Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Happy Birthday MaxieC

Little MaxieC is three today. We went to Chuck E. Cheese's for lunch, and a good time was had by all.

Except for HannahC.

She barfed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Many Topics of Little Interest

It's a lot like the Cliffs Notes version of my blog in that respect.

First, I owe The Mrs. a big apology. I'm not going to give her one, but in case you're keeping score, you can tally one down on my tab. You can put it right there next to the one I owe BrainkyP for dumping the garbage can on his head a long while ago. Back last week, I may possibly have had a post where I ranted a bit about how The Mrs. made me come home from work to fix a garage door that was not broken. Well, this weekend while I was assembling my beloved snowblower, I was forced to move into the garage when the afternoon suddenly cooled off like 20 degrees, and I was spending more time with my hands in my pockets trying to warm them up than I was actually assembling the thing. The only free space in the garage is where The Mrs. parks the winivan, so I backed it out and set up shop there.

Well, this occasioned me having to open and close the garage door a number of times during the process, and the door malfunctioned nearly every time. Eventually, I got so fed up with it that I stopped the blower assembly and decided to take a closer look. I noted that the chain had an awful lot of slack in it. So much so that it was slacked down below the level of the rail. I checked the other identical-yet-always-working opener on the door next to it, and the chain was nowhere near as slack. So I tightened up the chain. I also sprayed some Schwinn bicycle chain lube on it (as it was the only lube I had readily available in the garage, and hell, it was a chain). It has worked flawlessly since then. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Now, speaking of that post about the garage door, it's possible I may also have mentioned something called "PMS Weekend". One of my many fans today approached me at work very excited because he "had a solution for you". His solution? "Knock her up."

This is why we call him Tinfoil. He really needs to wear that hat more, as the mind rays are getting to him again.

I must say, though, that despite all the whining from Fat Moother about how I'm too mean to The Mrs. on my blawg, the PMS Weekend post was a big money maker. Hell, I made almost $8 off it.

The Mrs. is riding Carl, the elliptical trainer, right now. Yesterday when she got on him, I got myself a Crown Royal and sat down on the futon behind Carl to watch. Apparently, riding Carl is not supposed to be a spectator sport.

That sounded a lot dirtier than I had intended it to.

Speaking of Carl, I was having a very brief coffee break with Cavitation today, and he was complaining, among other things, that I had not named my snowblower yet. He was very concerned because I seem to name everything, and he used Carl and Dave as examples. For the record, MaxieC named Carl, and I'm pretty sure The Mrs. named Dave. I don't normally name stuff. I didn't even name The Childrens. But anyways, this got me to thinking. Hmmm...

Something I have not yet shared about my snowblower is that when I got it, it had the address of the company that built it on the boxes. Not only is it from Canada, as we had learned before, but it's actually from Quebec. So now I'm thinking maybe I should name it after some famous hockey player.

But, of course, there aren't any famous hockey players.

So then I though some more. I said to myself, "Self, what would be a good name for a big 300 lbs. French-Canadian beast?"

Yeah. That's right. I named it The JohnnyB. [Insert your own "blowing" joke here.]

I'd also like to welcome back Rhonda from her Florida vacation. Rhonda's blog, Rhonda's Blog, is the latest re-recipient of the Blog of the Week Crown, as it's the only blog left on my blog roll that posts often enough to hold the title. Everyone go there and click on her ads.

Oh wait, she doesn't have any ads. Someone go show Rhonda how to put up ads, OK?

I'd also like to take this opportunity to wish JohnnyB and NavieA-B a happy vacation. I will sorely miss them, as they account for about half of my advertising revenue. I hope you kids get internet in your hotel!

And a big "Get Well" wish to Rico, who is home recovering either from the flu or from having his stomach pumped from alcohol poisoning, depending on if you get the "official" version that he tells his boss or the "alternative" version. Something about J├Ągermeister tasting too much like candy. You can leave your best wishes in the comments. He's a regular reader.

Finally, I'd like to thank BrainkyP for the biggest laugh I had all day. As you may recall, he was my boss back in Santa Clarabelle before they ran me out of town, so he had to provide my new manager and me with a transfer review. Oddly enough, he buried the gems down in the "improvement/developments" section where we come across this little snippet:
"Brian has a fantastic sense of humor [...]"
Now why, exactly, is that an area for improvement? Hmmm.

Oh wait, here it is:
"Brian once held an (admittedly funny) passdown meeting where the topic was “why do I hate management”."
And I'd do it again in an instant!

Though maybe, just maybe, I'd not do it with management sitting right there in the room.

Something Not to Do 8

Let's say, just for argument's sake, that your lovely wife has met you at the door in the morning to present her cheek for you to kiss goodbye before heading off to the old grind the way she does every morning.

Only this morning is a little different. This morning, you see that her mascara has smudged up onto her eyelids in an almost Johnny Depp/Pirates of the Caribbean way. And, for whatever reason - maybe because it's early, maybe because it's Monday morning, maybe because it hasn't snowed at all since you put together your beloved snowblower - you decide to make note of this in the first way that comes to mind.
"What happened to you?"
That would be Something Not to Do™.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My Beloved

[For those of you who are looking for real information about a Berco snow thrower, you're probably better off with my serious post on the subject.]

