Saturday, July 21, 2012

The End

Fast forward to July 21st.  I know, I know I am a crappy blogger.  I believe that has been well established.  I will be shutting down this blog soon as Christine is now safely home.

Jason ended his series on the winning side.  They were 12 and 3.  Not bad for the little guys.  He is going to summer camp at Schoolcraft College and is getting ready to go to sleep away camp next week.

Samantha is still cute as hell and is doing well.  She is getting ready for cheer in the fall. Sam is also going to summer camps at Schoolcraft College and getting ready to go to sleep away camp next week.

Christine is home and somewhat back to normal.  After her initial clean and purge of our house she is settling in to a routine of getting up at 4 in the morning and supporting the folks overseas from home.  Since she is home we have a bit of flexability with our schedules.

We are both on Facebook.  (Me more than her)  So you can look for future updates there.

Thanks for looking and reading about our goofy life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Jason’s baseball team is doing very well.  They are 3 and 1 and sitting towards the top of the standings.  It is great to see how well they are coming together.

I never really understood Baseball but I will support Jason playing until he wants to do something else.  He really enjoys it and is getting better as we go.

Jason at the plate.
I tried to snap the pic as the ball crossed the plate.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good Stuff

I got this photo in an e-mail from Chris.
I feel ya brother!

It also had some photos of her in her office and her office mates. 

I understand how they feel but I can offer no advice on how to counter the crazy.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I took Wednesday off since we had a Union day or something at school.  The kids had off and I didn’t feel like going in for a half day.  Since I had a rare day off Chris decided to have me meet two concrete guys and get a quote to replace the driveway and do some other work.

The driveway quotes were uneventful but eye opening.  Cement is not cheap.  We need it done but maybe we will budget it in for the future.

Of course Jason has baseball practice the night I have the yearly cheer meeting.  Luckily he was practicing near the house so I could run over to the meeting and still beat him home.  The meeting was almost the same as last year.  I just found out that cheer camp is during the day when we are working.  Evidently it was coordinated by house-fraus forgot that folks work.  Oh well, we will see what can be done *sigh*.

Sunday, April 29, 2012




The bathroom that has been haunting me is finally done.

I could go on but frankly I am tired and I don’t want to.  

I do have pics. 

Just can't get back far enough.

Add caption

Yes, those are Monkeys.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My horn, its a tootin!

Sam helped pick out the shower head.  Then when I went to put it on it did not fit.  The arm wouldn’t let it.  So I swapped the downstairs one with the new one.  I cleaned it up and Viola! Problem solved.

This is what I do instead of goofing off at random Toby Keith concerts.  (USO, Kandahar, etc.)
Finished tub stuff

Full View

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Typical Wednesday

Things are pretty quiet at the moment.  I know it will explode at any moment but such is life.

We have Musicfest at Churchill High School for Jason on Wednesday.  He brought home a paper on Tuesday that said no jeans.  I thought he could wear the suit pants he wore to my dad’s funeral.  Wrong!  They wouldn’t even button and they hiked up to his knee!  Darn kids keep growing.  I raced to Target and got him some pants and a belt.  I am sure it already doesn’t fit.

He was one of 6 schools represented and the youngest group.  It turned out to be a really cool evening.  The music was pretty good and I got to see Jason play.  He looked confident.  When they had to clear the gym for the last performance he was a whirlwind of help.  He assisted everyone moving stuff out of the way.  Good to see in his non-home setting.

The last group was the marching band and flag corps.  I thought of Christine when the flag people started their routine.  Towards the end one of the band members ran around the front of everyone, took off his jacket, grabbed the sign and flowers he had hidden and asked one of the flag girls to the prom.  Very cool.  It was a neat performance.  They looked like they enjoyed themselves.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I know I probably shouldn’t but I need to vent. 

Sam just yelled at me because I won’t buy her any pants.  I don’t want her wearing long black pants to bed because I know she will wear them to school. 

“You won’t buy me any jammie pants!  You are always mean to me.”  I had to stop her and let her know she was wrong.  I most likely didn’t approach it right, but I am me and I like me.  I explained sternly, no yelling, that I have been trying for a couple of months to buy her clothes and she said no.  She told me very matter-of-factly no.  I explained that I have looked for clothes for her in several different stores and she does not want them due to all of the pants she has.  I have been throwing out the ones with holes.  Eventually we are going to have to go shopping as most of her pants have a hole.

For one so small, she can push all of my buttons.

