Friday, December 31, 2010

An Alabama Christmas

We went up to the in-laws the other weekend to do the CFO's family Christmas.  We surprised the CFO's parents with a new computer.  I put it up after they went to bed.  I woke up to William telling the CFO's parents "Mommy and Daddy didn't bring any computer."  We have to keep the Triplets in the dark on anything we want to be a surprise as they LOVE telling secrets. It runs in the family, some members of the family.  Not that they are loose lipped but that they love surprising people.  So much so that they talk about the impending surprise... a lot:)

I am the kind of person that drives that kind of person crazy.  Some people like to build suspense about an impending surprise.  They want you (me) to be curious about what it is.  Ask questions about it.  Ponder the possibilities.  Weigh your options. You know, get all geeked up about it.  I, on the other hand like surprises to be... well... surprises.  So I don't inquire, ponder, ask, or do anything that may encroach on the forthcoming surprise.  As an added bonus it drives the surpriser nuts:)  

But an Alabama Christmas would not be complete without a little gun play!  The in-laws watched the Triplets and their three cousins while the CFO, my brother in law and sister in law went to the "old place" to shoot.  I had my Mossberg 500 Persuader shotgun and my brother in law his new Judge.  A pistol that shoots a .45 AND a .410 shotgun shell... I am all over it!  Yes, the CFO loved it too!

I am no more humble than my talents require.
Oscar Levant (1906 - 1972)

If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government --and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.
Edward Abbey


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who makes the decisions at a Wedding?

After having been in a few weddings I have learned one eternal truth... When it comes to decisons reguarding a wedding it is up to the Bride. It is her day.  Not the groom's, not her mother's, not her mother in law's, her's.  I know it does not always work that way but the CFO and I see it that way and if we are involved or attending a wedding we do our best to be sure it works that way.  So what if it is snowing, in the 30's, with a gale force wind.  If the Bride wants to get married outside she is getting married outside!

I discussed this fact with my daughter the night before the wedding during her bath time.  She wanted to wear a white dress we had borrowed from a friend.  But the dress was whiter than the Bride's, a no-no.  If you have read this blog in the past then you know that she is a bit strong willed:)  Here is how our discussion went:  Keep in mind this is after extensive negotiating by both me and the CFO.

Daddy: "Don't you want to wear the pretty black dress?"
Addison: "NO! I want to wear the white dress"
Daddy: "Who makes the decisions about a wedding?"
Addison: "I don't know"
Daddy: "The Bride does"
Addison: "Oh"
Daddy: "Who is the bride tomorrow?"
Addison: "Miss Owlison"
Daddy: "So who makes the decisions about what people wear to the wedding?"
Addison: "Miss Owlison... but I want to wear the white dress!"
Daddy: "When you get married do you want to make the decisions or do you want a four year old flower girl to make the decisions?"
Addison: "I want to make the decisions"
Daddy: "So who is going to decide what you wear tomorrow... you or Miss Owlison?"
Addison: "Miss Owlison"
Daddy: "So will you wear the black dress please?"
Addison: "Yes Daddy"

To be fair it was the CFO and I making the call but that is just because Miss Owlison is too nice/smart/afraid to stand in the gap between what my little princess and what she wants.  I do it for sport:)  

She was as pretty as a picture...

She later negotiated wearing the slippers at the reception into the deal:)

If you can't go around it, over it, or through it, you had better negotiate with it.
Ashleigh Brilliant

Marriage: love, honor, and negotiate.
Joe Moore


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to the CFO!

To the CFO...

If I could change what's been done before
The Triplets and I would kiss you more
I have few regrets through our years
The ones I have may bring me tears
But in our future I pledge my will
Until our vows I do fulfill

I love you,


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The second most memorable wedding

If I have attended your wedding please do not take this personally.  The most memorable was of course, mine.  It was not just because the CFO became my Bride but we also had three tornado warnings that day.  One cut our reception short and one stopped the after-party in our suite back at the hotel.  Keep in mind these are "Alabama Tornado Warnings" and they take them seriously.  Like leave the reception and go to the basement of the Police Station seriously.  So ours is #1.

