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Vacation Summary

We are finally back from Vacation (actually got back on Tuesday evening). We had a nice relaxing time (mostly) and it was nice to see family and friends and places we haven’t seen in a few years. Now lets see if I can remember a few highlights…

My favorite part was playing badminton for over 6 hours straight. I think it was Saturday we had a family get togther and a cookout, after everyone ate, we started playing and it was a lot of fun. It was a little disappointing at how easy it was to beat Ray and Jeremy, I expected more competition than what I saw out there. Liz got some great shots of me playing, and they are available in the picture gallery.

We went blueberry picking (actually I took the kids to the field) and we picked over 13 pounds of blue berries. They were $1.50 a pound, so I spent almost $20, but boy were they good!!! I probably ate about 6 pounds by myself the first day we got them.

The kids played in a stream down a dirt road, and rode bikes through it. My kids loved it and enjoyed getting wet and muddy. At one point Abby had to go to the bathroom while we were all at the stream, so I carried her on my back all the way back to the house and helped her, and then we drove back to the stream in Uncle Jam’s car. I stuck Abby up through the sunroof so thats the first thing they’d see as we drove up. Then on the way back, I had Michael ride with me, I drove Jam’s car in reverse all the way back to the house with Michael in my lap, I had to hold the steering wheel tightly as Michael was trying to “steer” with me.

Overall our flights up and back were very good, no bumps or problems. When we got to the Tampa airport, our main bag was 3 pounds over weight. They made us take out 3 pounds. So Liz took her purse out and shoved some shoes in there to get through check-in. The girls were great on the flights, only bugged me a bit about pushing the seat’s recline button, they really wanted to push it bad, so I told them it was to push if you wanted to take a nap, then they weren’t really interested anymore. They watched a movie on my laptop on the way there.

We forgot Michael’s stroller on the way back, so Liz used the snug carrier thing that straps onto you, and carried Michael that way, which worked out good on the plane.

We rented a van from Budget on the way from Dover to Newark to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We got a nice Dodge Grand Caravan which was very comfortable. We had a nice visit with them as well and I ended up staying up really late talking “tech” with David.

Leaving Philly on Tuesday, our plane was delayed a little getting in, and had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we could leave. So there was a little delay getting back home. Mike picked us up in their van and brought us home, which was nice.

While staying with my mom, we basically had no cell service, so it was a little disturbing to be so disconnected for the first day or two. After that I got used to it and it was actually nice not to be glued to my phone all day. I almost forgot how relaxing that is. I was joking around telling people that we have these nice GSM quad band world phones that will work in Austrailia, the UK and abroad, but we can’t even use them in Delaware! Cingular has good signal in the major areas, but service in the rural areas is really bad. Verizon by far is the better carrier in the north east. Now that Cingular is the new at&t, maybe that will improve over time.

Overall our trip was good, it was good to see old faces and places and catch up with people. We got lots of good pictures and had a relaxing time. However, it is still a difficult thing to travel with small kids, so I hope not to have to travel like that again for at least 5 years!!! 🙂

Poor Abby

Last night, Abby woke up around 4am. I got a tap on my arm and it was Abby standing by my bed. I thought she wanted to sleep in my bed, but she said she had to go potty. I had her go use my bathroom, and it was so cute, she went in there and turned on the big light, it was so bright, I don’t know how she managed to even open her eyes. She got done and came back to me and snuggled for a few minutes. I asked her to go back to her bed a few minutes later. She went back and a few minutes later started fussing again. I got up to check and this time she wanted a drink, so I went and got her cup and brought her a drink of water. She took a sip and laid back down to go to sleep. A little later she started crying again, and this time Liz volunteered to go check. She wanted another drink and so Liz got it, but stayed out there a little longer. She came back in and said she was going to take Abby out to the couch since she was having a hard time sleeping. And because of this, I had to come wake her up when the alarm went off. So at 6am the alarm went off, and I let her know, then climbed back in bed desperate for a precious few more minutes of sleep before starting this week. Hopefully Abby is not getting sick with what we had, and will be back to normal today.

