Thursday, February 28, 2008

Loose Ends

****This post has been edited to remove some of its original content****

Remember our leak?

We got our income tax return and we got it fixed!

We now have only 487 more projects on our list of things we intend to one day maybe get around to, if we happen to have enough money to do it list. Friday I meet with a sprinkler guy and a fence guy, and then on the 8th I meet with the brick mailbox guy. We are well on our way to 484. Yea! (I know that there will be 5 million more items added before then, but let me dare to dream.)

Also - Chaos? Is a teen club. The spray paint sign has been replaced with this - uh, I can't get a picture, so this is a representation of the vinyl sign:
And since I posted about the side of beef, I've gotten a lot more searches about what's in a side. So here's our list:

Ground Beef - 49 (+22 given away)
T-Bone - 32
Round Steak - 28
Cutlets - 35
Sirloin - 10
Chuck Roast - 4
Short ribs - 10
Beef Ribs - 1
Flank - 1
Fajita - 1

Ground beef is in 2 lb packages. All our steaks are cut at 3/4 inch. The round is half a round and it's cut at 1/2 inch and run through the tenderizer (think chicken fried steak). Cutlets are part of some other roast - they're set up to be like chicken fried steak as well and packaged in sets of 2. Chuck Roasts are between 4 and 5 lbs, short ribs are in 2 lb packages.

Here's the thing though. 32 T-bones? Doubtful. Very doubtful. No ribeyes? Weird how about half our T-bones are the size and shape of ribeyes. Yeah, they're mislabeled - so we estimate that actually it's 16 of each. It should also be noted, that I had them turn a bazillion pounds of what could have been roasts into gound beef. I just don't have a hankering for roast more than about 4 times a year. And that sirloin number? 1 sirloin is actually like 4 sirloins. I can't find a picture and unwrapping meat to just take a pictures seems dumb - what with the invitation for freezer burn. But you know when you order something and it says top sirloin. Well apparently there's like 2 or 3 other sirloin parts. And 1 of ours contains all of those parts. Seriously - we cooked 1 sirloin and it would have fed 4 adults. We opted not to get the whole brisket, because the butcher said it's better to buy a brisket on it's own where you can inspect it individually, so we got the flank and fajita and the rest went to ground beef.

Anyway - see how full our freezer still is?
Please ignore the bacon, our cow did not come with that bacon, lest you be upset when you buy your side of beef and it does not come with bacon.

And we've already taken out a chuck roast, 12 or 13 pkgs of ground beef (we have given a few more away), 1 sirloin, 4 ribeyes, 2 T-bones, 5 or so sets of cutlets, and 1 round steak. That's from memory, it's probably not accurate.

Notes for next year:

1. T-bones should be separated into filet mignon and NY strip. They are seriously huge, and separating them will be better for cooking as well.

2. Steaks (ribeyes, filet mignon, and NY strip) can probably be wrapped as pairs instead of singles.

3. Sirloins, maybe we need half in each package (to feed 2, instead of 4).

4. We need more coolers for the pick up day and we need to be in the truck or without extra people.

5. We need a partner in purchase. I tried to get into the logistics of it, but it turned into a big math word problem. And while I have a great affinity for them, I suspect I am among the few and far between. But the bottom lines is that we want to buy a hog in about 6 months and we just don't have the freezer room for both animals to overlap.

I did finally register to take the PE exam, the price went up this year, but I guess it had to happen sooner or later. I am on track with my study plan, and I actually feel a little bit better about it this time than I did the first 2 times. I have changed my approach, and despite my other blog being the most boringest blog ever, it is helping me stay on task and study what I said I would when I said I would.

ANNNNNNND finally - TREC and I are at peace now, I am just waiting for my new education evaluation letter, and then I can apply. However, since I only have 6 months to take the test once my application is accepted, I am going to wait until just after my PE exam to turn it in, that way I can begin studying for that test after the PE and hopefully be ready to take it by the time they process my application.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 what?

