Archive for August, 2006|Monthly archive page

Colds, infections, and hurricanes…..OH MY!

Blah. That’s how I feel right now. I haven’t been feeling good the past couple of days. I picked up a cold that is going around my family. I came home early from work today so I could get some rest. Grace is sick too. Jennifer took her to the doctor this afternoon because she…um…didn’t like peeing. Let’s leave it at that. Anyway, the doctor told Jennifer that Grace has a yeast infection and a double ear infection. Worst part is the antibiotic to cure the ear infection can cause yeast infections. Did I mention it is great being a man? Poor girl! We were surprised she wasn’t acting more upset. The doctor ask if we had noticed her doing anything to hint that she had an ear infection. She was fussier, but other then that, there was no sign that she had an ear infection. Usually she tugs on her ears when they hurt, but not this time. My mother-in-law’s theory is that Grace has a high pain tolerance, and I buy that, but I don’t know where she got it. Jennifer and I are a couple of pansies when it comes to pain.

The mouse problem is back. We think it could be the babies of the first mouse. We set out traps the last two nights and Jennifer found a mouse turd on one of the traps this morning and the peanut butter was gone. It was like the mice were saying, “Nice try, sucka!” Jennifer went and got one of the flypaper type traps and we are going to try that. It also works for scorpions. I’ll sleep better tonight knowing we’ll be protected from the elusive Blue Ridge Scorpions.

Is everyone freaking out about the hurricane yet? Wait….it’s just a tropical storm? I don’t want to make light of this, but come on! This is a glorified thunderstorm and they are declaring a state of emergency. My neighbor sneezed this morning and they sent the National Guard in. Anyone else think everyone is just a little edge since Katrina? I guess the government’s idea of being more “prepared” is to maintain a state of constant panic whenever anything with a good breeze makes its way toward shore. Of course, the net result will ultimately be something like the boy who cried wolf, except, in this case, it will be, “The Government That Cried, ‘YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE!'” That is just my uninformed and unprofessional opinion. Comment and tell me why I am wrong. I need to practice deleting comments anyway.



My Weekend and the Freaky Dude

It feels like yesterday I was typing about last weekend. Now another weekend has passed. This weekend was pretty uneventful. Saturday, I mowed the lawn. Not much else to say about that. Saturday evening we went out to eat Jennifer’s Uncle Jimmy and Grandma. Usually such an experience would result in a funny story or two, but on this occasion, the only weird thing that happened was that nothing weird happened. That’s not to say it was bad, it was actually quite enjoyable. We went to a seafood restaurant not far from here called Mayflower. I ordered broiled flounder and fired scallops, which were both great. Our waitress made a point to tell us it was only her second time “waitressing”, but she did a great job. I couldn’t help but wonder if she said that to get a larger tip, but I figured that was a bit paranoid and gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Sunday morning we slept in by mistake. I had to be at the church at 8:45 AM to practice my keyboard with our praise team and I got out of bed at 7:45 AM. I was in a huge rush and scarffed down my cereal in a hurry. As I was eating it, I thought something tasted funny, but it was a new cereal so I thought maybe that was it. That evening, I poured a glass of milk to drink with a pop tart. When I took a swig of the milk, I realized what the funny taste was. The milk had gone sour. Not curdled sour, but still pretty nasty. I poured that down the sink and got me a glass from the new gallon we hadn’t opened yet. I was actually surprised I still wanted milk after taking a gulp of the sour stuff.

Oh, and breaking news: the prosecutors dropped the charges against John Mark Karr. Honestly, I wonder if anyone actually still thought he did it? The guy is obviously a freak and needs to be locked up. My opinion is they should send him back to Thailand. I heard one guy suggest that he confessed to killing JonBenet just to get out of Thailand, and that makes sense to me. Oh, and did you hear? He got to feast on champagne and prawns on the way to the US (more here). Maybe they could serve him caviar and filet-mignon on the return flight. After all, there’s nothing I’d rather my tax dollars be used for then to make sure a freaky pedophile is well fed.

Pay Attention!

First-year students at Texas A&M’s Vet School were receiving their first anatomy class, with a real dead cow. They all gathered around the surgery table with the body covered with a white sheet.

The professor started the class by telling them, “In vet medicine, it is necessary to have two important qualities as a doctor:

The first is that you not be disgusted by anything involving the animal body. For an example, the Professor pulled back the sheet, stuck his finger in the butt of the dead cow, withdrew it and stuck it in his mouth.

