt toast.  The burnt toast supposedly has the image of Christ in it and others had Mary. 

And then the thought hit me, if God has chosen toasted bread to reveal his son to the world, should I slow down while eating breakfast just in case he has some special message for me. Then I remembered that I don't eat toast for breakfast.  I do yogurt on the weekdays and on the weekends I tend to eat eggs scrambled by my wife which she then places on tortillas.  Adding a little salsa and cheese and they are great.  Sometimes I even get some sausage on them. 

Will I miss out on a word from God cause I'm eating my breakfast with south of the border flatbread rather than good ol' American burnt bread?  Should I start a ministry where we send loaves of bread along with toasters to people all over the world so they can have God reveal Jesus, or Mary, to them via scorched bread?

Maybe I'll have to invent a solar powered toaster for people in countries that don't have access to electricity.  Mmmm, solar powered toast!   I'll have to give this some thought...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

'Nother blegh...

Life feels cluttered right now.  Cluttered with decisions, busy-ness, stress and concerns.  Part of the problem with that for the last month all of that was put on hold while we traveled.  Now I'm back to the grind and the things which were on hold are now back in full view. 

I've been dealing with some physical issues and have to wait til I see the doctor on the 16th to find out if I should be worried about it or not. 

I need to start looking for another source of income (read: second job) so we can stay afloat for a year or so until we can get another kid in the daycare.

I have some things piling up at work and have to wait some time to get them done because it seems like the people I need to speak to are out of town at the moment. 

And its freaking hot outside. 

All these things combined are crushing my inspiration.  I want to write again.  I want to finish the story I'm currently working on.  I want to do a second draft of the story I've already finished. 

I need refreshing.  I want to feel reinvigorated...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Whatever happened to Bill...

It's been a big month for us.  Over three and a half weeks, starting July 3rd, we traveled over 5200 miles (not including a weekend spent in northern colorado, where we drove another vehicle which prevented us from tracking the trip).  Seventeen of those nights were spent in twelve different hotel rooms.   Two family reunions were visited, and I lost track of the number of state and national parks we drove through.  Over 400 minutes were racked up on our cell phone bill because of DaNae contacting people to try and find trap sites (yes, I think she worked harder on this trip as a volunteer than I did as a paid employee, but she wasn't allowed to drive, and it was easier for me to set up the traps without her or Charleigh around.  We made ten different contacts on the road and then my wife made about a dozen more over the phone of people who would send us mosquitoes from their areas.  We ate fast food for over 45 meals (and I only gained about 2 pounds, which is a little worrisome).  Had to call a tow truck twice (in the same night) and no one was injured.

Before the trip began, my wife would call or text multiple times a day to see what the plan was for the trip.  I said I had no idea.  I knew that my boss wanted us to hit five states, but I thought he was finding contacts in those states.  I found out I was wrong a couple days before we left.  No biggy, I've done small trips like this.  You just go and find someone who'll let you trap on their land.  Once we left my family reunion in Gillette, I just told DaNae to start searching the internet for people who might have good places for us to trap.  By the time we were done with western Montana, she was a pro.  She found a person in eastern Washington who promised us stuff so we wouldn't have to go there, and by the time we hit Wyoming, she had found contacts for North and South Dakota, so we wouldn't have to trap there either.  I think she saved the government several thousand dollars right there.

Then we went to Wellington, CO for her family reunion and from there I headed to Casper while she headed home.  The truck broke down in York, NE and I had some issues when the road side assistance people asked me where I wanted the truck towed.  I asked who they recommend and  the lady said she was in Texas so she couldn't help out with suggestions.  I was miffed and wondered what good roadside assistance was if they couldn't help.  She then did an internet search for garages and found three for me.  All three were in Pennsylvania which wasn't helpful in Nebraska.  Long story short, I finally made it to a hotel at 10:30 that night, with the thought that I'd be stuck there car-less for a couple days. The truck was fixed the next morning and I was on my way home again without incident.

I think the hardest part of the trip was coming home.  I think I could've stayed on the road for another month without any worries, other than trying to convince someone to mow the lawn a couple more times for free.  And coming home to find a bill from the government for $700 didn't help matters any.  It actually felt like a big slap in the face after relocating my family to Kansas and then all the work my wife did on this trip for free.

SO in summary, great trip, happy feelings. Get home and bitterness and worry try to overtake.  Maybe we should just live on the road! ok, not really.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Roller Derby DaNae part 2...

She still isn't convinced, so I paid rather large sum of money to an unnamed man to do an artist's rendition of how awesome and happy she would be skating!

I might have to get a refund or a redo...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roller Derby DaNae....

I love my wife.  I think she is amazing.

It is Wednesday and I could make a list of all the amazing things she does that makes her so amazing, but I won't.  Today I'm going to write the list of reasons I think my wife should start a roller-derby league here in the Manhattan, KS area (I'm assuming from a brief web search that there isn't one).

  1. Planning:  My wife loves to plan and organize things.  I don't get it, it drives me nuts sometimes.  I'm not into planning, I'd rather just go do something.  I think putting together a roller-derby league would give her the planning fix she so often needs due to my non-committal tendencies when it comes to plans.
  2. Toughing up:  the first year of our marriage, DaNae cried about once every four days.  The second year was down to about once every three weeks and year three was less than once a month.  Almost all of those cries have been because of her husband, me. And during year four I can only remember two times that I made her cry.  So marriage has already toughened her up some, but I think she could still be less of a wuss in some matters (like when coming into contact with spiders) and roller-derbying would do that for her.
  3. Exercise:  DaNae hates her body despite the fact that I love it.  She always proclaims 'how bad she's been'  or how 'she needs to get back on the ball' and sometimes she replaces the ball with a wagon.  I don't get it.  But what I do get is that whatever she tries eventually gets put aside and some gleaming new thing catches her eye like some new contraption that'll dissolve that fat away like it was butter, or some new exercise routine that some person tries to instruct you on via DVD.  I think her problem is boredom.  I'd get bored (and frustrated) if I tried to follow along with some ripped person dancing around on the television.  I think getting into the ring with a bunch of ladies and going round and round, while trying not to get bumped off or clothes lined would fill that exercise need and prevent that deadly onslaught of boredom which so often knocks her off whatever track or ball or wagon she might be on.
  4. Aggression: She says she isn't aggressive enough to play a sport like this.  I think its a lie. I don't know anyone who isn't aggressive in some way.  We all are, and I think if she had the chance to throw an elbow into someone else's face than she would be happier on a whole than she is now.  Maybe it would give her the confidence to chase after what she really wants.
  5. Sex appeal:  I'll be honest, I think she would look hot throwing elbows and bumping other ladies off the track while moving around on eight wheels.  
  6. Role model:  I think it would be a great influence on our daughter for her to see her mom active and out of the house while possibly knocking some other ladies teeth out and showing good sportsmanship.  
These are the six reasons that popped into my head over the last hour...do you have a good reason that might encourage my wife to trade in her shoes for new ones that have wheels attached?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Odin vs. Jesus...

I saw this and had these thoughts....

  1. I'm pretty sure that looks more like Thor than Odin.
  2. I'm glad I'm not an Ice Giant.
  3. I'm can't remember Jesus specifically promising the end of all wicked people.
  4. Even if he did, I'm ecstatic that he is patient and wants none to perish...2 Peter 3:9

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MacGyver vs. The Ants

After finding a source of my ant problems, I went home to relax and watched a little MacGyver.  And guess what he was up against...wait for it...Ants!  Yeah, its been a common theme in these parts lately.  An invasion on my home and work life, at least I don't have ant problems at home (if I was superstitious this is where I would do the proverbial knocking on wood).

  So I thought I recount the ways MacGyver's methods were worse than mine (spoiler alert: it's episode 6 of season 1 if you wanna watch it quickly before reading the rest of this post, if you have netflix, its streaming on there).


