January 02, 2010

2009 just sucked.

2010, I dont know what Im expecting out of this year, but Im really truly hoping that its a hell of a lot better than 2009. Only a handful of people know the majority of the crap that Ive gone through in 2009, and its really a spider web of shite that is hard to explain. To finally put 2009 to rest, Im going to map out, vaguely, a lot of the problems that I experienced. Im not doing this chronologically, because honestly, its so intermixed that it would be hard to do so. If I went into a lot of detail Id have a post that could rival War and Peace in length.

Health Issues: Both Ktreva and I had some serious health issues. She had cancer and I had all my gastro/stomach issues. Part of which we are both still dealing with. Stress did not help my health issues at all, and usually aggravated it to a point that it caused complications. Because of these it had a negative impact and caused problems with: Finances, Work, Family and Friends.

Work Issues: There were a lot of issues that came around from work. At the beginning of 2009 I was still dealing with the backlash of Okla-farooking-homa. In fact I was still dealing with those issues in December. I had a real fear of going to jail over some practices my office was doing that had my name on it as in charge when really I had no say in the matter. It got so bad I was actually talking to the States Attorney and had a crap load of documentation backing up my innocence and ready to turn over for immunity, nothing ever happened with this because of my actions everything was corrected. We also had lay offs, inventory problems, Government intervention mandate issues, and other peoples mistakes I have to clean up. All of this over and beyond my normal workload. It had a negative impact and caused issues with: Family, Friends and Health Issues.

Family: Between struggles with Boopie and his grades. Clone and his behavior, dealing with the health issues, stress from work, arguing over finances, trying to help friends and some very extensive marital issues that are still unresolved, there was no comfort in family for me this last year. Especially the last half of the year. Due to a lot of this some friends were dragged into situations that they shouldnt have been and put them in a tough spot. This impacted work, friends, health issues and finances.

Finances: With as many health issues we had, we both missed a lot of work over the last year, much of it unpaid. Most of the time I was off was unpaid, same for Ktreva. Throw on top the cost of medical bills, even with insurance; there were months we had issues making ends meet. This impacted Family

Friends: We missed multiple re-enactments and friend outings due to health issues, family, finances and work. With a lot of the issues going on, some of my friends felt they were being alienated by me. It really wasnt the case as much as I didnt want to discuss my personal problems with them and that, even though they are some of my best friends, its still none of their business. Some people like to air all of their dirty laundry; Im not one of those types. If I need to talk I will, but Im not going to spread my business around just because. Most of them when I explained to them that it was a private issue and I just didnt want to involve them in it, they let it go and all was well. There was also a nasty rumor that was being spread about me that was completely untrue. Someone thought they new something with out any facts and started telling people their opinion but stating it as fact and the last I heard is still spreading it, even after being confronted. This impacted Health Issues, Family and work.

As I write this, I think about all the unresolved issues from 2009 that are at least going to bleed into 2010. Im just hoping that I will be able to get everything worked out. At the beginning of 2009 I had made a prediction that I thought it was going to be a really good year. How wrong was I?

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May 29, 2009

Teaching to paddle.

When I was younger my father taught me how to canoe. My father is far from a perfectionist, but he always held to the motto that if you are going to do something, do it right. While I was learning from him, if I made any mistakes, I would hear about it until I did it right at least a dozen times in a row. Fortunately for me, I picked up canoeing like a fish to swimming.

As I got older and joined the Boy Scouts I went on to earn my Canoeing merit badge. The leader that taught it was the Scout Master of our troop. It was going to be my father, but since I signed up for it, my dad backed down and Mr. P stepped up. There were some unwritten rules in my troop. (That I think all troops should have) The first is that if at all possible a parent will not sign off for a son on any advancements. The second was under no circumstances would they discourage a boy from trying to learn something they are interested in. In my case, my father was the strong canoeist, but since I wanted to earn that merit badge and Mr. P. was also certified to teach it, then they would have him do it.

Now being at the ripe ol age of 11, and having been canoeing for a couple of years under my fathers tutelage, I was more in the classes as a formality. I ended up pissing off Mr. P a couple of times because as hes trying to teach stuff, Im doing it already. He wasnt really mad, just more annoyed by the fact that I was doing too good of a job for a rookie. Of course he did get pissed when I corrected him a couple of times. That year for summer camp our troop went to the Northwoods for a canoeing trip. My father and I were partners.

My dad still tells people with pride that after that trip they would never let him and me in the same canoe again unless they weighed us down with extra weight and passengers. We would get a rhythm going and out pace everyone else. I even remember Mr. P making a comment along the lines of, I should have known not to let you two go together after the merit badge lessons.

A year later they had another canoeing class. My father couldnt make it, so Mr. P ended up instructing it again. He needed an assistant, and after the previous year he asked me to help him with the boys. The year after that they got me certified to teach the canoeing merit badge and from the age of 13 through 18 I taught numerous kids the art of canoeing. I taught kids that didnt have the first clue about boats and canoes and turned them into really strong canoeists.

I dont canoe anywhere near as much as I once did. In fact before last year's canoe trip it had been almost 8 years since the last time I had set foot in a canoe. Let me tell you, canoeing is like riding a bike. Once you learn to do it, youll never forget. As soon as I got back into the canoe, it was like a flood gate opened and all the stuff I thought I had forgotten came back, including the urge to paddle.

The reason Im telling you all of this is because tomorrow, if the weather holds out, Im taking the family canoeing. We are going to the local State Park and I have to teach Ktreva and Clone canoeing basics. The thing is that in years past when I taught kids, they werent my family. This time it is. I just hope Im a bit more patient then my father. I also hope that Ktreva and Clone dont flip the canoe on me. But just so you know, I am planning on getting wet. Im bringing out the Boy Scout motto here, Be Prepared. So swimsuits and sandals tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

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May 20, 2009

Children

Children can be wonderful and joyous. They can bring you happiness and hope for the future. Watching your kids play, laugh and run can make a horrible day turn into something bearable. They can give you hope that everything will be alright in the world. There is also a tremendous sense of pride when your child accomplishes something great. Be it win an award or just being a good person.

On the other hand they can also bring about sorrow and frustration. Such as what both of my children have done this week.

Since Clone was a baby and not able to walk, whenever I would drop him off at daycare or school, I would give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek goodbye. This was our ritual for 6 years and 2months until this week. On Tuesday when I dropped him off, he wouldnt let me give him a kiss goodbye. I went to try and he squirmed away saying, Dad, not in front of the kids!

IWas... Devastated.

This was my little boy. The one Ive been raising. The one that sits on my lap when he is scared. The one that likes to hold my hand while walking in stores and parking lots. My boy that still thinks that I am an all knowing and all powerful being that can change the fate of the world with just a blink of my eye. A little piece of me died when he did that.

I think he saw that I was hurt, because after I put him down he leaned over and whispered, But you can still give me one at home. Hes just growing too fast. I dont want to lose My Buddy, My Littleman, My Monkey. Inevitably he is going to grow up and no longer want the hugs and kisses from dad; I just always thought it would be in another 2-4 years.

Then last night Boopie went complete teenager. Hes not allowed to have the cell phone his biological father gave him at our house. Not because we want to be mean, but because he cant be trusted with it. He takes it to school and uses it during class time to send text messages and call friends. Since hes failing two classes, he doesnt need to be distracted all. Weve told him he isnt even allowed to bring it to our house. Well he had it over and checking the info on there you can see that hes been using it while at school. To talk to friends and text his biological father.

When I was going through the phone I asked him if he understood why hes not allowed to have it at our house. His response was, Because youre stupid.

This was just the icing on the cake of his misbehaving. Hes been constantly testing boundaries and breaking rules. Because of him acting up in school and failing classes weve grounded him from just about everything. I even sold his video game system last year. He is supposed to head straight home after school, do his homework and chores and thats it. No, hes been going to friends houses and taking the long way home. Hes grounded from TV, but he sneaks it because he doesnt think well know. Even though hes called out on it every time.

If you remember I about threw him out of the house last November. Well his grades have worsened since then and his apathetic view of his life has really taken its toll on the family. My instinct is to send him to his dads and just write him off. Yet, I cant do that. He is my son. I do love him and I know hes a good kid. I know hes struggling with his situation. He has structure and rules at our house, there are consequences to his actions. There arent any at his biological fathers.

I called his biological father and made him come over; I was originally going to send Boopie packing again. Again, I just cant do that. Especially since his father is one of the people he was calling and texting on his phone while at school. Im not sure what Im going to do with him. I wish I could afford to send him to one of those boot camps for troubled kids this summer, but I just cant.

After I calmed down I sat down and had a man to man talk with him. I explained the consequences of his choices right now. His choice not to do his school work, to fail classes and to not take the help that is offered to him. I explained what the difference is between getting a job when you have no high school diploma versus having one. The whole time I was trying to get him to understand that yes, school is hard but its worth it. Its worth the time and effort to get a HS diploma. Its worth it to go to college, be it a community college or a university. Its worth it to work hard, especially if you ever want to have a nice life. If you ever strive to have your own family in order to provide for them.

Children.

Heartbreak, sorrow and frustration.

Yet still, I cant imagine a better life then what I have with them.

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March 31, 2009

Daughter in-law?

It's taken me a little bit to post about this, because I needed to let the whole gravity of the situation sink in. It appears that the boy has gone and gotten to know a girl rather intimately. OF course when this happens, there is the chance that there could be consequences. Well It appears we have one here.

Last weekend was Clones Birthday... wait, you didn't think I was talking about Boopie did you? Sorry! Anyway, He invited some friends from school and some boys showed up, but only one girl. Talking with her mother, she told me that the girl has had a crush on Clone for most of the year. Ever since she received the invite for the party, that's all she's been talking about. The girls mother works as a part time aid at the school, and she says that every day her daughter and Clone each lunch together.

At one point the girl wanted to sit next to Clone and eat a cookie, but wouldn't because she was too shy to with me around. She also had to have her picture taken with Clone. At the end of the party, all of the kids had left except her. I told Clone we had to leave and he needed to go say goodbye to her. I turned to say goodbye to her mother and when I turned back around, I couldn't find them. After a quick search I found them.... behind a statute of Ronald McDonald... Kissing.

My six year old son... kissing a five year old girl... behind a statue of Ronald McDonald.

I didn't know what to do.

I didn't know what to say.

I just stood there before yelling "CLONE!!! Time to go."

He comes out from behind the statue, and the girl just hid back there peaking around to see if they were caught. Of course I was too in shock to acknowledge it. We just left and Ktreva laughed at me the whole time because in the immortal squeaky words of me... "I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!"

So now Clone has gone and done two things that Boopie hasn't. Get a girlfriend and kiss her. hehehe, okay that was mean.

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March 28, 2009

Clones Day

Well between the drama I've created over my Macktown review from a year ago, to Graumagus' triumphant return, I'm kinda tapped out.

Today we are having Clone's birthday part. His actual birthday was earlier in the week, but we are having the kid party today. Yay! A bunch of screaming 4-8 year olds! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go get ready for the party.

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March 26, 2009

Home with the Clone

Yesterday we got a call that Clone was sick. He had diarrhea and was "burping and it smelled funny". Sure enough, when Ktreva picked him up he was redecorating his shorts with colon paint. He was doing that all night long. This morning he was still at it. Thus I ended up taking the day off of work to take care of the poor kid.

I think the highlight of the day so far was around 7:00AM when he walked into my room to complain his throat hurt. Then he proceeded in puking all over the place.

Yea, sick kids are fun.

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March 19, 2009

Adventures in Moving

Monday night my mother called to ask if I could help her and dad move a recliner into the basement of their house. My mother had hurt her neck and the chair they had just wasn't comfortable enough for her anymore. She bought a new recliner and was getting rid of this huge white chair they had in the basement. She offered it to us. As soon as Ktreva heard mom was getting rid of the huge white chair, Ktreva was all over it.

She had coveted this chair for years. Now it could be all hers. The catch is that I had to come get it tonight.

I told Ktreva that if she wanted the chair, she would need to find a way to get rid of the couch. After a half day of calls, she discovered that the cheapest and easiest way to get rid of the couch is to throw it out in the trash, but we can't put it out until Tuesday.

I contacted Bruce and called in a favor. So tonight after work we came to my house and moved the blue couch out onto the front porch ala white trash. Went to my parents house, pulled the white chair up out of the basement. Took the new leather recliner into the basement.Then we came to my house and moved the white chair into the living room.

Of course the hardest part was moving the couch out. The thing weighs a ton. It has a metal frame and motors for the massagers. It barely fit through the door frames. IT was a pain in the arse to get out.

The new recliner weighed about 20 pounds and was easy to move. The white chair which is about the size of a small love seat, was right in the middle.

Of course afterwards I took Bruce to Old Chicago for Beer in appreciation.

Now I'm thinking it's time to get me my own recliner.

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January 14, 2009

Ktreva Update

Ktreva had what hopefully is her last surgery today. Everything went well and she's home already. There was a chance that it was going to have to be an inpatient surgery, fortunately everything went so well that she didn't even need the 23 hour observation. There were no complications or even difficulties what so ever.

Now there was a problem with her pain killer prescription. They gave her a prescription for percocet, but neglected to put the dosage on there. When we took it the the drug store to be filled, they couldn't. For the last 30 minutes we've been trying to get a hold of the doctor so Ktreva can get her meds. So far we've had no luck. The pain killers she was given after surgery are starting to wear off.

We also had the window closed on us being able to go to the Alafia in Florida this weekend. The doctor said in no way are we going to be able to go, Ktreva just won't be able to travel. To our firends that are going; I hope you all have fun, sorry we can't make it. We'll try again next year.

As for tonight's beer review, yea not going to happen because of all the above.

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January 06, 2009

Snuggie

KTreva and I always have a war of the thermostat every winter. I like it cold, and she likes it so she can bake muffin's in the living room. That's right, she wants to make it so hot in the house she can bake with out the oven. Of course if you ask her, I like to keep it so cold you can hang meat in the house. We finally have to agree on a temp of around 70 degrees. It's too cold for her and way too warm for my likes.

For years she would sit under piles of blankets in the house so she could watch TV. However, when she was on a computer it wouldn't work. The blanket would keep falling off of her shoulders. Then in early December, before all of the surgeries, she saw a commercial for Snuggies.

Blankets are OK but they can slip and slide, plus your hands are trapped inside.

The Snuggie keeps you totally warm and gives you the freedom to use your hands. Work the remote, use your laptop or do some reading in total warmth and comfort!

Snuggie is made with super soft, thick, luxurious fleece with roomy, oversized sleeves that let you do what you want while still being totally wrapped in warmth.

Dude, Totally!

Ktreva saw this and went nuts. She really, really wanted one. After much discussion, including some whining and begging, I finally caved in and ordered her one. Which means that with their deal of buy one, get the second free (not including shipping and handling), I ended up ordering two.

For four weeks she has been bugging me about, "When is it coming?"

Today it finally arrived. She was so excited, she had to send me a text message telling me about it while I was at work. Then when I got home, she is sitting there all cuddled up under the damn thing typing on the computer. Then she had to call her mother to brag about it.

Folks, let me tell you that a snuggie is really nothing more than a bathrobe being worn backwards. Its a little bit longer, and there is no collar, but if you take an oversized bathrobe and wear it backwards you get the same thing.

At least for now I get to have fun making fun of KTreva and her snuggie. That is until she gets mad at me and hits me with something.

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December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

I know this is a little late in the day, but I've been busy with those words that every parent hates the hear; Some Assembly Required. Well that and Clone got Mario cart for the Wii and we've had a morning of racing going on. Top that off with having to cook dinner tonight, I've just been remiss. So to make sure you all know how much I appreciate you all stopping by I have some gifts for all of you in the extended entry.


For the guys, a hot little number to keep you warm

Sexy Reindeer.jpg

For the laddies, I don't know what you might like, so I got you a whole troop

Pick-A-Santa Sexy Santa Men.jpg

You know what guys, that's just not fair, so here are some runner up gifts. Including the sexy Sarah Michelle Geller.

Sarah Michelle Gellar-0004.jpg

Laura Croft-Sexy Christmas.jpg

No need to say thank you!

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December 24, 2008

Hecticosity

Monday I took KTreva up to the UW Madison for her consult. That's what everything went from normal speed to whirlwind. We get stuck in traffic on the way up, some really bad accident due to the weather conditions closed down a lane on the highway and slowed traffic to a crawl. I kind of figured something may happen because of road conditions, so we had left early enough as to not be hindered by any traffic problems.

At the clinic (in the hospital) the doctor that came in wasn't the one that the Doctor that removed the tumors made the appointment. That doctor was gone and this doctor was covering. He came in, took one look at KTreva's wound and excused himself stating , "I need to get my camera and talk to the other doctor on duty." He was a resident and wanted the attending to take a look at it. 30 minutes later they come in and start saying that they had scheduled her for a surgery on the 22nd. It was going to be inpatient and she would be in the hospital for four days.

Things just kind of devolved from there. First when I tried to ask questions they would get upset and just talk over me or cut me off. At one point when I questioned why it had to be a 3-4 day inpatient stay, the attending because very agitated and made the statement, "I don't know what the other doctors said, but this is what we do and we know what we are doing."

They left to give us some time to talk it over. Ktreva called the first plastic surgeon she saw in Rockford and asked her opinion. While she was on the phone the resident came in and when I told him that she's trying to get ahold of her other doctor he seemed really put out over that, but agreed to give us some more time. We decided that if they are going to have to do an inpatient stay, we wanted it to be someplace closer to home. We also decided that if it wasn't that urgent (Since originally they weren't going to see her until after the new year), we were going to wait until after Christmas so that she could spend it with the family.

The doctors confirmed that it wasn't urgent and that they thought we wanted it done right away. They didn't even consult with us, they just scheduled it. When we told them of our decision, they were not pleased at all.

Then to make matters worse the resident told me that I was doing too much for the wound care and tried to show me how it "should be done". To save you the gory details, basically what the resident did and showed me cause Ktreva a lot of pain and discomfort. Needless to say we went back to doing what we were originally told.

The only good that came out of the day is that they did confirm that KTreva is cancer free. The biopsies are not showing any cancerous cells. She'll still need some followup and to have the wound closed, but they feel that she should be fine.

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December 22, 2008

Another day, another doctor's visit

Well, off to take Ktreva to see the Doctor's again. Here's hoping for good news.

Posted by Contagion at 08:49 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Late update

I'm sorry about the tardiness on this update, but it's been a hectic day.

Ktreva came out of her surgery with no complications. They took more surface tissue off and again, the wound is open until the get the rest of the biopsies back. She's in a lot of pain right now. The area was already sensitive from the previous surgery and now the added procedure just compounded that pain. She's being a trooper about the pain.

However, she is still NOT following doctor's orders. She was told not to stretch, lift anything over a gallon of milk at the most, and to just rest and take it as easy as possible. Yea, well she's not doing any of the above. She stretched to hang up Christmas cards, has lifted suitcases and laundry baskets, attempted to put groceries away before I could get to them, etc. Yea, she's on the naughty list... and not the good naughty list.

Her stocking would be filled with coal, except I can't afford coal, and actually with the asking price, it's a pretty expensive gift!

Other than that, she's doing good. We are expecting to hear what else needs to be done with in a week. We know she'll have to have at least one more surgery, to close the wound. Hopefully that will be it.

On a bright side I did get some good news on my work situation. I'm pretty much out of danger from going to jail. Sarbanes Oxley (SOx) doesn't apply to my company. Even though we are voluntarily complying for with it's regulations. My company is a not for profit company and not publicly traded. SOx is designed to protect investors after the Enron and MCI Worldcom scandals. Thus, thanks to that loophole I'm clear of any unintentional or accidental wrong doing! Either way, I've amended how I sign off on the reports.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go make sure Ktreva is sitting down and taking it easy.

Posted by Contagion at 08:05 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

More surgical fun.

Right now as I'm writing this, I am sitting in the waiting room of UW Madison with Ktreva. They called us Friday to tell us that they had received some of the biopsy results back already and they didn't get everything. Instead of waiting for all of the results, they decided that, due to the nature of the cancer, they wanted to get what they knew needed removed right away.

This morning we got up early, and made the hour trek north to Madison, WI so she can have more surgery. We are pretty sure this won't even be the last. Maybe not even the last this week.

She was just called in to get prepped for the surgery. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Contagion at 09:07 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 11, 2008

Surprise surgery

I was at work today when I received a call from Ktreva, she was being taken in for surgery.

SURGERY?!?!?!?!?

Then my world just kind of became a hectic swirl of activity...

This morning Ktreva left the house to go to Madison, to the UW Clinic for a consultation regarding her condition. The apparently the doctor decided after looking at her that he couldn't put of the surgery and had to do it today. Since this was supposed to be just a consultation, we decided I didn't need to go. Especially since someone had to take Clone to school and pick him up after.

So when I was at work gathering all the documentation and evidence to help cover myself for my little problem, I thought KTreva was just calling to tell me she was on her way home. When she told me she was having surgery I went into protective husband mode.

First I had to get to Madison, but I couldn't drive up there because I would have to drive her van back. That meant I needed to find someone to give me a ride. The problem is that Ktreva had my cell phone. She needed it for the nav system to find her way to the clinic. My cell phone is my address book. All of my numbers are in it. Using the internet to the best of my restricted ability at work I found what numbers I could to call for help. Which was only one active number for Wes. HE offered to help, but he had obligations he had to do that were a direct impact on his family so I decided to see if I couldn't find another option.

Thankfully my Dad was able to give me a ride and my mother was able to pick up Clone from School.

Then I had to finish getting some stuff at work to cover my arse. I'm afraid that the cleanup is going to start and I needed back ups of as many documents, e-mails and memos as I could. Fortunately I was able to get 80% of what I needed.

When I get up there Ktreva is waiting in the lobby. She had one surgery, but they where going to do another, deeper, surgery. Before anyone flies off the handle (much like I did), what she is having done is outpatient and didn't require any special outpatient followup other than take it easy. When they finished with the second surgery they called me in to explain what was going to be required of me.

A nurse explained to me that because they need to follow up in a week or two they can't close the wound, so they packed it and put a bandage on it. The nurse had to change the bandage and wanted me to see what I was going to need to do to help her, since Ktreva has limited use of her left arm right now. Before she uncovered the wound she starts describing what I'm going to see, so as not to surprise me.

The whole time she was talking, I kept thinking that I've assisted on autopsies, pulled bodies out of rivers and been to fatal automobile accidents... nothing is going to get to me. The she removed the bandage, and there on my wife was a HUGE gaping wound. I'm talking it is about 3 inches long, 2 inches wide and about an inch deep. Seriously, it looked like something took a huge bite out of her. I could see muscle and sinews. Folks, I about screamed like a little girl when I saw it. I've seen worse... just not on my wife. I didn't react at all mainly because I didn't want to concern Ktreva.

They gave me all the directions and care tips, and I watched as they rebandaged the wound. It was packed with a substance that, honestly, looked like the fake snow they spray on windows. To be honest, it was kind of festive for the time of year... if you where decorating a wound.

Right now Ktreva is home and fighting with me. She is supposed to take it easy and try not to move her arm too much, including no stretching, reaching or lifting anything. Anyone that knows my wife knows that she is anything but complacent with doctor's orders. She's doing fine, a little loopy on the pain meds, but doing fine.

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December 04, 2008

Lutefisk dinner

This evening I took the family to the annual Lutefisk Dinner at my parent's church. Just as a reminder as to what lutefisk is, read these posts. The lutefisk this year was particularly good. Heck, even Ktreva ate it and liked it. I'm thinking those DNA injections might be taking hold. (ducks frying pan)

This year I decided to get a before picture so that you can see what the cooked product looks like.

Lutefisk.JPG

Now the lutefisk in the picture has the white sauce on it. They put the sauce on mine before I had a chance to tell them I wanted it plain.

Of course the other Scandinavian delicacies were available, real swedish meatballs, Korv (Swedish christmas sausage) pickled beets, rice pudding, real rye bread, etc. They didn't have any Lefse this year, but thanks to my friend Wench (She labeled herself!) and my mother I've had lefse multiple times this year already.

I love Lefse!

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November 26, 2008

Bad news comes in threes

I just received some news that wasn't all that pleasant. I'm really rather upset over the whole thing. Ktreva's surgery wasn't a success at all and they have found other areas that are even more problematic. She may have to undergo some really aggressive treatments.

Fuck doctors.

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November 25, 2008

Family Photos

Sorry this is so late, but the family and I went for our annual family photos. We do this every year. It's always a bit of an ordeal as it's almost impossible to get the boys to both smile nicely at the same time. Usually one is smiling nice, the other is making some goofy face. In fact we are more likely to get a picture with both boys looking like they are trying to push out a log while being constipated.

Yea, I know, but it's the only way to describe the look on their faces. Anyway, we we were able to get some good ones with everyone smiling and eyes in the right direction.

That task is done for one more year.

Posted by Contagion at 10:40 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 18, 2008

All is well.

Ktreva had her surgery today. Everything went well. We won't find out for another week whether or not they were completely successful.

Right now she is resting, but that's only because I had to yell at her to stop doing the laundry... stubborn, mule-headed, Irish woman.

If anything changes, I'll let you all know.

Posted by Contagion at 07:25 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 14, 2008

Quantom of Solace

Tonight Ktreva and I decided to take Clone to see Quantum of Solace. At the age of five he actually will sit through a movie. This is his first James Bond movie, in the theater. He liked the action scenes, but didn't really care for the slow parts.

Me, I liked it. I think that Daniel Craig makes an excellent Bond, in fact he's my second favorite Bond, behind Sean Connery. It's kind of different seeing Bond with blond hair. Other than that, he does a really good job. I like his take on Bond, the way he portrays him and his overall presence.

Now I have to say I'm a little upset by the Bond girls in this movie, we had Camille played by Olga Kurylenko and Strawberry Fields played by Gemma Arterton. Neither one of them brought either a real sexiness to the roll nor the femme fatal. They are both beautiful women, it's just that their acting wasn't up to par for the roll.

There was some great fight scenes, an awesome car chase, and really cool boat chase and a very interesting foot chase. Yes, there was a lot of chasing.

Also, only James Bond can make a Walther PPK look cool. In any other guys hands it just looks like a toy. Trust me, Ktreva has one.

Posted by Contagion at 10:37 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 10, 2008

Maybe this is a long time coming

I haven't blogged about Boopie in a while, and that's because I really didn't want to bring people down. Tonight I reached a breaking point.

Boopie had two D's and an F on his last report card. His attitude has gone downhill, he's been back talking Ktreva and I. His been slacking off, breaking rules and just seriously becoming a real jerk. Some days he is good, others he's like he's straight out of Juvie. Most the time he's a problem child.

Things came to a head when he punched Clone.

I kept my calm and cool collective when I first addressed it. I told him that there is no excuse in hitting someone that is that much smaller than him. I gave him the whole size differential speech and then left the room, but then Ktreva was talking to him regarding a lot of the bad decisions he made, when I heard him yelling at her and throw something. So I stormed into the room and gave him a demonstration on size differential by pulling him across the room by his ankles.

Then I let into him verbally. I explained that he makes all of his choices and the fact he has no TV, no video games and is grounded is because of his grades, behavior problems and the fact that he'd been lying to us. That I was tired of him, his attitude and his lies. I'm also tired of dealing with his bullshite. He chooses poorly and then blames everyone else for the consequences. He hates it at our house because we have rules and structure, at his loser father's he can do what ever he wants.

So I kicked him out. I told him to get the F#*k out of the house. I told him that I was tired of it, I was tired of him, and I was tired of the bullshite. He could call his father and come and get him because I wasn't putting up with it in my house anymore.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I've failed the boy miserably and at this point I don't see how I can correct the problem.

Posted by Contagion at 07:47 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

October 30, 2008

It's pumpkin time!

Tonight the boys and I carved our pumpkins. We started at 7:30 and Boopie is still working on his. Now, I've seen some cool pumpkins out there, ones that have some great designs. None of ours look like these:

predator pumpkin.jpg

Death Star.jpg

House.jpg

Vader.jpg

LisaLFieryKnot.jpg

I'm not sure who carved all of these, but they are impressive.

Posted by Contagion at 08:27 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 26, 2008

Slacking again

I'm starting to get really bad about posting! What the heck is up with me? Well, I can let you in on some things. Friday night I went to Fritz's with Bruce. We spent some time there having fun. I hadn't been back down to Fritz's since before I left for Oklahoma. It was good to get back there and see all the familiar faces and help put Fritz's daughters through college.

Saturday afternoon we had some family fun. We took Clone to some local seasonal attractions. The Pumpkin Patch and Edwards Apple Orchard (Or as Clone called it, "The apple torture"). Edward's was destroyed by tornado back in January and it was good to see that they were up and running again. The new buildings looked nice and the new layout was much more customer friendly. I hate to say this, but it almost looks like the tornado was almost beneficial to the business. It may have been heart breaking, but the buildings look fantastic and are much larger.

Some of the highlights from the day are:

My impressing the crowd and staff at The Pumpkin Patch with my skills at the pumpkin launcher. Think of a water balloon slingshot set on a permanent pole. They have two smaller ones that are actually water balloon slingshots and a large one that is custom made using what looks like surgical tubing. The guy running the games was verbally impressed with how far I could pull the tube back. The other people out there had trouble pulling it back with in feet of how far I could pull it. Now, I'm not saying I'm strong, I just have a good technique for these things. Another guy that tried between my two turns came over and was talking to me about how far I flung those pumpkins.

Clones favorite souvineer wasn't anything we bought, but a piece of wheat I picked while we took a hay ride. The boy wouldn't let go of it all day and even brought it in the house at the end of the night.

At night we went to a Haunted Hayride at Lockwood Park that was put on by the Rockford Park District. It was fun, Clone was brave and didn't get scared. He just sat there and looked on entertained by the antics of the monsters.

Overall we had a great time. It was something we needed.

Posted by Contagion at 09:59 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 09, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today, October 9th, is Ktreva and mine's 9th wedding anniversary. 9 years ago today my beautiful and loving wife took one for the team and threw herself on the grenade that is Contagion.

I couldn't be happier.

Happy anniversary honey! At least we get to spend it together. A month ago at this time we thought I'd be in Oklahoma still.

Life is good.

Posted by Contagion at 07:18 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

August 12, 2008

What a stupid arguement.

