Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out With The Old

2008 is blowing out of here soon. And I mean that literally! All day there have been strong wind warnings and the house has been rocking! When I went out to get the mail, an older neighbor was wandering around looking for a check that blew away. There is zero chance she will find it but I told her I would keep my eyes open. And it is a cold wind! It did blow all of the remaining leaves into some corners so I took the leaf vacuum and sucked them all up.

Our Maine friends headed home this morning at 5 AM. They got there around 1PM and found 3 inches of fresh snow. They said it was rough driving through Connecticut due to snow but not too bad.

I don't like these mono-vision contacts. One contact is good for far and one is good for close. But the end result is that most of the time, everything is blurry. I will give them the week to try them and go for option B on Monday. Whatever that is.

There is food and games for the kids tonight at church so we will go to that for a while, then come back and go get the kids around 11. No big plans otherwise. Lucie is working tomorrow to make up for some lost time. I will start looking at taking down the Christmas decorations - although it seems I just put them up!! I went to Wal-Mart to get some LED Christmas lights for next year and everything is gone! You snooze you lose I guess...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Open Eyes

Yesterday I went in for an eye exam as it had been a long time since my last one and I couldn't get any more contacts without a new prescription. It took forever in there and there was a minor emergency with another patient and I got forgotten about alone in the exam room for a while. Looks like I am headed down the bifocal lane and they gave me new contacts to try out for a week. At the end of the exam, they dilated my pupils. That made things blurry for a few hours but no biggie.

We met our friends over at their hotel in the morning yesterday and hopped in the pool for a few minutes. It was kind of chilly and didn't have a hot tub. Surprisingly, there were a lot of little kids in there so we didn't stay long. We packed up and went to the mall and roamed around there for a while. I came back with Gregg and Ashleigh and went to my appointment. That night we went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Always a great meal there.

No real plans today. Their boys spent the night here last night and they all go back home tomorrow at 5 AM so this is our last real day together.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It Just Ain't Right

The picture to the left is an accurate depiction of the status of the Eagles as compared to the Patriots - below them! How can it be that the Patriots, with an 11-5 / 69% winning record NOT make the playoffs when the Eagles who are 9-6 / 60% are in? The Patriots have a better, or as good of a record, than three other teams that made the playoffs too! The worst part is now I have to listen to all the Philly fans crow about their lame Eagles when a much more deserving team is not in. And on we go...

Our friends from Maine made it down fine on Friday and we have been having a good and relaxing time with them. We had another Fry Night that went well and have mostly hung out at our house watching TV, talking, and sometimes playing XBox World Tour with the kids. After a couple of minutes of that, I really appreciate their skills!

The weather has been nice with no snow to be found - which is a nice change for our friends. Today we are going to their hotel and swim in the hotel pool. I have an eye exam at 3 and I am afraid it will be bifocal time...

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Family That Rocks Together...

We got Elliott the XBox Guitar Hero World Tour for Christmas (and a Randy Moss Patriots shirt and sweatband!). For those that don't know, the Guitar Hero is an electronic drum set, guitar and microphone that you play/sing along with on TV. Yesterday we had a whole concert going on with Ell on drums, Ash on guitar and Lucie singing. That went on for hours! Elliott showed me the callous on his hand this morning from drumming so much! After that, we watched the Narnia 2 movie. Lucie fell asleep in it but it was good. Long.

Ashleigh was playing a miniature version of Guitar Hero on the new Nintendo DS Lite we got her. It was a musical day here yesterday.

And what romantic thing did I get Lucie? Matching front and rear door floor mats for the house. ha ha But she loved them! (I also got her some nice perfume and stuff too - I am not that bad!)

I got myself an external Tivo hard drive so we can store more recorded shows and the new autographed Clive Cussler book. It was a good and quiet day.

At 2 AM Lucie got the call she was expecting that her uncle had passed away. She is sad today but our friends from Maine are on their way here for about a week. That will be fun.

So off I go to clean. They will be here around noon.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! Lucie got back yesterday afternoon with no problems at all. No lines, no delays, no traffic, her baggage came through intact... Perfect! We got home and she finished decorating the tree and we watched The Grinch on TV and just hung around for the evening.

