Monthly Archives: November 2007

$242.80

That's how much Laurel and I raised in three hours for children's charities on Old Newsboys Day.

We could've raise more if JESS HADN'T BAILED ON US!  Pfffft!

 

(kidding, Jess!)

Generosity.

I have been so busy lately.  We've all been so busy.  So busy, in fact, that we have run completely out of eggs (a staple for Laurel's breakfast), Apple Jacks (a staple for Ethan's) and dishwasher detergent (a staple for all of us, because we hate washing dishes by hand).

We've been so busy with work, school, and parenting that I spent much of this week dreading today's arrival, knowing I would have to rise early (not a problem) and venture out into the chill of the morning (problem) to stand on a busy street corner hawking papers once more for Old Newsboys Day.  Add to that the fact that just like last year, Mother Nature chose today to bring a cold front through, and you can understand my groaning.

However, I made a promise.  I made a promise to the organization, sure, but more important is the promise I made to Laurel.  Last night she decided to accompany me on my 3-hour adventure this year.  She cared not that she would be up one hour early (of course) and even volunteered to retire to bed at 7:30 last night and (gasp!) tonight, even though tonight is 'Survivor' night and she never misses 'Survivor.'

It was that important to her.

Last night, we made all the arrangements we could, laying out warm clothes and shoes, pre-packing her backpack for school in the morning so Greg could just grab it on his way out the door to pick her up from the street corner.  This morning I tucked a granola bar in a small pocket of her backpack so she would have something to eat on her way to school, and I gave another to her to eat before we left. 

I had a pair of gloves, but she could only find one of her gloves, and then she forgot it on the kitchen table as we left. 

We unloaded ourselves and ran to the median of the 4-lane highway at the stoplight where we hawked papers.  Laurel was a real trouper.  She learned the ropes quickly and probably even managed to get some folks to open their wallets who wouldn't have just for me.  There's something about an 8-year-old standing on a street corner in November trying to make a buck for children's charities that gets you, I guess.

Each time the light turned red, she'd start down the median, selling one paper at a time, wishing everyone Happy Thanksgiving.  She could only carry one because the kid had no gloves, her hands were too small for mine, and her fingers were numb.  I followed her down the median, picking up anybody who flagged us while she was with someone else and replenishing Laurel's papers.  If she had an unsuccessful run she would shrug it off, but after 2 or 3 unsuccessful ones in a row, she suggested we tell people they would be stuck at the red light 'for all eternity' if they didn't buy a paper. 

The time flew by when Laurel was there with me, but dragged after Greg picked her up at 8 for school.

We haven't counted up the donations yet, we'll do that tonight after Laurel's home from school and will report back here.  One very generous lady gave Laurel $20. 

One thing is certain:  no matter how much cash we managed to scrape together for Old Newsboys Day, this morning with my daughter gave me much, much more.

Dead bodies, sushi and brake pads.

Having cut our KC trip short, and considering Ethan seemed to have recovered nicely, we decided to spend the Monday we had already taken off work taking Laurel to see Body Worlds 3 at the Science Center.  We had debated for a bit if Laurel would be freaked out and have nightmares after seeing human bodies all dissected and what not but she assured us she would not and that she really wanted to go.  We of course wanted to get something out of the trip as well, so we convinced Laurel to go have sushi with us after the Science Center trip.  Some might be turned off by sushi alone much less dissected bodies followed by sushi, but the trip turned out quite well. 

The only downside to the trip was that it made it painfully obvious that we had a problem with the rear brakes on the Murano.  After Michelle headed to school for the evening, Laurel and I went to pickup Ethan from Grandma's.  Afterward we began the arduous task of obtaining brake pads for the Murano.  Actually, the brake pads were the easy part, the first parts place had those.  However, I was under the impression that I needed to rent a special tool to retract the rear calipers since it had disk brakes and an emergency brake.  The first place had just given out their last one, the second had none, and the third place didn't rent tools.  They were more than happy to sell me one though.