“Go ahead and do the same thing,” he told his students. The students freaked out, hesitated for several minutes. But eventually took turns sticking a finger in the anal opening of the dead cow and sucking on it.

When everyone finished, the Professor looked at them and told them, “The second most important quality is observation. I stuck in my middle finger and sucked on my index finger. Now learn to pay attention.”

The Fall of Matt

This morning, while walking to my car, I slip on some gravel. Somehow, I keep myself from falling backwards or forwards and fall straight down onto my knee. As one might imagine, this did not feel good. I get up and start moaning while Jennifer, who witnessed the fall, runs out the door to see if I am OK. As she runs out, Taco seizes the opportunity, escapes out the door and darts through the yard. Meanwhile, I am trying to walk around and make sure nothing is broken, while whining like a mule. The neighbor, who is out walking her dog, sees me and hears my moaning. She calls over to see if I am OK. “I’m fine! I just like moaning,” I thought to myself. I don’t remember what I said, but I am sure it was something much less colorful like, “I am fine.”

While I make sure everything is still where it should be, Jennifer starts chasing Taco through the yard because we think she is in heat. The last thing a 2-pound Chihuahua needs is to be impregnated by a large dog. Scenes from the movie Alien come to mind. Anyway, in all the commotion, it comes to Grace’s attention that Jennifer has left the door open. Grace, also seeing an opportunity, opens the door and comes out on the deck.

Let’s review. I am beside my car, clenching my knee and moaning like a whiney baby. Taco is running around the yard with Jennifer in pursuit. The neighbor is yelling to Jennifer that Taco won’t hurt anyone (for whatever reason). Finally, Gracie is on the deck bouncing up and down with glee over all the excitement. At least someone was having fun.

Jennifer catches the dog and we all go back into the house to see what has happened to my knee. We pull down my jeans and find a small, but bloody, gash. Gracie immediately thinks she has to stick her finger into it. Jennifer then goes to get some first aid supplies, which leaves me to fend off Pokey (Grace). Did I mention I am still whining? Jennifer comes back in and spays me with the “no sting” chloraseptic spray. It was only “no sting” in the sense that it felt only slightly less like she had treated the wound with lemon juice and salt. Jennifer pats off the blood, gives me a few more squirts of devil spray, and applies the band-aid. While this is going on, Grace has given up on the poking and is now trying to sit down in Jennifer’s lap. Obviously she is distraught that my hairy, bloody knee is the center of attention. Speaking of which, I never realized how hairy my knee is. Generally, that isn’t something I care about, but you think about these things when someone is putting a band-aid on you. After Jennifer finishes with me, Grace sits down with her legs extended in front of her, obviously waiting for Jennifer to apply a band-aid to her leg. Jennifer puts the band-aid on Grace’s leg, which Grace immediately rips off and tries to reapply. I couldn’t help but think if I ripped the band-aid off my ape-like knee I would probably have to bite my lip to keep from screaming.

So, that was my morning. The rest of my day was boring in comparison.

Happy Birthday Aaron!

My brother Aaron turns 20 today. It’s hard to believe. He was born back in 1986. I was 6 years old, and was just old enough to remember him being a baby. That said, I really don’t remember much. I remember mom being pregnant with him because we went to Disney World that summer. Come to think of it, I’m not sure why we went then, but oh well.

Anyway, I remember the guy loved sweet potatoes as a baby. Oh, and we have this HILARIOUS, America’s Funniest Home Videos caliber, tape of the three of us running around the house when he was a baby. You see one or two laps of Tim, Aaron and I running through this doorway, but we’re approaching the door from an angle, not directly. Well, the third time, I turn the corner and run through. Tim does the same, but apparently Aaron’s steering had gone out. He slams into the side of the door and falls on his butt. I was pretty funny to watch years later. I also remember that he fell down some stairs one time too. We sometimes kid him that his accidents explain a lot about his current personality. I guess I’ll save some more embarrassing stories for later. Happy Birthday Aaron!

Don’t Download This Song

Weird Al has a new song on his MySpace called ‘Don’t Download This Song’. It is hilarious. I won’t say anything else about it, just go listen.

Click here to listen.

The Balloon

On Friday, Jennifer and I decided to make steak sandwiches. We had hoagies and grilled onions but were missing mushrooms. When I got home, Jennifer asked me to go out and get some mushrooms. Often when I get home and have to run back out, I’ll take Gracie along with me. I haven’t seen her all day and Jennifer could always use the break, so it is a win, win situation. Besides, many times if I walk in and then leave again Gracie wants to go with me. What can I say? She loves her daddy.