"I wonder what it could be?" you say to yourself. "If CherkyB is titling a post, 'My Beloved,' it must be some kind of misdirection. He would never refer to The Mrs. by that title. Nor to the darling HannahC. And probably not even MaxieC, despite that fact that he looks so remarkably like CherkyB did at that age that he would practically be referring to himself as his beloved. Hmmm..."

You ponders.

"Ahh...it must be about whiskey!"

Close, but I am not writing about my beloved whiskey today.

"Your bar, then?"

No. Though I am truly fond of my beloved bar.

"Oh! Oh! Oh! I've got it now. It's another post about your damned lawn tractor, isn't it?"

Close enough.

I got the most wonderful phone call on Friday morning. I was in the shower, so it went to voicemail, but when I got dressed and picked up my phone, there it was.
"Hi. This is Ray from Mac Equipment. You ordered a Berco blower for your tractor, and it's here."
Oh, joy of joys. As I like to say (purely for its humor value and not because it is certified true), it's like my honeymoon all over. Only happy.

Only one problem. My parents are visiting, and we had a full day planned of not-particularly-stressful childrens/grandparents stuff. I had even taken the day off from work. It all started out with a trip to the aquatic center, where MaxieC and HannahC were having their first private swimming lessons. They had both taken group classes back in San Schmose, but here for some reason the group classes were not working out schedule-wise. Being a much less densely populated area, you can't get classes for two different kids in two different age brackets at the same time here like you could back in the Schmose. Being good fathers/grandparents, we sat in the gallery and watched as The Mrs. entertained one child in the pool whilst the other was lessoned.

Excepting, of course, MaxieC refused to be lessoned. So HannahC got an especially long lesson.

Then, well, it was lunch time. So we hit Red Robin, and my mother had declared out of the blue the day before that this was one of her favorite places to eat as they had a great turkey burger.

Yuck.

I the the "5 Alarm Burger," which I suppose would be considered spicy if I were from some place whose culture is steeped in bland cuisine, like Canada, or it's neighbor to the south, Wisconsin. But I'm not.

Then, we were off to see "Charlotte's Web". It was pretty good. I cried my stupid eyes out when Charlotte died. Having childrens really makes you a lot more emotional.

All of this was done without ever leaving the confines of Loverlyland, which also happened to be the city in which my snow blower was anxiously awaiting my pickup. I was so close, I could smell it. Or maybe that was just Greeley.

By the time we got out of the moovie, it was too late to go pick up My Beloved. So I hit the sack for a fitful night's sleep all the while planning the pickup the next morning. I probably should have drunk myself to sleep, but I was drinking Crown Royal, and it's too expensive for that kind of excess. So I had to go to sleep the old fashioned way, by tossing and turning.

Saturday morning rolled around presently, and I played it cool. I didn't rush out of bed. I didn't head to the store before breakfast. In fact, both PopsC and The Mrs. seemed more excited about the trip than I. But, eventually, I packed up PopsC into the pickup, and away we went.

At the store, the shipment had come on a palette with numerous boxes Saran-wrapped together. They broke out a forklift to load it in the back, but it was a bit too high cuz I still have the camper shell on there for the winter. So we had to remove the top few boxes.

I saw one of the boxes was labeled "Counterweight Kit", and I pointed to that box and said to the dude, "That box weight 125lbs." He said, "Ha!" Then he picked it up. It was up about shoulder-height, as he had the forklift lined up for the pickup bed. After about 5 seconds he goes, "Argh! Help me!" So I help him set it in the back of the truck.

"I told you that thing weight 125 lbs." I had to rub it in. I'm like that. Oddly enough, when I got home and noticed there were 6 weights in stead of five, I wondered how it would be 125 lbs. checked the web. It's 150 lbs.

PopsC and I spent the rest of the day putting the thing together. Mostly, this was a one person job, so PopsC spent his time first assembling the pickup ramps I had bought at Lowe's to get this thing out (which were really ramp ends plus a couple 2x12's), and then breaking down the cardboard boxes and shipping palette as they got emptied.

The first step was to assemble something they call the subframe. This is a couple of think hunks of metal that sister to the frame rails to add additional strength. Very cool. The directions were pretty good, but the diagrams were too small to really read, so I spent a bunch of time figuring out exactly what I was supposed to do.

Here's a picture of the left subframe rail, which I did second, and thus was easier to do. It's that shiny black thing in the front, as opposed to the dusty black frame rail behind it.


The other side also has the lifting mechanism, of which that big arched piece of black metal is part. It transfers the motion from the level arm to the front lift bracket.


Underneath, you have to remove the mowing deck and then attach this blower power takeoff. This is held in with a couple big posts and two cotter pins, so it drops right out in the spring when it is time to put the mower back on.


Now we're all hooked up except for the rear counterweights and the tire chains. This is about 5 hours into the install. It doesn't seem like it should have taken that long, but it did. The parts packages contained all the parts for many different tractor models, so you always had boatloads more parts than you used for each step. This causes me to have to go back and recheck the directions every 30 seconds, cuz I really don't like finishing something and having about 50% of the parts still sitting there, unused. If I were to do it again on the same tractor, I could probably get to this point in 2 hours instead of five.


Now we're all done. The rear counterweight frame is attached and the weights are on. This was one of the hardest steps, as it turns out, as my tractor did not have all the holes needed in the rear frame to mount this. So I had to drill a couple of them, which meant I had to take off the rear wheels to get the drill in. Then, the stupid weight lockdown bar was a little teeny bit too short, and we screwed around with this for like a half-hour before deciding to just drill out the cotter pin holes a little bigger so that they'd clear the mounting brackets. That took all of 30 seconds and solved the problem. Wish we'd thought of that first.

