Saturday, July 23, 2005

Easter Movie

Yeah, it took four months. You can't rush art. Everybody knows that. . .

Enter the password, click multimedia, choose Easter. Not a lot of work for oh so much entertainment!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Our Whole Family Wears Buckets

I'm wearing one right now, as I type.

The shirtless kid isn't ours. That didn't stop him from wearing a bucket.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Your 2006 Summer Vacation Plans

Allie and I went for a walk last night. Despite the 92 – 96 degree temperatures we walked, hand-in-hand, around the neighborhood. We decided to walk through the woods. Allie calls it a forest. She says it sounds better. I agree.

In the thick of the forest we were attacked by mosquitoes and other insects. Allie wasn’t as freaked as I anticipated. I think she’s getting better about not losing it whenever a bug comes near her. However, she did perform quite the screaming jig when a bumble bee buzzed her legs. I can’t say that I blame her.

We encountered a couple of our neighbors during our walk. “We’re going for a walk,” Allie said. “We’re enjoying the beautiful evening,” she added. The neighbors smiled at the cute girl and her sweaty father because it was a beautiful evening. What they probably weren’t thinking, as the chatty little girl in the floral skirt walked by, was how fleeting the moment was. That’s what I was thinking. After all, how many more nights like this would I have with my daughter? It won’t be long before there will be little or no allure in something as mundane as taking a stroll with her father. But for now, our walk seemed to be one of the highlights of Allie’s day. It certainly was the highlight of mine.

I tried to soak it in. I tried to etch it into my brain. I know I’ll need memories like this to help close the tiny wounds that will accumulate as my girls struggle to become something much more than their father’s daughters.

Hold on. I’m not as maudlin as I make out. We had an entire weekend filled with great memories. We spent a lot of the time in Water Park Town (as Allie refers to the Wisconsin Dells). Allie and I had fun shooting down the water slides while Debbie hung back with Julia near the kiddy pools. Fortunately, none of us were completely consigned to kiddy pool duty. Claudette, Pam and Jeff were there too and we all took turns hanging with the shorty so that everyone had the opportunity to experience some of the more thrilling attractions.

The Black Anaconda rocks, by the way. Just ask Debbie.

I can’t speak for the group, but I had fun. Deb’s sisters and Jeff crave fun and seek adventure. I’m not saying that the wave pool at Noah’s Ark is the height of adventure, but at least these people are game for it. Their willingness to brave high temps, long lines and occasionally cranky toddlers made for a nice weekend away. I loved floating down the lazy river. All seven of us hooked together drifting in the cool water beneath the hot sun occasionally giggling at or splashing one another.

Of course it wasn’t all peaches and Jell-O. Fortunately cranky kids, minor inconveniences and a bee sting all seem to fade while evening strolls along Broadway, warm conversations, roller coasters, saltwater taffy and lumberjack breakfasts take precedence in our memories.

Next time we want you to be there with us.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Kill the Banner

If you're here via then you may be seeing a banner at the bottom of the page.

Go to:

Unfortunately you'll need to cut and past, but the banner should disappear. isn't so bad. They just want too much money. $35 for domain name registration and $49 to forward the URL annually. wanted $7.95 to register the domain and $13 to maintain a little privacy each year (whois). The URL forwarding (minus a banner) is free.

That's over $63 a year in savings.

Hopefully by the time you read this the banner is gone. If it's not, just point your browser to the link above.

Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bad Ass Grass Master II

The one on the left is the new mower. The old one (on the right) sounds like hot, metal death every time I try to get it to self-propel.

I'm the one responsible for the tiny push that sent the original Bad Ass Grass Master out to pasture (and what a well groomed pasture it will be). It was time to get a new mower anyway, but I took apart the axle to try to get both wheels to engage. The end of the axle was a lost cause and I'm sure it would have been at least another $150+ to set things right.

Did I mention a spring popped out when I examined the axle? I'm sure I said something about the awful grinding noise.

Anyway, it was my tinkering that sealed the deal.

Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes I get hot metal death.

I've been pricing mowers for the past few weeks. I knew the local hardware store had the mower we needed at a reasonable price. I went in and checked it out. After I took a look I went to the registers to buy Allie a piece of candy. That's where I ran into the neighbor kid.

First of all, I was shocked as hell that the little kid a couple doors down is now old enough to do join me in a microeconomic exercise. Secondly, I felt bad I couldn't remember the kid's name.

He knew me, though. He asked me, "What're you out doing today?"

"Shopping for a new mower. I'm going to head into town and do a little more shopping"

"Oh yeah? Well if you come back, ask for M---. I can get you a 20% discount."

"I might do that."

I did do that. I came back and went around looking for M---. I found him, but not before the store manager found me. The store manager wanted to sell me the mower. I told him I wanted M--- and his 20% to help me (but I left out the 20% part). Finally the manager insisted that he help me. That's when I spilled the beans about the 20%.