  • None of my friends died by being eaten by them...yet:  MacGyver actually allowed a couple people to die before he was able to save the day.  Their deaths were meaningless!  I was able to find the source of the problem and massacre more of them, and only one of them were able to bite my coworker, but he was making me cranky so I didn't care much.
  • I didn't have to build a mote...yet: MacGyver had the brilliant idea to have a mote of water to prevent the ants from gaining access to the complex he was trying to save.  The water was too shallow and the ants formed boats out leaves, and caused the last of the deaths in the episode.  If I built a mote around my desk would just breed other insect pests which would probably be more vicious in the biting department.  
  • Nothing had to be lit on fire...yet:  MacGyver lit something on fire like he tends to do in almost every episode.  This time there was a large piles of branches and stuff around the fortress and ol' Mac used a flame thrower to set it a flame.  This still didn't stop the ants, maybe because they were called fire ants. Who would fight fire with fire?  If I lit my desk on fire, I think I would wind up in a federal prison for arson and destroying government property.  Then I would probably be bunking with some other large man with the name of Mac or Buddy or something like that.  
  • I didn't have to release the flood gates...yet:  Mac was finally able wash them all away by flooding the area and killing the crops, but the man he was working with was very grateful.  I merely emptied my handset of the vile creatures and taped up the hole.  Hopefully they don't come back in larger numbers tomorrow or else I might have to find out where the flood gates are located nearby.  
All in all, watching MacGyver is not helpful in everyday life.  Sure, I think I know how to make fertilizer bombs now, but that can only be useful like once or twice in a man's lifetime.  Anyways, I think the best method of attack on the ravaging creatures is to bait and divert.  Now that my phone is off limits to the ants, I'm hoping the flow all towards my coworkers desk and phone. Hopefully they don't try to devour him though....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ants aren't marching on...

I was sitting at my desk yesterday, thinking how great it was that the ants have been in fewer numbers lately.  Then I spied out of the corner of my eye about three of them hanging around the handset of my office phone.  I had seen them crawling around it in the past and they've left little treats in the receiver cradle.  I picked up the handset and shook it.  A single ant came out of the hole where the wire connects to the handset, plus I heard some stuff rattling around.

Dead ants and pupae, the black mass on
the paper includes more smashed ants
I pulled the cable out and shook it again and soon ants were pouring out of the hole (it reminded me of the movie, Joe's Apartment, where cockroaches come pouring out of every hole in the apartment).  I kept shaking it so that they would fall of onto my desk so I could smash them, rather than have them try to and bite me.  After smashing about fifty ants, I went to get the guy in the office next door to me since he said he smelled formic acid whenever he used his phone and mentioned finding treats in his handset cradle as well.   After seeing my plight he went to his office and did the same.  Only he took his handset outside.

A small sampling of the ants freed
from our phones outside
I realized that his maneuver was more intelligent and decided to do the same.  Pretty soon we had over three hundred ants crawling around on the stairs outside our office, just from our two phone handsets. It was pure pandemonium.

After about an hour of shaking our handsets we got to the point where no more ants were coming out.  I asked my office mate if he wanted to check his phone.  He shook it and I could hear things rattling in there, but he simply responded, "No ants." And then he went home for the day.

I grabbed his phone and shook it after he left.  Large bits of debris fell out.  I shook it again and about fifteen ants came pouring out.  I quit shaking it and put it back down, thinking that my curiosity had been satisfied and I didn't want to clean up any more ants.

After that I hooked up the vacuum cleaner to my handset and sucked out five more and a couple pupae.  Then I cleaned my desk with some harsh chemicals to clear out any seeking pheromones they might've left around.  Then I shook it again and got nothing.  Feeling satisfied I plugged it back in and taped over the hole.

Five minutes later I had an ant crawling across my desk.  It was a crazy day at work, with a very unproductive afternoon, unless you count killing a hundred ants as productive.  I hope tomorrow is less eventful, and with fewer ants...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Death in the family...

This morning has brought to my mind a serious question.  If you have conjoined twins and one dies, what happens to the other? 

After three wonderful years together, one of the most beautiful singers, readers and musicians I have ever known passed away.  I called her Righty.  This is of course a nickname for she was a conjoined twin and her sibling, Lefty, is still going strong. 

I met them about three years ago, about a year after DaNae and I got married.  And I've listened to their beautiful voices almost every single day since then.  At work, in the tub, while mowing and even late at night while DaNae was sleeping. They have been there when life was hard and they helped in encouraging me to continue on.  They have been there when life has been great and rejoiced with me.  They helped block out the whining caused by my coworker and officemate.  They sang songs that touched my soul.  They read to me books that I was too lazy to read. 

Righty passed away this morning around 9am central time.  It was sudden and without warning.  Usually there are always signs like static or intermittent blackouts, but not today, not with Righty.  And sadly, the world will go on.  Only Lefty and myself will morn her loss for no one else really knew her like we did.  She was the stereo to Lefty's mono.

Now I'm left with the conundrum of what to do with Righty and Lefty.  Lefty still works good, but without Righty, the world noise can no longer be drowned out.  I thought about just cutting Righty off, but then the whole thing would just look weird.  I guess I could just tape Righty to the main body and wait for a new set of headphones so that Righty doesn't get tangled with Lefty and make matters worse for us all. 

Hopefully my next pair of headphones last me as long and be as kind to me. 


P.S.  There will be no memorial services, but I can set up a memorial fund if people feel like sending cash or checks. You could even use paypal if you want. Just let me know and I can get you the information for where to send the money.  Thanks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Me...

...or about me, to be more correct!

I'm sure we all have those little idiosynchroncities that set us apart from other people.  I'm not sure if mine are that much different than anyone else, so I thought I'd list a few and let me know how normal or abnormal I am.

  • I don't eat things with bones.  Maybe I should clarify that.  I don't eat things with the bone still in them.  Like a chicken leg, nasty! If the meat is off the bone, fantastic!  I don't know why, many people have asked me and I have no reasonable answer.  But I'm sure they all have something they do for no particular reason.
  • Spiders, I hate them!  Yes, I study and raise insects for a living, but spiders aren't insects.  Insects have six legs, spiders have eight.  It just seems unnatural.  And they creep me out like nothing else!
  • I read the last sentence in a book before I read the rest of it.  I normally hate spoilers, but I've never read a book that gave away any of the plot in the last sentence.
  • Just the opposite of that, when reading a newspaper or magazine, I read the the first sentence and then start with the last paragraph. If I want more information after that I go up to the next paragraph and so on and so forth until I've gained all the information I wanted, or I grow bored and move on to the next article.  I think if they put the pertinent stuff at the beginning it would save me from having to do this.
  • I no longer watch movie trailers for movies I want to see. I do this mostly because movie trailers give away all those 'wow' moments that makes watching a movie interesting.  Sometimes if I'm on the fence about whether or not to watch a movie, I'll watch the trailer, but once I decide I'm interested then I stop it or look away and plug my ears.  My wife smiles at me when I do this in the theater like I'm the big dork on the planet.
  • Pick up things with my toes.  I thought everyone could do this, but then I got married and my wife informed that it wasn't a normal thing.
  • Love dairy queen ice cream, but hate their spoons.  I think I have the same problem with sonic, even though I don't like their ice cream as much.  But the spoons have this ridge along the edge of them that tends to slice at my mouth as I take the ice cream off.  I think Wendy's has the best plasticware out there for such things. 
  • I also enjoy the tranquility that comes from having desks, counter tops, etc, that are clean. And when I say clean, I mean don't have anything on them.  I have a portion of my desk that has absolutely nothing on it, except for my mouse.  A couple weeks ago, my coworker placed a bag of sugar there.  I moved it, he moved it back and placed a can of inactive yeast next to it.  I moved them both and then they were both put there with another bag of sugar.  This is probably part of the reason the ants kept marching in.  I moved them all to another building yesterday and today I come in to find a stack of newspapers in their place.  ARGH!
That last one felt like I was complaining more than anything so I think I'm done.  Is there anything you noticed about me that is less than normal, or are any of the things common to you too?

***Update*** Seriously, one hour after cleaning the newspapers off my desk and also cleaning another part of my desk, my officemate placed more stuff on my desk while I sat there!  Maybe he thinks my desk is feeling lonely and needs to fulfill its purpose in holding things.  I don't feel so bad about sprinkling a few granules of sugar on his desk now.  Not sure if I should've confessed that.  But I haven't had an ant on my desk all day. I'm not usually like that....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I had a dream...

but not one of those earth shattering ones filled with racial harmony and nuclear disarmament.  No my dream was bordering on a nightmare.  In my dream, my back washed away!  Not only did it wash away, but so did my bank account and all that was left was a really poor looking terraced yard with concrete blocks.  The crawl space under the house was flooded and several friends and bosses came over to survey the damage and offer their advice of getting out while the getting was good.  At that point in the dream I was sure there was no getting out.

Then I woke up. And boy was I glad that it was only my sunroom's roof that had sprung a leak, rather than my yard eroding away.  And I was also glad that I had procrastinated to the point that I still hadn't mudded and taped the ceiling in the sunroom yet.

