Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kicking Me While Down

Just a quick entry today, more tomorrow. We were at Wal-Mart today picking up some bandages for the wicked rug burn Elliott got at the gym night last night when I saw this guy looking at me kind of funny. I went about my business and ran into him again and he looked at me funny again. The third time this happened, he walked right up to me and said, "Excuse me, do you work here?" As if that wasn't bad enough, I had to tell him "no!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pool Pumping

On Sunday I took the cover off the pool and found a horrible, stinky, green, slimy mess. So yesterday I took out the plugs and opened valves and put the jet directionals in and was all ready. Flicked on the pump. It ran about 5 seconds and shut off. The pump was primed and all ready. So I did that over and over and over. Finally I switched the pump to the 'whisper' mode and it ran fine. For about 20 minutes before it got wicked hot and then shut off. So I tried to take the thing apart but it is located behind the filter, right up next to the house and I could barely reach it. I wound up borrowing my neighbors chain wrench and undoing the pool plumbing and dragging the stupid filter all the way out. I took it apart and put it back together. It is air cooled and not much to it. Fired it up and it did the same thing. So I loaded up Ashleigh and her friend and we went to Namco and bought a new one. It was almost identical to the old one. Re-wired it and re-plumbed it and I am back in business. I spent the rest of the day finishing the deck power washing and packing up the cover. Last year it took about 4 days for the green to clear and I can see improvement already. It is 62ยบ in there right now but I won't turn on the solar until the water is clear.

Elliott had a good time at his sleep over. But it should have been called an "awake" over as they did not sleep all night! They all had markers and would write on anyone who slept! He came home around 10 and slept all day but he had a lot of fun.

It is cloudy out today but I will do a little more outside (like back-washing the filter regularly) and then I have a meeting in the afternoon. That should be interesting.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Movies and Stuff

On Saturday, Lucie and I got up early and started cleaning the house. Vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning dog nose smears off the windows, cleaning the microwave, and on and on. One of our friends came over and she jumped right in helping out too. Around noon time, five of Elliott's friends came over for pizza and ice cream cake. Speaking of, we thought it would be good to get a ColdStone ice cream cake - until we went in and saw that a tiny, 8-inch cake cost $29!!! A regular square one was $65! Elliott generously said he would pass on the cake but we went to the grocery store and got a regular square Carvel cake for $15. Tasted better than the ColdStone would have...!!

Just before the cake I replaced the fog light on our friend's car. She has a Grand Am, and like my old Bonnevilles, the fog lights burn out regularly. I had an extra laying around that I will never use so I slapped that in for her.

At 2:30 I loaded up the kids with Ashleigh and went to the movies. Get this - matinee prices on the weekend end at 3 and the movie was to start at 3:05!! Bunch of pirates! Lucie had Costco discount coupons so she brought them to us and we went to the 3:30 showing of the new Indiana Jones movie. Pretty good. Nothing will be as good as the first one but it wasn't bad. Most of the kids' parents came and picked up their kids from the theater. Ashleigh met a friend and stayed and watched the new Narnia movie with him. She liked it better than Indiana Jones.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Lucie and friends were scrap booking and having a good time. Later on, the husband of one of our friends came over and he and I watched TV.

On Sunday, Elliott went to a birthday party sleepover after church which included a trip to see Narnia. I started in on the pool which was a filthy, green, stinky swamp. Someone else told me this year was the worst year they had seen too when they went to open their pool. But it will clear up once I get the filter going. I spent the afternoon power-washing the deck after taking the cover off and topping it off. After church that night, another friend had us over for a cookout. There had to be 50 people there and we had a really good time. Some good laughs and good food.

Today it is back to the pool. Can't think of a better way to spend the day...

Friday, May 23, 2008

If It Could Only Find Help

A couple of weeks ago Magellan, the maker of my GPS, sent me an email about a NEW map upgrade. So I bought it online. Come to find out, it was an update from November, 2007 which I already had. So I called tech support and was told they would cancel my order. Naturally, the upgrade arrived this week and my credit card was charged... I believe I have now spoken with every member of the Magellan Tech Support office. It cannot be that hard to credit my card and send me a shipping label to return it (I am not paying for the return). Now they say someone will call me back. I am not holding my breath...