By the time M--- showed up I was certain I was going to get the poor kid fired, or at least made an example at next week's employee meeting. So I went ahead and bought the new mower without the promised 20%.

The manager still wanted to help me. I was rude and waved him off, "M--- can take care of me." After all, he cost me my 20% and I already had a mental picture of me running him over with the new Bad Ass Grass Master.

As we loaded the mower into my car M--- apologized. "That was very unprofessional of me," he said. Poor kid. I told him I hoped I didn't get him into any hot water and he assured me I had not.

By the way, the new mower rocks. It would have rocked even more at 20% less, but that's now water under the bridge.

For the most part.

I'd still like to see what the Bad Ass Grass Master II would do to M---'s manager's shoes.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Quite a Buffet of Fireworks

That’s how Allie described things last night. “That was quite a buffet of fireworks, Dad. It was a fiesta of fireworks! I love the fourth of July,” she said.

I didn’t want to take her.

It had been raining all day and the thought of fighting the crowds as I trudged through fairground mud with a 5-year old perched on my shoulders didn’t appeal to me. After all, we had spent two nights camping in the backyard, set off $80 worth of our own fireworks, hit the carnival at the Junior Fair, watched two hours worth of kids’ movies in the basement and spent a good amount of quality time with one another this holiday weekend. Whatever bonding that might occur beyond this felt as if it had the potential to create some strange interdependence that would spur some rare form of autism.

We went to see the fireworks.

Allie and I had a long walk to get to the park where all the locals congregate for the best view of the display. By the time we got to the park Allie had already collected a fake purple flower that glowed with the help of a small LED connected to two AA batteries. I was happy to buy her the flower as I believed it might make us more visible to the steady stream of cars trying to get to the same place we were headed.

We stood in the park and noticed we were the only people not wise enough to have brought a blanket or a lawn chair. Allie and I found a tree with roots big enough to save us from the wet ground if we sat on them. That’s where we waited for the show to begin.

When the first shell exploded we knew we were in the right place. We left the shelter of the tree and stood in the middle of the park, hand-in-hand, watching the bursts of bright colors and feeling the great booms in the center of our chests. While I was busy with the traditional oooos and ahhhhs, Allie was grunting like a wolf-child. Then she started to shout, “I love American! I love American!” I started to giggle at her as she jumped up and down and continued with her grunting.

Then she started to talk during the brief lulls between explosions. It wasn’t really talking, it was more like screaming. “You know what I want, baby. Give it to me! Give it to me, baby!” She yelled this stuff over and over again. Then a shell would burst and she would exclaim, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby!” She would punctuate each exclamation with her grunting that would crescendo into a disturbing Oooh. Oooooh. Oooooooooooooooh!

I looked to my left. I looked to my right. People were starting to notice the 5-year old spouting 70’s porn clich├ęs standing next to me. I bent down and said, “Keep it down a little, Allie.” I did it gently. I didn’t want to quash the poor girl’s enthusiasm. At the same time, I didn’t want to raise concerns among some in the crowd that my daughter was being raised in a bordello.

I didn’t ask Allie where she had heard people say the things she was saying. I suppose I will ask, eventually, but I’m not at all sure how to broach the topic. In the meantime, I’ll hold off on taking Allie to see her first pro baseball game. If it turns out to be an exciting game I’ll probably get arrested.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Safari With Nuts and Root Beer Candy

I don't know if it can be classified as an annual event, but we have done it two years in a row.

I'm talking about backyard camping.

This year Allie and I slept outside in the tent once again. Ranger Debbie brought us provisions (nuts and root beer candy). We slept on air beds covered with just about every comforter, blanket or throw available in the house.

Allie and I went exploring around 10:00 p.m. We were walking around the neighborhood searching for lighting bugs and adventure. Allie wanted to cut through the park, but suddenly I felt self-conscious. I'll set the scene: a man, walking down a sidewalk at 10:00 at night hand-in-hand with a five-year old dressed in Barbie pajama bottoms and a hoodie holding an aligator shaped flashlight taking a turn into the darkness of an empty park.

It didn't seem like the thing to do.

We remained on the sidewalk and found some bugs. We also checked on the baby bunnies in the backyard. They're doing fine, by the way. Allie laughed when they leaped out of the hole and tumbled over each other like furry lotto balls.

We went to sleep about 11:45 p.m. This, despite all the fireworks that were being ignited close by. I'd wake up every hour or so and push Allie back onto her pool float (that's what she was sleeping on) and cover her back up. She continued to snore all night long. It took me at least three times to figure out the creature lurking around outside the tent was really just Allie grinding her teeth. Needless to say, I'm not feeling too rested this morning, but I don't mind.

Did I mention it was cold? But in the morning, as soon as a little sunlight hit the tent it began to warm us up. Around 7:30 we went inside and Deb and Julia were waiting for us. We had toast with jam and I had Fruit Loops for breakfast.

That's what happened last night. Allie wants to sleep in the tent again, tonight.

We'll see.