Friday, January 30, 2009

More Daze

Here's a recap of the week thus far.....

Well, after about 9 days of NO snow, we had a couple of inches overnight. Not enough to really fire up the mega snow blower, but enough where I will need to go out and shovel it before the kids get home from school.

It is actually 30 degrees here, the warmest it has been in weeks where temps have ranged from 5 below zero, to single digits, not going above 20 degrees. So, this is like a heat wave, and the sun is shining as well.

Some additional sporadic snow is expected over the next few days, we shall see what the weather brings.

It was the X's night to take the kids for dinner. She arrived early so we could go over their edline reports because both Scott's and Danielle's grades have been slipping. Each have promised improvement this quarter, which will be good. Do well and get rewarded! Do poorly and expect loss of privileges!

The X asked if I wanted to accompany them to dinner, and I did, with us ending up at Red Robin. There was no parking in our usual area and I was blamed as I had said "There will be no parking in our usual area" as it was dinner time. We cruised nearby areas and found a place that though a bit further away as the crow flies was actually closer because we could walk places cars could not drive.

It was a bit windy and bitterly cold, the X was really missing the balmy weather in Las Vegas. She remarked that will it was cool for Vegas at around 60 degrees, people out there were bundling up in heavy coats like we were wearing in the 12 degree cold!

We gladly arrived, it was god to be out of the cold, and we were quickly seated. I limited the fries I ate, had water with dinner, and did not request a side of mayo as I usually do (for the burger and fries). So, while this was really out of bounds for the diet, I had behaved during the day and did not go crazy at dinner.

It was even colder on the way back to the car and it was snowing lightly. We topped at "Play and Trade" so Scot could get a job application, and then headed over to Hobby Lobby as Danielle needed some school supplies. There is no such thing as a quick trip to that store with the kids, so I looked around as they were looking for items.

Danielle ended up just getting a book for drawing in as their prices for school type supplies are too high. The X suggested Staples and Danielle and I started walking that way, only to discover it was closed. We drove a mile or so up the road stopping at a Staples where I was able to procure the supplies Danielle needed, along with a journal for her.

Back to the X's house we went as Scott needed my old camera which was there, and the X wanted me to look at her furnace to see where the filter goes. They had changed it since I lived there, replacing the old slot with an extra wide one that takes $$$ filters. I told the X if she ordered the filter we could figure out how replace it, as you have to setup the filter inside this suitcase-size container.

The kids and I headed back to my house and enjoyed some TV, including new episodes of our favorite comedy show Scrubs, before retiring.

Scott, who had been feeling fine in the morning came home from school looking like one of the Zombies in Left 4 Dead. He had a terrible sore throat to the point where he said during the day he felt like it was closing and he could not breath, I told him next time something like happens to have the school call us instead of trying to stick the day out.

Danielle was at her friends house, so around 5:15 PM I headed out, armed with the Family Video Game and DVD returns Scott was supposed to take back. It was, of course, snowing and the roads were slippery. I picked up Danielle and when we were almost back in my neighborhood I called First Wok and ordered Chinese food for dinner which we picked up after dropping off the rentals.

We watched TV and had an enjoyable dinner, though Scott was still feeling bad. Whatever he had was most infectious and virulent; right after dinner my throat started hurting which was accompanied by a pounding headache. By bedtime I was all congested and feeling terrible.

It was hard sleeping and it seemed minutes after I feel asleep it was time to get up as Danielle was knocking on my door. She had a bad sore throat and a bad headache!

So, the three of us stayed home. The kids went back to bed and I got up to login to the work network and begin my work day.

Around 11 Danielle got up and I took a lunch break at noon making some doctored Ramon soup. Discarding most of the packaged seasoning (while is LOADED with sodium) I added chicken, no sodium chicken broth powder, and other spices and soon had a steaming pot of soup. Scott got up, and we all had a nice bowl of soup. At 1 PM I resumed work.

By the afternoon we were all feeling somewhat better. I went out around 5 PM because snowing or now, sick or not, I had to drive into the office to perform some tasks in support of our Long Island facility and the kids would be going back to the X for her week with them.

I made some packaged Velveeta and Shell dinner (using the 2% reduced fat version) and around 7:30 the kids and I headed out.

The 3.5 ride into work was nightmarish, but I made it OK, and headed home which took about 4 times as long as the drive usually takes.

I had a snack, and went to bed. Of course it was still snowing..........

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Weekend in Review

Friday - As I had beat my weight loss target by one pound (trying to loose 2 pounds a week) I kept my promise to the kids and we went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Scott met us there with his girlfriend Andi and we all had a nice time. I thought it was cute the way Andi was squeamish as Scott showed her how he eats, even to the point of playing with the fat from his Prime Rib at the end of the meal.

Hey! How many of YOU grew up with your parents taking you out for Prime Rib? That did not happen in my family, I tell you what!