Basketball started off pretty well last night. I was playing well until towards the end of the evening when something popped in my knee and I was done. Came home and iced it and it feels better but I can still feel something amiss in there. The guy last week who got some major floor burns went down again and burned off the scab on his knee. That opened up the wound and he was bleeding down into his sock. Another guy got a small cut on his hand but he bled like he had been crucified.

Yesterday when I was mowing the lawn, I saw two deer out in the woods behind our house. First time in 10 years.

Should be a quiet night tonight. Elliott is having some friends over for pizza and ice cream cake tomorrow, then we are going to see the new Indiana Jones movie. Meanwhile, Lucie is having some friends over to scrap. No big plans for Memorial Day so I may open the pool that day. Looks like a good day and a warm week ahead.

My wifi problems of a while back seem to have gone away. Just as quickly as they started, they stopped. Something in the neighborhood must have happened. But I have been solid for a while.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cape May, NJ

Thanks to a gift certificate from our church, Lucie and I spent Monday and Tuesday at a beach front hotel in Cape May, NJ. That is about 2 hours from here. As we were leaving home to head over, one of the garage door springs snapped so I had to fix that. We stopped for lunch on the way using another restaurant gift card. It was beautiful weather when we got there and in the off-season so there was hardly anyone around. We drove up and down the strip first, then checked in to our room. The hotel was very old and like a bed and breakfast (without the breakfast). A tiny TV in the room, no phones or internet, etc. But it was clean and nice and in a good location - right across from the beach. By going in the off-season, we will be able to get two uses out of the gift certificate. So we walked along the beach, window shopped a lot, had a free water ice, and just roamed around. That night we went to The Lobster House - right on the water with fresh seafood. That was excellent. Drove back to the hotel and walked around a bit taking night time pictures of the full moon and the beach.

The next day it was raining and blowing hard off of the water. So we walked to a restaurant for breakfast and battled the umbrella in the rain on the way back. Drove around some more, went to the lighthouse and the little museum and shop there, and hit a few more shops. We got home around 4 on Tuesday. It was a really good time.

A friend of ours stayed with the kids and took them to eat at Friendly's for a school fund-raiser and then over to another friend's kids' soccer game. They had a busy evening but it worked out well. She has stayed here before so it was like being 'home' for her.

My brother is doing much better. He has been fitted with a back brace and is walking around a bit. He is out of ICU and in a regular room and making good progress.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

There Are Better Ways To Get Blogged

The pictures you see above are of my nephew's truck stuck in the mud of Littleton, NH. But that is only a small part of the story. To summarize, my older brother and his son took the truck out 4-wheeling and it got stuck. They hooked up a come-along to the truck and a tree and proceeded to try and free the truck. Well, the tree broke and fell on my brother who was unable to get out of the way due to the slick mud. So now he is in ICU with a broken vertebra, two crushed vertebrae, his right shoulder blade is broken in three places, a collapsed lung, a bruised lung, a broken finger and a scalp laceration. Amazingly, they say he will eventually be fine. No paralysis. He was unconscious for a few minutes and the rescue crew had to ride 4-wheelers and walk with a stretcher to get him out. Took them an hour and a half to get to him and get him out. One of the guys who went to get help flipped his 4-wheeler and broke his collar bone. My younger brother and my mother went up to see him. He was talking when he wasn't zonked from pain medicine. There are some other pictures my niece took of my brother in his hospital bed but I will spare him that indignity!

This weekend Elliott and I went and saw Iron Man. Excellent movie. Not comic-booky and had a good story. I was impressed. That night we watched Nicholas Cage in Gone in 60 Seconds. That motivated Elliott to spend some time on Need For Speed on the xBox. Lucie and Ashleigh had a good time at their outdoor event all day Saturday.

Sunday was pretty quiet. Cooked some chili burgers on the grill for lunch and Lucie sewed up a model gas mask for Elliott's school project.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hunger in America?

Either the guy in this picture was out of touch with the free food give-aways yesterday or he is celebrating his freedom from hunger due to the free food give-aways yesterday. First, Dunkin Donuts was giving away free iced coffee. So I got one from one place near us and then took Ashleigh to another one for her first (and my second). Right after that, two friends called and said McDonald's was giving away free chicken sandwiches with the purchase of any drink. So we ate pretty darn cheaply yesterday!

Had a good night at hoops last night. Well, I started off well draining some outside shots but that faded as the night wore on. I did have it better than my friend Ken who went for a slide and came up with some nasty floor burns!

