Slip, Slip, Sliding…

Here’s how life changes when the weather gets just a touch warmer out in my neck of the woods.
This morning, I let the kids sleep in a bit since we were up late last night having dinner with family. The Princess woke up about 30 seconds before I was planning to do it. And really, she’s the sweetest girl on Earth. When we got to her daycare, there were just two other babies in the room, one of whom was crying lots. So when she got the chance, Princess crawled over to him and laid down on him, giving him a hug, and he stopped crying! The lack of a camera really was a shame. We have a future doctor on our hands, I say!

As for the Lad, well… At the daycare, the sidewalk everywhere except right in front of the door was a sheet of ice. So he and I got out of the car, and as I was getting ready to pull the Princess out, I heard the Lad crying.

I closed the door and ran around the car to find him lying on the ground holding his head. I quickly walked toward him and promptly fell on my ass. Then I basically crawled up to my knees and held him in my arms. He was okay. Didn’t even face-plant; I think he fell sideways and bonked his head a bit.

We got inside (by walking through the parking lot, not the sidewalk) and he had perfect behavior. Nice and calm and polite. Thinking about it now, I wonder just how hard he hit his head.

Lastly the Lad and I had our doughnut day and everything is just swell.

Distant Beeping…

Sitting down at dinner tonight, thinking of all the shoveling I have to do since the weather gods dropped three inches of snow, I heard a beeping or ringing of some kind off in the distance.

Me: What is that?

My Wife: Huh?

A Hungry Lad: [Face down gobbling a plate of grapes.]

Me: What is that noise out there? An ice cream truck?

M: No… [Stares at me in that special way.]

Me: Well, is that your phone?

M: No, honey.

Me: [I keep hearing that rhythmic beeping noise.] What on Earth is that noise?

M: Try a plow.

Me: Ooohh. Yeah, I suppose it would be.

M: [Laughing.] And now you have to blog this.

Damn.

The Trip Home…

– or –
Why I Took The Day Off From Work

We booked our return trip from California flying from Sacramento to Minneapolis/St Paul with a 45 minute layover in Phoenix. I’d been checking weather for a couple of days, seeing some snowfall in the Twin Cities, but mostly clear skies in Sacramento and Phoenix. Everything was going to go great on Saturday afternoon into night, so we could have Sunday to recuperate from a week’s sojourn.

My dad took my family to the Sacramento airport, helped me pack up the car seats to be strapped to my back, said his quick goodbyes, and headed back home. We went inside to the US Airways ticket counter and got in line. The line was a little long, but no worse than what we ran into with Frontier when we left Minneapolis.

The line did not move. People queued up behind us, but the line did not move. Clerks or tellers or whatever they’re called were at every station. The line. never. moved.

Continue reading

O Tannenbaum…

Tannenbaum1.jpg

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

So many traditions in this world I could do away with. Especially this holiday. The shopping fervor that lasts two months, the stress of finding everyone the perfect gift, the music that starts too soon and is only variations on five tunes.

For as long as I can remember, I loved the tradition of the Christmas Tree. Nothing beat hunting down a wonderfully scented tree, bringing that natural green into the house, taking out the old boxes of ornaments, and decorating it as a family. It has to be one of my fondest memories. Not the presents, not the cards, not the parties. It was decorating the tree with my family.

To me, the world isn’t quite right unless the tree is lit and covered in old ornaments that bring back memories. I remember one year when I was just out of high school and the family was all too used to going in their own directions. For some slew of little reasons, it was decided that the tree wouldn’t be bothered with that year. Well, that didn’t sit well with me, so I snuck out and bought a little tree and set it up on the landing. The season was finally true to itself when that little tree was there.

I like passing this tradition on to my children. Though the little lady was asleep by the time we got to decorating the tree, the lad was very enthusiastic to string up the lights. Oh, and putting up the ornaments he’s made in school. He’s very proud of them, and rightly so.

I am a little sad we just did our small plastic tree this year. But with our long trip coming up immediately after Christmas, it made more sense to keep it small. It’ll probably get put away within a week of us coming home.

Still, it’s there and it means tons to me.

Thanks, water. You keep me alive.

Fry’s How To…

How to clear your driveway and mailboxes of snow in sub-zero temperatures with only a shovel and ice scraper:
1. Get two German beers.

2. Put on clothing appropriate to the temperature.

3. Put beers in snowbank.

4. Tear up tire tracks with ice scraper.

5. Shovel out in front of garage.

6. Shovel single line straight down the middle of driveway to the road.

7. Work your way back up driveway by shoveling to either side in chunks.

8. Look at mailboxes and think, ‘Fuck that, I’ve lost feeling in my face.’

9. Put tools away.

10. Drink two chilled German beers.

Addendum

The beers probably have ice built up in them. Thaw in fridge.

Quick Demo…

One of the fun things about moving from one climate to a totally different one is seeing things that would never occur where I grew up:
forecast1

What a hoot. And I never did shovel this morning. I think it was warmer then than now.

Two Years Of Enlightenment…

Two Years Ago, I wrote this:

I have gone through my entire house and cut the electrical cost of lighting my home by seventy-five percent. While there may have been a bit of initial investment in these small, spiraling compact fluorescent bulbs, they will last me for years and each one uses less than one quarter of the energy of the equivalent light output from an incandescent bulb. Believe it or not, the initial investment wasn’t much at all. If bought in some bulk, they come out to around two dollars a bulb for the basic wattages that one would expect. Take into account that they last over five times longer and use one-fourth of the energy, and you’ll find they save tons of money over the rather long haul. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can find them for even less. We went to Lowes recently and they were offering rebates making packs of four bulbs free! The cost of lighting my entire house dropped seventy-five percent, and we have barely spent a dime. Please folks, do yourselves and the rest of the world a huge favor. Make your homes more energy efficient. You’ll save tons of money, our rather old electrical grids won’t be as strained, and in the end we’ll decrease our need for so much fuel in general.

In two years, I have changed zero compact fluorescents. None at all. And there are two or three that are burning almost permanently. The only bulbs I’ve changed? The one in the garage door opener. Our garage is not heated and incandescent bulbs work better in the cold.

Well, after having changed about half a dozen bulbs in three weeks (I used the leftovers from the house) I finally caved and put a CFL in there. It still works, though is a little dim when starting up. But you know what? I’m not going to think about it anymore now. And I’m all about not thinking.

I still have no idea how much energy I’ve saved. At least my conscience is clear.

Thanks, free will. I’m always happy you’re there.