Wednesday, December 27, 2006

No place like home for the Holidays

First off some general comments of mine, this was the first Christmas since moving to Michigan over five years ago that we did not have a White Christmas. I really missed that. In fact, yesterday was the first day in two and a half weeks that the temperature was not above 40 here! This is not common at all!

I also noticed this year there were many less houses decorated for the holidays. Christmas since the divorce has always been very difficult for me, so, external decorating of my house was just not going to happen though I did do some indoors for the kids, particularly Danielle. Compared to previous years I spent little on the X and just got her a funny card. No need to bother her or myself with one professing love, etc. She gets nothing out of that and it only makes me melancholy (though I must admit I did pick up such a card but common sense prevailed, so it sits now unused in an envelope with some other Christmas cards that I may use next year. Anyway, I will admit that I was not as down by Christmas this year as I was the last two. ANYWAY on to the Holiday weekend recap - Working until 6PM Saturday night, headed home to cheerful collapse on couch for some holiday shows; I was so beat I had a festive dinner of Ice Tea and Bar-be-que potato chips since I did not feel like going to the store!

Christmas Eve Day was fun...I got up a bit before 7 so I could go do the shopping for Christmas dinner tomorrow. My idea of being there right when Forest Hills foods opened was a good one, as there were not many people in the store. I was in and out in under and hour with everything on my list except fresh basil for the sauce.

I did some work from home, wrapped gifts for X and extra gifts for kids. Headed over to X's at 5PM with 3 out of 4 gifts. Mom and Dad arrived shortly thereafter and we headed off to Minados for Chinese buffet. We arrived back at Deb's and kids opened Christmas eve gifts. Then Mom, Dad, X, Danielle and I watched March of the Penguins off of DVD which was the Christmas eve gift the X had chosen. Headed home after that and checked out some additional holiday fare off of the many items I had recorded on the PVR over the past couple of weeks.

Christmas Day - I had to be at X's for the 9AM opening of the Christmas gifts (She has a nice big living room and a nice big tree, unlike the pathetic small fiber optic I tree I bought for my house simply to make Danielle happy). This was the first year we did 9AM, it used to be 7:30. Anyway I overslept and rushed like mad to get the pot of pasta sauce on the stove so I could make my 1PM target for dinner. I rushed out of my house at 9AM and as I was turning into the X's street two minutes later my cell phone went off as kids were wondering where I was. I took the usual movies of kids opening their presents and headed home swinging by McDonald's as Christopher really wanted MCD's for breakfast even though we were sure it was closed, I thought I would check. EVERYTHING was closed as I expected.

I got home and cleaned up the house and began making the coating for my Chicken Parmesan, a secret mixture of breadcrumbs and spices. I then zoomed back to the X's house as I had forgotten her heavy frying pan as I only have one, and then arrived back home. I mixed some garlic butter for the garlic bread I was making and left that to steep in its flavors, and then two frying pans full of hot olive oil later I began coating and frying the chicken and putting it in glass Pyrex dishes. When three were filled I put them int he over to bake and began cleaning the incredible mess in the kitchen. The chicken done baking I removed it, added sauce, covered with foil and put it back into bake. I then spilt two loaves of bread and spread one with the garlic butter which was threatening to escape from its tub, and the other with spread seasoned with a bit of extra virgin (how can a virgin be 'extra' virgin....can someone explain that to me?) olive oil as Mom can't eat garlic. about 10 minutes to 1PM I was ready to put in pasta but there was no sign of anyone. Called X who made excuse about being delayed by kids. Mom and Dad arrived about 1:10PM and I added pasta to water, breads to over, and removed chicken. X and kids arrived and X topped chicken with mozzarella cheese after I sprinkled them with Romano. She then zoomed out for 7-11 as Mom and Dad will not drink diet soda and that's all I had in the house plus some diet ice tea. X returned, we all sat down to an excellent dinner. This and the cleanup (which Mom and the X took care of most of) behind us we opened the last of the Christmas gifts. Deb's brother Tim called form Florida and we all took a turn talking to him, then we watched a Christmas episode of Becker off the PVR.

Around 6PM everyone left. I invited Mom and Dad back for left overs tonight, we shall see if they can make it and because the X could not I made her a plate. Chicken Parmesan is her favorite, in fact that is why I made it for dinner. From that point the rest of Christmas day was a real nose dive with the kids gone. The empty house can be bad enough most days but on Christmas it shines.... I called my brother and Dad's houses and left holiday messages. I did hear back from my brother and his wife later. Here it is Wednesday and my Dad still had not called back. He must be at his girlfriends for the holidays. Did not even get a Christmas card from him yet (it's Wednesday today). Watched some TV until bed time and that was it; time for bed.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays to all!

No matter what your religion is I just want to wish everyone and their families and friends the best during this Holiday Season! A little peace and love could do a lot to cure much if not all that is wrong on the earth! How can you have war with someone you love? How can you let people go hungry? How can you hurt someone???

SO..........HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!! Now, for those that DO celebrate Christmas and are into computers as I am, below is a link to an excellent free 3D Santa game. I ended up playing until after midnight last night!

Santa Ride 2 Game

For those who like screensavers, here are some that I have created over the years that are free

Happy Holidays 2000

Happy Holidays 2001

Happy Holidays 2003

Happy Holidays 2005

Take care everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Smack that Penguin!!

From what I have seen on-line the high score for this Smack the Penguin game is 328. As shown below in my lunch time game, I hit 320. See if you can beat that score! It's fun!

A Gourmet Taste Treat!

I have posted about food in the past and some excellent meals I have prepared. This brief post is to communicate a sandwich Gourmet Taste Treat!

Take your favorite sandwich on some really good bread (preferably with assorted meats and cheeses of your choice, NO veggies), and layer on the bottom and the top, along with mayonnaise, your favorite brand of bar-be-que potato chips. Press it tightly together and enjoy! It is awesome! Fantastic! Food for the gods! They should be showing this on the Food Network. I have been doing that for years so I thought I would share that. I will have to do that for lunch today!

And so on, and so forth

It's been weeks since the last post; been busy at work, things of interest (to me anyway!) are listed below:

The X was out of town from the day after thanksgiving until late on December 9th. Since the divorce that is the longest I have had the kids. Of course her trip, work related doing some jobs down in Florida to bring in extra bucks, had to come at the time when we are busiest at work. It was great though having the kids for such a long period! I still so hate being alone in my house when they are not there. Since the bus comes to my house for school 15 minutes earlier than their mom's house I drove them to school every morning. She will be leaving again on the 29th of this month, and a final trip in January.

Scott had his holiday concert and he sand a solo. That as great and we were in the third row so I recorded the whole song and got a good shot of him at the microphone.

I put up my meager Christmas decorations and went over to the x's house with the kids and we got her tree down from the rafters and setup so it could be decorated when she returned.

Since my last post on 12/3 there has been NO more snow, there have days approaching 60, with average temps in the 40 range during the day and above. A very strange December but one that will be easy on the pocketbook for heating costs! Right now it is still doubtful that we will have a white Christmas, something I thought here in Michigan we could always count on. Scott was mentioning that the other night that he wished there would be snow for Christmas.

The X's brother, who had come out to Michigan over a year ago left for Florida when he is moving with a friend he met in Chicago. At last check the were still jobless and looking for an apartment.

I was sick for over the week with flu-like symptoms. Scott and Chris missed 4 and three days of school with assorted ills and Danielle and Scott missed a day last week with sore throats.

Did 99% of my Christmas shopping on line....that was fun, and no crowds to contend with! I really find myself missing my family back home in New Jersey all the more around this time of year.

In any event, everyone have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The weekend so far.

Well, we did get snow, enough to make things icy and a real pain in the rear on Friday. After getting home from work I used the snow blower. Saturday was better; no snow and sunny for parts of the day; after we picked Scott up in town from his Art class we headed to Meijer's and got Danielle and new bedspread as she had mentioned she was too cool at night. We had lunch at MCD's returned home, and after a bit headed over to the X's house where Chris has to snow blow and Scott had to change the Guinea pigs cage. Well, we got there and realized we did not bring the litter from my house were it was for speedy, Danielle's dwarf she and I snagged that and then headed back there. I was amused to see my 18 year old snow blowing with the discharge cute pointing.....directly in front of the snow blower. I got out and mentioned this and he explained he could not figure out how to turn it to the left or right, and he had tried. This is my son whose math knowledge drawfs mostly everyone...even some teachers. I turned the crank the did this and refrained from any additional comments. Danielle and I headed back here and Chris and Scott soon arrived.

I played with Windows Vista (still can't use it 100% as my primary desktop) and the kids played video games and such. Chris had two friends over and they did not leave until 7PM when of course the three kids cornered me that they were hungry. I ordered pizza and since delivery time was up to 90 minutes Chris and I headed over (after mapping the route as I had never been there) and picked it up. We ran into Mom and Dad (the X's folks) awaiting a table as they were staying to eat. We snagged the pizza, came home, ate, watched TV, played games, etc.

Sunday morning brings more snow...looks like this evening I'll be snow blowing again....the whole week is supposed to be cold and snow on and off. Joy! Hard to believe last Wednesday and a few days before it was in the 60's.

Friday, December 01, 2006

SO, what's happening these days?

