Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bag it dude!

Millions of dollars in computer equipment endangered by plastic trash! That's was caused this mornings early trip into work, plastic bags sucked into the bottom of one of the fan units outside the building. So, after getting up at 2:30AK, I was home by 6:00AM and in bed. Of course it took a bit of time to fall asleep so I got a two hour cat nap.....better than nothing! Up now, addressing a birthday card for my fathers girl friend, then Danielle and I are off to the grocery store for supplies!

Hot Under The Collar

Never freaking fails....weekend with the kids, Security guard at work calls me at 2:30AM to let me know the temperature is rising in the Data Center. I get in, temperature up another degree within 3 degrees of when I must call everyone in to shut it all down....I put "Emergency Cooling Plan A" in operation.....that's fancy talk for I open the big door between the Data Center and the outside, put a BIG HONKING Fan in the doorway, and blow in cooler outside air while the security guard monitors the open door via their camera system. The AC folks were called at 2:30......not here yet over an hour later but on their way....the facility person nervous because the AC repair guy wanted to know where the cross street for our company (a regular customer of theirs) is.....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

100th Post (Or, you've got Eggs!)

Well, this is the 100th post on my blog! I was thinking it should be something memorable like my rambling Tale of Tech Support Terror, but, alas! That was post 99!

I think I'll just post a picture of a few of the Easter eggs Scott, Danielle, and I had made for Easter! It should be noted that they and the other eggs all made excellent egg salad sandwiches a few days later, served with crispy turkey bacon on top of them! Yum!

If there's no Internet this must be Wednesday!

After arriving home after work yesterday while performing the usual regimen on the exercise bike (while watching an excellent A-Team episode!) my 17 year old informed me that the Internet was not working. Even though I have my Netgear WAP/Router keep the connection alive it does occasionally drop it. So, after I cooled down and put on a dry shirt I connected to the router via a web browser and could not re-establish the link. I did the usual power reset of the DSL modem and the WAP/Router. Same thing. NO connection.

DANG! The last thing I ever want to do is go through the totally crap first line tech support for my ISP. They are terrible!!!! A prime example of first line tech support that read from a prepared script and know next to NOTHING!

For example, months back we had a near lightning strike that fried equipment here and at the neighbor's house. The phone company had to come on site for my phone service and Internet. The technician sent was able to fix the phone service, but not the Internet. He connected a diagnostic device and verified that something inside the DSL modem was bad and directed me to call Internet support to have it replaced.

So, I made that call. "Hello" I said to the drone who answered after a seemingly endless wait. "I just had your repairman here who diagnosed the DSL modem as bad. He directed I call and arrange for a replacement."

"OK, what type of operating system do you have, Windows or Macintosh?" he queried.

"What difference does that make? It's Windoze, but as I said the tech was already here and diagnosed a bad modem. I need a replacement" I responded.

"We'll, I'll need you to log in into Windows so we can check your network settings" was his next comment.

"HELLO!!!!" I said in a loud voice. "Are you even listening to what I am saying"?

"Yes" he said but we need to check a few bring up Control Panel and.."


"So, you're saying you think the modem is bad..we'll need to check a few settings to confirm this." was the response.

"NO!" I almost screamed at the top of my lungs, red mist forming in my vision as I resisted the growing urge to bludgeon myself into quiet, peaceful, blessed drone-free unconsciousness to deliver me from this nightmare! "I know the modem is bad. Now, transfer me to whoever can get me a replacement modem!" I finished in a very loud clearly very annoyed voice.

He this was awhile ago and probably not word for word what happened (I think it actually took more words before I was transferred) so needless to say I was hesitant to call! In all fairness to my ISP (which is a major company, name withheld in this era of nuisance lawsuits where they might attack me for speaking of my experiences with them) on cases where the first line drones on the phone have realized (often after emotional pain akin to what one would experience in purgatory), the next tier of tech support is excellent. While I understand the cost measures to put cheaper folks on front line support, I wonder how much hold time and reduced 800 costs companies could realize but making these folks a bit more skilled. Not to mention improved customer satisfaction which I know in the technical areas is lacking and been falling off for several years now.