Enough about me how was your day?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sam's Birthday Party

So today was Sam’s birthday party.  I ended up with 7 girls and 2 boys at Zap Zone.  It almost didn’t happen.  I left the house at 11:00 am to pick up Sam and Jason’s friend and swing by the bank.  I went to Sam’s friend’s house.  She was heading to our house.  I went home.  No one there.  Sam calls her and she is at home.  We go back to Sam’s friend’s house.  On my way to Jason’s friends house I realize we do not have Sam’s cake.  Back to my house.  Off to Jason’s friend’s house.  Bank is on the way so I swing through there first.  After he gets in the van I realize the 2 minutes I have left is not going to be enough to get me to Zap Zone on time.  I call to let them know and all is well.  I will jump on the freeway and I will be there in no time.  No such luck.  Of course the freeway is being worked on.  When is it not.  (That is a whole other rant!)  I pull a movie maneuver and swing off the freeway on to surface streets.  Now I am going to be really late.  Sure enough, my 11:45 party is now a 12 party.  The Dad’s that were there all looked at me and said “275 is a bitch huh?”  The mom that dropped off just looked at me funny.  None of the kids seemed to give a damn.  So our first game came up quick and the girls loved it.  No women in combat!  I need to get a bunch of generals into Zap Zone.  Those girls are nuts!

We ate and went right back in.  I got swarmed by little girls.  They are vicious.  I smoked Jason though.  He kept trying to hide from me and then ambush me.  Didn’t work well for him.  He He.  After the girls ran around and played games.  We opened gifts and Sam seemed to love everything.

I had told Jason he could have his friend sleep over.  I was relucticent to let Sam have a sleep over on the same night but by 7 pm since they were playing nice so I told her if she wanted to have a sleep over she could.  It must have been because I had just eaten or was distracted.  What was I thinking?   Now I have 2 9 year old girls, 2 11 year old boys and 2 dogs. 

Holy cow.

Two kids was definitely the right choice.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Home show people lied to me.

Saturday started out with a fun coughing fit.  I hate colds.
I need to grout today so I can seal the grout Tuesday.  I want to place the fixtures next weekend.  If the timing works out the sink and stand will be here by then.  Sam wants me to take her back to Walmart to see if those shoes came in.  I want to veg in front of the computer until the coughing is under control.  Grouting won.  I uber-medicated and feel much better now.

I have never grouted or done tile work of any kind.  It has been two decades since I did any cement work so all of this is new to me.  I had to figure out how to mix the stuff in a 5 gallon pail.  The drill mixer I picked up was useless.  It splashed the stuff all over my pants and shoes but mixed almost nothing.  I used a garden trowel and a big paint stirrer stick and viola! It was mixed. 

Trying to grout a wall is much tougher than it looks on TV.  Sam said I was doing a good job.  I asked her how she could tell.  She said I was doing it like the people on the home shows.  That was very nice of her but home show quality it was not.  I think as much dropped on the plastic as got on the wall.  As luck would have it I only needed one bag of grout.  I was able to get the wall and floor done in roughly an hour.  Fewer grout lines, the only good part of using huge tiles.

I ended up taking a shower and running the kids back to Walmart.  Sam found her size and decided she didn’t like how the felt on her ankle so we didn’t get her shoes.  We did mini-grocery shopping and went home.

I just finished washing the tiles and walls.  Hopefully I was able to clean off all of the left over grout.  It is not as easy to clean up once it starts to set.

I am not going to look for shoes for Sam tomorrow.
Threshold and floor tile.


Tub Surround tiles.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Laundry, Tiling, shopping oh my!

So I took Friday off as it was the last day of the kid’s spring break.  I went to Walmart to get the kids and myself some shoes.  Jason and I got a pair but Sam liked the shoes that did not have her size.  Of course.  Sam asked the worker if they had any in back.  She looked it up and said they would probably get them Saturday in different sizes.  So we went to Target to look and didn’t find any there either.  We picked up some milk and headed home. 

I needed to put the trim tiles up in the bathroom.  I am battling a fun head cold so I medicated up and dove into the bathroom.  The little tiles along the wall went up fairly easy.  I used painters tape to keep them from sliding and the little pluses to keep the proper space.  I figure if I give them until Saturday to set then I can grout.  Oh boy.
I started doing laundry and realized that many of Samantha’s pants have holes in the legs in various places.  I told Sam we could get new ones and she told me no because, “these are so comfortable!”  She flat refused to go and buy new pants.  She told me her clothes are fine and she didn’t want to get any new ones.  Man, if only I could get that attitude to stick around.

Back to laundry.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Equinox festival day

Sunday came in with a list of things to do.  As I was picking up Jason from his friends house I heard the front brake grind.  A trip to Auto Zone was in my future.  I forgot how many stores were closed on Easter.  Costco and target were out.  Lucky for me Auto Zone, Kroger, Home Depot and Lowe’s do not have the same religious leanings.