What has happened since the last blog post.....well.....of noteworthiness are the following (and some pictures may be posted for some of these events)

Boys got their Wii system
X headed to Florida for 15 days
Chris' 18th Birthday
Scott's 15th Birthday

Chris spent 15 hours inside the Miejer's here in town to acquire a Wii gaming system. Scott spent some of the time with him though he was excused for 3 hour dinner and TV break at my house with the X and her brother. We had chinese food and then watched the two hour first episode of Dead Like Me. We had been watching the replay of this on series on the sci-fi channel but had missed the two hour start). According to the X they did not get back home until 1:30AM with their purchase. I was most impressed with the way the boys stuck with it; Chris had a wrist band and could roam freely in the store but could not leave. So, that is certainly better than waiting outside the store all night to get in! Miejer's is open 24 hours and has food, drinks, BATHROOM's, etc.

Thanksgiving was great. As I like to call it our dysfunctional family (Me, the kids, the X, her folks, and her brother) met a tmy house where I had been cooking since before sun rise. I made a 20 pound bird with my famous cornbread and sausage stuffing, corn bread, biscuits, niblet corn, peas, onions (cooking in with the turkey), home made gravy, and mashed potatoes. For Chris I made a nice buffalo sauce to go with his turkey. This year for the stuffing I omitted the traditional sage turkey seasonings and everyone loved it. The X, who never eats stuffing, actually did and had some seconds, and my daughter loved it too. We also celebrated the family gathering of the boys birthdays since they occur within a week of each other. They got loot from the relatives. From Deb and I we had combined their birthday money and gotten money from Santa for xmas presents they would have gotten so they could afford the Wii. Befroe desert the X headed out dropping Chris and Scott of at Meijer's so they could pick things up; Scott got a Zune media player and Chris some game, I forget which. They eventually returned. For dessert we had Ice Creak cake and a pecan pie Mom and Dad brought. This was accompanied with the traditional flaming candles on the cake and the off-key singing of "Happy Birthday".

Thanksgiving this year was also Chris' birthday. 18 years old! Seems like yesterday I was holding him in my arms for the first time! I am so proud of him. I also can't understand why he is now old enough to go get shot and killed in a war, yet has to wait three years before he can legally have a beer....go figure!

The day after thanksgiving the X and some of her company headed south to Florida. Evidently to make their bottom line they are doing some last minute quick high paying jobs down there. While I love having the kids extra time (today is the end of the first week) it could not have come at a worse time since at work we are hitting for our site and our two sister sites the culmination of two years -planning and work to transition us over to a new infrastructure. And of course this week we had the boys sick. Three days for Scott and two days for Christopher. And of course two of those days I got little to no sleep as Scott was barking like a seal all night. Oh well, stuff happens!

The Sunday after thanksgiving we had turkey leftovers. I bought more biscuits and we basically had the same meal again, though their were enough biscuits this time for the kids; they each had four if they wanted them.

Scott's Birthday was this past Wednesday, he had been sick Monday and Tuesday, but had rallied, and overall we had a good day and went to Red Robin for dinner. We stopped at Gamestop on the way back so he could pickup the new Sonic game for the Xbox 360. Later in the evening he was very sad that his mom couldn't be there for his birthday. I explained, and I am sure he understood, that his Mom's work required she be away on that day. He was sick again yesterday and is doing better today. I told Scott this weekend I would take him to his favorite Chinese buffet as an additional birthday treat.

OK, what else is going on.......mundane things like I cleaned out the gutters on the house, got the snow blower ready for the winter (which started today with the ice storm now turned to snow) , and that's really about it. Last night I made home made chicken soup for dinner. One other noteworthy point is I heard from a good friend and coworker from my new jersey days. Tyrone, if you are reading this I must tell you talking to you today was indeed the highpoint of the day! Thanks so much for taking the time to call!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Easier to post comments

For those who may have tried to or have posted in the past, and were put off by the validation section where you have to enter the characters appearing in the picture, I have turned this off which makes posting a comment much faster and easier.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Faith in my fellow man

I can't speak for all of you, but I'd like to think that like me you do what you can when you can if someone has a need. I often fix people's computers and ask for nothing in return, even if the job takes a week of my free time. I give a bit to charity when I can. Sometimes though you find yourself wondering how many good people are out there and the world seems like a cold, impersonal place.

I went to leave work yesterday and noticed my right rear tire was very close to being flat. I had an oil change at one of these full service places a couple of weeks ago and they told me the pressure was low in that tire but did not see anything wrong.

In cases like this a can of 'Fix a Flat' has often sealed a slow leak and left nothing else required. As there is an auto parts store nearby I decided to slowly drive there. I procured the 'Fix a Flat', and one of the customers remarked along the lines of I was in the nick of time based on the current deflation. I headed out and so did this patron with his purchases. We talked and he asked if there was a nail or something in the tire and told him about the conversation I had with the oil change folks. He dropped what he was doing (I was dressed in work clothes, he in blue jeans) and crawled under the car. He found a large screw stuck in the tire and then offered, if I wanted to buy the tire patching kit, to crawl under the car and take care of it. As I was in work clothes I agreed, the tire was patched (plus he showed me how to do it; I'd never patched anything other than the tire on my ten speed when I was a kid!) As he knew the owner of the auto parts store, he asked him to fill up a portable canister of compressed air so we could re-inflate the tire.

I thanked him and the owner for their help and offered this young man some money which he promptly refused. I let him know again how much I appreciated it, and how pleased he was that, like myself I would not take money for helping someone out.

Thinking of this last night and today it just makes me feel good inside to find people of strong moral character. Just the type of thing to put a spring in one's step.

I put the tire patching kit in the trunk of my care; perhaps one day I can fix a flat for someone else!!

So, what's up with us??

Well, since you asked, not much! Danielle has joined Odyssey of the Mind and has had her first meeting, Scott is taking his annual art class in the city and is drawing even better than ever. I plan on taking a picture of one cartoon he did in class that had me laughing very hard when I saw it Saturday when I picked him up.

Chris was accepted to Kettering University this week! His Mom and I are very proud! He will start in July of next year with the co-op program. On the more mundane side, Christopher's car had the wires on the engine eaten through for the second time at my house. I paid this time and the guy at the service center said they get a lot of vehicles from September to December that around for a few days and have this happen. I told Chris from now on if he is not using his car all weekend when he is at my house to leave it garaged at his mom;s since I can't make room in my second stall for his car, plus there is no opener. If it happens again he gets to pay!

And me? Still enjoying a crushing workload at work...not much more to say for myself, other than loving every moment I get to spend with the kids. I'm getting by, not really happy, but not really sad, so, for me that is OK. I have been enjoying the new Season of Doctor Who and Heros and Jerhico to name a few of my favorite shows.

A glass of wine is GOOD for you!

FYI for my fiernd Dave in Michigan who asked about my Dad, after much additional testing we have validated the statement made by wine drinkers that a glass of wine a day is good for you! One of my Dad's doctors had advised him to abstain from drinking any alcohol, and I guess that his body chemistry with all the medicines he is taking was thrown for a loop. He resumed his drink a day and is eating better and putting on some weight!
Thanks, Dave, for caring enough to ask!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Humor

Some BAD Hallowwen jokes for you!

1. Q - What is a vampire's least favorite meal?
A - Stake !!

2. Q - What do vampires enjoy most about baseball?
A - The bats (and the double-headers)

3. Q - What does a monster wear when it rains?
A - His ghoul-oshes.

4. Q - How did the monster predict his future?
A - With a horror-scope.

5. Q - What did the monster do when he lost his hand?
A - He went to a second hand store.

6. Q - Why wouldn't the skeleton cross the road?
A - Because he didn't have any guts.

7. Q - What is in the red blood cells of monsters?
A - Hemogoblin !!!

8. Q - Who did the boy monster take to the Halloween dance?
A - His bootiful ghoul-friend.

9. Q - What two types of music do mummies like best?
A - Rag time and Wrap.

10. Q - Why couldn't the skeleton go to the dance?
A - Because he had no body to take!

11. Q - How big was Dr. Frankenstein's castle?
A - "Monsterous" !

Friday, October 13, 2006

It's Snow Good!

Regarding yesterday's post on the weather I heard on the morning news today that it set a record for the earliest date we have had an inch or more of snow. Joy! Though the analysts say we are supposed to have a milder winter this year.

After last year's natural gas bill debacle, I have decided when the kids are not sleeping overnight at my house to keep the heat much lower than last year and just wear a fuzzy pullover. I am not paying $450/month again during December/January to heat my house!

You know, if everyone did that you would see the prices go down!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oh the weather outside is frightening!

I turn on the TV when I awake on workdays and put the local news channel on. They mentioned snow! October 12th, and it is snowing out! Weird, even for Michigan!

Last night around bed time I thought of putting a latter out in the mailbox. I decided I would just do it in the morning. So, this AM I walked from the garage to the curb to mail a letter and I was literally encased with snow. When I made the right-hand turn onto cascade I thought the light a quarter mile down the street was out as I could not see it or the lit up signs at the gas stations until I was right on top of them!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Pray if you got 'em....

For those of you who are religious please say a quiet prayer for my Dad. Over the past weeks has dropped about 50 pounds. I fear for him, he sounded terrible on the phone yesterday and after weeks of tests (more to come tomorrow) they can find nothing wrong. He is too nauseous to eat!

I am, preparing myself for the worst; the fact that he is over 700 miles away does not help. I have found it very hard yesterday and today to focus on what else is going on around me.