I should back up a few hours to explain the leak though.  DaNae woke me up at some awful hour (honestly it was so early that her alarm clock had decided to quit telling the time and only flashed 2:32 repeatedly).  It was raining and thundering hard.  She told me that she had six or seven buckets set up in the sunroom to catch the large streams of water flowing down.

After hearing this, I lightly cursed and turned over and tried to fall back to sleep, since she clearly had everything under control.  Then after about five minutes of enjoying the sound of rolling thunder, I realized that I should go take a look out side to see where the water was coming in while it was still raining.  I walked out in my penguin boxers with a pair of flip flops and a fleece jacket after tracking down a flashlight.  I waded through several inches of water that had piled up around the back yard, and then I saw it.  Vast amounts of water were pouring from the top of the down spout, where it connected with the gutter, and nothing was coming out of the bottom.  It was plugged.

I went back to bed knowing that I couldn't fix it then and the rain stopped shortly after.  Then today I fixed it and pulled some of the sheet rock down to see the damage.  Only a little bit of the insulation was drenched and if it doesn't dry an a day or so I can pull it and replace it with some of the stuff I have left in the garage.

As I showered I was amazed at how much of house problems revolve around water, yet how very necessary water is for survival and it reminded me of when I was young and thought about how I imagined when I was a child that clouds were invading ships filled with suicide drop troops, attacking us for all the water people we destroyed as we swam, drank and bathed.  Maybe I should do a short story on that.

Anyways, my dream has stuck with me all day and left me slightly stressed, but has still left me filling better about the actual problems.  And it reminded my of childhood imagination, I guess the water isn't so bad...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The bodies continue to pile up....

...at work.  I speaking of ant bodies of course and I'm trying to decide what the best deterrent for them would be.  So I've decided to list the ideas I've come up with and let you my readers pick the best option or options.


  • Spikes:  In ancient times conquers would place the head of someone on the end of a spike to deter other people from doing whatever they had done.  I'm sure I can find some tooth picks or pinning needles to place the ant heads on, but then I'll probably have to stick the other end into a marshmallow to hold it up, which will just lure more in.  
  • Carbon Dioxide: When we want to incapacitate the flies in the lab, we gas them down with carbon dioxide and it knocks them out.  If you submerge them in the gas for too long then they die.  It should work the same on the ants, the only downside to this method would be that my office would no longer be functional to my coworkers or I, unless we wanted extended naps.
  • Toys:  Whether demonic dolls, or bored army men, everyone knows that as soon as the lights go out, the toys come to life.  And I'll just have to provide incentives for them to attack the ants and not innocent strangers trying to find sanctuary from the rain.
  • Anteater: The zoo here has one or two, maybe I can borrow them for a couple days until the problem is resolved.  But the major downside to this would be cleaning up the poo left behind.  The janitor at work hasn't been by in a few months and I'm not sure I could handle the stink in the trash can.
  • Anti-Ant signs:  This is the politest method.  I'll just put up some signs telling the ants they aren't allowed.  The problem?  I'll have to teach the ants how to read.
  • Fire: I remember growing up and my dad taking a blowtorch to the ant hills in the yard.  It seemed effective and fun.  Of course I don't want to get arrested for arson.
  • Negotiator:  Maybe I could hire Samuel L. Jackson to convince the ants to not attack.  I'm not sure I can afford a negotiator like that on my meager income.
  • Rock'n'Roll:  I've heard that all that noise the kids are listening to these days will rot your brains!  Maybe I could just blast it and see what happens to the ants.   There are two perilous side effects to this one though.  The first being that one of my coworkers will probably turn his jazz up louder, and the second would be that the ants' brains might fry and they would turn into zombie ants.  No one would be happy with zombie ants or loud jazz.
  • Convert them:  Maybe with a little Jesus in their lives, then maybe they would turn from their stealing ways.  Of course they might try to abuse the grace given them and just steal even more and then how will I do my yeast experiments?  
  • Continue to drop various office implements on them:  I have been find different things on my desk to drop on them after growing bored with just squishing them with my finger.  I've used post-it pads, nalgene bottle, keyboard, pens.  The only problem with this method is that the carcasses are starting to pile up on the floor, and since I don't know when the custodian will be back to vacuum the carpet, it might get kinda gross in there rather quickly.  
There you go, those are the options I've come up with, can you think of something better or would you stick with one of my ideas?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Of Ants and toilets...

Work is crazy, and it seems to get crazier on friday's, especially when its a long weekend.

Recently, my office has been under attack by an invading army of ants.  Today they sent their largest wave of troops, but I easily squashed the 8 intruders under my index finger.  I'm sure they are just marching towards the big bag of sugar that a coworker happily stuck on my desk.  Some days I feel like putting a piece of tape on the floor around my desk and putting up a note to tell everyone to quit putting things on my desk!  I swear some people can't have a clean surface without putting something on it and it drives me nuts!  

I've been taking off early from work a lot the last week for doctor's appointments, being sick, needing a little off time and whatever else.  Each time I do that I have to ask my supervisor for permission, which he doesn't really care about, but at one point I email him and asked if it was okay if I worked a full eight hours.  He called me minutes later and asked me, "don't you normally work 8 hours."  I laughed and decided my joke wasn't so funny if I had to explain it too him. But once I explained it, he actually did laugh.

Then after training a guy to be my back up for the summer and finishing up my other duties I was checking email and my other coworker walked into the bathroom.  There is a direct line of view from my desk to the throne and after walking into the bathroom he started looking at the floor and walking funny.  At first I thought he had spotted more ant, keen on taking the throne from us and some of glorious power.  But no, there was water all over the floor.  The toilet's float thingy had malfunctioned and the overflow in the upper tank was too tall, so water was pouring out of the hole where the handle protrudes from.  

He started going nuts.  Grabbed a mop and started fiddling with things, and I think he made it worse.  It reminded me of the first time the toilet got stopped up on DaNae after we got married.  She freaked out and started wiggling the handle and doing something in the upper tank while screaming for my help.  I was asleep in bed and got up long enough to turn off the water to the toilet and then went back to bed, my husbandly duties done for the morning.  

Well, I wasn't asleep, but I hate doing things with toilets, especially public ones.  The valve on this one was funny and I didn't know how to turn off the water, so I just rigged the float on the toilet to shut off the water flow and told him to not use it until maintenance could fix it.  Well maintenance sent a student over to fix it and he just stared at it and said it seemed to work fine.  That wasn't good enough to me.  If the float malfunctioned once it would do it again.  I finally convinced him to talk to his supervisor who swore he would buy us a new tank rig.  

With ants slaughtered, and a promised fix for the toilet, and my eight hours of work completed, I went home and eagerly await the arrival of my sister and her family...I'm looking forward to the weekend despite having to work it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Holidays...

With Memorial day quickly approaching, I thought I'd list (since its list Wednesday here at the 'whatever' blog) my top five holidays...(these are in no particular order, but I saved my favorite for last).

  • Halloween:  So kids dress up, as do other people and come to your door asking for candy.  It seems like anymore that the only people who are approaching my front door are salesmen (whether they are boy or girl scouts, window replacement, or people trying to sell me on their religion).  But this day, kids just come by hoping to get a treat!  I like giving out treats and as long as the bowl doesn't go empty twice like last year, its all good!
  • Fourth of July:  Things get blown up, and someone is always grilling brats!  Nuf said...
  • Memorial Day:  At my work, I get like four holidays all in a row, from late December til mid February and then nothing until Memorial day.  Its kind of like binging on doughnuts and then fasting.  Not fun.  Even though I have to work this Memorial day, I do get paid twice as much that day and I was able to take last Monday off.
  • My Birthday:  I like it mostly because the focus is on me.  I can admit that I'm a little self centered like that. And of course I get stuff on this day usually.
  • Thanksgiving:  This is hands down my most favorite holiday in all existence!  Seriously, its got all the flavor of Christmas without all the stress of finding the perfect gift for everyone or worrying about who to send Christmas cards to.  Turkey, stuffing, friends and family.  Food and fellowship.  Those are two of my favorite things and having a holiday that combines them makes it the best ever! 
So what is your most favorite holiday?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Six months...

Its amazing to think that its been six months.  Some days it feels like its been only a couple and other days I can't remember what life was like before Charleigh.  Well I might strike that, I can't remember what life was like before Charleigh except for date nights.  I really miss the nights DaNae and I could go out and not worry about getting to the sitter's at a decent hour.  I think that is the thing I miss the most of our pre-Charleigh era.  I think moving right before she was born has been the biggest help to shedding our single life together.  New friends (even though I definitely miss the old ones), new town (I also miss a lot of things about Laramie, like Peach Ice Tea from CoalCreek, but I don't miss the weather at all!), gone are the old memories, those things to remind us of what life was like.  Its been good!