I picked up brakes at Auto Zone, Food at Kroger and I swung over to Home Depot to grab a blade for the jigsaw that would cut my floor tile.

The brake job was pretty straight forward and a short time later I was setting up to get my floor finished.  I was hoping it would be the last time for a while I need to set up the tile saw.  I got my last two tiles cut to size and then I marked the circle I needed cut out.  It was mostly a half circle out of both of them.  I grabbed the blade I just picked up and set to work.  I might as well have been cutting with wet spaghetti.  Off to Lowe’s I go.  I needed a diamond blade for porcelain tiles, not a carbide blade.  

Now I have both. 

On the up side the floor is done.  With the tile work behind me, grouting the tiles is next.  Something to look forward to.
Wall and floor tile - check.

Floor tile with the threshold.

My ever present companion.

The toilet flange.  Those two circle cuts took 3 hours of my life.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I was working on the bathroom Saturday morning.  I didn’t like the threshold I had. It looked awesome and had cool color variations but it was natural stone and it had natural stone imperfections.  I didn’t figure this would fly with Christine so I went to the tile store and Sam helped me pick out a better one.  Got it home, cut it, dry fit it in place and it looked really good.  I put a floor tile down and they looked good together.  I had Jason help me get the toilet flange in place.  Since the floor is going in I am not worried about breaking the flange.  Jason came in the bathroom to help/watch me glue the PVC together and he stepped on the threshold.  Since it was not glued in place it snapped right down the center. 

I did not yell at him.  I wanted to.  I should have picked them up.  I knew it was fragile until it was installed and I told Jay not to step on it, but I should have moved it.  So I took Sam and Sofia back to the tile shop and picked up another one.  It is installed now.  The floor is not as easy as I thought it would be.  You can’t step on the tiles so I got almost the entire floor done.  4 whole tiles and 3 cut tiles.  The last two need to be cut and then have holes cut for the toilet flange.
That is tomorrow’s project after grocery shopping.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Work stuff

So in the continuing saga of a giant work remodel, we shut off power to the building on Saturday.  Not just a little power or sections of the building but all of it.  It was scheduled to be off for 10 hours.
I came in at 5 in the morning to power down my equipment so the power spikes as it came on wouldn’t ruin it.  Detroit Power and Light already puts out crappy power so the last thing I needed was spikes taking out my servers.  The switchboard folks had to stay there.

Nothing like a high rise with limited power (Elevator and emergency lights), no AC, and a phone system powered by back up batteries to entertain a person.  I received a call around 9 am saying power was back.  This seemed fishy so after a couple of other calls I discovered it was partial power.  Around 5 pm I received official notification that power was back on.  It took 45 minutes to properly shut everything down.  I spent 3 hours trying to coax my servers back to life.  I was not a happy camper. 

In the end all is well.  I just hope it doesn’t need to happen again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Holy cow.  I didn’t think one person could be so busy at work.

I probably shouldn’t say that for fear my boss might read this but hey, it’s true.  We moved the folks from one floor to another temporally while we are undergoing renovations.  We were able to do it with a minimum of down time and no disruption to any of our services.  We spent months prepping for this but it paid off.  I spent a weekend at work getting all the phone extensions punched down to the new floor.  I brought Sam with me and she absolutely loved it.  She was my funny little helper.  She also did crafts, drew pictures, played on the internet, read a little, and played on Chris’ phone.  When we went to the new floor I need to install lots of patch cords.  They were individually wrapped.  Since I had to open lots of bags Sam gave me a hand.  She sat on the floor and opened all the cords and took off all the twist-ties.  She would hand them to me and I would install them.  It was perfect.  I finished that part of it quicker since I was able to dodge those pesky child labor laws.

I thought Monday would bring one or two items of interest, not a whole freakin’ day!  I ended up hiding on Tuesday just to catch up on everything else. 

I couldn’t believe I was happy for an admin day.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How sad am I?

So I am walking through Costco to do some quick shopping when before my eyes sits the throne I wanted for the kids bathroom!  I kept passing it by thinking I would get it when the time was closer that I would actually install it.  I seized the day and picked it up!

No going back now.  Sam liked it so I have one vote of confidence.

I tried to vacuum the living room and wasn’t having any luck.  I took the vacuum apart and removed as much dog hair as I could.  It turns out Pine needles and dog hair is fatal to a vacuum.  (Or so I thought.)  I could not get it to start.  I tried different plugs and even took it back apart but to no avail.  So I went to Target and picked up a new vacuum.  Jason who was reading and oblivious to my rantings while working on the vacuum, asked me what was wrong with the old one.  I plugged it in and told him it didn’t work.  Then I turned it on to show him it didn’t work and the damn thing roared to life.  Now I have a new vacuum for upstairs and I will use the other one in the basement and finally let the old one die.  It wants to, I just wouldn’t let it.