Stairway to Heaven

Well, if you can call dry stairs heaven, and I can, then, hence the tittle for this post. Many of you know that I have had a leak problem on the basement stairs of the house I bought after the divorce. I had a company come in who sealed outside around the foundation three times and after the last treatment, and no leak for a year, I thought we were good! A few weeks ago we had a torrential storm with tornado force winds and the stairs leaked again (along with a crack in the foundation in another part of the basement that had been fixed when I bought the house. I ended up spending the whole weekend ripping up carpet and padding to dry the carpet after moving most of the fur nature off it.

I did a bunch of Internet research and ordered three things from this place called Ame's Research. A 'Super Primer' which is a chemical that bounds with concrete (and other things) and makes it stronger, seals cracks, and is waterproof, and plastic waterproof sealing tape, and a top coat of another sealent and leak stopper.

So, this past weekend I began Friday evening by using a portable steamer (thanks again Josh!) to remove the carpet from the lower part of the flight of stairs. Saturday it was up and off to Lowes where I snagged a 6AM electric drill, assorted wire-wheels, goggles, filter masks, etc. and headed home. The best thing though was the A23 battery for my garage door opener that died a couple of days before! They actually had them there and I could use the garage again!

I spent a fun filled three hours cleaning the areas on the stairs that had to be treated with the drill and wire wheels. i had a large fan at one end of the house blowing and at the back end of the house where the stairs are I had the sliders open and a fan blowing up the stairs which are right in line with the sliders. So, other than me and repeated cleaning of the stairs with the vacuum while I worked dust infiltration into the rest of the house was all but avoided! Yay science!

Next, I spent the rest of the day applying coats of the Super Primer which needed 2 to 3 hours in between coats. With my back having to bend of so much and stand on unlevel footing (one stair above and below on each foot) by the end of the day I was in considerable pain. Thee evening cooled off rapidly (it had been high 60's during the day) and soon it was in the 50's and dang cool in the house!

Around 6PM my daughter Danielle had called me because usually she (and Scott most times) sleep over many Saturday nights when it is their Mom's weekend (thanks X for letting them do that) and they already knew they would not be doing that this evening. She wanted me to come over and watch TV, so, with a groan in my heart I got cleaned up and wandered over there (I would have preferred to stay attached to the couch I was so sore) because I just could not say no to her wanting to see me.

I got there around 9PM and we watched an hour of TV together along with the X's brother, I put her to bed and after some additional chatting with the brother in law I headed out. As I was leaving Scott wanted me to go downstairs to look at some of his flash. I was just too sore after already traversing the steps the Danielle's bedroom I declined, but, I felt bad!

I got home, and ran the fans again to keep the smell of the primer down. I finally turned the fans off shortly before bed.

Sunday arising I could barely move, and I seriously considered putting it off for two weeks until the next weekend I did not have the kids. However, with a groan and the realization that today was going to be even warmer than Saturday (plus who knows what the Michigan weather will be like in two weeks, they are predicting lake effect show this weekend already!) I decided to bite the bullet. So, the next couple of hours was spent applying the tape down the stairs where the wall meets the steps (the parts that were cracked already and the rest all the way down as preventative medicine) and then I was ready for the top coats. This took the remainder of the day until around 7PM when I was finally done. At least it was not so cool as Saturday night with the fans running!

As I crawled into bed last night I was both glad that the job was done and I had persevered without help. Since I did not treat the foundation crack that leaked when the stairs did, I figure I can use this as a test if we get a really heavy rain. If the wall leaks and the stairs do not, I will be good, and then I will treat that area the same was as the stairs.

Cost for the chemicals and tools needed: $200
Cost of Satisfaction for doing it on my own: Priceless!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lord, I was born a rambling man

Trying to make a living and doing the best I can........SO, what's up with Chris? Well, here are some random ramblings below.

Work is incredibly busy, now that I inherited all the folks from the Enterprise application group I have more than double the people in my department as I had before. I believe I have the largest number of direct reports for IT globally for the company. While this is only supposed to be temporary it has been a month now and if I thought my workload was incredible before it is insane now. It takes me most of the day Friday to do the weekend report to my boss as I have to go through everyone else's reports....... If we get our sometimes yearly bonus this month I have promised the kids I will get a cat. I miss having cats around and have decided one of the automatic cleaning litter boxes will be in order.

At home well, we all have been enjoying the XBOX 360 and Danielle too her new DS Lite. The basement steps, which have not leaked in over a year leaked when we had tornado class storms. I went out in the rain and cleaned out the gutters by that part of the house as they were clogged. I have also ordered a three step sealing process to treat the stairs. I have to start this this weekend and it will be no fun! I have borrowed a steam cleaner from my good friend Josh and will use this to remove the rest of the carpeting from the stairs and the paint on the side concrete so I can do a proper surface prep and so the first chemical, which bonds molecularly to concrete, can do its magic. I also have to steam the remainder of the carpet adhesive from the stairs that used to be carpeted. I am SO not looking forward to this!

Was distressed that Stargate SG-1 was cancelled, have been enjoying the second season of the new Doctor Who, along with Stargate Atlantis. The show Eureka is also very good! Battlestar Galactica starts up again tomorrow night, so that will be great. I love my Sci-Fi Friday!

New shows I have been watching this season: Jericho (excellent!) and Heros (Good).

Really miss my daily e-mails with my brother in New Jersey, but, with his job from hell we can no longer communicate so readily. It really stinks!

The fall is upon us; weather doing the seasonal ups and downs temperature wise, soon the leaves will be falling......summer is so gone!

Working on getting my mortgage refined to save some bucks......will be going down about 1.5% and have a fixed rate instead of the adjustable rate I have which is scheduled to go up next month.

As to me? Well, still Miss the X and having the kids full time....will never ever get used to that, but in a few years they'll be out of the house the heck will I be doing then? We shall see!

What the heck is a blog??

I got an e-mail from a long time good friend of mine on the east coast. He too has gone through a divorce.....which is neither here nor there for this post, but, I feel a special bond with him as I do all divorced folks whose spouses have ripped their hearts still beating from their chests and held it in front of them with an expression on their face like the girl in the "Cold as Ice" music video ...... cough ....cough ......anyway...back to the story at hand!

In his e-mail he asked me what a blog is. I have always figured it for being my on-line log or diary, but, when I really thought about it I realized I did not know what blog really meant.

SO, thanks to the folks at Wikipedia (you can read the full, much more extensive article here) I know now that 1) I am not all knowing in computer Jargon, and 2) blog means the following:

A blog is a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order.

Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most blogs are primarily textual although some focus on photographs (photoblog), videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting), and are part of a wider network of social media.

The term "blog" is a contaction of "Web log". "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Today is the day I was married on almost 20 years ago. The second one now since the divorce. It will be a melancholy day for me.

All I will say on this is my X and my kids will be in my thoughts today. I love them all, and wish things could have worked out between the X and I.

I'll leave this in tribute of my feelings for the X...who...I still do love.

Fare you well, my honey
Fare you well, my only true one
All the birds that were singing
Are flown, except you alone

Gonna leave this brokedown palace
On my hands and my knees, I will roll, roll, roll
Make myself a bed by the waterside
In my time, in my time, I will roll, roll, roll

In a bed, in a bed
By the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

River gonna take me, sing me sweet and sleepy
Sing me sweet and sleepy all the way back home
It's a far gone lullaby sung many years ago
Mama, Mama, many worlds I've come since I first left home

Going home, going home
By the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

Going to plant a weeping willow
On the bank's green edge it will grow, grow, grow
Singing a lullaby beside the water
Lovers come and go, the river will roll, roll, roll

Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

(From the Grateful Dead song Brokedown Palace)

Monday, September 25, 2006

More It is to laugh

My friend from Steve responded to my post of bad jokes with a few of his own. I particularly remember the seventy six joke from when we worked together in New Jersey. In fact, I heard that one multiple times and still get a grin and chuckle today. Thanks Steve!

A man burst into a doctor’s examining room and shouted, "Doc, you gotta help me. I’m shrinking!" The doctor replied, "Sir, go back and sit down in the waiting room and wait your turn. You’ll just have to be a little patient."

A bum tried to sneak onto an ocean liner and hide until launch, but a ship’s officer caught him and took him back off the ship. As they walked down to the dock, the officer explained, "You have to understand, beggars can’t be cruisers."

Groucho: "Are you married? Are you rich? Answer the second question first."

Groucho (As auctioneer): "Seventy-five, seventy-five, seventy-five. Will someone give me seventy-six?"
Bidder: "Seventy-six."
Groucho: "That’s the spirit!”

Gomez Addams: "What are doing with that net, Lurch?"
Lurch: "Caught a pterodactyl."
Gomez: "That’s no pterodactyl, Lurch. That’s my mother-in-law!"

Water yet again

The dam* leak on the basement stairs leaked again this weekend. Probably my fault since the gutter were clogged and the water was just sluicing off the roof on the affected area. I ended up sending the better part of the weekend moving furniture, ripping up carpet and padding and playing with fans and heats to dry it out. Had to cut and remove the padding and hang it to dry!

I also went out in the rain and unclogged the gutters; now that was refreshing!

Just ordered some interior primer and sealant off the internet which may help things.


Friday, September 22, 2006

It is to LAUGH!

My kids, desensitized by modern day TV and video games, often do not share the same sense of humor that their Dad has. I think the following 7 jokes are hilarious! What do YOU think??

1 - Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.

2 - A jumper cable walks into a bar and asks for a beer. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't you start anything."

3 - Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.

4 - A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

5 - A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

6 - Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: "Does this
taste funny to you?"