So, caliper retracting tool in hand we headed home to find ourselves locked out.  Laurel informed me that yes, she had locked the deadbolt and latched the child safety latch on the door from the garage into the house to keep the dog in.  Not sure if she expected Vinnie to grow thumbs and an IQ in the time that we spent away from the house, but we did certainly find ourselves outside, and the dog whining inside.  After checking each of the doors into the house and finding them all locked I proceeded to attempt the old credit card trick on the front door which was the only one without a deadbolt latched.  That went nowhere and I didn't feel like explaining and repairing a broken door frame so I moved on to windows.  Luckily I found one that had been left unlocked and was able to get the screen out and climb in.  Ethan was quite happy to be inside as was Laurel who immediately ran to the bathroom.  Ethan went to bed, Laurel took a shower and I started changing the brake pads.  For those of you wondering, the Murano does not require the tool I drove halfway around St. Louis and Jefferson Counties trying to obtain.  Laurel got a lesson in the working of a rear disk brake system, got tucked in and I finished up the brake job.  The wife calls to tell me she is on her way home and a minute or so into me telling her how my evening went she said "Wait a second, is the Murano drivable?"  I get no respect  🙂

Time for bed… Signing off.

 

Kansas City, at least I think we were there…

So the wife and I decided to head off to Kansas City for a long weekend for a little R&R (well deserved if I do say so myself).  We made plans for this trip perhaps a month or so in advance, made hotel reservations, researched things to do, etc.  We had planned to leave Friday, Nov 9th and return Monday, Nov 12th. 

Things were already off to a shaky start prior to leaving.  We decided as Michelle did not feel well and had things to do on Monday to prepare for an exam, that we should cut the trip short a day and head back on Sunday.  I called the hotel and found that we could make this change with no charges.  Fantastic, no harm, no foul.

So Friday the 9th arrives, I had the good fortune of running into a work problem the night before so I was able to greet Friday as it arrived at 12:00:01 with all its glory.  I continued my task until about 1:30 am before giving it up.  Woke up to the wife kicking me at 5:30 am to get me to go to the gym, returned home by 6:30 or so (a bit of a short workout) and then took the kidlets to Grandma's to begin their weekend.  The wife and I worked half days and then departed about 1:30 or so.  The trip to KC was pretty uneventful, made a stop for fuel (for the car and myself) just before Columbia and arrived in KC around 5:30 or so.  Then begins the fun….

 First let me say that Google Maps is normally a great thing.  You type in where you want to go, where you plan to start, bingo, directions, map, etc.  Well, KC must be a black hole to Google.  I kid you not, all of our directions concerning going anywhere in KC were wrong.  They had wrong turns, wrong exits, wrong street names, I loved it.  This first became evident to us when we attempted to get to the hotel from 70 West.  I don't know whose brilliant idea the highway layout and exit number scheme was in KC but that had to have something to do with the Google Maps issues.  I've heard of exit versions A and B for a single exit, you know, southbound exit is 265A, northbound is 265B.  I'm okay with this.  KC however has taken this to the extreme.  They had exits 2U, 2W, 2V, the list goes on.  What the hell?

So we finally find the hotel, get checked in and we headed out for a meal.  Went to a cool place called O'Dowds Little Dublin , had some beer, some good food, almost made up for the bad time getting to the hotel.  We walked around for a bit and headed back to the hotel for so much needed sleep.   I for one did not sleep very well, I was starting to come down with whatever it was the wife and Ethan have been passing around for the last week.  I tossed and turned and hit my head on the nightstand no fewer that 3 times in the middle of the night.

Saturday:

We wake up, shower, head down for the free breakfast provided by the Hotel.  Got back to room just in time to get a call from Grandma. Ethan has been up all night throwing up.  Poor kid, poor Grandma, not a good thing.  Grandma insists that she is fine and that Ethan is doing better and that we are not to come home.  We took her advice for a bit and followed more awful directions to go to the Arabia Steamboat Museum.  We finally got there, hung out until it opened and then proceeded on our partially guided tour.  We had to be the youngest ones there by at least 20 years.  Michelle caught sight of a guy sporting a snow white handlebar mustache and swore she was going to pretend to take a picture of something in order to get a shot of it.  Alas, no picture to prove it, but believe me, it was a thing of beauty.  We toured the museum, had a good time and then decide we would have lunch and then cut our trip even shorter after another check-in with Grandma.  Made it to our lunch destination without issue, but had another set of poor directions to get back to the Hotel.