Well, back to the present! That experience still burned into my memory never to be forgotten, rather than go through that again I decided to do what I have done in the past which is jack into the DSL modem directly from a PC with a network cable. At least this way I can isolate if it's a problem at the DSL modem or the line since the modem has excellent diagnostics.

HOWEVER, since the last time I had to do this I had moved my home office PC up to the living room to become the entertainment PC after I acquired the 50" plasma display. So, I had planned on connecting a laptop in the office, and I actually had the laptop on the desk. Inter net's Down! NO TIME to connect and external keyboard and 19" LCD as I had planed and neatly run the power, just plug in the network cable.....what's that?? IT'S TOO SHORT!!!????

AAARRRRRGGGG! So, leaning half across the desk so I could connect to the network cable plugged into the DSL modem I changed the laptops network setup to agree with the DSL's Ethernet port. A quick connect and diagnostic report later I was confident the problem was with my ISP and was ready to call them.

Meanwhile while this was going on Chris and Scott headed out in Chris' car to go to the local mall to pickup a couple of games for their DS systems! (I am jealous of the kids who now have more spending money than Dad does!). Chris called once on his Cell phone as I was getting ready to call my ISP to tell me he was lost could I give him directions. I did, and got my diagnostic results and account info ready in preparation of making the call.

SO now I call the REPAIR number on the phone bill, play Touch Tone 20 questions and the last one is "We see from your account records you have high speed data service on this line. Is this call to report a problem with that?" Press 1 for yes. Pressing 1 I was rewarded with "This number only takes calls for the phone portion of your service. You will have to call Internet repair; this number is clearly marked on your DSL modem or phone bill. Goodbye

Oh! Looks like I forgot to mention that while I was almost up to the 20th question I heard the call coming in tone and thinking it was my son still lost, I hung up, only to be greeted by the X calling me to tell me she had picked up a new cell phone for the boy, which explained why when I had called him back a few minutes after his initial call to see if he was on track, it went straight to voice mail....sigh! I explained how I had gotten off of tech support call thinking it was him, and went back and completed the call and hit the dreaded 20th question.

Again AAARRGGGG!!!!! I was ticked when it hanged up on my! Since it had asked my phone number at the start of this process could that not have been the second question instead of number 20? Nothing on the phone bill for Internet Repair, just a number that says ISP Name I called that. This time a voice activated system answered that already knew my phone number!! Only a few questions to receive an automated bulletin that the Internet was down for large portions of Michigan! AAARRRGGG! Done in by my own revulsion of their low end tech support!!!

Thus ends my tech suport tirade! Anyway, by that time the boys were back, Danielle was home, and kids were hungry, so we headed out stopping at the X's house so Scott could get a Best Buy gift card as he wanted to pick up the new Final Fantasy DVD. We hot Uccello's for dinner (Scott having pasta with marinara sauce, Chris the usual hot winds, Danielle Bow Tie pasta) and then went to Best Buy so Scott could get his DVD.

When we arrived back at my house Scott headed off to watch the DVD off the PlayStation and I played some Oblivion with Danielle at my side most of the time (she often chooses to watch that instead of watching TV with me). The kids headed home at 8PM, just as the Internet came back up.

Restless Nights and Endless Daze

For months now Danielle has been having problems sleeping on and off at her Mom's house, a situation bad for Danielle and her Mom. She often wakes Mom up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep and wants to sleep with her. Mom has been taking a firmer attitude on this and we have both been speaking with her because Mom is worn down to frazzle and not getting enough sleep. As she and her partner are running themselves ragged already trying to get their new Home Improvement business up and flying. We will speak to Danielle and she will go for a few nights or a week OK and then wake Mom up every night for a few nights. last night she talked to Mom and nothing specific is bothering her though little bits and pieces of things are. Anyway, we left it at she will work hard to do better in this regard. The alternatives are more therapy or a visit to the sleep center to see if they can figure out things better. While Mom seems more affected than Danielle (Mom says her teachers do not notice her being tired at work and she is getting great grades) it is taking it's toll on Mom and I do feel for both of them! Danielle does sleep fine at my house though. I wish she could do the same at Mom's. Things like this make me feel so bad for what I have caused for my kids (and now the X too) after the divorce.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Where's Waldo?