7 - "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home.'" "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." "Is it common?" Well, "It's Not Unusual."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Avast ye cretinous dogs!

Today be Talk like a Pirate day! A fine tradition we be upholdin'! Anyone of ye scurvy dogs who does not observe this holiday shall not be welcome aboard me blog!! So! Be ye Pirate and welcome? Or be ye land lubber and consigned to Davey Jones Locker?????? Arrrrrr!

Smartly ye all, be clicking this hyar link quick as can be, or ye be walkin' the plank fer sure!

Click Hyar!

Monday, September 18, 2006


For those geek types out there, ever have a problem with a PC that would not boot

Try this for the Ultimate Boot PC - A bootable CD with lots of diagnostic and some repair programs! For Free! I love that price!

Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

My apologies to Mr. Shakespeare for the title of this post!

Through much effort I have managed to suppress much of the feelings for my x-Wife from my conscious mind. It's rough, because of whatever had happened between us I still do love her as much as the day I married her. And, sadly (for me anyway!), I still miss her a lot.

Anyway, the subconscious mind is worse! It's very distressing (well, when I wake up anyway! 99% of the dreams I have with her in them are nice dreams of us being together and doing things like going on vacation, having dinner, a trip to the mall, a walk in the park.......

Well, last night it crossed a new threshold.....I was having a great dream of the five us being at the lake on a sunny day. I awoke, and went into work and my brother in law asked me how I was getting along dealing with the divorce. Did I still miss the X? I mentioned how I had just had a dream with the X in it last night, and I was still dreaming about her, missing her, and still loved her, and how distressing this was for me.

THEN I WOKE UP AGAIN! My former brother in law had actually worked for me back in New Jersey, but that was about 8 to 10 years ago. This was the dreaded 'dream within a dream' scenario I have heard about and seen on TV numerous times. Sigh! It was most distressing.

Unrequited love is the worst love of all!

Danielle Turns Tweleve!

My Daughter had her 12th Birthday this past Friday! I surprised her at her Mom's house that morning before she left for school and gave her a stuffed tiger and a candy bar as a special treat for lunch that day. After school I pretty much let her do whatever she wanted, and the five of us and the X's brother went to dinner at the Chinese Buffet, then back to my House to open presents and she, the X, and I watched the new Shaggy Dog Disney movie before the X departed. I let Danielle stay up until Midnight for maximum birthday enjoyment!

As a followup I took my daughter to Toy's R Us yesterday so she could buy herself a DS Lite handheld game system with all the gift cards she had from previous occasions and some birthday cash from this year. We then hit Gamestop on the way home so she could trade in heer DS, which she got $44 for, so, she bought a new DS game and took some store credit home to boot!

Fifty - Half a Century of being......Me!

Turning 50 wasn't so bad....a quiet day at work, and quiet time with the family, and the X with her Mom and Dad and brother took me out to dinner at my favorite Chinese place. Nothing memorable for a half a century mark, but, a nice day all in all for a birthday.

A couple of lines from a Pink Floyd song kind of sum up how I feel about it

"Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time, plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines"


"Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death"

For the handful of you who sent birthday greetings, I thank you. To the rest....well......use your imagination! If I have yor birthday on file, I send a greeting.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Big Five O

What a great birthday so far; we've been fighting a major virus at work for the past 6 days and over the Labor Day weekend were working 24/7. I've been fighting a bug for days, which of course today has taken major hold. I feel, like something the cat dragged in. Sigh!

Well, anyway, make my day by wishing me a Happy Birthday!

Monday, August 28, 2006

T-Minus 10 Days And Counting

10 days to go until I turn 50; so so so very excited; insurance rates will go up...even less money to be had each week......sigh....can't wait. Maybe I'll stay in bed all day!

New Pets!

While I still go back and forth with the should I get a kitten or kittens question, the X took the kids out yesterday and got a new Guinea Pig (named Hax) for the boys, and a Dwarf hamster for Danielle (which she named Speedy)

I will see the new pets today after work.

Picnic and Spider Monkeys

We had the company picnic this weekend on Saturday. The kids and I got there around 11:30AM. After the long hike from the parking lot we discovered they were just starting to serve food. A decent selection of pasta salad, salad, potatoes, hot dogs, boneless Pork, and chicken awaited. The kids and I loaded our plates and dug in. After eating and listening to a song from the band I suggested we do the zoo, since free admission to the John Ball Park Zoo was included (a $24 savings for us! yay!).

The weather, while overcast so not requiring sun block, was exceptionally humid; my outdoor thermometer had sad 70% when we left home. Doing the outdoor portions of the zoo was like walking through a giant armpit! Of particular note was the Australian area they had which was full of kangaroos. We got to one point where we were overlooking the area with the spider moneys. The three kids were riveted for 15 minutes! I got them pulled away with the promise that we could stop on the way back where we would be on ground level and we continued. We came to the large area that the chimpanzees are in, and, noted that they ARE very intelligent! Instead of frolicking around like the spider monkeys all were seated in the only shaded area! We continued into an indoor (and blessedly air conditioned!) area that had no animals and noted when we came out a few of the chimpanzees were playing around.

We arrived at the ground level of the spider money area and the three kids spent 25 minutes watching their antics. No video games! No TV! No Multimedia extravaganza! It was most gratifying to see them enjoy a real world experience outdoors that riveted their attention!

After this we hit the aquarium, and headed back to the picnic, where we had a snack, and then double serving of ice cream. At this point the boys started up with "How long do we have to stay here" so we headed home, enjoying the delay through the three miles of I-196 that only had a single lane open.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Kitty or not to Kitty!

I have been going back and forth about getting a cat. After the loss of Cyclone yesterday, the kids have been asking me again if I will get one.

o Kids love cats!
o Cat would be a nice companion for those all too many empty house evenings when I do not have the kids!

o Expense - would need to be spayed, de-clawed, and fed, plus vet visits.
o Litter Box! Kids swear they would clean it but the said the same about Cyclone...and the X was more often than not chasing after them to do it and her house stank like dirty litter.

With my back I simply will not be dealing with the litter box chore anymore. Anyway, I keep going back and forth!

Oh my aching back!

I slipped in the shower Tuesday morning narrowly missing pitching right through the glass door (times like this I hate living alone!). I wrenched my back and these past days it has been bothering me worse than it has this past month. Tuesday night I had Scott and Danielle over and the X graciously offered to bring dinner over. She took care of feeding the kids and I, plus cleaning up. I thought that was very sweet of her.

Now, if only I could get a decent nights sleep!

How many planets are in our solar system?

If you answered nine, THINK AGAIN!

Panel declares 12 planets

Fare Thee Well, Cyclone!

Goodbye Cyclone! We'll Miss you!

Sad news greeted me early Wednesday morning AM; an early tearful phone call from the X to tell me that my older son's Guinea Pig Cyclone had died in her arms. The kids were all very sad when they awoke and my older son buried it out by where I had a few years ago buried my younger son's Guinea Pig Chocolate. They had shared the same cage for a year or so. I can't speak for everyone reading this, but, we tend to get very attached to all pets (well, except fish....) and treat and consider them one of the family.

The kids were all very muted yesterday obviously saddened by the loss of their beloved pet. I must gather a few pictures of faithful pets passed and post them here for all pet lovers to enjoy!

I had a good friend ask this morning how anyone could get attached to a Guinea Pig; I explained that the kids often took Cyclone out of her cage and played with her, pet her, held her in their arm and feed her fresh veggies by's very easy to get attached to any pet (well, except maybe a fish!)

We have always been pet people. I grew up surrounded by a litany of cats over the years, and one year we had a mommy cat who had kittens in the basement of our two family home. We lived on the second floor, and some of my fondest kitten memories are of those kittens! Every day when I would come home from school in the afternoon, every other step or every third step from the ground floor to the second floor would have a kitten on it! I'd stop and pet them, pick them up, delighting in their purring and affection! Pets have always been one of the family in my house. To be loved, cared for, and cherished! When things were going good I would pick up whatever cat we had a play with it; when things were bad I would cry into a cats fur; there were always there for me, and me for them.

Farewell Cyclone, you will be missed!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

XPC From Hell (Treat your PC well!)

After I picked up my Daughter from her Grandparents house yesterday (where they were making "the best chocolate chip cookies; might have been if the bottoms had not been a bit burned, but still good) I headed over to the X's where she had been having abysmal PC performance

After 15 minutes from booting you might get some response form the system....might....

She has 768K DSL service.....I clocked her system at about 40K (less than a good dial up modem).

It's an older PC running Windows 2000, but, when I left it was purring like a kitten and seeing an average 1.2 mbps download rate!

Lesson to be learned here; your PC is not passive like a's like a car, it needs to be taken care of and like a child cleaned up after.

SO! What did these four hours encompass? How was this miracle of improved (vastly, incredibly improved!) performance attained!!??

Briefly there were about 12,000 temporary files (NOT including Internet Explorer temporary files!), about half a gigaybte of Internet Explorer temporary files, about 1000 invalid registry keys, and when I ran a disk fragmentation analysis, the whole thing was blood red with fragmentation. Thousands of fragments. Compound this by the fact that there was very little free space on the system (under 100 megabytes) it was literally in its death throes. This is also compounded by the fact that there is an account the kids can use on her PC.