This is excitement for me.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Tile work Sucks.

Saturday morning I went to Home Depot and rented a tile cutter.  I wanted to get the tile in the bathroom done.  That ended up being a bigger headache then I thought.  I should start by saying I have no idea what I am doing.  I have seen tile work done on the home shows.  That is the extent of my training and familiarity with tile work.  I knew enough from reading to understand I would need time and patience.  Neither of which I am very blessed with.  Halfway through the wall I realized the tile cutter wasn’t going to cut it.  It had an arm that would not let me use the guide on 12 x 24 inch tiles.  I ended up buying a wet saw that looked more like a table saw.  I should have done that from the beginning.  Cutting tile to fit around the window was a special trip into hell.  A simple “L” shape shouldn’t be that hard.  It is with Porcelain tile.  I should also point out that Saturday might have hit a high of 40 degrees.  It was also windy.  As I worked the various angles trying to fit around my rental saw I slowly realized my hands were numb. 
See the window - not fun.

Good times.

With the new saw I was able to move quicker.  I ended up stopping for the night when I couldn’t see anymore.  Dark + diamond blade = bloody stumps for fingers.

Had to stop here.  No more light.


I had to go grocery shopping and run a couple of errands to keep things moving in the right direction at home.  I was looking at a one-piece, dual-flush toilet at Costco.  I didn’t buy it right away as it had been there for awhile.  So I thought I would pick it up today.  Of course it wasn’t there and I can’t find it online. 

This ate a couple of hours off of work time.  Plus I had to stop to run Jason to his friend’s house at 2pm so they could work on a school project.  Luckily they dropped him off later.  Today was almost 70 degrees.  No more hyperthermia and frostbitten fingers!  I only got the second wall done.  I have the wall with the showerhead and faucet left.  I am dreading cutting holes in the pieces of tile.  I am guessing that will not be easy.  I also ran out of adhesive.   Instead of mixing the thin-set, the kind folks at Home Depot recommended a premixed adhesive.  This stuff was ultra sticky which helped with sag.  Plus it dries waterproof.  I picked up two gallons thinking that would do it.  I didn’t think I would use the economical 3 gallon bucket.  I am out and will be buying my third gallon.

That little bit of wall was 6 hours in the making.

Go me!

When we redo the basement I see solid surface in our future.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Upkeep on this blog is more difficult than I initially thought.  It has been a rough couple of weeks at work and I have not been in much of a writing frame of mind.  It would be fun to tell you all what I was doing but then as the old clich├ęd phrase goes “If I told you then I’d have to …” Well you know how it goes.

Lindsey took the week off for spring break.  She is off having fun and I am here typing on my blog.  Smart girl.  Not being at work by 6:30 is weird and very unsettling.  I do not like having this much time in the morning. 

The kids are doing well.  Sam’s friends all live in different neighborhoods.  This is problematic when I am trying to get a bathroom installed.  I find myself running errands or kids instead of working on the bathroom.  That and the tile work has me a bit worried.

Jason is working on class projects with friends.  They have to get together to get it done.  More driving.  He is so funny there is a girl in his group and they have been chatting on the phone about it.  Not sure if I should start picking on him now about it or wait until Jr. High.  There will be picking on.  Do not feel bad, this is the way of the world. 

I must find the naked baby pictures.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I took Friday off in an attempt to get some things done that I just couldn’t seem to get to.  I went to Home Depot to pick up paint and supplies to get working on the bathroom.  I am in line when I get a call from Jason’s school.  He is calling to let me know he fell in gym and he hurt his arm.  The school wanted me to come get him.  This was at 11:30 in the morning.  3 hours into my get stuff done day and I am heading to the school.  When I got there Jason was holding his arm.  I asked him what happened and he told me he tried to get the ball in basketball.  The other kid moved and Jason went to the ground.  The gym teacher thought he may have broken it.  I told him to rub some dirt on it and go back to class.  For a second I thought he was going to.  I told him I would sign him out for the day.  
Off to the hospital we go.  The ER ended up splinting him with a follow up with the Orthopedist.  They couldn’t be sure he didn’t break anything.  Yeah me.  It didn’t stop him from running around all weekend though.

On Monday we saw the Orthopedist who confirmed no break happened but a couple of more days with the splint couldn’t hurt.