We went to Food Lion, which is our local grocery store. As we were checking out, there was this woman behind the counter blowing up some balloons for another customer. Grace saw the balloons and started reaching for them. The employee looked at me and ask if Grace could have one. I was fine with it, so she gave Grace this yellow balloon with the Food Lion logo. Immediately Grace put it in her mouth and tried to bite it. I told her to stop and warned her it would pop. She looked at me with a blank stare, probably because she got the “no” part, but the rest was completely incomprehensible to her. I’ve always wondered why kid’s brains default to putting things in their mouth. Any time you give a kid something new, they immediately assume it must go in their mouth. Other than Mike Rowe (host of Dirty Jobs that will eat ANYTHING), I think most people grow out of this phase. After two or three more times of putting it in her mouth followed by my reprimanding her, she finally figured out it didn’t go in her mouth. She then began to swing it around hitting stuff with it. Much better. After all, that is my favorite thing to do with balloons too.

When we got home, she finally decided to let go of the balloon for the first time and it went up to the ceiling where she couldn’t reach it. This didn’t go over well. We heard Grace scream and look over to find her staring up at the balloon with her arms extended as far as they could go. It was adorable, funny, and sad all at the same time. I got the balloon and handed it back to her. She, of course, immediately lets go of it again to see if it happens a second time. Knowing chasing the balloon all night would get old, I decided to tie one of her toys to the balloon to keep it from going up to the ceiling. Apparently Grace didn’t appreciate my genius idea, because she was even more annoyed by the toy being tied to the string. She eventually learned to hold onto the balloon and we only had to get it for her a few times.

The next day when Grace woke up, the balloon was lying on the ground, as cheap balloons will do after a few hours. She was obviously confused by the fact it was on the ground and lifted it into the air and let go. It fell back down to the ground. This new twist didn’t seem to bother her too much. I think she liked it better because it couldn’t get away from her. The balloon pretty much replaced her blanket as her favorite thing in the world this weekend. She ran around the house, clutching that balloon in her hand. So, here is a picture of Grace and her new friend.

Grace and the balloon

Weekend Update

Well, Monday is here again. That means it is time to talk about my weekend. First, I thought I would take a moment to tell you little about my brothers. You’ll see their names in my post often, so I’ll take a moment to introduce them.

Tim – My oldest brother. He is 25 and is a youth pastor at a church in Eden, NC (which is only about 20 minutes from us). He is married and has 2 children.

Aaron – Next in line. He is actually going to be 20 this week. He is attending a local community college at the moment, but has aspirations to be an engineer or scientist or something along those lines. He works as a math tutor at the college.

Joel – The baby. He is 15 and is in 10th grade. He loves juggling and playing guitar. He is good at both. I’m going to get some links up to some videos he has online soon.

On Saturday night, Aaron, Joel, and myself decided to go to this go-kart place that opened up a few months ago. For those who don’t know, Martinsville, VA is not exactly the big city. So a go-kart track is a pretty big deal. Interestingly though, this place seems to open up every so many years and then eventually closes down after a little while. I can only assume it has had a different owner each time. I told Aaron and Joel we needed to go ride go-karts before it closes again. Oh, I also had a coupon for a free ride.

When we got there, it was sort of unusual how disorganized everything seemed. There wasn’t really a well-defined loading and unloading area like you see at most tracks. After so many laps, a guy just runs out on the track and tells everyone pull off the track over to this area where there are no medians, cones or anything to guide the karts into any sort of organized arrangement. The result is that when you go to get in your go-kart, the karts are pretty much scattered around everywhere. To make things more confusing, there were some go-karts that weren’t even running sitting around.

As I was walking through the gate to start my ride, I noticed that the guy taking the tickets was having some trouble with the gate and cussing about it while I handed him my free pass. I got into a go-kart and tried to put on the seat belt. It didn’t fit, which isn’t unusual for me. I usually need an extension. The gate guy saw me trying to buckle it and told me not to worry about it. Interesting. Me, my brothers, and the rest of us sat there waiting for some sign from gate guy that it was ok to go. Finally, we got something that resembled a “go” sign so I hit the gas. The first thing I noticed was my go-kart seemed to move faster than those I had driven in the past. I am not sure if that was due to the fact that I haven’t drove one in a while, or if it was really moving faster. As I drove around the track, I also noticed tires were lying in the middle of the track. The tires were supposed to help cushion the impact at certain corners, but as they were knocked out of place, no one was putting them back into position. I didn’t mind. It sort of added another degree of challenge to the course. So, Aaron and I were immediately in a race. I kept moving in front of him, not worrying about whether I was bumping him or not. I also didn’t worry about bumping other drivers that were being equally aggressive. It was the same sort of bumping and blocking for several laps. I was having a blast, until the gate guy started waving at me as I drove by the starting area. I looked back over my shoulder to see what the deal was. To my surprise, sparks were shooting out the back of my car. My bumper had fallen off! At that point, it became obvious and I started to feel the bumper dragging behind me. I slowly drove around the course and pulled off when I got back around. They told me to get another car. The first car I went to was the only single seat go-kart left and wasn’t running. The only other cars I saw were two-seaters. I’ve always been told those are the fastest cars because they have larger engines, so I thought it was worth a shot. I am here to tell you that people are wrong. The thing drove like a tank. Well, compared to the first car anyway. It was harder to steer and SLOW. My brothers were kind enough to wait up for me at one point, but they were way ahead of me again in no time.

