Saturday, December 31, 2005

Bear Pics - Posted by Chris

What a difference two years makes!

Bear Pic - 6 Days Old

Bear Pic - Two Years Old

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me - Posted by Chris

Got this idea from Beth at sothefishsaid

1. I served in the U.S. Army for three years.

2. I’ve traveled to the following countries: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Germany and technically Egypt (though I was aboard a ship in a canal at the time.)

3. I loathe any kind of public speaking.

4. From 1991 to 2003, I moved 10 times. I’ve lived in the same house now from almost 3 years.

5. I love the comics strip, Calvin and Hobbes.

6. I no longer have a gall bladder.

7. I tend to be quiet around people I do not know; but once you get to know me you probably won’t be able to get me to shut up!

8. I do not (or can not) consume any caffeine.

9. I found and married my soul mate.

10. Before my son was born I wasn’t certain I was cutout to be a father; now I can’t imagine not being one.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Common Curiosity - Posted by Chris

What has happened to good old common curiosity?

A friend and I went to lunch today at Panera Bread. As usually the place was really busy and though the wait to get our food was rather short, there were no empty tables. Now here's what burns me, at least two booths were occupied by single individuals! Both of these individuals where pretty much finished eating; one person was reading a book and another was drinking coffee.

If it's not obvious, here's what I think is wrong. These individual had finished their lunch and were taking up table space at the height of the lunch time rush, while several people (my friend and I included) had just got their food and had no where to sit. Is it just me or should these people have offered up their tables?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Quiet House - Posted by Chris

Christopher is spending another fun filled weekend with Grandma and Grandpa. The details of this visit are long and irrelevant to this post, however in the end they decided to take him for the weekend so we could have a break.

Lisa and I worked around the house this morning and then went out to dinner and a movie; though not in that order. It’s been quite a long time since we last saw a movie (mainly procrastination on our part) and neither of us could even remember what we last saw together. So this afternoon we went to see ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” It turned out to be an excellent film. Better than the previous movies, however much darker.

Now we are both quietly typing away on our computers and our “weekend off” is coming to a close (Christopher comes home tomorrow.) I am both happy that my son is returning and a little disappointed the weekend is ending so quickly.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Gotta Love Michigan Weather - Posted by Chris

After dropping to a "balmy" 14°F on the night of Thanksgiving, our high today was 63°F. Tomorrow night we drop back down to 26°F with a chance of snow!

Like I said, "Gotta love Michigan weather."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving - Posted by Chris

Happy T-Day!

Now why the heck are you reading this blog! Go have some turkey! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Better Living through Technology - Posted by Chris

I called today to cancel our cable Internet service. We’ve moved to DSL (cheaper and more consistent). I won’t mention our cable provider by name, but let’s just say they’re “Crapcastic!”

Upon dialing the 800 number to cancel our service, I was first asked to provide my telephone number, and then prompted to enter a series of 1s, 2s and I think a 4 (or maybe it was a 3). A nice voice informed me to please wait while my call was being routed. After about 30 seconds, I was asked once again to enter my telephone number (didn’t I just enter that about 2 minutes ago?).

Several more keystrokes and I am once again waiting for the next available representative. A few minutes pass and then I hear “Hello, how may I assist you?” I explain that I wish to cancel my service.

“Can I have your telephone number?” Holy crap, didn’t I already type in my telephone number at least twice? Now you might think that the representative was just verifying my number, right? No, she was typing it in AGAIN because she had to ask me to repeat it yet another time when she messed it up.

Aren’t computers supposed to make are lives easier? Why would I want to pay a company for Internet service when their telephone computer system can’t store a little 10 digit number for the duration of my support call?

Telephone Support Service Update (November 23, 2005)

If you want to get to a human faster, here's a link to a "cheat sheet" for a number of companies' customer support telephone systems.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not feeling' good - Posted by Chris

Ear infection, congestion, sneezing...

Today's not a good day!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Toddler Booby Traps... - Posted by Chris

I don't know if you know this but toddlers (especially ours) are quite adept at setting up booby traps. These traps are not tripwires or punji sticks yet quite dangerous all the same.