In theory, the nice thing about these rear counterweights is that having them hang off the back like that gives you an effective 25% more weight than if you used wheel weights.


I took it for a spin, where I attacked a couple of the snow drifts next to the driveway. It did pretty well, though I managed to break one of the tire chains. I felt some resistance while I was just driving (dry pavement, blower not engaged), so I gave it a big load of gas. Hee hee. Took a few minutes to put the chain back together. I think it had stretched and got caught up on something. The chains are supposed to stretch a whole bunches when they are new. Tomorrow, I'll take some action shots. I didn't today cuz it was well after dark before the test drive. What I can say is that this thing really throws the snow far. I had to aim it downward to keep it under 20'.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Mrs., Frontierswoman

On Monday, FreddyC was out in the back yard when he reportedly started barking and running around like crazy at the back fence. The Mrs. looked out to see what was up, and she saw a coyote running on the path along the irrigation ditch behind our house. So, she did what any red-blooded American Frontierswoman would do. She packed up the kids in the minivan and ran out to Jax to pick up a nice little lever action 30/30.

Oh no, wait. That's just what I wish she would have done. What she actually did was to call the president of the homeowners association.

It's a good thing we don't live on the frontier.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So Much to Say

Luckily, I have all the time in the world. As do you, apparently.

Sunday was a day of controversy. I would like to say, for the record, that in all controversial matter, I was right and The Mrs. was being unreasonable. However, I am sure she would disagree with that. See, this weekend was something we lovingly refer to as "PMS Weekend," and it involves a lot of accusations of transgressions leveled squarely at me. Most of these transgressions are imagined.

But, heavens, I am not allowed to mention that during PMS Weekend, or it is simply proof that I am a jerk.

Which I am. Though not for the reasons specified during PMS Weekend.

(Oh, The Mrs. corrects me - I am a lousy bastard. PMS Weekend often extends well into the week. Luckily I have a fully stocked bar, which is the only effective treatment for this condition. And by "this condition" I refer equally to PMS Weekend and being a lousy bastard, though the degree of improvement due to this treatment depends largely upon to whom the treatment is applied. I suggest a scattershot approach, where all involved parties are dosed heavily. The Mrs. suggests I go to hell.)

Anyways, to make a long story short, The Mrs. decided to make leftover spaghetti for breakfast on Sunday morning. We had spaghetti for dinner Saturday night, and there was enough for three out of the four of us to eat, though if I really really wanted spaghetti, I suppose The Mrs. could servitutde me and boil up some more noodles, though what a lousy bastard I'd be for even asking.

Needless to say, I opted to let The Mrs. and The Childrens eat the spaghetti, and I would fend for myself. I quietly opened up a cookbook, feigning that I was looking something up, which I really was not. This drove The Mrs. into a frenzy, as I wouldn't tell her what I was looking up, which was a sign of me being a lousy bastard, so I put that cookbook back and got out another.

I had long before decided that I was going to make myself some kind of breakfast hash made of whatever the heck I could find in the refrigerator. Here is what I found:

4 small potatoes, diced
6 pork breakfast sausages, maple flavor, cut into discs
4 strips of center-cut bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 slices of salami, thinly sliced and chopped into small pieces
a bunch of sliced, pickled Jalapenos
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
3 eggs
crushed garlic
crushed red pepper flakes
a little Mrs. Dash
shredded Mexican cheese

Fry it all up in about a 1/4 stick of butter.

Here's the basic dish before adding the eggs or cheese, which need to come after the other stuff is cooked.


Add the cheese:


Add the eggs:


Serve up a wonderfully fulfilling breakfast, complemented with a Diet Dr. Pepper, which I am told taste more like regular Dr. Pepper.


Damn, that was tasty.

Monday was a better day, as I got to be at work much of the day and thus did not have to interface with any hormones. At night, I managed to try out this recipe, and it was even more luscious than it sounds. I ran out of lime juice, though.

This morning, I learned that it also has an aggressive, though perhaps predictable, ability to inflict suffering the next morning. My head still hurts just thinking about it. I'll not be drinking any more of that any time soon.

Unless The Mrs. managed to score me some more lime juice when she went grocery shopping today. I know I put it on the list.

A funny thing happened today at work. I was sitting there after lunch, and the cellphone rang. It was The Mrs.

That, in itself, is not particularly funny, as The Mrs. accounts for roughly 98% of the cellphone calls I receive, and she accounts for an even higher percentage of the calls I receive while I'm at work. It's interesting how instant messaging technology has managed to almost completely supplant the telephone at The Company.

So, The Mrs. calls to report to me that the garage door does not work. She hit the emergency release to open it and get the minivan out, but she for some reason could not figure out how to close it again afterwards (which involves, like, pulling the door down instead of pushing it up). After trying to talk her down off the ledge, I said I'd come home and close the door, and she should just leave the door open and go where ever it was that she was going with The Childrens seeing as I had already probably paid top dollar for some kind of private lesson or something.

Well, that seemed to work. I finished up what I was working on, which involved instant-messaging a dude back in Santa Clara that I used to work with who was complaining about some unexpected yield loss on the last part I worked on, and the guy who took over my area after I left wasn't responding, and for some reason I still cared and was trying to help. Anyways, as I was finishing up, the cellphone rang again, and, rather predictably, it was The Mrs. again.