On the ride home tonight Ktreva and I were going over our plans for the week and the needs of the boys before school starts. Then all of a sudden Ktreva says rather upset like, "Why do you do that?" I had no idea what she was talking about. So I ask, "What do you mean?" She gets even more upset and says, "You did it again!" I'm still confused... I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I really want to figure it out so that I can stop doing it. Thus I ask "What am I doing?" That is when she goes off and says, "You always ask me questions! You answer my questions with questions!"

Okay, I can understand that. But usually it's because I'm trying to figure out what she is asking me or what information she is looking for. Most of the time I'm trying to get clarification on the question, not avoiding it. This arguement turned into a full meltdown and I was confused because I was trying not to ask questions and she is getting madder because I just don't understand... but I can't ask questions to help myself to understand.

The boys are in the van and just watching in amazement as we argue over the whole thing. Finally Boopie speaks up and says, "Mom and Dad, this is the stupidest argument I've ever heard!" Now he's right, because the whole time I'm trying not to laugh at the utter stupidity of the whole thing, Ktreva is getting more agitated, but even she is laughing at the whole thing.

Personally I think she was just picking a fight because she missed fighting with me while I was away.

Posted by Contagion at 07:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 27, 2008

The weekend is over.

I didn't really do anything this weekend. After being gone so long, I decided to just stay home and hang out with the family. Actually I was just trying to get some resemblance of normalcy. I know the next couple of weeks are going to be really hectic and I'm not sure how things are going to go. Right now I'm planning on spending a lot of time in the office to try to get everything caught up.

I'm bound and determined to get this job wrapped up as quickly as possible.

I know this project is probably going to last until the end of the year, but a lot of it should be able to be handled out of my office. Once I get to that point I think I can start doing my job out of the Rockford office again. Right now it looks like I might be returning to Rockford sometime between the 9th and 15th, but I'll probably be heading back down to Oklahoma sometime around Labor Day.

Posted by Contagion at 06:08 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008

Goodbye Jack.

Ktreva's grandfather passed away yesterday. It's never easy when a loved one dies, but right now is even harder. I really wish I was back home and able to comfort and help her. Unfortunately I'm 600 miles away. I completely feel like a failure as a husband.

Her grandfather was the only in-law I had that liked me. Whenever we would visit Jack and I would spend hours talking. This man lead a long and interesting life. He fought in World War 2 and would tell me stories about that and the difficulties of his childhood growing up an orphan. It was just this last December listening to his stories that I realized that he fought with the 101st Airborne, Easy Company. Yes, Band of Brothers fans, the same unit. He made all the jumps and even was at Bastogne. I was hoping to hear more of his stories this year at Thanksgiving.

Jack was also a pilot. He owned a recreation P-51 Mustang and would fly it for airshows. He was proud of that plane. I remember the first time he showed it to me at one of the airshows. It was a beautiful craft that was well maintained.

I liked Jack. He was a smart man with a great sense of humor. Unfortunately since they lived 12 hours away, we didn't get to see him as much as we would have liked. It was a situation we couldn't remedy without moving closer.

Even though he didn't fly during World War 2; he did serve, honor and fight for his country, and he was an avid pilot. I feel this is appropriate for him:

Missing MAn.jpg
The missing man formation as done with P-51 mustangs.

God speed Jack. Thank you for everything.

Posted by Contagion at 05:57 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

July 16, 2008

Today should be a National Holiday.

Today is Ktreva's birthday. She turned a very beautiful and sexy 29. I'm trying to make today very special for her. She's not really liking this whole Oklahoma situation. Even the best case scenario that I'm back in two weeks doesn't make her happy. Since she is really upset over the whole thing I want today to be extremely special for her.

Please,

Please,

Please, go over to The Reality Ranch and wish her a Happy Birthday today. She deserves it. Heck, she should be nominated for sainthood just for marrying me.

Thank you.

Thanks!

Posted by Contagion at 07:53 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 07, 2008

Golf, Water Slides and beer.

Even though our vacation didnt go the way we had originally planed, we still had a damn good one. On Monday we wanted to get together with lovely, talented and charming Tammi of Tammis world. Shes up and leaving us Northern Illinois folks for greener pastures. I dont blame her; it just sucks as she makes the best Mexican Manicotti. That and I love to sit and talk with her. I know Ktreva feels the same way, about the talking not the manicotti. First we went to lunch at Der Rathskeller. After lunch Ktreva and Tammi went clothes shopping and I took the boys to Volcano Falls for some mini-golf and go-carts. Clone was big enough to drive the kiddie carts by himself this year. He was THRILLED!

On Tuesday we took the boys to Coco Key Water Resort. We have two water resorts in Rockford, Magic Waters and Coco Key. The boys chose to which one we went. Coco Key is an indoor water park and the boys figured that it would be less crowded. Boopie also figured Clone would have more fun as its more geared to younger kids. The whole family had fun. We spent over 6 hours there swimming, riding the slides, floating in the lazy river or just sitting in the hot tub.

On Wednesday we loaded up the family and headed to Macomb, IL. Ktreva had been asking since weve been married to go to Macomb. For those of you that dont know, I graduated from Western Illinois University. I tell stories about it all the time. Ktreva wanted to see where these stories took place. We drove around and I showed them the residence halls I stayed in, took them into the student union, showed them some of the houses that held parties we frequently attended. ETC.

WIU Wetzel Hall'

Here the family is posing next to the sign for Wetzel Hall. Its the dorm I lived in as a freshman and sophomore. That night I took them to my favorite Pizza place for dinner, Aurelios. The pizza there was just as good as I remembered. After dinner the family wanted to see a movie so we went and saw Hancock.

Thursday before we left we ate lunch at a place on the Macomb Square that advertised Chicken Lips. Ktreva asked me what they where, but since this restaurant was new since I attended college, I had no idea. We decided to stop in for lunch. If you want to know what Chicken lips are youll just have to go to Chicks on the Square and get some for yourself.

After leaving Macomb I took the family to some of the places I visited on my canoe trip last month, then we went to Wil and Reds place for the weekend. At this point I really cant go into too many details. As soon as we had our tents set up, Wil started pouring beer down my throat. Between him and Noah they forced me to open and drink 4 of the growlers of Carlyle beer I brought. The only reason I didnt get into the other two is because Ktreva reserved a growler of the Irish red for herself and one of the growlers of stout was for Petey. After the growlers were gone we went through a couple of cases of beer.

On the Fourth of July, Wil hosted a Beer Tasting for some of his friends and family. It turned into quite an affair. I really wish I could go into more details, but the details get really fuzzy. I do know that at one point I was yelling at someone over their review of a beer. Three of the members of the Blue Grass Band Noah belongs to showed up and played some music. Boopie and Clone set off some fireworks. And then a bunch of Noahs drunken friends showed up. Good times, good times.

The family and I ended up staying until Sunday. I was figuring Wil and Red would have booted us off of their property by then, but they encouraged us to stick around. We had a couple more cases of surplus beer and some surplus food that needed eating. So we hung around, the boys played on rock piles and we were able to visit and talk with good friends we dont get to see too often. It was one hell of a good weekend.

Although I do want to know how Noahs band did on Saturday night. They had a gig at a local bar with other bands. The only problem is that the other bands were all metal bands. I waited up Saturday night for stories, but he just never came home.

Posted by Contagion at 06:20 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 30, 2008

Motorboatin', Bunkers and Zombies.

We were supposed to go on a vacation this week. We were headed to Wyoming to participate in the 1838 rendezvous there. Unfortunately multiple factors arose and we ended up not being able to attend. The close to $800.00 gas fun was just part of it. So instead of doing some big elaborate vacation this year, we decided to take a smaller more local staycation. You know, where you stay home and take day trips to places.

Friday started off easy. We took the boys to go see WALL-E. Its not a bad movie. It was amusing, there is a bit of hippy, save the planet message to it, but its easily ignored. The boys really loved it.

Saturday Ness was sick so I took the boys and we went to see our re-enacting friend, Smokepoles, go motorboatin. Well okay, its some kind of powerboat, I know he told me but I really cant remember. All I know is that they are little boats, but they move pretty fast on the water. I keep calling it motorboatin because I called it that one time and his reaction was hilarious.

Motorboatin'
Smokepoles is the well-groomed mountain man in the tie-dye t-shirt.

We didnt get to see any racing. The weather was not cooperating. Wind speeds were too high for them to allow the boats on the water. They had a guy go out and take a couple of laps to see what its like, but at one point the guy about flipped the boat. These things are basically wings the skim the surface of the water. If they go too fast apparently they fly and they dont like it when that happens, something about crashing and death. We were going to stick around and talk just in case the weather broke and they got to race. But the rain came through and just drenched everything. I also learned that boats cant get wet. Im not sure why, but as soon as the talk of rain started everyone tarped their boats so they wouldnt get wet.

On the way back to Rockford, I took the scenic rout and I was telling the boys some history of Rockford and Camp Grant. Camp Grant was built in 1917 and was used as a training facility during World War 1 and World War 2. As we drove through New Millford and I was telling them about the bunkers at Atwood Education Center. Boopie made the comment that he really wanted to see one. So I pulled into the park area, we crossed the footbridge over the Kishwaukee River and headed to the bunker.

Since this area was part of a target range and training facility there are signs all over the place warning of the dangers.

Atwood Sign

I had attended numerous outings in this park when I was younger. In fact I know that I personally have been in at least three bunkers on the property. As a kid I found shell casings there, in fact Im pretty sure somewhere in the house I still have one. Another time while we were doing a canoe trip down the Kish one of the groups I was with found a rusted out old leg trap. I was also with a group that found a hand full of lead bullets while we were looking for insects during an activity. They arent kidding when they say that you can find stuff out there. I know that sometime between 1996 and 2004 the Army Corp of Engineers went out and policed the area looking for unexploded ordinance. They cleaned up some 2,500 rounds if memory serves. They had a sign out there stating as much, but I cant find anything online.

We did find a bunker for the boys to look at. They really were nervous getting close to it. It had to coax them into standing next to it so I could get a picture.

Atwood Bunker

Saturday night Boopie had a friend spend the night because on Sunday we were going to have a Zombie Movie festival. We watched 4 Zombie Movies, Diary of the Dead, Redneck Zombies, Zombie Town and Undead or Alive. Other than Redneck Zombies, the boys really liked the movies.

So if you dont hear from me for a couple of days, dont get worried. We just got busy having fun.

Posted by Contagion at 09:39 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 22, 2008

Rescued!!!!

Just when I thought the hellish nightmare of single parenthood was going to kill me, in sweeps Ktreva like a Navy SEAL to rescue me! She got done early and drove straight home as fast as she could. Sensing her getting closer, Clone and Boopie even behaved. When she arrived, she kicked in the front door, took the boys out with a rapid fire hug and kiss and saved me!

My Hero!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take her upstairs and give her the reword reward she rightfully deserves! Well, okay, I'm just going to do that thing that I like to do that makes me happy and doesn't really do much for her, but I don't care because I got mine.

Update: Okay, it did do something for her... twice. :)

Yes, I know I'm going to pay for this post.

Posted by Contagion at 05:29 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

May 21, 2008

Clone strikes back, Day 3

Since I last left you, let me give you an update on what has happened. Clone reminded me last night at least 50 times that his graduation from Pre-school was today. In fact it started around 7:00 PM and kept on until well into the evening. In fact it kept on even after he went to bed. I kid you not he woke me up at 10:45 PM to say, Dad, time to get up, I need to graduate! Of course I sent him back to bed.

Then he woke me up at around midnight to tell me he was thirsty. Then he woke me up around 1:15AM to tell me it was time to get up to graduate. The next wake up was at 2:30 AM, but this time it was Dad, I had an accident. Yea no more drinks after bedtime. He woke me up again at 4:00 AM saying it was time to graduate. Finally he woke me up at 4:45 AM again for graduation.

When the alarm finally went off at 5:45 AM, I felt like I had barely slept. Then to make matters worse, when I went to wake him up he gave me attitude saying HE was tired. Yes, hes still alive. No I did not throw him out of the window. Yes, I thought about it. Finally, we get on our way. His graduation wasnt until 11:00AM, so he had to go to Grandmas first while I worked for a while. Of course he pitched a fit because, Dad, youre not listening to me. Teacher said graduation is now! We have to go now. Yea, no such luck buddy, Daddys gotta go to hell and earn a paycheck.

When I picked him up at 10:45 to head to the park where the party was at, it was like grandma had fed him a diet of Jolt, Energy Drinks, sugar and crystal meth. He was bouncing all over the place. Now this graduation is a potluck picnic with a small ceremony where they release some butterflies at the end. At least he got to work off some of that energy playing.

Ive known for a while that most of the moms of the kids at this pre-school are stay at home mothers. I have nothing against that. A lot of them are friends and set up play dates for their kids. They are also those prissy Real Housewives of Orange County wannabe women. They dress in their latest California fashions and try to emulate the stars. I was one of three guys there. One of the others was a grandfather and retired, the other looks like he was on lunch from a construction site. Especially since every time I see the guy he is wearing a different T-shirt for the same local contractor. Needless to say most of the food other people brought were homemade either by the moms or by their housekeeper.

Me, I just ran through the grocery store and bought a pre-made fruit tray. According to the list I was supposed to bring a fruit, vegetable or chip item. I thought the fruit tray fit nicely into that. The really stuck up moms looked down their noses at me. Then again I just kind of let it roll off, I was the only one there wearing a suit. I left work to go to this, and had to return. One of the busybody wives struck up a conversation with me and asked about my wife. I explained that she was in Chicago on a business trip. She gave me a snide little, Oh. To which I responded, She has a pretty good career going and I supported her decision to keep it after Clone was born. Shes one of those women that doesnt want to be judged by how good their cheesy potato recipe is. Yea, I wasnt making friends.

I guess their must be some competition between them over who has the best cheesy potato recipe because that is what most of them brought was some combination of potatoes and cheese. They were good, but honestly I could have gone for some variety.

As soon as the ceremony was over I took Clone back to Grandmas and I returned to work. Clone was now upset that he only got to play at the park for two hours and tried to get me to agree to let him play a couple hours more. Yea, that wasnt happening.

At least now its over.

Right now Im waiting on Bruce to call me so we can go pick up some firewood for this weekend. BTW, no beer review this week. With me being home alone with both boys and trying to get some housework done, there just isnt time.

Posted by Contagion at 04:15 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

May 20, 2008

Contagion under siege, day 2.

Okay, last night went smoothly, relatively. Other than one meltdown where the boys were fighting, not much else happened. Clone decided he couldnt figure out how to put on his Pajamas. Hes only been doing it himself for at least 2 years. Boopie was actually well behaved.

This morning is a completely different story. We start with Clone not wanting to get out of bed. Then it turned into we couldnt find his shoes. He had them yesterday, but today we cant find them. When I asked him where he took them off at, he pointed to a spot on the floor and said right there. Yea, like he knows the exact spot where he took of his shoes. After 30 minutes of tearing through the house trying to find his shoes, I wake Boopie up to see if he just happens to know where they are. Sure enough he does They are under Boopies bed. Dont ask me why, but that is where they were.

Clone was particularly whiney. He complained about what side of the vehicle he was getting into on to what route I took to Grandmas. When we arrived he then became clingy because he was sad. He wanted to get out on the other side of the vehicle. Thank jeebus I was dropping him off.

Work uh went.

I pick up Clone to find out today while playing with the other kids he made a sign and glued it to the side of the house. It was a sign to tell the other kids where they could find him once he left, it had a map and everything. Needless to say my mother was not amused when I started laughing and said, Who in the world would leave a five year old unattended with a glue stick?

I get home and jump onto the computer to see if any of my shipments arrived were they where supposed to. Spurs did receive his Dragons Milk. (Score one Contagion!) As soon as I start up the browser I can see something is wrong. So I check a program I installed on the computer to monitor its activity. Sure enough Boopie was on the computer this morning after I left the house. I dont know where he went because he deleted the history. When confronted he lied about it, the boy just isnt going to learn.

Now its time for me to go start cleaning the kitchen. Im sure many great stories will continue.

Posted by Contagion at 04:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 19, 2008

Contagion under siege!

Day one. Ktreva has left this morning for a week long business trip in Chicago. I have been left to my own devices with Boopie and Clone.

This morning, after dropping Clone off, I had to take Ktreva to get a rental car and then go to work. Work sucked. 4 of my six peers are gone this week . The two that are remaining, one is useless and the other is struggling with her unit. That left me to run 4 units. Fortunately I was all caught up on Friday when I left. For now I am behind. I spent most of the day trying to handle the needs of 70+ employees by myself.

Rumor has it that I may have been slightly grouchy today.

I was late leaving work due to my situation and missed a political meeting that I really had wanted to attend. Needless to say, I was not amused.

After picking up the boys I took them to the grocery store. We were pretty much out of food. In hopes of encouraging the boys to behave, I told them they could each pick one meal they wanted me to make this week AND they could get anything they wanted for dinner tonight. This idea backfired as all I got were generalities. Boopie said he wanted Chicken. What kind of chicken? I don't know... just chicken, you decide.

It kind of defeated the purpose. When I asked what they wanted for dinner tonight Clone decided it should be peanuts and bananas. It wasn't until we were almost done and I had picked just about everything that they both started asking, "Can we get this?" or "Can we have that?" Yes, both boys are still alive... barely.

As I sit here and type this I hear crying coming from the other room. They are beating on each other.

Why can't they behave when momma is gone?

Posted by Contagion at 05:41 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 08, 2008

He's daft.

Boopie has made me want to quote Sheriff Buford T. Justice, "There's no way, *no* way that you came from *my* loins. Soon as I get home, first thing I'm gonna do is punch yo mamma in da mouth!"

Okay, as I told you all two days ago, he turned fifteen and we gave him an I-Pod Nano. That night I told him no less than four times that he is NOT to bring it to school. We've been having problems with his grades and behavior in school. The last thing he needed was this distraction.

Yesterday on lunch I had to run home because I forgot my wallet. Since I was home I thought I'd check to see if he actually listened. I looked in his room and couldn't find the I-pod. It wasn't on the docking station, it wasn't on his desk, shelf or dresser. In the morning before I left for work it was on the docking station. I was annoyed, but I figured it was a new toy and he wanted to show his friends. So I decided that I was going to let him off with a warning.

Ktreva had to have a tooth pulled yesterday so she went home from work early. I had just gotten out of a meeting when she calls me and tells me that we got a letter from school that Boopie is FAILING 5 classes, including Gym. Now, if you recall, we have been having trouble with him all year. We have arranged tutoring for him, we have checked his homework, we have called the school. Hell, I sold all of his video games. Now I have him doing all kinds of menial labor around the house. You know like cutting up branches into exactly 12 inch lengths and stacking them neatly, digging holes and filling them back in, etc.

When I got home I asked Boopie were his I-pod was. Of course he told me it was on the docking station. I ask, "Did you take it to school?" and he starts to lie saying no, that it was on the docking station all day. I called him out on it. Needless to say I've confiscated the I-pod. He got to enjoy it for less then 12 hours. When I asked him why he took it to school he said he wanted to listen to it. I gave him the third degree regarding hearing me tell him not to take it to school, and he confirmed he did. He just couldn't tell me why he would do it. (Because he thought he wouldn't get caught.)

Then we talked about his grades. People I don't know what to do. The school won't hold him back. We spoke with them about it. The only option we have is to send him to another school next year. One designed for troubled kids.

I hate to say this, but I'm about to just turn him over to his father. We can't do anything about this if his father undermines and undoes all the work we've done. Both Ktreva and I are at our wits end about the boy.

Posted by Contagion at 05:42 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

May 06, 2008

Boopie's gonna need a new nickname

Today is Boopie's Birthday. He turned 15. That means he's one year away from driving. May the powers that be help us all when that happens. He really hates his nickname, especially when I'm in the school parking lot waiting to pick him up and I start screaming it at the top of my lungs and waving at him. Maybe I'll have to give him a new one.

We've taken him out to dinner, eaten some Strawberry Cheesequake cake from Dairy Queen he had to have. Now I have to turn the computer over to him because the big gift we got him was an I-pod Nano with a docking station. So he wants to go throw all these songs on there.

Even I'm not cruel enough to say no today.

Well, okay I am, but Ktreva promised to do that thing I really like that she hardly ever does if I let him load it up.

I'll see you all tomorrow!

Posted by Contagion at 05:42 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

I'm Back!

Let's see... MuNu has been down for me for about 15 hours. Yes, I have posts to make, including a beer review.

I'm home today. I was supposed to work, but Clone was up in the middle of the night vomiting. I thought it was just food poisoning as I'm feeling a bit off. I took him to the sitters and went to work. I was there about an hour when I got a call that he's complaining of an upset stomach and was getting sick. So I headed off to get him.

Also, last night my mother was taken BACK to the hospital. She had another heart attack. They are going to perform the surgery today to do the fourth artery, they originally were going to wait, but feel they can no longer do that.

To top things off, I am supposed to head to a re-enactment today. Now I'm not sure if I'm going.

Posted by Contagion at 11:01 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

I'm Back!

Let's see... MuNu has been down for me for about 15 hours. Yes, I have posts to make, including a beer review.

I'm home today. I was supposed to work, but Clone was up in the middle of the night vomiting. I thought it was just food poisoning as I'm feeling a bit off. I took him to the sitters and went to work. I was there about an hour when I got a call that he's complaining of an upset stomach and was getting sick. So I headed off to get him.

Also, last night my mother was taken BACK to the hospital. She had another heart attack. They are going to perform the surgery today to do the fourth artery, they originally were going to wait, but feel they can no longer do that.

To top things off, I am supposed to head to a re-enactment today. Now I'm not sure if I'm going.

Posted by Contagion at 09:11 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

Yesterday.

If you're looking for the beer review, I didn't do one this week and am not planning on one right now. With everything else going on, it just isn't a priority. They will continue next week.

Mom had her surgery. She had four blockages, 2 at 99%, one at 89% and one at 75%. They were thinking of doing bypass surgery, but because of her age the decided that stints would work better. The surgery went well. They were only able to get three of the four stints put in yesterday. When they finished with the third one she had been on the table for a long time and they felt that putting a fourth one in at that time would just jeopardize her health even more. They are going to wait until she regains some of her strength and do the fourth.

During the diagnostic phase they also found two extremely large gall stones. They told us she is going to have to have her galbladder removed in the next year or so.

Mom is doing fine. She's not handling the pain and discomfort too well and she is being very picky about how things are going to be done. IE she likes Diet A&W rootbeer. Other than water or milk she refused to drink anything but Diet A&W rootbeer. She was telling the nurses and staff that if they can't bring her a Diet A&W rootbeer, then she doesn't want anything else. Even if it was diet rootbeer by a different company, she wouldn't accept it. So my Dad is bringing her some.

Posted by Contagion at 07:35 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

It wasn't indigestion.

It seems that mom had a heart attack last night. They've taken her into surgery for an angiogram and to place a couple of stints, that was about 2 hours ago. I haven't hear anything new since. In cases like this, no news is good news.

Posted by Contagion at 03:13 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Horrible day.

Yesterday is a day that will forever go down in my book as one of the worst days ever. It started off nicely enough but things took a turn for the worse quickly.

It all started while I was in a morning meeting, just after the meeting started one of my employees came into the conference room and advised us of an emergency. An employee that doesn't report to me had collapsed at her desk. Her supervisor, another and the managers went to check on her. The rest of us stayed in the conference room to finish the meeting. We paused for a moment when the ambulance arrived and then continued on. A couple of minutes later when it left with in minutes of arrival lights and sirens we knew something bad had happened. Usually when we have an incident the ambulance arrives, they stay for about 15 minutes prior to leaving and they leave rather slowly.

Upon leaving the room we were hit with the information that the employee had passed out at her desk, was having trouble breathing and they had issues finding a pulse. They had put an AED (Automatic Emergency Defibrillator) in order to find a heart beat. About an hour later our office was hit with the news that the employee had died. Most of the day was spent trying to comfort and support an emotionally devastated staff.

Then last night around 9:45 my phone rings. There is breathing on the other end and I have to say hello twice before I get anything. It was my mother. She was calling to say that she wasnt feeling good, she was rather incoherent and wasnt completing sentences. Then we were disconnected. I jumped off of the couch, grabbed my keys to head to her house as fast as Ktrevas van could take me. While in route I called her back to see if I could get specifics and to see if I needed to call 911. I thought maybe Dad was out and she was alone having problems.

When I called her back she told me she was heading to the hospital, Dad was driving. She handed the phone to Dad and he told me she was having chest pains and was complaining of not feeling good. They told me not to head over as there wasnt anything I could do at this time. So I turned around and went home.

Through out the night and this morning I received news that she was being admitted and that they were running tests. This morning Dad tells me that no matter what happens, Mom is not going to be working for the rest of the week, which is to be expected. He also told me that mom was stable and that the doctor was in checking on here and preparing to run some more tests to make sure everything is okay.

Needless to say, not much sleep last night.

Posted by Contagion at 06:38 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

March 31, 2008

Home at last.

And I'm ready to go back to work.

Clone had the last of his Birthday party's this weekend. We had his kid's party at McDonalds. Which after dealing with 10 3-6 year olds for 2 hours I was ready to call it the end. The important point was that he had fun.

After his party I took Clone to his first Football Game. Well okay, he's seen his brother play flag football and middle school football, but this was semi-professional football. The Rock River Raptors. I even had his name and birthday announced over the intercom and on the jumbotron. He loved the whole thing. He was pretty good up until the start of the fourth quarter. Then he started getting tired and wanted to go home. He had a lot of fun, and keeps asking me to take him again. And I will sometime... just probably not until next year.

After the game Bruce and I hooked up with Graumagus at Carlisle's for a couple of rounds of the best damned Scottish Ale on tap. This is where Graumagus tricked me into helping him move the next day. Apparently not only did he want me to give him the extra washer and dryer that I had, but he wanted me to haul it and help move it for him too. What an ingrate!

That was all on Saturday. Sunday I wake up at noon... after not getting home until 3:30AM. Grau was supposed to call and say he was coming over. I had just gotten downstairs when there's a knock on the door. Guess who? I answer the door with, "I thought you were going to call first?" He responded with, "Yea, I remembered that as soon as I pulled up." Fortunately I was awake.

The dryer was in my basement, the washer was in the garage. They had been sitting in the same spot unused for almost 10 years. It appears that my garage roof must have sprung a leak in the winter as there was a bunch of nasty water in the washer. Which made it that much more heavy. By the way, it seems that back in the 60's they made washers using cast iron. That damn thing was heavy! The extra water didn't help. Plus we had to lift it into the back of my truck. Fortunately it's only about a 3.5 foot vertical lift.

After moving the washer and dryer into his new apartment's basement, we plugged it in to check it out. I guess a 40 year old electrical appliance sitting under the leaking roof of a garage doesn't last too well... it didn't seem to work. Owell, as I told him. It's his problem now! I offered to give him his money back... but since it was free he didn't think it would be worth the hassle.

As punishment for making him take a broken washer, which I did warn him it may not work, I had to help him move a refrigerator too. At this point I should mention that Wes did come over to help with all of this. I don't want to leave him out. We go to his sister's storage unit where the frige is sitting and try to get it out. Grau had to play reverse tetris in order to be able to even thing about sliding it out of the unit.

When he opened the door we discovered that a year and a half ago when it was put in the storage unit, his sister hadn't bothered to clean nor properly empty the thing. Yea... that wasn't pleasant.

After getting that to his new place and making 398,7485 gay jokes about his curtains and just him in general we made a nice impression on his new neighbors. Lets just say me rubbing my nipples in the parking lot and saying in a lisp, "If you think that frige is dirty now, just wait until we get together later." Yeah... I think his new neighbors believe a big ol' "bear" is moving in. Even after that and the broken washer Grau was kind enough to take Wes and I to Hooters for some Hot Wings and beer.

That sounds like it was all pretty easy going and fun, so why do I want to go back to work? Well, Ktreva is in Chicago on business leaving me home alone with the boys. I'm about ready to tranquilize both of them and hide them in a closet.

Now if you'll excuse me in the time it took me to write this, I think they managed to disassemble Clone's bed.

Posted by Contagion at 06:38 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 24, 2008

He's a whole hand!

Clone is all excited he hit the age of five. To quote him, "I'm a whole hand now daddy!" He says this as he holds up his hand with all the fingers spread out wide. He was very pleased with himself. In his head he has hit the first of the birthday milestones. In celebration of that achievement he decided he was going to eat some of his Easter Candy.

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He pulled and pulled on the plastic egg. Which on a side note it was a plastic egg that looked like an egg shaped bunny. By yanking on the egg you are effectively ripping the head off of the rabbit to get to the candy in the middle. No wonder he enjoyed it so much.

Unfortunately five is the age when kids start to take notice of the happenings in their world. They notice how things are changing politically, socially and in technology. Clone, much like his father, does not like the future he sees for our country and has decided that he is going to take a stance against it. At five years old Clone has become

see extended entry:

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The UNI-CLONE!

Yea, he's not happy...

...and neither will those that oppose him!

Honestly he's just not happy that I was taking his picture and couldn't care less about politics

Posted by Contagion at 04:45 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

January 31, 2008

Evil dad strikes again.

As you all know we've been having trouble with Boopie. It's been a while since I've posted about it, but things have NOT gotten better. Since before Christmas we have been getting letters, calls and notes from his teachers telling us he is acting up in class, not doing his homework, failing tests, etc, etc, etc. It's to the point I'm more surprised when I get home to not have a note. As it is he failed four finals and three classes this semester.

Over the time we've had to gradually take things away from him. It started with the cellphone, went to video games, no TV, Grounded from the phone in general, grounded from friends. He has the opportunity to earn all of it back if he gets his grades up and we stop getting reports from his teachers. Now his daily life consists of going to and from school and studying.

Right after Christmas I came home after work to discover he had been playing the Wii. I had caught him playing video games a couple weeks earlier. After catching him playing the Wii, I told him that if he was caught playing video games while grounded from them again, I was going to sell his game system. Since then I know he was playing them behind our backs, and I caught him once. I just gave him another warning that time. Then yesterday happened.

The schools were closed again yesterday. They say it was because it's cold, but truth be known it's actually because the teachers and the admin really don't like working a full week. Since he was going to be home all day and I know it would just be mean to not let him do anything, I told him he could watch TV. There was no computer, no video games and no friends. He told me he understood.