OK, Where's Chris is what I meant but the title sounded better as "Where's Waldo?"

Chris has been busy with work and things outside of work, other than time with the kids, has just been...well...crappy! No need to say more or elaborate.

Today I unexpectedly have the kids as the X's company is going their grand opening down at the office and of course I AM STUCK IN THE OFFICE THIS MORNING AT WORK!!!! Arg! It's even worse as it's another NO PAY Saturday. I can't even look for Part Time work on the weekends to bring in extra money because that goes against my work agreement. Again I say AAARRRG! I was up at 6AM so I could get in here early and get home to be with the kids ASAP. Work has been totally crazy, I had put in for an hour off each afternoon this past week and for whatever reason Monday was the only day I could do it.

Anyway, the boys have been sick most of the week starting on Tuesday with Scott followed Wednesday with Chris. Friday they both tried to to school, Chris ended up getting sick there and Scott looked so bad the teacher sent him home.

Friday Night:
After picking the boys up at the X's house once Danielle had arrived home from school they were doing so-so and wanted a good dinner so I took them to IHOP. Chris and Scott had French Toast (Chris with breakfast meat on the side) , Danielle had the Rooty Jr. (pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and breakfast meat, and I had a Steak omelet. We stopped at Hollywood Video and picked up Fun with Dick and Jane which turned out to be very good and Chicken Little. We walked over (this was the longest walk I have taken in three weeks since my leg had been bothering) to the Grocery store and picked up some chips and popcorn and headed back to my house. The boys went to play and I did (what else) work e-mail followed by some oblivion. At 7:30 we watched Fun with Dick and Jane. The little ones went to bed at 10, and Chris and I around midnight.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Another Picture from the Vault

Figured I'd post a picture since I got a couple of "where are you?" e-mails.....well, work has been insane, up until Easter my leg hurt so bad I could barely walk, and things are just nuts!

I am still here though with little time spent on the PC these days. I hope this will improve soon. If you want to hear back from me post a comment here and I will answer it.

Here is a picture I took earlier this April; while scaled down for blogging it is still quite impressive at the much reduced size! Click the image above to see an 800x600 version.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Parable of the Spoons

A dear friend sent this to me:
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like." The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, "You have seen Hell."

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The holy man said, "I don't understand."

"It is simple" said the Lord, "it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

And lead me not into temptation.....

As I've mentioned money is tight now without getting any overtime pay. Basically that's a 30% reduction in salary for me. Between the mortgage, other bills, and child support...well...... I would do almost anything for more cash.....almost....

Tonight, as Danielle and I were partaking in the usual ritual of going to the store to get items for dinner, we hit the cash machine. The grocery store has a small branch of the bank there and we often use the ATM. I do not like to keep large amounts of cash on me for various reasons.

An elderly gentleman was just walking away from the machine as I stepped up to get my cash. To my surprise I saw that he had not ended his session and he had plenty of cash ready for withdrawal! Without giving it a second thought I immediately course cancelled out of this screen, ended his session, and snagged his card. I ran through the store after him and his wife (OK, they were elderly, not that far away, and I limped on my sore leg!). "Excuse me sir, but you did not end your session at the ATM. I did, and here is your ATM card!" Needless to say he was quite pleased as Danielle and I headed back to the ATM to do our transaction. I was tempted to say "Never fear, we left you bus fare so you could get your groceries home!" I contained myself however, happy in the fact that not only had I done a good deed, but if someone of less honest persuasion had walked up to the machine they could have at least gotten $500 from this person's account.

For the kids this evening I made chili-cheese dogs. I had some Healthy Choice kielbasi with some melted cheddar cheese and chili spooned over it. I, as Christopher did, added Tabasco sauce to my chili for extra spice. I of course, used more!

After a quick clean up we watched last Sunday's espidoes of "The Simpson's" and "The Family Guy". It is Wednesday, so, I have the kids until 8PM! yay!

The lawn service came and did the spring cleanup of the property today. I really hate having to pay others to do work for me, but, with my bad back I just can't be doing that type of work. At least I had the last of the tax money budgeted for that this summer! However, I can't help but think how nice it would be to have the extra money, Of course, on the opposite side of the coin they did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price.