Somewhat productive weekend

Over the weekend our plans didn’t quite turn out like we had hoped. We were going to try to clean out the garage and Liz’s sister was coming over, and then Sunday we were going to have some guests over to play some games. Well on Saturday Liz’s sister did make it over, so they planned some Pampered Chef party. Then we started to clean out the garage, which was a disaster, we tore everything out of its place, went through about 1 box of stuff then ran out of time and had to put everything back so we could fit my car back in the garage. That didn’t work out quite as I had hoped. Then my Sheet Fed scanner came in the mail that afternoon, so all I wanted to do was scan in documents and clean up my office area. I think Liz and I watched an episode of Deep Space Nine just before bed. Then on Sunday, our guests couldn’t make it over, so we changed our plans slightly, and I took Sarah (in the Miata), to a store to see if we could find a decent ceiling fan for their room. Their fan had worn out and was making bad sounds. So we picked out a fan and thought it was one price, but upon getting home I realize that it was actually $15 more than I wanted to spend. (OOPS). We also picked up a new doorknob for the girls bathroom which had also worn out. I got some light bulbs for their new ceiling fan and some more powerful bulbs for our light over our dining room table. So Sunday afternnon I ended up installing a new ceiling fan, changing a bunch of light bulbs and de-fuming the house (this is so dumb of me). On the way to the store, Sarah and I stopped off at a gas station to get some gas. I was looking at Sarah through the back window glass making faces at her, and wasn’t paying attention. I overfilled my tank and put about a full 1 or 2 cups of gas into the reservoir surrounding my gas tank fill pipe. There is normally a dran that allows any excess to leak out of the car. I didn’t realize it but it was clogged which is why it wasn’t draining. I got home to find once I got in the garage, it decides to trickle all over my garage floor causing my entire garage to stink of gasoline! I ran some water through the reservoir and flushed it out clearing the drain so it worked properly. I mopped up all the gas from the floor and wiped down my car. I sprayed some oust air freshener in there, but it didn’t help that much. The whole house started to have a hint of gas in the air, which was extremely unpleasant let me tell you! And when I got in my car to drive to work, it wreaked of gas, all the way to my office. Its going to take days to clear all that gas smell out of my house/garage and my car! What a dummy!

Spitting in the urinal

I can’t help but wonder if I’ve uncovered some ancient ritual, or cultural habbit. I’ve noticed over the years (yeah sorry, another bathroom story) that most men when using a urinal, will spit in the urinal before actually using it. They will walk up, spit, and do their business. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is, nor what type of person. Its everyone from the young casually dressed man to the older well dressed executives. I’ve tried to come up with some explanation, and figure out some reason for doing this. Is this some type of reflex, or habbit you pickup as a kid. Were these people taught by their parents that anytime you have to “wee wee”, you spit first? I just don’t get it. I’ve never done this that I can remember, and can’t think of a good reason for doing it. If anyone has any thoughts on this and would care to enlighten me, please feel free.

My amazing handyman abilities!

When we bought our house the existing dishwasher was tested and found to work. Upon moving in, we found out that the test that was run on the dishwasher was the last time it would run. So we were in need of a new dishwasher. Unfortunately, none of the nearby home improvement places had any reasonable prices for a new dishwasher. So Liz got on the computer and checked craigslist and freecycle. She found an ad on freecycle for a like new dishwasher and sent an e-mail asking about it. We ended up getting it and as soon as I got home last night I went to pick it up. I single handedly lifted the monstros beast into the back of the van and proceeded on my way home to install it.