SO, I killed all the temp files, flushed Internet Explorer caches, repaired the registry and defragmented the disk. Now the system is flying. The system has other issues, such as it will not recognize any CD-ROM drive (even a USB external drive, which made using the CD full of tools I brought useless! I ended up having my son suck the PC onto his USB memory device and moving the files that way), but, if it is good enough for the X to do her work and my daughter to play on Mom's PC, then it was four hours well spent.

As the X was at an appointment around 6PM I gave Christopher money so he could zip off to Quizno's and get their Monday three large subs for a decent .vs. the super-inflated normal price deal.......he took advantage though and also brought them treats. I flagged him on that and mentioned I had not had them bring me anything to save some money and he kind of blew it by buying snacks for everyone, and not to do so without permission in the future.

Anyway, after that I headed home to about 120 work emails and after that watched a couple of Walker Texas Ranger episodes off the DVR before retiring. I did have a nice surpise, my friends Suresh and Indu had sent me a 'care package' from New York, some spicy Indian Snacks and some hot Chili powder! The majority of this bounty shall be saved for my birthday early next month!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Michigan: Target for Terrorists!

Charges have been filed against five men, three from Texas and two from Ohio in a plot involving pre-paid cellular telephones to blow up the Mackinac Bridge in northern Michigan. Bail has been set at $750,000. each.

This was not what I had in mind when I relocated to Michigan!

Click here for the story

Another day at work...and McBride

Ah Sunday! Sunny Day! Blue Sky! I am at work as I was yesterday! Joy!

Hope everyone else is enjoying their weekends! Since I don't have the kids this weekend, being at work is no big deal. Sad eh! :)

At least sitting at my desk I can look at the windows and see the Mustang enjoying the sun! He looks most comfortable!

Been watching a new (new to me anyway) show this past week, McBride, where he is this lawyer who takes on, mostly for free (Yea, I know, lawyers taking on cases for free, it made me laugh too!) cases where the defendant looks guilty as sin. He always wins (at least so far for the five episodes (90 minutes each without commercials) I have seen. It's on Hallmark channel, and it is most excellent.

My best friend growing up had a last name of McBride....have not heard from him in ages and ages!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


You know the mastercard adds.......the ones that end with some sentimental dribble like "getting to walk your daughter down the aisle.....Priceless!" at the end? Well, I have a more practical one. Being able to feed the kids for $2.49......Priceless! That was the net cost of the kids dinner last night for a jar of pasta sauce for Scott, Danielle, and myself. I had the pasta on hand, and I mixed in the left over peppers and onions from the X's Fajitas birthday leftovers...and Chris had leftover pizza. I had ordered him (NOT Priceless!) pizza Sunday because he was home from camp and I let him have what he wanted. He is maturing; he had wanted prime rib but did not mention he was thinking that until after the pizza had been eaten. Good thing I mentioned back, since I could not afford that for the kids this week. After our priceless dinner last night we watched UHF and some of Weird Al's music videos together. Chris and I also watched a Stargate Atlantis episode.

Tonight, I shall see if I can feed the kids even cheaper! Blah ha ha ha!

Monday, August 07, 2006

T-Minus 29 Days And Counting

Well, 29 days until I turn 50; something I had always envisioned would be a big ta-doo with both sides of the family and friends gathered. Now most of them (my side of the family and the majority of real world friends I have) are 700 miles away! BUT I do get to look forward to even less cash because my life insurance deduction is going to jump significantly on my paycheck when I turn 50. Yay! I already have a large deduction because I provide the kids medical coverage and it's quite a big jump payroll deduction-wise from the single employee medical coverage to family (which is two or more; this means there is no decrease in payments as the kids go off to college and come off my insurance until they are all off). Add that to child support and it's a very hefty portion of my paycheck, and when I have one of these two week periods where I have to live off of $200 while feeding the kids...even with the $100/week easement I get on child support over the summer is it just not enough........I get a bit bitter here....well...maybe more than a bit.

I had a tiring day yesterday; I slept very little Sunday night (I kept dreaming of the X, happy we were still married dreams where she still loved me) and after each one I awoke and had trouble getting back to sleep. Days like this it's hard to embrace the "life sucks" aspect of things. It's like now that my conscience mind has made the effort to go on, my subconscious mind is rebelling. At least last night my dreams were blessedly free from her and I feel somewhat more rested.

I am thinking those dreams of X were possibly caused by watching the Walker Texas Ranger two parter where Alex and Walker get married followed by "The Nanny" where she and Maxwell get married Sunday evening must have hit a chord. When I see that happily ever after crap on TV and realize that some years statistically 50% of first marriages end in's kind of sad when you think about it.

Once again I say I hope other married couples I know don't make the same mistakes my X and I did, in other words, if you're dissatisfied or unhappy let your partner know in no uncertain terms. Telling all your friends will do nothing to help your marriage. And of course burying your head in the sand like I did and not noticing your partners dissatisfaction won't help either.

Anyway, back to the fun of the day! I have the kids this week and that always puts a smile on my face.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Fajitas, The X, and my back

Wednesday was the X's Birthday and for her present I promised her Fajitas for dinner. It's amusing, while she may not miss living with me, she certainly DOES miss my cooking! I took a half day and picked up Scott and Danielle at her house, and we headed to mine to pickup rentals which we returned, and then stopped in at Wendy's (right by Family Video); the kids had seen the sign proclaiming a new vanilla Frosty (Wendy's Chocolate Frosty's have long been a favorite frozen treat of me and mine). So, I got them some vanilla Frosty's and fries as they had sandwiches at their mom's already and I had a Bacon Cheeseburger. They loved the new Frosty but I did not; it had that artificial vanilla aftertaste that lower quality vanilla things have (a shame considering how good their chocolate ones are). I was hoping for Dairy Queen vanilla quality! That crisp clean delicious vanilla flavor! SADLY disappointed here!

Anyway, we headed back to my place stopping at Forest Hills foods (where they are, yet again, expanding the store, this time putting a new front on it, to the tune of many loud jack hammers....) where I picked up the ingredients needed for dinner. I had lots of fun creating the marinate (mixture of oil, many spices, and freshly squeezed lime) and butterflying the London Broil I had bought into two long fillets. The meats in the fridge marinating I watched some TV and then began the process of cutting up the onions and peppers. I used tri color (red, orange, and yellow) peppers and these two were set to marinate (minus the lime juice, and ground hot chili added to the peppers), and then headed BACK to the store as I had forgotten the cheese needed for the dinner. I also swung by the X's house (viva la cookware revolution!) and picked up a large frying pan.

As this was all transpiring we watched some TV together and I watched some alone as the kids played downstairs. Scott asked for a sleepover with his friend Taylor this weekend, stating he wanted to do it because Chris would be away at camp still and they could camp out downstairs. I told him he could.

Around 5PM I began sauteing the onions, put them in a separate pot, and then did the peppers. This took about an hour. The X's brother showed up around 6PM and as I was thinking of lighting the grill around 6:15 the X's folks called and they had not left the house yet (we were supposed to eat at 6:30). So, I awaited until around 6:20 to light the grill just as the X showed up. Mom and Dad soon arrived and as I was almost done grilling the beef and chicken a grease fire flared up and in my haste to close the grill I tripped and wrenched my back (still in much pain today!) so I got to enjoy tremendous back and leg pain for the rest of the evening. Anyway, I sliced the beef and chicken and had to thrown them in a frying pan to finish the coking process, and then we all ate. The weather was still quite warm and humid and the house central AC struggled to keep things cool with the additional BTU output of the stove.

Anyway, dinner was finally ready! I had refried beans, three kinds of cheeses, salsa, sour cream, and taco sauce on the side and everyone (except Scott who ate waffles!) really enjoyed the dinner. Afterwards the X's mom snuck out to Forest Hills and picked up a cake and ice cream. The X had also run out to pickup a DVD at her house (she has the Blockbuster version of NetFlix) and we all (except Scott because there were not enough comfortable chairs and he did not want to use a beanbag chair) settled in to watch Madagascar. We took a break around 9:30 when we had cake and ice creak and then finished the movie. Everyone headed at at 10PM, and, other than the back pain it was a most enjoyable evening!

Footnote: Last night I made left over fajitas! YUM! There are enough leftover onions and peppers for a nice egg beaters omelette or two!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Armpit Hair

These past three days here in West Michigan have been the hottest of the year. Ozone and Heat Warning days. People passing out days......Free rides on The Rapids public transportation days.....AC running constantly daze, mercury pushing just under 100 degrees yesterday (99). Scott, Danielle, and I went to the pool and for the first time this season the water was no cooler than the surrounding air! It was like stepping into a spa; it was wet and warm and I wanted to drift off into sleep. Gulping water repeatedly kept waking me up however!

I was even more started around 10PM last night after I realized I had some trash that needed to go out to the curb (where the large can was already for the morning pickup). I was dressed in shorts and sandals, and as I stepped outside, I knew, in that instant, with the total clarity of though that comes with an Epiphany, what an armpit hair must feel like! I was SO much more humid than it had been earlier in the day when we were at the pool, even though it was only 90 degrees now. It was suffocating! I dumped the trash, feel to the floor in the kitchen and began kissing the air conditioning grate on the floor, bablling over and over again "I love you air conditioning!". I wonder what anyone without AC would have done on a day like this! many fans? Live done in their basements finished or not? Check into a hotel??

Blessedly it is supposed to be cooler today (ONLY around 90 though with the same humidity) but a cold front is expected this evening and temps and humidity are supposed to drop over the next few days.

Monday, July 31, 2006

An exercise in Futility?