I figured she was calling to tell me that she got the door closed, and I didn't have to come home. But noooooo. She's calling to see if I've left yet, as HannahC is concerned about leaving her bike in the garage with the door open for 10 minutes.

This was wrong on so many levels. Let's see:
  1. You could put the bike in the minivan, as it spends roughly 80% of the year there anyways and the only reason it is not there right now is that it has a flat tire.
  2. You could put the bike in the house.
  3. The bike cost $49.99 at Target when it was brand new, and HannahC has pretty much outgrown it already such that the plan is to buy her a brand new bike first thing in the spring.
  4. My bike, also in the garage, cost $1000. I have a couple thousand dollars of tools in the garage. I have my precious lawn tractor in the garage. I have a refrigerator filled with beer in the garage. All these tings are more valuable to a thief than HannahC's bicycle, and in the ten minutes it takes me to get there, thieves won't have had time to steal all that and then have been forced to turn to the little 16" bicycle.
  5. My god, woman, I am at work. Is there no filter on the inanities that trigger you to call me when I'm at work? I talked to you not five minutes ago, and nothing has changed since then. Do you think I decided not to come home to close the door during those five minutes? Do you think that HannahC's concern about her bike is going to make me come home faster? Do you think maybe, just maybe, when I'm at work I have to actually do work sometimes so that they continue to pay me so that you can continue to buy silly things like $3500 elliptical trainers, private swimming lessons for a 2-year-old, and fifteen (15!) different lotion/oil/goop substances to keep on the counter around your sink, plus two more in the shower, every one of which is a miracle (miracle!) substance until it is half-gone, and then immediately requires replacement with an altogether brand-new and untried miracle substance? While I'm at work, I don't need to hear that HannahC thinks I'm not dropping everything I'm doing to rush home fast enough. While I'm at work, I don't need to hear that you are planning to go to the park tomorrow. While I am at work, I don't need to hear that you are planning to go to the grocery store while the kids are at gymnastics class. This is a small set of examples of the things that do not require a call to me on my cellphone while I am at work. I'm hoping maybe a trend can be extrapolated.
But, anyways, if there is one thing that I have learned during the precisely 21 years and five days of my relationship with The Mrs. it's that there's no point in trying to talk sense to a woman. So I gave the only civil response I could muster.
"Oh, would you just go!"
Then I wrapped up what I was doing and went home. You know what was wrong with the garage door? Nothing. I popped the emergency release, and it went up and down manually. I hooked it back into the carriage and pushed the button. It went up. I pushed the button. It went down. Button again. Again with the up. Button again. Again with the down. There was not one single solitary thing wrong with the garage door that I could discern. So I called The Mrs.

She was too busy to talk to me, and told me this could wait until she got home. Duh.

There's also no use in pointing out double standards to a woman.

No duh.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's going to snow

That's why it's so great that my Canadian snowblower hasn't arrived yet.

My Yukon Jack has, however. So it will have to suffice as a testament to Canadian engineering prowess for a while. I am enjoying a snakebite right now, though truth be told, I'm a little intrigued by this recipe, which sounds really tasty despite it's rather odd name.

Those wacky Canadians.

I'm kinda hungry right now, but I am resisting the urge to stuff myself full of Lays potato chips. Because of The Childrens being downstairs all the time, we have taken to storing junk food in the bar. Used to be I'd have to either haul my butt upstairs to get junk food or pop a bowl of popcorn in the air popper, both of which require a level of commitment to task that I can rarely muster when I'm sitting on my hindquarters on one of my fancy bar stools blogging about nothing.

But now it is so easy. I need to develop willpower. Or, rather, re-activate my long-dormant willpower.

Meanwhile, Carl sits there to my right. Mocking me.

As I mentioned yesterday, my parents are coming to town for a couple weeks, and I have the bar all stocked up. The irony here is that my mother drinks not a whit, and my father very little. And what he does drink tends not to be the top shelf stuff I buy. So, oddly, I just sat back a moment ago and said to myself, "Self, I wonder if you have anything that Pops will drink."

Maybe I can get him to drink the cognac. I don't like cognac, as it turns out. This despite having bought a positively darling bottle of Courvoisier VSOP. I love brandy, and Cognac is the godfather of brandies, so I am still surprised that I find it positively awful. I keep trying it every few days to see if maybe it will grow on me. It sits next to the scotch, its stablemate in unexpected dislike. I have, after all, five other kinds of whiskey, each of which I dearly enjoy in its own way on rather regular occasion. Yet no taste for scotch have I been able to develop in many years of trying despite trying every major brand.

I think, deep down inside, I am simply not pretentious enough for either scotch or cognac.

At least, that's what I like to tell myself.

We're supposed to be...

...going to the Denver Museum of Natural History this morning.

But for some reason, it has been decreed that we cannot go until The Mrs. cleans out and organizes her wallet and backpack.

We have been waiting 20 minutes for this task to complete so far. No end in sight.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Today, I was Angry

It was a welcome change, giving that I have felt nothing for days.

"Why was CherkyB angry?" you may ask, "You know, aside from the obvious." Well, it's hard to exactly put your finger on. It's an odd combination of things, but I think mostly I've started to care again. Life is so much easier when you don't care.