Once back to the hotel, we packed up our stuff and decided to take a quick walk down to The Children's Place to try to get Ethan a new coat (maybe if we bundle the kid up he will get rid of this cold he has).  We go in and are informed they did not receive any toddler boy coats.  Not surprised in the least by this revelation after the way our weekend had been going to this point we headed to the car to leave the forsaken city that is Kansas City, possibly never to return.

We arrived back in St. Louis about 28 hours after we had left, picked up the kids and headed home.  Happy to report, Ethan is doing fine, Grandma seems to have avoided whatever bug he had and all is pretty much well.

Halloween, BoneBlog Style.

I have tried to write this post no fewer than three times.  Each time, something went wrong.  I called my IT professional and we think he's got it back and crackin' again.  So, let's try this one more time.

Halloween week began with the carving of the pumpkins.  Ethan, like his sister before him, is mess-averse.  Pumpkin carving for him goes something like this:  1.  Stick hand in pumpkin.  2.  FREAK OUT ABOUT THE MESS.  3.  Watch Daddy clean out the pumpkin himself.  4.  Scoop pumpkin innards back into pumpkin.  Repeat.

In photographic revue:

1.         2. 

3.             4. 

 

I took Wednesday off due to all the Nashville overtime last week.  I'm afraid it didn't amount to much of a day off, as it went something like this:

Laurel was to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, but Dorothy's skirt has grown considerably brief over the years, and I felt it was an inappropriate length for a) school and b) the weather, so we were in crisis mode.  Fortunately, the muse struck me and I determined Laurel would be Janis Joplin by day, and Dorothy by night:

 

She was disappointed at first because she'd told all the kids she would be Dorothy.  However, once I pointed out how cool she was for getting to wear TWO costumes for Halloween, she was okay with it.

After dropping her off, it was pedal to the metal over to Ethan's preschool for his Halloween program.  Ethan, again like his sister before him, chose not to conform with the rest of his classmates in sitting quietly on the floor and watching the program.  Heavens, no.  Rather, he insisted that Greg hold him THE ENTIRE TIME, and screamed like a madman if Greg put him down for even an instant:

  

We were relieved to be done with that ordeal.

I had to do some grocery shopping, then finally made it home only to turn around and go back to attend Laurel's party. 

At last, evening descended upon us.  Laurel dressed as Dorothy and posed with Toto-the-Steroid-Pumping-Baseball-Player-Dog.  I dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West, and we reenacted some scenes on the deck before leaving for trick-or-treat:

 

Ethan was a champ at trick-or-treat.  He watched Laurel at a couple of houses, then he proceeded to march right up to the doors and hold his bag open.  Between houses he refused to let go of Greg's hand. 

I love Halloween, but I'm glad it's over.  Now we can enter the holiday rush like civilized folk.  Or something.

 

I’m back.

My god, it's been a busy week.

Greg is a big ol' softie.  It's one reason I love him.  He doesn't make Ethan do things Ethan doesn't want to do, and Ethan knows it.  I, on the other hand, am an old battleaxe and don't put up with that kind of malarkey.  After he was spoiled rotten by Greg and Grandma Smith for four days straight while I was in Nashville, we started off the week with Ethan screaming bloody murder over my insistence he wear his jacket:

 

He was so mad his uvula was showing.  And how about that crazy Mick Jagger-esque jaw thing I've got kicking?

I'm back in power now.  Batten down the hatches.  Gone are the evenings of pizza feasts and lollygagging around.  The queen is back in town.

 

Laurel-isms, Part XVII.

Greg:  "So, Laurel, anything interesting happen in school today?"

Laurel:  "Not remotely."

Greg:  "Not remotely?  Do you know what that means?"

Me:  "Clearly she does.  That was a perfect use of the word."