Saturday, March 26, 2011

When in Rome...

After all the trip prep and stress it turned out pretty well. Sam and Jason did well with a 9 hour flight. They watched TV and read the books they brought. Sam is so cute; I told both kids that they would sleep on the plane. She asked me if the stewardess would make an announcement when it was time to go to bed. I explained that I would tell her or she could just go to bed. She passed out 30 minutes later. Jason had a harder time with the concept of sleeping in an airplane seat. He fell asleep reading a couple of hours later. I slept on and off most of the night.

When we arrived in Rome we grabbed our bags and headed out for our adventure. Luckily Chris met us as we walked out of customs. We took a quick train ride to the flat. The view out the window was interesting. The mix of old and new and the graffiti that covered it all was puzzling. To me the graffiti screams "Bad part of town!” Here it just seems to mean blank wall.

More later. Need sleep.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just a little whining

I hate packing.  On my list there is doing dishes, then packing.  I always stress about the types of clothes to take.  Will we be too hot, too cold, under dressed or over dressed (ok, probably no chance for that one)?  Do I have enough stuff?  Do I have too much stuff?  Are these the right shoes?  I know I sound like a teenage girl on prom night but I will incur the wrath of the family if this plays out badly.  On the more negative side there is no passenger laundry on the cruise.  When we took our honeymoon cruise we did laundry one night.  That was great as it allowed us to wash the horse smell off our clothes before heading out to do some other equally crazy stuff.  With the laundry thing in mind I was prepared to pack light.  Chris sent me the laundry price list.  It looks like the one in a hotel room.  5 bucks for a pair of pants, 3 bucks for a pair of underwear, all of the prices unreasonably high.  I guess when you have a captive audience you can charge what you want.

I am in the middle of checking in on-line when I got to the baggage part.  I need what is in the dryer to finish packing.  I am bringing a lot of Chris’s clothes as she was limited to what she could bring to Afghanistan.  I have three bags mostly packed but I am unsure if we need a fourth.  The cheap bastard in me says just do three but the realist in me says a fourth bag would eliminate some issues.
Ha! I got it all in three bags and they are all under 50 pounds.  I am very proud of myself.  

Now, off to bed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So my wonderful wife takes a trip...

So my wonderful wife takes a trip.  She gets to leave the camp and go off on a “Mission Critical” junket to Kajaki Dam.  If you Google the place there are some incredible photos.  It reminded us of Lake Pleasant in Phoenix.  Evidently she took several transports to get out there.  Now I am really jealous.  She got to ride on an Osprey and a Russian Helo.  I wanna ride!  My job is fairly domestic so I don’t see too many overseas trips in my future.  Just to visit her during her R&R. 

I receive an e-mail saying she is back and all is well.  Since I was at the computer when it came in I knew she was at work and gave her a call.  I was all excited to talk to my absent wife.  This is the call where I got the details of her cool trip.  She was telling me that the Marines that provided security were telling her this area was pretty rough.  They stayed at the Marine compound nearby.  This is when she got to rub it in that she got to ride in a bunch of cool planes/helos.  To make it better she took a bunch of pictures.  She told me her goal was to get the pictures up on her Blog.  Ha!  I told her it would be nice to see anything on her Blog since January.  “I’m busy, I don’t have time.”  Excuses, excuses.  I have to babysit two kids, full time!  (He He, inside joke.)  I still make time for the multitudes (3 maybe 4) of fans that follow my blog.  I guess she just doesn’t like you all as much as I do.  I do hope she gets some of the photos up as I really want to see them.  We talked for awhile, made some vacation plans, talked logistics and then I let her go so she could wash up and crash.  I got a call from her 5 minutes later.  She was laughing at my blog.  It amuses her that life is difficult when our sitter has her own life. 

I re-read it and it kind of is funny when it is over.  I guess this just proves the, Someday-you-will-look-back-on-this-and-laugh, crap that folks sometimes say.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I have started to lay out some of the crap I need to pack on our little trip.  We have new suitcases as the collection we have was inadequate for the task.  I have enlisted the help of the ping-pong table to spread out on and this seems to satisfy the kids need to pack now.  I keep telling them they need to wear their clothes and I will do laundry and pack closer to the day we are leaving.  This is just not acceptable to a 10 and 8 (almost) year old.  I am going through the stuff Chris told me to bring, camera, battery charger, walkie-talkies, etc.  This is not my first trip.  We will be fine, I say, they have stores in Italy I say, all to no avail.  So I just nod and say “got it.”  This works wonders.