Well, it's been weeks since I've done a post. I guess I owe that to my new attitude on life. You all know how badly I have felt since the divorce, and how much of a workload I have here at the office, trouble paying bills, etc. Well, none of that has changed. I am still foolishly, hopelessly in love with the X wife, yet I realize she feels nothing for me. The job is incredibly busy and stressful beyond the telling of it! I have hardly any friends. And money, in particular any time I need something beyond paying the bills, the cost is ending up on plastic. The loss of my overtime this past March has totally impacted my lifestyle, we are talking about a 20% decrease in available income. Of course I am still working OT, just not getting paid for it. I just made my mortgage payment, I have about $200 for the next wo weeks, and one of those is a week with the kids who can easily use that much in food alone. I know others have it worse........but right now, as shallow as it may sound, I am concerned about me. Anyway, I'll get by. It's not all bad; I love my kids and time spent with them, I enjoy music, a good movie, and I enjoy the technical aspect of my job.

ANYWAY, the reason I have not been posting too much is I have just been rolling with this and have adopted a "Life sucks, embrace it" policy. While nothing has changed I am dealing with it better, and am refusing to let it bother me. I won't say I'm happy, but, I seem to have climbed out of the depression that I have lived with for the past two years and stayed away from it for several weeks now. I am just refusing to let things bother me as much as they have been. Whistling a happy tune as it were, facing life with a smile, and saying "Thank you sir may I have another!" as things go wrong. While I understand other people have lives too and are busy, if I get no comments from anyone, I wonder if anyone is even reading the blog. This begs the question, why bother?

AGAIN, ANYWAY.....Well, as I did get an IM today from one of the rare Internet pals who communicates with me, mentioning he had not seen any blog updates, I decided to do this post. If you read the blog, and are reading the posts, leave a comment here and I'll make an effort to post more frequently.

Take care, y'all!

The overheating PC - Cured

The last post I did was on 7/10 about the overheating PC from hell. That I can say is cured. A couple of weeks ago, I made a total mess out of my dinning room table, and I removed the parts from the current PC and built them into my new Ultra case. In the case I added two additional 120mm cooling fans, and an excellent CPU cooler. The power supply is also much better, 550 watts instead of the 380 the older case had.

Now, about two weeks into the new case, I can say I am very, very pleased! I originally thought I would have to get a new Pentium 4 CPU, and so far the old chip has been working great! I can even go in and out of standby mode without the graphics being affected and I can then go into a game with 3D acceleration and not have any issues! While I ended up having to charge a little over 200 dollars for the case and extra fans, it is certainly a much more affordable solution than buying a new PC would have been!

It was a fun 3 days project to move everyone from the old case into the new one. The new case is one of these ultra-light aluminum ones, but, you have to be VERY careful with it because it is very flimsy until everything is assembled into the case and it is all screwed together. So, I staggered this starting on a Friday after work and finished it up that Sunday. The dinning room table took me a week to clean off!

Recent Movies and other things

Aeon Flux - Eh! Nowhere near as good as I hoped for and excellent special effects did little to help!
Ultraviolet - Tiny bit better than Aeon, but jerky camera movements and a plot that could have had better cinematography hampered this one!
New Pirates of the Caribbean movie - EXCELLENT!!! LOVED It!
The Fog (remake) - Very good and enjoyable
Shrek 2 (With Scott and Danielle) - This is probably about the 6th time I have seen that, but, we love it!
V - The original Mini-series (Great! Now I need to see if the TV series ever made it to DVD!)
Monster House - New animated flick, very good, Scott, Danielle, and I enjoyed it.

SciFi Channel - Eureka - New Show, love it! Bit campy, but, still great!
Dead like me - Wonderfully different! A totally off the wall view of the Grim Reaper!
STARGATES! Whoo who! SciFi Friday is BACK!
Walker Texas Ranger - Been watching a ton of these in repeat on USA and Hallmark.

Have been enjoying my alternate weeks on and off with the kids. Been doing a lot of pool time. Chris is off to Fine Arts Camp (went last Wednesday, he will return Sunday). Today it will hit upper 90's here and killer humidity. Heat alert warnings have been issued. This will go through Wednesday evening. Joy! Thank goodness for fixed AC!

My brother's new job (they lied and did not tell him what a terrible place it was to work for! Lesson learned get all new employment info in WRITING before accepting a job!) did not come with vacation, so, the kids and I were very sad last week when he and his wife should have been out! We REALLY REALLY miss them and missed the opportunity to see them!

Cooking - With the hot weather I have not been doing much other than the grill, though as part of the X's birthday present (her birthday is tomorrow, I made Spicy Peanut Butter noodles with chicken Saturday night and had her and her brother over (who stayed to watch Stargate Sg-1 Science)). It was funny, Danielle has had this dish many times but Saturday she went with me to do the shopping and was totally grossed out when she saw me pick up coconut milk. "Ewwww, Coconut milk!" she said when she saw me pick it up. I explained that she had this particular dish many times before, but, had never been with me for the shopping or watched me prepare it. She looked skeptical, but, ate and enjoyed it nonetheless! I did grill the chicken outside and slided it and added it to the sauce for about 20 minutes before serving over tossed noodles. It was most enjoyable and now I will have to grill the meat on the gas grill whenever i make this.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Death!

Well, It happened! After over a month of showing heat related problems my main PC connected to the plasma display finally committed PC suicide today!

I had added an auxiliary cooling fan, which was working well enough, but evidently the power supply was having issues.

I had been playing Quake 4 for about 40 minutes when the smell of burning insulation filled the house AND FLASH! sparks flew from the computer case and it shut off! The power supply inside the case was too hot to touch!

Farewell, my old friend!

I just ordered a new case, heavier duty power supply, CPU cooler, and two 120mm fans for the new case. This should keep me cool and get me back up and running. Of course, with no ready cash, I had to play "Charge!"

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday (That's my Not Fun Day)

As I was creating this post this morning before heading off to work, I remembered the Bangles Song that has the line "Sunday....that's my fun day....", and since I am ever so sore and stiff, I figured this was an applicable title!

So, groaning in pain I arose, did two sets of my back exercises, and then for a helping of extra fun I did my usual 25 minute ride on the recumbent exercise bike. After that I decided to do some investigating on my PC which has been crashing every time I play a 3D game for more than a few minutes. This started around Memorial day and has been getting worse. That was the week my AC failed and the Living Room where the PC resides was in the upper 90's. The CPU is overclocked and that day it crashed, and then crashed again. I stepped down the overclocking to normal and it seemed to help, but, now it is doing it every day. I can use it for hours in mail, surfing the web, Word, etc. So, today it was double check all fans are running and that requires removing the PC cover. After doing so and verifying the fans were all working I took the large exhaust fan on the rear of the chassis and positioned it over the CPU, did my morning e-mail, etc. and then played a 3D game for 30 minutes, NO CRASH! I headed off to work and will be trying a longer game session this evening.

Well, it's after work now and after arriving home from work I found a call from Mom from hours earlier inviting me to a picnic at their house with the X, and her other brother and family who are visiting from New Jersey. Oh well! Wish they had called me at work (or my cell) where I mentioned I would be Friday at dinner, a break from work would have been nice today! Anyway, I made a nice salad and watched a bit of TV.

I've done three additional sets of back exercises today and the pain is finaly working out of my back a bit!

Saturday - Chored Stiff

After getting home from work and suffering the bi-monthly Saturday Slump (it's the X's week now, so no kids here) I was bored stiff when I came home. So! Chore time! I had stopped on the way home and done the once monthly having the Mustang washed and realized with my back I have not cleaned the interior (including the windows) in over a year! Looking down on the floor at the assortment of debris and seeing the gunk in the cracks of the dash and such galvanized me into action (Picture a turtle going fast!).

I got the rainbow vacuum unit (uses a water filled compartment instead of a filter and could suck the chrome off a fender if you are not careful!) and cleaned the inside of the car, floors, mats, upholstery. The sound of the rainbow firing up disturbed all kinds of wildlife that had been nesting the debris under the seats! After the base vacuuming I cleaned the windows. THAT was a pane! The back of the Mustang is very cramped and my back and legs do not like to bend that way at all, and with the rear-deck mounted speakers it was very difficult to get the large rear window clean. Increasing my enjoyment of this I had to climb in and out three times because I could only see the 'not really clean' streaks on the inside of the window from the outside of the vehicle!

After the side and front windows were cleaned I attacked the dashboard, all the nooks and crannies, ignoring the building pain in my right leg and lower back and just keeping on. Next I pulled the car back out of the garage and polished the exterior trim that the car wash never does a good job of, particularly the mustang horse and surrounding boarder on the front grill and the mustangs on each side of the car. To make along story short the car looks fantastic!

Now that the car was complete of course it started to rain! I immediately backed the car into the garage nearly running over the rainbow! I got a chammy cloth and wiped it dry.

Now it was time to attack the problem of the ants in the house and the spiders by the front and back doors. To backtrack a bit, I had stopped at Meijer's on the way to the car wash and gotten some of that bug barrier stuff you put around your house since I have been plagued by ant's inside and spiders nesting and spinning webs by the front door and patio sliders in the back. After that I took the rainbow unit and sucked all the cobwebs and stuff that was stuck in them from around the front door (not too hard) and the backdoor sliders (A real pain in the ass...I mean back) because the underhand is about 15 feet high there. This all in all was a fun way to spend 4 hours, and then I took a nice hot shower. After I stumbled from that I was too sore to barely move I made a nutrition shake and sat on the couch with the keyboard. I figured after four hours of chores in the sun the 25 minute e-bike could be skipped today!