The kids are still asleep so I am going to post this and check their stockings. Gotta fill the dog stockings too. Lucie let me open one present early last night and it was a Belgian waffle maker! So I guess I have some work to do!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Freezing Dinners

Saturday night was the church buffet. That went well. I had put together a few Office Max dancing elf videos using the faces of the pastoral staff and burned them to DVD. So I showed the videos after dinner and there were different prizes and contests. Fun night. I took a picture of us sitting at our table and sent it to Lucie. She missed being with us and we missed her.

On Sunday Ashleigh had to be at church very early to set up a PowerPoint presentation she made for the choir cantata. So we ran through that and then went to Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and donuts before church started. Things were pretty iced over and it was cold and rainy but not too bad. Ashleigh's presentation went very well. That night we went to a friends house for a little Christmas party. That was a lot of fun. Lots of food and desserts.

This morning at 6:40 when we left to take the kids to school, it was 13 degrees out! COLD! With a wicked wind too. I took them to school and raced home and went back into hibernation under the covers. After school I went and made about 20 laps around WalMart getting stocking stuff but I think I am mostly set now. The wind finally died down this evening. The golden retriever loves the cold - she lays out in the blowing wind for hours. Doesn't bother her a bit!

Lucie's uncle took a turn for the worse Sunday night. He developed a blood clot in his leg and his kidneys shut down due to dehydrations. They called the doctor and wound up calling an ambulance to take him to the hospital. He is in ICU now but is getting good care. Lucie now has a bad cold and is run down. I am hoping she can sleep better at nights. She is still planning on coming home Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is the last day of school for the kids before Christmas break.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It has been a few busy days since my last posting. Let's see, where do I begin? Elliott told me late Tuesday night that he needed 32 sodas for a math league meet on Wednesday and that I needed to pick him up from school at 4:30. Of course I had the cable guy scheduled to come out on Wednesday between 3 and 5. But on the way to school Wednesday we stopped and got some cases of soda so that was fine. The cable guy hadn't come by 4 so I raced over and got Elliott. The guy called at 4:45 to say he was going to be 20 minutes late so I beat him home. He did some more testing and then started checking TV lines in the house. Completely unrelated to an internet modem problem I thought but he was determined. So he replaced some cables and ends and so forth. Finally, I had to tell him we had to go to church. He called his supervisor and put him on speakerphone and told him my problem. He gave the supervisor my address and what node I was on. Immediately the supervisor said that it was a known problem in my area and the tech should just come back to the office and turn his paperwork in to the diagnostic people so they could keep working on it. They didn't know why it was happening but it was happening. So ALL THIS TIME they have known of my problem but no one took 20 seconds to check their records and tell me it! I have been testing modems and cables and the router and had a tech out twice! What an inconsiderate, inefficient waste of my time! But now the real fun begins - now we know it is something outside of the house and nothing I can control, how long will this go on?

Anyway, Thursday was quiet here - I fixed some odds and ends and cleaned the garage some. Elliott had a game that night and for the first time all season, his team lead for a while! Elliott scored the first and only points of the first quarter for his team and ended up with 6 points. Again, he played well but during the last quarter, the other team started nailing 3-pointers and they lost 24-31. But they scored more points than any other game. He doesn't have another game till mid-January now.

I played OK that night. I felt great and had one good game where I hit a few jumpers. Mostly I stopped my guy from scoring and we won a few games.

Friday came around and after school I took the kids stocking stuffer shopping for Lucie. They had youth group that night so I dropped them off there and went to dinner with some friends from church. That was a fun time with lots of laughs. Tonight is the church banquet.

Lucie is doing better down in Florida but it is not easy. Her uncle got his first chemo treatment and tolerated that well but he is very weak overall. Lucie is showing his wife how to setup bathroom arrangements, transportation, feeding him, etc. Teach a man to fish... But Lucie's attitude is better and she has a good frame of mind. Part of the problem is that as much as she wants to be here, she is afraid of leaving them alone. She still has a few days and it will be fine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice Melt

Elliott finally had his breakout game last night. He was the only one on his team to score in the first quarter, then went on to be the team high scorer with 8 points. He also had 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. His team lost 21-26 but they really could have won. The other kids missed a lot of inside easy shots (rolled off the rim) and the other team hit a few miracle 3-pointers. But Elliott sure played well!

