Friday, July 31, 2009

A new repair saga begins...

About a year ago I blogged about the idiots I dealt with in getting my cooktop repaired. Well, that may be a bit harsh. They might not be idiots as I am trying not to judge others but they certainly gave the impression that they were idiots. So maybe they just have a "perception problem" :) Anyway, back to the most recent episode.

We recently bought a freezer. After it was delivered I noticed that the lock did not work. It turned but it did not "catch." I called Frigidaire right away. I immediately realized that I was in for it. I know what you are thinking... I got of the phone with "Bob" or "Sue" from Bangladesh and had a tough time communicating with them. NOPE. I can handle those situations. But instead I was introduced to a new low in customer disservice. I got an automated response telling me to call my local repair center. Did they connect me to the closest repair center? NOPE! But they were nice enough to give me the number. Of course I was not prepared for this so I had to call back once I got a pen and paper. Luckily for me they were nice enough to run me through the same automated maze to give me the number:)

I then called the repair center and I am told it would be three weeks before they could come out. I am glad it was nothing major! Their appointment was yesterday. When they called on Tuesday to confirm I began thinking better of them.... my bad. Yesterday the repair tech called before he came out to ask a few questions. "Oh" he said "I need to call Frigidaire and see if I need to order some parts." Sure enough, he did. Now why couldn't they have done that three weeks ago!!! Oh, because that would have inconvenienced them, not me. So now I once again wait on these companies and their people that are giving the perception that they are IDIOTS!!

Good thing 911 doesn't work like this. If it did here is how it work...
911 Dispatcher - "911, what is your emergency?"
Caller - "My house is on fire."
911 Dispatcher - "Please call your local Fire Department"
Caller - "Seriously?"
Caller calls the Fire Department
Fire Department - "Fire Department, what is your emergency?"
Caller - "My house is on fire"
Fire Department - "We will be there soon"
Caller - "There is a lot of smoke"
A while later
Fire Department - "Before we come out there, I need to ask you some questions"
Caller - "It is getting REALLY HOT."
Fire Department - "Is your house a one or two story?"
Caller - "Two"
Fire Department - "Oh, we need to get our ladder. I will call you back when we get it."

Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.
Clement Atlee


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Triplet's first trip to the movies.

Like many areas around the Country a few movie theaters around here offer free movies for kids in the Summer. Yesterday was the last day they offered them in Birmingham so the CFO took the day off and we went to go see the Veggie Tales movie "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." I actually like the Veggie Tales. Their humor fits with mine very well:)

Good thing we got there around 9:30 am (the movie started at 10am) as there were VERY view seats left. I guess free is the right price:) I went out after we got our seats and bought some popcorn. I have always wanted to buy the "large" bucket that comes with a free refill. I used to always think for someone to eat that much they would have to be a big 'ol supergiant... well, let's just say they would have to REALLY like popcorn:) It turns out you just have to be a family of five! We killed the bucket about 30 minutes into the movie. That was around the same time that William and Addison started saying "I want to go home" and Jackson kept wanting the lights turned back on. We waited another ten minutes to see if they would change their mind as toddlers often do but to no avail. Oh well, I will have to rent it to see it:( But that gave me a chance to get a refill on my large bucket of popcorn. I would hate to see how many calories and fat we put down.

After that we went to the mall for lunch and rode the carousel for the first time with the kids. But not to stop the day of eating bad there we went to Bruster's for ice cream. I just found out the other day that kids under 40" tall get a free kids cone of ice cream! Theirs was almost as big as my single scoop!

We went blueberry picking last weekend! Here are just a few pics. I will post more soon:)

He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it - namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", Chapter 2


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why boys will be boys...

I have found myself explaining boys/men to women a few times when I am out and about with the kids. It usually starts out by my complementing someone on their (her) son's behavior, cuteness, etc... You know, the stuff everyone says when making idle chit-chat. It is quite frequently followed up by something like "thank you, he is great when he isn't breaking something." I then impart some of my limited knowledge I have: "all boys and even men like to break stuff. Heck, I still like to break stuff, it is fun!" They usually respond with something like "really?"