Saturday I was awoken by Scott at 6:55 who was supposed to be heading out to take his SATs. Despite being reminded he forgot his graphing calculator at school so he could not take the test. I was so aggravated I could not go back to sleep and ended up getting up on one of my precious days to sleep late!

Note much else stands out about the day, Danielle and I played some left for Dead before Scott left for work, and when he came home around 8:30 that evening I took him to Taco Bell for some Tacos.

I had the first dream I could remember since earlier in the week; this time I was in a large mall, and a Tank zombie from Left 4 Dead began rampaging through the store I was in. Suddenly I had a shotgun in my hands and was doing battle. Upon awakening I once again reflected if perhaps I was playing too much of this game!

Sunday - I got to sleep in until almost 9 AM! For me, that is just wasting the day away! I got up, did the exercise bike after releasing Tails, and then headed down to Forest Hills Foods to pickup the ingredients for homemade chicken soup, plus some other items we needed.

Returning home I got the soup started and alternated playing Left 4 Dead with watching TV. The X, having just drove back from the airport in Detroit, joined us for soup at 3:30,. Everyone loved the soup and after we ate I spent a bit of time with the X showing her a couple of things on the computer, including Roboform which is an excellent product that accelerates form entry in your web browser. At 4:30 Scott left for Work, the X departed to drive Danielle to pickup her friend Julia while I cleaned up from dinner and took a shower.

Danielle and her friend arrived and other than making Ramon for Julia I saw little of them, so again alternating between the game and TV passed quickly until Julia was picked up at 8:30 followed by Scott returning home. We watched new episodes of The Simpsons and American Dad, with a repeat of Family Guy sandwiched in between them.

I had meant to head to bed early a bit after 10:30 but after both kids went to bed I feel asleep watching TV after I fed the kitty. When I awoke around midnight I headed off to bed.

This evening will be left over chicken soup which is always delicious!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Dream of a Love that Never Was

I had a very vivid dream last night about a woman I worked with back in New Jersey quite a few years ago. I first met her while providing IT support to the word processing department she worked in.

She was a lovely, personable, and intelligent young woman and over time we developed a nice friendship. Looking back at this I realized it was one of the most pleasant things I remember about my job at that period of my life. We talked about many things, including personal issues, and in time I developed quite a crush on her. Before I could pursue this I found out she was already in a relationship with someone at work, and, at the time that sort of thing was discouraged so that's why it was not obvious to me until I stumbled upon the knowledge of it.

So, since I would never intrude in an established relationship without mitigating circumstances, of which there were none, I did nothing but remain friends. I am certain she only thought of me as a good friend anyway, and not having similar feelings about me.

Over time, I was married, they were married, and they both left the company . After some e-mails we fell out of touch. It was one of those things that I used to think about "what might have happened? Could anything have happened?".

Anyway, I dreamed we met somewhere, and she was exactly as I renumbered. We sat and talked about this and that, laughing over old times, and then I poured my heart out to her, telling her how I truly felt about her, and that I did indeed love her all these years and never told her about it.

She gazed deeply into my eyes, put her hand on my cheek, and kissed me on the lips, and after this she whispered "I love you too, Chris Falco!" into my ear.

I awoke, very pleased by this, even if only in my dreams I had spoke to her of how I felt, and I was very happy all day today as the memory of this very vivid dream stayed with me.

It's funny, because until last night I had not thought about her in quite a long time, yet, all my memories of her and our friendship came flooding back to me this morning, and I was quite cheered by this.

Sadly since the divorce I've found, that outside my kids and a few close friends, I tend to be very narrowly focused on the present, often forgetting I have had some very good times in the past, and those times are to be cherished and the memories of them enjoyed. Perhaps it also means better days will be coming down the road as well.

Well, I see the hour is late, and I do have work in the morning. So, I will bid all of you good night, and hope that all your dreams will be happy ones.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 19th - Stupid Monday!
Stupid Times Two!t

Note - I just realized I never published this post from LAST Monday. maybe I should call this Stupid Times Three!

I had the day off because of Martin Luther King day. I had asked the kids to be quiet when they got up, and they were not, in fact they were noisier than most mornings, so loud so I heard them outside in the driveway when they left.

Tails must have heard me get up to use the bathroom when the kids woke me and soon she was scratching at my bedroom door. I let her in, she promptly crawled under the covers and curled up next to me, and we a 30 minute nap or so.

I realized this morning that perhaps I have been playing too much Left 4 Dead (or maybe not enough?) because for the first time since playing this game heavily since last year I dreamed I was in a zombie infested neighborhood, running around with an assault shotgun shooting zombies with other survivors!

I got up, did some computing, and rode the exercise bike while watching a Dinner: Impossible where Chef Robert had to make 7000 items overnight. I did some laundry and some cleaning up, and around 2 PM I decided to head out to the store to get items for dinner for the next few evenings.

