Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Springtime: I Think It's Here

I might get to bed in reasonable time tonight.

Or, not.

I've had a pretty good day - tired: probably still getting over that daft stunt weekend before last.

My son and I read Garfield and sang, #1 daughter's rabbit Giol danced for an apple core, and I've gotten a few tasks done.

Yeah: It's been a pretty good day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday, Garfield & Routines

I've read Garfield and sung with my son, got some work done - and stayed awake all day.

Another few good nights' sleep, and I may be back to 'normal.' I'm taking steps to see that I don't pull another all-nighter for taxes.

One more set of tasks, and I'm turning in. Goodnight.

A Breakfast of Yogurt, Puffed, Rice, and Instant Coffee

This morning, while making breakfast, I got out a bowl, went to the refrigerator, put in a helping of yogurt, went to a counter and scooped out a measure of puffed rice, went to the microwave, opened a jar and put in a teaspoon of instant coffee.

My first thought was something like 'dumb! You didn't mike it first.'

Then, 'dumb!! It isn't coffee.'

The easiest thing to do would have been to dump the bowl's contents - at least that puffed rice/instant coffee mix on top - and start over. I hate letting food go to waste, though. I'm pretty sure that's something I learned from my parents, who learned it from their families' past and their experiences with the Great Depression.

So I separated as much of the coffee as I could by putting the rice and coffee in a glass, shaking it and lifting most of the rice off the top.

The coffee I put in water that I'd gotten heated by that time. The rice and the rest of the coffee I put back on the yogurt.

It's amazing, how much a little instant coffee will change the appearance and taste of yogurt.

I don't think I'll do that again. Not intentionally.

That wasn't the most auspicious way to start a day, but maybe I've got the "Monday" part of today out of the way now.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Little Four-Hour Nap

Working it out from my slightly-dazed memory, I think I got a total of about four hours sleep the night of March 20, and none at all on the 21st.

It's tax time, and Friday evening I discovered that I had two days to get my reports ready - not the nine I thought I had.

I got the reports done by my deadline - 8:00 a.m. Monday morning - but by the time I did, the sun was about to come up.

I got no work at all done Saturday, apart from that tax stuff: and very little Sunday evening.

So I've been catching up all week. Both on work, and physically.

Under the circumstances, I think I've done pretty well: but it's pretty obvious to me that I'm not 17 any more. Or 40, for that matter. Good grief, I'll be 60 soon.

After lunch today (grilled hamburgers - #1 daughter and her rabbit Giol kept me company while I grilled them), I felt a little tired and decided that I'd lie down on the living room couch. Just for a few minutes.

I woke up at about 4:55 p.m. I'm told that I've snored louder than I did this afternoon - but apparently not by much.

Yesterday we had the Easter get-together at our place. I should have counted heads - I think there were only about a dozen folks here, besides me, my wife, and our still-at-home kids. That's a small gathering for this family - but many of the nieces and nephews are off, mostly on the west coast, starting their own lives now.

That was a good time.

Even better, one of my brothers-in-law called in and set up a video connection. He's in Iraq, as a sort of firefighter. His wife and kids were here with us. Information technology's great: but that's just my opinion. It was good to see him again.

It's getting late, and I've got work to do. And still a lot to catch up on.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Family, Fun, and Faucets

We're having the family over for the 'Easter get-together: only 16 or so folks, besides our still-at-home kids. Some of the younger nieces and nephews are young adults, mostly on the west coast, setting up their own lives.

It's a good time: I mostly sit back and patch into the conversations.

Ah! #3 daughter's Easter egg hunt has begun. The (younger) kids have roped some of the adults in on the action.

One of my sisters-in-law was handling this event until - last year, I think. I'm glad we could pick it up. She gets to relax (comparatively - but that's another story), and I get the fun of watching the show 'while in the comfort of my own home.'

I'd help with preparations, but decades of married life has taught me that sometimes I serve best by staying out of the way.

A nephew got his first vehicle-related ticket today. We hadn't told the family about the new parking regulations here on Ash Street. Sure, it was just a warning: and for a parking violation, at that. But still: that was his first ticket! He was impressed. And, I think, a little pleased.

One of my sons-in-law is in construction, and my father-in-law rebuilt the basement of his house. I don't mean put in a rec room. It's an old house, and the foundations needed work: so he put in bracing, jacked the house up, dug out more basement & worked on the foundation, then lowered the house back in place.

It's quite a family.

That bunch, and some of the younger generation, clustered around a video showing a new-tech flood fence developed in Norway. It's being used in the Fargo flood - and that's yet another story.