I know it is hard for Women to understand and it is even harder to explain it to them but it really is fun to tear stuff up, break things, blow them up or just generally cause madness and mayhem. I don't know why it is that way but it is. It is sort of like explaining why water is wet. It just is:)

I am trying to keep this in mind when raising the Triplets. I try not to ask why they did something like hit, kick, or knock someone down. Mainly because I know why they did it... because it is FUN! Now I do try and find out if they were mad with their victim or not. As you know sometimes kids use actions or screaming where words would be much more appropriate. Like when a toy is stolen and the victim just hits the offender. I then try to get them to use their words.

But in those cases where I see it happen (and I know it was just the little beast inside all boys/men wanting to come out and play a little) that I take a different approach. See, while most if not all men like doing these things ALL men do not like having these things done to them. We'll see if it works or not long term with the Triplets but I can see the gears working when I ask them "do you like being hit?" or whatever the offense was. The answer is almost always "no." I then explain that if they don't like it then they should not do it to others and furthermore that if they do it then other people will think they like it and do it to them. On the off occasion one of my three is feeling like testing the line in the sand and says "yes, I like it".... well, let's just say they quickly change their mind and start saying "no, I don't like it" usually repeated several times in quick repetition:)

Funny how we start fighting the desires of "the flesh" so early. I hope and pray God helps me give my kids the tools they need to keep the little beast in them under control.

Here are a few pics of the boys... You can see William wanting to break the DVD in the first pic. In the next two they always have each others' backs:) Yes, William's foot was stuck and Jackson helped him get it out.

When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking.
Elayne Boosler


Monday, July 27, 2009

The Triplets are growing up fast!

It seems like just yesterday we were clapping and saying "YEAH!" when any of the Triplets uttered even one word. But as we have heard many times, you spend the first two years wishing they would talk and the next sixteen wishing they would be quiet:) That is a joke but it does get a bit much at times when all three are telling me something of grave importance at the exact same time. When I can hear them I do get surprised sometimes and I am reminded that I need to continue to give them my undivided attention as much as I can.

The other day the Triplets were on the back porch playing when William opened the door. No big deal as they do this A LOT. It seems that our house traps our air conditioned air and the Triplets want to set it free:) I was just about to remind him that he needed to keep the door closed when he said "I have a question Dada." I cannot remember the question as I was stunned by his comment. I know it seems small and trivial but coming from an almost three year old it seemed advanced. Another time William said "It's better to go poopie in the toilet" after Addison went in her pull-ups. Not that he is going poopie in the potty mind you, but at least he gets the idea:)

William is our advanced talker but he is also still our bruiser:) Jackson or Addison will come to me crying saying "William just (hit, kicked, pushed, etc...) me!"

William and Addison are really getting the hang of their tricycles. Jackson just wanted a picture of his "Glowy" :)

Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.
Frank Leahy


Friday, July 24, 2009

Hi, I'm Al and I have a problem with saving money

Not to make light of people (some very good friends) in one of the many support groups out there but I feel like I need to confess sometimes. If for no other reason then to find out that I am not alone in some of my many (not so little) quirks:) I LOVE to buy stuff! It is not that I like "shopping" but I do love getting good deals on stuff. I really love getting good deals online and have a tendency to obsess about getting the best deal possible. That way I get two "fixes" for the price of one. I get the "fun" of looking for the best deal online (sometimes for months and in one case a year) then I get the fun of having it delivered to our door! Once I buy it online I usually forget about it until it shows up... surprise!

I REALLY get fired up when you can combine coupons and/or rebates with sales to get stuff REAL cheap. All of this is usually well and good until I come to the realization that I don't need all this stuff. Yes, some things are necessities like food, etc... but others are not. I read/heard somewhere about a three day rule. If you see something you "gotta have" then wait three days and see if you still "gotta have" it. Of course the three day rule does not always apply. Like when the washer/dryer I have wanted for a year went on sale at Lowe's. It was 10% off all washer/dryers with an additional 10% off Samsungs (the brand I wanted) PLUS I had a 10% off coupon.

So here are some of my favorite sites in case you want to join my addiction:)

CouponMom - find printable coupons - some GREAT deals on "stuff". Be sure to sign up for their emails.
Sierra Trading Post - got some $100 Keen Sandals for $38 - nuff said:)
Upromise - start saving for college
Cashbaq - You can earn rebates and cash back on purchases.
Ebates - Another site where you can earn cash back on purchases

I have also put some on the bottom left of the blog along with other cool sites like that gives you the ability to edit your pics for free.