The snow plow had left a pile of debris at the bottom of my driveway (here's where the stupid part comes on) and looking at it I figured it was small enough to back out over and I would worry about cleaning it up later.

Needless to say I had seriously miscalculated the amount of ice and snow thus managing to mire the Mustang helplessly in this mess, unable to move forward or backwards. Cursing my own stupidity I went and got the snow blower.

Luckily I had enough on each side of the car to attack the snow with the snow blower. I also did behind it as close as I could get to the car.

THEN came the fun part, getting the small portable shovel and digging out behind the back wheels, as they were already over the slight downward slope into the street. When you have a bad back and a short shovel this can be quite fun! I also realized I had taken this out of the garage and it should be in my trunk.

About 20 minutes later I was able to back into the street and pull back into the driveway. I went to start up the snow blower and it would not start! (Here's where the times two factor appears) I pulled the cord until I was blue in the face! I wheeled the snow blower back to the garage and connected the AC power cord to it and pressed the electric start button/ While it turned over readily it would not start.

THEN I remembered the Run switch had not been turned back on!!! So, again cursing my stupidity I got it running and cleared the driveway.

Able to do my shopping, I did so and returned home. After getting cleaned up I put away the groceries. Scott went straight from school to work so Danielle and I played Left 4 Dead until 6 PM when I stopped and made us grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on whole grain high fiber bread with 2% and healthy choice ham. I also supplemented mine with a cup of Southwest Vegetable soup as I had Given Danielle twice the meat on her sandwiches. It was a cheap yet delicious meal.

Scott returned home from work around 8:30 and I made him some Kraft Shells with Cheese and the three of us watched How I Met Your Mother and Worst Week before retiring.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Sunday started the same way as many mornings, got up, released and fed Tails kitty, puttered on the computer (e-mail and more Windows testing) and rode the exercise bike.

It was barely snowing and we even had some patches of sun, and since I found out that the X was leaving a day early for her business trip, I knew I would need to snow blow before the kids arrived sometime after 5 PM. I'll have the kids the whole week while the X is away, which is great for me since she had to travel on her week with them.

Around 4 PM I took a break from my computer activities and began cleaning the house which I had not done after the kids departure Friday. I took all the trash, a surprising amount, out with me when I went to snow blow.

There was easily 6" of snow to remove and I was pleased to see my next door neighbor had done my sidewalk up to my driveway yesterday. The snow blower made fast work of the driveway and I went inside to await the arrival of the kids. Scott had asked if Alex could come over and the three of them showed up shortly after 5.

Scott wanted to go out to dinner but I was comfortable and had no such plans in mind but I did offer to order Vitale's pizza which everyone agreed to.

Scott and Alex were playing Left 4 Dead in the family game while I continued watching the two part season finale of Sanctuary. The Pizza arrived shortly after 6 and then we played some Left 4 Dead using both XBOX systems as Scott's friend Greg had left his game disk here last Sunday. As Scott had misplaced one of my controllers Danielle and I alternated the controller up here in the living room taking turns playing.

Speaking of Greg he arrived and we switched from cooperative play to verse mode where you take turns playing the survivors and the attaching boss type zombies.

I was humbled as I got my zombie tail beaten soundly to the laughter from the kids below; I rock as a survivor, as a zombie I am sub par. After almost an hour of this humiliation I opted to go back and finish watching Sanctuary. I will have to work on honing my zombie skills at a later date!

Scott's friends left while I was watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which I never got to see as the kids did not have an interest. I wish they would have watched with me, it had comedy, action, drama, and adventure. I really enjoyed it and I think they would have too.

After the movie, it was off to bed around 11:30 PM. I asked the kids to be quiet in the morning when they get up for school but as I may post later that was a wasted conversation!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday and More Snow

I slept in, not getting up until about 8 AM. The sky was gray and the forecast....can you guess? SNOW!

The outside temperature was 1 degree above zero, so much for last nights weather report saying we would not go below 6 degrees, it must have slipped below zero overnight.

I released Tails from her room, took my medicines, and worked on installing the XBOX 360 transceiver unit on my HTPC. This handy device allows you to use wireless XBOX 360 controllers (and other accessories) on the PC, and some games just need that capability.

That done I settled in checking that the new black wireless controller I bought (which is to be dedicated solely to use on the PC) was working.

I caught up on the past week of blog posts and I'm going to test Left 4 Dead on the PC since I picked that version up on sale over the holidays. This was because the PC version of any good game is infinitely more extensible by the user community which creates new maps and levels far more often (and for free) verses downloadable additional content for the XBOX 360 via XBOX Live.

Following that I plan on a yummy yogurt shake and a ride on the exercise bike. As it is now snowing heavily and I have supplies enough for the day, I have NO plans of journeying outside, though in the past 2 hours it has warmed up to 4 degrees!

