Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Twenty years ago tonight, I got a diploma

Rarely can I think, “I know exactly where I was however many years ago right now". Thanks to the gift of being a packrat that I inherited from my great-grandmother, I know that right now, twenty years ago, I was graduating from high school.

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I think I had the typical high school experience. I have plenty of good memories and a few not-so-good memories. I don’t carry with me much high school related trauma. I never got a swirly or a wedgie. I did get a severely bruised wrist when I looked into the sun trying to catch a baseball in PE in the tenth grade and it still aches when it’s about to rain.

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I participated (and instigated) a massive stale doughnut fight one evening. I almost ran over the assistant principal one afternoon when I came around a curve too fast and slid out on the then gravel driveway. I still remember that my 10th grade Spanish teacher lovingly called her overhead projector “Elmo” in a way that it seemed to mean more to her than just the name of the manufacturer.

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I spent most of my time in the band room – not just during band classes but also in between classes, after school, on Friday nights for football games and on most autumn Saturdays for marching band contests. Most of my best memories of high school are of things that happened in that room and those who were there with me. On hot days, I still think of band camp. On quiet days, I still think of the people there that I once knew.

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I also discovered a great love of reading and writing there when I had four great English teachers in a row. But, I haven’t diagrammed a sentence since high school. It never came up in college. This is probably why I typically mangle the English language regularly in this blog.

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I came out of school with a high ACT score, average grades (I was easily bored) and absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. So, I majored in music because it was the only thing I felt I really knew how to do and I still have my unused music degree on my wall.

Twenty years later, I am glad that I somehow ended up where I am. I am mostly content but still sometimes restless.  The one thing that I have learned is that life is an evolution and the evolving, if we are lucky, does not stop.

Long Weekend in Pictures

I took Friday off so the holiday weekend turned into a mini-vacation. Going back to work today was ROUGH. I’m already ready for Friday.

Here is dessert from lunch on Sunday. Mmmmmm. Couldn’t even eat half of it. What a terrible waste.

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Here is Mo Luvin’! I tweeted it but it’s worth repeating for the blog.

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Target is promoting summer with giant corn and giant sunglasses.

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I finally figured out what to do with all of the license plates I have had lying around for years – annoy the neighbors with a redneck outdoor shed display.

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Don’t worry – I had some for the other side also. I just need to paint it red and put “SEE ROCK CITY” on there in huge letters.

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To top it off, I bought these for the yard.

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I also bought a used white DSi so I can play against the kids on all of their video games and so we can use the Walking tracking program that I have coming from Amazon. I really need to do something to walk off the cake.

That’s about it. Nothing profound happened this weekend. We tried to do as little as possible. I did see a couple of movies but I’ll write about them another time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vacation!

The blog is on a much needed vacation until after Memorial Day. We “only” had 50 mph winds with the storms last night so there is no damage here. Now we can focus on mowing and all of the normal tasks of home ownership for a while! This weekend will be all about reading, eating, and being on the internet as little as possible!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It looks like a hurricane is heading toward us!

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That is what is heading this way tonight. We’re already being warned of the pending severe weather outbreak with possible large, long-track tornadoes.

Even with all of this notice, what can you actually do? When you see destruction on TV like we have this week, what could the people of Joplin have done? There is nothing left. It seems many survived by sheer luck and circumstance. There was no safe place to take shelter.

We can blame the climate but we’ve seen weather like this before. We just have the ability to see the images faster now and the more remote areas of the country are getting more and more populated. Where a tornado would have hit nothing forty years ago, it destroys a whole subdivision today.

Our subdivision was built in 2006. Before that, it was farmland. The repeated roof damage has been only slightly annoying but it is unnerving. We sit here on our concrete slab waiting to see if the “big one” will one day come.

I guess this will be another night by the TV and the weather radio!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Wallet Keeps Getting Emptier

I started off shelling out money to the roofer who suggested that I will probably need a new roof if another big storm comes in and rips off more shingles. This was my second repair so far this spring and I watched him reseal a bunch of shingles up there that didn’t get ripped off but did get pulled back. There’s another line of storms on the way right now so I am keeping my fingers crossed for no more 70 mph wind!

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We’ve had nothing to compare with the horrible mess in Missouri. I thought that the Alabama tornadoes were bad enough but it seems like this one was just as strong and hit an even more populated area. I’ve seen pictures of bark stripped off of trees and sidewalks sucked right out of the ground. It’s just unbelievable and it makes me wonder how anyone survived a direct hit.

In other news, we took Lindsay back to the doctor again today as we can’t seem to get her stomach issues in check. Our $150 medicine is not working (yes, that is after insurance!) so we ended up being sent to the hospital for x-rays.

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We’ll get the results back tomorrow. I had a good look at the x-rays and they made about as much sense to me as the instructions that came with the last bike I put together. If this is inconclusive, the next step is a cat scan. The doctor explained to her that this involves wearing a cat on your head so I think she is actually hoping she actually gets to do it.