Their favorite rides were the swings and the cars. Jackson taking in his first bite of a funnel cake:)

What can you say about a society that says that God is dead and Elvis is alive?
Irv Kupcinet


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two for two

We went to another Barons baseball game this week with two other families courtesy of a couple at our Church. When we got in the ballpark we noticed that where we usually sit down the first base line was full so we went to the third base line. Sure enough a couple of foul balls were hit our way. Luckily they were all grounders:) Addison and Jackson worked their magic and each walked away with a baseball!

Not only did they get a game ball but they also got an ornament and little beanbag baseball from Santa. Not sure who came up with Christmas in July events but the kids loved it! They didn't even scream when they saw him, a HUGE improvement over Christmas:)

The only bad part of the night was after we got home. All of a sudden Jackson started screaming and scratching his feet. Turns out some fire ants got him at the ball park and they had really started to itch. A little Benadryl cream later and he was all good.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.
Jack Handey (1949 - ), Deep Thoughts


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What is that big whooshing sound?....

Oh, that is Daddy sucking the fun out of everything:) No, seriously I do. Just ask the CFO. It is a family joke around the house. Now I do not look at it as sucking the fun out of things but rather a pragmatic and realistic way of looking at things by preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. The worst thing about it from the CFO's perspective is that when I am wrong, no big deal, but if I was right and something happens... Well, let's just say that I have learned not to say "I told you so." :)

There are some well documented cases that have been filed away but as our preacher reminds us, never bring up the past in current "discussions." But just to show an example.... a few minutes before this picture was taken I said: "They have pulled that toy over a few times and I worry that someone might get hurt." Note the cut below Jackson's left eye.

Now it can be (and often is) argued that it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy when I say these things. The CFO's point (argument) is that if I would just be quiet (keep my mouth shut) about these things then they would not happen:)

However, I am surprised that I let the kids on all these rides with little to no hesitation:)

There's nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?
Randal Graves from the Movie "Clerks"


Monday, July 20, 2009

Ready.... BREAK!

The CFO and I have split up the Triplets a few times and it seems to work out great. This past weekend we went to her home town for a family baby shower for our Sister in Law that is expecting their third child. They have three year old twins and ignored our advice to stop while they were behind:)

We went up Friday night and headed out to the local Summer kiddie carnival. Of course it took us 50% longer to get there as Addison is trying to nail down this potty training deal. Saturday Addison stayed with the CFO for the baby shower while the boys went with me, my Brother in Laws, one of the Triplets' Cousins, and my Father in Law to a charity event for a local girl with Cancer. We had a great time as there were two inflatables for the kids and a playground. One of the inflatables was a HUGE slide. All of the other kids were very patient as there was a traffic jam getting up the slide each time the Triplets climbed up. They were the youngest kids on the slide:) William went down first and did it like a champ smiling all the way. Jackson, not to be out done, started out sliding then quickly started tumbling head over heals and finally ended up rolling down the slide. When he landed face down at the bottom I figured my chances were 50-50 that he liked it. Winner! He came up smiling and laughing only to head back up and this time slide down head first. I am in for it with Jackson when he gets older and his "stunts" more daring:) Sorry, no pics of the slide. The CFO had the camera.

While both the CFO and I really missed spending the day together "as a family" we also enjoy each time we have some one on two or one on one time with the kids.

The Triplets loved the carnival again this year!!!

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


Friday, July 17, 2009

Here we go.... Potty Training

I have been dreading these days for quite a while now. Don't get me wrong I don't really enjoy changing diapers but the transition is going to be quite rough. I am usually quite the realist (pessimist) about most things. I believe in preparing for the worst (still waiting on the 9mm ammo I ordered back in March) and hoping for the best. But for some reason I have not given much thought to potty training. I think I was (am) in denial:)

I kept hoping that one day one of the Triplets would just decide "that is it, I am done with diapers." Then the others would follow suit. I never expected (see the denial) false starts, regression and the outright refusals that go along with potty training. The CFO is ready for them to be potty trained yesterday. I on the other hand want to wait for a miracle:) I think it is MUCH easier right now. No stopping on trips or any of the other hassles that go along with going to the bathroom.