But its been six months and Charleigh is a crawling, smiling fool!  She seriously looks like a frog when she crawls.  I keep trying to capture the moment on camera to share with the world, but by the time I track down the machine, she has moved on to something with which she can deposit her drool on.

We had our six month appointment today and she got a tube full of something in her mouth and three shots in her legs.  And for the first time at the doctor's she actually cried.  I think it was a mixture of hunger and a non-subtle nurse with the needles.  The other nurse was more highly skilled.  But she survived and was smiling by the time the nurse left the room.

I can't remember her stats other than she was 16.4 pounds and 27.5 inches long.  She's healthy and happy 95% of the time.  We've been blessed.

So after six months, neither of us our sleep deprived like everyone said we would be and Charleigh's poop is really starting to stink!  That's our life in a nutshell right now.  Hopefully the rain doesn't wash out my new grass, or the old!  Good night....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Phone confessions...

New Wednesday, New List...and you better like it!  Okay, if you don't like it I won't hate you.  But I do want you to know that this is coming to you via a muddled brain with a migraine, so results may vary.

Today's list is something near and dear to my heart.  I hate talking on the phone.  Here are the reasons why I hate it:

  • Lip reading:  I can't really lip read, but often times I have a hard time understanding what people say and seeing their lips flap helps a ton.  Even seeing the look on their face can help me understand what they are saying. 
  • Jokes:  I can say something in person to a...um...person and it will come off as totally funny, but then I say the same thing to a person on the phone and all they think is, "that guy is kind of a jerk."  And this can all happen vice versa.  This kind of ties in with the last point, but you don't get the view of facial ticks and cues to let you know that the person is trying to be funny, so you can know whether to laugh politely or run.
  • Bathroom talking:  There you are talking to a person for like 30 minutes and then you hear water running.  Yep they had been sitting on the toilet, that most private of times, talking to you.  Now I know I do this to God a lot, but he designed the whole system so I don't think he is as disgusted by it as I am.
  • Mumbling:  It seems like half the people I know mumble on the phone, or let their voice trail off so I have no idea what they were saying.  'Argh' is all I can say to that.  Of course they do this in person too, but it kind of goes back to the first point in that regard.
  • Distractions:  This seems to be the worse for my wife for some reason.  We talk on the phone and I miss half of what she says because I am focused on work, or the TV or the computer or watching some old guy stroll down the street with those poles you use when you ski.  And I hate to ask people to repeat themselves when I missed what they say.  I just wind up nodding in agreement, even though they can't see it and then tell them I'll talk to them later.
  • Not having anything to say or knowing what to say:  There you are sitting with the phone in your hand and neither person has anything to say.  Its awkward.  If you were sitting next to each other you could both gawk at the guy with the poles and not need to say a word, but since you are on the phone, burning through the minutes you have an abundance of, its just weird, and uncomfortable.  And you never know if the other person is wanting to get off the phone or wants to talk more.  It would help if I were a better conversationalist, but that's probably not going to change anytime soon.
  • One Question, Thirty Minutes:  Texting has solved this one, until you need to ask a person who doesn't have texting.  I repeat, ARGH!  You just want to know if its suppose to be 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon, or red or orange, or paper or plastic, and then its 'how's your day going?'  'how's Charleigh?'  'do you think she'll be scarred from having a boy's name?' 'Is it 'lie' or 'y'?'  Actually its leigh, and she'll be all the tougher for it, GOOD BYE!  Okay, even though I'm a poor conversationalist, I would never respond that way, I'm too big of a softeigh!
  • Never knowing when to say goodbye:  This falls into that always awkward stage.  For family its easy, cause you just say 'I love you' or 'Love ya!' and wait for the reply before saying bye and hanging up.  I can't really do that with my boss....actually I probably could, but it might make things awkward next time we saw each other.  But you call, you ask your one question after catching up on life, kids and career, and then you both sit there in that uncomfortable silence trying to figure out if you should initiate the good bye and try to not make the person feel like you didn't enjoy chatting with them. 
  • Time:  You never know what the other person is in the middle of when you call someone.  I hate interrupting people, so you call and have to ask, is this a good time, or are you busy.   Text's and emails bypass this and allow you to ask your one question without taking up a half an hour of the other person's time, unless they are a super slow texter (I know a couple of these).

I don't call people.  Actually, I do call occasionally, but I suck at it and I hate talking on the phone which you've hopefully gathered from reading the rest of this post.  I have lost a couple friends over the fact that I never call, but I wonder if it is a genetic thing, my family isn't big on calling.  Our calls to each other are often infrequent and tend to only occur around birthdays and big events (I think my wife talks to her family multiple times a week, which feels odd to me).  My sister told me once not to feel bad about not calling cause she hasn't called me either.  So that has become my philosophy.  If you feel bad because I don't call you, just call me, the phone works both ways!  I will talk with you because I do enjoy speaking with friends even if the medium we use to do so is less than perfect!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dirty Fun...

A couple nights ago, DaNae and I headed out to dinner at the always wonderful Subway!  Let me back up, our stove decided to go suicidal and take us all with it while my wife screamed.  I got it calmed down and we gave it a break for a few days while we waited for a new element to arrive and revive the old beast. 

So without an oven and both of us feeling lazy, we loaded the smiling baby into the van and off we went.  Just a couple doors down from us a girl was running around the front lawn in her swimsuit while her little brother was picking up sticks or throwing rocks or whatever little a three year old do.  And the girl found the one spot in the yard that had a bare spot in it and was gathering mud from it too cover her legs, as if she were headed into the magical jungles of fairy land with her bright pink swimsuit and needed just a touch of camouflage. 

Moments before this I had seen her running around covered in mud and then when we drove by she was mostly clean except for the new mud she was coating her skin in and I knew that she was not venturing to the swamp lands of Unicornville but just getting dirty to get clean.  And it made me wonder why getting clean felt so good.  

I love getting clean.  I love taking a shower after working in a hot lab with smelly bugs or after working on the house or cars and breaking out the razor and getting the suds action going and removing hair, grime, grease, stink and the like.   I love to take all the stuff off the counter that has accumulated over the week and throw stuff away and organize.  I just wish it'd stay that way longer than a day!  

I wonder how often do I get dirty or let things around me get dirty just so I have the chance to clean them and feel good about it?  My wife is doing a bible study called 31 days to clean.  She started day 1 about a week ago, so I'm not sure where she's with it now.  But I wonder if everyone feels the same about getting clean, whether it be physically, spiritually, environmentally, or just mentally....

And how many times do you get dirty just to have fun getting clean?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Reasons...

...for not making a list on Wednesday.  Yes, I told you I would bring you a list every Wednesday, and I failed to do so yesterday, so here is a list on Thursday for all the reasons I didn't give you a list one Wednesday...

  1. Charleigh pooped.  Yes my daughter pooped several times, though each time I went to change her diaper she was only wet.  It was like russian roulette, with my wife losing multiple times, with the stress of it all getting me.
  2. It was hot.  I don't know if its dropped below 75 degrees at night and the days have been quite warm and my fingers and skin felt sticky.
  3. I had a headache.  Okay, I didn't really have a headache, but that seems to be the go to excuse for not doing something.  I can't take out the trash cuz I have a headache, I can't mow the lawn cuz I have a headache, I can't put on pants because I have a headache.  Its the default excuse for any situation. 
  4. I was watching the grass grow.  Seriously, I planted grass in the back yard with the help of a friend and my father-in-law and I check it multiple times a day!
  5. I had a meeting go long.  I'm surprised that congress doesn't outlaw meetings for federal workers.  They are the biggest productivity sinks in the world.  The first half hour was good, but then the next hour dragged on with a couple people going around and around without stopping to decypher that they weren't talking about the same thing!  I almost wrote a list on the different kinds of meeting attendees...maybe next week!
  6. Pizza induced food coma.  One of the guys brought pizza and then twisted my arm so I would have to eat it after I had already eaten my lunch.  Snoresville I went!
  7. I seemed to be running behind all day.  Ever woken up and thought, this is going to be a great day, only to realize that you had overslept.  Well I hadn't overslept, but I tried to, and it didn't work.  So then once I got to work it seemed like I got interrupted constantly, and I'm talking above and beyond just the meeting and pizza eating. 
  8. Aliens?  Why not blame them, they are probably probing my brain now.
  9. Striaght up apathy.  It ruins the best of my intentions. 
There you go, my belated wednesday list.  Maybe next week I'll do it a day early so it'll all balance out.  Now get back to work, or facebook, or cooking, or mowing or complaining about your headache!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Catch that fly...