On the up side I got the bathroom and hall painted.  Looks good too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The dogs were getting pretty ripe.  On top of that they need their nails cut.  That was a fun day.

I took Abby and Candy to PetSmart for nail trimmings.  Candy is fine with it.  Abby needs a muzzle.  She tried to bite a lady at PetSmart so I warn them ahead of time.  Even with the muzzle she makes it very tough on the poor girls that are doing the trimming.  This time I had them ground as opposed to cut.  It was a buck more but they are shorter and smoother.  After their nails were done it was off to Shampooch!

Shampooch is a self serve wash your dog place.  It sounds goofy but it is so much easier than the tub.  (not just because I do not yet have a working tub)  They supply everything.  They even have high speed blow dryers.  The Tubs are standing height with a small leash to keep the dog in the tub.  There is a sprayer on a long hose in the tub so it is much easier than being hunched over a normal bathtub.  This was a handy thing since it was below freezing that day.  Again Candy seemed ok with it, Abby not so much.  Not sure why but Abby is afraid of being cleaned.  She tries to bunch up in the corner and you are constantly moving her back to the middle to wash, rinse and repeat.  In the end it was worth it as they now smelled like clean wet dogs.

My life is very exciting.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Summer Camps

So the kids need supervision during the day during the summer when they do not have school.  Christine likes to try and enrich the children’s lives.  I merely want them not to be dead at the end of the day.  

With Chris’s goal in mind (let’s not kid ourselves, she was going to win) we signed them up at Schoolcraft College.  The kids went there one week last year and loved it.  This year they will go for three weeks.  Chris was nervous that they would fill fast and the kids would miss out on their first choices.  She tried to sign them up online.  Of course this did not work.  So I sat in my car until 8:01 am on the first day to be the first in line to get them signed up.  Sadly I was second in line.  I was the first to the cashier’s cage so we kinda tied.

We couldn’t miss Video Game Design or Art Explosion.

We will do another week away at Camp Copneconic and a couple of weeks at the YMCA. 

For the other two I don’t need to camp out like a groupie to register.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm back

I have said it before, I am a bad blogger.  Chris did an amazing job on her trip reporting.

On my first day back 2 and a half weeks of being gone jumped up and slapped me.  I had a solid week of Mondays.

On top of work crap my car is now dead.  I had the car towed to Hal’s auto shop in Northville.  They gave me a call to let me know the cool sound it makes when you try to start it is the timing chain slapping around.  If the only damage done to the car was a snapped chain then it would be about a $750 fix.  Odds are since I was driving at the time it is very likely the pistons touched the valves.  That would be very bad. He wanted to know if I would like him to work up and engine replacement quote.  I told the mechanic “You had me at $750. Push it outside I will donate it.”  He made an attempt to try and talk me into the repair.  I reminded him it was a 2001 Stratus.  He understood.  I donated it to Cars Fighting Cancer.  I had a vision of ‘Mater from cars with boxing gloves on his front tires.  I donated there.  They sent me an iPod Shuffle for my car.  There it is.  A 2001 Dodge Stratus with a blown motor equals an iPod.  Sounded good to me.

Being down to one vehicle makes me a bit nervous.  I haven’t been without a back up since 1993.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


We just spent two weeks on Christine’s R&R.  A week in Orlando and a 7 day cruise in the western Caribbean. 

I highly recommend the Central American coast for beautiful beaches.  No idea what the countries in question are really like but the beaches are fantastic.

I would go into more detail but Chris already did and should be posting it in her blog after she gets home on Tuesday. 

Our wonderful neighbor Kim dropped us off and picked us up at the airport.  That worked very well.

Once we got home the kids moved the luggage downstairs and all was well.  I told them I was heading to the bank and Kroger.  After much begging I agreed to pizza as well.

I drove out of the garage and realized something didn’t feel right.  The right rear tire was completely flat.  I backed back into the garage, cussed a lot and I re-inflated the tire on the van.  I was surprised it held air.  I figured if it held then maybe I could get a new tire on Sunday.  (No luck.  The tire folks do not work Sundays) I got into the car. It started slowly but I didn’t think anything of it as it hasn’t been started in a while. I was just across 6 mile when it started making an odd sound.  There were cars around me so as I tried to figure out where the noise was coming from the engine died.  I put it in neutral, hit the flashers and tried to re-start the car.  Odd noises come out when I tried to crank it. I coasted into DFCU’s lot and got it parked. I tried unsuccessfully to re-start the car. It sits there now.  I grabbed the gloves out of the trunk and because I was so angry, I walked home. It seemed like less distance when I started.  I guess walking fast and zipping up my fleece worked.

I stopped at CVS and picked up milk and Pizza rolls.