#1 daughter told me that it's fun, watching guys who build things study a video like that. She's right: it is. (And yes: I was watching, too.)

My 'construction' son-in-law noticed that we've got water damage around our kitchen faucet. No surprises there. There'd been a discussion of the plumbing going on - and he was more-or-less confirming something we'd expected.

After a couple decades of quick fixes, saving, and duct tape: we're replacing most of the plumbing fixtures in our house. This year. Unless something unexpected happens.

Which could happen. And has. Often.

Whatever else my life has been: it hasn't been boring.

Back to enjoying being with the folks.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What a Crazy Week: And It's Not Over

I've had a really good talk with #3 #2daughter. She and my son-in-law arrived late this evening.

I've also gotten the must-do tasks of the day done.

And now, it's time for me to turn in. (At 2:15 a.m., you'd better believe it!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sunshine, Blue Sky, and a Paranoid Gas Pump

Sunlight is blasting in through the west window of the room where I work. It'd be blinding, if one of the computer's speakers wasn't partly in the way. I really need to think about putting up some sort of shade for early evening.

Or adjust my schedule.

The shade might be easier.

It's been a perky day: bright blue sky, not much wind; and I've been inside for most of it, working on taxes. Which is another topic. ("Lemming Tracks: Tax Time Surprise," Apathetic Lemming of the North, (March 20, 2010))

I ran out of LP gas while grilling this noon. Which is yet another topic. ("So That's Why It was Hard to Light!," Easy Griller blog (March 20, 2010))

I went out after lunch (the noon meal, in this household). I had some reasons. Excuses, anyway:
  • The grill's LP cylinder needed refilling
    • Or, no grilled burgers tomorrow noon
  • The van's tank was more than half empty
Also, I needed a break. Assembling and organizing information for the annual tax forms is not one of my favorite pastimes. My wife does most of it, actually, and a few years ago we broke down and started having H & R Block handle the forms. But there's still a lot of data to get ready.

In my case, it's what happened with my business for 2009. There's something to be said for being a 'wage slave:' but I think I made the right decision.

Anyway, when I drove the van up to a pump at the local Holiday Super Stop, I went through the usual routine and eventually got over a gallon of gas in the tank. If I was really careful, I could squeeze almost two tenths of a gallon out before the pump stopped.

Dribbling gasoline into the van a squirt at a time, when I had maybe fifteen gallons to go, I didn't have time for. Or patience.

So I went inside to settle up for what I'd managed to coax out of the pump.

A young woman was ahead of me in the checkout line, playing the Minnesota lottery. I don't have moral objections to gambling as such ("Halloween's Coming: Why aren't I Ranting?," A Catholic Citizen in America (October 29, 2009)), and I realize that the Minnesota state government likes to get money. Still, after a while watching someone else go through a the scratch-and-check process with several cards - - -. Well, it was a good opportunity to practice patience.

Turns out, the pumps had been 'fixed.' They're much safer now. The system isn't supposed to be quite that paranoid over data from the overflow sensor, though. The senior clerk told me when I could call in and tell one of the managers about the situation. Seems I wasn't the first one to run into the issue.

The other clerk, a young man maybe in his early 20s (everybody under about 35 looks like a kid to me, these days), went out to the pump to see what he could do with it.

It worked perfectly, of course.

All problems should be solved so easily.

Next stop, Fleet Supply - but I wrote about that in the Easy Griller blog, and there's still those tax records to go through.

The sunlight's still in my eyes: or would be, if I hadn't gotten smart, put on a hat and pulled it down until the brim blocks out the sun, but not most of the monitor. I'd better get back to work.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Information Technology, Birthdays, and Dusty Humor

I went to Alex today, partly to get a new router. This may resolve some of the issues we've had with using the Internet. Or, not. It was a good day for driving: overcast, so glare wasn't an issue. And the sky looked like rain, or something, was coming. Rain, as it turns out.

I got home a little before supper. While we were eating, my son left the room. Then returned. He'd swapped out routers, installing the new one.

Knocking my webcam offline in the process - temporarily. He explained that the service I use is very good at reestablishing connections. I checked - and sure enough, the webcam was back in service. With a notation in the log that it hadn't been able to get a signal out for a while. I'll be able to get the full report late tomorrow. If I'm interested: which I'm not, terribly.

I thanked him for doing the job. And told him that I want to be told when he does something like that. Before he does it.