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However, he is hopeful that this is something minor that can be cleared up with the right medicine. I guess we will know tomorrow. We’re staying positive and hoping to get her through this pretty soon.

Finally, some crazy bird decided to build a nest and lay eggs in the wreath on our door and now we have 5 baby birds and we can’t approach our own front door without fear of getting pecked in the head. And, yes, they have turned that wreath into a toxic waste dump so it will have to be trashed once they move away.

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I like how the one bird is looking right in the camera. That’s the one I want to name and keep.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No rapture but plenty of wind and rain

Our 20% chance of rain turned into ducking into the hallway after we could hear shingles being ripped out of the roof by the now-estimated 70 mph winds that blew through with the storms this afternoon. We’d all spent most of the day outside enjoying the sun. I had even grilled out today. For some reason (mostly due to my distrust of weather reports), I decided to take a peek at the radar this afternoon and noticed a line of quite compact thunderstorms moving towards us at a pretty good rate of speed.

So, I went outside and brought the kids in much to their disappointment. It was still sunny and only a tad dark at that point. I barely had time to get the grill up and roll up the car windows before it was pitch black. The wind was quite surprising. The weather radio alarm went off maybe 5 minutes before the hail hit.

I was looking out the back window and, once I could no longer see out of the backyard, called an “emergency meeting” in the hallway. It was at this point when we could hear what sounded like cracking sounds from the roof and I looked out the front bedroom window just in time to see shingles coming over the house.

I think we’re probably going to have around $200 in damage this time. I lost three sections of shingles but bought 10 extra sections last time as a just in case. I have about 6 more 4 shingle sections pulled back but still attached so they probably just need to be resealed.

We hardly have “just rain” anymore. We end up having full-blast severe weather every time. It’s unnerving and it’s expensive. I’ll be hitting the emergency fund again for this one and I can’t afford many more storms (or appliances going out or cars breaking down or $150 prescriptions like the one I paid for last week).

I guess the real damage today will be to my wallet!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The bugs are back in town again (The bugs are back! The bugs are back!)

Guess who just got back today?
Them red-eyed bugs that had been away
Haven't changed, still buzz all day
But man, I still think them bugs are crazy

Yes – our old friends, the cicadas, are back again after a 13 year absence. I’ve seen them in other parts of town in the last couple of weeks but they really just came out here in my yard. I took all of these pictures today.

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The good thing is that they don’t bite or sting. They just annoy. They fly directly at you for no good reason. They crunch in the yard when you walk across it. The dogs want to eat them.

Remember these dumb cat posters?

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I do. Now, we’ve got a new one to share:

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What a face these things have.

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They’ll be gone again soon and then we’ll have to wait another 13 years before they come back by the millions.

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It’s finally the weekend and I’m trying to decide whether or not to cook. The lazy side of me is saying that it would be a great night to get out and my wallet is telling me that it needs to remain closed.

Hmmm, decisions, decisions……

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mostly cloudy with a chance of Simon and Garfunkel

I was going to start off writing about how sick I am of all of the clouds and the overall dreariness we have had for the last week and that made me think of the Simon & Garfunkel song “Cloudy”.

Lucky for me, it is on YouTube and, while the song is still great, the video is an ultra-weird 60’s clip from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour featuring the floating heads of Simon and Garfunkel. Whoever put this together must have put the funny mushrooms on their pizza.

I got my new laptop for work yesterday and moved over all of the files from my previous new laptop that has been randomly freezing up for last six months. In a final smack in the face, it froze up as I was backing up my files one last time and ended up losing most of the files that I either got or touched in the previous nine days. I was tempted to throw it out the window but composed myself enough to just let it go. I gladly drove to the UPS Store to give it a proper sendoff today and I hope that it gets crushed by the tire of the UPS plane.

I’ve also eaten way too much restaurant food this week. I really need to cut back before I am too big to fit through the doorway. My desire to keep the kitchen clean seems to have overwhelmed my common sense this week.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday. I’m looking forward to all of the rapture jokes. Also, if the nuts are right, I won’t have to go to work Monday. It’s a win-win.

On an unrelated note, this Windows commercial where they go in and put up a “Windows store” in the home of this woman who says she has no reason to buy a PC is absolute crap. Every time you wonder if Microsoft could get more un-cool, they take it up a notch.

Here’s another great S&G classic to end this entry in the blog of excitement that is my life:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blahsday

Tuesday was blahsday. I think the unusual cold weather and the lack of sun is slowly driving me batty. Today was also one of those days that I just couldn’t seem to get my low blood sugar in check. It seems like this happens randomly but luckily it does not happen as often as it used to.

I’ve also been trying to set my head around an upcoming big project at work and so far, it’s just not happening. There is so much information to digest and the light bulb is just not coming on for me. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up inspired on how to organize the whole thing. Right now I have all I have is that uneasy and overwhelmed feeling that typically does not last this long.