Hey, here's a picture of Carl. Note how he is obscuring the view of my precious air hockey table. That makes me angry.


I think I started to get sick today. At about 11am, I started to get all shivery. Many of my co-workers have been out sick during part of this week (Cavitation and The Hamburgler being the two familiar to regular readers of this blog), so I had been expecting to get sick for the weekend. Though, I might add, I am not expecting to sit around all weekend whining for my wife to make me tea.

I seem to have mostly recovered after lunch, which I ate with my loving fambly at Sonic. But by about 4:15, I had had it, and I went home. Just as I pulled into the driveway, The Mrs. called me. She was at office Max and wanted to know if I wanted her to buy TurboTax. I generally use TaxCut, not TurboTax because of that one year they put the nasty copy protection thing in TurboTax that made your compooter never work again, but I didn't know which model I needed, so The Mrs. didn't buy me anything.

Well, then there I was, sitting in my truck in the driveway at about 4:30 with no one else home. What was I to do? I knew that if I went inside and took a nap, there would be hell to pay later. Likewise if I went inside and watched TV. The only viable non-hell-paying option was to leave and hope to not get home before The Mrs. So I did what any normal, red-blooded American man would do when faced with such a situation.

Don't worry. I tell you what it is. I know I don't have any normal, red-blooded American men in my readership.

I went to the liquor store.

I had made a shopping list a couple days ago. See, my parents are coming to visit soon, which means I need a very well-stocked bar. Not because anyone is going to need to drink a whole lot, but just for appearances sake. Well-stocked bars run in the family.

I filled up a shopping cart (mainly because you get a 20% discount on wine if you buy 12 bottles), and as per usual, the clerk asked me, "Are you having a party? And can I come?"

So I lied, "No. I had a party, and they drank me out of my stock. You know, the end of the Christmas season means you need to restock."


Then I went home, and as I was unloading, the fambly got home. Almost perfect timing.

The bar was a disaster, as when I am at work, the fambly uses it as a craft room, despite having at least two other craft room already allocated. I had nowhere to even set down the bottles on the counter. So I grumped about that for a while. Eventually, I got everything put away, and then I cracked open my brand new bottle of Yukon Jack and a bottle of Black Butte Porter (which you can see in the mirror), and I settled in.

Everything went swimmingly thereafter.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bizarre

Yesterday, I was reading Cavitation's complaining about how emasculating his mother-in-law was to him, and it got me to thinking.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Something not to Do™ 7

Say you've come home from a hard day at work, one at which you did not fritter away any time whatsoever going to the cafeteria Starbucks with Cavitation and MoustachioP and listening to them complain about darn near everything in the world, but most especially their wives, the whole time thinking to yourself, "Self, I feel left out of this conversation, not having anything to complain about, most especially not about my wife. But, hey, at least I'm having a latte."

Then you see the wonderful dinner that your loving wife has somehow managed to prepare for you in between chasing around and homeschooling your beautiful childrens, cleaning the house, washing the dishes, and doing the laundry, and all is well. You sup divinely.

After, your loving wife turns to you, pats her belly, and says, "I feel like I've eaten a lot today."

Now this next part is going to be very hard, as many men (well, at least me, and no one else I know based on the blogs they "journal") have been genetically programmed to know the perfect response without even having to think about it. That's right, I have the innate ability to hear and respond without even having to engage my brain to parse the original utterance to which I am responding. Do you know anyone else like this? Here's a little test. Tomorrow at work (for those of you who actually work. The shiftless layabouts will have to try this at church or something.), casually turn to the dude next to you in the middle of a meeting and say in a nonchalant fashion, "Another beer?"

If he says, "Yup," and then sits up and blinks a couple times, then turns to you looking puzzled and says, "Huh?" you will know he also has the gift of responding without having to listen.

This skill grows more acute with marriage, as it turns out.

Anyways, after your lovely wife pats her belly and says, "I feel like I've eaten a lot today," you're going to need to put on the brakes before responding with, "Yeah. You look like you've eaten a lot today."

That would be Something not to Do.™

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Monday, January 15, 2007

The Day of the Snowblower

Sort of.

My good buddy, John, from the lawn equipment store, and I had many a phone conversation today as we tried to spec out exactly what it is I wanted from a snowblower attachment for the tractor. In the end, we seem to have gotten all the info back and forth that needed to be passed, and I placed the order.

Couple interesting things I learned. First, this is most decidedly not going to be cheaper than buying a standalone snowblower. This is because they nickel-and-dime the living hell out of you for the accessories. Like it's over $200 for the counterweights you need to keep the back wheels on the ground when you hang 300 lbs off the front of the tractor. And it's $90 for tire chains. And $60 for drift cutters. And $70 to be able to set the chute deflection angle from your seat. And close to $300 in freight charges.

Not a good deal at all. But still badass.

He said it'd be "about 5 days" for it to come in. I asked from where it was being shipped, and he told me [gasp], "Canada."

I should have figured that, given the optional French that came up on the main web page. But, hey, if there's one thing those contemptible Canadians know, it's snow. Snow and lumberjacking.

So I'll probably be getting this just in time for our warming spell when it gets back up into the high 40's and never snows again this season.

Bastards.

Something Not to Do ™ 6

Was off reading former Blog of the Week winner Rhonda's Blog's latest post where she notes that she has once again been "tagged" by one of those chain-letter kind of blog posts. I immediately scrolled to the end in terror to see if I had been tagged by Rhonda. Luckily, I escaped that.