Today there was a short period of icing. Came down pretty hard for a little while but it didn't amount to much.

I went to the church and re-taped and numbered where the chairs go in the sanctuary. The Christmas banquet is this Saturday night and it really helps to have the floor freshly marked so chair put-back is more efficient.

Even after putting new springs on the garage door yesterday, it still seemed to struggle to close and didn't close evenly. So I released the garage door opener drive chain, sprayed everything with WD-40 (again), worked the door manually a few times, and now it is smooth and quiet.

Lucie had a frustrating day down in Florida. Her uncle is not very mobile and his doctor's office gave her a hard time saying she was not on the approved disclosure list so they couldn't tell her anything about his medical condition. And the doctor wasn't even in today. So she was trying to get on the approved list and then go see the doctor on her own before her uncle's first chemo treatment Friday.

I packed up the Comcast modem I had picked up last week because I am getting the same internet lock outs and error messages as the modem I own. Another tech is due out tomorrow to see what he can find. I will try to return the modem to him to save me the long drive and long wait at the Comcast office. I am noticing some other email issues too but the forums seem to indicate that is a national problem.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spring Day

It was a nice spring day here - about 65º and sunny for a long time. It got cloudy later but it was sure nice. I took the kids to school and then came back and took Lucie to the airport. Earlier in the day a USAir flight with the only the crew aboard had to make an emergency landing with part of its landing gear up. That caused some sparks and the airport to close for a little while but it seemed to have helped. There was no traffic - I pulled up to USAir, let her out on the curb (short term parking is expensive and she already had her seat assignment and everything - nothing for me to do) and she went right in. No one in line ahead of her at the E-Ticket kiosks so she sailed through that and was at the security line by the time I got back on 95! Her plane boarded right on time and she even had an empty seat next to her. As if that isn't hard enough to believe, her checked bag got there the same time she did!

I came back and did some stuff around here and decided to tackle the roll up garage door springs. Each spring (two of them) have broken over the past 2 years but I just wound them back on and made them work. But I have noticed the door not closing smoothly so I went to Home Depot and got two new springs ($27) and put them in. It went smoothly but like every job I do, I have to allow for about 20 minutes of searching time - the time it takes for me search for whatever small piece I drop and can't find. This time it was one of the nuts on a cable clamp. I dropped one, then I set down the other to look for the first one and lost it too! I found that second one out in the driveway (I must have kicked it) and wound up having to re-create the crime - I kept dropping the one nut from the same height as the first lost one until it bounced in a way that lead me to it. But it is all up and working much smoother now.

Elliott has a game tonight. He is feeling good and I think this one will be a win.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ghost Hunting?

The other night on the SciFi Channel, the crew from the show Ghost Hunters went to the Portsmouth Harbor lighthouse in New Castle, NH. They were there to investigate reports of the lighthouse being haunted with reports of bumps and thumps in the night. The funny thing is, I grew up in that area and just this past summer, the Hale family toured the lighthouse. Not much to it - a spiral staircase leading up to a big automated light. I would think a ghost would fine more spacious accomodations to drift around in. The crew recorded some knocking sounds and what they said were voices and other weird stuff. Nothing too spectacular to me. It was interesting to see how they embellished the situation and tried to create a spooky atmosphere. As Elliott put it at the end of the program, "I have lost all respect for this show!"

Earlier we watched the movie "Hancock" with Will Smith. It was really pretty good and had an interesting twist I didn't see coming. Unfortunately it had a lot of unnecessary bad language. But still pretty good.

Elliott and I got the lights on the tree. It looks good. We never did find a replacement foot activated light switch but we made due with what we had. We still have to hang ornaments and I was shamed into making an effort to put them on by a friend. So I probably will. The thing is, Lucie usually hangs them and then puts them back into their individual boxes. She won't be here to hang them this year but she has assured me that if I hang them, she will put them away after Christmas. So I will give it a shot. Oh, and while I am talking Christmas lights, thanks Sally for the net lights!