Yesterday was mother's day as many know.  But fewer may know that it was also the day that our church chose to do baby dedications.  There has been a major influx of babies since we arrived and there were three of us couples who were there to have our children dedicated. 
DaNae's parents were in town for the event and to celebrate her first mother's day.  It was a grand event for all.  We got ready to go after an early dinner (our church meets in the evenings) and headed off.  I think I was ready to go around 5:30 and spent some time throwing Charleigh into the carseat and ushering everyone out the door. 

We got to church, stood up with all the other couples as one by one the pastor prayed over the babies.  I could go on a rant about such traditions, as many know I have issues with them on occasion, but I chose yet again to not bicker about it since it meant much to my wife.  And then it was over.  Charleigh giggled a couple times at a girl who was standing in front of us while the two other babies cried, or howled, or made other unhappy noises.  This gave DaNae and I some misplaced pride, but we took it. 

After church we went out for custard at Freddy's and then to Wal-mart for some groceries.  I had grabbed an iced tea at Freddy's and my bladder was full so I went to the restroom.  I slid up to the urinal and went to unzip only to find that I was already unzipped and that's when I realized that I had been unzipped since before church and during church and during the brief period of time that I stood in front of the congregation, for over 3 hours! 

I was a little freaked out.  Had everyone noticed and decided not to say anything, or had it not been apparent at all?  A lady there had taken pics on DaNae's camera for us and I wanted to look and see if there was a shot of my underwear from them.  I had to wait until we got home and unloaded the van before getting a chance to sit down and look at the pictures...

I powered the camera on and hit the playback button.  I started scrolling, focusing purely on my crotch.  I hit the wrong button and went into some pics that DaNae snapped up some other day.  Finally I thumbed through them in the correct direction, studying each one in detail.  And nothing.  No flashes of underwear, at least nothing recognizable.  Phew! 

Happy Mother's day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Done!

I just finished my first novel!  When I say that I mean (just in case you are one of those people who have never read any of my previous entries) I just finished writing my first novel, not reading my first novel! 

Just by looking back at what I've already written, I know that I'll have to do some heavy editting in the future. But thats kind of the easy part.  I can rewrite a scene or chapter or whatever fairly quickly now that I know where everything has gone!

Woo hoo!  Feel like I birthed something and don't know what to do with it now!  I'm sure its as tired as I am, maybe I'll put it to bed and celebrate the accomplishment with my wife tonight and see how it grows from there.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Things I wish were real...

It's list Wednesday again and though I kinda made a list yesterday, this is a different kind of list.

There are a lot of things in life that people get to make life easier, Ipads, smartphones, etc.  But I remember as a child imagining all the amazing things the future held.  You know, like shoes that lace themselves and skateboards that hovered on air!  Well, I've grown up and here are some of things that science fiction often doesn't think of, which means there is probably no one out there working on such achievements...


  • Dairy products fortified with fiber:  I'm sure there are at least a few million citizens of Florida  and George Costanza wanting this.
  • Heated toilet seat:  who hasn't gotten up first thing in the morning and clenched up too quickly because of a cold toilet seat?  This may not be a great idea in public restrooms, mainly because a warm toilet seat tends to remind me someone else had their rump there not too long ago, and I try not to think of such things when I use to facilities! ***note*** I'm betting these might be real, but they should come standard on toilets!
  • Home strep throat test: I hate paying $40 just to go to the doctor after taking time off from work and hanging out in the waiting room with people sicker than me just for my doc to tell me i don't have strep.  Can't I do that from the comfort of my own home, possibly while sitting on a heated toilet seat after eating too much cheese?
  • Self plunging toilets: I feel like I'm stuck on a bathroom kick here.  But honestly to have a toilet that could unstick itself would be fantastic.  The morning I went out breakfast with DaNae's Dad and Brother to ask for their permission to marry their Daughter and Sister, I plugged the toilet.  It was gross. And there was no plunger!  I can't remember if it was the only toilet in the house, but that's kinda embarassing.  I thought about blaming it on a cat or something but then I remembered the question I always ask myself in those situations; if this was a Ben Stiller movie, would he do that?  And if the answer is yes, then I do the opposite!  I can't count the number times that question has saved my butt!
  • Microwave oven that resets the timer automatically: I think this is my biggest beef with my wife.  I look to the Microwave to see what time it is and its flashing 3 seconds!  or 2 seconds!  And it has been doing that for about three hours since she last used it.  Sure, she could be less impatient and wait the 2 or 3 extra seconds, but this is a very fast paced world and she has a baby to contend with now.  I want a microwave that recognizes the fact that we no longer need it to finish those last few seconds and to quit flashing the fact at me!
  • Lasers: I know they are real, but I want one that I can pick up at home depot and use to cut 2x4s or remove tree stumps, mow the lawn, unplug toilets, shave, or cut a hole through the crust of the earth in an attempt to reach china!  You know, all the things that I was promised lasers would do for me when I was a child.

What do you wish existed in real life that would make your life easier?!?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A meeting of thoughts...

So in an effort to spur communication about budget issues at work today we had an all staff meeting that last an hour and a half. 

These were some of my thoughts through out....

  1. PowerPoint, awesome.  not really.
  2. I don't think most people get the idea that PowerPoint is suppose to be a graphic that shows one's 'points' and not some teleprompter behind them.
  3. It would be dumb to put a teleprompter behind you.  Yet he keeps reading it verbatim.
  4. I remember dr. heinzen in microbiology doing the same thing, but he was a lot faster reader than this guy. A lot faster!
  5. Dr. heinzen and this guy are a lot a like, in the fact that they think I'm too dumb to read it myself.  Seriously, print it out, or email beforehand, then have a fifteen minute meeting where people can ask questions.
  6. You work for the government bill, people have to justify their jobs somehow.
  7. The guy sitting in front of me looks a lot like the Andy Bernard from the Office. 
  8. That pastry in front of him looks a little dry. 
  9. When are they going to start bringing breakfast meats to meetings.  Why does it always have to be some confectionery delight which makes me hungrier. 
  10. Mmmmm, Bacon!
  11. The nard-dog is dipping his twirly pastry thing into his coffee mug.  I guess he thought it looked stale as well.
  12. Now the guy up front is talking about cheese being moved.  I wish they would've told me there was cheese.  Its better than donuts, though not as good as bacon.  Probably on par with ham.
  13. He keeps talking about change, but from the sounds of it, its his job that's changing not ours.  Why am I here?
  14. Ol' nard-dog just took his second bite of the pastry, but this time he bit off a part of the napkin he is holding it with.
  15. I don't think he realizes he is eating is napkin. 
  16. I'm glad I didn't see the pastries when I came in.  If they can't be distinguished from paper during eating, then I don't need to eat it!
  17. Now the guy up front is telling me to follow the cheese.  Could you just tell me where the cheese is, I'll go to it and then get back to my job since I'm already an hour and a half off schedule because of this meeting. 
  18. Nard-dog has finished his pastry and about a quarter of his napkin. 
  19. The presenter is now standing in front of the projector with half of his face lit up and the other half in the dark.
  20. He really looks a tall geriatric version of Two-Face from Batman.
  21. Is it ironic that the man in charge reminds me of Two-Face?
  22. I should rent the Dark Knight some time.  that was a really good movie. 
  23. I wonder what came in Netflix last night. 
  24. Do DaNae and I have plans tonight?
  25. Holy biting gnats Batman, I have to pee!
  26. I should really lay off the water the first thing in the morning when I know I have a long meeting coming up.
  27. I wonder how long a bladder can sit full before exploding. 
  28. I remember Homer's dad's kidneys exploding on the Simpsons since he held it too long. If life were more cartoony, meetings might be funner.
  29. Ah, Funner, how I wish you were a real word.  Like Pinocchio being a real boy!  But you aren't made of wood or have a nose that will betray you!
  30. Really Harvey Dent? You are bringing up the cheese again.  I think we need to forget cheese.  Fry up some crispy bacon.  Actually its getting further from breakfast and closer to lunch, so we could take your cheese, melt it and throw in the bacon and cover some tortilla chips in the concoction.  And I could use the bathroom in the meantime! 
This is only a snapshot of my brain patterns and I honestly can't remember what was spoken about in the meeting, but they'll probably send me the PowerPoint in an email like they do every year when we have these meetings.  My bladder and sanity both survived the experience though, with only one of those two being a close call. 