Since Sarah is with her boyfriend this week the other family that comes over in the morning is taking the kids at night while I drop them off in the morning.  This has to be the worst part of the deal.  They argue, claim to have everything, forget something, delay, go slow, and in general annoy the hell out of me before the coffee kicks in.  I like Sarah better than me in the morning too!  She comes in, I say hi and leave.  Very few words, it is still dark and my coffee has a minute to work.  No rushing it.  Not to be too mean but Sarah’s boyfriend needs to go home or come over in the morning as well.  I am sure he is a great guy.  He could help wrangle the young ‘uns.  

I’ll make more coffee.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


The trip to see Chris will eventually kill us all.  She is stressed out since she has not scheduled every last minute and has no map.  I was doing fine until I went shopping for luggage and shoes.  Sam needed a new bathing suit.  She told me, “Mom says two-piece.”  Dad says one piece with a headscarf!  So we looked at two-piece suits.  That wasn’t too stressful!  Then she needs non-dog-chewed flip flops.  So we looked for those.  It is tough to find decent looking ones in her size.  I found ok looking ones, but passed as they were 30 bucks.  I did find a bathing suit.  One piece for me.  I have started to assemble a pile of items for the trip.  This will make me feel better as I move toward dragging two kids across the pond.

I went and picked up Jason from Uncle Roger’s.  On the way home I decided I was tired and didn’t really want to cook.  Connor’s Family restaurant is on the corner and has good food for a low price.  I had brought Abby along for a ride as she had been cooped up most of the day.  At least I felt she had been cooped up.  She loves to ride in the van and is always looking out the window.  As the kids got out of the van at the restaurant, Abby saw her opening and bolted into the parking lot.  We spent the better part of 15 minutes trying to keep her out of the street and back into the van.  Trying to keep the kids from running at her was tough.  She loved every minute of it.  Luckily she did not venture into the street.  She would run just close enough to you so you would continue to chase her.  I think she was tired and just came back to me.  I opened the van door and she hopped right in.  Crisis averted.  When we walked into the restaurant a table of older folks clapped for us.  They had watched Abby running around and were afraid of her running into the street.  Nice folks, we talked to them for a couple of minutes.  I felt bad that we shook them up. 

Dogs and daughters. One of them will be the end of me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

More snow

So it snowed again last night.  I hate snow.  Today is one of those days where I search for jobs in the South and Southwest during lunch.  One of these days I will get lucky.  We may get a couple of inches more before it ends.  I know I am whining on the day when Japan gets hammered with a magnitude 8.9 earthquake.  Weather is relative.  

This radar picture is getting old.  
Although it has passed you can see the front end of this that we just endured.

The kids were hoping for a snow day.  I have a meeting this morning so I really wanted to come to work.  Lucky me.  I felt bad for the Semi truck driver that jack knifed on the freeway this morning.  When I was able to make my way past the wreck the cab and trailer were smashed up quite a bit.  Too cold for waiting on the side of the road with a mashed up rig.

I guess I am done whining.  Today is picture day for Jason.  I am hoping he fixes his hair.  He had a wicked case of bed head this morning.  I told him a couple of time to wet his hair and fix it.  He was up before I left for some strange reason.  I will post the photo when I get it.

Off to meeting land!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Another Wednesday survived.  I spent part of the day training folks at work to send out emergency messages.  My impression is that it went well.  They seemed to grasp the program despite my poor training ability.  I was never a good trainer, always a better do-er.  Since Christine has been gone I take her phone, a droid, when I know I will be waiting around.  I can surf the web, play games or just play.  I received a call and the number looked like Christine’s work.  I answered it and received a test message from the Army Corps Emergency notification system.  It sounded exactly like the one I had been training our folks on.  It would be funny if they were the same system.

After I picked Abby up from Lucky Puppy I took her to get her nails cut.  That dog turned chicken as soon as we walked into the grooming area.  She tried to run away and when that didn’t work she cowered under me.  She yelped as each nail was cut, sometimes before the clippers even touched the nail.  When ‘fraidy dog was done we went and grabbed some dog shampoo and headed home.  Ahh, bath time for a dog, such a relaxing time.  She hates the bath and is afraid of the running water.  So after wrestling shampoo on her and rinsing it off, she was all set.  Of course she is now hyper and tearing through the house.  It’s all fun and games until she slides across the kitchen and takes out Sam.  Funny as heck but not ideal for Sam.  Then she decided to tear up the covers on my bed.  She needed to roll around on something.  I pulled her off and she ran in circles for a bit and then calmed down.

Saw the camera and viola! a pose.
Future Computer Nerd!

I told you I would put up pictures this time.  Here they are.  I wish I had some of the actual bath but I only have so many arms.