I just told a friend in the UK I was IM'ing with I had stiffened up nicely already as I discovered a few minutes ago when I arose to get a no sugar added ice pop out of the freezer. I could barely rise and walk and the pain, reminiscent of what I imagine multiple Klingon pain sticks would feel like, descended on me like a red mist. Oh well! The house looks great, and the Mustang has not looked so resplendent inside since the day I took it home. Well worth the effort and resultant pain. I had done extra sets of my back exercises before the shower and did another set before retiring. Anyway, hence the title of today's post, Chored Stiff. I wonder what tomorrow will feel like!

Friday is Mall Day

Ah, Friday; the end of the week with the kids which I hate beyond the telling of it. The only day of the week at work of half days that I actually left on time! Scott and Danielle and I headed to the mall a bit before noon. We went to the Rivertown Crossing mall which is about 12 miles from here instead of the local mall. The Rivertown mall is larger and has the closest Dairy Queen and I had promised them that the previous day.

We ate at the food court (pizza for Danielle, pasta with marinara sauce fro Scott and they shared some garlic bread sticks, and I had A&W Chili Cheese Dogs with Mustard and Onions, plus a side of Onion rings I shared with Danielle).

Scott was happy as he could get the game they did not have at the local Game Stop we had visited the day before. I also picked up a card for the X's brother's birthday. We walked the entire mall, had our treat at Dairy Queen (Banana Split minus pineapple topping for Scott, and Danielle and I had Oreo Brownie Dreams).

I felt kind of bad as we were leaving because Danielle had wanted a book from the book store (and I had wanted the next book in my Deathlands series) but I had spent my two weeks spending allowance on lunch and Dairy Queen. I explained money was tight and Daddy could not get the book he wanted, but, you know how it is when you are a kid and want something. I felt really bad though.

We headed off to the parking lot (on the way Danielle had wanted to ride the exterior elevator up but we did not) and rode the exterior elevator down. TALK ABOUT YOUR STINKY ELEVATORS! Not since I had been in The Project Apartments years ago in Newark New Jersey have I ever smelled an elevator that bad! There were brown stains on the walls and doors, and, evidenced by them playing too many video games, the comments was "Is that blood?". We exited the malodorous conveyance, boarded the Mustang, and returned home. We went to the pool a bit later.

The X picked us up in her new car at 6:30. No, she is not rolling in dough, she cancelled the lease on her van and got one of these hybrid vehicles. The savings in gas mileage alone should justify this purchase, so long as she keeps driving the same amount of miles for the life of the loan). It was her brothers birthday and the 8 of us including her folks were headed off to dinner at some steak house whose name escapes me. Originally we were told 45 minutes to an hour but the hostess took pity on us and got some people to move so we could get two booths next to each other. I sat with the X's folks and brother and we chatted about crappy jobs, how overworked the X and I are.

This place was such a cow person motif, but, the food was excellent. We finished up and headed out. I had wanted to sit up front in the X's car on the way home so I could continue chatting with her by my 17 year old would not get out of the informed him if he did not move he would regret that decision, and since he still did not move, well, he'll be back at my house in a week. I ended up riding with Mom and Dad and yhey dropped me off home around 9:30. After the usual heavy depression of returning to the empty silent house, I did some homework, watched a bit of TV and headed for bed.

Ranting about divorce (Yet again)

Something I did not need to do last summer is ask the X for what the court system here in Michigan calls an easement, meaning that if I, who am ordered by the court to pay support, have the kids for an extended period (like, a week at a time as I do over the summer every other week), should be able to get a reduction in support for that period to help offset the cost of having the kids. For example, three kids eating three meals and snacks, etc. adds up. Last summer I could afford it, with the loss of my OT earlier this year now I cannot. So, the X filed (twice!) the appropriate forms and...well as of Friday when I got paid....still the money has not started showing up in my paycheck. So, now after paying my mortgage I have less than $200 to make it two weeks until payday, and of course on of those weeks I will have the kids. So, last night I had a nutrition shake (I had the powder already, just add water) and tonight I bought a bag of shredded lettuce and had a lettuce salad with half a bucks worth of corned beef it. Total cost for dinner two dollars....Ranting about divorce....Priceless!

You know, it's funny, when I went for the mandatory sessions you have to attend they spent about 30 minutes treating us like scumbags, telling us the litany of things they would do to us if we ever tried to skip out on support payments. They seemed to delight in it in fact. As if I would ever withold support for my kids! WELL!!! What's my recourse when THEY screw up???

Thursday means Egg Roll

Today after my 'half day' at work (I left the usual hour late), I decided to take the kids out to lunch (had I known the extra money I was expecting in my paycheck from the Michigan Court system was not going to be there, I would not have!). We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant, the First Wok. I had never been there for lunch before and was surprised to find out they have luncheon specials!

Scott had his usual chicken lomein no vegetables, Danielle had sesame chicken, and I had General Tao's chicken. Danielle and I also had soup (egg drop for her, hot and sour for me), and I had an egg roll and she had crab puffs. This all came with the meal and it was about half the price of having dinner there!

We departed and headed up to Reed Lake, which I had passed many times in past years when Danielle was taking dance lessons. I had never been to the small park adjacent to the lake. We parked off to the side and began walking over. In between two crumbling old stone fence posts was a path leading into the woods, we decided to follow this (Danielle noting by the posted warning sign if we turned in any litter bugs we could net $50) but it shortly dead-ended in a boggy area to the side of the lake. We walked back and continued to the park proper. I took pictures as we walked about (many of you reading this got the infamous Duck on the Dock picture, message me if you did not!). It was a smallish park but the kids enjoyed it, sKipping ricks and climbing on the stones near the water. The high point on the way back was a family of ducks with some baby ducklings. Even Scott got into this and I was very happy, since as he is maturing he is losing quite a bit of the innocence he used to have. Anyway, after enjoying the mother duck and ducklings we headed home. Oh! As usual, just click on the picture above to see it full size in its own window.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Using the Noodle

After arriving home from work (I love these half days when I have the kids!) and riding the exercise bike Scott & Danielle wanted me to take them out to lunch. I pointed out I had taken them to the movies yesterday which I really could not afford but they please-please-d me into submission. I did tell them NOT to ask for any food out for the remainder of the week.

We ended going off to Noodles & Company, which none of us had ever been to before. Scott had the usual (no matter where we go that has pasta) Pasta with marinara sauce, Danielle had noodle with Parmesan cheese and butter and I had their INDONESIAN PEANUT SAUTÉ; which is rice noodles sautéed with fiery peanut sauce, broccoli, carrot and napa cabbage. Topped off with bean sprouts, crushed peanut and lime garnish, well, it was awesome! We hit Costco and headed home. They are downstairs playing, while I do work e-mail and blog. We are planning on a trip to the pool later.

Over the Hedge

After arriving home from work Monday around 11:30 I took Scott and Danielle off to see Over the Hedge. This turned out to be far better than I had anticipated. While I expected excellent animation, I did not expect a good plot and the diverse array of voice talent; even William Shatner, who I have soured with lately, was enjoyable.

After the movie we came home, played assorted games, and headed over to the pool for an hour so. One of Scott's friends, Ben met us there, and I verified at lunch today that was no coincidence, as Scott had IM'd him to say we were heading over there.

Chris was home from work when we returned home from the pool and as it was Monday's we did Quizno's as they have the special pricing for three large sandwiches on Mondays.

My son at Work

I had the chance to talk to his direct supervisor Monday evening and am very pleased to report my son Chris is doing awesome on the new (first) job. Working hard to the point of being told to stop and take a break in fact, and on physical work no less. I could not be more pound of him, and am pleased he is doing far better than his Mom and I would have thought! I underestimated him, and have no problem admitting I did so! This will be such a good experience for him. Last evening he ended up coming over here with several friends until after 11, the racket was louder than my surround sound, but I figured he deserved the unwinding time.

This is so cool in one respect, the coming of age and learning one of life's lessons, and sad in another as your realize your first born is now far along on the road to maturity, and leaving the house in a year or so. I never understood the pain and sadness my parents used to talk about in this regard after my brother, followed my myself, moved out of the family home years ago. It was one of the many times they said "It's something you will only understand if you grow up and have children of your own one day.". Well, once again Mom and Dad were correct!

Sunday - Or Fire! Fire!

One thing of mention for Sunday was the large fire I caused on the propane grill! I was making burgers for dinner and got distracted as Chris was playing the Game Cube on the large plasma display. I looked out to see volumes of smoke the likes of which I had never seen and raging flames and meat inside the grill! After waving off the helicopter with the hanging waterbag from the forestry service, a quick cessation of the gas supply helped though the grease in the grease pan of the grill burned for awhile and the burgers and charcoal had a lot in common. Whew!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Saturday was the Open House down where the X has her new business. It's like an indoor mall for home improvement. They have her business, a place that does painting, floors, roofs, bathroom fixtures, a building supply place, a handyman place, etc. etc. etc. so she had asked if I would bring the kids down to the open house.

As Chris is now working for him Mom, he was excused from this as he had already been at the Open House on Friday.

We headed out around noon and arrived. Impressive place indeed, as you walk into what appears to be expensive marble floors with a central fireplace and waterfall/pond in the center, you are immediately impressed. Even more so when you discover the floor is really acid etched concrete! It was amazing this one place they had there, the things they could do with concrete from table tops looking better than they put it, pretty much anything you could imagine.