Hope you are having a happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Stumped...

I've made it through four months of the year with mild success in setting goals and moving towards the fruition of dreams.

But I feel like the last month has been the least successful and the laziest and most unmotivating.  So where do I go from here with energy failing?

I've been mostly unsuccessful with the running thing.  I do the runs for two weeks and then I get sick and take two weeks to recover.  I don't seem to get far that way.

And I'm struggling with my story.  I think I've spent four or five days now on the same chapter and its not going anywhere and I feel like its not true to the overall story.  I hit the same wall three years ago when I started writing it.  Should I stop and start another story and return to it when I'm feeling refreshed on it?  Or should I just eek it out and then redo whatever when I go edit it?

I also only got about a third of the sunroom finished as far as mudding and taping goes.

What are my goals for this month?  I'm not sure.  Should I take a month of rest and celebrate the successes of the year so far?

To many questions.  I get back to you tomorrow on any answers I might have, in the meantime I'm going to go treat my beautiful wife to night out on the town to celebrate her birthday!  woo hoo...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Finally...

OK, so I just started writing on my story some more and I looked down and saw this:

I honestly didn't see the story going past 50,000 words and I'm still not done.  I've written over 26,000 of those words this month which is close to a 30% increase (of course I had basically deleted two of the older chapters and rewritten this last week, so that would increase the total weekly written).  It would've been more but I had an inspiration/motivation issue this last week or so.  I feel like I have less and less time each day to write with things at work gearing up and chores at home piling up.  But I'm so close, and I'm still lost on what's going to happen in the end. 

I did print off the first 25 chapters so that my wife could start reading through it and giving me her thoughts.  She pointed out a grammatical error last night, even though I was thinking it would be helpful if she could tell me the areas that felt flat, or confusing and let me know the parts that she really liked.  She is only like a page into it though so I can't expect much from her yet. 

And of course once I finish this one I can move on to another story.  Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself to get back to writing?  Well I am.  So maybe I should stop writing here and write there instead....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things I've enjoyed reading...

I think I might start making lists of 'things' on wednesdays...I'm not sure how creative I can be in doing this, but it might be fun.  Feel free to recommend a 'thing' you might like me to list.

This is not an all encompassing list of things I've read, but a few of the standouts (in no particular order) in the fiction realm...
  • Sphere by Michael Crichton-  I'm not a huge Crichton fan but I've read several of his books and i have to say none of them captured me like Sphere did.  I read the entire thing in a day which is no small feat if you read as slow as I do.
  • Chronicles of Narnia-  These are the very first books I ever read, if you don't count bernstein bears and company. I read them in seventh grade and devoured them.  I loved them.  They are the only books I've ever re-read.
  • To Kill a mocking Bird by Lee Harper-  This is another one of those I read in one sitting.  It was an assignment for class. I was suppose to read the first chapter. I laid down at night and nearly forgot the assignment.  Grabbed the book before going to sleep and forgot to fall to sleep.  It was done and then I bombed every quiz on the book because I couldn't remember all the little details in each chapter that the teacher quizzed us on to make sure we read it.
  • Drizzt Do'Urden series of novels by R.A. Salvatore- The Narnia books were what lit the flame that is my interest in books.  The Salvatore Forgotten Realm books are what fanned that flame.
  • Mars by Ben Bova  Loved this book.  It is the best imagined piece of fiction on what it would take to get to mars and what it might be like that I've found.  Of course I've tried reading Bova's other books and he seems to get on this anti-God, pro-environmental kick that gets boring and redundant in all the other books.  Even in the second book in this series he seems to forget the characters that were crafted in the first and then gets bent on propoganda that further's his own agenda.  I'm not knocking him for his beliefs. I just don't like re-reading them in every single book.  Its kinda like having multiple stories with the exact same character and conflict, only with a different name and scenery. 
  • The Traveler series by John Twelve Hawks-  It feels kinda like the matrix, but in a good way.  fun and entertaining just like I like my books.  These are also the most recent books I've read so the freshest in my mind.
  • The Time Machine- its the original time travel book by the guy who termed the phrase Time Machine!  I love time travel stories...usually.  This one didn't let me down.  It doesn't hurt that my mom introduced me to the original movie when I was a kid and between that and the original War of the Worlds, I found my passion for Sci-Fi.

These were just the books that were easy to think of because they are the ones that still stick out in my mind.  I am about twenty pages from finishing a book....Do you have any recommendations?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear Hyvee...part 2

I hear you are making some changes.  Your stepping up to my call out.  Sure its not like a david and goliath type of a match, but you listened and decided to try and win my loyalty.  I like that.  I look forward to the changes you are proposing and I'll be seeing you soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dear Hyvee...

...your store sucks.

Now I don't say that to be mean or rude, but as constructive criticism.  I'm not perfect, and I don't expect my grocery store to be either.  But I do expect for it to be better than what you have created.  My wife and I discovered you last spring and we were tempted by the glowing reviews of friends and family who told us of how nice you were.  Then we were lulled in by a sale you were having when we finally moved to the area in august.

We grabbed the items of interest and went through the checkout and we were happy until the total price rang up about twice as much as we expected.  We stopped by the front desk and talked to the manager who walked us around the store and showed us how every item we had grabbed hadn't been the one on sale.  Then he did a half smile and said sorry.  Okay so we were idiots and thought since one sign was placed directly below the product, that meant it was on sale for that price.  It wasn't.  The product a shelf above it was.  I've been to stores who apologize for sloppy labeling and offer the lower price.  This didn't happen but that's not a deal breaker.  The other items weren't mislabeled.  They were just poorly labeled in my opinion.  The manager just shrugged at us as if there was nothing he could do as we left the store.

That was my first experience with you and today was my second and possibly last.  My wife sent to me to grab some things while I was in town and I did so on my lunch break.  Since I'm still considered a noob when it comes to your store, I have no idea where most things are.  I walked around the fruit section looking for bananas until I decided I was fed up and wanted to leave.  As I turned towards the door there was a shelf of them that are hidden from view when you enter.  I don't know how you could fix that, but I know when I went after diapers it was easy to see the huge sign saying 'baby'.  Maybe make the bananas visible for either side of the stand they are on.

Then I was in search of some $0.99 fresh baked rolls my wife saw in your ad.  I walked around.  I looked lost.  Six employees walked by as I looked lost and I was neither helped nor found what I was looking for.  Maybe my wife imagined the sale, or you advertised it and did follow through.  Either way, I went to your competition to get some.

Then I went in pursuit of some marshmallow creme.  I looked above the aisles for the signs telling me the contents of each aisle so I wouldn't have to walk up and down each one. The only problem is that I had to crane my neck quite a bit in order to look directly up at the signs placed high above my head.  I got tired of looking straight up while nearly running over a couple older ladies and just started walking up and down aisles.  This put me behind schedule but saved my neck.

Next I went in search of a frozen pizza.  I don't know if there are signs above the frozen food section, but the stores I frequent have tiny signs just above the sections for veggies, pizza, burritos and what not.  You have conserved resources  by refraining from such a practice and tried my patience.

Then I saw that I had to get some canned veggies on my list so I had to walk back across the store and started looking for the canned veggies that were on sale.  It was like going to the circus with all the large postcards telling me what was on sale.  I had to search for what exactly I wanted, and then once I did I had to double check the product with the price as the manager informed me at my last visit.

I was tired and ready to leave.  I went to the first available checkout and realized that when the cashier gave me my total, it was the first time they had spoken to me.  I go to your competitors and sometimes I hear an entire life story in the the few minutes it takes to buy my groceries.  At your store all I get are the grand totals and shrugs.  Then as I leave the store, I'm finally greeted by someone. Only it was the guy washing the windows above the exit with a power washer.  The spray of water that hit the top of my head was a little refreshing and I felt good to be released from the store.

I don't write all this in the hope of spiting you.  I'm hoping that you will hear me and make changes so that your store can thrive in my area.  Customer service and the ability to quickly find what I'm looking for are all I'm looking for in an ideal store.  I'll be back someday in the hopes that you will have bettered yourself.  I look forward to that!
Sincerely,
Bill

***Update***  I got an email from Hyvee.  Kinda surprised they responded.  I've made suggestions a couple times in the past about poor experiences to other places.  Only one time did I get a response and that was for a free treat from the restaurant, even though nothing had changed at the restaurant.  Hopefully this will be different!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blank...

...that's the state of my brain. 