I ended up testing the XBOX wireless controller on the PC by playing a campaign of Left 4 Dead. It works great it is so cool being able to use the wireless controllers from the XBOX on the HTPC! Now it's time for the shake and then the ride on the exercise Tails will get off my chest that is.........
With it still snowing and nowhere to go I installed a beta version of Windows 7 on my PC and spent the day testing. While not allowed to go into specifics all I can say it is is FANTASTIC! Microsoft has a real winner here! Everyone should plan on buying this for their PCs!!
I spent a good portion of the remainder of the day and evening beta testing Windows 7, playing Left 4 Dead, and watching a little TV.
It was still snowing when I went to bed around 1 AM.

The Week in Review

It's been a hectic week. I had been creating posts daily and saving them for when I had time, but between sick kids, work, snow, more snow, I never had a chance to post it, so here is the past week in review.

Sunday 1/11/2009
Sunday..........Saturday night Scott had asked if he could have friends over to play Left 4 Dead. I arose early enough to clean the kitchen, living room, dining room, ride the exercise bike, and get cleaned up. Two of Scott's friends arrived around 12:30 PM bringing with them an additional copy of Left 4 Dead which was used in the XBOX 360 in the family room.

Scott, Danielle, and I stayed up in the living room using the XBOX there while his two friends played in the family room downstairs giving us our own four player game. For the next five and a half hours severe insanity resulted as we played on the Expert setting trying to finish the No Mercy campaign. Scott wanted an award that you got for completing any campaign on the Expert setting which is next to impossible as we found out. From time to time I handed my controller to Danielle and let her play a bit since she enjoys the game too. Scott was constantly yelling commands down to his friends and they were yelling other things back. It was most amusing and fun to be a part of their game.

Around 2:30 we took a pizza break as I had ordered cheese pizza, bread sticks, and antipasto from Vitale's. After chowing down the gaming continued amidst much yelling, screaming, and amplified sound thanks to the surround system in the living room.

Scott and one of his friends got the award while the other and myself died moments before the rescue, thus robbing us of the achievement!

A bit after 6 PM the friends departed and we settled in to enjoy the rest of the evening, enjoying some left over chicken soup which I had made Saturday night.

Of course it started snowing again and around 8 PM I get a call from the X who has been sick for several days now. My older son Christopher was supposed to be heading back to college and his car would not start, so, she wanted to know if I could follow the tow truck down to the car repair place since AAA towing has a policy stating they can't just drop a car there without the owner being there to insure it is safely locked if the business is closed.

The roads were in bad shape but we made the trip to and from there with no incidents and I returned home to relax for the rest of the evening.

Monday 1/12/2009
Danielle was so dizzy and had such a bad headache she stayed home from school. Scott had a major sore throat, headache and was all congested so he stayed home as well. I wonder if he caught the bug his Mom had Saturday night when he went to her house to try jump-starting Christopher's car.

Since both kids were home and feeling so bad I opted to work from home so I could take care of them when they got up. I took a lunch break and rode the exercise bike around 11:30 AM and afterward as both kids were up I made them some quick pancakes for lunch before returning to work.

After work hours were over I snow blowed the driveway and headed off to Forest Hills Foods for some provisioning, and no sooner after arriving home and getting out of my wet clothes the phone rang, the X wanting to know if I could take Christopher to pickup his car, which I did, after suiting back up for the cold. Timing is everything!

Arriving back home I watched some TV with Scott and Danielle, and then made Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese for dinner which they really love. Everyone was in bed at 10:30 PM, and looking outside my window before I retired I saw the snow was once again falling down.......

Tuesday 1/13/2009
It never ceases to amaze me the way they decide if the schools should be closed. Close to half a foot of snow fell last night and it was still falling when I got up. School was not canceled and there was not even a two hour delay! There have been other mornings where the roads were not half this bad and school has been delayed! Making sure Danielle and Scott were up and able to go to school I headed out, clearing off Scott's car and a path to it before departing.

Enjoying a haphazard ride to work because the roads were terrible, I managed to arrive In one piece and began preparing for my first meeting of the day. My phone rings and it is Danielle informing me Scott's car won't turn over! Timing is everything!!

I headed out onto roads that were already worse in condition then my trip into work. I got home and picked up the kids, heading slowly and carefully to their school. I did not just want to jump start Scott and send him on his way because i was 99% sure he needs a new battery and I did not want him to be stranded at school later.

The traffic was terrible and there was a huge line of cars waiting to turn left on a hill at one point. Of course the Mustang does not like hills in the snow....but we managed to get up it, and I dropped the kids off at school about 10 minutes past the start of their first class.

I headed home figuring I could join the meeting I was already late for from my house. This would get me into the call and webex a good 20 minutes sooner than if I went all the way back to work. I was that thrilled on the prospect of that since the roads were really bad now and it was still snowing.