For some time now we have found that Christopher is an expert at placing items, primarily toys, in the most inconvenient places. Oh, they look quite innocent however once the darkness of night falls upon our humble abode; beware. A small truck here or a “Little People” farmer there, located in just the right place so that a bare foot will step on them in the night.

Some of these traps have gotten quite sophisticated, including lights and audio which make them very effective. Now I’ve been told that this is all just child’s play, however we are convinced that they are designed to track the movement of anyone with a bedtime beyond 8 PM.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Unwilling Trick-or-Treater - Posted by Chris

We had the costume, the face paint, we had our route scoped out; we were missing just one thing, a willing trick-or-treater. That's right Christopher was a no show for this Halloween.

Mom painted his face...

But after several failed attempts to get the costume on, Christopher decided it was much more rewarding to just hand out the candy.

Well I guess he's learning that it's better to give than to receive.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"I'm the Dad" Revised - Posted by Chris

On a blog that I started unsuccessfully over a year ago I made the following post:

I'm The Dad - 07/12/04

When my son was born, I had a revelation. The doctor, taking care of my son immediately after birth, said "Dad do you want to meet your son?" I sat there for a moment and then realized, 'I'm the dad!’ I've since discovered that a lot of new dads have this revelation. It sounds rather basic but it’s really more complex than realizing that you are now someone's father. "Being the Dad" is finding that you are now responsible for the well being of another person. It’s feeling the stress of providing for your family and worrying about things like job security, health care
and college funds. "Being the Dad" is stressing about keeping up the "dad" jobs around the house and worrying about whether or not all the doors are locked at night.

My son is seven months old and I'm really just discovering the real meaning of "Being the Dad"; today the stress and worry was all worth it when my son was comforted by just sitting on my lap, for no other reason than 'I'm the dad'.

More than a year later, with baby number two on the way, I've never been happier that 'I'm the dad.' I have to say that I'm a bit nervous about being 'the dad' x 2 but I'm confident that Lisa and I will make it work.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"Junior" returns home - Posted by Chris

Ok, he's not technically a junior but I call him that sometimes.

After two nights and two days, Christopher returned home today from his weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's. Not surprisingly he didn't want to come home; well at least he didn't want to leave the box of Matchbox cars at Grandma's house. Instead of an excited little boy full of elation at seeing his parents, we were treated to a crying toddler, unhappy about coming home.

After a few minutes to adjust to the tragedy of his homecoming and once he discovered that Mom and Dad had completely torn apart “that cool room with the computers,” Christopher's tears dried and he got back to the serious business of playing with his toys.

This weekend went well. Lisa and I survived our separation anxiety and we both found that the build up to Christopher's weekend away was far more difficult than the weekend itself. I'm not saying that we didn't miss him, but the temporary break in parenting was needed by both of us.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Some pictures from breakfast - Posted by Chris

Sorry we have posted much lately. It been rather hectic lately, hell when is it not hectic. Here's some photos for your enjoyment.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Camera - Posted by Chris

Well after many months of delaying we finally broke down and purchased a new digital camera. Our old camera just had too many problems and though it still took pictures, each new issue made the camera more frustrating to use.

Our new camera is a Sony Cybershot DSC-W5.

I have to admit was initially hesitate to purchase a Sony as I know of at least two individuals who have owned Sony cameras and have had problems. Despite the problem both individual loved their cameras.

I was also slightly resistant to the idea of having to use Memory Stick media rather than SD media which isn't a proprietary format (Memory Stick format is owned by Sony.)

In the end I gave in because I decided that these concerns didn't outweigh some of the really nice features of this camera.

One great feature is the 2.5 inch LCD screen. The larger screen really makes it easier to take and view pictures. I don't think the added size can be fully appreciated unless you see it side by side with a smaller screen.

Another nice feature of the DSC-W5 is 32MB of memory built in to the camera. If you've ever forgotten to put your Compact Flash, SD or Memory stick back in your camera only discover that it missing after you've already left home, you'll appreciate being able to still take pictures.

Third, many of the Cybershot cameras can take video. Now this isn't DVD quality video so it’s not going to replace a DV camera if you have one. But it’s really nice if you only have your digital camera and want to capture some video of a special moment.

Obviously this camera's not perfect and other more advanced cameras are available but so far this looks like a perfect upgrade from our old camera.