The #2 spot has been taken by one of the CFO's best friends, Owlison.  No, that is not her real name but if you know her then you know who it is.  Owlison's wedding is #2 for several reasons that I will discuss below.  Please do not try to surpass this as this is something that just happens, you cannot plan for it.  It is like AFV.  If it is planned then I think it doesn't count.  Here are the reasons, in no particular order.  In the spirit of full disclosure, Owlison also reads this blog.
  1. Getting married December 26th.  Not only getting married on 12/26, the day after Christmas but deciding on that day on 12/20/2010.  Yep, less than a week.  No, it was not a shotgun wedding, although if it was I have a great shotgun we could have used.  The original date was in April I believe but because of the new house the couple is building they (she) decided to move the date up.  Why and how would a house move the day up you ask.  Well, it seems that their construction workers are very good at their job.  So good in fact that the closing date got moved up so far it was going to be before the wedding.  
  2. Driving eight hours on Christmas Day to get to the wedding.  Nuff said:)
  3. It was quite chilly.  When I say quite chilly I mean that it was an outside wedding, it was on the water, it was 34 degrees, and there was a 30 mph breeze blowing.  
  4. It was the first wedding that the Triplets were in.  Addison was the flower girl and the boys ring bearers.  Addison did a great job.  The boys, however, bugged out back to the van because of the slight chill in the air, sissys:)  So I ended up being the ring bearer and the videographer.  
  5. One of my many gadgets came in handy.  In other weddings I have been in the rings on the ring bearer's pillow were fake ones and the best man actually had the real things.  Not so in this wedding.  The real rings were tied on the pillow.  So when it came time for the rings they needed to untie them.  Not such an easy task with numb hands.  Luckily I had my Mini Leatherman (the best groomsman gift, from Bebe's wedding).  It quickly cut the ribbon and it was game on!  
We had a GREAT time and she was/is a beautiful bride!  Her husband looked good too:)

There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.
Doctor Who

Love one another and you will be happy.  It's as simple and as difficult as that.  
Michael Leunig


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wanna snuggle?

It seems so nice doesn't it... snuggling up with your precious little four year old.  It's 2am and it's cold in the house so it tugs at your heart strings when one of the Triplets comes crawling in the bed describing the latest bad dream.  Your heart goes out to them and you bring them in close to snuggle.  Nothing like a little 200,000 BTU heater next to you on a cold winter's night to put a smile on your face.

But why is it that as soon as you fall asleep that cute little four year old seems to morph into a creature with four elbows and six knees that continuously poke and prod you.  You find yourself in a bad dream...   you have been abducted by aliens and they are poking and prodding you looking for a place to put their space probe.  Just then you are jolted awake by a shot to the kidneys, crotch or some other sensitive area.  Oh, it's not a bad dream, just a four year old... or two... or three:)

It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
Arthur C. Clarke

Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience - unless they are still up.  
Ellen Goodman


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

God loves a cheerful giver

And the Triplets were more than happy to give me and Mimi the stomach flu! :)  It hit me about 3am Monday morning and Mimi got it right after lunch on Monday.  I was down for the count.  Luckily the Triplets survived Monday.... pretty much on their own.

In the morning I fixed coffee for the CFO and put bowls out for the Triplets and fell asleep on the couch.  I woke up a little later, turned on PBS and the Triplets ate cereal (whatever kind they wanted) till lunch time.  I was in and out much of the time.  I served them lunch ala cart in the TV room; turkey and crackers.  We napped from 2-5 and I went back down for the count at 8:30pm.  Let's just say that I have never felt worse than I did on Monday.  Even my most ambitious College adventures did not compare.

We also had a few times where the Triplets "gambled and lost" (as my my college roomates Herge and Bullard would say) so I also got to be on clean up duty.  All in all the house and the Triplets did not look all that bad all things considered.

Merry Christmas!

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
Abraham Lincoln

1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4given
Grandma Jack


Monday, December 20, 2010

The trip home

I had started writing this cute post about how we celebrated Christmas with the in-laws this past weekend.  I will still finish it and post it later this week but I had a more interesting subject "come up" on the way home last night, twice.

Addison frequently says "I don't feel very well" which is soon followed up by "can I sleep in your bed?"  Nice try...  So needless to say there is a bit of crying wolf associated with my little princess.  On the way home (10pm) we dropped the CFO off at her office to pick up her car as we had picked her up from work to head out of town on Friday.  I was getting ready to leave the parking lot when I heard "Daddy, I'm gonna get siurrrraaaaaaaakkk.....   I hit the interior lights to see the second stream of vomit coming out of Addison.  I moved quickly to catch 3-6 with a blanket.  I flagged down the CFO before she left and upon her advice I covered Addison up for the short ride home where we could handle the clean up a bit better.

Right in front of our house Jackson said the same thing to which I said "cover up with your blanket."  To which he said "NO!" and pulled it off of him just in time for his dinner to end up all over him.  Needless to say I was not happy with his disobedience so I cleaned him up with.... you guessed it, his blanket.  I know it was a bit mean as he really was sick but blankets are A LOT easier to clean than car seats.

So after two showers, the CFO getting the stuff out of the van and me cleaning the car seats it was midnight.  I finally got the first load of blankets in the wash.  I waited up on the first load to finish so I could get the car seat covers in before I headed to bed.  Not exactly a great evening but it could have been worse.