However, it doesn't mean I won't make hay out of the chain letter anyways. This one is all touchy-feely questions, and whenever I see a list of these kinds of questions, I feel compelled to make up snarky responses to them.

I'm kind of a wise-ass at heart, as it turns out. I know that may come as a surprise to many of you. What with you all being kinda slow and poor judges of character, and all that.

Then, well I had Cavitation on the IM talking about important work-related things, in particular like how long it was going to take CJ to get to Starbucks and back given that we work in a rented building on an HP campus, and HP had the day off for MLK Day, but my The Company did not, so we were all here without the cafeteria Starbucks being open, so we had to send CJ out to get coffee, which I feel kinda bad about, but not bad enough to not have sent him.

That's a pretty long sentence. I'm going to pause here so that the less-adept of my readers can go back and read it again and try to make sense of it. You know who you are.

I was particularly moved by question 2B:
"Name one thing you've always wanted to do but keep putting off?"
The perfect answer: Divorce.

Of course, posting that would be Something Not to Do.™

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Today was Not the Big Day

Alas, it was not to be. I gave it a shot. I drove down to Loverlyland to go to the yard equipment store, the local dealer for Bercomac. I talked to the dood. He axed me a bunches of questions that demonstrated he didn't know anything about this product, and then he said, "I'm just getting to know these. We've only sold a couple before." But he wrote down everything I told him to write down, and he's going to call the company on Monday to figure exactly what the model numbers are and everything for the mounting kit for my tractor. Soon, I will be as happy as this guy.

I didn't write down the model numbers from the web page. Silly me. I expected that a dealer could figure that out. In fact, I believe we did actually figure it out from the catalog, but he was unconvinced.

The real key here is that this is a special-order thing, so there was no real point in me driving all the way to Loverlyland. I figured that would probably be the case, but I really don't like to do bidness over the phone. I prefer either in person or via internet. Somewhere where I can visually verify that stuff is written down correctly.

I took the whole fambly along for the ride. Then we went to King Stoopers to get some groceries in order to make nachos for lunch. I think I did all the actual cooking today. Made sausages, hash browns, and poached eggs for breakfast, then nachos for lunch. For dinner, the childrens had microwave taquitos that The Mrs. warmed up, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count as "cooking." I haven't had dinner yet. I don't think The Mrs. has, either.

Spent much of the day snoozing on the couch while sitting with MaxieC, who spent much of the day watching cartoons. It was a complete waste of a day.

And I loved it.

Is today the Big Day?

Maybe.

I'm hoping to get down to Loverlyland today to talk to the fellows at the yard equipment store to see if they can secure me a snoblower attachment for my yard tractor. I recently discovered that the store is also a dealer for my brand of tractor, so I'm hoping they know what the right combination of equipment is. The only thing is that I dunno yet if they are open on Saturdays. Most places are, so I've been assuming they will be, but you never know.

The Mrs. however, may not want me to go out. It's only 1 degree out, and she is fearful of the cold.

We shall see.

Friday, January 12, 2007

What has happened to this country?

I know the feminists took over the classrooms a while back in an attempt to de-masculinize boys to be more docile and thus more easily manipulated by womens without them having to resort to their god-given ability to control men through what one might call "feminine wiles". But good lord. I don't want to hear about your feelings. I don't want to hear about your delicate sensibilities. And I don't, especially, want to hear about how it's OK for a man to order beer with fruit in it.

Really.

I don't.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Grand Collection

of crap.

HannahC, MaxieC, and The Mrs. all got flu shots today. HannieC then barfed and spent the rest of the day whining about her arm hurting until she finally dropped off to sleep around 7pm, which is a good 3-4 hours earlier than usual. She had also gotten up a couple hours early today, so maybe that wasn't all the flu shot.

The Mrs. went to bed quite early as well, as she has "had a touch of something" for a couple days now. I, being the hardy worker that I am, will likely come down with whatever it is just in time to be sick during the weekend.

Check this out (click the picture to make it bigger if you can't read it):


That's a snippet of the output from Google Analytics that tells me from where people are getting to my blog. My number one referrer is the private fambly website. Statcounter tells me it's mostly referrals from the fambly site of The Mrs. and not from my fambly. The, we get "direct," which mean someone has it bookmarked or typed the url in by hand. #3 and #4 are surprising. I get a lot of people searching for my blog. I dunno why. I'm guessing these are people at work who heard through the grapevine that I had a blog, and then went and searched me. But to have over 200 hits due to people searching for me in a 4wk period is odd.

#5 and #10 are people hitting the "next blog" button, with #5 being people who hit the button on an "old blogger" page and #10 being people who hit the button on a "new, formerly beta, blogger" page. [Update: I've also learned that these hits can also be referrals from my profile page.] [Update#2: Actually, as it turns out, these are not at all hits from "next blog", but are all hits from my profile. I switched from old to new near December, so my profile hits switched from old to new then, too.]

#6 - #9 are referrals from the links placed on the blogs of my blogroll associates. I looked at this and said to myself, "Self, that's strange. No hits from your blog-of-the-week Cavagnaro Blogger." So I investigated. That little bastard never linked back to me. I hereby revoke the title of blog-of-the-week from CB, as Cavitation is a completely graceless and ungrateful freeloader.