At one point while not driving too fast and while being careful, coming out of a turn I slid into the oncoming traffic on one of the larger roads. The Powers That Be were in my camp as I missed colliding with anything and was able to come out of the slide and quickly get back on the right side of the road, though I was quite shaken!

I joined my meeting about 15 minutes late, and during a break in meetings at 11 AM I went out, chiseled open the ice and snow encrusted hood of Scott's 98 Plymouth Breeze, and managed to get the charger on it. THUNK! said the meter of the charger as it pinged on the 12 AMP draw mark of the meter!

During my lunch break at noon I rode the exercise bike and then called Costco to see if they have a battery for Scott's car; they do, so we will be heading over there around 3:30 PM.

I went out and snow blowed around 3 PM, and I also started Scott's car and ran it long enough to heat it up and melt the ice on the windows and wind shield. After Scott and Danielle got in from school we headed out. The sun was shining (quite the contrast to the stormy start of the day) and the temperature was barely 20 degrees.

When I called Costco I neglected to ask the $20 question, "Do you install car batteries", the answer to this was "No". Scott's car has a very weird battery mount and you actually need to take off the front tire on the drivers side of the car to replace the battery. Due to the cold weather and lack of heated garage I chose to opt out on doing this myself.

We went down to Sears where they do install the battery and after selecting the sensibly priced battery with the 3 year warranty we headed off to dinner. Since there were people in front of us and it was going to take at least 90 minutes for his car to be done, we had dinner at Red Robin and then did some shopping at the mall. We got Scott's car and he headed back to my house while Danielle and I stopped at Steak and Shake to get the X some dinner since she was still sick. We dropped that at her house and were back home by 7, We then watches Run, Fat Boy, Run which was most enjoyable. It's a story of Boy meets girl, gets her pregnant, abandons her at the alter, and five years later tries to get her back. This was followed by two new episodes of Scrubs.

Wednesday 1/14/2009
The overnight temperature according to the weather report was -4 in my area. A couple of inches of snow fell, as it is so powdery and fluffy because of the cold I left it where it is figuring the wind may take care of most of it!

In retrospect I hear in Minnesota the temperature in some spots hit -44, so, while my weather may feel cold to me and alarm my friend David on the West Coast, I can put the cold here in greater perspective, but, really one must wonder what kind of person lives in an area that gets that cold!?? I'm having enough trouble with the few degrees below zero and single digit temperatures.

After work the kids and I played some Left 4 Dead, while Scott and Danielle finished up after Danielle and I had played I made a quick pot of pre-packaged Ramon soup for us, omitting some of the supplied (high! Repeat HIGH! in sodium) spice packets with my own salt free mixture. I also added about a pound of frozen boneless skinless check breast meat.

We enjoyed that, and a bit later we watched the new Futurama episode Bender's Game which was excellent. Lord of the Rings fans will not want to miss the parody of that epic saga that is done by the Futurama characters!

Scott and I played a little more Left for Dead after the movie while Danielle talked on the phone, and then we all retired.

Thursday 1/15/2009
A Balmy -1 degree temperature overnight, it was warming nicely and was about 4 degrees when I left the house.

After work Scott came home and wanted to watch an episode of The Simpsons before he went to work which we did. I also loaned him my heavy ski gloves since it was only 5 degrees out and his job has him outside a fair portion of his 4 hour shift. He departed for work and Danielle and I played a campaign of Left 4 Dead before heading over to Meijer to pick up some supplies. Forest Hills Food does not have the fat free powdered Cheddar cheese we like to use on popcorn or the dry cat food and treats that Tails likes. Danielle also wanted a CD by The Fray for the song she and her friend were going to sing in the talent show, but they did not have it.

We stopped at Wendy's for dinner and then headed home. Scott got home around 8:30 with an order of lo mein for himself and the three of us watched Worst Week which is an excellent comedy series. I ordered the CD Danielle had wanted off of Amazon and then Scott I played a campaign of Left 4 Dead after which we all retired.

Friday 1/16/2009
Danielle was knocking on my bathroom door early this AM as I was getting ready for work, evidently she needed some 'supplies' from her Mom's house since she ran out at mine. As the local store was still closed we had no choice.

Because of the -2 temperature and the ice crystals in the air a rare treat for the eyes awaited us; all light sources were reflecting straight up! It was most spectacular and I sight I've only seen once or twice before!

I waited in the car while Danielle went into her Mom's house and then we headed back to my place where I finished getting dressed (imagine my state of undress in this cold weather if you will because we had to rush to get back home in time for her to ride to school with her brother!) and I headed off to work.

The weather says a warming trend is upon us. It will not drop below zero this night but stay nice and toasty at 6 above, with temps in the teens tomorrow, and 30 by Sunday! Break out the Sandals and shorts my friends!