We had a modeling session.

We showed the importance of voting.

We showed you how to finagle your parents into the pool.

What do we do now?

I dunno.

Let's just relax today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How to get your parents in the pool in February

First, stand by the pool and think about your plan.

Then squat as close as you can to the pool.

Then lay down and reach into the pool, alternate between getting the thermometer and just sticking your hands in and playing.

Check the temperature, only to find out it's in the mid 60s.

Do not give up. If you lay down and play in the water enough, one of them will turn on the spa and get your bathing suit. It just takes a little bit of persistance.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Landon's PSA

Landon has a little something he wants to tell you.

Lean in close.

Are you ready?

It's very important, so he wants all eyes up front.

Do you see this sign?

This one, right here? The one about voting?

And in case you don't know exactly where to go? There are helpful arrows on the sign.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Photo Shoot

I asked him this morning if I could take some pictures, because if I posted one more post without pictures the internet was going to lynch me.

And he proceeded to pose for me...with no prompting. I can only hope he'll bust through that dumb model stereotype.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wonder Killer (Organics)

Now, listen, this is not a REAL synopsis of how organics are grown. It's my own personal approach. I have linked to some sites that have real information. Feel free to click on those if you want real information.

My (limited) research tells me that this whole organic movement is due 97% to people who are deathly afraid of pesticides, preservatives, and hormones. The other 3% are just followers.

So let’s throw out some quick facts – Organic produce is harder to grow because the farmer has to be out in the field with it to swat the bugs with his hand instead of relying on a chemical to keep them away. Because it’s harder to grow, because it’s more labor intensive – what with all the hand swatting – it’s more expensive.

There is limited evidence to suggest that some behavioral problems – such as ADD and ADHD may be intensified by certain preservatives. Note that I did not say that the preservatives CAUSED the problem, just that it intensified it. Much like sugar or caffeine or crack might.

There is no evidence to suggest that hormones given to animals during their lifetime will be passed on to humans who consume them.

The organic side of the argument is very strongly opinionated, and the non-organic side is all “well, if it were cheaper, I’d buy organic, I’m not against organic.” There is limited evidence to suggest that people who buy organic eat less vegetables and fruits because they are more expensive and if that’s the choice, you’re better off buying non-organic produce and eating more of it.

In my unscientific opinion, if I am murdered (unsolved) and buried and they have to dig me up 15 years later, all the preservatives and pesticides will keep me in better shape forensically to solve my murder. You’re welcome future Cold Case people.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Like I don't have enough to do

I started a new most boring blog ever.

It's to help me prepare for the Civil PE exam. 99.9% of you will not be interested, but I do occasionally get someone who finds my blog by searching for civil PE or some thing like that, so maybe they'll find it. It doesn't really matter, it's a study tool and an accountability tool for me more than anything.

I also finally heard back from TREC. They tried to not give me credit for 2 of the classes I took. So I called and it's pretty much fixed, except the fax machine won't send them what I need it to, so i tried to scan it and email it to see if they'd take it that way. But because they took so long to respond, I will be waiting until after the PE exam to study for and take the inspector exam. I have changed the timeline accordingly.

His Morning Schedule

He has his own morning schedule. I'm pretty sure it revolves solely around messing up mine.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rosy what?

Hey, remember that fever last week?

Yeah, that one.

When we got home from work Thursday night, we had a pink kid. And I'm not talking about flesh colored pink, I'm talking a splotchy rashy pink. Kind of like this:

That's not him. I didn't take a picture of it on him.

We thought it might be a heat rash, so we gave him a little Tylenol. Friday morning it was pretty much gone, so I went down to do my errands in LJ. I told my mom about it and she suggested it might be a result of the same virus that caused the fever...and then she started saying funny words that started with "rosy" and I thought she was just making stuff up.

By the time I got back home, he was pink again. So I called the Dr.