The "$/Visits" column is bogus. That's only useful if clicking certain things on your website earns you specific dollars. I don't have anything like that. My advertising earnings are calculated through some bizarre secret formula that makes every click worth a different amount, if it's worth anything at all. Like, if someone clicks on an ad more than once, the second click is usually worthless. The "G1/Visit" column tries to report how many ad clicks I got from each referring site, but it doesn't really work all that well. You can see, though, how The JohnnyB and CJ's Blah are neck and neck with number of referrals, but CJ's readers are generating no revenue whereas JohnnyB's are.

This is why I have scaled back my self-promotions on CJ's Blah and have focused more on other sites. This really tells me exactly whose sites I should comment-blog on with self-interested links back to my own posts, and whose sites I can just leave regular snark on.

Maybe I'll go comment-bomb Cavitation's blog and see if I can generate some referrals.

Breaking News

We have just received a wireless communication from headquarters that reported HannahC barfed today.

Details at 11.

The Mrs. adds her two cents

One of the great things about being a gifted columnist and being married is that you have an in-house critic. You don't have to wait for the reviews to come in. The moment you set foot downstairs after your shower in the morning, the first review is waiting for you.

This morning, The Mrs. was commenting on yesterday's post. You should read that first if you want this to make any sense.

The Mrs. said to me this:
"You forgot to mention about how on your first trip to Connecticut, you came home with a bad case of walking pneumonia from that 'cozy New England weather'."
One of the great things about being a gifted columnist is that you get to nit-pick your critics in order to make yourself seem smarter and then hide behind your Certification of Truthfulness as an excuse. So, in order to be completely true, "walking pneumonia" is caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. What I had was a regular old viral pneumonia.

Interestingly, The Mrs. let the Satan comment slide.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A time to laugh

A time to cry.

Our exciting and new Nautilus elliptical trainer got delivered and setup on Thursday. I haven't taken a picture of it yet. MaxieC named it "Carl," after the fat kid in Jimmy Neutron. Well, today it claimed its first victim. Poor MaxieC was playing on it when he tumbled forward. I was standing right there and caught him by the arm, but somehow his hand hit something sharp and cut the tip of his finger.

Now, as you all know, the tips of fingers are famous for two things. First, being extremely sensitive. Second, bleeding a lot. So we got treated to about an hour of hollering before we were even allowed to put a band-aid on it. I think he's going to be fine. It doesn't look too bad to me. The Mrs. is pretty sure he's going to lose his finger, maybe his whole arm. She made this determination after recovering from almost passing out when she saw his little bleeding fingertip. Apparently, that runs in her fambily.

I learned today that mail-ordering liquor from outside Colorado and having it shipped here is illegal in this state. What kind of crock is that? Bevmo.com has prices at least 1/3 less than anything around here. Damned protectionists.

I took a trip up to Hillsboro, OR (just west of Portland) on Thursday for bidness. It was supposed to be a 1-day kind of deal, but when I got back to the airport to come home, my flight had been canceled for "weather," presumably in Denver. I think they really canceled it because it was mostly empty, and they had another mostly empty flight the next morning at 6:20am, as no one else canceled anything to Denver that night.

Here's a funny story: I'm on the plane flying to Portland, and it's like 6pm. I'm looking through the drink menu, as it's Alaska Airlines, and I hardly ever fly Alaska anywhere and I'm trying to see what beers they have. I've learned that plane travel is a lot more enjoyable if you pop the 5 bucks for a drink and never look back. They've got a crap beer selection, so I look at the liquor trying to decide between a bloody mary and Jack and Coke. They have Finlandia vodka.

What is up with airlines and Finlandia? Does anyone actually drink Finlandia in real life? I mean, besides crazed Bulgarians who refuse to drink anything vaguely Russian because of the years of oppression.

So that pushes me to the Jack and Coke. The Jack is denoted as "Jack Daniels Black Label." Now, I had recently received the latest edition of Modern Drunkard Magazine, and it had an article on Joe Namath and how he like Johnny Walker, so I'm thinking about Johnny Walker a bit, and I say to myself, "Self, I wonder what Jack Daniels Black Label is. I wonder if it's some longer-aged version of Jack." So I order that.

She hands me a coke and a little tiny bottle of regular old Jack Daniels. Which has a black label. Then I say to myself, "What the fuck? When did they starting fucking calling Jack Daniels 'Jacking Daniels fucking Black Label'? Those pretentious fucks."

I kind of have a potty mouth in my head sometimes. Sometimes, it escapes my head.

I experienced something remarkably strange when I was in Portland. On Friday morning, as I was leaving my hotel to go to the plant, it was of course raining. I looked at the rain and thought to myself, "Self, this is kind of like that cozy New England weather. " Then I realized how much I totally hate New England weather. Cold and drizzly all the time. Yuck. Somehow, I was oddly nostalgic for The Mrs's brother's wedding in CT, despite the fact that it poured like crazy and I had to spend most of the reception in the minivan with a screaming MaxieC watching Barney videos on the DVD player.

I still to this day do not know what was up with that. I think the hotel parking lot looked a lot like the parking lot at the hotel in CT.

After being stranded in Portland at the airport, I first kicked myself for not checking on the web the status of my flight before rushing back to the airport. The last thing a guy at the plant said to me before I left was, "It's too bad you have to leave tonight. It's Friday night, and we could go hit a brew pub." Then I found myself a nearby hotel with a free shuttle and checked in.

