Saturday, March 29, 2008

Snow, work, kids, and such.

Thursday night it was snowing again and by yesterday morning we had another inch on the ground. I am hoping that's the last of it. After 107 inches of snow for the year, I have had enough.

At work, we are finally getting ready to be transferred into our new division at GE next week which is basically an IT support group. It will be a big change for us all; for example none of us will be doing any hands on technical work going forward once the Grand Rapids site is fully transitioned; we are not looking forward to that at all, but, on the other hand it is good to have a job. It will be strange, we will now be 'guests' or even tenants of the Grand Rapids location but not part of that business, which means we'll all be moved into an area together (goodbye my window seat that I love!) and have different benefits, vacation and holiday policies. Goodbye week off at Christmas!!!! Aarrggggg!

Danielle is over her strep which is good, though it made her lose 3 days of school and fall a little behind. Scott is doing well. Thursday night I took them both to Hobby Lobby to get Scott a sketch pad, I ended up spending over $50 getting the each a set of sketch books and pads, plus an artists carrying case for Scott and a set of artists pens for Danielle; when it comes to creative things like this I can't say no!

Chris came home from Kettering University yesterday; this is his second B session of his freshman year where he is supposed to be working with a partner company but he still does not have one. Of the eight 3 month B sessions to graduate he needs five with a partner company. He had an interview in the area a week or so ago is hoping to hear from by Wednesday so he does not have to go to Detroit for an interview. Then too he would have to live in that area instead of being able to stay at his Mom's house. He had exams this week and I was IM'ing with hm the other day and he feels he did good in them. He is the typical student, staying out until all hours, catching a bit of sleep, and then running off to class.

I thought my takes were all taken care of but the accountant told me they were rejected by the IRS. Turns out the X did Chris' on-line for him and somehow set it to claim him as a deduction for himself which as a full time student being claimed on my taxes he can't do, so, now amended tax forms for him and me had to be done to fix it for of course additional money, but, considering I get a very good refund using the accountant I have no issues with paying the extra $50 to take care of this.

Last night the X stopped in bringing dinner which I ordered from First Wok, Scott had his friend Ben over so he joined us for dinner. Afterwards the X, Danielle, and I watched "The Mist" which turned out to be pretty good. A bit after they left she called because Danielle had forgotten her antibiotics. Since I knew the X had to journey out sometime between 11 and midnight to pickup Scott and that Danielle would be in bed already I ran them over the her house.

I often marvel over the way my divorce works out with the X; last week we ended up having sinner together four times for example, I like to call this a 'dysfunctional' divorce....and I really wish I could stop carrying the torch for her..but the heart has a mind of its own... I do hope her business issues resolve this year, she works so hard for so little return, it just does not same fair.

Yesterday after work I also began the chore of setting up my new Home Theater PC, I worked that on and off until 2AM this morning. I'll probably do a separate post on that later.

For the cat fanciers out there Tails is doing fine; she enjoyed being up late with me last night, often sitting in the chair next to me at the kitchen table where the new HTPC is being set up, or curled up on the couch with me when I was sitting there.

The sun is shining, the temperature, which had dropped into the low teens overnight is predicted to hit upper 40's today, so perhaps we are finally going to see some spring like weather. I guess that's all for now!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


How many times did your mother tell you NOT to play with your food??? Well, in her wildest moments she never could have imagined THIS:

Thanks to my friend Barry for sending me this!

Danielle and Strep and Tails and Foot

Yesterday Danielle came down with strep throat, a really nasty case. I worked from home and took her to the doctor and then went and got her meds. Today she is feeling a little better which is good, she was SO pathetic yesterday morning!

On a totally different note here's a picture of Tails enjoying her foot; I included this because Tails cheers Danielle up when she is not feeling well.

Click picture for a larger version

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Day 2008

It was a very nice Easter!

I awoke around 8:30AM, puttered on the computer, drank a nutrition shake and a bit later rode the exercise bike. After getting cleaned up I had Scott and Danielle make their Mom Easter cards and at 12:30 we arrived at her house for the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Christopher, home from college for the weekend, hid the eggs and we learned a new thing; he has ADHD and forgot where he hid most of the eggs so later in the hunt when they were missing 20 eggs out of the 104 that were hidden he was running around to get them!

There were not real eggs but hollow plastic ones the X fills with assorted candy.

The kids all got Easter baskets, shown below, then we headed back to my house to pickup Scott's wallet.

While Scott ran into the house I backed into the street, and backed back into the driveway so the car was facing the street, the experiences with Scott backing the Mustang out and almost hitting the tree across the street racing through my head!