We got the tour from the X, Scott and Danielle and I trying our keys in the door lock to see if we could win a prize (we did not), and then we got a bite of free lunch (pulled pork and snacks; Scott opted for the snacks, he hates pulled pork) and we settled in the X's office and chatted and such.

On Mom's laptop Scott drew one of his cartoons for his Mom and Danielle did a nice landscape. Mom had to keep speaking to the kids as they have one of those big retractable electric awnings in the office and they kept playing with the remote control. Danielle you trying to use the phone and Mom said "You can't dial outside without the SECRET code". "You mean 9?" I replied by reflex, which won me 'the look". I smiled and shrugged, and finally Danielle was told to leave the phone alone. I chatted with the X's partner Jeff for a bit about Chris and how he was doing at the job, we discussed how kids today have it much easier than we did, etc.....I am glad Chris got a job there because I think it will be good for him physcaily and mentally. He'll appreciate what hard work means and come to value a dollar, and develop a good work ethic. It should also encourage him to do better in school so he gets a scholarship!

The X walked me over to the handyman company to see about having someone come out and give me an estimate to install a ceiling fan in the cathedral ceiling of the living room. That is scheduled for 4PM today. They were also having an excellent sale on a ceiling fan with light at the fan/lighting store there, so, if the cost is reasonable for doing the electrical work I can pick up a fan there for $70 with a light and a lifetime warranty on the motor.

We left after about 2 hours (the kids were bored). Scott was hungry so we stopped at Little Ceasers for bread sticks (I gave the bulk of them to the kids) and then we stopped for dessert at a McDonald's that was featuring chocolate dipped cones. Scott wheedled me into getting french fries too and we all headed home.

We did the pool later in the day.

Chris starts work

My son Chris joined the land of the gainfully employed working for his Mom's home improvement company. it's heavy physical work, and after his first day he agreed that getting up and going to work sucks.

I am, very proud of him. He could have taken an easier minimum wage job but chose this instead.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I decided Thursday night, the last overnight of the week with the kids, to show them WarGames. I have always loved that movie! When I was the age of the David Lightman, the principal character in the movie, I was very computer literate. I too used to try and get into computer systems, though any system I could break into I immediately e-mailed the system admin how I got in and how to fix it, and then logged off. I never took anything, or looked at any file contents. Like David in the movie I had the old dumb terminal with the acoustic modem you had to put the phone hand set into. I too had a home-brew computer system build into a card cage with no case around it. I stopped all such activity well before I turned 18, but I had a lot of fun, and I like to think that I helped some system administrators save their systems (and possibly their jobs!) from attack.

Anyway, it I have always felt it is an awesome movie, and while Scott did not particularly like it, Chris, who complained at the beginning that it was boring, was soon sucked into the movie and really enjoyed it. Danielle seemed to enjoy it as well. Have you seen the Movie? If you check out the link above, check out the trivia section, which contains some interesting facts.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The House Screams with Silence

I had a great week with the kids, I will see them for half the day a bit later, yet, I am already bummed because they go back to their Mom's house around 6PM. The house will scream with silence after they are gone, I can barely stand the thought of it. This is one of those things that so totally sucks beyond the telling of it! I get mad at myself for not being a better husband and realizing the X was unhappy. I get mad at her for not making an effort to salvage the marriage....I feel so bad for the kids, particularly my little girl...I feel like I have failed them.......oh this stinks...

The Altimate Idiot!

I have done tirades about poor drivers, but this mornings blonde in the silver Altima tops them all. YOU know who you are! Zooming along at 80+ miles an hour, head moving up and down and far to the right as she's brushing her hair! I could not believe it! THEN five minutes later after exiting the highway, she pulls up to a red light and totally turns the rear view mirror so it is pointing at her and continues her grooming experience, totally oblivious to those around her (and now because of the way the mirror is oriented, behind her!). Hello!!!!! Next time leave the house five minutes later and make yourself all pretty at home! So, she is dubbed, the ALTIMATE IDIOT!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday is Bacon Day!

It's been a great week thus far outside of work. It's my first week with the kids of the summer. I have been working half days, coming in at 6:30AM and scheduled to leave at 10:30 though this week I have not been getting out of work until 11:30AM. Yesterday, in spite of the three hours of e-mail and other work fun from home, was a really nice day. We had incredible weather, sunny and in the 80's.

Scott wanted to go to Gamestop to get a new MegaMan game, so off we went after I was done on the exercise bike with Scott sitting there waiting for me to complete. he is also looking to return/exchange his ds-lite because it has a dead pixel, but, they did not have any new units in. He did get his game though! I had not eaten so we stopped at Wendy's on the way back where, I offered Scott and Danielle a treat since they had eaten PB & J sandwiches. Danielle opted for a Frosty, for his 'treat' Scott had 10 chicken Nuggets. We stopped at Forest Hills on the way home for some needed items.

We headed over to the pool a bit after five and had our longest visit yet, over an hour, and while it was warm and the water great, there were maybe 10 people at the pool. We played tag with some squooshy balls, using three, you had to hit your target with all three. Then Scott and Danielle took turns going off the diving board while I three a ball for them to catch or kick.

Sunday's episode of Iron Chef America had been Battle: bacon, so, for dinner I got a pound of bacon and I wrapped some ball park franks with two strips each of turkey bacon, and on the ones Chris and I were going to have I lightly brushed with the roadhouse spicy sauce before putting them on the grill. Scott opted for waffles as he is not a bacon fan. Danielle, CHris, and I loved the bacon wrapped dogs, they were excellent!We all watched a couple of episodes of The Simpson's together and then the rest of the evening was spent working, playing, watching TV with assorted kids.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Scott's Picture

Wow! Here's a picture my son Scott, age 14, drew this week. He is SO talented with free-hand drawing and flash on the computer! Who can name all the characters? Click on the picture for a larger version of it.

My Friend Suresh

I had a surprising phone call earlier in the week from an old friend back east. I have not talked with him in ages. We chatted about my nightmare job and lackluster life, how his job was doing (he had just passed his CISSP exam. CISSP, or the certified information systems security professional, is one of the toughest IT examinations to pass. Having that certification is most impressive!) We talked about the past, how his lovely wife Indu and their baby girl was doing, and more. I was very happy for him, and yet I must admit, a bit envious too. I imparted my usual post-divorce advice to communicate with his wife and never keep bad feelings to yourself about the relationship instead of sharing them with each other. After all, what good is discussing your problems with a multitude of other people while excluding your spouse and family?

I first met Suresh years ago (around 20+ or so years ago!) when we were both working at the same company back in New Jersey. I was working for the Engineering Computer Facility and he for Management Information Systems. He had a small one room dwelling nearby. We became fast friends. Suresh either loved or was tolerant of my warped sense of humor, indeed, being Indian, my fake Indian accent did not bother him, or, if it did, he left me live and I thank him for that! We both loved Science Fiction and Technology. He turned me on to James Axler's Deathalnd series of books which I still buy and read this day. In fact, I can't pick one up without thinking of him.

The years passed, I remember the weekend I helped him move out of that apartment to go live back in New York. The Engineering Computer Facility, and Management Information Systems merged into one IT department that I ended up managing. Down the road came a very sad day as Suresh left and took a job in New York.

He still worked for me part time, and along with him and my former brother in law (who I still consider a friend and part of my family and hope he feels the same) they became the 'dogs' of the IT department. "Bad Dog!" I would chide if one was late. This usually resulted in a torrent of barking and often when they were around the corner working I could hear periodic boughts of barking and laughter

Suresh would often bring in Indian food his mother had made on the weekends we worked and we would have that for lunch. I think sometimes he did it simply because he knew how much I enjoyed it.

Time continued to march on.....I got married....he got married... we had kids and the kids grew older slowly. Before their first child arrived we met in Florida one year for vacation, one of the best vacations ever! We were so close with them over the years that the kids grew up calling them Uncle Suresh and Aunt Indu, and a better Aunt and Uncle the kids could not have asked for, blood relations or not! And Indu, Danielle still asks when she will see Aunt Indu you know she loves you!

Suresh used to bring me spices from New York, and I remember making batches of spicy popcorn and Christopher would always be saying "Don't forgot the spicy chili powder Uncle Suresh sent!" He would also bring me a spicy snack called chukli, which is crunchy and looks like it was extruded from a play dough set. I love it though the play dough probably has more nutritional value!

Time continued to march on, my company decided to close down the New Jersey Locations, and we moved to Michigan. Suresh came for a quick visit in MI as his business had taken him to Detroit I believe. Suresh and Indu had their first child. Work became hectic, I saddened with the continued pressures and uncertainty, the soon to be X wife became disenchanted with me. The divorce and associated turmoil, particularly for myself and the three kids who were stunned by the X's wanting it....and still life marches on. I got the occasional e-mail from Suresh and Indu; after all they were busy starting their family, I was far away, and his job, like mine had turned so hectic and full of pressure. Sometimes months would go by without a direct mail between us.

Anyway, as I sat talking with him this week, these thoughts and many others flew through my head, and I realized once again how much affection I had for him and his wife, and how glad I was to hear from him and have friends like him. I truly value their friendship; have so few friends in the real is good to be reminded to cherish them. Thanks Pal, for taking the time to give me a call. It made my day! Actually, it made my year! Give the girls a hug from me, and keep in touch when you can. I really miss you guys.
Take care!