Then I called my bro, who as it turns out lives just a couple miles from the airport, which I did not know as I had never driven from the airport to his house, but had always driven from the airport to a hotel then to his house. He wasn't home. So I hit the hotel restaurant/bar for some dinner and solace. Then The Mrs. called me back and said it was my bro's wife's birthday, so I figured I was on my own.

I a few beers at the bar there over dinner. The dinner wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good. I got to see the bartender whip up drinks to go, which was an odd concept to me. I had never seen a bar make big drinks in plastic cups with lids before. But there it was. A couple in, I'd guess, their mid 50's had ordered food and drinks to go. The lady got a double rum and Diet Coke, and the dude got a double gin and tonic, and bartender poured what I would estimate to be quadruples. I looked at them, and they just looked so happy (those happen to be two of my favorite drinks). The couple looked happy, too.

I was nostalgic for way-back-when on my honeymoon when we stayed at the Islander on the Beach and they had a portable bar that got set up each evening by the pool, and they made drinks in plastic cups that you charged to your room. That was back well before we had childrens. Back when we were happy.

Ostensibly.

But then, just as I am downing my third Mirror Pond Pale Ale, which you can get on tap up there, my phone rings. It's the bro calling me back. He's coming to get me. I have a decision to make. Do I go pee before he arrives, or do I get number four and hope I can hold it until I get to his house?

I chose the former. Plus, I needed to get my jacket from my room anyways cuz it was cold and windy and raining, just like New England. It was a good choice. I don't think I could have held it, especially given the jiggly suspension in the Little Red Tercel.

Had a good visit with The Bro and his wife, plus a couple of friends of theirs. Don't know actually who they were. A guy named "Some dude" and a lady named "the dude's wife". I got back to the hotel in time to catch 4.5 hours of sleep before heading to the airport. Ugh. Saturday was painful. Luckily, The Mrs. let me take a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.

She's an angel.

Of course, so is Satan.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Substance

It calls to me.

We were out at MickeyD's for lunch today, as that's mainly how we bribe The Childrens to let us go grocery shopping. I took a big swig of my Diet Coke, and I let out a little contented sigh. The Mrs., naturally, commented on that. After some chit-chat, I noted, "The first Diet Coke of the day is a lot more pleasurable than the first beer. I wonder when that happened."

Today, I bought another of those thing that all my coworkers assured me I didn't need - an ice scraper. I spent much of the afternoon chipping ice off my driveway, as it had snowed on Friday and no one had shoveled yet, and we had driven back and forth over the snow enough to turn it to ice. The whole time I was chipping, I kept thinking of the National Geographic special on Neanderthal Man that HannieC was watching a couple days ago. I learned that Neanderthal Man had one arm much more developed than the other. This is because, apparently, Neanderthal Man hunted by thrusting a spear into the game, and always used the same grip on the spear which required different strength in each arm. Neanderthal Man never developed the ability to throw a spear, and this contributed to the demise of the Neanderthal.

I tried tossing my ice scraper a couple times just to check. Yup. I can chuck it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nope.

I still seem to be rather content. Not so much happy as I was a couple days ago, but decidedly content. It's very strange. I'm sure something tragic will happen soon that will throw me back into a cranky mood. Today, the garage roof started leaking due to the ice damn that formed at the edge, but even that didn't make me cranky. Oh, plus the hot water heater is still leaking despite $500 in fixes to it last week. And still, nothing.

It's all very very wrong.

I blame MaxieC. He's been sleeping in later most days now. By later, I mean at least 7am, sometimes even 7:30, compared to his old 6-6:30 wake-up call. It seems to make a big difference.

My parents will be visiting in about three weeks. Last time we had a visitor, it was quite something. Maybe that will provide motivation.

I've been talking it over with various folks at work, including The JohnnyB via IM, and I've decided to go with the snow blower attachment for the front of the tractor. This has many advantages. First and foremost, it is way more badass than some stupid walk-behind snow blower. And we all know how when married men with children start to get up around 40, they begin to worry about how badass their lawn accessories are. Plus, it's around $500 cheaper, even after considering that you need to get some wheel weights and chains. Which is really advantage #3 - you get to accessorize the tractor. A blower, wheel weights, chains, and maybe in a couple years one of those snow cabs. I can add that to my collection of 1 accessory - the broadcast spreader. Advantage #4 is that you don't have to try to keep a second little engine running so that you can use it twice a year. I have to keep the tractor running most of the year anyways, so this is very little overhead.

Oh, and did I mention how badass it was to have a 42" snow blower mounted to the front of the lawn tractor? The lawn tractor that I love more than life itself. Not some pansy little snow. A 42" blower.

Oh yeah.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I've lost it

I wonder if I'll ever find it again.

All great artists go through this from time to time, I imagine. I have lost my muse. You folks probably noticed it before I did. Even AdSense has noticed it. But I just realized that my blog sucks. It didn't always suck. I think Thanksgiving, for instance, was a work of art. But not much since then is any good. I'm trying to figure out why this is. I believe I have the answer:

I'm not angry. I'm not depressed. I'm not even tired. I'm actually happy. It's bizarre. I'm not sure it has ever happened to me before in the dead of winter, but there it is. I am content. I have nothing to complain about. Nothing to worry about. I don't know what to make of it.

I think the thin air must be getting to my brain, and I'm starting to lose my mind.

Maybe someone will barf soon.