Old Faithful

Danielle arrived home from school promptly at 4:30. We needed to head to Forest Hills to do the dinner shopping but I was still (had been doing it for about 90 minutes after I arrived home) in my work network finishing up some e-mail. I had put an ice tea in the freezer earlier and she was thirsty so I told her to get that. She forgot the "when something is partially frozen take the cap off very slowly....." rule as she walked out into the living room.

Like a bullet exiting the barrel of a gun the top shot up into the air releasing a spray of ice tea all over her, me, the computer, and the end table. She went and got paper towels and cleaned it all up. She was very upset though, even though I was not. However, a couple of minutes later I was standing up to get my coat and I felt a drop....I looked up at my 12 foot high cathedral ceiling and there in an 8 foot radius were drops of ice tea all over, and some dripping! I went and got the swiffer sweeper and put a new pad in which I dampened, and then spent about 20 minutes cleaning and sponging the ceiling to avoid staining. I ended up having to get a chair because she had hit the highest point of the ceiling on one place. She was SO upset, saying it was all her fault, but I finally got her cheered up a bit. Off to the store we went stopping outside in the yard to check a few of the flowers beginning to bloom.....spring it seems, has finally sprung in West Michigan!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


For a video of what the Easter Bunny does those other 364 days of the year, please click here! While very funny, do not let small impressionable children watch until you have seen this first!

Link of the Day - Video

Very Funny! Free Photo Booth

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ice Box Cake - The Picture!

You MUST click the picture above to see it
in all it's full sized delicious glory!!!

Ice Box Cake - The Story

One of the best desserts I remember growing up with that my Mom used to make was Ice Box Cake. Basically you boil up some pudding, and then in a baking disk you start with a layer of graham crackers, then a layer of hot pudding, a layer of graham crackers, finishing up with a layer of pudding on top.

The part that made this extra super special fun was that you need to make about three boxes of pudding (using two boxes of graham crackers each with three packs of crackers. SO with such a big pot of pudding, I was stuck at the stove stirring the pudding for 35 minutes until it came to a boil.

At least with my back and leg pain I had the foresight to pull a chair up by the stove! While I stirred (and stirred, and stirred, and stirred, and stirred) Danielle was coloring in fashion pictures she had drawn at her Moms. It never ceases to amaze me the artistic talent Scott and Danielle have. My brother has that talent too, both in drawing and in his ability to play the bass guitar.

At least the pudding was done, and I began the process of making the Ice Box Cake. you have to do this very quickly because as pudding cools even a little bit it begins to set, and of course some cracker cutting is required to get a perfect fit. The cake ended up being six layers of graham crackers and pudding and then it was covered. You have to leave it out at room temperature, covered, for a hour so the heat and moisture from the cooling pudding makes the graham crackers soft like cake. Danielle enjoyed licking the big spoon I had used to stir (and stir!) the pudding and I put the pot and ladle into the freezer to cool.

I had covered the baking disk with another turned upside down on top of it, and this is where I got to play "Chris is stupid" and I rested the class of leftover pudding I had doled out. The top disk was wobbly and partially shifted sending the glass to the floor.

After the cleanup I asked Danielle if she wanted to enjoy so pudding pot. "Pudding Pot?" she said. I took the pot from the freezer (now nicely chilled and shot some whipped cream in it and we got it fairly clean with a spoon.

Back to the subject of Ice Box cake, you can use any kind of graham cracker, but my mom used to use honey grahams. Last night we decided to use chocolate graham crackers. Vanilla pudding and Cinnamon graham crackers is also a nice variation. However you do it you must use regular pudding with whole milk for the best experience! Do not dare to use instant pudding to make ice box cake! Anyone who really enjoyed pudding knows the instant is a poor substitute for real cooked pudding!

Finally, before serving the cake (which for best flavor must chill in the refrigerator for an hour) I put some imported chocolate candy into a cheese grater and grated chocolate shavings over the top. My mom never did that, but, it was an excellent touch!

Several Daze of Blogs

I thought I had a half day at work and was looking forward to the last day I had the kids on their spring break.......I headed home, did the exercise bike, and went to check my e-mail. I had an alarming message from management stating that site power was off and my Data Center was down and no one was available on site to handle things! After making some phone calls and determining that the data center was in fact up and running on it's massive UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supplies) but the site generator had failed I headed back into the office. I also informed management that the data center was not down (a misscommunication up line) and kept them posted about the ongoing status.