Lucie goes to Florida tomorrow for a little while. Her uncle is very ill so she is going down to help out and visit him. My good friend from high school and college has a law practice near where she is going (she is going to Coral Springs - he lives in Miami) so maybe they will get a chance to visit. I am going to have to step it up around here for a while. She has worked many hours the past few days wrapping presents and doing all the Christmas cards and getting everything lined up to make it easy for me while she is gone. I will take her to the airport in the morning after we drop the kids at school. And then a steady diet of pizza and frozen dinners will... resume! ha ha

Tonight we went to a wedding and reception for a young man from church. He comes from a real good family and married a really nice girl. It was a good time. Very genuine and sincere and we just felt that they will live happily ever after. The reception was at a waterfront banquet hall which reminded us of a dinner on the cruise ship. In fact, virtually everyone who was on our previous cruises was there so that added to the feeling.

Off to bed for me - I have to start getting used to getting up early and driving the kids to school. Or just sitting there in a one-way stupor while Ashleigh drives...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Still Cold

I am going to stick with the cold basketball theme until things heat up for Elliott's team. They had another rough game this morning and lost 11-33. Elliott was feeling good and played very well. He was one of 2 kids on the team to score. He had good shots and played good defense but they came up short. There are a lot of inexperienced players on his team that are struggling to make strong passes. Lots of turnovers. But Elliott is recognizing he is a veteran and is stepping up his leadership on the court - directing the other players, taking shots, etc. It will come.

Last night we got the tree put up and I got the light strings ready to go. We cannot find our big light switch that the lights plug in to so I am going through all the boxes one more time, then it is off to Walmart.

Other than that, it should be a quiet day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Elliott's First Game of the Season

Elliott had his first basketball game of the season and to say his team had a cold shooting night is an understatement. The coach this year is focused on plays but many of the kids on the team don't have the fundamentals down. There are only 7 players on his team so when they were practicing the drills, there were no defenders. They got a rude awakening last night and lost 18-40. The kids would lock up when the plays fell apart and they wouldn't take the open shots. Finally Elliott started to disregard the playbook and tried to make his own way. He had some good shots and played well but he was cold too. It will come. He has a game tomorrow and another Monday.

I, on the other hand, had a pretty good night at basketball. I had one game where I scored 4 of the 7 baskets and felt good.

My tooth was pretty sore today. I think it was more sore from the shots I got than anything else. When my dentist gets the file from the root canal doctor, they will schedule an appointment to crown or fill the tooth.

The new modem has already locked up once so that proves it is not my equipment causing the problems. I will let it go through the weekend and worry about that next week.

I got some potentially promising news about going back to work today but I can't post it here. Nothing solid yet but very encouraging.

Tonight Elliott is going to a Laser Tag outing with a bunch of church friends. I intend to start in on the Christmas tree. But I say that every day...

Lucie's uncle in Florida is very sick and facing several weeks of chemotherapy. She is looking into flying down there soon to help out with him and his wife and cut through some language barrier issues.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My appointment with the endodontist (not to be confused with a run-of-the-mill dentist, was this morning. When I got to the office, I had to watch an ancient video that looked like it was produced by the Dharma Initiative in Lost. I tried my best to talk the doctor out of doing the root canal but he would have none of it. I told him I was not having any pain and maybe I just needed the broken tooth fixed. He did some tests including putting some cold Freon on the tooth. I didn't feel a thing which is good because he said if the tooth was healthy, I would have been on the ceiling! Now wait a second - what kind of a test is that?! On the other hand, it was bad because that meant my nerve was damaged so the canalling had to proceed. What he did is demonstrated above. Basically he drills out all four roots of the tooth, fills them with some anti-bacterial, and fills it. Took a little over an hour in the chair but was pain free and mostly not uncomfortable. No big deal. Except for the bill...

Rainy day here today so of course the outside net lights started acting up. I took one net in that was only half lighting, checked every bulb and the fuses, but it still was out. I did the famous Hale whack on them and they all lit up. I went out and put it back on and all is good.

CCast read my blog yesterday again and called me this morning asking me about my "complaint" about having to wait in line at the service center. So I reiterated what I wrote - the center is too far away and is understaffed.