I think the stress from the weekend and then the busyness of work today has fried my noggin.  I've written a whole sentence in the last hour.  I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm down to only one or two chapters to go, and I don't know what's going to happen. Even in my outline of the story that I made about three years ago (which I've departed from greatly, in a good way), I didn't know what would happen at the end.  There's this girl and she has been kidnapped and then had evil things torture her and then lost her brother and then had the remaining companions with her die at sea to arrive at the fortress of her antagonist and I don't know what happens to her.  She's broken and beaten and angry and I'm not sure how she'll feel about the man who put her through it all. 

It has me stumped. 

The rest of the book has written itself, but I also knew that she was going to get to this point.  Now, where is the next point?   Can I just say blegh and not sound like that is my natural state of mind.  I always seem to blog when I'm feeling or thinking blegh.  So it's no surprise that I type it a lot.  When I'm not blegh, then I'm usually writing on the story and enjoying it.

I thought maybe if I blogged, it would help.  I don't think it has.  Maybe I'll go and finish rewriting the last section that I wrote a couple years ago when life was different, and the story was too. 

it's out of head...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ugh, I hate home ownership...

...most days.

I'm sitting here watching Chad, from roto-rooter, snaking our drain and for every second that I hear is whirling machine spin, I hear the coins plummeting from my bank account.  And I think that is the root of my stress.  I hate things that cost me money, money that I could spend on buying orphans shoes, friend's dinners, goats for third world countries, a decent book, gas for the car.  Money stresses me out.  I know we owe the bank 122 grand for my house and we owe another 14 grand on our last student loan and well thats all the debt we have, which is considerably less than other people but I hate debt more than home ownership.

If I weren't in debt, I could tip this guy an extra $100 and just say God bless ya man!  But no, I decided to tell the bank I would rather tip them several hundred dollars every month for the next thirty years, down to 29 almost, and if I walk into the bank they have no idea that I contribute in some way to their salaries (of course I know that everyone who pays their taxes contributes to mine, so I shouldn't be bitter on this point).

If I weren't in debt, DaNae wouldn't have to work and we would still be able to live comfortably.  But I don't want to just live comfortably.  I want to give.  I was somewhat sarcastic at the beginning about giving to orphans and third world countries, and ministries. But I have a serious heart for that, but the debt grips my heart and I stress! Then I just say Ugh and maybe throw up a little, and wish I were the kind of person who could drown their sorrows in boozes.

But I'm not that kind of guy.  I realize I surrender my will to God, and trust that even though I made the mistake of taking on debt that is seriously hard to overcome at the moment and which prevents me from giving the way he wants me to, his grace will overcome and provide.  And now that Chad is almost done, I will be able to sleep tonight rather than trying to keep one eye on the floor drain to make sure it doesn't flood the basement, which aid me in having a happier heart tomorrow.  Thank you God for your grace and for Chad!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hurray...

65k words written, over 45000 of those this year!  In just over 4 months no less.  Thats kinda crazy to think about.  And my story is drawing closer to the end.

I just finished the part of the story that got me thinking about the story to begin with.  It has to do with this forest which is broken up into all these various times and traveling between the times causes you to age or grow younger depending on the time in that 'time zone'.  So if you went into one that contained a time 30 years before you were born, you would cease to exist.

When I first thought of the story I tried to design the entire thing around this concept, but then a new story formed and this was but a small part of it.  And the more I write the smaller it becomes.  The main character only stayed in it for a chapter or so and now is left alone in a marsh and i'm not sure where she goes from here.  I'm stuck.  Bit of a block.  And I still have about 1200 more words to write to meet my quota for the day.

All in all though, I feel good. She is almost to the end of the journey now, which means I'm almost to the end of the story, at least this portion of it.  I'm excited to see what happens and then to travel onto the next story and get out of this world for a little while before jumping back in to start book two in the series...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some advice...(a.k.a. squirrelly lady!)

...supposedly good advice is hard to come by.  So does that mean that all the normal advice is bad or just not up to par?

I can make it through the entire day without anyone speaking to me (this isn't a good thing).  My wife on the other hand walks out the door and is greeted by all the neighbors.  

She took a jog this afternoon and met a lady down the street for the first time.  The lady then told her that we really need to get a cap for our chimney.  I asked DaNae if she or the lady brought it up.  She said the lady had just asked if we had a fireplace and since we did, she thought we really ought to get a chimney cap.  

The reason for her advice?  Squirrels!  Yep, her daughter or some near relation had a squirrel come down their chimney and out the glass doors on their fireplace and trash their house while on vacation.  Great timing squirrel.  

Then the lady herself had one that came down and died in her fireplace insert.  Wow, wonder if it was the same squirrel.   I'm not against chimney caps, but I don't know how a squirrel would get in the house with the flue closed, and if it died in there, I guess I'd have to dispose of a dead squirrel then.  I don't see why you need to spread such fear over such things.  People do that a lot.  Give you advice because once something bad happened to them.  I guess its okay to be informed, but if I heeded every bit of advice people gave me because something bad happened to them, well I would probably be broke and paranoid, maybe institutionalized.  

I talked to a guy who said that on two separate occasions he had a squirrel crawl down through the sewer gas pipe for his toilet and came into his house via the toilet.  Our homes were just not built to be squirrel proof....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New month, New goals...

...for real this time.  

So I didn't post yesterday like I said I would, because I was lazy.  That's it.  Pure and simple.  Its a trend I'm trying to overcome this year, as you might've picked up if you've been reading this blog.  

Last month was less than stellar for meeting my goal.  I made it through two weeks of the couch to 5k plan and then got sick and am feeling almost back to 100%.  So I'm starting that over at week two tomorrow.  Hopefully by this time next month I'll be ready to start week six of the program.  I have lost like 6 pounds this month, though most of that happened when I was sick. But it's progress all the same!

That is goal one for the month.  Goal two is to write on my story during the weekends.  Its been hard to discipline myself into doing something creative when I wake up and want to do nothing on my days off.  The attached image shows what Word shows me right now when I load my story.  It told me just a second ago that I have over 245k characters in the document.  I was wanting to be done with the story by now and on to another one, but no, Laziness strikes again!!  (BTW, that's single spaced small font, which is why the page count might seem low.)

Along with that goal, I'm setting a newly daily goal of 1500 words.  Combine that with the weekend writing and I'll double my weekly output and hopefully finish the story before the end of April.  I think to enforce this though I am going to have to work on a rewards system.  Such as, if I want to fire up the xbox, I'll have to have my word count finished.  It should be fairly simple thing to do, 1000 words comes pretty quickly now and once 1500 becomes simple I can jump up from there.  

And my fourth goal for the fourth month of this year is to mud and tape the sun room.  My dad might be coming for easter, so that would be a nice incentive to getting that done.

A taller order than previously, but I think I can reach them or die trying, which is really the important part of any goal...

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Month, New Goal...

...Tomorrow...

Yes, its april fools day, so rather than commiting to something and then saying that I was just joking later, I will post my new month goal tomorrow.  I had thought about posting that my new goal would be to run down my street naked once a week without getting caught or photographed.  But honestly, what is the point in doing that and not getting caught or photographed.  So new goal will be posted tomorrow as I already said.  Happy April fools day and stay tuned...

p.s.  I've been thinking since my last post that I might have to get more creative with my post titles.  The last post had over fifty hits, which is about forty more than any previous one and I'm assuming its because I mentioned topless women in the title...hmmmm....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are those ladies topless?

So I've been fighting off a head cold, while worrying about the washing machine backing up through the toilet.  I got home from work and DaNae was planted downstairs to make sure nothing happened while doing the laundry.  She came up stairs to see what I was doing and told me how she had found a children's movie on netflix and was watching it.  She went on to tell me about it.

I wasn't too interested as I just wanting something to drink and get refreshed, then go relax.  I sat down on the couch downstairs after hydrating and checked out this movie DaNae was so excited about.  After about ten minutes I saw a guy passed out from a heroin injection, a guy named muff diver and a guy who used profanity every couple words.  I was a little surprised by what was being passed off as a kid's movie these days.  I definitely thought it was weird but decided not to say anything. But then the main characters enter a topless bar and I turned to my wife and had to ask her if the those were baby milk jugs on the screen.  They were.  She turned it off, explained that she seriously thought it was a kids movie, even though now she saw that it was rated R and we both had a good laugh...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nice recovery...

Yesterday wasn't a good day.  I was grumpy, I didn't write and the washing machine backed up through the toilet in the basement (which I discovered an hour later, after a stepping on a soaked carpet).