I’d like to say that when I got home I unloaded it and immediately began to install it. I disconnected the old one and easily connected the new dishwasher and found no problems. I did it all by myself and with no external assistance. Thats what I’d like to say. The truth is that I had to call Ray (my handly master plummer father-in-law), on several (ok – many) issues I encountered. First, I didn’t see how the water line on the old dishwasher would connect to the new one. Then I didn’t see how the drain hose would work with the new one. Then I realized I had to hand wire the electrical leads to power the thing. Ray calmly opened my eyes to the simplistic answers to all my questions and with a good understanding of how it all works, I got to work. I was able to get the old one out with relatively no problems. Although my kitchen floor got quite a bath as there were several inches of water that was stuck inside the old dishwasher. Then the power cord got wraped around one of the legs and Liz had to help me get it off while I lifted the unit off the floor. Out to the front porch it went and is where it still sits. We’ll probably list it on freecycle or dispose of it through the county.

Ok now the fun part. I started to connect the new dishwasher to the electric, water and drain. First, I decided to attach the copper adapter needed to connect the water line to the new dishwasher. I was doing good until the last 1/2 turn of the adapter when I heard a loud “Snap”. Turns out I broke the electric valve that controlls the water intake to the dishwasher. I tried to be McGuyver and used duct tape to seal it back together, but this didn’t do much to hold back the flood waters that came out of the water line when I opened the valve under the sink. Liz and I ordered a new intake valve online lat night. Actually she found it online and found the best price for it while I was watching Heroes on TV.

So we have a dishwasher now that didn’t cost us anything, its in good shape, and the only cost so far is the price of the new intake valve that we have to get because I don’t know my own strength. Ok, because I was foolishly holding onto the wrong area of the valve while turning on the copper line adapter with my wrench. 🙂

This all reminds me of another story. This has to do with a GFCI electrical outlet. Our home inspection also said there was a faulty GFCI outlet in the garage that probably controlled both bathrooms. Which we found was correct (you’ll see why in a minute). I went to Lowes and bought a new GFCI outlet and attempted to install a new one. A word to the wise, make sure you check out the wiring pattern before you disconnect the old outlet. If you have ever done electrical, you know what I’m talking about. So I put the new one in and wire it up, which is a major pain by the way, since the wires are very high grade and solid copper. I got it all put back in the wall and turned the power to the outlet back on at the breaker box and went to test. I had power to the outlet itself, but both bathrooms were dead. I didn’t find out my bathroom outlets were dead until later that night when I went to plug something into my bathroom outlet. So just before bed I run back out in the garage and take it all apart again. I tried several wiring patterns and just could not get that new outlet to work for the bathrooms. I ended up having to put the old one back in, but not until I had wired and re-wired about 6 times. Once I put the old outlet back in, all the outlets worked just fine. The GFCI protection may not work, but at least I have power to the three outlets.


Moving day approaching fast

Today is my last day of work this week. Tonight we have lots of last minute packing and dis-assembling to do. In the morning, Liz and I are going to go pickup the moving truck, then head over to Brandon to pickup our new couch set. Then from there, I hope to go to Lakeland to pickup my new TV and entertainment center. Fron there, on the way back we have to stop and get a refridgerator as well. Its going to be a very busy morning. Then I plan to load everything I can on own that morning/afternoon and take as full a load as I can manage to the new house and unload everything into the garage. I’ll then head back to the house and load more stuff, small furtiture and other items I can manage on my own. The goal is to only have the larger items that I need help with left when help arrives that late afternoon or early evening. We have almost everything packed, except for some stuf in the master closet, and kitchen and bathroom items. Liz is packing suitcases for us today for our extended weekend stay with friends. Hopefully, on Monday morning everything will go smoothly and we can close on the new house before 11am and head straight to the new house and start unpacking. At least thats the idea anyway! Good thing I bought a back brace!

