Archive for July, 2006|Monthly archive page

Blog Layout

I’ve been playing with the theme for my blog the last few days. Think I have finally found one I like. I like how my links are on the left and I can customize the menu to right. Also, notice that i have added links to our Flickr accountl, which I just setup tonight. I’ve only uploaded a few pictures, but that is going to be the replacement for Grace’s website. We certainly won’t have as many photos on this site as we did on Grace’s old site, but I’ll try to keep it updated.

What Bill Gates is really up to

My boss and I were browsing through an online demo of a customer/project management system today. Someone had entered the following as a project:

Project: Take over the world.

Tasks:

1. Make a lot of money.

2. Build fortress.

3. Buy giant death ray.

4. Hold cities of the world hostage.

5. Pick out color for new throne.

I thought it was funny. The scarry part was step 1 was marked 100% complete and step 2 was 50% complete.

Fun Weekend

This weekend we took a trip to Pennsylvania. We went up for my wife’s grandmother’s 75th birthday. First off, I need to get a minor detail out of the way. Jennifer’s grandmother goes by MamMam and her grandfather goes by PapPap. Apparently it is some sort of Pennsylvania thing. Anyway, there is rarely a dull moment when we go to visit MamMam and PapPap. We usually go there for a special occasions, so there is usually several people staying with her grandparents. This weekend my in-laws were both there along with my brother-in-law and his wife. It was a full house, but it ensured that things stayed interesting.

Saturday was the day of the birthday party. We had a cookout with hot dogs and hamburgers and then cake and ice cream. Afterwards, I played a Settlers of Catan marathon with my father-in-law, bother-in-law, and a few other family members. For those of you who don’t know, Catan is a board game that you must experience to appreciate. We played it from about 4:30 PM until around 10:30 PM. We also played one game before the party, so, in all, most of my waking hours on Saturday were spent playing this board game with my wife’s family. Not that I am complaining. It was a blast. Anyway, I made the mistake of saying to my father-in-law that morning, “I’ve gotten really good at this game.” Needless to say, I didn’t win a single game the whole day. In fact, I didn’t even come close to winning most of them. My father-in-law and brother-in-law didn’t win either, but they made sure that I did not forget my comment.

I became keenly aware that day that playing games with my bothers has influenced my playing. I do not play nice. I’ll admit it. I am ruthless. I do stuff that would probably tick some people off. I like to try and anticipate what other players will do so I can do it first and block them. Making the game difficult for others is often the strategy I use. As if that weren’t bad enough, the worst part is the sheer pleasure I get from stopping another player in their tracks. I’m sure they’re aware that I love doing it because I always get this stupid grin on my face whenever I do something I am even remotely proud of. It is pretty stupid the things I am proud of doing sometimes. I get the same stupid grin when I pick on my wife about not doing something that she told me to do that I actually did. I no longer get to take the pleasure in seeing her reach for the rolling pin because she always knows when I am teasing her, except of the rare occasion that I actually control my involuntary smiling spasm.

On Sunday, MamMam and PapPap agreed to watch Grace so Jennifer and I could go out. So, we went out to a new putt-putt place that was recently built a few miles up the road from their house. It was one of the more interesting courses I have seen. Water plays more of a role then most courses I have been to. The golf balls they use are designed to float. One hole had a narrow bridge going over a creek. If your ball went in the water, the creek took your ball down to the lower part of the hole. Also, several holes had places where your ball could easily go into the water, as there was no barrier keeping your ball from rolling in. There were nets hanging on the gates to fish your ball out of the water. I thought it was a lot of fun. Jennifer beat me. She made sure I didn’t forget that fact, proving once and for all that she is her father’s daughter. Regardless of my losing record, it was a great weekend.

Butt Bills

Back in January we get a phone call from a collection agency saying we still owed the hospital somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars for our daughter’s birth. This, of course, was news to us since it had been almost a year and we hadn’t seen a bill in months. Well, we found out they had been sending our bills to the wrong address. An address we never even lived at. Somehow, they got the address of a house we were going to buy in Roanoke. The purchase fell through when my wife lost her job (another story). The first thing we hear about this bill is the collection agency calling us demanding the money. So, we call the hospital and find out about the address mix-up and also discover that they’ve never even filed this bill with our insurance. We were told they would file the bill and someone would be in touch. Well, the months go by and we don’t hear anything. Now, I guess we should have called someone, but I’m not exactly one that goes looking for bills to pay. I sort of like holding on to my money. Besides, I thought that maybe the insurance ended up paying the whole bill. Today, 6 months later, we get a call saying we still owe over $400 dollars and they demand we pay by the end of the month. My wife asked the rep why we had never received a bill, to which the rep replied (are you ready for this?), “We don’t send monthly bills.”

That’s right ladies and gentlemen; there is actually a bill collection agency that doesn’t send bills!!! I mean, I guess it isn’t necessary that they actually send me a bill before they harass me with phone calls. After all, I have the uncanny ability to pull bills from my RECTUM!! These butt bills tell me precisely what I owe and to whom I owe it. I know, I know, it’s gross, and it really sucks when the 40 page cell phone bills shows up, but whatcha gonna do?

Hey! I know! Next time my boss asks me to program something, I believe I will respond, “Oh, I don’t actually write programs.”

Honestly though, I don’t have much experience with collection agencies. I pay my bills when they are due, so maybe not sending bills is standard practice, but it sure seems backwards to me. Besides, if they don’t send bills and only call once every 6 months, they must be the worse bill collection agency in the world. I think a Care Bear would be more intimidating.

Pirates, Paint, and…um…Pblogging

Well, I guess the whole idea of posting on here a few times a week is shot. I think I have figured out this blog thing now. I’ve really enjoyed reading some posts on blogs from personal friends of mine. I figure everyone will find my life fascinating. I mean, who doesn’t find the life of a programmer engaging. Programmers are like the new pirates.

So, anyway, baby #2 is on the way and Jennifer has gone into decorating mode. The funny thing is we aren’t decorating a room for the baby, but a new room for Grace. We have to move Grace into another room to make room for the baby and we’ve decided we need to do that sooner rather than later. Partially because we don’t want Grace thinking the new baby kicked her out of her room. The colors have been picked and we are in the process of painting the room pink and green. Honestly, it looks better than it sounds.

Grace is also in the process of learning to say more words. We’re really working with her to try to get her to say stuff, but she seems to have fun with it. She also has a growing addiction for the Wiggles. I asked Jennifer tonight if Grace went to live with the Wiggles if she would miss us. Jennifer assured me she would….eventually…but I have my doubts. I mean, who doesn’t want to drive around in a big red car with a Pirate?

Speaking of Pirates, Jennifer and I need to make plans to go see some movies soon. She wants to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but I really want to see Superman. I would suggest that we go sit in separate movies, but something tells me that would defeat the purpose.

I had other stuff I was going to post, but I forget what it was. It is probably the heat affecting my brain. Man, has it been hot lately. Our AC has been running non-stop all week. I dread seeing our power bill. Maybe I’ll just send them my kidney now it get it over with. Fortunately, we’ve been selling stuff on Ebay (anyone need a kidney?). It’s going well. We are just selling junk off at the moment, but we have the grand idea of creating this massive Ebay enterprise so I can quit my full-time job. You know, because no one has ever thought of that one before…