I arrived to find that the generator was now up, but was having issues. The UPS systems here which are quite massive, can hold the Data Center for about an hour. Protocol states that once we reach about 20 minutes of reserve power, we must begin shutting it all down. The generator kept kicking in and out, and each time it did the UPS lost more reserve capacity. We were about 6 minutes away at one point of beginning the shutdown. This is something we did not want to do as it takes about three hours to get everything back up and running and we have locations world-wide that use our data center for services.

To make a long story short I ended up spending five hours back at work for my four hour half a day off, though I did get back in time to take the kids all out to dinner at Smokey Bones before sending them back to their Mom's. Danielle cleaned up at my place because a friend was meeting her back a her Mom's for a sleep over which Danielle had been trying to arrange for a couple of weeks.

The only noteworthy thing to mention here was it was a heck of a day at work with fallout (some technical some political) to deal with regarding the power failure. After work I snagged Scott and Danielle who spent a couple of hours at my place before their mom picked them up at 5:30.

One noteworthy point on that Wednesday power failure; analysis by the power company discovered the problem with the generator starting and running was due to a family of field mice that had penetrated behind the control panel and chewed through some wiring harnesses! I departed work early for my Chiropractor appointment (My leg has been bothering me all week, sometimes so much I could not walk downstairs, and other times just a dull ache or twinge). Pinched nerves are fun! I had cancelled my Monday appointment since I Had the kids and asked for the same time on Friday. Imagine my surprises after the 15 minute drive on the highway (which of course the Mustang and I enjoyed!) when I arrived at the office and found it closed! A quick call got me a message saying we are closed....I left a message stating "Gee, it would have been nice to have been told that when I called for the Friday appointment since I am standing outside your closed office right now!" If not for the cost of gas (around $2.80/gallon) I would not have minded the ride...though my back and leg would have been happy to have the adjustment! I headed back home, snagged Danielle and we hit Forest Hills Foods to pickup the items for an ice box cake. (There will be a separate post about that later) During the preparation of same I dropped a glass filled with leftover HOT chocolate pudding on the clean floor and it shattered into many many pieces most of them tiny. Pudding went everywhere, onto white cabinet surfaces chair and table legs, and glass managed to spread across three rooms!

I sent Danielle to safety and began the fun task of cleaning up pudding with bits of glass in it! First I got all visible chunks of glass and then used a piece of cardboard to scoop up globs of glass garnished pudding off the floor. Then I very carefully cleaned more pudding off everything. I've always though the X calls me at the best of times. She once again demonstrated this phenomena by calling right as I started cleaning the mess up! Finally I got the rainbow vacuum and did the kitchen, living room, and dining room floors.

Around 5:25 we called for Chinese food and departed soon after to pick it up. We got back home, the boys had already arrived, and the X soon joined us (after sitting in the driveway for 10 minutes talking to a customer) and we enjoyed excellent food from the First Wok, our Chinese restaurant of choice. The was Chicken lo-mien (no vegetables), Bali-Bali beef (thin strips of marinated grilled lean tender beef), crab puffs, fried dumpling with sauces, Mongolian Beef and combination lo-mien and fried rice. We cleaned up and the X than had another business call to make, so, with Danielle and Chris watching I played a bit of Oblivion, and then we settled down to watch Narnia: The lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Midway we stopped for dessert, the Ice Box cake. With the exception of Scott who does not like it, everyone enjoyed it greatly. The movies was over around 9:30, they departed, and I watched Part II of the Doctor Who episode which was excellent! After that some reruns followed (Grace Under Fire) and then from 11 to about 1AM I played Oblivion.

A fun filled day of work on a weekend I had thought I was going to have off, and Scott and Danielle joined me after dinner time to spend the night. TV and video games were the mainstays of the evening.

More to come

Another hectic week, posts to come later today when I get home from work about the week.

Thrill to the tale of the Great Pudding Mess!

Gasp at the horror of the power failure at work!

Drool over the Ice Box Cake I made yesterday!