When I got to work I realized I had forgotten my wallet and cell phone at home. At lunch I ran home to get those items. When I came into the house I caught him playing his Playstation 2. The controllers all out and even though he had turned off the TV, the game system was still on. He had jumped up and started pretending he was making a fort for him and his brother to play when he got home. I asked him if he was playing video games. He gets the same look on his face right before he tells a lie, and that look crossed his face. Before he had a chance to just push my anger button by lying to me, I told him I knew he was and explained how.

I took his PS2 console to work with me before I left and told him when I got home we'd gather up the rest of it. When I got home we had a long talk about his behavior and decision making. I didn't pull any punches, and asked if he honestly thought he wasn't going to get caught. Apparently, he didn't think he would. And he didn't think I'd actually take the game system from him, especially since Guitar Hero 3 and the controller for it was a gift from his Grandmother.

That left me with a decision. Either I just ripped the system out of his room and stored it away and gave it back to him later, thus letting him know that I was serious about the consequence or I take the game system and sell it. I decided that with everything else I was going to do as I had said.

So today on lunch I took his PS2 all the controllers and games for it and sold it. I got a decent amount of money for the system and controllers and no he doesn't get that either. It's now my money. I didn't feel good about doing it, but I needed him to know I was serious. When I got home, I showed him the receipt so he could see that I sold the game and the system.

To be honest, I'm not sure he cared.

Posted by Contagion at 06:09 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 15, 2008

Life imitating art.

I love the theater. When I was younger my parents would go out of their way to expose me to the theater. They would take me to various venues to see different shows. We went everywhere from High Schools to small town productions to big city shows. In High School and College I even did some acting. Nothing that was all that great or memorable. Hell, most of the time I was just happy if I had a line or two instead of just being part of the ensemble. My biggest roll could only be considered a bit supporting part of a play I did in college. I had the fourth most lines in the play.

Now I'm going to admit to something that I think even my friends that read this might not know. Part of my love of theater is a love of musicals. That's right, I like musicals. I had parts in Hello Dolly and Oklahoma, okay I was mainly in the chorus because my voice was so bad they wouldn't give me a singing part where people could hear me solo. Even though it's been over 15 years, I still know a lot of the songs and still sing them.

The reason I'm admitting to this is because if I didn't, the story I'm about to tell wouldn't be nearly as funny.

It started last week when I picked Clone after work. He asked if we could have pizza for dinner. It wasn't that he asked for pizza, it was that he did it in that sing-song voice that only a young child can do. So I responded to him... in song. We had an entire conversation about having pizza for dinner in song on the ride home. It was just like in a musical. For no apparent reason the characters bust out in song to explain part of the story. In our case we busted out in song to argue over us having pizza for dinner.

Flash forward a couple of days. It's morning and I'm making sandwiches for Ktreva's and my lunches. Clone comes walking in, looks me in the eye and in song askes, "Daddy, please make me a sandwich. I am so hungry, I need it for lunch!" Of course I had to respond in song, "Clone, you don't need a sandwich, for you are going to grandma's and she feeds you lunch!" Of course this started a fifteen minute argument, in song, over whether or not he gets fed at grandma's.

Ktreva comes walking into the kitchen in the middle of our performance with a dumbfounded look on her face. She looks at Clone and I with that "what the hell are you doing" look on her face. Then proceeds to laugh her arse off when I tell her she walked into "Contagion's House, the musical!"

But that's okay, because when she's not around Clone and I converse in song.

Posted by Contagion at 06:44 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 27, 2007

Even more assembly required

I love it when the boys get something that needs assembly. It's hours of fun. Not only do you have the fun of trying to interpret cryptic instructions and try to get pieces to go together that just don't want to fit. But once you are finished you get to do it all over again! Why?

Because your four year old can only play with it for about 10 minutes before completely disassembling the whole thing!

Then they want you to put it back together. Now of course in their disassembly process they have bent or damaged the pieces so they don't go back together as easily.

Time to go reassemble Thomas the Tank Engines Sodor Station.

Posted by Contagion at 01:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 23, 2007

The in-laws

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. My in-laws are in town and I've been entertaining them. As you may remember, my in-laws don't tend to like me very much. They were supposed to leave this morning, but ended up deciding to stay longer. So now I'm getting ready to head out to meet them. Fortunately this afternoon Graumagus of the now defunct Frizzen Sparks is coming over to watch the Bear/Packer game. Ktreva is letting me off of the hook since all the way up to yesterday evening the original plan was for the in-laws to leave by 10:00 AM this morning. My plans were made before they changed their plans.

All though it was uncomfortable at times, it really didn't go bad. I only got snarked at a couple of times. And I did get to spend some time with Ktreva's Grandfather talking to him. I really like him, he's a good guy and the only one I know that actually likes me. He was telling me World War 2 stories. I just found out that he was in the 101st airborne during the war and fought at Normandy on D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. For those of you that are Band of Brothers fans, this is one of the guys that was actually there.

Well I need to head out, they are waiting for me at a restaurant. There will be more later.

Posted by Contagion at 09:59 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 18, 2007

Tonight's lessons.

So I took the boys out shopping tonight so they could buy Christmas gifts for Ktreva and their grandmothers. It was really interesting. I learned a couple of very interesting lessons.

The first is that when we went into a store (can't mention the name as it will give away a gift meant for KTreva) it had a very strong feminine scent to it. Ie perfume, scented soaps, etc. Apparently the boys loved the scent as much as I did. Listening to a four and fourteen year old gag in harmony to their father was amusing to me. Also when a man with two boys walking into a store for women filled with nothing but women, you stick out like... well three guys at a feminist convention. We got a lot of strange looks. Especially when someone made the comment, "It stinks in here, doesn't it." I did apologize.

The second lesson is that I need to have a talk with whomever has been teaching Clone jingle bells. They need to make sure he has a better understanding of the lyrics or at least enunciates better while singing it. All night he kept singing Jingle Bells. At first I blew it off until I noticed someone snicker. I thought they were just laughing because it was kind of cute. Then I heard what Clone was singing. The actual lyric is "In a one-horse open sleigh" Clone was singing " In a whore's slurping pay."

Yeah, and he wouldn't stop. Even after I tried to help him enunciate it better.

Posted by Contagion at 08:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 11, 2007

Boopie gets socks and underwear.

Ive been trying to help Ktreva Christmas shop for Boopie. Trying to find a Christmas gift for a teenage boy that only wants large ticket items for Christmas is difficult You know, an Xbox 360, A Playstation 3, A Wii, and the entire Rock Band kit. The boy isnt very forth coming with ideas. Other than the ones listed or games for those systems. Well I can pretty much tell you he isnt getting any of them. I cant justify spending that kind of money on a video game system. Especially since he has an unhealthy preoccupation with them already. Heck he isnt even allowed to play video games right now until he gets his grades up.

So do any of you have any ideas?

Posted by Contagion at 07:08 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 29, 2007

She's Gone.

Grandma died at 8:10 this evening. At least now she'll know some peace and comfort.

Posted by Contagion at 10:11 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Inevitable.

Last night my mother told me that my grandmother doesn't have long left to live. For the last two years she has given us a scare on a regular basis that it was her time to die. It got to the point that when my mother would call and tell me that Grandma didn't have long to live, I'd shrug it off figuring she would bounce back. And every time she would. Inevitably most of the family felt that way.

Now we have a slightly different situation. They put Grandma has gotten worse, last night they finalized all the paperwork for a DNR (Do not Resuscitate). They also instructed the staff to take Grandma off of her meds, only keeping her on her meds that will keep her comfortable. While at work this morning I receive a call from my mother, "The hospice called, they say your Grandma is going to pass shortly".

I left work quickly and drove to the nursing home as fast as I could, I wanted to see her one last time. I had been planning on stopping in today on my lunch break, but it didn't look like I was going to be able to wait that long. When I arrived at the nursing home, Grandma's breathing was labored and shallow, her pulse was up over 110 and they couldn't take her blood pressure anymore. Her blood oxygen level was around 65%. She sounded really bad. Nurses and attendants where in and out all day checking on her and kept giving us the same line, "anytime now".

I sat with her for 3 hours, finally I had to go get Clone. Mom runs a daycare and usually watches him, but since she was with Grandma, she had a substitute filling in for her. Unfortunately the substitute couldn't stay all afternoon and Clone was the only kid she had left. Now I'm sitting home with the boys waiting for the call.

Unfortunately I'm not sure if it's going to happen tonight, tomorrow or when. It's going to be a long wait.

Posted by Contagion at 05:06 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 31, 2007

Halloween

From my family to yours, Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

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Clone and Boopie with their pumpkins

The boys had fun carving pumpkins and are excited for tonight, almost as excited as I am. Just remember people, Halloween is a fun time, make sure those out there with you and that you meet are all having fun.

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And if you scare anyone, make sure to share the story with me.

Posted by Contagion at 11:11 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 29, 2007

That wasn't very sensitive of me.

Ktreva and I have been married for 8 years and have been together for ten years and in that time I have never, ever come unhinged at her ex. Until last Saturday that is. I also did something that I told myself I was ever going to do; bad mouth him in front of Boopie. I couldnt help it. I was so angered at the whole situation that I finally blew my lid.

If you recall weve been having some problems with Boopie and his behavior. One of the incidents I hadnt shared with all of you is that he started a fire in the house. It was a small paper fire that he put out, but anyone that has been reading here long enough knows that I have enough highly flammable and explosive items around that open flame is bad. We arent sure why he was burning paper, but he also denied it for a good 45 minutes while we were in his room able to not only smell the smoke, but also see the haze around his ceiling light. He has also been lying about a ton of other stuff I havent shared with you.

He has a cell phone; I didnt want him to have it because I didnt think he would be responsible with it. But his Father bought him one anyway. Since nothing else was getting to him with school and lying I told him he was no longer allowed use the cell phone in the house. Well of course he was using it one evening so I took it away for the rest of the week and told him that if he uses it in the house again, his Father will have to come and talk to me about it. So of course last Wednesday hes in his room and I can hear him using it, so I took it away.

Friday he calls me at work adamant about getting his phone back and I told him again if he wanted it he needs to have his father come talk to me. When I got home I was curious about why he wanted his phone so bad, so I did what any parent does I look through his phone. Lo and behold guess what I find. Not only was he using it during school (which is a huge no-no in our school district) but half of the messages where to his Father. There were also messages regarding his Father coming and taking him out of school and I no know for sure where all of Boopies money went. He gave it to his Father. On three separate occasions the deadbeat hit his 14-year-old son up for money in a three-week period.

Saturday night I have some friends over and with out my knowing Boopie and his Father pull up. I was out on the front porch with my friends while they smoked just socializing and I told them they needed to finish up and go inside because this was about to get very uncomfortable for them. I started off calm explaining to his Father what all Boopie had done to lose the phone and verify that Boopie knew the consequences. Then, being a devious person I tested the waters and stated that Boopie had been using the phone during school hours. His Father acted all shocked and preceded to try to scold him and saying he didnt know. That was when I lost it. I dont remember all that I said, but I do know that I called him a farking liar. Explained that I had looked at the phone and saw that half of the in school messages were from him. Then I went on to explain I also knew that he was pulling him out of school. Then I went off on how its bad enough raising a 14 year old with a 15 year old mentality I shouldnt have to deal with a 40 year old with on too.

I tore the man to shreds. I called him out on not being able to take care of himself let alone a kid. The fact he lives with his grandmother in her house and she does all the work. (I think hes lived on his own for maybe 18 months since Ive known him, the rest of the time he was living with his parents or his grandmother). He had threatened to kill himself to Boopie back in September and I told him that it was a shame he hadnt followed through with it. The world would be better off if he went home and started sorting gun barrels by flavor, wait that would be wasting a perfectly good bullet, just slice your wrists. I know I called him an idiot or a moron at least 40 times and at one point I told him that (he) is depriving intelligent people of oxygen. At one point he accused me of telling him not to raise his voice and I shouted back, I dont care if you raise your voice, Im raising mine! It really devolved from there. The only part I regret is that Boopie witnessed the whole thing.

The sucky part about this whole thing is that they have joint custody. Thus there is little to nothing else I can do. In Illinois we would need to prove he is delinquent as a father in order to get prime custody, and thats hard to do. I really wish this lump would drop off the face of the earth.

Posted by Contagion at 04:53 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 10, 2007

Dead Boopie walking.

Im so pissed right now. Last night Boopie came out of his room to throw something away, as I walked past I could smell smoke. It was the definite scent of something burning. In general I asked both him and Ktreva what was burning. They both said nothing. After pointing out that I could smell smoke, Ktreva agreed she could. The smoke was closest to Boopies room. So I asked him what was burning, and he kept saying nothing as he tried to hide a lighter. When I confiscated it, it was still warm. He said he just flicked it on. I asked him what he needed a lighter for and he said he didnt know, he just had it.

After his continual denial that he didnt know what was burning, I went to check the trash. He then confessed that he was burning paper and threw it into a plastic bottle with water to put it out. I knew he had been lying, but there was always the benefit of the doubt until I found the evidence. He wouldnt even tell me why he lied. Since hes already grounded from going to friends houses due to his grades. I took away the TV for two weeks and made him write sentences.

Today when I get home hes skulking around writing his sentences and got pissed because I told him he had to mow the lawn. As I was sitting in the house getting ready to do something else I heard a loud thud against the truck. I open up the window and ask him if he hit my truck. Yeah So I ask him if theres a scratch. Yeah. Then I ask him why he would do that, and he said, It was along the grass and tried to avoid it but I bumped into it. So I go outside to look. As I get to my truck there is a scratch down the drivers side front and back door and the bed to the steering wheel and not just a scuff, but a scratch.

Im about livid, this wasnt an accidental bump this was an intentional scratch. This is going to cost money to get fixed because if I dont its going to rust. Im so mad that I can barely speak. I go over with him the consequences of bad decisions and for the first time I actually threatened military school to him. It took every ounce of restraint I had to not beat him to near death. I told him that You had better get back to mowing this lawn and doing it properly with out damaging anything else. Meanwhile I need to go inside before I do something Im going to regret.

As I was just started typing this trying to work out some of the anger and frustration I hear him hit something in the back yard. He ran over the corner to the grill cover. It had been there for months and never got touched. Again he talks about he was trying to move the mower and accidentally hit it. The problem is that the cover was about a foot away from the edge of the grass.

Right now I want to just go into his room and smash everything he owns that he likes. Take everything away and give it other people or just permanently disable it and make him live in a room full of dysfunctional junk.

I dont know what Im going to do, but I do know that if I dont calm down Im going to blow a gasket.

Posted by Contagion at 05:26 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

October 09, 2007

Anniversary Dinner.

For dinner tonight I'm making something special for the family.

Shrimp cocktails, Stuffed chicken breasts with an apple and raisin stuffing, Baked Sweet Potatoes and fresh garlic cauliflower. It takes a little time to make all of that, but Ktreva likes it and I think she's worth it.

Well I'm off to steam the shrimp and stuff the chicken boobs.

Posted by Contagion at 05:21 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

8 years and counting.

Today is an important day in my life. Eight years ago today I was lucky enough to marry the perfect woman for me. We are having a good run and aren't showing any signs of slowing. I just can't believe I was as lucky as I am to have found her.

Lets look at the facts.

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She loves to shoot, yep that's her shooting a Colt 1991 .45 ACP commander model. She liked mine so much, I had to buy her one of her own just to leave mine alone. At one point she was afraid of firearms, but now she can't wait until the next time we hit the range. She also supports my dream of buying a large farm and making our own shooting range some day.

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She's a Packer fan! She likes to go to the games with me, go shopping for gear and memorabilia and even sit in a bar and watch the games. She once even went so far as to try on Cheerleader outfits to see if one fit her so she could wear that on Football Sundays. Unfortunately for me they didn't have any that fit her.

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She re-enacts. If you ask any male re-enactor they will tell you just how lucky I am to have a wife that will re-enact. It's easier to do the events as we are doing them together. There hasn't been a re-enactment that has gone by that I haven't had at least one person tell me that when I die, they get my wife. To make it even better, she loves to cook over the campfire. So I can spend the day demonstrating, shooting or what not and come back to camp to a damn good meal.

I know how lucky I am to have Ktreva for a wife. She's made me a better person. It's been a good 8 years, and I'm looking forward to what the future holds for us.

Happy Anniversary Babycakes! I love you.

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September 21, 2007

Home from work again.

I'm at work and my mother calls. Clone has explosive diarrhea and had to leave pre-school. So I'm home taking care of him. The worst part of this is that he doesn't feel sick or bad at all, he just has liquid poop shooting out his boot. There is also the problem that it happens so fast there isn't time for him to get to the bathroom.

Yea, I think I'd rather be at work.

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September 20, 2007

Not sure what will help.

It looks like Boopie is up to old tricks. Ktreva has been asking him for a while now if hes been doing his homework and what not, he of course has been saying yes. Well due to a history of the boy not doing his homework, she called the school. Guess what, so far two of his teachers have confirmed he has not been turning in his homework and that he could end up failing some of his classes this quarter.

LOVELY

So now Boopie of course is mad at us because not only did we not trust him, but also hes grounded and loss the use of his cell phone. (All his phone are belong to me.) Of course since he is a Gen Y or millennial, he feels this is completely unfair. My thing is that hes going to pass High School if it kills him and hes going to start learning to tell the truth if I have to beat it out of him.

To be honest Im almost at my wits ends with the boy. He wont put on clean cloths, he wont shower, he wont eat, and then he lies about it badly. Im tempted to start looking into boarding or military schools, but I just dont know if he would last at either one before they sent him home.

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September 13, 2007

I'm afraid he'll never learn.

Well it looks like Boopie is up to old tricks. It was discovered through deductive reasoning and his inability to tell a lie. Well he can lie, but hes really, really bad at it. Apparently hes just been getting up in the morning, watching TV and not making his lunch or anything. Hes been borrowing money from a friend with promises to pay it back and buying a lunch. Then he comes harassing me about his allowance, which wont cover how much hes borrowed. He gets his financial sense from his biological father.

It started with me noticing that the items I bought for him to take for lunch were not being used. I knew he probably wasnt eating, but I wanted to get his side of the story before I confronted him. And this is what happened:

Me: What did you have for lunch today?

Boopie: A Sandwich and some chips.

Me: Really? What did you make the sandwich out of?

Boopie: Were out of bread arent we?

Me: You tell me. What did you make a sandwich with.

Boopie: My friend A-boy gave me a couple pieces of bread to make a sandwich with.

Me: Really? He gave you the meat and cheese too?

Boopie: No, I brought some of ours.

Me: Boopie, that has to be the worst lie Ive heard you tell.

Boopie:

Me: We arent out of bread, we have a brand new loaf. When I made my sandwich this morning I used the last of the old loaf, I can see you didnt open the new one. I can also see that you havent been eating the lunchmeat or cheese.

The conversation went on from there, but he told three more obvious lies, got grounded, and is now sulking in his room. I also told him that its time for him to start taking responsibility for his actions. The next time I catch him not making a lunch, eating or telling a lie; Im going to make sure the consequences match his actions.

If only he could tell a half way believable lie.

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September 10, 2007

Clone says it's healthy.

Tonight after work I grabbed Clone and headed to the grocery store to do our weekly grocery shopping. I prefer to do it on Mondays because its less busy. To make him feel like hes helping me, I like to have him help me make a menu and grocery list. In other words, I already know what its going to be, I just give him choices on which night is what. He is young enough not to realize that hes not actually picking the food, Im just giving him choices of stuff Im going to make anyway. Sometimes I actually decide on what we should have.

Clone has over heard Ktreva and I having conversations about eating healthy and what I can and cant eat. When I asked him what he wanted for dinner on Saturday he says, I want pizza with pepperonis. Its healthy with the pepperonis, then the cheese and the sauce under it. Its really good for me. Really daddy, its health for me. He was as serious as a heart attack that Pepperoni Pizza was healthy.

I almost ran over a Prius because I was laughing so hard.

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September 06, 2007

Clone chooses a career.

Last night I had some one on one time with Clone. Ktreva went to a local spa after work to get a message and Boopie finally was able to go over to a friends house to hang out. After I did the dishes and started dinner, I discovered that the poor boy had fallen asleep on the couch. EXHAUSTED I tell you, its hard work being four. It took me an hour of rousing him to get him awake and keep him that way. It didnt help I did my beer review in that time. Fortunately when I served him dinner he finally woke up and stayed awake.

I spent an hour making dinner. Fresh herb crusted salmon, steamed fresh asparagus with a roasted garlic glaze and a dinner salad. Of course I was the only one to enjoy it. Clone loved the salmon but could care less about the asparagus and salad. After some fighting I got him to eat enough of it to satisfy me. After dinner I asked if he wanted to play a game, but he said no. He just wanted to watch TV.

As I sat down on the couch he climbed up next to me. Then he climbed up onto my lap and together we watched Ghost Hunters. We would talk about what we saw on the TV and Id explain they were out proving there were no ghosts. (Hes four Im not going to tell him they are trying to find ghosts or hed never go to sleep) Hed ask questions, Id give him the answers if I had them or a couple of times we had to go look it up on the internet.

At the end of the night as I was putting him to bed he told me, When I get big like you dad, Im going to prove there are no ghosts. After that he told me I was the best dad in the world. Which I highly doubt, but it makes me feel good that he thinks that.

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September 05, 2007

Teenagers!

Have you ever noticed that if you give a teenager the choice of doing a chore today or tomorrow, they will always choose tomorrow? I told Boopie Monday that he could either mow the law Monday or he had to do it Tuesday. Now since Monday was Memorial Labor Day he decided that he was going to do it yesterday. He didnt want to ruin his holiday by working. Which is fine, thats why I gave him the option of doing it yesterday instead. However, I told him that he would be mowing the lawn prior to going to his friends house or anything else.

Last night hes pitching a fit because he wants to go to his friends house. He knew I was going to say no, so he tried asking Ktreva instead. Unfortunately for him, she knew he had to mow the lawn first. Then he tried to pull, The lawn doesnt look like it needs mowing. Well it does. Hell even if I didnt have him to mow the lawn it would have been me to mow it, its that bad.

He tried one last thing. He has a lot of homework to do tonight and he doesnt like it when everything falls on the same day. Of course my response was, Mow the lawn, oh and you had the option of doing it Monday. You chose to put it off until tonight. Also if you have that much homework, you need to do that before going to your friends.

The joys of teenagers.

UPDATE: Yea, I get Labor and Memorial day confused.

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August 29, 2007

About what I expected.

Well the worst that could happen did. I secured the trash bags with the magazines in it Tuesday morning. After work I had to stop by the grocery store to pick up some items. When I returned home Ktreva wasnt there yet, and the house seemed quiet too quiet.
I enter the house and there is not a sound or sign of anyone. By this time Boopie should have been home, but there was no sign of him. As I carry the groceries to the kitchen I stop by his room to see if hes hiding in there. All of a sudden he jumps up and is pulling up his pants exclaiming, Im changing my clothes because Im sweaty Im thinking to myself, Yea, those forearm exercises do break out a sweat.

Then he tells me he tried to take out the trash, but he cant pick up the bags. Well of course he did, he wanted more nekked girlie goodness. At least this time he tried to come up with a plausible story as to why the bags are not in the same condition as I had left them. Although he wasnt able to untie the knots I put into the bag, I could see he tried.

Then for the next hour he wouldnt make eye contact with me and was very enthusiastic about helping out when I asked him to do stuff. Yea, guilt is a good thing to exploit when you have some chores that need to be done.

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August 27, 2007

He's not gay!

Upon returning home from work today I found the house still standing, Boopie did not blow it up, burn it down, or break anything that Im aware of yet. However, I did learn two pieces of information about my eldest.

First is that he is much like my sister in his inability to do something mischievously with out giving out tell tale signals. You know like getting into something he shouldnt have or playing with something that hes been told he shouldnt. Now, to be fair I did spend years learning how to investigate crimes. Im not saying Im an expert crime scene investigator like Gill Grissom, detective like Adrian Monk or even some actual investigative person, but I know what to look for and a lot of tricks of the trade. Unfortunately Boopie barely tries to cover his tracks.

Secondly I learned that my son is not gay. There was some speculation a couple of years ago, but after today Im pretty sure we can say he likes the girls.

How do I know this? During some thorough house cleaning I decided to throw out all of my old Playboy magazines that Ive kept hidden for years. I used to have a subscription, and wouldnt throw them away. Before anyone says anything, yes I looked at the pictures. Yet I also read the articles. They really did have some good writers. I let my subscription lapse 7 years ago and havent read one since, so I cant say what they are like today.

I placed about 6 years worth of magazines into trash bags, and set them to be tossed with the trash on Wednesday. When I got home today one of the bags was untied and the nicely arranged magazines were no longer nicely arranged. They were in the house, so it had to be him. Sure he tried to put the bag back into the same position I left it in, but he wasnt remotely successful.

Now I thought about calling him out on this, but then I decided not to. Hell, by the time I was his age I had a nice collection of nudie mags my friends would steal from their fathers collection. Seriously, whats the worst thats going to happen?

Posted by Contagion at 05:37 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

I've got a bad feeling

It's Boopies first day of High School.

First I cant believe hes old enough for high school, especially since he still tends to act like hes in fifth grade. The hardest part for me isnt that I have a son thats old enough to be in High School. No, its the fact that I had to give him a key to the house and trust him to get to school by himself.

His school runs from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Both Ktreva and I have to be to work by 9:00 at the latest, and for both of us we are supposed to be there between 7:00 AM and 7:30 AM. That means that in the morning Boopie has to get up, get dressed, get breakfast, clean up after himself and get out of the house and to school on time with out anyone there. It also means that I have to trust him to NOT blow up the house, break anything, stay out of stuff that he shouldnt be getting into and most importantly locking the house up after he leaves.

Now a lot of people will say, Hes fourteen, its time you start trusting him. I just cant. Over the last year and a half Ive trusted him with various things. Ive given him responsibilities, duties, chores and opportunities to show me hes matured into a trustworthy and responsible individual.

He blew each one in a major way.

Im not talking about a minor infraction; Im talking about spectacular, catastrophic failure. Ill give you an example. If you remember I gave Boopie some Softair guns for Christmas. He was given these with the stipulation that you treat them like real firearms. You were safety glasses, they are not to be used in the hosue, you do not point them at another person and you definitely do NOT shoot at anybody with them. If you have friends that come over to the house, you are responsible for them. You need to explain the rules and enforce them. If you horse around, Im going to take them away.

The first time he had a friend over and they wanted to go outside and shoot I had to interrupt and tell them not to point them at each other. The friend Tall Boy responded that they where just toys. To which I replied that I didnt care, they shoot a projectile that can break glass. You will not point them at each other. All was fine for a couple of months until Boopie and Tall Boy brought over another friend, EMO Kid to shoot. I looked out the window and there was EMO Kid pointing one of the guns at Tall Boy. Again I pointed out that they were NOT to be pointing the guns at each other.

Not five minutes later I see Boppie and EMO Kid shooting at each other with the guns. In fact Booopie got shot and was bleeding. Now they are my Airsoft guns, and he wont get them back. He asked if he could have them back a couple of weeks ago and I told him that he has not proven to be responsible enough for them.

So now I have to leave the boy home alone in a house with black powder, swords, axes, knives, real guns etc Sure the modern fire arms are secured and he cant get to the ammo, but that doesnt mean he might not try to play with the other stuff. Or start going through my personal stuff. Actually Im more worried about him not securing the house or breaking stuff than anything else. Either way, Im not comfortable about the whole arrangement.

Unfortunately I didnt have much of a choice.

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August 10, 2007

Just in case

Ive always joked that I was going to keep a shotgun next to the door just in case. Not that I plan on shooting people as they come to my door, but just in case I needed to shoot someone as they came to my door. Sometime in the last week I must have made another comment about doing that while the news was talking about possible looting in the flood area. This morning as I walked down stairs and see that Clone has placed his toy double barrel shotgun in the corner next to the door.

I had to ask him why, and he told me that it was just in case.

And who says kids cant learn.

Posted by Contagion at 05:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 16, 2007

She's turning 29!

Today is Ktrevas Birthday. As a present I bought her a Colt 1991A1 .45 in the commander model. This way shell leave mine alone. She seems very pleased with it. Which is a good thing.

Ive spent three hours trying to come up with words to express how much I love and appreciate her, and Im just not capable of doing it. Im just not that kind of wordsmith or poet. How can a heathen like me even begin to describe how I feel every day I wake up next to her? The way I cant help but look at her beautiful silky red hair flowing over the pillow like cascading waterfall catching the subtle ambers of a sunset. The beauty of a Celtic goddess sleeping, her head lying perfectly still as the corners of her mouth form a slight smile. When I touch her, the softness of skin is like that of rose petals on a soft summer morning. As I look at her, my heart beats a little harder and my breath quickens just knowing that I am fortunate enough to have her as my wife. I have no way of telling her these things. I cant, for she is my love and I to clumsy to profess my love of her.

But I do wish her a very Happy Birthday. And I would appreciate it if all of you could go wish her a Happy Birthday as well.

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June 29, 2007

Being a bad dad again.

It was almost two years ago exactly that I showed you how bad of a dad I can be. That was when I started Clone on his stirring his drink habit. Its funny; to this day he wants ice in his drink and a straw with which to stir it. Well apparently other habits of mine hes picked up. You may have noticed that I tend to sample beers every now and then. Its purely for the education of you, my dear readers.

In the sampling of the beers, I have a certain ritual I go through. First I pour the beer into a glass. Holding it up to the light I can judge color, clarity and head. Then I smell the beer. A couple of long, slow inhalations through the nose gives me a thorough appreciation of the aroma. Finally I take the first drink. Clone has seen me do this at least once a week for almost a year now.

A couple of months ago he started asking me if he could smell the beer. Id take a whiff and then hed say, Dad, I wanna sniff it! So Id let him take a quick sniff just to see what he would say. Usually he says it smells good and that when he gets older he can drink it with me. So it shouldnt surprise me that last Wednesday when I was doing my review, I had to set my beer down to grab a pencil and paper to jot down notes. When I turned around, guess what I saw? Thats right:

Clone smelling beer.jpg

Fortunately for me, I had just finished downloading some pictures from an employees baby shower on to the computer. My camera was sitting there, ready to go so I quickly picked it up and tried to catch in the act. Unfortunately he was backing away when I snapped the picture. It was hilarious. He had his nose right to the rim of the glass with his hand fanning the scent toward his face. His eyes were closed as he inhaled deeply.

Then he smiled.

I am such a bad influence.

