Saturday, April 24, 2010

In and Out

Above is a picture of Ashleigh signing the Newark High School National Honor Society registration book. (Something I never did - at Newark or elsewhere!). She was inducted last night. That was good. Afterward we walked around downtown Newark and ate at a Mexican place we like. Really nice night and it was booming downtown. When we came home we watched Avatar in Blu Ray. Like the box says, it was the movie Blu Ray was made for. Wicked clear with great sound. Good movie (but a bit long).

On Thursday night our wireless router died. No warning. Just froze up and that was the end. I had an older one that would work if I connected the computer to it directly - it just wouldn't transmit wirelessly. (The one that died wouldn't do anything.) I plugged that in and am now back online (for a while I felt like someone had disconnected my life support!). I bought another router from eBay for $28 and it should be here Monday. I use an older model but it works fine and I have all of my firewalls and security settings configured for that model. When I get a replacement, I just hook it up, download my settings, and am back in business.

Today Elliott has a game at noon so I will pack up Mocha and take her. What about Britni you might wonder? She is too busy sniffing around and trying to get away when we take her out so she can enjoy the afternoon outside at home without Mocha drooling all over her.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hale Hat Trick!

Just a quick post today. I was able to scoot right out of work, grab Lucie and Mocha and race down the road to Elliott's lacrosse away game - which was closer to home than his home games. (Ashleigh was at an away game of her own.) Elliott scored three goals - his first goals of the year - and his team won 6-3! It was the first game I was able to make it to and he put on a show! Mocha was barking when he scored and we had a good time. Stopped for Domino's pizza on the way home. He wouldn't pose for a picture so here is the team one which will have to do.

Ashleigh's team didn't do so well but we gave her some pizza anyway...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New and Improved

This was the week of a few new and improved things. First, my computer monitor died. Woke up to a blank computer screen on morning (if you can imagine, I keep my computer on all the time...). Did some diagnostics, including hooking up an old 800 pound monitor, and was relieved to see that that was all it was (versus a major failure). So I cashed in our Costco rebate check and got a nice, 22 inch widescreen monitor. Loving it.

Last night, Tivo pushed down a new update and that sped things up and corrected some issues there as well.

Ashleigh's lacrosse team had a decisive win which is a major improvement and Elliott's lacrosse team is doing better every game. Ashleigh also got accepted in the National Honor Society this week.

So it has been a pretty good week. Big sale at the local pet store today so I may load up the Mocha Monster and parade her through there and pick up some stuff on sale - like a new collar (she is outgrowing her puppy one) and of course, dog food...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dog Walking

The picture above might be a bit hard to see but it is a collage of Google Earth images of our dog walking this week. I tried to overlay the path we walked at each place. You might be able to right click the picture and save it and then open it with your photo viewer and zoom it. (I can just click on it and it will open up bigger for me but that may not work for everyone). Or just email me for the originals. The first map is at Lums Pond State Park (which I wrote about previously). Nice huge lake with a clearly marked trail. The middle picture is at White Clay Creek State Park. Very hilly with a lot of wet areas. But nice with some open fields. While we were walking there, we saw two big deer go bounding through the woods. Silently. Pretty weird seeing them bouncing along without making a sound. Today we went to Iron Hill Park in the third picture. That had a huge Frisbee golf course and two big fenced in pens for dogs (big or small) to run around in unleashed (we didn't want to get our dogs into that). But we had a nice long walk but like White Clay, the paths were not well marked. I looked for trail maps to print and bring with us, but I couldn't find any online. Nor were there any available at the sites. A little over a mile walk at each place (the maps I plotted aren't exact). That doesn't sound like much distance but it was fun and woodsy and the dogs loved it. All of the parks are about 3-5 miles from the house. The first two have an entrance fee during the summer but Iron Hill is free year round. Today we found one tick on Mocha but we got that off (and yes we do treat both dogs with anti-tick medicine). We packed a water bottle and dish for them to drink from while we were at the parks but we are looking at a pack for Mocha to wear and she can lug her own water around. And some snacks for the rest of us...

The weather has been just great all week. Gonna light up the fire pit and cook hot dogs and s'mores outside tonight. Gotta get it done now before the mosquitoes and bugs come out.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Ain't Lye-ing (Again)

Here we have a picture of our clogged kitchen sinks. With the best of intentions, Lucie put a bunch of old food down the disposal. And it clogged up the plumbing. So we poured some Drano down. Then some Super Drano. Then some poisonous-to-even-think-about drain cleaner. Added a couple of pots of boiling water and stirred with a plunger until I had a nice broth of flesh eating acid (actually, the common ingredient to the drain cleaners is lye - which is a base). And there it sat. For two days. I would occasionally plunge but because of the dual sinks and vent, I had to block the other sink drain and seal off the vent while plunging. Not easy. That did nothing which meant my only option was to go in with the snake. The last time I did that, I wound up leaving a nice horseshoe shaped burn on my knee. I was kneeling in the drain cleaner and never felt it eating me up. So this time I donned gloves, overalls, raggedy shirt and safety glasses. 30 seconds in I realize the rubber gloves had a hole in the right hand because it is itching like a son of a gun. Went and washed the hand and tried another pair. I cut the bottom off of a milk jug and bailed out as much water from the sinks that I could (put it in a bucket and flushed it down the toilet). I went in under the sink and pulled out about 8,000 things we have under there and set them aside. Then I loosened the pipe connections under the sinks and caught that water in my bucket. Finally, I was able to get to the back square plug thing that gives straight access into the main plumbing line. And in goes the snake. Of course about 18 inches in there is a bend in the pipe so I had to fight my way through that but on I went. I thought the first bend might have been the clog so I pulled out the snake and tightened everything up. Ran some hot water and immediately I had a sink full of hot water again. Here we go again. Bail, drain, drain, unscrew, put in snake. This time I fed that thing all the way down. About 10 feet from the end of the snake I ran into some resistance. So I twirled the snake around and rammed it through a bunch of times. When I pulled it out, the "pig's tail" at the end was full of yuck so I knew I had been successful. Cleaned up my tools and ran upstairs to blog about it... ha ha. Lucie is down there re-organizing the under-sink stuff and cleaning it up.