Scott, wallet in hand, or at least in pocket, came out of the house and we headed off to the X's parents house for Easter dinner with Scott driving. He drove very well, excellent in fact, so much better than the last time we made this journey some months back. I was sure to praise him alone and again in front of everyone.

I( had not been to Mom and Dad's for awhile, so, I caught up on the news and also got to see their remodeled kitchen (most nice!) including new range and microwave. I once again engaged in the mental debate of spending money on a new oven for my house.....sadly no conclusion was reached and the debate will rage on!

Mom was having rouble with her PC again so I spent about four hours working on it, tweaking, tuning, scanning for viruses, and came across a new scam, this program called Macro Virus she has downloaded as a virus scanner said she has 212 infected objects, but, they were bogus; SpyBot defined this program as a scam, it lies about all these viruses to try and get you to pay for the registered version, then it 'cleans' them saying they are all gone afterwards. Slick trick, huh??

Mom's PC's biggest issues seemed to be a combination of too many temporary (over 25,000) files, fragmented hard disk, too many startup programs not needed running, and system restore running. Taking care of all of these too time, and as dinner was being served I left a disk check running and enjoyed a fabulous Roast Beef dinner,with baked potato, fresh asparagus with Hollendaise sauce, Holiday break (like a cinnamon nut loaf almost, salad, gravy, and sauteed mushrooms. I complimented Mom on how good dinner was and mentioned I could not have done better myself! From me, that is high praise! I even mentioned I was not sure I could have done the roast beef as well; i will have to put that to the test one weekend! Dinner over I continue work on the computer, took a break for a thin slice of strawberry cake, and then we headed home around 6:30PM with Scott driving, once again doing most well!

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing with TV, Fate on the computer, with bed around 11 PM.

Tails got canned food at bed time even though she had it before we left for Easter festivities earlier in the day; figured that was her Easter dinner.

The only negative thing off the day was that this year Danielle did not ask to color Easter eggs; I attribute this mostly to all the time she spends on the computer, which I think more rigorous action is required to break her of this habit.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!


The picture below is from the card Danielle drew for her Mom:

And this one Scott made for his Mom on the computer:

Both can be clicked for larger versions.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Who you gonna call???

Visit the Official Game Site of Ghostbusters - The Video Game

Ghostbusters has always been one of my favorites, from the first and second movies, to the cartoons, and the Ray Parker Jr music video which you can watch below:

Universal Studios used to have a live Ghostbusters show and pavilion which recreated the inside of their firehouse, it was awesome! Ecto-1, their 1959 Cadillac was parked at various parts of the studio lot. Somewhere I have a analog picture of it.

Imagine my disappointment the year we went back to find it gone, replaced by Twister (the movie about tornadoes; enjoyable but not Ghostbusters! Now they are making a video game.....I can't wait! Click the banner at the top of the screen to go to the game site.

So, Who you gonna call?? Ghostbusters!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sorry for the lack of updates

Sorry for the lack of posts these past couple of weeks, just been feeling sick, or having back issues, or just plain blah with many issues on my mind.

I had the day off today so I took care of a bunch of errands. I headed out around 9:30AM, it was very windy and the temperature just below freezing. First stop was to get Mr. Mustang an oil change, then I picked up some cash at an ATM, and stopped at the UPS store to send my X10 Icon remote, which I bought to replace me Harmony 880, back to X10. They advertise their Icon Remote as a Harmony 880 killer, well, let me tell you the thing is a piece of garbage in that it would not control half of my devices, though the 880 it was supposed to kill had no trouble doing so until I killed it accidentally! X10 has some interesting items but their customer service really sucks. I had sent them a detailed letter about the faults of the remote and all I got back was a form letter which at least had my RMA, so, I will get my money refunded. I have no respect for a place with poor customer service!

So, with that out of the way I went to Lowe's next as I needed furnace filters. I use the 3M heavy duty allergens filters and my furnace is a weird size so these are hard to find. Luck was with me they had two packs of them which saved me about 3 bucks a filter so I bought 2 2 packs.

I popped into work for a couple of hours to take care of a few loose ends from the week, which was very hectic. Work is becoming a real chore lately, what with having to do my old job and trying to learn my new job and working on the integration into GE's's very stressful, and I am not very happy with my job lately though I am pleased to be employed, all the fun has gone out of the job.

I headed off to the accountant next, where for the past few years I have been getting good tax refunds. It's certainly more expensive than using Turbo Tax or another program on the PC, but they do a great job and I get good refunds. Just as I was starting back from the accountant snowflakes started falling.

Oh! I did not mention they predicted a big storm yesterday? One that they swore would miss our area.....well, it did not.

So, as I was getting off the highway which is right by my house I decided to continue on to Forest Hills Foods where I picked up the bare necessities (the simple bare necessities!) to get the kids and I through today and tomorrow. The store was a mob scene, probably fueled by the fact of the encroaching storm and people shopping for their Easter holiday.