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.


Friday, December 17, 2010

I had the wrong words to that song

Ever sung a song for years and then you had that ah-ha moment where you realized that you were singing the wrong words?  I started thinking about this because a very good friend of mine posted on Facebook that he finally learned the right words to "Pour Some Sugar on Me" thanks to the Sing-Off.

The Triplets have been singing a lot lately because of all the Christmas productions as their day out program and at Church.  The other day I did a double take....  They were singing "go tell it on the mountain."

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is FOUR

They now perform this song regularly and on demand to the pleasure of many:)   Here is their picture with Santa from Jennymo Designs.

He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed.
Saki (1870 - 1916)

Some days there won't be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway.  
Emory Austin


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Voice recognition software

Voice recognition software is a great idea... if you happen to be in the cone of silence!  Unfortunately for me I am perpetually in the funnel of noise to the third power.  Here is an example of a normal call to a company with the ever so helpful voice recognition software:
  • Company: "Please say your account number"
  • Me: "two, zero, five,.."
  • Company: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand your entry, please say your account number"
  • Me: louder this time "TWO, ZERO, FIVE, ..."
  • Company: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand your entry, please say your account number"
  • Me: louder this time "TWO, ZERO, FIVE, ..."
  • Company: "I'm sorry I'm having a hard time understanding you, please wait while I connect you to a customer service agent"
  • click... click.... click....
  • Company: "To better expedite your call please say the number that best represents what you are calling about.  One for billing questions, two for service questions, three for new service..."
  • Me: "Two"
  • Company: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand your entry, please say the number that best represents...."
At this point I start yelling alternating between "OPERATOR" and "REPRESENTATIVE".  I usually get to someone.  How about a first menu that lets you choose between voice recognition and key inputs.  Something like "if you are in a vacuum of silence and you speak the Queen's English please say one to use our Voice unrecognition service."

Why is it that the more technology we invent to make life easier and give us more free time the more frustrated we are and the less free time we have?

The other weekend we did Breakfast with Santa at Church.  Good thing the CFO is detail oriented.  The kids got out clean and with some great keepsakes.  

Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you.
Fran Lebowitz 

Why can we remember the tiniest detail that has happened to us, and not remember how many times we have told it to the same person.
Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld


Monday, December 13, 2010

Back in the saddle again

Well, I got another call from a friend last week asking if I was interested in doing some contract (temporary) recruiting work through March.  Being that I have SO much spare time and I just sit around watching Soap Operas and eating bon-bons I said yes.

The real reason is that it will allow us to save some money.  Not only will I be earning money but I also seem to spend less when I am working.  It seems that when I have more time on my hands I am real good at turning my wants into needs.  You know...  I "want" a headset for my video game.... then I "need" one because I can play without disturbing anyone else, while Roomba is cleaning, while the CFO is watching her shows on the laptop, without hearing the chat from other players, etc...   But then I "really need" the wireless surround sound one to the tune of $250.   No, I did not buy it.  I got an open box deal on a corded one, that the CFO tripped on, for $20.

This time I am going to try and balance work and life a bit better. Wish me luck:)

I never know how much of what I say is true.
Bette Midler 

Nothing will work unless you do.
Maya Angelou


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Never underestimate a four year old

Anyone who has had or been around kids knows not to underestimate them.  No, I am not talking about their strength.  They are right at crotch level so it is a dangerous time to be a Dad.  No, I am also not talking about how they repeat things they shouldn't at the precise time it would be most embarrassing. I am talking about what you expect them to do.

The other day Addison surprised me, well, they all did.  The trio were upstairs playing while I was cleaning up after breakfast.  I hear the usual "DADDY!!!!" yell from upstairs.  I get to the bottom of the stairs to see Addison looking down at me.  "Yes mam" I reply.  She says "Daddy, will you help me fix my bed?"  I start at her... "will you help me fix my bed, please?"  To which I reply "yes mam."  To my amazement it wasn't broken but rather un-made.  It seems that Mimi had shown them how to make their beds and she wanted to do it.  The boys quickly also made their beds.  Now they make their beds each morning.  How long does this last?

Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting.

John Russell


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What do you want for breakfast?

I like giving the Triplets choices:
  • Where do you want to go today?
  • How many "upgrades" do you want?
  • What do you want for breakfast?
I usually get the normal choices from them for breakfast but William surprised me this morning.
  • Dad: "William, what kind of cereal would you like for breakfast?"
  • William: "I want the cereal with strawberry cuss words"
At first I was a little hesitant to ask just what those cuss words were.  I quickly took an inventory of the situations I have recently been in to assess the linguistic damage I had done.  I came up with nada.  That is not to say I am perfect with my word choices as in one of my many previous lives I saw cursing as an art form of sorts.