His doctor said Roseola (sorry for doubting you, mom). He said that his symptoms, from the high fever to the rash, and even where the rash was, were typical. He said it was a viral strain similar to chicken pox, less dangerous, therefore not vaccinated for. He said kids normally get it right around 1 year of age. He said they are usually fine through the fever, but are ornery when the rash appears. He also said they are not contagious once the rash appears. Also, the rash doesn't itch and there's nothing you can do about it, but wait it out. And once you get it, you aren't supposed to get it again.

Oh, and ornery, means screaming for something. Then screaming at you when you give it to him. And then screaming at you for taking it back. And then screaming some more, just for good measure. Almost like returning to the days of colic.

By Saturday morning he was 100% ok physically, with only a little left over ornery.

By Sunday he was his normal demanding self.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Clinton and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Not really. I mean, sure we tell each other "Happy Valentine's Day" and for the last 2 years he's given me virtual flowers (which I appreciate, since real ones are expensive and will die anyway.) I honestly consider it a Hallmark manufactured holiday anyway.

Growing up, on Valentine's Day I could count on finding a heart shaped box of chocolates from my dad on the table for me when I got downstairs. And as someone who doesn't really "care" about the holiday, I was surprisingly disappointed the first year after I left home and I didn't get those chocolates.

Anyway - this one's not getting chocolate yet, so he'll have to wait until next year - but I'm thinking it's a tradition I'll continue with him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wonder Killer Strikes Again (Veggie Drawer Humidity Control)

Do you have humidity controls on your vegetable drawer in you refrigerator?

I have never touched them, because I didn’t really know what they should be. I WONDER what those controls should be set on?

So I did a little research. Kenmore says leafy vegetables and vegetables without skins should be kept on high humidity. And Fruits and vegetables with skins should be kept at low humidity.

Easy. Except, that’s never good enough for an inquiring mind, and I require at least 2 sources to tell me the same thing. So I kept looking.

Bosch says that meat and fish should be kept on low and fruits and veggies should be kept on high.

Uh…you companies are like contradicting each other. That’s not a good deal for the wonder killer.

Ohio State University says veggies on high (98%) and fruits slightly lower (90-95%).

So high and low is relative. Got it.

Which means, your fridge? Its controls are also relative. And unless you can locate the owner manual or look it up on a web-site – you might just have to experiment.

***This post was written in January, but not posted. Sorry for the lack of informative links. I don't have much time today.


I never thought I'd be so happy to see 100° in my life.

He ran a low grade fever all night. I think we're on the downhill side of this illness.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


103.6° - at 2 am this morning.

It's not the flu.

But it is viral.

If it's not gone by Thursday, we go back.

Am commissioning a plastic bubble for him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Houston, we have an allergy

To what? We're not exactly sure.

Yesterday we tried buttermilk ranch dressing from Jack In the Box. He was bright red everywhere it touched his face for the next 2 hours.

And then he woke up at 2 am with a 102° fever.

He's fine now. The Tylenol brought the fever down, and I guess the time his body had to deal with whatever it was, was enough to have the fever not come back.

He's had ranch dressing before, so I don't know if it's something about that Ranch dressing, or what. I'm a little bit too chicken to try another one at this point.

So I am late to work, I have lots to do, and I don't have a lot of time.

Normal weekend update:

We closed on our lots in East Texas.

And we had a good visit with the grandparents as well.

This is my 200th post, which I wish was a better post than - hey, we're allergic to something.

And I found out what the Chaos sign was about, but I'll save that for later - I'm gonna need a new pictures for it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And then some stuff happened

Here's that "Chaos" sign.

I still don't know what that's about.
It took me 2 hours to get home last night because of traffic.
I have a bunch of work, so this is it for today.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I took Landon to the park on Friday.

When we got there, there was a group of 3 men and 2 little boys playing on the equipment. I thought nothing of it, it’s not like they own the equipment, so I led Landon to the steps of the thing.