I got home a little after one and loaded up the crock pot with ingredients for chicken soup (which was delicious), and Scott's girl friend Emma came over for dinner and liked it too.

Scott's way of asking me if she could come for dinner was me overhearing him telling her on the phone to be at our house at 6PM and we were having soup! I thought that was pretty amusing actually.

So, there's got to be around half a foot of freaking snow on the ground now around 11PM and it is still snowing! I guess we will break the 100" mark after all!

Some other things that have been going on...

A week ago was White Day so the day before, after I arrived home from work very sore and stiff, and having already stopped for groceries and wanting nothing more than t sit and relax Scott announces he has to bake a cake for Emma for White Day, so I got to take him to the store and get the ingredients, run him over to Gamestop for some game he wanted, and then stop at his Mom's house so he could get cake pans which I do not have. AND I got to pay for all the ingredients and help him make the cake! Even with my jaundiced views of relationships who am I to stand int he way of true love??

That White Day Friday evening Chris came home from college for the weekend, I made a pot of sauce (I think that's the third time now) in the crock pot and the X came over. We had a nice pasta dinner, Chris eating chicken wings as he hates pasta, and then the X, Chris, and I watched Stargate SG-1 The Ark of Truth, which was the movie that closed all the lose ends when Stargate SG-1 was not picked up for an 11th season. It was AWESOME and they did a fantastic job of closure.

Last Sunday Scott was out bike riding and he totaled his bicycle and bashed himself good, he was sore most of the week and the bike was a loss. I suggested Sears be checked for a replacement bike, and, after checking local bike shops and finding the prices way too high the X went to Sears and got a fantastic deal on a road bicycle for Scott. I paid for it, and she and Scot put it together, she doing a good job except for the fact she put the handlebars on backwards which became evident when the front wheel would not go on!

Last night the X popped by bringing Quizno's (fourth time for dinner in a week's period....I thought we were divorced!) and she, Scott, Danielle, and I watched "I am Legend" which I thought was excellent.

Danielle has really been enjoying the iPod Nano I bought her as a reward for her last three good report cards. She has been spending way too much time on the computer though and she has been ignoring my suggestions of policing herself before Mom and Dad do checks and balances are going to have to be put in place. For example, this evening I sent her to bed on time instead of letting her stay up later like I usually do.

That's about it for now.........I'm going to go to bed shortly and either dream of warm weather of have frozen nightmares of a post apocalyptic freezing wasteland!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The week in review

This was the lovely morning that greeted me a week ago Saturday after additional snow the day before:

I was feeling a bit sick, had been the day before, but the day was gorgeous. As it got later I was feeling worse and worse. I called my dad to say hello and got some bad news; he had seen a second specialist who confirmed what his previous doctor had said his lungs were failing and there was nothing that could be done. I was stunned and spent the rest of the weekend in a fog, particularly after more bad news from some other family back east in the medical and other areas.

By Monday I was flu-like sick as I had all the symptoms except a fever. I was home sick Monday and Tuesday though I did work about half a day each from home just trying to keep up with all that is going on.

I felt bad in body and mind all week and work was very hectic on top of that. I was so ready for the weekend and Friday was the start of a week with the kids which always makes the weekend more enjoyable.

I don;t know what I did, but I managed to wrench my back badly that evening and by Saturday it was about the worst it has been in a couple of years. Of course Scott had plans that required various transportation plus because he had late-ending driver education which I had to drop him off early at (plus pick up one of his friends on the way) we also had to stop at the X's so they could get their stuff for the week at my house which we usually do after school on Friday.

Unknown to Scott and Danielle getting in and out of the low to the ground Mustang when my back is like this is very painful, all I wanted to do was take some presumption pain killers and lay flat on my back in between sets of my exercises. But because the last pickup I had to do of him and two friends was at midnight, I was unable to do that until 2AM this morning (1AM but daylight savings time you know) since all day I had to keep my head clear for driving. I could not deny him his fun, he's been through a lot too this week; he had a friend pass away at school. She fainted during practice for the talent show and was dead two hours later. For him this is the second friend who has died in a 6 month period. So, as Lucy had said in Charlie Brown, I just gritted my teeth, dealt with the pain all day, and got the job done.

Sunday morning after a fitful nights sleep my back does not seem to hurt any worse......though I fear it will be delivery food for the kids this day though when I go to pickup Scott from the friend's house he slept over last night I will drag him to Forest Hills Foods with me so he can do the bending and lifting of some groceries we must have.

So, that's been my week and why there have been no posts during that period. I hope everyone else has been doing OK.