Take Care!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Where's Chris?

It's been three daze since my last post; between my painful back and leg and my generally supper crappy bad mood I have not really felt like posting.

Here's a synopsis of the previous days notable events "

Saturday: Danielle and I went down to her Grandparents house to work on Grandma's computer. While I worked with grandma, Grandpa took Danielle to the store and spent some time with here. The computer work took about two hours to do and then we headed home. For dinner, I made pasta mixed with sausage and pepperoni, Chris ate leftover pizza, and I made Scott some plain pasta and sauce.

Sunday: Scott, Danielle, and I went to see the second Ice Age movie. We all enjoyed it, and felt it was better than the first one. The animation was really great! Around 2:30PM Danielle and I went to Meijer Gardens to see the butterflies. I may post a picture or two from this if there is any interest at all. The area where the butterflies were was very hot and humid; I was so glad I left my coat in the car! On the way back we stopped at Forest Hills as I had to pickup some plain sauce for Scott's pasta. We all had the same dinner as last night for dinner!

Monday: I had the day off (though I could not help but spend a couple of hours checking and replying to my work e-mail since there is so much going on!). For dinner I made turkey bacon and chocolate chip pancakes for the kids and I had a turkey bacon

Tuesday: Half day at work, I took Scott and Danielle to Burger Thing....King for lunch (stopping at McDonald's on the way back for Chris as he hates BK) and for dinner we just scrounged.

Wednesday: Half day at work and first day since Saturday that my leg has felt good enough to ride the exercise bike. Made S & D PB and banana sandwiches for lunch (Chris is still asleep). Paid some bills on-line and decided to blog some.

Chris, Scott, and I have been caught up in the computer game Oblivion an excellent game! It has held me captivated more than any game I can remember in quite a long while. Danielle has been playing an older Pink Panther game I loaded on the lower end PC.

Time over the past days with the kids has been largely spent gaming and watching TV. Danielle and I ran errands. They are leaving later this evening, and that stinks beyond the telling of it. Having kids part time really sucks! Almost two years now and it is just not something one can get used to! Aaarrrg! (Yes, this is a large part of my crappy mood!)

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I had a nice evening with the kids; they showed up around 4PM. Under the new budgetary restrictions in effect since I lost my OT this would be the one night we did not cook at home. For Christopher I ordered a Domino's XLP Cheese pizza (which will also give him left-overs for a dinner or two) and I took the kids to the China Garden. Scott had his usual Chicken lo-mien no veggies and Danielle and I did the buffet.

Cost of China Garden Dinner: Twenty-five dollars
Cost of Dinner Tip: Three Dollars
Watching the kids make "Super Cookie" out of the fortune cookies: Priceless!

We hit Forest Hills Foods on the way back, picked up snacks and enough food for breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Danielle and I will do the shopping for the rest of the week after we get back from the X's Mom's house where we are going later this morning to help her with her computer. We got back and alternated playing video games, computers games, and watching TV for the evening. We watched one of the better "That' 70's Show" episodes which was the Halloween one where they are goofing on Alfred Hitchcock movies such as "Physco", "The Birds", and "Gaslight"

Looking back, it was weird seeing that Halloween episode, and later watching a "Grace Under Fire" episode which turned out to be a Halloween one. Strange.....perhaps that is why I dream of battles with monsters last night.....

Now, if only my right leg had not been bothering me the last couple of days the evening would have been perfect (well, except for the spider incident where Danielle came running upstairs because the boys would not kill a spider. Scott upset her when he told her that "It can only hurt you if it crawls down your throat!")

AND on top of that let's close with "Dad's pick of The Lamest Excuse of the Week!" The X calls me around 1PM yesterday because Christopher had left her house to drive to see a movie with friends. (AFTER borrowing the money from his sister no less!) She wanted to know if he had checked with me first.
First off he knows that this is not allowed; either the X or I must be notified before departing whichever residence they are at. He knew she was going away for the weekend but left her a note. When I quizzed him on it he said "Oh, Scott said she was at work and I did not want to bother her!" Lame! The kids have called us at work before for the most trivial of reasons....someone's bothering me, can we have a treat, will you come home for lunch and bring us McDonald's, when will you be home......