We set the clocks forward Saturday night, in compliance with Daylight Saving time. Which may have made sense around 1920. Make that March 19, 1918: I did a little checking, and that's when this country jumped on the bandwagon.

It was all the rage in Europe: so dragging our schedules may have seemed like a very sophisticated idea at the time. I've gotten the impression that this country didn't really get over being a former colony until sometime around 1900. And car commercials were still talking about "European styling" recently. 'Recently' by my standards - say within the last decade or so. I'm getting off-topic.

There may, again at the time, have been some practical reason. I harangued about this in another blog. ("I'm Blaming Daylight Saving Time: or, Not," Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (March 17, 2010))

Whether or not the time change had anything to do with it, I was in a fog, mentally, from about Sunday to yesterday. I'll be catching up for a week. Or, deciding that some of the tasks can be dropped entirely for those days.

#1 daughter is up in the Red River Valley of the North now, visiting #2 daughter and my son-in-law. Also checking out a house or two, I understand. She's graduating this spring (assuming all goes well), and plans to move up there. Again, so I understand.

And, we celebrated #1 daughter's birthday while she was here on spring break. My wife got a candleholder/candle with a music chip in it. Twist it to the "on" position, and it plays "Happy Birthday to You." Over and over and over. #1 daughter, after about a dozen repetitions - maybe fewer - noted that it was getting monotonous.

My son will be turning 14 soon. I found a small pile of information technology trade magazines on the stairs a day or so ago. They didn't look familiar, so I checked the address block. I thought they might have been something my father had subscribed to: I got my taste for - eclectic? - unfocused? - knowledge from him. (For some online communities I'm in, where it says 'interests' I've said that I'm only interested in three things: What exists within the universe, what exists beyond, and what might exist.)

The magazines were addressed to my son. I'll want to ask him about them some time. Mostly to see if I may read them. Not to check up on him - those things are serious, business-oriented trade magazines. Yeah: he's that sharp. He's also 14, so I wouldn't count on his ability to make business decisions. Yet. No reflection on his abilities: at 13 going on 14, who is?

Something that doesn't happen very often: my father-in-law thought something I said was funny. He likes me just fine, but my humor tends to be dry. Dusty.

This time, my wife had told him about a discussion she and I had, about an extension of the garage. She received an inheritance, and bless her heart: she's spending in on (long overdue) replacement of the decades-old plumbing in the bathrooms. Also a patio (we've wanted it for over 2 decades - this time she has the money for it). Her choice.

Anyway, we were talking about adding to the garage so we could get two vehicles inside.

She was explaining the need to keep both vehicles inside, all good, practical, logical reasons. Then she added that it would also give her more room to practice tennis.

Then I said something like, 'Ah! The real reason.'

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nothing Out of the Ordinary

It's been a good Saturday. I spent some time talking with #1 daughter, grilled burgers, and relaxed. And, again with #1 daughter, watched one episode each of Bleach and Princess Tutu. Meanwhile, over in the living room, my wife and #3 daughter were watching - I think it was "Yanni at the Acropolis."

Like I said, it's been a good day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feeling Under the Weather, & a Video Camera

My wife and #3 daughter came home early, from minding the shop. They've got one more day of filling in for my father-in-law - and my wife tells me she plans to take it very easy tomorrow. Good idea. She wasn't feeling too well this afternoon. And she's skipping Soo Bahk Do tonight.

When she does that: I know my wife isn't feeling well.

Oh, well: we've been through this thing before, quite a lot over the years. We both take that 'in sickness or in health' thing seriously. And she's had me to put up with: so I'm glad to be able to turn around and be helpful for her.

My son's been talking about a video camera he's interested in. I know how it is to be enthusiastic about a gadget - and the importance of due diligence. I think this will be another learning experience for him.

Apart from that, it's been raining; the snow is melting; and I'm looking forward to warmer, dryer weather.

Rain, Snow, and Thunder: Springtime in Minnesota

Thunder, in the late morning. Rain. Snow on the ground: maybe a foot deep outside the window.

It's springtime in Minnesota.

Snow's melted off part of the yard, across the street. My desk's on the north side of the house, so the yard outside is in the shade. We'll probably have a small drift of snow there, when the neighbors mow their lawn for the first time this year.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday: It's been a Good Day

It's been a good Sunday. The family and I went to Mass, I grilled burgers while #1 daughter enjoyed time with #3 daughter and my son, goofed off much of the afternoon, and got a bit of meditation in, too.

That sounds highfalutin, doesn't it? I looked it up, and to meditate is to "study: think intently and at length".