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June 25, 2007

Presents

Ktreva's Birthday is coming up soon, so I thought she's been a good wife. I should get her something special. Today on lunch we went and picked out her present. But I can't let you know yet... it's a surprise.

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June 04, 2007

Rockford AirFest 2007

This past weekend Ktreva and I took Clone to see Rockford AirFest 2007. All last week we could hear the planes arriving and practicing. We could watch them from our front porch. Clone would get so excited hed run all over the house trying to see them. It took quite a bit of convincing that by the time he could hear the jets, they were already past.

We decided that maybe hed enjoy getting to see the planes up close. Surprise! We nailed that one on the head. In fact he was so excited with in the first 15 minutes of being there, I think he actually short-circuited his brain. He didnt know what to point to, where he wanted to go, or anything. He couldnt even complete a sentence. Here is, I kid you not, an actual transcript. WOW! Dad look at.. Over there is Momma! Do you see the.. Dad, that way I want to Look up there its. Wow! Can we go DAD!!!!!! Then I think he had a mental overload as the sound of the Millennium Falcons hyperdrive failing came from his head.

When we arrived a squadron of P-51 mustangs were doing a demonstration. At the end of it they flew the missing man formation in honor of all the men and women that have given their lives in the service of our country. Folks, I will honestly admit that not only did I feel a lump in my throat as that formation flew right over my head, but I damn well misted up.


Missing Man Formation
P-51s in a missing man formation

We spent some time looking for a place to watch the show. We had just finished setting up our chairs when this longhaired hippy came up and started begging for beer. I wasnt about to give him any since he was already had a beer in each hand. Then I realized thats no hippy, its T1G. in bad need of a haircut. (Seriously I have a picture for proof). We also bumped into Ragingmom. It was like a mini-ubercool blogmeet.

I brought my camera with to take some pictures. There were some people around me that made the comments Why bother? All youre going to get are dots in the sky. I figured its digital. Its not like Im out any film. And even if I had been, I still would have tried. Normally I dont share a lot of my more artsy photos as I take pictures mainly for me, but I really liked some of these photos. I ended up taking 620 pictures. I only wish I had brought the zoom lens with, I figured the wide angle would be better for the ground shots. Since I really didnt end up taking any, I should have brought the zoom lens. Oh well.. next year. Also I edited the shape of some of the photo's in order to cut out dead space and reduce their size.

Part of the show had a P-51, an F-15 and an F-16 flying in formation together. It was pretty cool to watch these three generations of planes flying together. Watching them though, I could help but to think that the P-51 had to be straining to keep up the speed and that the F-16 looked like it was about to fall out of the sky because it was moving so slow. But it did make for some great viewing.

P-51, F-16, F-15
From top to bottom. P-51 Mustang, F-16 Falcon, F-15 Eagle.

The main attraction this year was the US Navy Blue Angels. This was the first time I actually was able to see them perform. It was truly amazing. At times they looked like they where actually touching each other they where so close. Here are some of my favorite pictures of the Blue Angels in action. Click to enlarge any of the photos.


AirFest Blue Angel.jpg
There is not a larger picture of this one, it flew right over my head.

Blue Angels
The leader flipped his plane upside while in formation at 400 MPH

Blue Angels
A six-jet formation

Blue Angels
Six Jet flyby.

I do have one question for my readers. The US Navy has the Blue Angels, The Air Force has the Thunderbirds (At last years show), The Army has the Golden Knights parachute team (Also at the show this year) What do the Marines have? Seriously, Im sure they have something; Im just not sure what it is.

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May 24, 2007

Come sail away.

WINDY!!! We have winds up to 30 mph. Now I know some of my coastal readers that are use to hurricanes will laugh at that saying its nothing. And I appreciate that; its how I react when I hear someone from Florida complain about it being cold at 50 degrees. What you have to remember is that we are not accustomed to winds like this outside of tornadoes.

Clone had his preschool graduation today; yea Ill go off on that at another time. It was held at a local park that had a decent play area and a nice shelter. The wind just reaped havoc on the picnic part of the day. They tried cooking over a grill, but had a problem getting the charcoal lit, until Mr. Re-enactor boy got it started using twigs and dried grass. Then once it was started the wind blew the coals so hot that they warped the grate AND it only lasted for 20 minutes before having to add more charcoal to keep it going. Folks, I could have used this fire to smith iron. Yea, tried as I might, there was nothing I nor anyone there could come up with to help that situation. We didnt have the right materials for what we knew would work.

Bags of chips and bowls of various salads were being blown off the tables. At one point a pan half filled with hot dogs almost blew off the table, but another parent caught it. Table clothes and plates (with and without food) were flying across the park. If it wasnt for the fact that I was trying to dodge the debris, I would have found this highly entertaining.

But the funniest thing that happened was when some 4-year-old little girl decided to slide down a pole right as the wind gusted really hard. She literally flapped in the wind like a flag for a couple of seconds before her mother grabbed her. The poor thing was terrified. But not terrified to try it again and get upset when the wind didnt blow her half way to Oz.

Right now Im sitting in the house with the boys. Ktreva is in Springfield so Im playing single dad grumble. Its 84 degrees in the house, but it sure doesnt feel like it. When the wind blows it turns the entire house into a wind tunnel. Who needs fans?

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Clone the Tough Guy.

Some of the stuff kids pick up is just plain funny. Yesterday I was playing with Clone. It devolved into a tickle fight. Id tickle him, hed run away, and then try to tickle me. Repeat this cycle over and over numerous times. Finally I had to break away to go to the bathroom. When I came walking back into the living room I looked Clone in the eye and said, Are you read to be tickled? He jumps to his feet, places his hands on his hips, looks me in the eye and with all seriousness says:

You wanna piece of me?

The funniest part was that he did the tough guy head shake when he said it. You know the head shake; the one you see the goombas do in all the gangster movies when they are being tough. No, not the one the black ladies do when they are mad, think Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Then he sticks his right hand out and does the Kung Fu Come here hand wave.

I thought I was going to have an asthma attack I was laughing so hard.

Then he got mad because I was laughing, apparently he was being serious. So I had to take him down a notch. Needless to say, much laughter ensued for the next 30 minutes.

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May 17, 2007

What have I created?

We all know parents have a direct influence on how their kids act and behave. There is even a correlation between what the child likes and dislikes. This can make for some interesting behavior and comments from kids, especially if their father is a Gun loving, re-enacting, zombie infatuated, and football fanatic.

It all started a couple of months ago when I had some friends over and Clone walks into the living room and announces that When the zombies come, you need to break out the stairs with a hammer. I was proud, at 4 he knows basic defense versus zombies. A couple of weeks ago he comes up to me carrying his double barreled toy shotgun with the barrel pointed at the floor. All of a sudden he would snap it to his shoulder and start shooting at things and yelling Fire in the Hole before each shot. After the shot he would point the barrel back down to the ground. When I asked him what hes shooting at he tells me, Im shooting the zombies in the head. Gun safety and killing zombies, I was proud.

Last Sunday we were watching Shaun of the Dead, and I changed the channel to something I thought he would like more. He pitched a fit. DAD!!!! I want to watch the zombies!!!!! I kid you not, he threw such a temper tantrum that I almost didnt turn it back on. Then while watching the movie he says to me, When we go camping (IE re-enacting), well have to shoot the zombies. Huh? There are no zombies at the re-enactments. We talk for a little bit and I figure out that he thinks that some of the natives are zombies. It has to do with their face paint. It took some convincing that Indians are not Zombies. Well not all Indians.

Then finally on Monday we get home and he wants to go outside and play football with his brother. Okay no problem. It was when he referred to the football as the zombie head that I realized something.

Maybe I shouldnt talk so much about zombies with him in the room.

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May 14, 2007

I love this time of year

Yesterday we had a high between 68 and 70; (Depending on what weather source you look at) today they are calling for a high between 88 and 94 (again depending on what weather source you are using). That is a 20 degree difference overnight. It was cold enough yesterday that Ktreva turned the heat back on so she didnt have to run around in a winter parka. Now today I know the family is going to want to turn on the air conditioning.

Why cant the weather just be a tad bit more consistent!

Posted by Contagion at 05:22 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 10, 2007

What not to say to your son.

We received a progress report for Boopie tonight. It seems that he is failing one of his classes. After talking with him we discovered it's because he's not doing his homework again. We already had pre-set consequences for this, so we banned him from video games until his grades come back up.

He's all bummed out, he just got his new Guitar Hero 2 game and was really liking it. So he started pouting and decided that he was going to hide in the closet. I didn't realize where he went to, and couldn't find him in the house. I didn't think to look in his closet, because he's 14 and I thought he would have outgrown that. Calling out from him I hear his voice coming from his room. I go in there, and can't see him. I call his name again, then I hear his voice coming from the closet.

I ask what he's doing in there (not sure I want to know). He tells me nothing, he's just hiding in there. So I say, "You're 14, you're too old for that. It's time to come out of the closet." He peeks his head through the door and looks at me with a slight smirk on his face.

At that point I realized what I said.

Yea, that's another therapy session I'm going to be paying for.

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May 09, 2007

Showing your age.

For Boopie's 14th birthday he wanted Guitar Hero 2. Okay, no problem. we bought it for him.

But now I regret it. Tonight I'm out back grilling (more on that later) when he comes running out and says, "Dad, do you know the song "Freebird"?" Well of course I do. So he asks me, is it any good?

Yea, kids today have no culture.

For Boopie:

Learn the classics boy!

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May 03, 2007

Only when there is a fire.

Today while at work, I received a call from my mother. She called to tell me that Clone is in a bit of trouble. Today at school they were going over fire safety. You know, stop, drop and roll, what do to in case of a fire, etc etc etc. Everything was fine until they left the building for the day. As he was walking out, he saw the fire alarm.

Yep, Clone walked right over to it and pulled it. Setting off all the warning lights and buzzers. Why did he do it? Because they pointed it out to the kids and said only pull it in case of fire. He had never noticed it before and wondered what it did. So he pulled it.

The school emptied, the teachers ran in a panic to call the fire department to advice it is a false alarm, the kids ran went outside like they were supposed to, only they had their little hands covering their ears. Apparently they thought it was great fun. The kids that is, not the teachers. I never did find out if the kids got to see the fire trucks. Im sure they would have loved that. Then again I think that only would have provoked them to pull the alarm again.

Only my kids.

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April 01, 2007

Sibling revenge oath

My sister lives a couple of house down state and wasnt able to make it up last weekend for Clones birthday. However, she was in town this weekend so she saved her gift and gave it to him yesterday. My sister and I have one of those relationships that are normal, yet hard to understand. We love each other, but dont really understand nor get along. Thus she knows I hate it when the boys get toys that need a lot of assembly and make a lot of noise. So what does she give Clone for his birthday this year? This monstrosity:

clone birthday gifts

Good lord. The assembly wasnt bad, but its noisy as all hell. There is a motorized accelerator on it that shoots the cars through the track. Then Doctor Octopus moves around and tries to block the cars from hitting or getting past him. Then you can lower the Spiderman web launcher and shoot the cars at Doctor Octopus. Which, the cars will miss and hit the cardboard back ground with a loud thump like a drum. Needless to say, this thing is amazingly loud.

And Clone loves it.

clone birthday gifts

Since Ive assembled it yesterday hes played with it a good 4 hours. With breaks only when I say, ENOUGH, go do something else for a little while! Daddy needs to go chew some Advil.

One day my sister is going to have kids, oh yes she is. When she does, payback is a beotch. Because each year the toys get louder and more complicated to assemble. Her future husband is going to learn to hate me quickly.

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March 27, 2007

bubbles and swords.

Its been a long, long time since Ive posted anything really about the boys, with pictures. You may recall that last weekend was Clones fourth birthday. We had a lot of fun and he scored himself some pretty cool toys. Which is both good and bad.

Ktreva and I found these foam swords that were made so that kids can actually hit each other with them and not get hurt. Hell, Clone and Boopie whack away at each other with hard plastic lightsabers. I was tired of listening to them scream and felt these would be perfect. Soft foam swords, shields and daggers for the boys to play with. We ended up buying two complete sets for Clone, that way the person hes going after can actually defend themselves.

clone birthday gifts 1.jpg

BTW, soft foam swords still hurt when they hit Mr. Happy and the Good Time Boys.

Clone also scored two bubble guns. One is completely automatic that works like a squirt gun, you load it with bubble and it will continue to shoot until you need to add more bubble juice (?) to the tank. My parents gave him that one. Ktreva and I, based on a recommendation from another parent, bought him a battery powered one that you have to dip into a tray. That one puts forth a cloud of bubbles that will completely cover an entire room.

Clone Birthday gifts 2.jpg

Yea, bubbles of doom!

He got some other toys, such as a Playmobile and a Fischer Price castle, a basketball hoop, and a new game for his V-Smile. But its mainly the swords and bubble gun from hell that he plays with the most.

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March 22, 2007

I don't know where he gets this.

I love my kids. Theyre great really. But sometimes I just want to duct tape them to a ceiling fan. Take for instance yesterday morning. Weve been working with Clone on potty training; hes turning four on Saturday and is in pre-school. Hes been doing pretty well. He will use the bathroom to drop a deuce with out a problem. Its when he has to drain the main vein that we run into issues.

He just does not like to use the potty. From what I can tell, its just out of laziness. He doesnt want to quit doing what ever it is he is doing. Thus he ends up with a pair of jeans soaked in urine. Thats pretty annoying and its not all the time. Its the days he does it 2-3 times in a day that it gets really annoying.

Because of his wetting issues, weve taken to reminding him to go to the bathroom. This usually consists of me saying, Clone, go upstairs and go to the bathroom, NOW! Clone is Mr. Independent. He does not like to be told to do anything or have anything done for him. He wants to do it all himself on his own schedule. So when we remind him to go take a piss, he gets upset. There will be crying, pouting and occasionally screaming over having to go to the bathroom.

Yesterday morning I get Clone up and am getting him ready to go. Of course its time to do the morning emptying of ones bladder. Clone is in the bathroom crying that he doesnt have to go while hes pulling his pajamas out of the way.

Me: Dont forget to pick up the toilet lid

Clone: I dont have to go potty (pulling off pajama bottoms)

Me: Put up the toilet lid.

Clone: I dont have to go potty (Pulling off night time pull-up)

Me: You better put that lid up.

Clone: I dont have to go potty. (Pulling up shirt)

Me: You better not

Clone: I dont have to go potty. (As he pees all over the lid to the toilet.)

Me: God DAMMIT! (Cleaning up piss)

Yea, he lived, but only through the graces of all that is good in the world.

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March 12, 2007

All good things end.

Well I went to school with Clone, I PASSED! I was able to count to ten, knew all of my colors, and didnt get any of my shapes wrong! I are smart. It was interesting to see how he interacted with the other kids. We arrived a little early and were waiting out front with the other parents. I knew something was wrong right away.

First as we were standing outside all the kids were running around playing in the mud, except Clone. As other Fathers were yelling at their kids to get on the sidewalks and behave, I was standing there holding Clones hand. This is not like my son. Any chance to run around and play in snow or mud; Clone would be all over that in a heartbeat. If other kids are doing it, there is no stopping him. Except Saturday, no he was a perfect well-behaved angel.

When we get into the classroom the other kids are running around and yelling. The teachers are trying to get everyone settled down so they could start their program. Clone takes my hand and leads me to his spot. We sit and wait for the others. One of the other dads says to me, He is the best behaved child Ive ever seen. I could only reply with, Thanks, Im just wondering what my wife did to him, because hes not normally like this.

Then during the play time he was well mannered, waited for other to take their turn before he did, didnt take any of the toys away from the other kids or anything like that. Again, it was typically uncharacteristic of my boy. Then after class he helped other kids get their coats on. He was so charming and pleasant; I wanted to know what overcame my genetics.

After class we had some errands to run, we needed to do some shopping. Again he was the perfect child, not getting into anything. Not running around and screaming, not touching things he shouldnt. I was starting to wonder if he was sick. It was after noon by the time we finished, and I decided to that since he was being so well behaved that Id take him and Ktreva out for lunch.

We ended up going to Der Rathskeller, a local German Restaurant that has really good food. It had been a long time since Id eaten there and Ktreva never had. That was when the good behavior ended. All I have to say is that Clone, Sauerkraut, a frankfurter, mustard in a squeeze bottle and a fork is not a good combination. That's more like MY child.

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March 09, 2007

Continueing education.

Its back to school for me tomorrow. Yep, thats right I have to go to school in the morning. Its Clones Day with Dad at his pre-school. Im not exactly sure what it all is involved, but I do know one thing.

I sure hope I pass the tests.

To fail pre-school with a college education would be embarrassing.

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February 16, 2007

Rescued!

YEAH! Ktrevas home! She can take over dealing with the screaming sick boy! Oh, and she brought me home a bottle of Jack Daniels too.

Yea, there is a reason I married here.

Posted by Contagion at 06:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Poor kid.

Clone has steadily been getting worse through out the day. He seemed okay this morning, but as the day went on, the grouchier he became. He complained he didnt feel good and that his cheek and tummy hurt. I feel bad for the poor guy. Theres not a lot of anything I can do. Hes been getting his medication on schedule, but I dont know if thats helping any.

Hes lying on the couch crying right now. I wish there was something/anything I could do to comfort him, but nothing I do seems to work. For most of the day Ive sat on the couch with him watching movies and TV. Weve seen Curious George and Cars, along with various Nickelodeon cartoons.

To all of you stay home mothers out there, are the kids cartoons this bad all the time? Im just wondering, because these were even more stupid then I normally find kids cartoons.

Ive tried getting Clone to take a nap, but he wont. Ive even tried laying down and taking a nap with him. A nap could do me good today, but even with that he wouldnt go to sleep. I just dont know, its hard to see your kids feeling bad and not able to do anything about it.

Posted by Contagion at 02:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

At least he's not puking.

Im home from work today. Clone is a sick boy. It started out with him getting sick Tuesday night. On Valentines day morning Ktreva had to stay home with him as he was feeling not well at all and had a temp. When I got home from work on Wednesday Ktreva tells me Clone also has Pink Eye. Great Well he cant go to daycare with pink eye so Ktreva stays home with him again yesterday.

When I got out of a meeting at work, there was a message for me in my voicemail. Ktreva was able to get Clone in to see our family doctor. He told her that Clone has an upper respiratory infection AND an ear infection on top of everything else.

Yea, this could be a fun day.

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February 06, 2007

Getting older

Ktreva has been telling me for years I need to start watching what I eat. Not because Im a fat bastard, but because of various health reasons including my still undiagnosed medical condition. (Yea, Im loving doctors). Ive heard her say on occasion, You cant eat the crap you did when you were younger anymore. Shes worried Ill have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or some funky self-digesting disease. Er, um, scratch that last one.

Anyway Im starting to think she may be right. When I was younger I could spend a weekend eating chips and salsa, drinking beer, and hitting some fast food joint for a middle of the night feast. Id wake up the next morning and be just fine. This weekend I think she has her empirical evidence that she was right, unlike those Global Warming scientists. (Bastiches! Its 15 when I left for work with a 30 windchill!).

It all started Friday night. I had Pizza and Beer for dinner, which was followed on Saturday with more pizza, pizza rolls, chips, beer and Scotch. On Sunday I had Beer, pickled herring, lilsmokies in hot n spicy Bar-b-que sauce, deviled eggs, boneless hot wings, chips, and some pumpkin dip oh and beer. Monday I headed back over to help finish off the keg and the leftovers from the Super Bowl. That night on the way home I stopped and got me a baby head sized burrito.

Today I the most foul human on the face of the earth, it feels like my colon is trying to squirt all of my insides out. Fortunately, its all the consistency of applesauce so it doesnt hurt too badly. Ive had to use the restroom at work no less then four times. Each time there was at least one other man in there. Each time I heard a statement of exclamation over the horrid scent.

I would have enjoyed it more if it werent for the fact that my arse was on fire.

Posted by Contagion at 06:12 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 12, 2007

There's one for the counselor.

Something happened last night that I just cant put words to. Im still a little scarred from the whole thing. Since its happened Boopie really hasnt been able to look me in the eye. Last night I walked into Boopies room and well, Im going to let this song tell the story for me.

Warning: Language and song lyrics NSFW. Don't play unless you have headsets on and small ones can't hear.

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but I would have preferred to catch that, oh uh, never!

Now excuse me, I'm going to go try to drink the mental image out of my brain.

Posted by Contagion at 05:47 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 08, 2007

Hair of a different color.

Ktreva is running a poll on what color she should dye her hair. My wife is practically perfect in every way, I really dont think she needs to color her hair. Yet I know she is going to do it. So for the love of all that is good and right in the world, go over and pick bright red. Do it for me, cmon. You know you want to.

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December 26, 2006

Soft my bruised body!

A word of advice for all the parents out there; Just because the box says Soft Air, it doesnt mean the little plastic BBs come out softly.

For Christmas Boopie received a soft air handgun, shotgun and M-16 (fully Automatic). I figured these would be good starter firearms to get him used to modern firearm safety. We even gave him an electronic target system so he could practice his aim. Thinking these couldnt be that dangerous, I didnt see how it would hurt anything. I mean cmon, they are spring-loaded firearms that shoot plastic BBs. Whats the worst that could happen?

A series of BB sized bruises all over me is what could happen! And before you go yelling, You shouldnt be shooting each other with the guns, we werent. I was catching ricochets off of the targeting system. Hell the shotgun is strong enough to have broken the plastic backing on the target box. I put up a backdrop to keep the little plastic BBs from going everywhere, but they would ricochet off of that. I was hit in the leg arm and shoulder. Those little buggers hurt. Hell, one stray shot may or may not have broken a window in a neighbors garage.

Im just glad I bought him protective eyewear. We dont want him to shoot his eye out.

Posted by Contagion at 07:33 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

Ginger Bread Houses.

We had a full weekend here in the Contagion family house. Saturday Ktreva and I took Clone to do some Christmas shopping. Folks let me give you some advice, if you are going to go shopping at crowded stores with packed parking lots; dont drive the extra long pickup truck. With almost no available spaces and people parking like idiots, its really hard to navigate in and out of the spaces. At a local Best Buy store not only are the spaces narrow so they can squeeze more cars in, the lanes are narrow as well.

When we came out of the store I had two cars parked so close to me I could barely get the doors open wide enough to climb in. I also had to make a 54-point maneuver to get out of the stall with out hitting anyone. Thats with me getting less then an inch away from the cars around me.

After shopping we took Clone to Midway Village for a Victorian Christmas Traditions show. It wasnt exactly what I thought it was going to be, I was hoping for more into the Victorian era customs surrounding Christmas. They did go into some, but it was more of a fun thing for kids. At the different buildings the kids were able to do different Christmas crafts. At the Printers, Clone was able to make a Christmas calling card with his name on it with an authentic 1800s printing press. The Hardware Store had curled paper snowflakes. In the bank Clone made a Christmas ornament out of candy, string and tissue paper. Which was fun at first, but he got bored with rather quickly when we wouldnt let him eat the candy.

In the Blacksmith shop he properly told people what the smith was doing, much to the surprise of the smith. I just explained were re-enactors and he sees smithing all the time. We skipped the cornhusk dolls and the yarn angels. Clone really had no desire to do any. At the hospital he had cookies with Father Christmas, AKA Santa Clause. Except it was the historical Father Christmas. He was tall, thin and wearing a green coat. Not the Coke-a-cola version we are all used to today.

In the houses they had them all decorated for a Victorian Christmas. The trees had candles, bows, and homemade ornaments. There was garland ropes and holly held in place with red bows and ribbons. It was really neat to see. At the last house we stopped in they were making gingerbread houses. I wish they had gone into some history behind gingerbread houses, but when I asked one of the volunteers she looked at me as if I had asked her to list pi to the 874 place. Clone had a lot of fun with this. He made his very first, and probably last, gingerbread house. I think what he had the most fun with was making a mess.

Ginger Bread House 001.jpg
Yes, thats frosting and not glue holding it together.

Ginger Bread House 003.jpg
I know; thats a lot of frosting.

For once Clone actually sat down and did a craft for almost 30 minutes. He had fun smearing the real frosting (Egg whites, powdered sugar and cream of tartar) which was great until the frosting dried. At that point it hardens into a concrete like substance. That is why they use it for gingerbread houses. Its mortar you can eat.

We finished our day at the village with a horse drawn sleigh/wagon ride around the village. It was a little cold, but with all of us huddled together under lap blanket it really gave you that winter sleigh ride feeling. The horses even had jingle bells.

After we left there we bought a Christmas tree. We set a record this year. We found the perfect tree in less then 5 minutes of arriving. Clone is very excited over having a tree in the house. Now the fun of keeping him away from it starts.

Posted by Contagion at 06:32 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 05, 2006

Only Clone.

Ktreva is getting ready for Christmas. Decorations and pictures are going up around the house. There is now a picture of Clone when he was one sitting on Santas lap next to the computer. Im sitting here catching up on some of the blogs I read when Clone comes up to see what Im doing. Right away he notices the picture of himself with Santa. He starts doing the excited hop. All the parents out there that have or had children that where this age know exactly what Im talking about.

With all the glee and excitement that only a three year old seeing Santa can muster, her yells out. Look Dad, its me and the Ho-Ho!!

Tomorrow I need to buy a new keyboard.

Posted by Contagion at 06:39 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 21, 2006

Preparing

The in-laws are coming to town for Thanksgiving. That means its time to clean the house from top to bottom They are going to be here tomorrow and we havent started yet.

Its going to be a long night.

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November 17, 2006

So much for the alarm.

I dont even know how to start this post. Something happened tonight that I just didnt expect tonight and it scared the living daylights out of me. I was in the kitchen getting Clone something to drink when there was a knocking at the front door. Before I had a chance to answer it, Clone ran to the door. He unlocked the deadbolt and let a guy into the house.

The guy was trying to deliver a pizza. We hadnt ordered a pizza. It didnt take long to figure out he had the wrong house; he meant to go to the neighbors. After he was on his way I scolded Clone for answering the door and explained that he is NEVER to answer the door, he is to get either Ktreva or myself.

Fortunately this turned out to be nothing, but the thought of him letting some stranger into the house scared the ever-loving shite out of me. I know he has seen Ktreva or I answer the door a thousand times, and was just doing what he thought was right. Even after explaining it to him, I dont think he understood the gravity of the situation. Ive been raking my brain thinking of things I could do to prevent this from happening again and Im coming up with a blank. We have a chain on the door that is high enough he cant reach it, but that isnt always the solution. Like tonight, Ktreva was on her way home, and chaining the door would have locked her out of the house. Its just not practical to use the chain every time we shut the door.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate them. Until then, Im thinking well just have to suck it up and use the chain. The next time he might let in the local homeless guy that comes around every couple of weeks looking for a hand out. The last thing I want to do is to try and wrestle him out of the house.

Posted by Contagion at 07:46 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 17, 2006

Weekend in review.

Sorry, I havent been around. Its been a busy weekend for me. Friday night I went to an Ice Hogs game. They are a local minor league hockey team. Im not a fan of hockey, I just wanted to go hang with some friends and drink beer. Which we did, we ended up leaving the boring game early and went to a bar to harass a co-worker that bartends there. Ahh, good times!

Saturday the family and I day tripped it to Fort Obie, a re-enactment in Colona Illinois. IT was a nice little event. All week I had my doubts about going, I wasnt feeling the best and all. Ktreva kept being adamant about our going. Come to find out that she custom ordered a knife for me in August with the agreement shed pick it up at Fort Obie. Then the River Scum finally convinced me to attempt to join the ONW (Old Northwest Company). Its a loosely organized group of re-enactors. Im actually pretty honored they wanted me. Im not a member yet, there are steps one has to follow in order to become a member, but Im on my way.

Sunday we went and visited Tammi for some Football and conversation. True to her nature, she refused to just let us munch on chips and frozen pizza while watching the game. She made her legendary Mexican Manicotti, had some appetizers and then she even made a pie from scratch, a peanut butter pie. People, that had to be one of, if not the best pies Ive had. It was absolutely delicious! If you ever get a chance to try it, youd be a fool not to.

Sunday night I ended up going over to a friends house to watch the Oakland Vs Denver game. Monday night I was back over there for the Bears Vs. Cardinals game. If any of you turned off that game before the end, you missed one hell of a game. It started out boring, but it turned real good in the fourth quarter. The Bears squeaked out a win due to the grace of their defense.

Monday was Boss day as well. My unit actually went out of their way to get me a card and a gift certificate for a nice restaurant in town. I dont take gift getting too well, so they really loved watching me turn beet red in embarrassment. They were still talking about it today.

Tonight I have to pack for Trail of History. Its our last re-enactment of the season. Both Ktreva and I love this event and look forward to it every year. The thing we dont like about this event is that it is the last event of our season. That means it will be six months before we are able to see some of our friends again. Due to my health this year, Im not going to participate in the battle. Im even thinking of not bringing my musket.

Its supposed to be cold and rainy with a chance of snow. We kind of figured that was going to happen, this event is taking place later in the year than normal. It always takes place the third full weekend of October. That usually means its usually around Oct 16-18. Since October first fell on a Sunday, its happening the 21 and 22. Im really glad my demonstration is distilling. Its hard to get too cold keeping a fire going under a large copper still.

Posted by Contagion at 05:25 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 12, 2006

38-0

Sorry I didnt get back with everyone yesterday. Boopie's game went much better then planned. They won 38 to 0. Boopie even made two huge plays. He recovered an onside kicked and made two tackles that would have allowed the other team to score. After the game the whole team was ecstatic over their win.

That was until they found out that they werent going to be in the playoffs. The school district changed how many teams were going to be in the playoffs and Boopies team would have had to score two more points in order to take the last spot. Fortunately that didnt take away from the win. The boys were just happy they won a second game and that they blew out the other team.

Boopie is already planning on trying out for the football team next year when he goes to High School.

Posted by Contagion at 04:33 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 11, 2006

...And let him get a touchdown too!

Im off to Boopies last regular season game of the year. Please, pray for a win. His team is 1-6 and going up against the only team that has a worse record then they do. For some goofy mathematical reason, this game is actually important. If his team wins they will be the 7th place team (out of 8), if they lose they will be the 8th place, ie last, in the conference.

If they win, they actually get into the playoffs. If they lose, they dont. Hes been taking the loses rather hard, and I would at least like to see him make the playoffs. Plus he has more fun when he wins and Id like to see him actually enjoy two of their games.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Contagion at 02:55 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 09, 2006

Anniversery over.