I filled up my car at Dillion's and as I drove up I saw a guy digging through a large pile of stuff in the middle of the parking lot.  Twenty feet away there was a truck with the tail gate down and with the bed of the truck half full of more stuff.  I thought they must've accidentally lost half their load driving up to a pump.  I got to another pump and as I filled up I noticed that they had a fire extinguisher, and some of the boxes were blackened and I could smell smoke.  I guess while moving, something lit something else on fire and well, a gas pump is the last place you want such things to happen.  I guess their day could've been worse.  At least they had a fire extinguisher handy.

Not sure why some days are just worse than others, but today was a good restart.  I only woke up tired rather than grumpy, I jotted down 1200 words and the carpet is dry.  Today was a good day...

Monday, March 21, 2011

A little farther...

I hit the end of week 2 of the couch to 5k today, and I also hit 50k words on my story today.  It seems like the more I write, the larger the story becomes.  I'm half way through a scene that I hadn't even thought up before it spilled out on the paper and now I'm at somewhat of a loss on what's happening.  But the more I write the more comfortable I am with the story doing its own thing.  It tends to be better than what I thought up.  Its richer! 

I just wish I were closer to being done and able to start on the next story.  I thought I'd be done by the end of this month, but its not going to happen.  Last week I eeked out nearly 8k words, and today I'm struggling to do 1k.  I wish I could consistently hit 2k+.  Maybe I need to take more time at home to get it done.  I never write on the weekends, or if I do, its to revise stuff I have already done. 

I have one more chapter to 'fix' that I wrote a couple years ago, and then I'll start letting my wife read through it and tell me what she thinks.  I'm wondering if she will like it.  It has some dark parts that I'm she'll not like much, but hopefully in the end she'll be intrigued enough to want to know what happens next in the story. 

But that's it.  Maybe I'll write a little more and get past this little detour and on to the big picture....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Unmotivation...

I'm sitting here, my alarm having just gone off even though I've been up for about 20 minutes after being woken up by nature calling.  Its Saturday and I'm suppose to be running day 2 of week 2 for the couch to 5k program and I'm just wanting to stay in bed.

I woke up at 1:30 thinking it was closer to 6:30, feeling fully rested, and asked DaNae what time it was (the clock is on her side of the bed).  I thought the night would never end at that point.  Now I'm tired and dragging and just want to curl up in a ball under a blanket and wake up again in a few hours.

I wanted to run yesterday but I had to get to work early so I could get off early to be at the doctor's for Charleigh's 4 month appointment.  It was worth it, but I seem to have more motivation to run on the days I can't.  That doesn't seem right.

Well I'm going to go run now regardless of how I feel, fully knowing I'll feel great afterwords, if not a little tired.  But its Saturday so I can go back to bed then if I want....

**Update**  I did it, feel great, even though the last 3 jogs felt a lost worse than the last time I ran.  My legs feel kinda tight, gonna have to stretch them some more, but I got back and my wife had some homemade egg mcbiscuits waiting for me in the oven!  MMmmmm...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Progess...

...it feels good.

I ran today for the second time this week.  I had planned on running Wednesday, but my legs were not as responsive after the Monday run.  Instead of killing myself in order to run and make myself hate it more, I withheld until today.  It felt good.  Well, actually much like last time, it felt great afterwards.  I was actually peppy at work!

I was peppy until I had to listen to a coworker rant and rave about how crappy life is.  He told me back at Halloween that he doesn't give out candy because he doesn't want to support all 'that demonic stuff'.  Then he told me last week that he stays up late on Thursdays because that's the night all his favorite shows are on TV, including the vampire diaries.  I've never seen the show but I'm assuming its not glorifying God or anything.    Seriously, this guy wears me down most days (lucky I only work with him 3 days a week) and I'm starting to see the areas of my life where he is rubbing off on me.  I'll have to put the kabosh to that. 

In other news, I think next month I'm setting a goal of not watching movies with my wife until she has seen it all the way through.  Just kidding.  I won't set that goal, but I think it might make our evenings more pleasant when we do watch a movie together.  Here's what usually happens....
1)movie starts.
2)danae falls asleep.
3)a large portion of the movie plays out on the screen.
4)danae wakes up.
5)danae asks questions, like 'who's that guy?'  'what's going on?'  'what did i miss?'
6)bill gets frustrated, just wants to watch the movie without explaining who's who and major/minor plot points.
7)bill refuses to talk to danae.
8)danae cries.
9)bill feels like an ass.
10)bill apologizes.
11)movie ends.

Okay, some of that is an exaggeration, and DaNae now has a beautiful little leach stuck to her chest part of the time and is watching the neighbor kid, so its not surprising she gets tired.  So I just need to suck it up and be a man and pause the movie every time her eyes shut, or at least find some other viable solution to enjoying the evenings with my wonderful wife...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sigh....

..I did it.  I did my morning run.  I did it with a couple thin layers of clothes on, which at the beginning of the run felt good but by the end felt smothering.  I did several loops around Julie Dr. and 14th. St.  It didn't feel good. 

But I feel like a accomplished something today.  My legs feel a little bit like jell-o but not as much as the first time I ran five years ago (my legs were nearly non-responsive after that 3 mile jog).  I probably walk/ran a couple miles this morning and I feel good about the accomplishment. 

I will go forth again on wednesday, despite forecasts of rain/snow (well thats what my coworker told me the radio told him, isn't weather gossip just fabulous?) and try it again.  Hopefully strength and lung capacity increase with each one and life will be grand.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

First Run Through...

...my block is tomorrow.  I'm going to get up early, empty my bowels and briskly walk for 5 minutes (possibly in the rain) before cycling between 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking around my block.  I'm nervous.  What if I hate it?  What if I chicken out and decide to stay curled up in bed with my beautiful wife?  What if I fall over dead from the plague?

Well that last one hopefully won't happen in the next twelve hours so I have that to look forward to.  And well, if I really hate it, then I'll have to find some other exercise regimen I can fit into the my super small budget.  And I've already told my wife to kick me out of bed.  So no more fears.  On ward and around ward I will go...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Failure...

I'm kind of amazed that it has taken me 30+ years to start overcome the fear of failure.  Some days it feels like the older I get the more I fail. 

About two years ago I started working with a man who was teaching me his trade so that he could have a backup at work when he went on vacation or was sick.  There was a procedure he was working on that he told me I wasn't allowed to work on because I hadn't failed enough.  Yeah, thats right, I hadn't had enough failure in the lab.  His theory is that you learn more from the failures than through the successes.

This year has been a new experiment for me.  Each month I try a new resolution.  Something that I've wanted to do but haven't for whatever reason.  I think the biggest failure of my life is setting goals and not following through.  I think one of the reasons I started this blog was so that I can state my goal and the reasoning behind it.  And then of course have some accountability.  The accountability hasn't helped much since I'm not sure anyone even reads this, but the blog has helped inspire me to write more, which was numero uno (maybe april's goal should be to learn spanish so that I know more of it rather than just the number one) on my list of goals for the year.  

I decided for march that I would count calories, but I did it a couple years ago and I did well for a while.  Then the long term habits crept in.  Now after four days of not even starting the counting, I'm wondering if I need to begin again more intelligently.  But how?  I know over the last few days I have cut out about 500 daily calories.  Just little snacks that I ate every day which I don't need to.  After 7 days, thats a pound.  If I keep it up, I'll be losing one pound a week.  I do want to run though. I'll see how that goes on monday.  I might need to find a running buddy, which seemed to be the only thing that helped me in the past.  March might be a bigger learning experience than I anticipated...

Friday, March 4, 2011

40k

I've hit another milestone...it feels good.  I actually should've hit it last week, but I had a couple days of mega stress which knocked my brain loose for a few days. I think all combined I wrote a thousand words last week.  And the week before that I started rewriting a couple of the chapters I wrote a couple years back since they didn't really fit with what was happening in the story.  SO I wrote some and then deleted some which accounted for a net gain of about zero.

But I read this article last week of a lady who self publishes on Amazon.com.  She sells like 100,000 ebooks a month at like three bucks a pop. At 70% profits she makes a pretty sweet penny. So I started to look into what it would take to self publish.  It just takes money like so many other things.  With that in mind and all whole money situation at home, I'm looking into getting a part-time job.

It'll make life a little easier until the daycare goes into full swing, it'll help us reduce debt a little faster (woot) and help me self publish.  Then I'll just need to find a way to get my name out there once I do self publish.  I guess thats what facebook is partially for, and prayer.

All in all I'm more motivated to get this book done so I can work on the next...