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


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 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


...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


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


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...