Elliott has his first basketball game tonight but he is still weak from being sick to his stomach yesterday. He will make an appearance but probably won't be at 100%. Tonight is my basketball night too. Maybe I can use his upset stomach as my excuse too...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back In Line

Somewhere during my attempts with the cable company phone rep to get the inoperative cable modem working yesterday, I managed to screw up my router settings. I was finally able to get my old modem back on line but the desktop computer had some serious router issues. So I was on the phone with DLink (the router people) till 2:45 this morning! The wifi connection was fine but I had to bridge some connections and stand on one leg with with a coat hanger aimed out the window to get the desktop to get online. (It wasn't that bad but I had to go through some contortions to get it working right). The language issue with the DLink people was intolerable and I wound up thanking them for nothing and leaving it for the night (morning). Got up this morning and figured it out myself. Then it was time to make the 12 mile drive (one way) again to the only cable service office around here. I took my ticket number and then stood there in the waiting area watching the counter workers behind 7 service windows, (only 2 of which were open), barely move around and working with absolutely no sense of urgency or consideration. Haven't these people ever been in a waiting room and expected at least the appearance of efficiency? Finally my number was called and I returned the modem I had picked up about 24 hours earlier. The counter worker told me it was never added to my account (fine with me!) and this time they gave me a new one (the other one was in a bag). I made my way out of the crowded lobby and got home - only about a 2 hour experience... This modem fired up correctly and I am online again. However, there have already been a few T3 errors so I figure it is just a matter of time before I am locked up again.

Meanwhile, Elliott came home from school sick today and threw up. Probably something he ate but he has spent the day wiped out on the couch. Very nice spring like day here. It was rainy but almost 70 degrees. Tomorrow morning I am heading into Wilmington for a root canal but I don't think I need one. My tooth doesn't hurt so I am going to see what they think. Of course that is like asking Jiffy Lube if I really need to have all those things done that they checked off on the clipboard...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Day, Another Bad Experience

First, the cable company corrected the Blogspot filtering issues. They said it was a spam filter that needed some fine tuning and that is fixed now. Yesterday the cable guy came out and cut the end connectors off of the outside connections to the house and replaced them but my signal measurements were exactly the same afterwards as they were before (well within limits) so I didn't think he fixed anything. And he didn't. An hour or two after he left T3 errors popped up and at 11 I had to power down the modem and plug it back in to get online. Today I went to the single cable company office which serves a huge area and within 15 minutes I had rented a replacement modem. The guy at the next window was getting a new modem too but he was yelling and saying that he hoped this was a new modem since the last 3 he had been issued didn't work. The counter person told him they all have been tested before they come out of the warehouse and all work fine. So I went home to start the 10 minute job of switching out modems (1 minute to change the actual connections and 9 minutes to wait for the cable company to re-provision it on their end). Over an hour later, the cable lady on the phone and I gave up on getting the replacement modem back and managed to get my old one working again. Out of the bag, the one they gave me didn't light up right. We still went through the motions and several power cycles and PC reboots but it just wasn't going to work. So I put mine back into service (took no time at all) and I will be making a return trip way across town to try another modem tomorrow. The one they leased me is the same make as my old one and should have fired right up. The lady was very nice and asked if I was a teacher because I was so patient (a poll worker asked me that too back in November as she too said I was very patient). The lady said she would credit me two weeks of service for my inconvenience.

While that was going on, some friends from church called and said there was a school fundraiser at the Red Robin restaurant near us and invited us to join them for supper. So we ran over there. At the end of the night, each family presented our credit cards for the separate checks. A few minutes later our waitress and a manager came over and said they had accidentally put both charges on my card! They said they could try and reverse the charges but the bank would freeze that amount for 3 days. I said that was fine and the other family could buy dinner next time. No biggie. The manager was very apologetic and nice and going out of her way to say how sorry she was for what they thought was a huge error (it was no big deal to me). So I jokingly said that a little dessert to go might make things a little better for us... Next thing I know, out comes two HUGE chocolate mud slide desserts! And, they corrected the bill! So the lesson I told the kids was that being patient SOMETIMES pays off. There is nothing to be gained by getting belligerent or rude when people are trying their best and it just doesn't work out sometimes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lit Up

As you can barely see above, all lights are in place, and all are working. At least they were when this picture was taken. It has snowed since then and the tiny fuses in the plug kept blowing but that was due to moisture in the linked wires. They held up well last night.