Landon froze at the bottom of the steps. He would. not. move. He would not say anything. As if he thought that if he was still enough he would just disappear into nothingness.

The men made heroic efforts to include him with their sons’ activities. The dad came over and aided in introductions. They said encouraging words to him about playing and having fun. They even complemented his sunglasses. They explained that the little one with them was 1 – almost exactly the same size as Landon.

The older boy (3 or 4 maybe?), gave him a big hug, and tried his best to get him to shake his hand. He was terribly disappointed that Landon would not shake his hand. He tried to take off Landon’s sunglasses, I'm guessing he was thinking that maybe if he looked him in the eye, he could be friends with him. I pointed out that maybe he doesn’t know about hand shaking, how about trying a high five? And reluctantly, Landon gave the little boy a high five. It broke the ice, and Landon made some noise - but was still frozen solid.

It took another 2 or 3 minutes before he warmed up enough to move. And he climbed the steps, and climbed the mountain, and even went down the slide a few times. And all was well in whoville.

Until 30 minutes later, when he climbed up the mountain to find both little boys and the dad at the top of the mountain. And he froze again. And again it took some time to get him moving again - but he did, eventually, move on.

The other boys left shortly after that, and a new group showed up. An older couple, a young woman, and a maybe 4 year old boy. That boy completely ignored us, and I couldn’t have been more relieved. We'd had enough awkward social interaction for the day. Landon didn’t mind sharing the area with other people, he just didn’t want them hugging him, or talking to him.

I don’t think it’s a huge issue. I’m not on my way to get him diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. I think he’s shy and I think he’s a little slow to warm up to people. And to be perfectly honest, I think he probably got it from me. It's one of the things I wish I hadn't passed on to him.

The odd thing? The outgoing little boy? The one who makes friends at the drop of a hat? If I heard this right – and I’m praying I didn’t. His name? Is Pariah. Talk about having the wrong name for your personality.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wonder Killer strikes again, Fighting

Did you know that 83% of arguments are actually the result of miscommunication? (And that 100% of the statistics on this post are completely fabricated?)

How many times have you gotten into an argument and found out at the end of it all, that you both were nearly on the same side all along? Or been in one where one side or the other (OR BOTH) took something the "wrong way" and then it spiraled out of control.

Communicating clearly is probably the easiest way to avoid arguments. But even when you think you are communicating clearly, you may not be.

Something, oddly enough, that I learned in my inspection classes. Did you know that when 2 people are talking there are 6 sides to the conversation? It only gets more confused after another person joins in – it doubles – 3 people talking 12 sides. 4 people talking? 20 sides. (Note to self, only ever talk to one person at a time.) For you math junkies:
n=number of people in conversation
n*(n+1)=number of sides to the conversation

No wonder people have such a hard time communicating. Let’s break it down in the simplest form: 2 people are talking. (You and Me)

6 sides:

1) What I said

2) What I think I said

3) What You think I said

4) What You said

5) What I think You said

6) What You think You Said

In some cases 1, 2, & 3 are the same, and 4, 5, & 6 are the same. Sometimes. Probably not as often as you’d think.

Take a simple actual conversation like this:

Billy Joe - “Sure is cold out today.”

Bobbie Sue - “The weather man said it would warm up later on.”

Sounds reasonable, let’s work through it though:

1) Billy Joe said “Sure is cold out today.”

2) Billy Joe thinks he said “I’m really cold, I had to put on an extra layer of clothes”

3) Bobbie Sue thinks BillyJoe said “Why aren’t you wearing your jacket, you moron?”

4) Bobbie Sue said “The weather man said it would warm up later on.”

5) Billy Joe thinks Bobbie Sue said “I’m not a sissy like you, so I don’t need extra clothes.”

6) Bobbie Sue thinks she said “I’m not wearing a jacket, because I didn’t want to be hot later.”