We finally arrived back in town. We had a good weekend, it would have been better if the Packers either A) Rayner hadnt missed a field goal or the Pack hadnt fumbled on that last drive costing them the game. It was still a good game and we had a lot of fun.

I just couldnt believe how upset North Korea was over the loss. Who would have thought that the N. Koreans would detonate a Nuclear Weapon upon receiving word that the Packers lost. Thats just some crazy stuff there.

Posted by Contagion at 02:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 09, 2006

Educating the Clone

Clone is growing up so fast. He started school last Thursday. Well, pre-school, but still school. Ktreva took Boopie to get some new school clothes. While they where out Boopie decided that Clone should have a shirt like Boopie’s for the first day of school. Which was a pretty good idea since Clone is in that stage that he wants to do everything his brother does. In the mornings I have to pack Boopie a lunch, I need to make Clone one too, even if he doesn’t go to school that day. (It’s just a banana in a bag)

Clone's first day of school.jpg
Clone and Boopie before school

Ktreva took some time off of work to take Clone to school the first day. She wanted to see him off and get some pictures. From what she says, Clone had a great time and was really excited. When she picked him up, he was mad at having to leave. Apparently he enjoyed school. Then again, when I was his age I enjoyed school too. It wasn’t until they started teaching me things like Trigonometry that I really started hating it.

Clone at School.jpg
Clone and his Teachers

I’m glad he enjoyed school, which makes it easier to take him then if he doesn’t like it. However, I wish he didn’t like it so much. He’s constantly asking to go to school. It’s kind of annoying.

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September 01, 2006

Set backs.

Clone has been doing good with potty training, until today. He’s gone almost 2 weeks with out an accident. Then today he wet himself twice. Once he was trying to get to the bathroom at the daycare but another kid was in there and he couldn’t hold it any longer. The other was just him not going.

That, however, is not the worst of it. After I got him home tonight everything was fine, then he said he had to go potty and off he went. He’d been in the bathroom for 10 minutes and I knew something was up. When I walked in he looks at me and says, “I did a poop in the potty!” Well there was poop in the potty, but there was also poop on the seat, on the side all over his pants and underwear. He must have pooped his pants and tried to get it in the toilet to try to cover it up.

His fecal creation did not want to cooperate. It looked like he was playing with brown Playdoh and had it everywhere. I don’t know what was worse; trying to clean it off of the toilet or off of him. The scene was almost reminiscent of another incident we had last year.

GAH! Back to stage 1.

Posted by Contagion at 05:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 31, 2006

Boopie's big game.

Boopie had his first football game last night. He had aspirations of being a running back; at this time the coaches have him playing special teams. He’s on the kicking teams, both kicking and returns. He’s not a kicker; he’s one of the blockers/defenders. He’s a little disappointed, but he has a good attitude about it. He’s happy he’s getting to play on the varsity team.

Boopie Football.jpg

Here he is in the thick of a play. He’s number 13, the short one kind of left of center in the blue.

He did a pretty good job, he was in the right place at the right times. He also tried to make a couple of big plays. Unfortunately, most of the other players are bigger then he is and he was more of speed bump then anything else. Which does help in slowing down the other team. There was one play where he was trying to get to the other teams returner. A kid that was about 50 pounds heavier and 8 inches taller laid a hit on him that sent Boopie flying back 3 yards. I was about 40 yards away from the play and I could hear the hit clear as a bell. I kid you not when I say Boopie bounced when he hit the ground. He hit and bounced up a good 5 inches.

The first thing that went through my head was, “I’m damn glad Ktreva was taking Clone to the bathroom and didn’t see that hit.” The second was, “I don’t think he’s going to get up after that.” Folks, let me tell you something, the boy surprised me. He’s a small guy, but he can take the hit. Being quick and agile, he was back up on his feet. The defender that hit him had left him for dead on the field. Boopie was able to get to the returner and slow him down enough so that one of his teammates could get in and make the tackle.

I was proud of him. He took his lumps, and shrugged it off with out thinking about it during the game. After the game is a different story, but I’ll take that. He knew that during the game was not time to complain or show weakness. During tonight’s practice, the assistant coach used him as an example of how to handle a hard hit during the game. His team ended up losing, which he took rather badly. We had a talk about good sportsmanship. Being a good sport isn’t just about not bragging when you win, but accepting it when you lose. You learn from the loss and try to improve, not complain about it.

He may just be a football star yet.

Posted by Contagion at 07:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Growing pains.

Poor Boopie. As you recall he decided to play tackle football this year. For the last week and a half the coach has been running practice 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. Now that school has started, he is cutting it down to 2 hours a day still 6 days a week. Boopie being one of the video game generations is not used to all this physical activity. Since Tuesday he has been complaining of soreness in his calf muscle.

I’m pretty sure the boy is suffering from a bad case of lactic acidosis. Especially since the pain is gradually going away. Boopie just doesn’t take to pain or soreness too well. I’ve told him that he needs to listen to the coach and do everything he says, even if he doesn’t want to. During practice he muscles were so sore that between plays he was kneeling down. The coach told him to stop kneeling and stand. After the next play, Boopie kneeled down again. Once more the coach told him to stop kneeling between plays, if he does it again he’s going to take a lap. So guess what Boopie does two plays later? That’s right, he kneels down. The coach has him run a lap around the field.

He was not happy about having to do that at all. On the ride home he was complaining about it. I just pointed out, “If you had listened to me about listening to the coach and doing what he says, you would not have had to run the lap. So who’s fault do you think it was that you had to take a lap?” Boopie, “The Coach.” Me, “No, it was yours. He told you not to do something and you did it anyway. He told you what the consequence was going to be if you did it again, and you did it anyway. You made a conscious choice to disobey the coach. It’s your fault.” Boopie, “But my legs hurt, and he didn’t care.” Me, “You’re right he didn’t care, because he’s also a football player and he knows the best way to get the soreness out is to work it out, not rest and let the lactic acid build back up in your muscles.”

Needless to say, Boopie is sitting in the other room lamenting his decision to kneel in the middle of practice. Now if I could only get him to quit whining about his muscles being sore.

Posted by Contagion at 06:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

Boopie the football star.

Boopie has decided he is going to play football for the school this year, which I have mixed feelings about. Until he decided to play Flag football this summer, he really showed no interest in playing football.

For the last couple of years he has been playing soccer. He hasn’t been the greatest player on the field, but he was decent. I went to games to support him, but I never got into soccer. During the games I would get lost as to what was going on. To be honest I think soccer is a boring game that is used as a punishment in third world countries for lusting after your neighbor’s dog. When Boopie said he wanted to play football, I was elated. It’s a sport I can follow and enjoy. I can go to the games, support my son and know whether or not he did something wrong.

On the other hand I’m afraid for my son’s life. This is full tackle football, not flag football. At practice yesterday I saw some of the kids he’s going to be playing with and against. Some of these kids look like they have been playing football for years now. A couple of them look like they could bench 150; remember these are 12-13 year olds. Boopie on the other hand is small for his age. He’s generally the shortest kid in his class, and I think he weighs 65 pounds soaking wet. When unloading the car after grocery shopping he has a problem lifting a 12 pack of pop.

When talking to him about football, I made sure he understood this was tackle football, not flag. I explained that these kids are going to be doing everything in their power to tackle him. (He wants to be a running back) His response to me is that he won’t get tackled, he’s “too fast and agile”. He has convinced himself that no one will be able to catch him. I’m pretty sure that in his head he is spending his signing bonus he gets for going pro after college.

While at practice I watched him compete for a running back position. Much to his chagrin, he was not the fastest boy on the field, and definitely not the most agile. Plus the two boys that I saw who where faster and more agile then him, where also bigger and stronger. When they where running scrimmage plays I witnessed Boopie get tackled by his own offensive line not once, but twice. He ran into them and fell to the ground.

I’m trying to be a supportive parent, and I want him to enjoy the game, but I don’t think the boy is running back material. We’ve talked and I’m going to work with him, and try to get some weights for him to work with, but I don’t know if it’s going to help this season… or next. I just hope that Boopie doesn’t experience his first broken bones this year.

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August 15, 2006

More joys of parenting.

We’ve been working on potty-training Clone for a while now. Today for the first time we put him in underwear instead of pull-ups. He’s been good about telling us when he has to poop. He’ll tell us if he has to pee… when he’s not busy having too much fun. He’s also been waking up dry in the mornings.

We figured this was as good of time as any to try him in actual “big boy” underwear. So far today we’ve had two “accidents”. To be honest there was nothing accidental about it. He just didn’t want to go to the bathroom.

I’ve potty-trained Boopie, I can potty-train Clone. I just forgot how annoying it was.

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August 04, 2006

Dead, mourning and sleeping.

All right, last day, I promise. Then I get back to the normal drivel that I post.

Our final stop on our vacation was Springfield, Illinois. It’s the state capitol and the site of many Abraham Lincoln historic spots. We’d driven past before, but never stopped so the boys could see anything. One of the places we visited was Lincoln’s tomb in Oakridge Cemetery.

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The tomb itself is rather impressive. It’s also the only tomb I’ve been in that is air-conditioned. There was about a 15 minute talk given by one of the custodians that gave the history of the tomb, including the temporary resting places of Lincoln and his family while it was being constructed. The tomb is maintained solely by the State of Illinois and receives no funding from the Federal Government. According to the guide the only support that was received from the Federal government was 20 brass cannon from the civil war that where melted down to create the four statues commemorating the infantry, cavalry, artillery and navy from the civil war on the exterior of the memorial.

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In the burial chamber is the sarcophagus is inscribed with the words, “Now he belongs to the ages.” A misquote by Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s secretary of war at the time of Lincoln’s death. What the guide told us he really said was, “Now he belongs to the angles”. He was misquoted and it has stuck ever since. Which if you think about it, the misquote is appropriate.

After the tomb we stopped at the Museum of Funeral Customs. Yes, the Museum of Funeral Customs, yes I know. Everyone I’ve told that to has said something along the lines of, “You took your kids to see what?!?!” It actually was rather interesting. They had a scale replica of Lincolns burial train, many different styles of mourning clothes, hearses, embalming equipment, caskets, coffins and other mourning paraphernalia. It was rather interesting.

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A Hearse from the early 1900’s.

Next we went to Lincoln’s New Salem. It’s a replica village of the first settlement Lincoln lived in when he came to Illinois. Since we arrived on a Saturday we were hoping the place would have all kinds of activities going on. Living history demonstrations and re-enactors portraying life in the time period. Maybe even some kind of tour. Unfortunately it was pretty much vacant. There where a handful of volunteers, but nothing was really going on. It was pretty disappointing. None of the trades were being demonstrated and occasionally you would find someone in costume that would give you a brief talk about the building style you where in.

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The boys outside a coopers (barrel maker) house.

This was also the hottest day of our vacation. After walking around for a couple of house we decided we had enough and were ready to leave. If it had been cooler or if maybe there were demonstrations or talks going on we would have stayed longer. We just didn’t feel like walking all over the site looking at empty log cabins that looked like all the other log cabins we had seen over the last 5 years.

Jumping into the van we headed home. Much of the time was spent looking for exploding pavement, as we were traveling down a section of highway that was known to do that in the heat. Not two hours from home Clone took his first nap of the vacation. All the excitement of the previous week had worn him out.

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Tired guy.

That was our trip in a nutshell. We had a lot of fun and saw many different things. I didn’t go into everything we did, as it would have taken another week to write these posts and share pictures.

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August 03, 2006

Food, signs and an arch complex

Last Friday we had the longest day of driving in our trip. In fact that is mainly what we did. We drove from Savannah Tennessee to Springfield, Illinois via St. Louis Missouri. This was about a seven hour, 20 minute drive according to mapquest. Which is a long time for a 3 year old that isn’t too found of riding in a car. Fortunately we had stops along the way planned to help break up the drive.

Our first stop was in Sikeston, Missouri. About two months before leaving for vacation Ktreva was watching the Travel Channel. She was saw the show “World’s Best Places to Pig Out”. We had been saying earlier in the show it would be neat to actually stop by one of these places and check it out. When they reached the number one place, it was Lamberts Café in Sikeston just off of I-55. I had just been planning the route and making reservations and knew we were going to be traveling on I-55. Checking out the maps I confirmed that the restaurant is going to be on our route! We planned on stopping in for a meal there.

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We walked in right as they opened and were seated right away. They had people walking around giving everyone fried okra, black eyed peas, fried potatoes, Macaroni with tomatoes, throwing rolls to hungry diners and someone walking around with sorghum for the rolls. That was even before we ordered our food; the “pass arounds” are free to anyone that orders from the menu. When our actual meal arrived we knew we were in trouble. The portions were huge. Mix that with the all you can eat pass arounds, I can see why this was the number one place to pig out. Oh, and by the way the food was amazing. It tasted excellent and the price was not bad at all. Writing about it makes me hungry.

After leaving Sikeston our next stop was St. Louis. The rest of the family had never seen the Gateway Arch, so we had decided to stop and see it. While driving into the heart of St. Louis, we start seeing billboards that have a picture of a baby and says, “Who’s my Daddy? DNA Testing. 1-800-MY Daddy”. Is this really that big of a problem in St. Louis? I mean there were numerous billboards; this has to be a thriving industry down there. On our trip we drove through Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville. None of them had a place advertising this service. To me this means that if you want to go some place and have anonymous unprotected sex, St. Louis is the place to be.

We had no problem getting to the Arch, we turned off the highway too soon, but it was easy to follow the city streets to the arch.

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We parked, bought our tickets for the tram ride to the top and went to go see the museum. There was a line as they where inspecting people for hazardous and dangerous objects entering the Arch complex. I guess someone might want to blow up the Arch or take it hostage… but I can’t imagine why. It was then I realized that I forgot to take my handy-dandy pocketknife and leave it in the van. The arch is part of the national park service and they frown on any type of knives in their parks/memorials. They had signs up saying it was a federal offence to bring knives into the complex. I had to hike back to the van and drop off the knife.

Upon returning I found the family just ready for some fun!

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Boopie and Clone where fascinated with the tram ride. Once we were all the way to the top, the boys quickly forgot the tram and were fascinated with the view outside the arch.

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Clone got excited at seeing a riverboat on the Mississippi. He demanded that a picture be taken of it.

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The Mighty Mississippi, a riverboat and the State of Illinois.

We walked around the Museum of Westward Expansion looking at what they had there. Okay people, by now most of you probably realize that I am a museum junky. I love the dang things. This museum had some interesting artifacts, the Indian Peace Medal Exhibit. It’s the only museum I’ve been in that has had such a wide collection of them. Other then that, this museum was not that good. Fortunately it was free. Too many of the items on display where not labeled, they really didn’t explain the history very well, oh and if you criticize the museum while you are standing in it, and uppity ranger will come over and give you a lecture… I kid you not.

They had a steering wheel from a riverboat but it wasn’t labeled as to what boat it came from or what it was. If you’ve never seen one of these, they are huge. Not everyone would instantly recognize it for what it was. I was talking to Boopie about, “This place is really missing an opportunity to teach and educate the public about their history. There are no placards telling what any of the items are, like what ship did this wheel come from.” At that point a ranger interrupts me and says, “It came from that.” Pointing to a picture of a riverboat on the wall, The River Queen. Okay, I thought maybe he was going to answer some questions so I ask, “Did it sink, run aground or just discontinue being used?” He responded with, “It didn’t come from that ship, but that style of ship…” He then went on to explain exactly what it was and how it was used, which I already knew. The whole time he seemed annoyed.

After leaving the arch we tried to make our way back to the highway. I say try because it was 5:00PM on a Friday in St. Louis. To quote the Malibu Rum “If Jamaican’s took life as seriously as the rest of the world” campaign, “It’s total gridlock mon!” It took us an hour to go 5 blocks. Mainly because at all the intersections people where pulling out and blocking traffic so that when the lights would change, no one could go. It was insane.

Tomorrow we will go over the last day of our trip.

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August 02, 2006

Soldiers and Spooks.

For those of you that know me, know that I’m a Civil War buff. I love learning about Civil War history. I refuse to re-enact it for reasons too numerous to list right now, but I enjoy learning about it. So when I saw we were going to be driving past the Shiloh National Military Park, I decided we were going to stop and visit. It is one of the few major Civil War battlefields I had not been to.

At the museum center we saw some artifacts and a video about the battle. The video was helpful in explaining the pace or “flow” of the battle. It explained the time line and troop movements so that everyone could follow. After the museum we visited Shiloh National Cemetery, which is on the grounds of the battlefield.

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I would like to take a moment to go over proper cemetery etiquette. When we were at the national cemetery, I witnessed numerous people walking over the graves of the soldiers. This is the final resting place of the fallen soldiers that gave their lives at this battle. Many of the graves contain Unknown Soldier with only a number or “Unknown” on the headstone, but they still where are heroes. Walking over their graves is just tacky. There where many brick or mowed walkways for people to be on, yet on numerous occasions I saw people just stepping over headstones and cutting over graves. Some were being loud and making inappropriate comments, “I need to find a place to sit, I’m dead tired.”

After leaving the cemetery we started our tour of the battlefield.

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Here Ktreva, Boopie and Clone are standing with a cannon from Powell’s Battery, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Prentiss’ (6th) Division, Army of the Tennessee. (The Union named their armies based on major rivers. In this case the Tennessee River)

Before I go on I need to say that I don’t doubt the existence of the supernatural, but I need hardcore evidence. The following photos while interesting I don’t accept as proof of ghosts or other world activity. Kodak, a local camera shop and I cannot explain what happened in these photos, but there are many things that naturally could have caused something like this happening. However usually it affects the entire roll of film and not just two blocks of photos. All the photos on this page came from the same roll of film and are in the order they where taken. (Not all photos are displayed)

Where the union soldiers, and two confederates, where buried in the national cemetery, the rest of the confederates where buried in 5 mass graves. On our way between stop 2 and 3, Ktreva noticed on the map that one of the mass graves was a short walk from the road. She wanted to see it. After a hike down a hardly used trail we found the grave. I snapped a couple of photos. All had some kind of weird discoloration to it.

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Confederate Grave and ???

Then I took some photos that turned out normal. One of them was the Confederate Soldier memorial.

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All normal here

Next we went to the Hornet’s Nest where most of the fighting occurred on the first day. Every photo had some kind of varying anomaly to it. The below photo is of the 62 Confederate cannon that bombarded the Union at the end of the battle.

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Boopie thinks it looks like the smoke of cannon fire.

After that stop we visited the largest of the Confederate mass graves. This is where I took the below picture.

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Click to Enlarge

Ghost? Notice the strange discoloration

The white blur in the middle is most likely glare on the lens... through the polarized cap to prevent glare.

After leaving there we saw the Tennessee State monument to honor the soldiers that fought and died here from the great state of Tennessee. It, and every photo after, turned out normal. As I said, I can’t explain it, I don’t know how happened or why, but it is weird.

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Tennessee State Memorial

We spent the rest of the time touring the battlefield, which is really well marked. I did get a little irritated after a while when I couldn’t find the Illinois State monument. They had a monument from every other state that had a soldier fight and die here. Illinois had more soldiers fighting, wounded and killed in the battle then any other state. Finally I found it. It was on a side road in the middle of a one of the battlegrounds.

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Illinois State Memorial

Again I was surprised at how much the rest of the family enjoyed this trip. Boopie really got into it, asking questions about the Civil War and troop movements. We ended up having to leave the park with out getting to do everything we wanted due to it’s closing and a matter of our being very hungry. We stayed in Savannah, we discovered that the people in Savannah do not believe in restaurants that are not fast food. Or if they do, they hide them from the damn tourists!

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August 01, 2006

Whiskey in the Barrel.

After our two fun filled days in Kentucky we headed to Tennessee. Contrary to comments made, the sun does shine bright in Kentucky. My Scotch/Norwegian legs just don’t take to tanning. They burn, peel, freckle and start over just as pasty white as they where before. Be thankful that they are hairy, less you would go blind from the sun reflecting off them.

After passing through Nashville, which no offense to any of my Tennessee readers is cesspool of what is other ways a beautiful state. I might be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure the rest of Tennessee ships its garbage to Nashville for storage. We were much pleased once we had finally exited its foul limits and onto the Holy Land. Well, okay for me it’s the holy land, Lynchburg, Tennessee. It is the home of Jack Daniel’s Distillery and the oldest registered distillery in the United States.

This was a stop that I wanted. I had been trying to visit for years and it just never happened. When we were planning our vacation this year, I put down my foot and said, “We re-enact as a distiller, we should do the Jack Daniel’s Distillery… for research.” Yea, Ktreva didn’t buy that either, but she still agreed to go. Upon arrival I was like a kid at an amusement park. I could barely contain myself. I was bouncing all over the place trying to speed up the family so we could get inside and start the tour! While we waited for the tour, we spent some time browsing the museum.

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Boopie and Clone in Front of the famous Jack Daniel’s Statue.

We were led on a tour of every aspect of the Jack Daniel’s distillery. Everything from them making their own charcoal from Tennessee Sugar Maple to the final bottling process was a part of the tour. Some of the original buildings are still on the site, like the first office, and we were able to see those. We also where able to see the natural spring that all Jack Daniel’s fine Tennessee Whiskey is made from.

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The grotto in behind this statue of Jack Daniels is where the spring comes out of the ground.

We learned many different things while we were in god’s country the distillery. Such as you can buy an entire barrel of Jack Daniel’s and they will ship it to your local retailer for you after they bottle it. You receive a personalized neck medallion, a special label, the actual barrel that the whiskey was made in with a brass plague and framed certificate of ownership. For those of you curious that makes about 240 750 ML bottles of whiskey.

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Here I am standing with a barrel and all the bottles of whiskey that came out of it.

Of course it’s not exactly cheap. According to their website it costs about $8,400 to $9,600 purchase one. (Depending on the state you are in.) The tour guide had me sold on a barrel as soon as he started talking. When he came to the price, I did the math in my head and figured that in Illinois a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel is usually about $40.00… it was worth it! I looked over to Ktreva all filled with excitement. Before the words could even come out of my mouth she says, “We are NOT buying a barrel of Jack Daniel’s!” It’s not like I was going to mortgage the house… I was just going to drain the kids’ college funds! I mean if you think about it this way… That is almost a two-year supply of Jack Daniel’s for me. I couldn’t go wrong with that! Later in the tour we did learn of some of the people that bought the entire barrel.

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Lucky Bastards!

After the tour we went to the White Rabbit Saloon for lemonade. At this point I must point out that Jack Daniel’s is in a dry county. You cannot buy a drop of liquor there. The only samples of Jack Daniels we could get where sniffing the fine product dripping through the ten feet of charcoal, and when the tour guide pointed out that one of the barrels in the barrelhouse had a slow leak. I think every guy on that tour was licking their fingers as they left the barrelhouse. However, the state, in anticipation of me, passed a law that would allow the distillery to sell commemorative bottles of Jack Daniel’s. Of course I ended up buying a couple. Then, for a surprise of all surprises, Jimmy Bedford, the master distiller himself, was in the saloon. I had him sign the two commemorative bottles I own.

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Jimmy, Me and my bottles of J.D.

After we finished up in the distillery we walked into the historic downtown Lynchburg. We went through many shops, bought souvenirs, and had a good ol’ time. I even bought myself a Jack Daniel’s dispenser made out of an actual barrel used to make Jack Daniel’s in. And yes it is signed by Jimmy too…

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Click to Enlarge

Ktreva even got into Jack Daniel’s fever. She found herself some Jack Daniel’s Martini glasses (Even though she’s going to be drinking nasty appletinis out of it) and for dinner she ordered herself a Jackarita (A Margarita made with Jack Daniel’s). Boopie made the announcement that Jack Daniel’s is his favorite whiskey. (I don’t think he’s ever tasted a drop). Contrary to what some might believe, the entire family had fun at the distillery. It was probably the most popular stop we made with everyone.

Tomorrow, we head to Shiloh!

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July 31, 2006

Corvettes, Caves and Curves.

The next two days of our trip was spent in the beautiful state of Kentucky. We spent two nights in Bowling Green, home of the greatest car ever made, the Chevrolet Corvette. The family and I spent a couple of hours just touring the National Corvette Museum. If you are a car fan, or just love Corvettes, it’s worth the stop if you are in the area. There was a lot of history about the car and even different displays showing the evolution of Corvettes.

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Ktreva had her favorite, the ever so rare Tangier Shrine Corvette Patrol 1962 Vette in Cadillac Royal Heather Amethyst. Only 13 of these cars were built, and one of the only surviving ones is on display at the museum. Now you could say she likes it because it’s a classic, or it looks great… but truth be told it’s because I don’t care what color they say it is, it looks pink and Ktreva likes the color pink.

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Me on the other hand stuck with my favorite. They did not have the 1992 Corvette ZR-1, but they did have a couple of the 1991 models, which is close enough. This was the car that I lusted after when I was a senior in High School and through out college. It was the first car I remember actually drooling over.

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After the Corvette Museum we took Clone into his first cave, but not just any cave. The Lost River Cave. It’s an underground river that runs through a cave. You get to view the sites by riding in a boat.

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I’ve visited numerous caves in my lifetime, but I have never taken an underground boat ride before last week. There was a lot of history to this cave, and we had a good guide that not only liked to talk, but also at least sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Clone also developed an affinity towards caves. This was just the first of three we went into, including Mammoth Cave and Outlaw Cave. If it was up to Clone I’m sure we would have visited many more.

Ktreva had a chance to go horseback riding. Since Clone was too young to go, and I have a strong hatred of horses, we stayed back while she took Boopie out on the open trail. While we were waiting Clone saw a chair lift for an Alpine slide. He didn’t care about the slide; he just wanted to ride the chair. Can you guess what Clone and I got to do, that’s right, ride the chair lift. We also went go-carting and ate ice cream.

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When Ktreva and Boopie finished their trail ride, we all went to Guntown Mountain. Which had a Wild West town on top of one a “mountain” (aka really big hill as none of these were actual mountains.) They had a chairlift to get to the top, which of course Clone loved. Maybe it was because we were there in the middle of the week, but it wasn’t that busy. They had some gunfights, a magic show and a couple of other shows they put on. There was a Can-can show that I dragged the family to. Boopie wasn’t all that interested at first, until he saw what it was. Hey pretty girls kicking up their legs showing off their petticoats and stockings are enough to get any teenage boy interested. At the end of the show the girls where selling off their garters if you wanted one. I didn’t buy one because my wife was sitting there with me and I didn’t feel like getting into that kind of trouble. Boopie was too shy to go up and get one, but not Clone. Heck no, he loved it; he went up paid his money and removed a garter from the girl of his choice.

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That’s my boy!

We had a lot of fun in Cave Country Kentucky, we spent two days there and where only able to do a handful of the attractions that we would have liked to have done. Including only one of the Mammoth Cave tours. The one tour we took there lasted for four hours and only traversed about three quarters of a mile of this huge cavern.

There is a lot of fun to be had in this region of Kentucky. All of the above attractions where with in 30 minutes of where we stayed, and many of them where in the same town. We enjoyed every minute of our visit there.

Tomorrow I will go into our next part of our trip and my visit to the Holy Land, the Jack Daniels Distillery.

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July 30, 2006

I have returned!

We’ve returned from our whirlwind adventures through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. The family had a great time. We were able to see a lot of interesting sites, learn new things and have a lot of fun. Over the next couple of days I’ll share with you some photos and stories of all that we did.

We left bright and early Sunday morning for our first destination, Lafayette, Indiana. Our first stop was the Tippecanoe Battlefield. Unlike when Ktreva and I were here last February, the weather was nice enough for us to want to walk the battlefield. Well, it was nice enough for me to make the family walk the battlefield. We walked the entire field. Even parts of it where there were no markers. I didn’t realize that when we started the walk, fortunately we avoided all the poison ivy.

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Ktreva, Boopie and Clone in front of the Tippecanoe memorial monument.

After the Battlefield we went to the Wolf Park. Unfortunately our favorite guide was out of town that day. We ended up settling on one of the other guides. Don’t get me wrong, they were good, but it’s always better if you have your favorite. Clone wanted to go play with the “big doggies.” After some convincing that A) They were not doggies 2) The wolves probably did not want to play with him D) The people in the cage had training, he was okay with just looking at the “big doggies” play. We did learn why you don’t have pizza delivered to the park. Apparently the wolves loves them some pizza.

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I never realized wolves, like humans, would get lazy and order pizza if they didn’t feel like “cooking”.

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They tried to do a feeding demonstration, unfortunately after gorging on pizza, they where only interested in sniffing the deer. In fact one wolf sniffed the deer and looked at the handler like, “What, deer again?”

We also were able to see a wolf and bison demonstration. The park put three wolves in with a herd of bison to so the public could see how they interact. This is when we learned that other then pizza, wolves are the number one predator for Granny Smith apples. There were some times when the wolves would approach the bison, only to be driven off by one of the large adults. A whole pack of wolves versus a sick or young bison is a threat. One wolf versus a full-grown bull is just funny to watch. The boys learned about strength in numbers.

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The Great Grey Apple Hunter

It was that night we learned of the sniper shootings on the Indiana interstates. In fact one of them was on the interstate we were traveling on. Great! That’s what we need on our vacation. Traveling with a three year old who hates to ride can be tense enough, throw in the big electric signs along the interstate that read, “WARNING! Report any suspicious activity on overpasses to the police” and the radio warnings didn’t help. Fortunately we come through Indiana with out any new ventilation holes in the van.

Monday morning we went to breakfast with Laughing Wolf, who had made it back to town. It was nice being able to visit with him again. It wasn’t until we were back on the road that we realized that we forgot to get a picture of the family with him. We had meant to get one.

More photos and details of our trip will come later. For those of you that are interested in the supernatural, I have some very interesting photos from the Shiloh Battlefield. Right now it’s just good to be back.

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July 22, 2006

We're outta here!

Suitcases packed, Van loaded, maps sorted, it’s vacation time. First stop, the Wolf Park. Ktreva and I went to Wolf fest this year and met some great people, as well as visiting the park. At the time we decided maybe we’ll bring the boys back sometime, we thought since we are passing right by there, we’re going to stop and see it. Laughing Wolf has been forewarned and has allegedly put the park on lockdown for crazy re-enactor types interested in wolf hides. Do you know what the street value is on them? (I’m kidding, since I wouldn’t think of doing anything like that… for long.) Plus then the boys can see the Tippecanoe battlefield. Boopie spent some time learning about it this year and it we thought it would be nice for him to see where the battle actually took place.