And last night was the children's play at church. Another big success. About 500 people came to watch. Everything went very smoothly.

I talked to a former boss up in Boston today. He said I have home up there with his company if I ever wanted to go back and they would consider re-location costs. But it would involve starting up a branch for them out in the Worcester area. I thanked him and said I might take him up on it if things don't work out here soon.

No root canal today. I am on day-to-day notice should something open up.

So I have another internet issue. At the bottom of each of my emails, I have a signature added automatically. That signature includes a link to this blog: Suddenly on Friday night, the internet company decided to filter ALL emails that has any Blogspot link in it. And by filter, I mean they won't deliver it and won't tell anyone they didn't deliver it. I was sending an email to myself and it never came through. So I had a couple of friends who were online do some testing with me (they have the same cable company email also) and sure enough, if anywhere in any email a link to any Blogspot blog is included, the email goes off into the void and is not delivered. Take the Blogspot link out, and it goes through fine. I posted this issue on the internet and sure enough, it can be duplicated by the various forum readers. People are getting wound up that emails are not being delivered without any kind of warning or failure message. So I called the cable company and the first person didn't have an answer so she escalated the problem and about 10 hours later I got a call from an upper level person who was also able to replicate the problem. He said it was a known problem and the internet filters were marking those emails as spam and dumping them but they couldn't figure out why there was no cancellation notice sent to the sender. They said they will work on it. Makes me mad that now I cannot send anyone a link to my blog! At least warn me if you aren't going to deliver my email!

And while I am talking about internet issues, a tech came by today to look at my intermittent connection problem. Of course I was online and fine and it happens randomly. So he replaced the ends on the outside connections but said all of my signal strengths are well within range (I knew that). I will watch and see what happens.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

...And Rigging Up These Lights

Ah, 'tis the season... to freeze my fingers off and yell at the Christmas lights. I made the move and lugged up the bins of Christmas stuff and began the tedious task of checking the lights. So I unfurl the string of garage icicles and the daisy-chained bush net lights. Of course big sections of the icicles are out and I have to start yanking bulbs and popping them into another string to verify if they work. And when I find one, two or seven hundred that don't, I pull out the bulb and then spend 3 minutes trying to feed the little wire legs into the plastic socket holes. Oops, both in the same hole. Oops, bent one. Arrghh... Finally I got the icicles done and went out while it was still light and hooked them up. Great. When it got dark, I plugged them in and big sections were out! How could they go bad in the 20 feet I moved them from the couch to outside? So now, at 8 o'clock at night in 22º weather, I am pulling bulbs. After a few minutes of that, I pulled the whole stupid string down (actually two strings together) and took it back inside. A bunch of bulbs went bad. Replaced them, dragged the string back out, slapped it up, and all is lovely... Then onto the bush lights. Meanwhile, I invested $4 at WalMart and bought a bulb tester that also had a bulb pryer-outer thing. That made things go easier. But the bush lights are not all lined up in a row so it takes a well orchestrated attack plan. No joke - the very last bulb in the grid was broken on one of the nets. When I replaced that, the whole thing lit up. I then lugged that out and drapped that over the bushes. I have enough nets out there to safely snag a herd of blue whales. Should any happen across my front lawn...

And another fun part of the night was trying to find my X-10 light control module. It is an electronic device (think of the "Clapper") that is part of my home lighting setup. Each year I plug the outside lights into it, and it into the outside outlet, and then via computer I can program the lights' on and off time. And somewhere along the way it rains and the module gets wet and stops working so I have to dry it out and on and on. Well, this year, I cannot find the stupid module. Searched high and low. Looked in all the Christmas bins too. Went outside and looked at the new weather-proof mechanical timer I put in last year to see if the module was plugged in that. Yup - you read that right. I looked at the new mechanical timer. Dummy me had gotten sick of the X-10 soakings and failures every year so I bought a 6 outlet electrical box with a mechanical timer to replace the module! I must have forgotten that and chucked the X-10 module as I didn't need it any more. Crisis resolved.

Today is inside Christmas work I think. Setting up the fake tree and all of that. I wish someone would invent a hologram Christmas tree that you can just turn on and off every year. Takes up no space (you can walk through the image) and is up and down in 10 seconds. If someone with some ingenuity is reading this, please contact me...