Much to our delight Addison had decided that she wants to use the potty. She used it VERY briefly some time ago and quickly decided she would have none of that. Well that all changed this week. We are going into day three of pull ups. She sits on the potty every 10-20 minutes it seems. Then Jackson MUST also go to the potty. Poor William is not really interested other than the M & M's they get after successful trips to the potty.

So I am working on keeping my excitement level high with each trip to the potty. Yes, I would LOVE to not buy any more diapers but I am not looking forward to our transition stage. Oh well, I knew there was a reason most Men go to work and leave the Woman at home with the kids:)

Add to all this that William decided to pull the poop out of his diaper last night and I was ready for the white sports coat with the sleeves in the back. I am blessed that the CFO is better prepared for all this as she went through it all with her two brothers. Being an only child I was blessedly spared all until now:)

Addison helping Jackson get his socks and shoes on for us to head out for the day.

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. Harry S Truman


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not so tiny bubbles

The CFO and I have our roles a bit reversed in our relationship. She grills, I clean. She needs to relax, I like to get stuff done. She likes to try new things, I like the status quot. This is never more evident than with the kids.

Keep in mind we were VERY boring home bodies before having kids. We worked 70 - 80 hours a week (OK I worked more) so when we got off work we liked to be home. Once when recruiting for a company on a College campus a student asked "what kind of hobbies do you have?" It was a simple enough question but I had no answer. I said "let me get back to you on that." I just liked work so much I figured why have a hobby that sucks money out of you when you REALLY enjoy your job that adds money:)

Here are some of the firsts that the CFO has done with the kids along with the reason I had not tried it yet.
  • Cereal WITH milk - what a mess
  • Water out of a non-sippy cup - what a mess
  • Ice cream cone - what a mess
  • Bathe the Triplets all at once - what a mess
  • Play Doh - ditto
OK, well you get the gist. I admit that sometimes I make decisions based on my selfishness. I was just talking to another parent that we like having kids over because I can then justify all the work that goes into playing in the back yard:)

The other day the CFO decided to ratchet things up a bit by not only bathing the Triplets together in her garden tub but to also add bubble bath. Now bubble bath is not new to the kids but have you ever put it in a garden tub and turned on the jets? WOW! We almost lost the kids. They LOVED it! But as you can guess, it was a mess but it was well worth it. Will I do it alone with the Triplets? Nope, that is the CFO's job:)

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
Dale Carnegie


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Having fun is a lot of work...

Who knew that having fun was so much work? I now feel bad about all the fun I had as a kid and I had A LOT of fun:) Of course I still have fun but now it is me (us) doing the work. Take just going in the back yard for the morning for instance...
  • Clean up the dog poop
  • Blow of the patio
  • Wipe out the swings
  • Wipe off the slides
  • Clean out the cobwebs
  • Wipe out the pool
  • Set up the shade tent
  • Fill up the pool
  • Get out the bounce house, blow it up
  • Move the mosquito killer out of the yard
Then all we have to do is get the kids ready:)

That usually gives us about two to three hours of fun out back. Sure, there are the trips back in for the basketball goal, balloons, soccer balls, freeze-pops, etc... but it is all worth it even when that is only half of the work as the clean up begins once everyone goes down for a well deserved nap.

Here the kids have fun "their way" :) They put the chairs in a row to be a "train" for them to ride.

There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness.
Gelett Burgess


Monday, July 13, 2009

Guys night out!

As anyone who is or has been a stay at home parent knows, you don't get many (any) days off. Not complaining just stating the facts:) So when I get some "time off" I usually feel like I need to cram as much into that time as I can. Keep in mind I usually do not want "time off." The CFO and I seem to be the exception rather than the rule. We actually want to, look forward to and enjoy spending time with our kids. I know, CRAZY:)

Our Small Group from Church that gets together on Sunday nights has started doing a girls' or guys' night out every other month. You know, so the ladies can talk about girly stuff and the guys can well... do guy stuff. This past Saturday was the first guys' night out. Our nights out start at 5pm and can go as late as we want. We first went bowling and bowled two games. Keep in mind it has been at least six to seven years since I bowled. I bowled a 67 the first game, dead last. I keep getting my bowling and golf scores reversed:) The second game I was doing much better and was one point off the lead going into the tenth frame. You guessed it, I came in last again but this time I had a 122. The next guy had 123, oh the agony of it all!