It's Lent, and I'm taking that as an opportunity to think back and have another go at sorting out what I've done, and what I should do now. Part of today's dredging resulted in a few posts in other blogs (I'll link to one of them at the end of this post, and a related post from last week).

#1 daughter left after supper - with longer days, she can stick around for the evening meal now, and still drive in daylight. She should be back in Alex now, getting ready for classes tomorrow.

#3 daughter, my wife and my son went to Soo Bahk Do class this evening, as usual. And, again as usual, came back a bit pooped and with more knowledge.

I've wrapped up the tasks I do Sunday evening. It's time to call it a day.

Next week will be a little off-routine. My father-in-law is spending time with one of my brothers-in-law, so my wive and #3 daughter will be minding the shop quite a bit.

Related posts:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Burgers, a Rabbit, and Family

Excellent day: I grilled burgers in company with #1 daughter, read Garfield and sang with my son, talked about her writing with #3 daughter, and watched Giol, #1 daughter's rabbit, engulf two apple cores, and a small tub of (old) sprouts. Don't worry: the sprouts weren't that old. We could have eaten them, but my wife probably wanted to start a fresh batch.

And, I think she has a soft spot for the rabbit.

#1 daughter and I watched another episode each of Bleach and Princess Tutu. Watching those two back-to-back makes for a fast shift of mental gears.

I've gotten some work done, too: including long-overdue graphics for the Easy Griller blog and website; and Apathetic Lemming of the North posts for tomorrow and Monday.

That'll give me tomorrow for family - also reflection, silence (no small feat for me), cultivation of the mind, and meditation - all with a view to furthering the growth of this Christian's interior life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2186 - we've got rules for just about everything. More: "Working on Sunday: At Growing the Christian Interior Life," A Catholic Citizen in America (January 2, 2010))

Enough with the link-dropping.

It's been a long and enjoyable day: and it's time to turn in.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Afternoon 'On the Town' - My Style

I dropped the Knights of Columbus bulletin off at the Post Office and spent some time at Jitters Java downtown this afternoon. And picked up a seasonally-appropriate jacket at Wal-Mart for $17. For me, that's a pretty big deal.

More importantly, I spent time with the family off and on during the day: one of the perks of working at home. Of course, you're never 'away from the office,' but that's okay.

#1 daughter came home for the weekend. She's grinding through a higher-than-usual load of homework: a ramp-up to Spring Break, I understand. She's expecting/hoping to graduate this year.

My son and I read Garfield and sang, as usual - and I'm caught up (almost) with the day's task list.

Time to call it a day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Pulled Muscle, a Bulletin, and Insomnia

I was up until about 3:00 this morning: Can's say that I recommend the practice. Oh, well. I've read that occasional insomnia isn't anything to worry about, so I won't. Sleeping until almost noon gave me enough sleep - although at the 'wrong' time.

However, I'm less out-of-focus today, so something's going right. And, I'm determined to have a shot at a saner sleep-wake cycle tonight.

I've gotten a bit done today: including cleaning over a half-gigabyte of excess files off my hard drive.

My wife, son, and #3 daughter went to Soo Bahk Do class this evening, which gave me a quiet house to work in. I got the Knights of Columbus bulletin counted and the postal forms filled out. It's good to drop at the Post Office tomorrow, right on schedule. My wife, as usual, attached the labels we got from the printer's.

#3 daughter managed to pull a muscle at Soo Bahk Do, but I think she'll be okay. "Doctor Mom" knows how to deal with that sort of thing.

My son and I read Garfield and sang, as usual, again this evening. And I have only two posts left to write: then I can call it a day and turn in.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This Week's Monday was Rescheduled

Today 'felt like' Monday. Not getting as much sleep as I could have last night probably helped that feeling along. Oh, well: I've gotten the day's tasks done, spent some time with my son, #3 daughter and wife, so it's been a good day.

Tomorrow my son and all will be spending the morning down in St. Cloud, getting some orthodontic work done. I don't think he'll enjoy that a great deal - but it's a good idea anyway. And will give me some uninterrupted hours to concentrate on whatever I line up for the morning.

I got results back from the lab, on that blood sample. The good news is that my major organ systems are online and functioning normally. The bad news is that my blood sugar hasn't been where it should be. Short-term solution: an increase in the dose for a mediation. Long-term solution: There really isn't one, but getting my weight down will help enormously. And that's doable.

In about a half-hour, my son and I will be reading Garfield and singing. Unless it's delayed, which has happened.
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