After work, I went home and relaxed a bit, watching some TV and puttering about on the computer. Danielle had gone to a friends right after school and would be dropped off at her Moms since it is the start of the X's week.

Scott arrived home around 5:15 PM upset because he did not get a document signed for work at school. Periodically he has to have the school certify that he is attending school regularly. He can be dismissed if he does not have it done. Of course, he could have easily done this...but you know how teenagers are. I am thinking if he explains he simply forgot they will give him a chance Monday at worst case not let him work this weekend.

Scot and I watched an episode of The Simpsons and I made sliders (mini cheeseburgers) for my dinner using lean ground beef and 2% cheddar cheese slices. They were very good.

The X called at 6:30 because I had told her Danielle was getting dropped off around dinner time (so I thought Danielle had said). I had also told Danielle to tell her Mom where she was going and details since she would be in her Mom's custody that evening.

Well, 7:30 PM and Danielle was not answering her cell (it was obviously off since it was going straight to voice mail) and we could no find the current school directory at either house (evidenced at my residence by drawers hastily dumped on the floor to reveal contents, etc.) and we did not have a home phone number for her friend in this age of cell phones.

I was able to find a Google maps printout from the first time I took Danielle to her friends house (I stand by my philosophy of not throwing things out! It's not laziness! It's forward planning!) and giving the address to the X she was able to gt a hold of Danielle by looking up the phone number based on the address.

Danielle's phone was low on battery so she had turned it off in direct violation of the "You've got a cell phone whose primary purpose is for communicating with Mom and Dad!" accord of 2008. The X and I were steamed and I suggested we remove text messaging from Danielle's phone since that's all she does with every free moment, even walking down the snow packed street one day in front of my house!

Suggested removing I say because the phone is on the X's service. It it was my service texting would be gone already.

Anyway, Danielle located, I tried to settle down for the remainder of the evening enjoying some TV and time on the computer, which I re-partitioned in preparation for installation of Windows 7.

Bed was not until 1 AM as I decided around midnight to pickup the mess my earlier search had done, and do a sink load of dirty dishes since the kids were gone and it would not fill up again with just myself at home.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday and Snow

I arose around 8:45. It appeared no more snow had fallen and the temperature was 25. I got on the computer before riding the exercise bike and saw that more snow was on the way and would be hitting soon and falling most of the daylight hours.

Of course! I had promised Scott a trip to Costco today as he needs tires. Earlier in the week one of his tires failed completely with what looked like dry rot, and now the remaining tires are suspect. The X, whose car is better in the snow, had graciously agreed to take Danielle to the hospital for her CT scan while Scott and I attended to his car.

Danielle was up around 9:30, just close to the 'no food for four hours before the scan' deadline so she was able to have some mini-muffins for breakfast. She then disappeared to talk to friends on her Ceil phone. Got to love those free weekend minutes!

By the time I got off the exercise bike snow was falling. I got cleaned up, woke Scott about 10:45, and after my hair was dry we headed out in both cars as I decided to see if I could get some better rear tires for the Mustang because it is totally a piece of CRAP in the snow!

The roads were barely passable for me though Scott had no trouble and seemed amused by the way I was sliding in one of he intersections on the way in spite of my low speed and careful handling of the car.

We got to Costco and of course the tires for the Mustang were special order. I had hoped the drive home would be safer than the drive out. Scott was lucky on the other hand the tires for his car were in stock and half the price of the ones for the Mustang.

Upon examination and condition report of his remaining tires I decided they all needed to be replaced, and I offered to pay for half of them which Scott of course readily agreed to. We shopped around Costco, then bundled up, headed outside, and started walking across the parking lot. The storm was now pretty heavily in force and the parking lot was barely plowed. We arrived at Noodles & Company without incident and had a nice lunch. Scott having the large portion of the pasta with marinara sauce and I having their trio which is a small noodle dish (I got Indonesian peanut butter) with your choice of meat and a salad. So, I opted for chicken and a Cesar salad and we had a very nice lunch.

Knowing we still had time to kill, we once again braved the storm and journeyed further across the complex to GameStop in case they had a decently priced used XBOX game. They did not and we braved the return to Costco.

Entering the tire area we were asked if wee had Spare keys to Scott's car as they locked them inside. I chuckled because Scott has done that several times. We did not so they called a locksmith, but one of the guys in the garage was able to get it open before he arrived.

We picked up a couple of items at Costco, paid for them and Scott's car was finished.

I cleaned of the Mustang which was completed encased in snow and some ice after sitting there for two hours, and we began the slow journey back to my house. The roads were much worse and the Mustang doing badly, I went slow and steady with Scott following me in case I got stuck. Other than some slipping and sliding, a few fishtails and such we arrived back home without incident.

I enjoyed the time with Scott, though the activity itself was far from what I would call fun. We talked about a variety of subjects and had some pleasurable, amusing, and open conversation.