Then it’s off on a weeklong, whirlwind adventure of Kentucky, Tennessee and now Missouri. I’m trying to get a couple of bloggers in those states to come out from their shells, but so far it hasn’t been too promising. I thought the image of a Northerner sweating in the ungodly southern summer heat would be appealing, apparently I was wrong. That’s okay, it appeals to my shy and introverted nature.

I’m going to try to make updates when I can, but no promises.

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July 20, 2006

Education.

Well, Ktreva is off on another whirlwind adventure for work, at least this time she’s only gone one night. Since she was not home I thought it would be a good time to remind the boys about firearm safety, especially since I procured 9 boxes of ammo today.

After locking the ammo in a safe box. It’s rated for ammunition and the only key to it is on my key chain. I explained to the boys again, and yes even Clone, firearm safety. Just because he is three doesn’t mean he should not learn about firearm safety. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t mystify firearms, it takes away the allure of them in children. After about a good hour education process I sent the boys to play while I cooked dinner.

I hadn’t been cooking thirty minutes when Clone comes running into the kitchen. Clone, “Dada, Dada, Brother has a gun.” Thinking that Boopie might be playing with the flintlock rifle I gave him for his birthday I come out of the kitchen, in a hurry. Nope, Boopie’s rifle is right where it should be; Boopie has a toy pistol made of metal that looks similar to my .357 revolver.

I’d say I laughed, but I didn’t. I was proud of Clone. He saw what her perceived as a dangerous situation and quickly went to get an adult. That people is proper gun control. The kind that is up to the parent to teach, not the kind where the government outlaws firearms. Oh, and before you ask, All of my firearms are secured and the ammunition is locked away where the boys can’t get to it. So, unless they bring home ammunition from the Day Care, and figured out how to open the gun cases, they would not be able to hurt anyone with them… well unless they started throwing the cases at each other.

Posted by Contagion at 09:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

Fun with the boys.

Monday I took the day off of work. I didn’t have a good reason to, other then I just wanted to take the day. I had been taking a lot of days off due to home improvements and the such, and I felt it would be nice to take a relaxing day, one that I didn’t have to do anything or go anywhere if I didn’t want to. Well I wanted to go somewhere. I decided to take the boys to the Burpee Museum of Natural History. It’s a small local museum, but some of you may have heard of it before. It has been in the national scientific spot light for the last couple of years due to a discovery that was made by a research team. In August of 2001 a team from the museum found the fossil remains of a relatively small dinosaur in Montana.

The controversy started with what kind of Dinosaur they had found. Some felt it was an extremely rare (Ie they only have the skull of one other) Nanotyrannus or a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex (Which is rare in and of itself). After many years of debate (which from what I understand is still on going) it was decided that Jane (What they named the beastie) was in fact a Juvenile T-Rex, 11 years old.

That didn’t subside the excitement around Jane. With roughly 50% of her skeleton preserved, she is the most complete single dinosaur find. Most of the time when we see skeletons in museums they are generally pieced together from different skeletons and have fabricated bones. Scientists from all over the country have come to look at Jane to examine her.

They finished her display last summer, but I have not had a chance to get down there to view her. I had the day alone with Clone and Boopie, Ktreva had to work, so I thought it would be fun to take them to see the dinosaurs. Clone had no idea what I was talking about when I told him where we were going. When we came around the corner and there was Jane, and some other dinosaurs (Including a full size T-rex) he let out a resounding “WOW” that echoed through the museum. Boopie found it neat to finally see the dinosaur that has been in the local and national news. For a small museum, they do have a nice display for the dinosaurs. Then again it is the centerpiece of the museum, and the only display really worth seeing.

After the Natural History Museum, I took the boys next door to the Discovery Center. It’s a learning area that teaches kids about science through a hands on experience. IE I tricked the kids into learning. While they thought they where playing, they where learning about physics and human development. Even I learned something there. Over the last year, we’ve had a lot of people telling us Clone is big for his age. I just put it off as they didn’t know what they where talking about. While at the Discovery Center they have a development section. There was a wall that you could stand up against and measure your height to that of other people your age. Clone was off the chart for 3 year olds by about an eight of an inch. I guess he is big for his age.

The boys both had a lot of fun at the Discovery Center. Boopie was able to see how fast of a baseball he can pitch, Clone learned that he can make an air cannon out of a vacuum cleaner and some tennis balls. I learned that I really need to protect Mr. Happy and the Goodtime boys better when Clone is trying to make an air cannon out of hoses.

Posted by Contagion at 07:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 27, 2006

She's gone

GAH! She left! She left me! She left me to go to Chicago for 3 whole days! She didn’t learn from last time. I’m not Single Dad again. Of course to make matters most difficult, my first day I have to work until 6:00 PM, which means I had to make arrangements for Clone. That made life a little bit more interesting.

By the time I got home tonight it was well after 6:30 PM. Dinner wasn’t done until 7:00 PM. Yes, I admit I made a crappy cheap and easy meal. It took clone all of 15 minutes to decide he didn’t want it and throw it onto the floor. He wanted his mama. GAH!!!! Finally I put him to bed; well I attempted to put him to bed. We could not find his favorite stuffed Animal… the poisonous tree frog. We also couldn’t find a pacifier. After twenty minutes of searching we finally found one. It was hidden behind the couch.

I know at one time we had close to 10 of the damn things, but where they are at now, no one knows. Well no one in this house at least. I think Ktreva might now where they are at, but she’s not here.

Tomorrow I have to rush from work, get the boys, run home meet the electrician (Com Ed is cutting power to our house so he can finish up). That should be fun with Clone. He’ll be nice and happy to play with, especially with no power.

Posted by Contagion at 07:27 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 26, 2006

I guess I'm famous.

The other day I was sitting on the computer playing Age of Empires III. It’s one of my favorite games. There is just something satisfying about building up an army and then decimating your opponent. Especially when I have a bunch of Indian allies that I can turn loose upon the unsuspecting settlers. When I hear their death screams it’s soothing. Much like the relaxing sound of a soft rain on a warm summers evening.

Clone comes over and decides he wants to watch me play. That’s not unusual, he also is fascinated by the settlers death cries. This time he decided that instead of getting his own chair, he wanted to sit on my lap. Sure, no problem. Maybe it’s harder to play, but I was getting toward the end of the game and I pretty much had already won. All I had to do was send the amassed army of 50 natives, 30 cavalry, 80 infantry and 18 artillery against the unsuspecting French. All was going well.

Then Clone looks up onto the computer desk and sees my Silent Bob Action Figure. He points at it and says, “That’s you, dada!” Looking at where he’s pointing, I chuckle and try to explain that no, no that’s not me at all. Clone looks at me like I am on crack and with all the seriousness a 3 year old has states, “No, that’s you!” Trying to argue with a 3 year old is an exercise in futility. However, I’m a stubborn man, so I tried. For 20 minutes I argued with him that it was not me, it was in deed Silent Bob. Apparently Clone is also stubborn, he must get it from his mother. At the end of twenty minutes I gave up. Telling him, “You’re right. That’s me.” I was hoping that would shut him up.

Did that work?

Hell no! Looking me in the eye, in all seriousness he says, “Dada, you tell the truth! It’s naughty to lie. You can’t say it’s not you!” Then he kept going on about how I have a statue of myself. I was torn between laughing from the loss of sanity to duct taping him to the ceiling fan.

I can see where he might think it looks like me. We both have facial hair. We’re both bigger guys, I do wear a hat a lot (only not backwards) and I do have a black overcoat that I wear to work on colder days. At least my son thinks I’m famous.

Posted by Contagion at 07:12 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 14, 2006

We've moved into the 1900s.

Our house has an antique cast iron lion foot bathtub in the main bathroom. I say main because at sometime a previous owner built a makeshift bathroom in the basement, but really this house only has one bathroom. The basement is an unfurnished limestone basement. The “bathroom” down there has no walls; it’s just a toilet in a corner of the basement with a crude shower built next to it. There are no walls surrounding it. For years we never had a real shower to use.

That is until today. After years of putting it off, I finally installed a shower in the bathroom. Well actually I bought a conversion kit to turn the lion footed bathtub into a shower. We like the antique tub and didn’t want to get rid of it. That and the fact it weighs a ton and is on the second floor also helped the decision. I really didn’t want to have to move the beast if I didn’t have to. Due to many other reasons I just never got around to converting the tub. Mainly it was because of laziness. Hey, I’m not denying it.

A couple of weeks ago the faucet on the tub started leaking. It wouldn’t turn off completely. The best we could do was slow it to a fast drip. Mainly it would just run as off the faucet was cracked open. All right, I needed to replace the faucet. If I was going to do that, I might as well install the shower. That was when I discovered that most of the local hardware stores do NOT stock the shower conversion kits anymore. I guess they figure that if a house had a lion footed tub, it would have been converted by now.

After searching for weeks I went to a locally owned hardware store, Nicholson Hardware. People, this is the best hardware store on the planet. It is stocked with just about everything you could look for in home improvement. Not only that but the staff is not only knowledgeable in all things hardware and home improvement, but also they are courteous, helpful and extremely eager to please. The only problem with this hardware store is its business hours. Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. It’s a contractor’s hardware store, hence why they have everything under the sun.

When I entered I found the new faucet easily enough, but I couldn’t find the rest of the stuff to make it into a shower. I asked the clerk and he told me that I could buy it piece by piece, or they had an all-inclusive kit that contained all of the parts. He then told me that the kit would be cheaper then buying all the part piecemeal. Sure enough he was right.

Ktreva was excited over the prospect of finally having a useable shower in the house. My father, the plumbing and electrical engineer, came over to give me a hand installing it. It only took about an hour and now all it needs is a couple of shower curtains and we are ready to… well shower I guess.

Now I don’t have to worry about falling asleep in the tub in the mornings.

Posted by Contagion at 07:34 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 13, 2006

From the dawn of time I came.

When we moved into our house, there was an old swing set in the back yard. It had been horribly neglected and was pretty badly rusted through. After our first year of living here, I ended up having to remove it. Removing of the metal was easy; I cut it up into smaller parts and set it out for the trash. That was only the part above ground. I had to dig up the posts sticking out of the ground.

Figuring that whoever installed it probably did the typical cement in the coffee can anchor system; I didn’t think it would be a problem. Quickly I discovered that the idiots had dug four huge holes, put the swing in place and then filled the holes with concrete. These concrete blobs (Blocks does not describe them) where huge, each one looks like they poured five gallons of concrete into the hole.

For the longest time they say in the back yard because the trash company wouldn’t take them and I couldn’t find of a way to dispose them… other then rebury them in the back yard. Since they where safety hazards I moved them to the side of the house with the help of Graumagus where they sat for the last 4 years. Every so often I would see if I could find of a way to dispose of them and I never could. The only option I had was to break them up into smaller chunks. That just sounded way too much like work, and I just let them sit there.

Now we are having a central air unit installed in the house. Those blocks are sitting exactly where it’s going to go. That means they must be disposed off. Earlier today I ran to Farm and Fleet to pick up the tools I was going to need to break these behemoth blobs of concrete up. I bought the biggest sledgehammer they had, 12 pounds, and a concrete chisel. I already own a good hand sledge, so I didn’t need to get one of those.

After work, I came home moved the first blob into the back yard and started my daunting task of trying to break it up into smaller, more disposable chunks. Now I understand why they used to have prisoners break stone. Sure it will build upper body strength, but after an hour I had no desire to do anything but take a nap. Of course, that was only one of those blobs destroyed. I spent a total of 3 hours in the backyard breaking these chunks up. People walking by where staring in disbelief at what they saw.

Every hit small shards of concrete would go flying in every direction. I sent some flying a good 30 feet away into neighbor’s yards and into the alley. I’m damn glad I had safety goggles on, or I probably would have lost an eye on at least three occasions. I had to alter between the big sledge and the hand sledge in chisel to give my arm a rest. The sledge used the muscle in the upper arm, while the hand sledge used more of the forearm. During one of my breaks Ktreva made the comment that it was a good work out, and that if I did it for 20 minutes a night my arms would be ripped. I had to correct her. My right arm would look like something off of a body builder, my left arm would look the same.

After getting the second one broken up into disposable chunks, I had enough for the night. There was no way I was going to tackle a third one. I just didn’t have the strength and stamina to keep going. That was about an hour and a half ago. Now I sit here, covered in concrete dust, my right arm aching and hanging limply at my side. I barely had the strength to lift up my hand so I could type this post. My shoulder is sore and I’m thinking of taping a bag of ice to it in the fashion of a baseball pitcher after a game.

Ten years ago this wouldn’t have been an issue. I would have had all four of those blobs broken up and disposed off. Not now, now I feel like I’m a feeble old man.

I hate getting older.

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June 07, 2006

Bubbles that should not be.

Did you know that it is possible to have too many bubbles in a bubble bath? Last night in an attempt to not only clean Clone, but to also calm him down, I decided to give him a bath. Clone loves the bath, especially a bubble bath. He gets clean and he gets to play for a while. I figured this would be perfect, kill two birds with one stone. I’ve given Clone baths before; I didn’t think it would go any differently this time. Well, that is except for my adding bubble bath to the water.

I start the bath, and put a little bit of the bubble bath into the water. There wasn’t much of a reaction. After adding some more there still wasn’t much of an effect. So I put more in. Now we have a reaction. Bubbles started forming as I expected so I went to finish getting Clone ready for the bath. When I returned to the bathroom, the tub was full. I turned off the water and went to check the water to make sure it wasn’t too hot before putting Clone in. I sank up to my elbow in bubbles before finding water. We have an old lion footed cast iron bathtub, so it’s pretty deep. I had it about a quarter filled with water and the rest was bubbles.

GREAT! Owell… Clone should have fun with this so I placed in the tub. One minute I’m looking at him, and the next he disappears. The bottom of the tub was slippery from all the soap and he slid in under the bubbles. Don’t worry, he didn’t hurt himself. In fact he thought this was great fun. He kept hiding in the bubbles and popping up in different places. It was like a demented live action wack-a-mole game. Only instead of moles, it was a little blonde boy with a gnome hate made of bubbles.

I figured the bubbles would go away after a while, well I was wrong. The damn bubbles stuck around. The things would not dissipate. Trying to wash the soap off of him was about impossible. Every time I would start to make some headway, he would slip back under the bubbles and coat himself in them again.

Finally I had enough of this, so I yanked him out of the bathtub and toweled off all the remaining bubbles. I pulled the drain plug and waited for the bathtub to empty. It would have none of that. Nope, those bubbles sat there defying gravity and god. They would not go away. I knew better then to add more water, that would just create more of the annoying things. I figured after a while they would finally go away.

Flash forward to this morning. I go into the bathroom to take a bath, what do I see in the tub? BUBBLES! The damn things did not dissipate overnight. What kind of funky bubbles are these? Then to make matters worse, when I turned the water on, it created more. Then when I went to get into the tub, the soap had made the bottom of the tub slipperier then a snake covered in Vaseline. I about fell down. Thankfully my size thirteen feet where able to keep me from falling and hurting myself.

Ktreva is now back; thank all that is good in the world. I was getting ready to do a rejoicing dance when she dropped a bomb on me. In two weeks she is leaving for 4 days.
Four… Days… That is one day longer then this time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive.

Posted by Contagion at 06:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 06, 2006

Horde 2, Contagion 0

Last night I was lying in bed dreaming a good dream. Shakira and Jessica Alba where wrestling naked in pudding over who was going to be the first one to pleasure me. My beautiful and understanding wife was doing that thing she does that I want her to do all the time, but she doesn’t do nearly often enough. All of a sudden there was a searing pain in my groin. It felt as if someone had hit me in the nards with a golf ball. I awake to find Clone climbing over me.

Me, “What in the love of god are you doing at… (looks at clock) 2:30 in the morning(?) awake?”

Clone, “Dada, I need drink.”

Me, “That makes two of us buddy. Go get into bed and I’ll get you a glass of water.”

After retrieving the glass of water for Clone, I return to bed. In hopes that my dream will pick up where it left off. Unfortunately I started dreaming about vasectomies. Sometimes life is cruel.

In the morning Clone did not want to get out of bed, and from the state of his room, I can tell that he didn’t go to bed when I told him to. Nope, he must have gotten up and started playing with his toys. Now when I needed him awake, he couldn’t keep his eyes open. He was like a narcoleptic after a long day of heavy drinking. Every and any attempt to wake him up resulted in loud and incessant crying… until he passed out again. Getting him dressed and ready for the day was like trying to shove a cat into a toilet.

Boopie on the other hand must have found a speedball because he was bouncing all over the house like a crystal meth junkie with electrodes attached to his nards. Boopie's hyperactivity counteracted with Clone’s sleepiness and created a horrible combination of laughing, crying, giggling, yelling and screaming. It wasn’t even 6:30 AM and I wanted to empty a bottle of Jack Daniels. Unfortunately I think Clone drank all of it.

I get to work, and I have never been so happy to be there in my life, even if it was one of my worst days as supervisor. I had a meeting that went horribly bad, two employees about wig out and in giving one feedback they burst into tears because, “I’m going to lose my job!” I don’t know where she got that idea; I never once said anything that would give her the indication that she was on the road to replacement.

When I go to pick up the boys I discover that Clone miraculously recovered from his drunken narcolepsy and played all day. He refused to take a nap. Great… that means more fun tonight. Sure enough on the ride home the boy fell asleep in the most uncomfortable of positions that only a child can sleep in. Deciding to keep my sanity a while, I’ve let him sleep now for almost an hour. I’m going to have to wake him up soon, but I’m waiting for the food to arrive.

Which reminds, I was going to make dinner tonight, really I was! Unfortunately I kind of left what I was going to make out on the counter this morning when I was getting my lunch made. I walked into the house and was assaulted by the smell of ground beef that has gone rancid… and cat turds. The damn cat must have eaten something that wasn’t fit for feline consumption because it’s arse smelled horrible. It was like a stinky dog fart was bottled, fermented, aged to juicy ripeness and then released in the house. Needless to say there will be no cooking in the house tonight. I have Chinese food on the way.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go bring Clone out of his coma. Only about 24 hours to go.

Posted by Contagion at 04:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 05, 2006

3 hours down, 46 to go.

With the help of some Children’s chewable morphine, Clone is asleep. Okay, I didn’t actually drug my child; I wouldn’t do something like that. That doesn’t mean I didn’t entertain the idea, but no I could not do that.

The stupid trashcan had me so pissed I couldn’t see straight. Clone had knocked it over trying to get behind it to hide from Boopie. This is not a normal trashcan; it’s a 55-gallon, trashcan with an auto-closing lid. Since it was obviously over full, i.e. trash was strewn across the kitchen floor; I decided to take out the trash. My plan worked for all of 15 seconds. As I pulled on the bag, the drawstring pulled the top inch off of the bag… all the way around. Someone, KTREVA, had decided to dump the kitty litter bag into the trashcan. That made the combined weight of trash, kitty litter and cat scat way too heavy for the bag to hold. Of course it didn’t rip until I was half way out of the trashcan, thus sending a showing of dirty diapers, empty beer bottles and other pieces of kitchen refuse everywhere. It looked like my kitchen had turned into a landfill. I was waiting for the damn sky rats to come and start eating the refuse.

After cleaning that up, I really didn’t feel like cooking. Then I had an idea, I’ll ask the boys what they want, we’ll get it and everyone will be happy. Dad, “What do you guys want for dinner?” The Horde, “Pizza!” Thinking to myself, I didn’t really need to ask. Boopie chimes in with, “Can we get Pizza Hut. They have that sampler pack that has hot wings, breadsticks and cinnasticks!” Clone, “Yea! Spinasicks! Dad, we get spinasicks? I want spinasicks! Spinasicks! Spinasicks! Spinasicks! Dad we get spinasicks?” Me, “Do you even know what cinnasticks are?” (I can’t recall ever ordering them before.) Clone, “Yea, they good!”

Boopie is laughing his little butt off by now. Clone is marching through the house chanting, “Spinasicks!” So I ordered from Pizza Hut, got the sampler pack. When I was on the phone with the girl I meant to make sure I was ordering the right thing. I ask her, “The sampler has spinasicks in it right?” (Pause on the other end of the phone.) Girl, “Excuse me?” Me, “The sampler, does it have spinasicks?” Girl, “Did you say spin-a-sicks? Me embarrassedly, “Yes, that’s what my three year old is calling them, I meant Cinnasticks.” Girl laughing at me, “Yes, it has cinnasticks.” Thirty minutes later our pizza and sampler arrive.

I give Clone a piece of pizza and a breadstick and let him eat. Clone inhaled two and a half pieces of pizza and a breadstick for dinner. Pretty good for a kid his size. It’s what he did with the other half of the pizza that cheesed me off. I asked him if he was done, and he told me he was. I walked over to get him out of the chair when he flings the half eaten piece of pizza at my head. He had picked all the cheese off so it was crust with sauce and it stuck to the side of my head like a like a suction cup. He’s laughing; I’m pissed and scold him. After cleaning me, him, the chair and the floor off, I sit down to eat some cinnasticks. Now I have an entourage of kids sitting around me fighting over the cinnasticks, “Dad! He took the big one!” “Dad, He’s not sharing the dipping sauce!” “Dad, Spinasick stuck in nose!” Clone sneezed while eating the cinnastick and jammed it in his nose. Apparently it was very uncomfortable for him.

After cleaning him up again, the boys played for a little bit while I cleaned up the mess and the house some. Then I put Clone to bed, but not until after he got a band-aid for his toe. At the sitters last Friday he skinned the top of his toes. I don’t believe they actually hurt, but he won’t shut up unless he has a Band-Aid on his toes. Figuring it wasn’t worth the trouble I slapped a band-aid on him. He started crying again. I had used a regular Band-Aid, not a Spongebob Band-Aid. After swapping them out, he finally settled down enough to let me put him to sleep.

Now I’m going to go grab a beer or twelve.

Posted by Contagion at 02:09 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

All by myself.

Ktreva has once again gone on a business trip and left me with the boys for three days. As many of you may remember, I’m not cut out for the single parent gig. Don’t get me wrong, I can do it… I’m just not good at it. It’s one of my many character flaws. Yes, they are my kids and yes they are my responsibility. I can handle that for up to 36 hours. After that I start breaking down, especially if they are misbehaving. They are my kids and I will do what needs to be done. It’s my duty as a parent to do so.

I’m sure over the next couple of days there will be plenty of good stories to share with you about my trying to raise the boys for 3 days on my own. As well as the wisdom and techniques that I used to keep them in line. But for now you’ll have to excuse me. Clone has tipped over the trashcan, Boopie is whining about having to clean his room, and I need to make dinner. (Read, I have to order dinner)

Posted by Contagion at 11:31 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 24, 2006

Now I really need to hit the range.

There’s an old saying in my family, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness, then permission.” Sure, it’s not unique to my family, but it’s heard often. This evening I walk into the house, “Ktreva, I want to buy a handgun. How much trouble will I be in if I do?”

Ktreva hollers back, “A lot.”

Contagion, “But on a scale of 1 to 10, how much trouble would a be in.”

Ktreva, “At least a 6.” (1 means she’s mad, 10 means there are lawyers on the phone. A 6 means no sex for a while and possibly sleeping on the couch. When I hit 8, I need to find a place to stay and she will have the locks changed on the house.)

Contagion, “Whew… I can live with that. Look what I bought!” (Pulls out pistol he just picked up after paying for it last Friday.)

Ktreva, “Why did you buy that, don’t you have enough guns?” (Like a guy can own too many guns!)

Contagion, “Because I didn’t own one like this… and I wanted it!”

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Needless to say, I owe her more jewelry. However, I couldn’t pass up the deal I got on this lovely baby. (Way under sticker price.) It’s a beautiful Colt 1991a1 series 80 Government .45 ACP. 5” barrel, 8 ½” overall length with double diamond rosewood grips. Now Grau doesn’t have to worry about me stealing his when we go shooting. Of course I’m not overly fond of the grips, so I’m thinking if purchasing some laser grips for it. The kind that has the laser site built into it. I figure it’s make it scarier looking when I chase the neighbor kids out of my yard at night. At a gun show I was able to handle the same colt with these on it, and I loved the feel.

Ever since the first time Grau let me fire his, I've been in love with this hand gun. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. Every gun shop I went to, every gun show I visited, I was searching for one of these that was decently priced. A friend of mine that works at a local gun shop specially ordered some in, even though their store isn't an authorized Colt dealer, just so I would stop bugging him. Then when it arrived he discovered one was "damaged" and was "missing parts". Fortunately for me it was the one I liked so he knocked a hell of a lot off of the price for me.

Well if you excuse me, I’m going to go sleep on the couch. I like sleeping on the couch, it’s like camping, only with out having to set up a tent!

Posted by Contagion at 06:37 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 10, 2006

Man-poo

Some of you might find this hard to believe, but if I have a feminine side it’s hidden so deep that hypnotherapy can’t even find it. Let me give you an example. I haven’t had to buy shampoo in a year and a half. We were given a gallon of shampoo by a company as part of a promotion and with my short hair that lasted for a long, long time. It doesn’t take much to wash my hair.

I finally ran out of shampoo and had to purchase some. Ktreva and I ran to the store on our lunch break to purchase some. I can go a day or two with out washing my hair, but after that it just feels nasty and I don’t need gel to keep it spiky. As soon as I turned to go down the shampoo aisle I noticed it was filled with all these funky scented and special needs shampoos. What the hell? A) I’m not buying anything that is going to smell like flowers. 2) I’m not buying anything to give my hair extra sheen and luster D) I’m definitely not buying something to give my hair more body and bounce.

I turn to Ktreva and say ”Do they even make a man’s shampoo? I’m not washing my hair with any of this girlie crap”Rolling her eyes, Ktreva loudly states that she will help my find man-shampoo. The other shoppers, all female, are smiling and chuckling. Ktreva, happy because she thinks she has gotten one over on me is also smiling. Not to be undone, I respond with ”Yes, that’s what I need Man-Poo.” Now everyone is laughing or looking on in shock. All Ktreva can do is try to hide her embarrassment over being seen in public with me at that moment.

We spent the next 20 minutes searching for something that would work. Then Ktreva find’s a bottle of stuff labeled, “Shampoo for men.” It’s a two in one deal that cleans and conditions. Like I care about conditioning. ”I told you I’d find a shampoo for men.” says Ktreva. Loudly I respond with, “Thank you for finding me man-poo.”

I don’t know why, but she ran out of the aisle trying to shield her face from the passer-bys staring at us.

Posted by Contagion at 05:16 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

May 07, 2006

Birthday Celebrations.

Yesterday Boopie turned 13. As his father I felt it was my duty to start him on some of the rites of manhood. The best way to do this was with a guy’s night out. After spending two weeks explaining to Ktreva why she and Clone could not come with, I started making plans. It’s a guy’s night out, that’s not Guys and MOM! We started off the evening at Hooters. With the help of a couple of fellow bloggers, Shadoglare and T1G, we started the evening out right. Pretty girls, hot wings and instructional advice on the Man Code were given to Boopie by the three of us. We also gave advice on how to pick up and deal with girls.

So about right now some of the ladies out there are probably thinking to themselves, “Good lord, what kind of horrible advice did they give?” Let me tell you this, it was all good, sound advice that hopefully he retains. Trust me, the now man was in good hands.

Speaking of good hands, while at Hooters Boopie received a T-shirt autographed by all the girls and had his picture taken with them as well. I’d love to tell you the rest, however, the man code prohibits the telling of stories in this type of situation. That and a panicked “Don’t tell mom!” on the ride home has rendered my unable to speak about it.

After dinner we separated our ways from T1G and Shadoglare. They went on their way, and we headed to the Rock River Raptors game. Boopie was surprised by how good of seats I have. He knew they where good, but he didn’t realize that they where upfront and in your face! Boopie participated in the half-time mini-football toss. Unfortunately he didn’t win.

My favorite player on the team, Jeremiah Thompson (Number 25 in your program, number 1 in your heart) played last night. I know the web page says his number is 18, but trust me people, it's actually 25. I told him it was Boopie's 13th Birthday and he promised Boopie he would get 13 receptions and 2 touchdowns for him. Well, he didn’t get the thirteen receptions, but he did get two and half touchdowns. One of his catches he dove over the end zone wall, so it didn’t count. That’s why I’m counting it as half a touchdown. If our Quarterback hadn’t overthrown the ball, it would have been a good touchdown! The best part was that after his first touchdown, as he was running back to the bench, Thompson pointed to Boopie and said, “That one is for you.” It made Boopie’s evening to say he had a TD scored just for him.

Today the celebration is over and I have to deal with the fact that I’m old enough to have a teenager. You have to understand, half the time I feel like I’m still 16. Gah, I’m just getting old.

Posted by Contagion at 09:43 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

April 13, 2006

The bad dad strikes again!

Example 4,586,948 of why I’m a bad dad. Earlier tonight when I picked Clone up after work, I was talking with my mother. (She runs the day care) While I was standing there, Clone grabbed my hand and started spinning around me. We gradually picked up speed. Not fast enough to pick him up off the ground, but just fast enough that momentum would keep us going. I didn’t have a good grip on him and he let go of my hands…

…crashing face first onto the concrete floor of the garage. He was screaming. When I picked him up, there was blood in his mouth. Clone had cut his top lip on his teeth. After cleaning up the wound and making sure there was no serious injury, I gave him a Popsicle to help numb his lip and bring down the swelling. For all of you potential parents out there, mouth injuries bleed a lot, Popsicles are the best thing to help reduce the swelling and bleed. It’s the only cold thing a young child will keep in their mouths that will do any good. Clone is fine, no real physical damage, and only some minor psychological trauma.

What gets me is that I know better then to do that with him. I should never have done that in the garage and I should have made sure I had a better grip on him. This was a lesson I learned first hand… as a child… when my father did the exact same thing to me. I’m also willing to bet Clone does the same thing to his kid when he gets older.

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April 05, 2006

We couldn't have gotten that lucky.

Well it appears the damage to the van is worse then anticipated. The other driver hit her almost squarely in the rear driver side wheel. Yesterday there was a slight wobble that I noticed, but Ktreva didn’t seem to notice anything while driving the whole 6 blocks home. This morning on her way to work she said that as soon as she hit 25 there was a vibration in the vehicle and a grinding noise.

Yea, this isn’t waiting for the insurance adjuster to investigate. When I called the insurance back I informed them that due to the new information I’m classifying the vehicle as now undriveable and taking it to a repair facility. After work tonight we had to go pick up a rental for her. She needed something to get back and forth to work in. This is going to make life difficult for a while, but nothing we won’t survive.