Bathroom stories #2

Ready for story #2. OK, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Now I find myself at work again (I sure do spend a lot of time at work)….I end up needing to use the restroom. So as usual I wonder to myself what comical things will happen to me this time as I enter the restroom. Upon entering the bathroom I find myself alone, now I’m happy, I love having the bathroom all to myself. I get cosy in the “king” suite (see original blog). Not a minute after I “settle in”, in walks someone. Oh man, I say to myself. Naturally being a guy (since this is the Men’s room), and him being a man, naturally heads for the “king suite”, which I so gleefully pre-occupied. He walks right up, wiggles the handle on “my” door. Then frustrated that he was beaten to the “kingly throne”, he heads for one of the lesser seats. Now begins the funny part. The guy starts wiggling the toilet paper, and krunkling the “safety seat covers” (provided by the management), and finally gets his seat prepaired. He then rather noisily sits down. Shortly thereafter come the fireworks, except without the colorful lights. All kinds of noises begin to rattle the door hinges. Short ones, long ones, quiet ones, booming ones, yep he’s passing gas again. I think to myself “Good Lord, he must have been holding that all week”. Then proceeds the other noises that I dare not mention on here, but we all know what I’m talking about. Finally he’s done, he gets up, cleans up, then goes out to the sink. Now here is a pet peve of mine. Guys, if you go the bathroom, the least you can do is give your hands a good washing. This guy gets up, goes to the sink and gives himself a quick spritz of water, then dries off his hands and heads back out to work. Now, I’m no clean freak, but thats just gross. I hope I never have to use his keyboard! I think the statistics on this is like 50/50 or close to it. Around 50% of men don’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom. I am not among that 50% just so the world can know. Now I admit this story isn’t quite as humorous as my first post, but it certainly seems funny to me.

More later…

Crazy bathroom stories

1. The urinals are directly across the room from the stalls.
2. The stalls have slats in the door, strategically positioned so that you can see the people at the urinals from about from their posterrior down. Which of course offers a great view of spontanious human waterfalls :-0
3. The stalls are usually small with a single toilet (duh)

Now one thing is fairly common with all public bathrooms, there is usually one stall that is the “king” suite stall. You know the one, its everyone’s favorite or choice stall to use. Its the handicapped stall. Do handicapped people ever use the handicapped stall on the 6th floor of a building, nah probably not. But all of us other people do! Come on, its huge, its got its own sink, more legroom, rails to hold on to (God forbid I ever need them when I go in there). Its triple the size of the other stalls and the furthest away from the other toilets in those stalls. (who wants to be sitting six inches away from another guy taking care of business)? Which brings me to the humorous part of this series of stories…

I’m human, I go to the bathroom like anyone else, come on people, we all do it. So one day I get to work and feel the need to head for the restroom. I always dread entering a public restroom because something goofy and most of the time gross ends up happening with me in there. Something you should know about me before I go any further is that I’m a quiet guy, I don’t make a lot of noise with much of anything, I breathe quietly, I move quietly, its jut the way I am. So when I’m in a stall in a public restroom, the other people that come in after me, may not necessarily be aware that I’m in there. 🙂 How fortunate for me. I firmly believe its due to this fact that other Men that enter the restroom after me feel so relaxed. There is nothing I love more than having to be in a public restroom in the first place, but then to have a guy walk in, head for a urinal, which is right in front of my stall, where I have a clear view of the guy from the hips down (hurray). When all of a sudden, it starts. You know what it is, it happens all the time. The guy walks in, starts taking care of business and yup you guessed it, starts to pass gas. Not just a quiet (because he is not trying to be quiet) little one, loud forceful, echoing gas! While this is going on, I’m quietly sitting in my stall making no noise at all. While I have a four part harmony of the alphabet going on right in front of me. I’m holding my breath trying not to break out in laughter. The poor unsuspecting guy has no idea that right behind him is a guy secretly making fun of him, gagging over my own laughter that I’m trying to quietly contain. Finally the circus is over and he leaves. Ahh, now I can laugh, or can I. I think to myself, what if someone walks by the bathroom and hears hearty laughter coming from the men’s room. Hmmm, maybe now isn’t the best time to laugh.

Like I said, everytime I enter a public restroom the comical happens to me. This is just one more many more stories. All of which I can’t put on this blog. So check out my other entries as I will be posting more….