Speaking of, CCast contacted me several times yesterday. Notice the spelling of that. Of course I am referring to the company that provides our TV and internet service. I asked them how they came across my little blog in the big universe and the guy said they have a Google alert set up to scan all of the Google blogs for key words. Their company name being one of them. And they say they don't know where bin Laden is... (I think they know exactly where he is and are keeping an eye on him...). Anyway, I talked to a few reps (very nice) and told them of my problems and how it is intermittent and aggravating. They are sending a tech out on Monday but I am not optimistic they will find anything since it comes and goes so sporadically. Happened once this morning already.

Speaking of this morning, Elliott is off to take a charter school acceptance test. Four hours long in Wilmington. Another parent was bringing a van load of kids over so he rode with them. They were supposed to pick him up at 6:45. My internal clock went off at 6:25 and not a creature was stirring... So I jumped up and woke him up (his alarm was set for Monday through Friday) and he had plenty of time to eat and get ready (they didn't arrive till 7). And to jump start our day, I killed a giant spider that had come into the house seeking warmth. Probably lured by all the lights... And I am sure it is warm now - in hell!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Monday was a pretty laid back day. So laid back in fact I cannot remember what I did! I went into work on Tuesday and they asked me to extend my contract another 40 hours or so. Of course I said yes - I really enjoy working there and would love to go full time. I spent the day getting ready for an on-site presentation that was scheduled for Wednesday. But about halfway through the afternoon, the client funding the project temporarily halted work. So I had to wrap things up and call it a day. Pretty disappointing but I am optimistic that other projects will develop and they will have me back.

Wednesday I ran around doing a few odds and ends and finally got the dogs out for a walk. Oh, I just remembered what I did on Monday. The images from the laptop that Lucie uses at church would only project black and white on the big screen. So I tried updating drivers and this and that and then dragged another laptop in and lo and behold, projected images from that computer were also black and white. It turned out a pin on the connector cable was broken. Ran to WalMart and got another one and all is good now.

Today I was going to start in on the Christmas stuff after lunch. So I sat down with a big bowl of ROBIN's beans and thought I had found a little piece of bone in one bite. I was partially right except the piece was a piece of my filling! The tooth that I had fixed at the end of October broke and a piece of the filling came out. That exposed the nerve which was pretty sensitive. If you recall, I had work done and then a few days later I had to go back to get the filling ground down. I am convinced something was still amiss and the uneven filling acted as a wedge so each bite I took caused my tooth to crack a little more until it broke completely. The dentist took me right in and was all defensive that it wasn't their fault. They numbed me up and pulled out the little piece of broken tooth. They also admired the work done by my dentist in NH (Dr. Swallow - no joke!). But they said they couldn't do his type of work on my tooth and I need a root canal AND a crown. So they patched it up and were very nice and friendly and didn't charge me. About two hours later I felt the numbness wearing off and a sharp edge on my tooth. Sure enough, the temporary filling had fallen out (and undoubtedly ingested with a fork full of cheeseburger pasta...). But it doesn't hurt and I have an appointment for the canal work on Monday. I can't keep my tongue out of my broken tooth/filling hole!

Lucie got word that her uncle in Florida was very ill with tumors on his liver. It was an emotional time for her as he was like her father growing up, gave her away at our wedding, and besides her brother, represents her last living relative in the US. She has spoken with him a few times and he sounds better today. He is going home from the hospital tomorrow and will follow up with an oncologist for a treatment plan. He is 85 but looks and acts 60.

Had an OK night at hoops. Hit a few shots. Missed a few. But it was a good run.

Tomorrow I will start lugging the Christmas stuff upstairs and start setting that up.

Finally, how weird is that comment below on my "Rainy and Dreary" post? Comcast got flagged on a comment in my little ol' blog? I am not sure if it is good or bad but it is a little "X-File"-ish to me! I wrote back to them and explained that at least once a day I lose internet connection and have to power down and then power up my modem. I am convinced it is a problem with their lines as I see different noise error messages on the modem log. And I can go weekends with no problems. The problems generally only happen during business hours. They must be doing upgrades or other work. We'll see what happens...