Wednesday I went to work (at a trade show in Philly) while Lucie did errands and lacrosse practice with the kids. Yesterday I did a lot of yard work including poison-dusting some carpenter bee holes (pesky things!). Elliott had lacrosse practice at the high school so we took him there and then marched Mocha around downtown. She was loved by all! So many college kids stopped to pat her and give her ice and ask what kind of dog she was. She loved it. We made our way to Rita's Water Ice and bought her a water ice - us too! (We were giving her water all along). She loved the attention and was very obedient. Almost a bit overwhelming for a 5 month old baby though! Last night was my basketball night and it rained hard. So our high temperature yesterday of 82º has now dropped to 57º. But it is very nice out so we will go do something.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mocha at the Pond

Today is day 2 of our mini local vacation. Yesterday was spent cleaning the muddy kitchen floor and then cooking out and watching a scary (?) movie with friends. Not a bad start to the week. This morning we decided to go to the local state park and bring the dogs. We packed a picnic and off we went (about 4 miles away). It was pre-season so it was free to get in and no one was there. First we did the muddy nature walk. Halfway around Lucie said she lost her cell phone (but we found it in the car when we got back to it). We ate our lunch under the pavilion and then took the dogs to the beach. Britni the beagle had no interest in the water of course and was happy sniffing around on shore. Mocha's true calling came out though! She loved the water. We had to keep her on a retractable leash but she fetched a stick Lucie threw out over and over and over. Some kids went by on a sailboat and she thought she would go pay them a visit too. She got tuckered out after a while so we headed up to the car. When we got there, we ran into some guys going to play Frisbee golf and they had an 18 month old brown Newfie. Had to be three times Mocha's size! That one's owner was thrilled to see us and Mocha and his dog Mia played together for a few minutes and we talked for a while. Nice glimpse into the future...

When we came home, the dogs smelled of dirty pond water so we shampoed them off outside. I fished out the old Tuggy Tugboat and power-washed it. Mocha immediately took the helm:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's All About Easter

Someone asked me to share some thoughts on Easter. There is really no need for me to be profound or write some lengthy treatise on it. Like our Pastor preached this morning, the message is simple. Without Jesus rising from the dead, there is no ultimate purpose to our life. If someone wants to be a "good" person and live a life of good intentions, there are plenty of religions to choose from. But God created us to live forever with Him. The only way for that to happen is for Christ to have risen from the grave, and for us to believe in Him. "...For whoever believes on him shall not perish, but will have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Easter Weekend

Yesterday was a beautiful day here and I had a few things to do in the yard and around the house - including fixing some gutters. Not the gutters themselves, but rather these little gutter guards I put in to keep the leaves out. The heavy snow this winter broke a couple of them. One broke right above the back door so when it rained, the water would drip right down in the worst spot. So I set up my aluminum ladder and went up to the gutter on the second floor. About half way up, I get the knee-shakes. And the ladder starts shaking and rattling and I begin to wonder if I should yell over to my neighbor to come guide me down or just cut out the middle man and call 911 directly... Funny how I just shoot right up the first 5 rungs, but after that I am doing one rung at a time, feet feeling like cinder blocks are tied to them, and suddenly the ladder seems way too narrow. And going up is only half the battle. But I got up there, found the problem and crept back down. Having survived that ascent, I had some confidence going up the second and third times to replace the guards.

Then I moved around to the front of the house and broke out my hedge trimmer. The front bushes were way overgrown so I went at them. I should have put on my Jason hockey mask to make the image complete. But I got them pared down to a presentable level and Lucie and I raked and swept up the debris and got rid of that. Trimmed and mowed and the yard work was pretty much done.

Meanwhile, Mocha has found any and every way to get wet - rolling in the mud at the bottom of the downspout or running across the pool cover (it is porous like a trampoline and her weight brings it down into the water. So on goes the bathing suit and I took her up and gave her a bath. Half the yard washed down the drain I think. She was filthy.

In between jobs I was playing with the new Tivo I got with my tax refund money. Comcast went all digital on the 30th which pretty much made my oldest Tivo obsolete (it wouldn't tune in the digital channels). I transferred the recorded shows from one Tivo to another and then found a big software problem that may require an exchange. Too technical to explain here but it is pretty annoying and shutting me out of some features. Calling Tivo support later.

By the time all the yard work and cleanup was done, we were ready for dinner. We can almost see a Chic Fil A from our house so we went over to get some chicken sandwiches and their new peach shakes. Signs everywhere for their new peach shakes. Life is not complete without a peach shake. So we ordered four peach shakes. They aren't available until Monday. So I guess I will not be able to reach my destined potential until Monday... Not to be deterred, we went to another ice cream place but they were cash only and the ATM there wasn't working. We finally ended up at Friendly's.

Some friends (Ashleigh's boyfriend's parents) invited us over for Easter lunch after church so we will do that. That will be fun. I am on vacation next week and the kids are out of school. I think we are making college visits all week for Ashleigh. Suddenly I feel old...