Scott's friend Andi arrived around 1:30 PM and we watched several episodes of Scrubs. The X and Danielle should be back soon, and I just put the makings for homemade chicken soup on the stove at 3 PM so it should be ready by 5:30. Scott has to work this evening so a nice bowl or two of homemade soup will do him good, and he'll be dropping off a container at the X's house on his way to work for her.

The snow is still falling, all in all with what fell yesterday there's about 6 inches on the ground right now.


Friday started my week with the kids. Danielle had a doctors appoint at 3:45. She's been having dizziness and headaches steady fir the past three weeks. mainly they are bearable but she was home from school this week when she started seeing double vision because the headaches were so bad. The severity comes and gos though.

The examination caused some concerns because of the duration of the headaches and the fact she has them when she gets up in the morning so a CT scan was ordered for Saturday at the hospital. After what happened with Scott over the summer and his time int he wheelchair, I am hoping this is not a harbinger of tings to come with Danielle.

The weather was snowy, it had been snowing since the morning with a random amount between 2 and 8 inches predicted by noon on Saturday. The snow stopped around 5 PM completely and that was it for the night, in spite of the weather forecast originally calling for snow overnight.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Video Of The Day
New Apple Laptop

You must watch the entire video to really appreciate this:

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Video Of The Day
Poor Hamster!

No hamsters were harmed during the filming of this commercial!

Video Of The Day
Poor Kitty!

Warning - May be upsetting to small children!

Oh my aching back!

As I mentioned I hurt my back Sunday. Yesterday I worked from and today it was so bad I called in sick. I've been lying on the wood floor, and doing stretching exercises, and I rode the exercise bike.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Video Of The Day
Left 4 Dead

I figure I've mentioned this quite a few times so here's the trailer!

Not suitable for those under 14!

I suggest you click on MENU on the bottom right of the player and select the Fullscreen option and then hit the play icon!

The Weekend

Friday was the first day back to work for the New Year. Lots of people had taken the day off so it was relatively quiet on the work front. I was pleased to head home though at 3 PM.

Danielle arrived around 4:30 PM and we watched some TV and, can you guess it, played some Left 4 Dead.

Scott called a bit before 6 and asked if he could come over with a couple of friends, I said fine so long as they did not expect dinner as Scott has opted out on that earlier, supposedly he was not supposed to be at my house till 8 PM or later.

I ordered Vitale's, Danielle having spaghetti and meatballs, and I having Chicken Parmesan. Since Scott was not eating with us we got cheesey bread sticks as Scott does not like them so we rarely order them.

Food was good, the evening was spent watching TV and playing Left 4 Dead culminated by Scott trying to finish the Dead Air champagne as he was trying for one of the many achievements. Try as he and his sister, and I myself a couple of times, did, he could not survive the final battle with the skill level set on Advanced. Around 12:30 AM I announced a halt to the festivities and we all headed to bed.

Saturday - I arose around 8 AM, rode the exercise bike, and busied myself on the computer. After both kids got up and we played some left for dead, I took them to First Wok for Lunch, Danielle and I having the luncheon special and Scott the usual chicken lo mien without vegetables.

After lunch we came and watched the new animated Resident Evil Degeneration movie. We all enjoyed it, and we all got a real kick out of the 'bloopers' where they took scenes from the movie and recorded funny dialog instead of the original content.

The kids left a little after 3 PM and I spent the rest of the day working on the installation of my new AV receiver (there will be a post about that when I have time.

Around 8 PM Scott called and wanted to know if he and Alex could come over here. Alex was sleeping over at his mom's but Christopher was there so they could not use his xbox. I said sure and they were here from 8:30-11:30 PM before heading out.

Sunday morning after riding the exercise bike I looked out the front door. The driveway was entirely covered by a sheet of ice! Conditions must have been perfect last night for this to occur. The street too was encased in a frosty covering of slick ice! I was glad that I had no plans of going anywhere just yet!

I finished the setup of the new receiver and programmed my multifunction remote. Finally around 2 PM I noticed the driveway has melted, and I headed off to Forest Hills Foods to pickup some supplies.

I came home and started cleaning up some of the mess caused by the install of the new receiver. After wrenching my back picking up the old receiver to box and store it, took it easy the rest of the day watching TV and such, with Tails for company.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Quiet New Year's Day

New Years Day was very quiet, with Tails and I relaxing most of the day. Scott called a bit before 8 PM asking if he could come over after work. He had a bad day at work (one of his co-workers was badly hunger over, cursing proficiently and accidentally hitting Scott with groups of shopping carts as the cleared the lot. He also mentioned his brother had friends over at the X's house, and they tend to dump on him a bit.