Now I’m off to answer some questions.

Posted by Contagion at 05:19 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 04, 2006

MVA 2006

I had a post in mind to write tonight… not work related! Unfortunately, that will have to wait. I was on my way home from a very late night at work when I received a call on my cell phone. It was Ktreva, and she was upset. Her and the boys had just been involved in a motor vehicle accident. The other vehicles brakes gave out causing the driver to not be able to stop and hitting her van. No one is hurt, other then the headache associated with an adrenaline dump. The van is still drivable; the surface damage doesn’t appear to be that bad.

After trying to comfort Ktreva and the boys, dealing with the police, the other driver and the insurance company, I’m not really in the mood to write my original post.

More details later, probably from Ktreva, but again no one was injured.

Posted by Contagion at 07:31 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

March 29, 2006

Armed and Fabulous!

Things at work are the same… so I’m not going to go into any more detail on it.

In other news, this Saturday is the home opener for the Rock River Raptors, the indoor football leage that I have season tickets for. I’m looking forward to the game. Ktreva tried to find a sitter so she could go with to the game. She wasn’t able to find one, so I’m taking one of my friends from work. Not an employee, I think that would be improper. That and I don’t believe any of them like football, let alone would want to spend a Saturday night with their boss. Then again if my boss were like me, I’d want to hang out with him.

Today on lunch I was finally able to find a handgun that Ktreva likes, so we bought it. It’s a Walther PPK .380. Watch out guys, my wife has the James Bond Gun! It’s a nice little handgun that should fit her perfectly.


WaltherPPK.jpg
Click to Enlarge


Unfortunately due to the laws in Illinois we can pay for it today, but we can’t pick it up until Saturday. That means that some weekend coming up I’m going to have to take my wife to the range to shoot. To be honest, it doesn’t have a bad feel. I’ll probably end up putting a couple hundred rounds through it.

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March 24, 2006

Dees many years old!

Three years ago today I was taking my very pregnant wife to the hospital. When I say very pregnant, I mean even though she was two weeks early she looked like she had a toddler inside of her. Really, I’m not kidding. We have pictorial evidence of this. Clone finally was popped out uncooperatively at 11:12 AM.

Clone has since spent the last three years learning to not only emulate his father (me), but to find new and interesting ways to annoy his mother (Mainly by emulating his father), and beating up his brother (who’s ten years older).

Happy Birthday Buddy!
We love you!

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March 04, 2006

He knows what he needs

While making some more Jerky tonight, I hear Clone call to me from the other room. “Bye Dada, I go shoot now” is what I hear. When I looked out of the kitchen, this is what I saw:

Cloneshoot 001.jpg
Click to Enlarge

Please disregard the ketchup on his face; I hadn’t cleaned him up from dinner yet. Don’t worry; that .50 cal ammo can is empty, except for cleaning brushes. I just found it highly amusing the boy decided on taking his gun AND ammo for it. I also like the slightly mentally disturbed look on his face.

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February 27, 2006

In the dog house.

Hmmm, it seems I’ve upset my wife with yesterdays adventures. I wonder how much forgiveness is going to cost me this time. I’m thinking the standard gift of jewelry is not going to appease this time.

Posted by Contagion at 07:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 23, 2006

He just can't like it.

When I cook, I have two distinct styles. The first is where I make everything from scratch. Maybe I’ll cheat and buy bread, but I tend to start with the basics and make everything I need. This style tends to produce the best tasting and most satisfying meals. The problem is that it is very time consuming, I’m talking 3+ hours of preparation each meal. On special occasions I’ve been known to cook for 7 hours.

The other way I cook is the quick and easy method. The food is edible, and usually only takes about 5-15 minutes prep time, with maybe an additional 30 minutes cooking time. During the week, this is the type of cooking I’m known to do. Sometimes we are pressed for time and we cheat even further and get boxed meals. Yes, you can all gasp in horror now. This is rare, and for good reasons. The meals usually taste like crap and have no nutritional value.

Tonight was planned a box meal, Tuna Helper Tuna Melt to be exact. Clone was watching on as I prepared the meal. At first he was fascinated at the mixing of water, milk, butter and noodles. Asking questions and making observations, it was fun father and son time. When I added the powdered sauce, a look of horror crossed his face. He asked me, “What’s that, dada?”

I responded, “That’s the cheese sauce, buddy.”

Clone, “Dada, I can’t like it.”

Contagion, “You can’t like it?”

Clone, “No, I can’t like that.”

That went back and forth for a while. Then I added the tuna to the pot.

Clone, “What that?”

Contagion, “Tuna, it’s a fish.”

Clone, “Dada, I can’t like it.”

Contagion, “You’ve had tuna before, you liked it. Why don’t you like it this time?”

Clone, “It sucks.”

I kid you not, my son told me for the first time something sucks. After I finished laughing, I wrapped my burnt fingers. His response made me laugh so hard I accidentally touched the stove surface. I don’t know who taught him that, or where he picked it up, but it was rather amusing.

UPDATE: When I put a bowl full of the Tuna Helper in front of him, he started screaming, "I CAN'T WANT IT! I CAN'T WANT IT!" It's not, I don't want it... it just that he can't want it. There is nothing in the world that could make him want it I guess.

Posted by Contagion at 06:13 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

It's "tired"

Little kids are great fun. They entertain and amuse the adults around them. Okay, when they aren’t driving them nuts they are entertaining and amusing. When they are in that magical age where they are just learning to speak, they can be the greatest. Sure, there is a level of annoyance over the communication barrier. They say something and you have no clue what message they are trying to convey.

It starts out as English, “Dada, I want to…” but then it goes horribly wrong, some mixed up language that only the child understands. “…bregaft marka mook.” At which point the adult tries to translate. “You want to breakfast to make a poop?” The child will repeat itself, “Dada, I want to bregaft marka mook!” “You want to bring markers to mom?” Of course, this goes on for hours with no success. The child just gets frustrated and sentences come out of your mouth you never thought you would say.

On the flip side there is the child trying to imitate what you said and getting it all wrong. Such as an incident that happened to me recently when I was playing with Clone. While I was sitting on the couch, he would come running up to me. I would grab him and toss him in the air over my head. This went on for a while until my arms started to get tired. He wanted to continue to play, but I had enough. I told him no more, it was time to play something else. Clone, being the even inquisitive almost 3 year old asks, “Why?” (I really was hoping this stage wouldn’t hit for another year or so.) My response was that I was tired.

I believe my exact words were, “Because Daddy is tired.” He looks at me a second and responds with, “Dada, you’re not tarded.” Of course, I’m happy my son doesn’t think I’m retarded, but I tried correcting him. “No, tired; not tarded.” To which he responded, “Tarded!” Now, for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of trying, you cannot change a 2 year olds mind when it’s made up. It doesn’t matter what I actually said, he is convinced the word coming out of my mouth is “tarded” not “tired”.

I will admit; there is something nice about having someone confirm that you are not retarded. Even if you know they don’t mean it

Posted by Contagion at 12:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 09, 2006

Feeding the boy.

For the first time tonight, Clone ate a hamburger. It’s not that we’ve never given him one before. It’s just that he usually picks them apart, eating the cheese, licking off the ketchup and mayo. What is left is a soggy slobber covered bun and matching meat patty.

Tonight he didn’t pick apart the burger. He ate the whole thing the way it was supposed to be eaten. Well, except he would dip it into the ketchup that was for his French fries. Maybe things are changing in the way he eats. We could only be so lucky.

Posted by Contagion at 06:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 08, 2006

My wife beats me!

Last night as I was preparing for sleep, I kept a close watch on the wife. My eye is hurting more, and I wanted to make sure she wasn’t beating me. Anyone that has met us knows that no one is going to believe she beat me unless I started it. Thus, if I file spousal abuse charges against here, I’d probably end up in jail.

As I laid there in the dark, fearing the beating I was about to receive, a sense of déjà vu came over me. This is not the first time I’ve laid in this bed in fear of being beaten by my wife. She actually did beat me once, it happened way back when…

(Insert wavy flashback lines)

…we were not yet married. I was working for the State, 11 PM to 7 AM, my days off rotated and at the time of the incident they where Thursday and Friday. Ktreva worked Monday through Friday 7 AM to 3:30 PM. In order to keep my sleep schedule from screwing up too much, I would stay up late on my days off, not going to bed before 4:00 AM. When my sleep schedule was screwed up, it made my first day back to work very difficult.

One night after watching some really bad movie on late night television, I went upstairs and crawled into bed. Leaning over, I kissed my lovely wife on the top of her head. She sits up in bed and in perfect form punches me in the eye! The woman I love and am going to marry punched me as hard as she could for kissing her! Fortunately, she is not the strongest woman in the world as it didn’t hurt, but it more then shocked me a little.

With out a word, she lies back down and falls asleep. Not wanting to anger her anymore, I just laid there thinking, “What the hell was that for?” When morning came and I finally rose from my slumber, Ktreva had already left for work. That day I went over to a friend’s house to help him with some stuff. His wife looks at me and asks, “What happened to your eye?” I hadn’t looked at myself in the mirror that morning, but my wife had given me a black eye!

When I finally went home, Ktreva was in the office on the computer. She saw me enter the house. With a big smile, she got up to give me a hug and a kiss. I on the other hand pointed a finger at her and yelled, “YOU STAY TEN FEET AWAY FROM ME!” She wanted to know why she had to stay away. I wanted to know why she felt the need to punch me. I regale her with the tale of her dotting me in the eye, and what does she do? My “loving” and “caring” wife is laughing her arse off. She doesn’t remember doing it. At least that is what she claims. To this day, she still claims not to remember, let alone know why she punched me.

Now, to be honest, I was somewhat proud she used perfect form.

Posted by Contagion at 12:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 03, 2006

A bit o' the bubbly.

After hearing my mother tell the tale of Clone and the Soap to us yesterday, Ktreva reminded me of a story that happened years ago right after we where married. Ever since I moved out of my parent’s house, I always did dishes by hand. It wasn’t until Ktreva and I started dating did I get my first dishwasher. Every time she came over, she would wash my dishes, it was great!

When we bought our current house, it came with a dishwasher, so now I had two. Unfortunately, my original dishwasher decided to break down and no longer do dishes, it was now going to be my job. Fine, so I learned how to operate the new dishwasher and away we went. Everything was fine for the first couple of months. Then something happened that had never been a problem in the past.

After putting a load of dishes in the dishwasher, I reached under the sink for detergent. Pulling out the bottle, I could see that it was empty. What, no dishwasher soap? What the hell?!?! I was lost, what was I going to do. Then I spotted the answer. There, next to the sink is Dawn dish soap, with grease cutter! AHA! That’ll work!

After filling the detergent container in the machine, I close the door and start the machine. I mean, if it washes dishes in the sink, it’ll work in the dishwasher right? It did work really well. The problem is that it worked too well.

I leave the kitchen proud of myself and sit down to watch some TV. Half an hour later Ktreva goes walking into the kitchen and screams, “OH MY GOD! WHAT DID YOU DO?”

Thinking that Boopie had done something wrong, I jumped up and ran to the kitchen. Once I stepped in, I was greeted by Ktreva standing there, arms crossed and knee deep in bubbles. The kitchen was filling with bubbles coming out of the dishwasher. “What did you do?” she asked. “Ran the dishwasher,” I responded.

Ktreva, “How much detergent did you use?”

Contagion, “About the same as normal, maybe a little more since it was a different brand.”

Ktreva, “A different brand, I didn’t buy a different brand.”

Contagion, “We were out of the regular kind, so I used the dawn.”

Ktreva, “YOU USED SINK SOAP IN THE DISHWASHER?”

Contagion, “uh, yeah.”

Ktreva, “You can’t use sink soap in a dishwasher!”

Contagion, “Why not?”

Ktreva points around the kitchen.

Contagion, “Oh, yeah. Got it.”

We went about cleaning it up. We pushed a lot of the bubbles out the back door. We used a ShopVac and mops. When we were done, the floor was the cleanest it had ever been since we moved in. The dishes where also very clean when the dishwasher was finished. (The old model didn’t have a shut off, you had to let it finish).

That was a valuable lesson learned that day.

Posted by Contagion at 12:59 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

February 02, 2006

Planning.

Let the annual draining of funds for recreation begin! Last night in the mail, I finally received my tourist packets to plan our vacation. Every year we take a vacation. What we do depends on the kids and funds. We try to do something that everyone in the family will enjoy, and there is the mandatory educational aspect. IE, we have to do something that is educational in some way or another.

This year I’m really excited! For the first time since Ktreva and I have been together, we are taking a vacation that does not involve either visiting a relative or having a relative travel with us. Most of our vacations involve my mother-in-law. Ktreva is excited because this is the first year that we are going somewhere neither of us has been before. Usually we go somewhere I’ve already been that she hasn’t.

I don’t have all the details down, but right now, we know we are going to stop in Bowling Green, KY to see the Corvette Manufacturing plant and museum. I’ve been a huge Corvette fan for years and I’ve always wanted to stop by here. After that we are heading to Lynchburg, TN so that we can take a tour of the holy land Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Yes, I know it’s a dry county. I’ve always wanted to go there, plus I want to do some research on distilling for re-enacting. While in Tennessee, we’ll probably visit some of the Davy Crocket sites before heading to Shiloh. Shiloh has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for years. It’s the site of the first major engagement in the Civil War. Sure, it seems like this vacation is planned around me, well she got to plan the last one!

I just received the material last night so I’m not sure exactly what else we’re doing yet. At this time, I’m just excited over the fact I finally get to see three sites I’ve wanted, and haven’t had the chance to

Posted by Contagion at 01:09 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

There's no going back now.

Well, it looks my secret is out of the bag. It figures it was Tammi that spilled the beans first. She has a nasty habit of doing just that.

So there it is. Ktreva finally got off her butt and started a blog, The Reality Ranch. It’s about damn time. Her Royal Yappiness can finally have another outlet for her uncontrolled need to communicate other then talking to me. That means I can spend more quality time playing Madden and Blitz instead of having to pretend to listen to her.

On the downside, I think I’m going to have to buy a laptop with wireless. With only having one computer in the house, that could lead to a fight over who gets to use it.

Go over and give her a warm and friendly welcome. Just be nice to her, remember who she married. Hasn't the poor girl been put through enough?

Posted by Contagion at 09:24 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 12, 2006

At least it's not Opera.

Ever since Clone first discovered he had the ability to make sounds using his mouth, he’s had three volume settings: Loud, Deafening and Sleeping (Which is just below normal human speech). He snores in his sleep and sometimes talks. This has sparked many a great debate in my house as to which side of the family he gets such a trait. My wife insists he gets it from me. I, on the other hand, know it’s from her family. If you’ve ever met Ktreva then you know she’s loud and doesn’t shut up… ever! Hell, right now I can hear her talking non-stop. “Don’t you dare post anything like that about me! OoOOOoo, I’m gonna kick your arse!” It’s a good thing I learned to ignore her years ago.

Well, tonight she feels she’s won the war. According to her royal yappiness, she now has irrefutable proof that Clone’s loudness comes from my side of the family. I think she’s just exaggerating. Nope, to her she feels that there is no further proof required.

Tonight, Clone and I where in the Kitchen taking the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and putting them away. When I do various tasks, I tend to sing. Clone loves to sing along with me when he’s helping. We went through the classics of the Contagion household, “I’m H-A-P-P-Y!, Mares eat oats, Sponge Bob Square Pant’s theme, Ice Ice Baby”. Of course when I sing, I do it with gusto. Since Clone is my, well, clone, he also sings with much gusto. This turned into a contest to see who could show more gusto. (Wow, I think that’s the most I’ve ever used the word gusto).

Ktreva comes walking into the kitchen, smirk on her face as both Clone and I are singing as loudly as we can. Hell we’re yelling with a melody. Ktreva, smirking mind you, looks at me and says, “Loud!” We both stop singing and look at her standing there grinning back at us. “I told you he got his loudness from you.” She says self-righteously “You, don’t see me in here teaching him to yell songs.”

I tried to explain this was different. She just couldn’t grasp the concept that being loud and having a contest to see who can be louder is not the same thing. You must have to be male to understand that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go replace some broken light bulbs.

Posted by Contagion at 07:20 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 05, 2006

Boys being boys?

It seems that Boopie is having a problem on the bus. He’s being picked on. Today some kids took his hat, that he just got for Christmas, and where playing keep away with it. He never got the hat back. I’m not exactly sure what else happened as Boopie changed his story six times in ten minutes. My wife is very upset about the whole thing.

What I do know for a fact is that Boopie did not tell the bus driver about what was happening. Now, when we got home, Ktreva contacted the transportation department regarding the incident. To me this is a perfectly acceptable course of action to take. It makes the district aware, as well as the bus driver by default. The school district does have a strict no bullying policy.

My thing is originally she wanted to me to get involved by confronting the kids. Personally, I obviously have no problem doing anything like that. My issue was that we don’t know which kids were involved. The information from our son is sketchy at best. Most importantly, I feel this would just bring on more harassment later on.

I remember when I was a kid, whenever another boy’s parents got involved in a schoolyard conflict, that just made life more miserable for the boy. Heck, the worse butt kickin’ I ever received was when my mother, unbeknownst to me, got involved in an altercation between me and another kid. A couple of weeks later the other kid and some of his friends used me as a punching bag.

What do you all think? Have we done enough in contacting the school or do I knock off work early tomorrow to intercept the bus and have a “talk” with everyone on it?

Posted by Contagion at 05:03 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 01, 2006

2006 is here.

If you are reading this, then you survived whatever celebration you had last night. I was a little worried that my head wasn’t going to survive. This morning I woke up a little rough, mainly because Clone was awake bright and early and I got up with him. Why that boy won’t sleep is a mystery to me. He didn’t get to bed until well after midnight. Now he is running around all bright eyed and getting into mischief.

I used this time to get some dishes started and clean up around the house while Ktreva sleeps. Ktreva was so tired, and she looks so beautiful while she sleeps, I’m letting her sleep as long as possible.

Boopie is still sleeping as well, he fell asleep on the couch last night, I had to wake him up and send him to his bed. He’s at the age where he’d sleep 12 hours a day if it were up to him.

Me? I’d say I drank too much, but that depends on your definition of too much. No headache, no upset stomach, no nausea, nope I’m doing just fine. Actually I currently am heating some chili cheese dip to make nachos out of. I always found an extra greasy breakfast makes the stomach feel better.

No strange or incoherant posts were made lastnight. There was some concern that something might get posted that would be difficult to explain the next day.

What a good way to start off 2006.

Posted by Contagion at 09:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 28, 2005

Goose and Bread Pudding

A couple of years ago we broke away from doing the big family Christmas at my Grandmother’s house on Christmas day. On Christmas Eve, we would go to my parent’s house, and then on Christmas Eve we would go to my Grandmother’s house. That left us with no time for just our family and the boys didn’t get to play with anything they had been given. It made for a very hectic holiday.

When I was growing up, my parents would spend Christmas Eve with just us kids and then Christmas days at my Grandmothers. I wanted the same thing with my family. My mother didn’t want me to break tradition by not going to Grandma’s. It didn’t take much explaining when I reminded her that when growing up we didn’t spend Christmas Eve at Grandma’s and Christmas Day at Great Grandma’s. I told her to pick which day she wanted us at, she picked Christmas Eve.

That left me with what to do on Christmas Day. I knew I wanted to spend time with my family, but I wanted to start our own tradition and I wanted to make a special meal for all of us. When trying to decide what to make, I looked back on history to see what they used to eat on Christmas day and I found my inspiration. After conferring with Ktreva, I decided to make a goose, a nice traditional Christmas goose. We decided to make it a tradition and do it again this year.

For those of you that have never had goose, it is a very interesting bird. There is no white meat, it’s all dark meat. Depending on the type and age of the goose you have depends on how dark the meat is. Last years goose the breast meat was a dark chocolate color, this year it was more of a milk chocolate color. If you are not aware of this when you start carving the bird, it can come as a shock. I had thought I ruined it the first time. Goose is also very fatty. There is a layer of fat between the skin and the meat as well as veins of it running through the breast and thighs. This makes for a very juicy bird. Well, that and my special cooking style for birds.

I also made a nice homemade stuffing to go with it. When I say homemade, I mean I made it from scratch, no box and no pre-made ingredients. I even used fresh herbs that I had to prepare by hand for the seasoning. I did cheat and buy pre-made bread this year. In years past Ktreva would bake me a loaf of bread to use, but I decided to give her a break this year.

We also had Green Beans almondine, and baked sweet potatoes. I baked them because I’m not a fan of those different sweet potato/yam dishes with tons of brown sugar and marshmallows on it. Just give me a plain baked sweet potato with melted butter and a light sprinkling of brown sugar. The rest of the family likes them that way as well. I picked a nice red wine for Ktreva and I, while the boys had milk. Everything turned out very well, but then Ktreva had to trump me.

I told her she didn’t have to make anything; I would take care of it all. She insisted on making the dessert. Digging through her stack of recipes, she decided she was going to make her bread pudding with whiskey sauce. She served it warm at the table right after the main course was finished. When it was removed from the oven, the aroma itself was enticing. The boys and I sat in anticipation it smelled so good. We served it up, and as soon as each person took a bite, we could barely contain ourselves from just gobbling up this delicious culinary delight.

For those of you reading this worried about the effects of alcohol on the children, remember alcohol cooks out during the baking process. There was a minimal alcohol content left when it was finished.

Last night we re-heated the left over bread-pudding and finished it off. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it reheats very well. It was just as, if not more, delicious then when it first came out of the oven. Ktreva was very proud of herself, and rightfully so. It was probably; no, it was the best the dessert she has ever made, not too sweet, not too rich, and just right.

We’ve decided that she will be making that again next year, it will become part of the Contagion Family Christmas Tradition.

Posted by Contagion at 01:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Jail Break!

Over the last couple of weeks, Clone has decided he does not need to sleep. We can put him to bed, but he continually gets out of bed, plays in his room or comes downstairs. This little ritual has gone on nightly. No matter what we’ve done, it doesn’t seem to work. We even suspect he does it in the middle of the night after we’ve gone to bed. We’ve found certain items turned on or items left in places they do not belong.

We have gates on his bedroom door and in various rooms, but they don’t work. Heck, the gates are nothing more then suggestions. They work more like ineffective speed bumps then anything else. Clone can climb/scale the gates in a matter of seconds, even the “climb resistant” varieties. There are times when he doesn’t want to waste his time climbing the gate. He’ll get a running start and throw his body into the gate knocking it down. He’s actually broken the hinge on one of the gates trying to get around it.

This may shock some of you, but I’m not one of those lovey, comforting, “He’s expressing himself” kind of parents. I learned parenting from my father I’m the spanking, taking away, “Red Foreman” kind of parent. Clone has faced the wrath of dad, and continues to pull his little stunts. When I’ve put him back in bed I say, “Its bed time, you need to lie down and go to sleep. If you get out of bed again, you’ll make daddy mad. You don’t want to make daddy mad, do you?” He’ll shake his little head no and lay down. Give it fifteen minutes and I can find him sneaking down the stairs to the living room. Yes, I’ve followed through with my threats.

The next morning when we have to wake him up he is tired and cranky. Which makes getting him ready just that much more unpleasant a task to undertake. He pulls the same thing at nap time, or he’ll only nape for a short period of time and then gets up. That night he’ll be back to old tricks. The lack of sleep is not causing him to get tired enough to sleep.

Ktreva’s theory is that he is afraid he is going to miss something happening. She’s right, if he goes to sleep he’s going to miss the business side of my hand on his bottom!

I’ve joked about duct taping him to his bed, but I’m starting to think that might be my last resort.

Posted by Contagion at 01:08 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

December 27, 2005

Christmas, survived.

Christmas is over, that means I have a truckload of stuff to take to the Salvation Army. All the old, un-played with toys have to go in order to make room for all the new, un-played with toys. For those of you that have kids, I have a question.

Have you ever noticed that your kids receive more toys then they can play with, yet they usually have one or two that they will play with to annoyance, and never look at any of the other gifts for more then five minutes?

That’s our house. Clone received all kinds of presents from Mom, Dad, Boopie, Santa, Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles. Every toy had to be unwrapped, assembled (Santa and I are having a talk next year, no more of this “some assembly required” crap fat man. Else I’m going to be “deer hunting” next Christmas Eve) and in working condition. Once that was done, Clone would play with it for five minutes, stop and go to something else. He has some toys that he had me take out of the wrapping just to watch me take out of the wrapping; he hasn’t played with them at all. On the other hand, Santa gave him some toy guns. A submachine gun and a 9mm semi-auto pistol that when you pull the trigger on both the slides actually have realistic action, he loves those. He also received a toy .30-30 lever action and a Colt .45 Peacemaker in a western set. All with appropriate sounds, including a ratchet noise with the lever is cranked on the .30-30. Those toy guns are his favorite toys by far. If they where real, there would not be a standing structure with on 500 yards of our house.

Boopie, being 12, is too old for Santa. He still gets a stocking, but no presents. Which is good for him, because then Ktreva and I could sink all the money into getting him stuff he would rather have. We decided that he needed a PSP, (Play Station Portable) for Christmas. Since they are relatively new, the system and the games for them are fairly expensive still. That was his major gift from us, that and some games for it. We were going to get him a movie to watch, but wasn’t sure what kind he would want. At least I know he really likes it. He charged the battery, drained it, charged it again, drained it again and charged it a third time. Do you know how much game play that is? I would list the other stuff he received, but he pretty much ignored those.

Boopie is on his way to Florida with his biological father to visit relatives down there. Actually he probably is there as they where flying out last night. He wanted to take the PSP with, but I had to say no. Let’s just say while with his biological father I could see it being “lost” or broken. Either that or the biological will tell everyone he got it for him as he’s done in years past with really good/expensive gifts. Yes, I might sound as if I’m being snarky about not letting Boopie take his new gift. Honestly, I’m just trying to protect him. He’s going to discover things about his parents in time; I just don’t want him to find out during Christmas. That’s why I gave him the cover that I didn’t think PSPs where allowed on airplanes and I didn’t want it confiscated. I’d rather he think I’m being mean and an idiot at this point in his life.

Ktreva’s favorite gift was the Sims2 Expansion packs she was wanting. I could pretend it was the necklaces that I put much thought into before buying, but no, it was the games. Hey, I don’t blame her. There is a lot more interaction with a game then with a necklace.

My big gift was a food dehydrator. I had been talking about making my own jerky for a while now, so Ktreva decided she was going to get me the stuff to do it. She also gave me the Firefly series on DVD. Both of those are the gifts that keep on giving. I can watch firefly and eat my homemade jerky all year. You never get tired of Firefly and jerky!

Overall, it was a good Christmas in our household.

Posted by Contagion at 12:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 16, 2005

My name is not John.

Just a few minutes ago I was getting clone ready for bed. I had taken his clothes off and was getting his sleeper when in one swift motion he pulls his unit out of his diaper and very proudly states, “Dada, I pee!”

He then proceeds to urinate on me.

He was so proud of his accomplishment. I, however, was more disturbed by the fact that he thought it was okay to pee on me. Needless to say after cleaning him, the floor and myself up he went to bed with a stern talking to about where and when to pee

Posted by Contagion at 08:27 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 09, 2005

'O Lutefisk

It is officially Christmas time here in the Contagion household. Last night I took Boopie and Clone to a local church for the annual Lutefisk dinner. What’s lutefisk you ask? Well first we need to make sure you are pronouncing it correctly, it is pronounced loo-te-fisk. Unless you’re Swedish and they pronounce it loot-fisk, but the Swedes are wrong.

Lutefisk is an old Scandinavian delicacy. Originally it was sun dried white fish, mainly cod, that was soaked in lye (Yes, the caustic material that the industrial sector uses to make glass and soap) for at least 3 days and sometimes up to 10. Then you soak it in regular water for about 5 days, give or take a day depending on how long you soaked it in lye. Really, the lye is what makes the texture and taste so happy! That is just to prepare the fish for cooking. So for the few of you that aren’t sticking your heads in buckets, wrenching your guts out, I’ll now share the secret of how to cook lutefisk.

The old fashion way to cook Lutefisk: First off, as a warning do NOT use an aluminum pot or pan unless you wanted it ruined. The cooking process will permanently darken it. First you boil the fish; Boil the water. Add salt, using about three tablespoons of salt for each quart used. (Amount of water depends on the amount of fish cooked. Make sure the fish is at least covered by 2 inches of water). Return to a boil. Add the fish to the boiling water and again return to boil for about 20 minutes. DO NOT OVER COOK! When all is done serve with melted butter.

You can also bake Lutefisk: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet place aluminum foil (don’t worry, you’re going to throw the foil away) two sheets thick. Place the lutefisk skin side down and season with salt. Wrap the foil tightly around the lutefisk. Bake for 20 minutes, again DO NOT OVER COOK! When you remove the lutefisk from the oven you will want to drain the excess fluids from the packet. My grandmother recommends just cutting a corner out of the foil and draining it that way. Serve with melted butter.

A great side dish for lutefisk is boiled potatoes, lefsa, pickled herring, rice pudding and lingonberries. Now some people have a white sauce the put over lutefisk, others use a mustard sauce. WELL THEY ARE EATING IT WRONG! Just plain melted butter is all that is needed for this oral delight! Also if it is not cooked properly it tastes really nasty and has a bad texture. Grau once had some that he described as, “fish flavored pre-chewed steak fat.� Either his was obviously cooked poorly or he was eating the skin. Which let me save you some embarrassment, don’t eat the skin… it’s just there to hold the meat in place.

Anyway, I took the boys for our annual lutefisk dinner with my father last night. This is the 28th year they’ve had it, I’ve been every year except for the 4 years I was in college. It’s also serves as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army, their band comes to provide music for us while we eat and they pass the donation bucket around. It’s the official kick off of the Christmas season for me.

Now I must admit, I used to hate lutefisk… up until 4 years ago. Now I love the stuff, my father loves it as well. Boopie hates it. Clone didn’t care for it last year. When they served it, my father took Boopie's and I took Clones. Don’t worry folks; they also had ham, Korv (Scandinavian Christmas Sausage), Swedish meatballs, real Swedish meatballs. Not the crap they pass off as Swedish meatballs in the stores. We are all eating our fill of Scandinavian delicacies when I ask Clone if he wants to lutefisk. Clone says, “Yeah, I like.� Okay… So I give him some, I’ll be double dipped in chocolate if the boy didn’t like it this year. He ended up eating half a bowl of it on his own. HALF A BOWL!