Then we headed to the local Minor League Baseball game. We had a great time talking during the game and sharing some laughs. I think I talked more than (I should have) anyone else but that is one of the many things I am working on. That and not "cracking" on people on the time. It seems that my choice of "humor" can be a little cutting at times. The Barons won a great game!

We THEN headed to the movies! We went to the dollar movie theatre to see Wolverine. It was a good guy movie but it did get a little girly when they showed Wolverine without his shirt on much to the delight of the ladies in the audience. There were even some audible cat-calls a few times, TOTALLY sucking all of the testosterone out of the theatre:) Other than that and a few scenes that were stupid (Wolverine had his Nemesis dead to rights and he walked away) it was a good movie.

So all in all we sucked all the fun we could out of our seven hours!

More pics from our fun in the sun.

Most people would like to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.
Robert Orben


Friday, July 10, 2009

Take me out to the ball game...

The Triplets have been to two Minor League games and they are hooked! Well, they love the food:) I am finding more and more I am letting the kids eat whatever:( Both times we have sat at field level which I think makes it more fun for them. I sure like it a lot better. Also, where we sit the bleachers (general admission) are pretty empty. That way we can have some room for the kids to move around. William is 2 for 2 with knocking our soda over. I always said in business, if you can't be real good at what you do at least be consistent:)

I try to keep them "in the game" as much as possible by telling them we must watch the batter to see if he is going to hit the ball to us. Funny enough, both Addison and Jackson got their first baseballs last week! Both were foul balls that the relief pitchers grabbed. They usually walk over to the mob of kids and toss them the ball. The first ball went to Addison! What can I say, she is already learning that she is the one with the power when it comes to men. Must run in the family:) The second foul ball went to Jackson. The boys had humor in their favor. Their Aunt Rhonda gave them some hilarious shirts a while back. These said "I want Muscles." We got several comments on their shirts. We'll get William a baseball soon.

Both games we made it to the 7th inning stretch which is around 9pm. The Triplets actually said they were tired and ready to go. Funny how it works at games. They are focused on the game at first (as much as an almost three year old can be focused), then they get a little rowdy, but they eventually start crashing and being calm again.

On a somewhat sad note I was surprised (kind of) to see that the chosen baseball for major league baseball that is made by Rawlings is in fact, made in CHINA! I am all for free trade but COME ON! What next? Let them print our money for us? :)

Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?
Jim Bouton

You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the darn (replaced to make it G rated) plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all.
Earl Weaver


Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Triplets are killing my communication skills

Some friends and I made a frighting discovery the other day. We are becoming poor communicators. At least with each other we are. Most of the time (OK, all the time) we see each other our kids are with us. Here are some of the issues at hand:
  • Little to no eye contact - hey, we are watching the kids.
  • Talk over each other - directing or disciplining the kids.
  • Walk away in the middle of a conversation - to go look for a kid or intercede in an altercation:)
I just hope I "get out" of this before I become one of "those people" :) You know, the ones that never look you in the eye, they seem like they lost their R vitamin, or need to they just need to say no to Starbucks.

Can you tell a difference between how boys and girls act at a baseball game? :)

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Sir Winston Churchill


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I could have lived a thousand years and done without seeing THAT!

I just knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Maybe it is the realist in me, maybe it was karma but it came back to bite me thrice! You always think you are prepared for the worst. You try to think about what you will do and you get yourself mentally prepared. Putting together scenarios with different outcomes. There is a plan B, C and sometimes even a D. I have worked very hard to prevent it from ever happening. Now that it has happened I have a "renewed vigor and enthusiasm not seen by many" (anyone know where that quote is from?) to prevent it from ever happening again. But at least I have now been to precipitous edge, looked over it and lived to tell about it....

What am I talking about you ask?

The poopie in the "Little Swimmers!" Yep, ALL THREE of them! I will spare you the details but let's just say I "discovered" it, I was NOT informed of it:( Luckily I had a hose at my disposal:) It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "that is just wrong."

A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.
Saki (1870 - 1916)