In the end, we wound up driving for about 15 minutes. I estimate it was 30 laps at least and you are only supposed to get 15. Driving the go-karts wound up being a blast regardless of the appearance. Still, I couldn’t help but think that the owner needs to get down there and work on how the place appears and is run. Letting us go 30 laps was probably not the smartest business decision. My brothers and I came expecting to ride at least two times. Possibly three. The first ride was so long we left after the just one. Since a ticket was $5, they missed an opportunity to make $30 on us.

Baby and Grits Update

Just to update, the baby appointment went well. They initially had trouble finding the heartbeat, which turned into a positive thing. Since they couldn’t find the heartbeat with a monitor, they gave Jennifer another ultrasound. Jennifer was really excited because she got to see the baby again. They didn’t give her a picture to bring home, so I did not get to see it. Apparently the baby was up higher than the doctor suspected, so that is why they couldn’t find the heartbeat on the monitor. They didn’t even make an attempt to determine the sex, so we have to wait for that until next time.

I KNOW you are all DYING to find out how my grits turned out. Afterall, what else is going on in the world is more important than my grits?  Well, I am happy to report that they turned out great. They weren’t hard to make at all, it just takes about 30 minutes. I guess I assumed that it was difficult because it takes so long.

Yes folks, this is how dull my life is.  Making grits is worthy of a blog post.  Tomorrow I will have an update about clipping my toe nails.  Stay tuned.

Mr. Johnson and grits

Today Jennifer is going to Roanoke to have another baby appointment. The one today isn’t very exciting. They will put some sort of monitor to her belly, listen to the heartbeat, and then she will leave. That’s pretty much it. Next month’s appointment is the one we are excited about. That is when we will find out whether we are having a boy or a girl.

My grandmother is among those who think that finding out the sex of the baby “takes away” from the experience, but I really have a hard time seeing that. Most people don’t get to find out the sex of the baby until they are 4 months pregnant or so. There is still a surprise of whether it is a boy or a girl, it just comes 5 months earlier than it use to. Also, people may not realize there is no guarantee they will be able to tell the sex of the baby, as my bother-in-law and his wife recently found out. They were told by the doctor that they “thought” it was a girl, but couldn’t tell for certain. Probably as a result of the doctor’s uncertainty, they recently decided to have a 3D ultrasound done, and the results of that proved it was, in fact, a girl. They were surprised! It just so happens that they were surprised before they were holding the baby in their arms. People who wait get the surprise when the see the baby, and so do those who don’t wait. They just use technology to get a sneak preview. I am not against waiting and being surprised, but I do get annoyed when people that make “being surprised” into something more than what it is.  I think it is a personal choice. Nothing more, nothing less.

While we are on the topic of determining the sex of a baby, it is interesting to me that with all the advances in medicine, we still rely on such an archaic way of determining whether a child is a boy or girl. There’s no test to run or blood to draw, they simply look to see if Mr. Johnson is present or not. That’s it. I find it somewhat amusing.

Tonight I get to make dinner because Jennifer’s appointment isn’t until 3:15 or so. As a result, I will beat her home. Since I am not the best cook and don’t know how to make much, Jennifer told me to make breakfast food. So, we are having eggs, bacon, biscuits and grits for dinner. Trust me, I don’t mind. We love eating breakfast for dinner. I am a little nervous about making the grits though. These aren’t the instant variety. We eat old-fashioned, stone ground grits almost exclusively. They take a little more time to prepare, but once you try them, you will never go back. When Jennifer makes them, they turn out so good. I’ll be disappointed if I ruin them. Next time you’re at your local grocer, you should look into getting REAL grits, even if you don’t normally like instant grits. You might be surprised.