It’s probably not that charged a conversation in real life, but it’s possible. And it’s just an example, get off my back people. (See what I did there? And you’re not even actually saying anything, but I’m thinking you said something and I responded to what I thought you said and you probably didn’t mean it that way.)

That's probably why therapists say things like "What I hear you saying is _______." It gives the other side a chance to clarify. It might be worth putting into practice, when someone says something to you and you think they're attacking you, just repeating back to them what you heard, to make sure you got it right. Once you know what they mean, you can rear back and ball your fist only when necessary, and retreat if they didn't mean it like that.

Anyway, it’s just a small nugget of information that has helped me avoid some conflicts (note I said some, not all) since I learned it, maybe it can do the same for you.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Monthly Newsletter #16

Dear Landon,

Of all the months so far, this one has been the hardest to write about. It’s not that you aren’t progressing or anything, but that I don’t have much in the way of documentation for it. See, normally I can pull up all of the months pictures and be like. Oh, you did this and this and this. And since you discovered the pictures on the back of the camera, you are not willing to let me take pictures or videos.

Your biggest achievement of the month shall not be discussed, lest it disappear into the cold dark night from whence it came. I will try to steer clear of it, and I think I can since you have a bunch of other non-documentable achievements. This month you have begun saying a few new things. Shoosh (shoes). Joosh (Juice). Bahbah (Bottle). But not on command, that’s for sure. You are not my trick performing monkey, you’ve made that very clear. Either that or you want people to think I’m a liar.

I tried to introduce an actual toothbrush to you, instead of the little finger do-hickey. You were not having it at first, but now you really just want to hold on to it. So I may need one for you and one for me. You’re still mostly all about just eating the toothpaste though. And who can blame you, strawberry banana has got to taste better than baking soda and peroxide.

Your curiosity is getting a little out of control, so we had to put up some barriers for your own protection. While I’m plenty observant, sometimes I have to pee. And in order to do that, I need to be able to leave you in areas of the house and walk away without wondering if you’re drinking dishwashing soap. So we (you and I) baby proofed the cabinets. As it was we weren’t keeping things in there that could really hurt you, but I’m leaning towards the better safe than sorry here.

You took your first bath in our tub without me in the tub with you. I may have left you in there a little too long, because I was trying to finish baby proofing the cabinets in the bathroom at the same time. And Oh! The joyous splashing that occurred. You were not happy to get out, but when I showed you just how pruney your feet were, you were totally engrossed in them and it made it all ok to get out.

You received what I hope will be your final Christmas 2007 present. It’s kind of obnoxious with the screechy music. In fact it makes any other noisy toys you have ever received sound like ocean waves, or the rainforest, or anything they make CDs of for relaxation. Even you think so, if someone turns it on, you cry and scream until someone turns it off. We separated the records from the main part and you like to play with them separately. Anyway, you have plenty of toys now to last you probably for a couple years, but I know that come October we’ll be dealing with a whole new onslaught. I’m just hoping that we don’t get any between now and then, or our house may just sink from the extra weight of them.

You have begun doing the most adorable kiss blowing. You lean forward, stick your bottom lip out as far as you can, and sometimes – if the other person is lucky – you pop your lips open. And then flash a smile. I love it. Please never stop doing that.

As you know, I normally have a request at the end of these letters for something for you to work on. This month there are 2 things really. First, please let me take pictures of you. One day you will want to see them – or your wife, or your child will. It’s that simple.

The second is that your news shoes? They cost us $50. Because you have extra wide feet. Not just wide feet, but EXTRA wide feet. Do you know who sells shoes that will fit your feet? Only Stride Rite. That's right. The only place we can get shoes that will actually fit your little duck shaped feet (without going online - since we have this thing about wanting to actually try on shoes.) And they cost more than twice what anywhere else sells shoes for. But they can, because they have a corner on the market of parents with children with extra wide feet. I'm not ready to spend half my day re-tying your shoes, and do you know the velcro alone costs an extra $20? Who knew? Please do not grow out of them for at least 2 months.