Monday, August 15, 2005

First Concerts - Posted by Lisa

One of the many rites of passage on the way to growing up is the first concert. Most of us can recall who we saw, how old we were, where it was held, and the ringing in our ears after being exposed to sounds that could be measured at decibels reserved for commercial jets.

My first concert was The Bee Gees, the summer before 6th grade, the Pontiac Silverdome, and yes, my ears rang until I fell blissfully asleep that night. I’m certain this is my first concert, although around the same time I also remember accompanying my parents and some family friends to see Willie Nelson at the Jackson (Michigan) County Fair. No matter which one was first. At both venues, the smell of marijuana in the air was strong enough to (theoretically, at least) give an 11 year old girl a contact buzz.

Chris’ “first” was Motley Crue, 16 years old, IMA Arena in Flint, and I’m sure his ears rang as well. I will defer to him on what kind of buzz, if any, was involved.

Our son Christopher, on the other hand, has now been to his first concert at the ripe old age of 20 (months, that is). The air quality in the Palace of Auburn Hills today could be most accurately described as pristine. In fact, the only buzz I am aware of was that of the sugar high and the sheer toddler euphoria that can only come from seeing live and in person a purple octopus, a 7 foot tall brown dog, a rose-munching green dinosaur with yellow spots, a friendly pirate, and 4 goofy but loveable guys dressed in red, yellow, blue and purple.

That’s right, we have now experienced The Wiggles live. If you haven’t heard of The Wiggles, they are a preschooler’s answer to the Beatles; a musical group of 4 men from Australia (3 of whom are preschool teachers) who sing about the virtues of “Fruit Salad” (Yummy! Yummy!), drive onto stage in their “toot toot, chugga, chugga, Big Red Car”, and have kids and parents alike dancing in the aisles to “Can you point your fingers and do the twist.”

For a short time, I think Chris and I both wondered if we had rushed this first concert experience a little too soon. At first, Christopher just sat on Chris’ lap as the tears started to well up in his eyes despite seeing his Disney Channel heroes on stage before him. In fact, it took several songs before he started to relax a bit. But when I picked him up to do “the Monkey Dance”, I think he finally started to realize that this was supposed to be fun! For the rest of the show, he decided to sit in his own seat (thank you very much), eat some crackers offered to him by the nice mom behind us (thank you!), and giggle, yell and point at the varied characters that crossed the stage.

After the show had ended, he went home with a souvenir (of course)…

…then we ate dinner at Stir Crazy at Great Lakes Crossing Mall and played on some cushiony, oversized assorted foodstuffs.

All in all, it was a good day to be a toddler.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Our Deck - Posted by Chris

Well after months of work our deck is nearly complete. Today my Dad and I finished up with the materials that we have. I still need to order a couple of banisters, a piece of fascia and some lattice however we are able to use our deck now.

For the curious, the decking material we used was Veranda decking which is only available at Home Depot. The material itself was great, no major problems, just as easy as working with real wood, however because is a composite material there is no maintenance (save occasionally washing.)

Here are some pictures...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Cry Havoc... - Posted by Chris

...and let slip the dogs of war." -- William Shakespeare

Today began the first battle of our official war on stinging insects; wasps to be exact. The yellowjackets drew "first blood" when they stung Lisa while she was pulling weeds in our backyard.

After evacuating the women and children (to the house.) I began my reconnaissance mission around the yard. I noticed that several yellowjackets were flying around the area where Lisa had been working. They did not appear to be swarming, however several were flying in and out of a gap between two blocks in the retaining wall. I made a mental note and continued my mission. At the side of the house I took the following photo:

Definitely action was necessary. Before I was able to leave the area I was attacked by more yellowjackets from this nest:

Escaping unscathed, I returned to base to re-arm and launch my counter-strike. Armed with the latest in anti-wasp technology, I attacked six separate sites. Casualities on the wasp side are estimated to be heavy. By the end of the day, we had destroyed or rendered ineffective four paper wasp nests and two yellowjacket nests.

Unfortunately this is but the first salvo in a war that will likely last for several months. I have already identified at least two more yellowjacket sites and suspect more nests are yet to be discovered.

We will keep you posted as the war drags on.