On the bright side, there is just one cloudy and cool day left before the sun is supposed to return!

That is the end of this blah entry.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Manic Weekend

I’ve sat in front of the computer screen for the last few nights ready to type up an entry for the blog and have just not had the energy to follow-through. I also haven’t had much inspiration to write anything that wasn’t “blah”.

The reason for this was that we just finished off another crazy weekend after another crazy and somewhat frustrating week. There’s been a ton of running back and forth and not a whole lot of sleep and rest.

We were up at the school at 7:30AM on Saturday for Sara’s science Olympiad. I watched helplessly as $45 flew into the gas tank. We were behind on the grocery shopping and had to get all of that done.

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We had part of the family over for lunch today and worked desperately to catch up on the DVR. We also managed to find time to sneak in some Steak & Shake.

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We even spent some bonding time with the new dog in the family. You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that the rest of her is under that couch.

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I wish there were a couple of more days in the weekend. I also wish we hadn’t wasted an hour sitting through Saturday Night Live from last night on the DVR. It was terrible!

We rush and rush and always end up right back at Monday morning. I’m thinking that I need to turn in some vacation time soon and just decompress.

In other news, I signed back up to Foursquare. I don’t know why I did it. I used it for a bit last year and deleted the account. Lately I started missing all of the great coupons I got on there and I wanted to have a little record of all of the places we end up going. It’s sort of a mini-blog of sorts. It will help me look back on the blurs that are my days and remember where all we were.

8 hours and 45 minutes until I get up for work. I better shut this laptop off.

As Jackson Browne sang:

Gonna pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I'll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I'll get up and do it again
Amen.
Say it again
Amen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hot

Summer has arrived early around these parts. The ground is starting to crack up in places due to all the heat and the lack of recent rain. We had to make an emergency ice cream run tonight in order to cope.

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This guy wasn’t there but it would have been cool if he had been.

This is also the week that just seems to be dragging along. There is not enough coffee in the world to keep me energized and I already have a pile of to-do’s waiting for me starting at 6AM (in 8 hours and 25 minutes).

I’m so ready for the weekend but Sara has a science fair thingy to attend and we have to be there at 7:30AM on Saturday morning. Educators can be so cruel.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cicada Time

It’s cicada time in Tennessee!

I wish the red eyes lit up at night like little LED’s.

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I think the way they fly directly at you and land on you with their very sticky little legs is what bothers people the most. Once they have landed, they do their best to stay attached.

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We’re only in the first couple of days with the cicadas. They’ll be all over the place within a week or so and they’ll be singing their quite annoying song. The dogs will be trying to eat them and we’ll just be trying to keep them from flying into the house.

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Our weekend was another blur. Monday was a bit better but there was so much to do and that made it fly by. I’m going to end this night watching a little hockey. Nashville is already down by 2. How they can go to Vancouver and win and then fly home and lose is one of those mysteries I just don’t understand.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sleepy Friday

I’ve been sleepy all day. I don’t think I’ve caught up on sleep since staying up to watch the President Sunday night. I was reading over some notes this morning when I realized I was actually slowly falling toward the page I was reading and this was right after drinking some coffee.

Maybe being half-asleep most of the day is why I noticed that Walmart has changed their ultra-cheapo bottled water on us. There’s nothing like leaning forward to pull out a bottle and hardly having any cap to grab. I’m certain that these changes saved Walmart at least 1.2 cents a bottle.

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Yes, I know that I am destroying the environment by buying bottled water. I find the safety of having a closed bottle of water near my PC comforting. I also like grabbing a bottle to take in the car when I have to drive somewhere. I guess I could always find alternatives to sending these to the landfill. Maybe I can bury them in the backyard or just burn them. The fumes couldn’t possibly be poisonous.

If I was a bit more awake, I probably wouldn’t notice stuff like the water bottles being different. Regardless of my energy level, I’m sure I would have noticed this extra special truck personalization:

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Yep, he’s driving a Timzda. I would like to have been where ever he went to have this done just to hear him explain it to them. I wonder when he came up with this idea. I’m thinking he must have been sitting on the toilet when the inspiration hit. That’s where I typically have ideas of this caliber.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We interrupt all the world news for some Fleetwood Mac

I’m not a big Glee fan but tonight is Fleetwood Mac night. I do consider myself a pretty big Fleetwood Mac fan. Their songs never get old to me and, since I am tired of all of the political talk out there, here are some great Fleetwood Mac songs:

Let me end with a song that was not a huge hit but is probably in my top ten of favorite songs. There’s nothing better than a totally weird 80’s video. Yes, the name of the album was ‘Mirage’ and that explains all the desert stuff. I still haven’t figured out why the desert is full of abandoned guitars and why the guys look like they just walked out of Animal Planet