Lucie and Elliott had a good day in Washington yesterday. They got back around 6:30.

The other day, Ashleigh got her progress report from school. Straight "C"'s. I started to get my lecture on cutting down on her internet time ready. Then I looked at the code definition of what a "C" meant. Commendable. Great! So the internet time goes on.

Lucie and Ashleigh are going to a day camp tomorrow so Elliott and I may go miniature golfing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

End of Lacrosse

Yesterday was Ashleigh's last lacrosse game of the year. It was an away game so we loaded up and went over to watch. Another loss but it was a nice day. They wound up not winning any games and tying one so I guess it can be said that she didn't lose every game of the season... You can see her stats on the Hale Family Web page (see the link to the left).

The weekend was pretty quiet. Watched a Nicholas Cage movie from Netflix ("Next"). Had to do with seeing into the future and a bomb. Those time travel movies don't do much for me and this one wasn't all that good. It rained a lot so we just laid low and hung out.

For Mother's Day we just stayed home and cooked on the grill. That was fine. That night after church we went to Friendly's for dessert after church with some friends. That was a nice ending to the day.

Then, after a four day weekend, Elliott announces on Monday night at 6:20 that he has a major project to do including a poster board thing. Of course it was due Tuesday. He swore he would finish by 8. We finally sent him to bed at 11:10 and said he has to take it in the way it was. (It was fine but you can be sure next time we won't be so lax in allowing him to manage his own time!)

I spent a lot of time picking up sticks and small limbs from the yard yesterday. The wind and rain made a mess of things but no damage.

President Bush came through with our economic stimulus check. We actually found it deposited in our account Monday morning. At least a week early. That was good news.

Tomorrow Lucie goes to Washington on a field trip with Elliott. Looks like a warm but cloudy day tomorrow so they should have a good time.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tree Success

I am declaring the Patmore Ash a surviving success. As you know from earlier posts, the leaves quickly dropped off of it last year (it's first year here) and it was a late bloomer this spring. As the photo shows, it has come alive and is thriving.

Last night was Ashleigh's last home lacrosse game. The refs were an hour late so she played a shortened game in the light rain. They lost again 3-1 but Ashleigh had a shot on goal and the crowd got all wound up when she charged the goal for her shot.

I drove the Miss Daisies around again yesterday. This time down to a scrap-booking store in Maryland. At least it was a change of pace and pretty fun. Another friend was supposed to join us for Ashleigh's game and more scrapping but her car broke down and her cell phone died. So she had a rough night. (She made it home safe and sound and the car is being looked at today. Now to get the phone replaced...).

I canceled basketball last night. Only one person was available to play. Next week looks like a better turnout.

Elliott is home today and Monday for some teacher development. Seems like he is off a lot! It is raining hard here today so we are sort of trapped. He invited some friends to the movies tomorrow as part of his extended birthday party but many couldn't make it so that will be re-scheduled.

Ashleigh is going to a friend's play tonight in Wilmington. The friend's mother will take them, but I have to pick her up. I am looking for some metal plating to put on me and my car before I head in there after dark...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

We Got Another Winna

Lucie got word yesterday that SHE won a sweepstakes! Actually it was a drawing at a scrap book store and she won something scrap book related worth $60. So she was excited about that. She can drink one of my Pepsi's from my winnings while scrapping...

We went to Ashleigh's away game yesterday. It was beautiful out but then the clouds suddenly rolled in and it sprinkled a little. They lost again 2-12 but it was a nice afternoon outside.

The local paper had a story today about how April set a record for the pollen count down here. I don't doubt it. I think I set a record for sneezes in April too...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Unwelcome Guest

Not the best picture but you can see I had an unwelcome guest in the house yesterday. I was on the elliptical doing my thing and looked at the back of the couch ahead of me. YAH! It was hard to get a picture because I was between the cellar light and this thing. I used my cell phone and sent the picture to Lucie. Fortunately, she was almost home and came in and killed it.

Cleaned out my closet and drawers yesterday. Today is yardwork day. Ashleigh has an away game which we will probably go to. It is up near Wilmington but her season is winding down and the weather is nice so we will make the trip.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Won a Sweepstakes

CONGRATULATIONS! You have been selected, subject to verification, as a Daily Prize Winner in the Microsoft Office Live Workspace beta Sweepstakes sponsored by Microsoft Corporation! To claim your prize, you must respond and accept your prize WITHIN 72 HOURS. If you have won multiple daily prizes, you will receive one email for each daily prize won.