So, Scott came over, we watched a Physc episode from last season. While this was on his Mom (a.k..a. 'The X') called to ask if he wanted to go to Steak and Shake as Danielle wanted something from there. He wanted to stay at my house so the X offered to drop us off some food. Scott has the usual chicken strips and fires and I had a double cheese burger. We finished watching our show and segued into an Episode of Scrubs to carry us through eating our food. We then played Left for Dead for an hour on the second hardest skill level, having an excellent time.

Thus ends the Holiday season, and the large amount of posts I have been doing here these past two weeks! I am sure my posting will drop back somewhat going into the New Year.

New Year's Eve Through Midnight

Tails and I continued to watch TV and relax. As it got closer to 8 PM when people would be arriving I started getting the cold appetizers ready. I made a big platter adding the imported dried salami after slicing it and removing the peppercorns. To this I added two rows of crackers and assorted cheese cubes (Swiss, Colby. and Cheddar). I put out bowls of Potato Chips, Peanut M&M's, Mini Tortilla chips shaped like little bowls and spiced with just a hint of Jalapeno, Cheddar Goldfish crackers, a box of assorted truffles, and several things for dipping/spreading including double cream spread, spinach dip, and sour cream with onion soup.

Scooby Snax got nothing on these

Sadly, because of the way he was feeling Mom and Dad could not make it, and my older boy, as expected, was going out with friends. So that left myself, Scott, Danielle, the X, Kevin, Lili, and Lucy.

Once everyone had arrived I had also finished off my quick version of Chili Con Caso dip. I basically take some prepared taco ground beef (several companies sell this in little plastic tubs at the store) and heat it until it is warm. I then add some cubed Velveeta cheese and heat again until the cheese is melted, and then stir. Everyone (except Scott) loved this dip and it went pretty fast. There was a lot of the aforementioned dips and such left over but the Con Caso went pretty fast.

Uncle Kevin is very allergic to certain pet dander, and one of his eyes had swollen up alarmingly! I heard how he had sat for hours in the X's office using her computer. I asked how he could sit in a room with a cage of Guinea pigs being allergic to them....his reply was that he had work that had to be done....I would have moved the pigs or the computer! He looked awful and I felt bad for him as it was plain it was really bothering him during the course of the evening.

Ewwwww! Someone's been around the Guinea Pigs!!

Everyone partook of some snacks and while conversation was going on I showed Kevin the program I use to store and track my DVD collection. He was quite impressed because you can view the collection it a list, or by DVD cover images, you can search for titles by Movie Name, Actors, Genre, and a lot of other criteria, and once you've selected a movie you can also see full color pictures of the front and back covers along with detailed information on the movie, actors, description, and all this is populated for each DVD automatically via the UPS Bar Code of each DVD.

The others came wandering into the living room and we settled in to watch Eagle Eye which I though was excellent! I have been doing pre-installation work pulling old cables for my new AV receiver, which is supposed to arrive today. At the time I thought I had accidentally pulled off one of the wrong wires because the sound from the computer (which I used to play my DVDs from) was terrible. It turned out that while moving things around I had changed the audio processing options of the current receiver by pressing one of the recessed buttons. Funny how it only affected the computer and the the fiber optic TV service. Anyway, we ended up watching the movie off the XBOX 360 using the speakers on the plasma display for sound. Nowhere near as good as the sound from the AV receiver, but, more than usable in a pinch!

Posed pictures of the kids do just not work!!

I was also having some trouble getting used to having an XBOX game controller control the movie. This was the first time I have ever used the XBOX as a DVD player, so a few times I overshot chapters accidentally. I did what I could, such as providing funny squeaky voices as I fast forwarded to get to the right point.

About halfway through this week took and intermission where I started the hot appetizers (four types of mini egg rolls, Jalapeno and cream cheese poppers and breaded chicken and bacon nuggets. For Scott i made a bowl of Ramon, and then one for Lili after I mentioned there was more once she had seen Scott's. I was pleased I had chop sticks to offer her which she prefers.

Lili enjoys a steaming bowl of Ramon Noodles

Once the hot appetizers came out of the oven we filled out plates and returned to the movie which everyone enjoyed the movie and even Scott got sucked in. He had started by sitting on the couch playing his portable Nintendo. I like that about Scott, even if what we are doing in the living room is not to his liking most often he will come and sit with us anyway while he plays his portable game system.

We finished the movie a bit shy of midnight and so then we started going through the various networks looking for something to watch. Some teen heartthrob boy band was playing on all the networks which really rubbed the musical appreciation of our older viewers the wrong way! Unable to find anything to watch in the interim I put it on mute and everyone made fun of the band by providing their own vocals and sound effects.

The X had brought a bottle of sparkling lemonade which my daughter had wanted to we watched the countdown and the ball dropping in Times Square and toasted in the New Year with that particular beverage!

A bit after midnight, every one headed out. Tails and I stayed up until about 1:30 AM before returning.

Here's hoping for a Happy, Safe, Joyous, and Prosperous New Year for us all!