So I stilled myself and asked:
  • Dad: "William, what kind of cuss words?"
  • William: "Strawberry cuss words"
I still could not figure out what "strawberry cuss words" were.  They sometimes come home their day out program with new adjectives or nouns, depending their usage.  At least I think that is what they are.  I barely passed my 7th grade English class when we learned how to diagram sentences.  The one thing I did learn is routinely trampled today... when to use "well" vs "good".

Then it hit me.... "clusters."

Man has to suffer. When he has no real afflictions, he invents some.
Jose Marti

Some men storm imaginary Alps all their lives, and die in the foothills cursing difficulties which do not exist.
Edgar Watson Howe


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Go big or go home

I love that saying.  It personifies guys.  As the movie (which is awesome) Inception says "mussn't be afraid to dream a little bigger darling."  Right now I carry a Coast V2 flashlight.  It throws a nice 110 lumens that will outshine almost any other flashlight people carry.  It is great but it only throws a focused beam and only at 110 lumens.  So when you are looking for something in a car it can be a bit much.

So I have started looking around at other options.  I think I have a winner with the Coast T7.  It throws up to 200 lumens but also has a low setting of just 30 lumens.  It also has a speed focus that lets you have a focused beam (that will reach 689ft) or a dispersed beam.  The only downside is that I already look like a Batman wanna-be with all the stuff I carry and carrying a larger flashlight will only add to this.  But why only carry 110 lumens when you can have 200? :)

So I ordered the T7 and after carrying in for a few days I now know why I like my V2.  It doesn't pull my shorts down and it doesn't look like a police baton on my waist.  So the CFO is getting the T7 to carry in her purse.  But I guess that is only fitting as she has a 357 and I have a 9mm:)

Here are a few more pics from the Christmas Parade:

Everyone thought the low 40's were a bit chilly:)

Normally this is not something you want to see.... but luckily it was just the beginning  of the parade!

Yes!  All the Police cars and fire engines used their sirens!

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up - they have no holidays.

Henny Youngman

Orphans, dead parents, lonely children at Christmas, morose spoken word recordings, everything you love about the holidays. Move the turkey over so you can fit your head in the oven.
April Winchell


Monday, December 6, 2010

Rewind... Halloween

I think/hope that I may have started another family tradition.  This past year the Triplets (with a little help from their Old Man) put together triplet scarecrows.  Of course, being a man, I totally forgot to take a picture of them!  Luckily the CFO asked if I got a picture of them and luckily we had not dismantled them yet.  So, right before decorating for Christmas we put up a little Halloween again for a photo op.

If bad decorating was a hanging offense, there'd be bodies hanging from every tree! 
Sylvester Stallone 

Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.
Swami Nirmalananda


Friday, December 3, 2010

Who is that knucklehead in shorts?

Since moving to Alabama we have talked about making it to Athens' Christmas Parade.  Well, we finally made it.  As one friend observed....yes, we drove four hours in one day to watch a parade:)  But not just any parade, it was about an hour and a half parade!  Not kidding.  There were two "breaks" in the parade to allow the parade participants to disperse without holding up everyone else.

To be fair, while some of the floats in the parade were awesome others were... well... let's just say it's the thought that counts:)  But some were just plain advertising with one string of lights on it.  Not kidding, there was a truck from a nationally known retail leader with just one string of Christmas lights on it.  Seriously?  But hey, the kids LOVED it!

On to the knucklehead, me.  Yes, it is once again Winter and I am still in shorts.  My general rule is that is if the high is above 30 degrees the shorts are a go.  Partly because I just do not like long pants.  This goes way back to my High School days.  Partly because I carry so much stuff that I need the cargo shorts and partly because I just like sticking it to "the man."  :)  Hey, I am a SAHD so I can thumb my nose at the man anytime I want.  I actually think I am not just entitled to do so but it is down right required of me.  Plus, at Church we are always talking about living in such a way to make people wonder what makes us different.  Maybe that is my new response to all the looks/questions I get about wearing shorts when it is cold.... "Hey, don't you know that it is cold buddy?"  "Yeah, but I love Jesus."  On second thought while very funny maybe it sends the wrong message.

We got home around 11pm and it was midnight before the CFO and I got to bed after clearing out the van, starting laundry, washing the sippy cups/dishes, and getting the Triplets' lunch ready for Friday.  Was it worth it?  Ya sure ya betcha!!  Memories are way better than sleep:)

Here is one of the coolest pics that the CFO took at the parade... with no editing.

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
Mark Twain

The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.