The Daily Prize is: One (1) 12 pack of 12 ounce cans of Diet Pepsi MAX. Daily prize to be awarded in the form of a product coupon good for one (1) free 12 pack of 12 ounce cans of Diet Pepsi MAX. Coupon may be redeemed at participating U.S. retailers. Coupon expires July 31, 2008. (Approximate Retail Value "A.R.V." $3.50 each).

I always promised God I would share my lottery winnings if He ever let me win. So who among you will be one of the chosen 12 to receive a can...?

We had a good weekend. Cooked out with friends and went bowling (man has bowling gotten expensive!!). That night we stayed home and watched Cloverfield. I thought it was pretty good and entertaining.

Sunday we went to lunch with friends at Hibachi's (where they cook at the table with the fire and knives and stuff). With coupons, it was cheaper than Applebee's. We had an entire room to ourselves which was fun. Afterwards, we came to our house for ice cream cake and cookies. Almost all of the adults then took at least a 20 minute nap in various positions around the living room (the kids were watching TV and playing ping pong). Then it was back to church.

Not too much on the agenda for this week. Besides waiting for my lottery windfall to arrive...

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Some of you may know I am a huge Stephen King fan. And for those of you who don't know, now you do. Try to hide your disappointment if you must... I got hooked as a kid when many of his story settings took place in Maine locations that I knew from growing up there. So over the years, I have accumulated first editions of most of his books with some being quite valuable. Lucie and I were even on the set for a few hours of the filming of "Pet Sematary" and got his autograph and pictures with him. I got another autograph and more pictures at a book signing in Portland one day with the kids. I also have a little collection of movie props and promotional items. (An airline ticket from the movie "The Langoliers," a check used in the movie "Dolores Claiborne, etc.) My latest acquisition is described above - a shopping bag used in the movie, "The Mist." Kind of an odd collection of stuff (and I have a lot more) but it is a fun hobby and inexpensive. eBay has been good to me...

This morning I helped a friend from church pick up and set up a twin sized box spring and frame. Her car was in the shop and she needed to get it picked up and set up before a new tenant moved into her house this evening. That went smoothly. Popped right in the back of the Pathfinder.

Tonight we are going over to some other friends (yes, we have do have many and I can prove it!) for a cookout and bowling. That should be fun.

But most importantly, TODAY IS ELLIOTT'S 13th BIRTHDAY!!! We brought a cake to share with about 80 other kids at church youth group last night. Tomorrow we are taking him to Hibachi's (where they cook up the food right at the table while throwing knives around, etc.). Next weekend he is going with some friends to see the movie Iron Man.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Driving Mrs. Daisies

Yesterday was Lucie's day off so we decided to run some errands and bring our friend along who recently broke her foot. So we went down to the friend's house and loaded her in and off we went. The first stop was Costco's. Our friend hopped in one of those electric carts and was on her way. I went off to do my thing and when I came back, I found she and Lucie hadn't gone 10 feet inside the door. And loaded in the front basket of the cart was a giant, flowering bush! It looked like some poor attempt to camouflage herself! There was no way I was going to walk around with them with a big orange flag waving off the back of the cart and a big bush in the front. So I grabbed it and paid for it and took it to the car. We had a quick lunch there and headed off for our next stops. Which included dropping off the bush at the friend's mother's house, picking up Ashleigh and her friend at school to take her to another town where she had a lacrosse game. BUT, she wanted to see her friend's game before her game so there were a lot of logistics to work through. Meanwhile, another friend was getting off of work at 4 and the ladies wanted to meet her at a scrap booking store near her house but she had dinner plans. This friend managed to scoot in for a few seconds and hook up with them before she scampered off. We finally got Ashleigh and her friend ferried around between games and left them at her field for her game. (They lost 3-14. This school charges admission so we didn't stay.) We took our friend home and the mother of Ashleigh's friend brought Ashleigh back here. It was kind of a fun day though.

There were some fights and arrests earlier this week at Ashleigh's high school. She was right there when some kid got his face stomped and it was a bloody mess. There were rumors of a big retaliation today so I let her stay home. Lucie went to the school and there were a lot of police there. She met with the administration and they had a handle on things.

Basketball was OK last night. We only had 7 people out but I played well and it was a good workout.