My father was so proud that his youngest grandson was eating the lutefisk. He gave me some crap because “it took (me) 24 years to decide he liked it.� Unfortunately it will be another year before I get a chance to eat lutefisk again. The only person I knew first hand that made it was my grandmother and she’s not making any this year.

To finish this post, I’ll leave you with the lutfisk song in the extended entry.

Sung to ‘O Tannunbaum

Lutefisk... 0 Lutefisk... how fragrant your aroma
0 Lutefisk... 0 Lutefisk... You put me, in a coma
You smell so strong... You look like glue
You taste yust like an overshoe
but Lutefisk ... come Saturday
I tink I'll eat you anyway.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... I put you by the doorway
I vanted you to ripen up ... yust like dey do in Norway
A dog came by and sprinkled you ... I hit him vit an army shoe
0 Lutefisk ... now I suppose
I'll eat you as I hold my nose.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... how well I do remember
On Christmas Eve how we'd receive ... our big treat of December
It vasn't turkey or fried ham ... it vasn't even pickled spam
My mudder knew dere vas no risk ...
In serving buttered lutefisk.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... now everyone discovers
Dat Lutefisk and lefse makes-Norweigians better lovers
Now all da vorld can have a ball ... you're better dan dat Yeritol
0 Lutefisk ... vit brennevin
You make me feel like Errol Flynn.

Posted by Contagion at 10:00 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 05, 2005

It's Christmas time!

On Sunday, the family and I went and picked out our Christmas tree. We always have a real tree. I like the look and smell of them better. They may be harder to clean up, but the overall effect is much nicer. Artificial trees always make me feel like something is missing.

Clone was very excited about getting to pick out a tree. Seeing, as he is only two and a half, this is only his third Christmas. I’m not sure if he actually remembers the Christmas tree from last year or if he’s heard talk about them. What I do know is that when we were getting ready to go get it Sunday morning, Clone didn’t want to cooperate getting ready to go. When Ktreva said we were going to go get a Christmas tree, then Clone became hyper excited and couldn’t wait to go get it. He sat still to get dressed and get his coat, hat and mittens on.

When we arrived at the store to pick the tree, his little eyes grew as big as saucers. A forest of evergreens, stacked in bays just waiting for someone to bring one home. It didn’t take us long to find what we considered the perfect tree. Eight feet tall, somewhat skinny (We don’t have a lot of room for a Christmas tree), a perfect shape. Clone thought it was an excellent tree to have in our house.

We set the tree up when we got home. We usually wait at least 24 hours to decorate the tree once we have it in the house. We like to give it time for the branches to fall back into their pre-shipping squashed position. Tonight, after work, we will decorate the festive victim of floracide. That means tomorrow or even later tonight, there may be festive pictures of our tree for me to share with all of you.

Posted by Contagion at 12:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 30, 2005

It's not road rage if you're not driving.

I love to drive, however I do not like sitting in the car. When I go anywhere, my whole goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Be it from my house to the work or from one hotel to the next on vacation. I do have rules that I will not break while driving. Such as A) Try to stay with in ten miles an hour of the speed limit. B) Do not weave in and out of traffic C) Do not try to squeeze my vehicle between two cars. There are more, but these give you the main idea that I try to be courteous driver.

There is always a flip side to everything. I will yell at cars that are going too slow, aren’t paying attention to the lights/traffic around them or being jerks in general. There is nothing I hate more then being stuck behind some jag off doing 35 in a 45 or they aren't paying attention to when the light changes and sits there blocking traffic. I’ve been known to spout of quite a rant when this happens.

So it should be no surprise to me that my youngest, Clone, has picked up this habit. Last night on the way home from picking the boys up we were stopped at a light. As soon as the light turned green, I hear from the back seat, “Dude, go! Go dude go!” (Yes, I still say dude, shut up!) Boopie is in the front seat with me laughing; I’m laughing and trying to keep my foot on the break. I didn’t feel like running the COP CAR in front of me over.

To make matters even worse, since the cop was there, I was stuck doing the speed limit. Clone, not used to actually traveling at 30 MPH, felt we weren’t going fast enough and started yelling, “DUDE, GO! GO! GO! GO, DUDE, GO!” He repeated himself numerous times. I tried to explain to him “The dude is going.” That wasn’t good enough for him, it wasn’t until the cop turned off and I was able to speed up to 45 that Clone became satisfied with our speed.

This isn’t the first time he’s done this, he started doing it a couple of weeks ago. It is the first time he got so mad that his little blonde head became bright red in anger. He looked like a tomato with white hair!

The older he gets, the more of my traits I see in him. My poor wife is doomed.

Posted by Contagion at 12:58 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

History isn't PC.

My kids are going to grow up so well adjusted. Here's another tale for the "I'm a bad Dad" collection.

Over the weekend, I took some time to play with Clone. He had a bunch of little plastic Cowboys and Indians spread out across the floor. (Think little green army men.) It started with him picking up an Indian with a bow and saying, “My Guy”. So I picked up a cowboy that looked like he was about to gut shoot someone and said, “Mine!” Grinning, Clone picks up another Indian, this time he has a spear with feathers. My next choice was another cowboy aiming/shooting a pistol. Looking over the pile, Clone picks up an Indian with a tomahawk. I look at the pile and see an Indian with a rifle; I pick him for my team.

Clone tells me, “No, dada. You pick cowboy.”

Me, “What? No, this is Squatchmo. He’s a traitor to his people and works a guide/tracker for my cowboys. We bought him off with firewater and a rifle. Now he takes us around to where all the Indians hide.”

Clone looks at me nods his head and picks up a cowboy, “Dada, Traitor bring Indian rifle.”

I laughed so hard I almost passed out. Ktreva comes running in to see what all the ruckus is. When I tell her what happens she advised me I’m not allowed to give Clone history lessons while I’ve been drinking Jack Daniels.

Posted by Contagion at 04:59 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

A New tradition is starting.

I’m here, I’m here. I’m sure none of you are wondering where I’ve been for the last 4 days. Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. While I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving, I did not. Nope, Thanksgiving day itself was just filled with irritance, anger and scathing words.

We spent Thanksgiving Day at my parent’s house with my sister. Mom also invited many of my aunts, uncles and cousins. This has been their tradition for many years. Notice I say “their”. Why is it their? Growing up my mother would either invite her whole family over to our house or we would go to one of my aunts. They traded off every other year. Not all of my mother’s brothers/sisters would show up being as they were married and would spend it at their in-laws. My father’s family lives way up in Minnesota and upper
Wisconsin and they never wanted to travel north this time of year, thus we were always there.

Now that I’m older I do not want to spend time with my aunts, uncles and cousins on the holidays, I want to spend it with my family. My wife and kids in our house. Maybe we visit my parents, maybe we visit my sister, but I don’t want to spend it with my mother’s family. I just do NOT like them. They are the touchy, feely, gossipy, prime and proper type of people. Where I take most if not all of my traits from my Father and his side of the family. We are distant, loud, obnoxious, tell you how it is kind of people. We just don’t mix.

Since I told my mother I would go, we had to go. Everything was going okay, at first. I tried to keep my mouth shut and not get irritated by some of the hippy “save the environment” BS that was thrown my way. Of course I had enough so I spouted off, “My view on the environment is ignore it, it’ll go away.” And “If I cared about the effects of cars on the environment I wouldn’t have bought a 10mpg beast just to drive around town.” Hey, I said I tried. I didn’t say I succeeded. Apparently my mother’s side of the family has some very hippy tendencies. The funny part is that all stemmed from me throwing away a beer can!

Dinner is served and we all sit down to eat. Clone is up to his usual, “There’s new people around, and how much can I get away with.” He didn’t eat his dinner. We’ve been having a problem with this. He only wants candy and desert. When he said he was done after only a couple of bites, I told him, “If you don’t finish your lunch there will be NO candy, cookies, pie, cake, anything. Am I understood?” He gave me a chipper “yes” and bounced on his merry way to go gamble. (My father has a slot machine; the boy loves to play with it. Sadly enough he’s won more then he’s lost) That is the standard rule in our house, no meal, no dessert/snacks.

After a couple of hours it’s announced that they are cutting the pies. Yes pieS, French silk, pumpkin, banana cream, key-lime, etc. My mom’s side of the family does food in huge and grandiose style. No one ever wants for anything. Clone decides he wants pie. NO! You did not eat your lunch, no pie. He’s only upset for a moment then goes back to trying to get three sevens. While getting my piece I’m asked if I’m getting one for Clone. I advise everyone in the kitchen (most of the family) “He did not eat his lunch, he gets no dessert.” For the first time I hear. “But he’s been eating carrots all afternoon.” Apparently he’s been running up to the veggie tray and snagging carrots. That doesn’t bother me, as it’s not candy/cookies/pie/etc. It is the holiday so even though he shouldn’t be snacking on it, I let it go. “Fine, I don’t care if he has carrots, but no pie.”

When I go back downstairs after getting my own piece I see my father feeding Clone pie. “Dad, he didn’t eat his lunch. He gets no pie.” My dad looks at me and says, “Sorry, I didn’t know.” Okay… fine. Sitting down to eat my pie Clone comes up wanting a bite. “Nope,” I announce, “You did not eat your lunch. NO desert!” Everyone in the basement heard me.

A lot of my relatives have heard this declaration three times now. After watching the Lions get manhandled for a while, I go upstairs and what do I see? One of my cousins feeding Clone pie with a couple of my aunts. Again, for the third time I announce. “NO, he did NOT eat his lunch. He gets NOTHING sweet.” I get the excuse back, “But he’s been eating carrots all afternoon.” To which I respond, “I don’t care, no pie.”

I have to move my truck so an uncle of mine can run home for a moment. When I come back into the house, sitting at the kitchen table what do I see? Clone sitting there eating a huge piece of French Silk pie, with my sister watching him. Walking through the kitchen exasperated I say, “He’s not supposed to be eating pie, he didn’t eat his lunch.” This is an excerpt of the following conversation:

Sister: “He’s been eating carrots all day, what is it going to hurt if he has pie? You need to lighten up.” (This finally breaks my patience)

Me angrily, “I’m his parent, if I say no, that means no. If you are going to undermine my authority as his parent, I can make sure you never see him again.” I start walking down stairs.

Sister, upset. “That’s not funny, you shouldn’t say things like that!”

Me, “I’m not joking, I’m dead serious. I’m tired of having this family continually disregard what my wife and I say about raising our child. Maybe it’s time I did something about it.” There was more, but you get the idea.

My sister goes stomping off. I go back downstairs to watch Denver and Dallas. First Ktreva comes downstairs and tells me not to be such an arsehole to my sister. Apparently she was outside crying. (Side note: I made the same threat last year when my mother and mother-in-law did a similar thing to her. Last year I was a good guy, this year I was the villain.) Then one of my cousins (One that my wife and I both think is a shallow beotch) comes down to yell at me, because she was the one that gave Clone the pie. She had heard me say he didn’t get any three plus times. I told her that from my sister’s comments, she gave the impression that she gave Clone the pie. Secondly, the same still applies. If this family cannot learn to abide by my wife’s and mine decisions then they can go with out having my family around. At which point she said I was a bigger asshole then she thought I was. To which I responded, “I don’t care.” She stormed off.

Since this has happened two years in a row. I’ve decided I am not going to do Thanksgiving with them next year. My family and I will do our own thing, start our own traditions, and actually enjoy the day. Not deal with a family that is so wrapped up in what it wants that it disregards everyone else.

Posted by Contagion at 01:42 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

I think I'm married.

Due to various issues at work, both my wife and I have been working long hours. If one of us isn’t working until 7:00 PM, the other is. To top things off we’ve been working on Saturdays as well. Today I’ve been at work since 6:00 AM, and I wont be able to leave until 3:30 PM at the earliest. Next Saturday my wife has to come in and work at least 5 hours. During the week it doesn’t look like the hours are going to be letting up any either.

Between the long hours, shier exhaustion and the other responsibilities we have; we have not been able to spend more then a couple of waking hours together over the last couple of weeks. I was discussing this with one of my co-workers today and she mentioned she sees her x-husband more then that each week.

This brings me to my question; does this mean my wife and I are now legally separated? If so I need go make sure I grab her back before she realizes her newfound freedom. The last thing I need is her realizing how much better then me she could do.

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November 10, 2005

Say cheese!

Last night Ktreva (my wife) and I took the boys for our annual family photo. Every November we get a new family picture taken. At the same time, we have pictures taken for our family Christmas cards. Since our first years together, we have always done photo Christmas cards. They are more personalized and the people can keep the picture if they want.

Since Clone is two and a half, this is his third time having a family photo. When he was only 6 months old, he was fine. All he had to do was lay there. Since he pretty much just slept, there was no problem with him posing. I don’t think anyone expects a great family photo involving a 6 month old. If they do, they never had kids.

The next year, when Clone was 18 months, we had problems. He did not want to cooperate at all. He would refuse to sit still, cry and scream. The photographer we had was a patient individual, but you could tell she was starting to be frazzled from the whole situation. None of the pictures where turning out all that good. Finally, the photographer was able to get Clone to settle down and smile on three different poses. It only took 45 minutes.

This year was the exact opposite. Clone, in a trait that is definitely not like me, loved having his picture taken. The photographer would tell him to say “cheese” and he would repeat it over and over. After the first picture, even before the photographer said anything he would start yelling out “cheese!” He sat still and did an excellent job of cooperating. He even tried to help the photographer rearrange the studio for different backdrops and poses just so he could have his picture taken again.

It was Boopie and myself that were the problems this year.

Boopie has been going through this ritual for the last 8 years, plus all the other photo’s he has had taken. This year he just could not keep from looking at the stupid monitor to see what the photo would look like. Finally, the photographer would get a picture where everyone looked good, except Boopie’s eyes would be glancing to the side to look at the monitor in anticipation of seeing the photo. This happened a good dozen times.

When it wasn’t Boopie looking off to the monitor, it was my stupid glasses. I’ve worn glasses since I was in kindergarten. Every year I had school photos, family photos, sports photos, etc. In every one, I was wearing glasses. I know how to hold my head so the flash doesn’t reflect off them. Not this year, this year I had a mental meltdown. I would hold my head normally and when the flash would go off, there was a big reflection of the flash covering part of my face. We had at least four photos that would have been perfect if I had tilted my head down just a little.

The boys were great and very well behaved. I only had to get on their case once, and that was when we were trying to check out. The ladies behind the counter where having difficulties with the checkout system. It took longer to check out then to have the photo’s taken. Both boys had enough waiting and wanted to get on to other things… like dinner and playing. They started to get a little loud and rambunctious. I kept telling them to settle down. There would be a moment or two of quiet and then they would start up again. This forced me to use my “mad dad, you’re really in trouble voice”. I remember what it was like to be a boy at these photo shoots. They are boring and you just want to go do something else. Both boys were just trying to entertain themselves. That does not excuse them from being little hellions.

All in all, it was a good shoot, the boys where cooperative and well behaved on the most part, and we should have our Christmas cards in about a week!

Posted by Contagion at 04:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 29, 2005

Pun'kins with Pumpkins

Seeing as Halloween is coming up, the other night I took the boys to get pumpkins. Everybody has to carve pumpkins for Halloween, if you don’t… that’s just weird. After spending 15 minutes looking at all the pumpkins available, each boy chooses the one they wanted. Yes, I actually let each boy choose his own pumpkin. This was for my own amusement as Clone kept trying to pick up the pumpkin he wanted. He ended up choosing one that he could actually pick up. Considering his criteria AND the fact it has no stem, I don’t think he did a bad job. Boopie however was looking for something more to fit the design he had in mind. Here are both of their choices:


First we drew the design on a piece of paper, then we gutted and cleaned them both out. Clone loved this part; he could not get enough of the disemboweling of pumpkins. It was his desire to just through the pumpkin guts on the ground that was annoying. Finally we get around to actually carving the designs into the pumpkins. Boopie did his own this year. He wanted to do it by himself. Clone also wanted to do it himself. I put my foot down, much to his chagrin, and carved it for him. Here are the final products.


From all of us in the Contagion household to all of you, Happy Halloween!

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October 27, 2005

I'm getting anger boils.

Someone needs to pray to God, Allah, Jehovah, Jesus, The Virgin Mary, the Trees, Buddha, Ganesha, or me (In certain third world countries I am worshiped as a god) for the life of my eldest boy, Boopie. If you recall earlier this week we had a run in regarding his tone of voice and showing proper respect towards adults. This all stemmed from his attempting to wear shorts to school. Please remember our highs are only in the 50s right now. He was told, “No more shorts until spring, and it warms up.”

The boy put on shorts again this morning.

He looked shocked when I told him calmly to change.

How calm was I? My voice was barely a whisper. Why was I so calm? If I didn’t maintain that level of calm, I would have killed the boy… or at least woken the neighbors up from my yelling.

He is going to need all the help he can get to survive the next 6 years.

And you all wonder why I drink. j/k… well not really.

Posted by Contagion at 01:18 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Darn flippant kids!

I think my oldest child is trying to commit suicide by father. Why? Because I’m going to kill him! Okay, only metaphorically. The story starts 12 years ago… he was born. All was right with the world, but then he started getting older. The older he became, the more problems he caused. First, it was learning to walk… he was into everything. Then it was learning to talk… he wouldn’t shut up! Then he started middle school; now he thinks he is an adult. He knows what’s best and should be able to do what he wants. This has given him a bit a flippant attitude and a disrespectful tone to his voice.

Fast forward to yesterday morning; Boopie is getting ready for school. It is a balmy 40 degree’s outside at 6:30 AM with a forecasted high in the 50’s; the boy decides it is a good day to wear shorts. At this point, my wife, who loves mornings, strongly advises him that he cannot wear shorts to school. He’s not happy about this, but he changes and spends the rest of the morning pouting about it.

Fast Forward again to this morning; I’m in the kitchen getting lunches ready when I hear my wife say to Boopie again, “It is too cold to wear shorts, go change.” With out missing a beat in a very flippant and disrespectful tone of voice I hear Boopie respond with something like, “You didn’t do my laundry. I have no clean clothes.” (Boopie is supposed to take his laundry to the basement for washing; he has been told that if he doesn’t bring it down it will not be washed. He didn’t take his laundry down.) That was it for me this morning. I was raised in a household were children show proper respect to all adults, but especially their parents. There was no way I was about to put up with that.

I walk into the living room; heading straight for Boopie. As soon as he makes eye contact with me, he knows he did something wrong as his eyes start to bulge in fear. Yes, my kids have a healthy respect and fear of their father. With my hand firmly on the back of his neck, I guide him into the kitchen. The whole way from the living room, through our office to the kitchen he is make choking noises.

The first thing I say to him once I let him go is, “Just so you know it is physically impossible to be choked from the BACK of your neck, so knock that crap off.” If I had him by the back of the neck and was able to choke him, his neck is either really small, my hands are really large or a combination of the both. Either way that’s not the case here, my hand only goes maybe 3/5 the way around his neck. That and it wasn’t as if I was squeezing it. I love my son, but he is a bit of a wimp when it comes to things like… pain, fear, getting in trouble, being sick, etc. He then tried to say he wasn’t making choking sounds, to which my wife called him out on it.

Now I’m telling him my standard dad speech number 2, “You will show proper respect for adults both in your actions and your tone of voice. Until you, yourself are an adult, I will not tolerate you talking to adults in that tone of voice. You had better knock it off and knock it off now or you are going to learn this lesson the hard way.” For Boopie the hard way is making him clean his room thoroughly AND writing hundreds of sentences.

Ktreva goes back to explaining to him again that if he does not take his laundry downstairs and tell her it needs to be done, she is not going to do it. Then she advised him that it was still too cold for shorts anyway. In the same flippant and disrespectful tone he mouths off, “How was I supposed to know it was going to be cold?” I believe he realized he screwed up right as the words left his mouth as he, (and Ktreva) took a step back from me. Looking him dead in the eye I calmly ask, “Did we not just go over this? Is there something in your head that prevents you from thinking before you speak? Do you really want to make me mad?”

A squeak emits forth from his mouth. I’m fairly sure that squeak translated into “Yes, Yes, and NO” in fearinesse; a language mastered by all boys when they have incurred the wrath of the fathers.

He was still pouting when he left with Ktreva for school, but apparently, his tone of voice was much better. Before he left, I made sure to explain to him that shorts will no longer be worn to school until late spring. I’m just curious to see if he tries to put them on again tomorrow. It wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last time, he pulled a stunt like that.

For all of you that have younger kids, this is what you get to look forward to happening with yours. Aren’t you excited?

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October 12, 2005

It's going to be a long 16 years.

Kids grow up so fast. Just the other night Clone decided he wanted to go and explore the world. He found his little backpack, filled it with diapers, wipes, butt paste and his coat. Slung the pack over his shoulder and promptly told my wife, “I go bye bye now. See ya.”

Unfortunately, his trip was cut short.

He was mad when he could not open the child gate in order to go out the front door.

I have a feeling when he gets older I’m going to be spending a lot of time searching for him around the neighborhood.

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October 09, 2005

Memories

It was a cold and rainy day on Saturday October 17, 1998. I remember this day vividly for two reasons. One reason being it was the worst (weather ways) re-enactments I’ve done. We were doing the Trail of History in McHenry County, Friday evening a cold front had come through plummeting the temperature from a high in the 70’s on Friday to the mid forties on Saturday. With this came high winds gusting up to 50 mph and a steady rain. By noon the event organizers closed the event to the public. The wind and the rain were keeping most away, but the path and camp area was a swampy marsh that was a hazard to any public that showed up. They never re-opened the event and in order to get all the re-enactors and their gear, the organizers paid locals for the use of their hay wagons. To pull the wagons they brought in Caterpillar treaded work equipment. They had tried using regular tractors, but they got stuck in the mud. Yes, it was that bad.

That isn’t what makes that day stick out in my mind. Nope, Why I remember this day is because I had planned something special that was supposed to happen that day. I had worked out with a friend of mine that during one of our performances we were going to deviate from our lines and make it look like we started a real fight. The fight was supposed to start over an inappropriate comment made to another re-enactor. After the drawing of steel and a heated sword fight I was supposed to come away victorious and in front of the gathering crowd propose marriage to the “offended” re-enactor. We had worked on and practiced the fight and the wording for hours, only to have it be a waste of time. We never were able to do that show with the event being closed.

Saturday morning upon hearing the weather report I knew that my plan was for naught. They called for cold rain and high winds all day. No swordplay would be done in this weather. So at approximately 11:45 with a crowd of public gathered under our fly trying to keep dry and other re-enactors, I got down on one knee in the cold mud and asked the most beautiful re-enactor I’ve ever seen to be my wife.

I never figured out why she said yes, or what she saw in me, but she did see something that she felt was worth giving a chance. Her kind and compassionate heart held a poor, surly, angry and hateful man in a special place. The love of this woman had changed me from being so angry and hateful into a content and more forgiving man. All I knew was that I was a better person for having her in my life.

6 years ago today, October 9th, 1999, the Beautiful Re-enactor and the Surly Re-enactor were married with a ceremony and reception that is still talked about to this day. The bride made her own Elizabethan wedding gown; the Groom wore a Scottish lord outfit, literally the whole 9 yards. (The wool kilt was 9 yards long before being pleated; this was the origin of that term). The bridesmaids wore Elizabethan lady in waiting gowns. The Groomsmen and ushers all wore kilts. All the re-enactors that attended came dressed in their best costumes. A piper led the bride down the aisle. The church where we were married still talks about this ceremony.

At the reception Matt, the Chieftain of Clan Chattan, brought drums with and our reception turned into a proper Scottish Ceileigh. Along with the modern music, various members of Clan Chattan would play the different drums. They would also allow other guests attending to play along with them.

That was Six years ago today.

Ktreva, I love you. With out you I would have lost my humanity to my own self-destructive habits. Thank you for two wonderful boys and a life filled with happiness and joy. Because of all that you have done for me I am a better person. Again, I love you.

Happy Anniversary

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September 28, 2005

Now if only he would shut up.

Clone has taken to talking really well in the last month. If he hears someone say something, he will file it away and say it again at a later time, or immediately after. This can be good because he can communicate with us better. Instead of getting mad or frustrated at being unable to convey a want or need to us, he tends only to get mad when we say no now… This is most of the time because he wants to do things like play with daddy’s firearms, swords, knives and axes.

His new verbal agility can be bad, especially if Daddy is watching his Packers make a stupid play and rattles off a stream of obscenities that would make Graumagus run off covering his ears. Only then to turn around and hear Clone repeat verbatim, “Son of a B(TCH! Those G*d d@mn M*ther f&ckers better learn to catch a g*d d@mn ball or they won’t win a f&ckin’ game all season, B@STARDS!” He said it perfectly; only instead of anger behind his voice, it was pride. Pride at knowing that he did something that made Daddy laugh and Mommy yell at Daddy. Now he knows which words are “bad” words and tattles on Dad if he says one. Then Mommy comes and yells at daddy to “watch his language”… the little bast…. brat.

Then there is the even more humorous situation where he uses slang correctly. Especially if we didn’t know that he knew the term. For example, Saturday night, before him and my wife became sick, we were sitting around the campfire listening to my friend Jim play the guitar and sing. Earlier in the night Jim was teaching him how to do the two-handed “monster metal horns”. Try as he would, Clone could not get it right. Flash forward 2 hours we are still sitting around the fire and Jim just finished playing a song. Ktreva was clapping when clone, trying to do the two-handed “monster metal horns” says, “Rock on mom!” clear as a bell. Fortunately, I hadn’t been taking a drink at the time or I would have spit Jack Daniels out of my nose into the campfire. That could have been bad on so many different levels.

Everyday he does or says something new, I just hope it doesn’t repeat something I’ve said and get me in trouble… again.

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September 06, 2005

Sleep deprivation.

Sorry I’ve been away, it was a long weekend. Clone has decided he does not like to sleep anymore. It started Friday night, we would put him to bed and he’d just stand there and scream. He wanted to stay awake. It was Saturday that it started becoming a real problem. After deciding, he had enough of standing in his crib and screaming; he climbed out and walked to the top of the stairs to scream down to us.

We put up a child gate at his door, but that didn’t help. He was like Spiderman climbing right over it. It may have slowed him down by a fraction of a second. Around midnight he finally laid down to go to sleep, only to get up at 5:30 in the morning! Neither my wife nor I was ready to wake up and deal with the day that early. Especially since, it was a holiday weekend. We did the only thing we could, and brought him to bed with us in hopes he would go back to sleep, which he did.

On Sunday, Ktreva replaced the crib with a toddler bed we have. At least that way he won’t break his neck trying to get out of it. She also picked up a new “Harder to climb” child gate. When naptime came, we learned a couple of things. At least with the crib he thought twice about climbing out. Now he just gets up anytime he wants. As for the new gate… “Harder to Climb”, Bullshite! He looked like a gymnast jumping over a pommel horse.

Sunday night was the same thing, even though he didn’t really nap, he wouldn’t go to bed. We knew he was tired, but he did not want to go to sleep. If we laid him down, he would get up and break out of his room. Nothing would make this tired little boy lie down and sleep. In fact, he would turn on the TV to watch it! Again, on Sunday night he went to bed around midnight and was up around 6:00 on Monday morning.

My wife and I were tired, we hadn’t slept much because we kept waking up to make sure he didn’t climb out of bed, over the gate and try to navigate his way downstairs to the living room to play with his toys. When he woke up, again he was brought into our bed to sleep. Clone may have the vast majority of his traits from me; however, he does have one that is uniquely from his mother. He tosses and turns in his sleep like a whirlwind of knees and elbows. After laying there for a couple of hours, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Yes, I was tired, but I just could not sleep with that little Tasmanian devil in the bed.

Naptime comes and again a fight and not sleeping. Monday night bed time and again he is not sleeping! I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, when I came out of our room I could see a flickering light coming from his room. That little snot weasel had gotten up and turned the TV on again. He had attempted to make another break for it around 3:00 AM. Fortunately, my wife thwarted his attempt. We have yet another night of not sleeping.

This morning when the alarm went of at 5:30 AM, I was ready to kill the boy. I’m exhausted, my body does not want to climb out of bed, and I can’t even pretend to be in a decent mood. Of course, Clone is still sleeping… Therefore, we woke him up. Apparently, he was tired and didn’t want to. Go figure, and no we didn’t care. Maybe tonight he’ll sleep.

I don’t know if I can take much more of this.

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August 30, 2005

Sick child and a bath.

My wife received a call at work yesterday advising that Clone was sick. He had a fever of 103. (C’mon baby do you do more then dance… he’s hot blooded, hot blooded…. Er sorry) Last night, Clone had a 104 temperature when we put him to bed. When he woke up this morning he was at 101. Even with Tylenol, we can’t seem to break this fever. Thus today I am staying home with him. This is not a good time for me to miss work, but it’s a worse time for Ktreva. IE here I am at home with the grouchinator.

Right now he is watching Sponge Bob Square Pants… It could be worse; he could be watching the Wiggles. GAK! He’s also eating some yogurt. Which has been the only food we’ve been able to get him to eat in the last 24 hours. Hopefully he breaks this fever soon, I really don’t want to have to take him to the hospital.

Now that I have the sympathetic parent crowd hooked, I have a question for you. Whenever we bathe Clone, he does not like getting his hair wet. Oh, and when I say we, I mean Ktreva… I’ve bathed him once in the last 2.5 years. Well, when “we” put him in the bath he’s fine. He’ll play and roll around and splash… as long as his head doesn’t get wet. Once his head comes in contact with water, he freaks out.

We have no idea why. Looking back over the last 2.5 years I can’t remember a time when anything happened that would make him scared of water. Not once when he was submersed either intentionally or accidentally. We know that Boopie had similar issues when he was growing up, and kind of still does. What we are asking you, kind readers, is if this is normal? Do those of you that have or had kids go through similar issues with them? If any of you have any advice we would appreciate it. Thank you.

Also, it seems that my modem is dying. I have a new one being shipped to me, but I won't receive it for probably 2 days. That means my access to the internet is sporadic at best.

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August 29, 2005

Geronimo!

Yesterday I was sitting on the couch watching Blade Runner when Clone comes up and decides it is time to play “climb on Daddy”. This is a game that we both enjoy, more so when I’m not watching a movie. This game consists of him climbing up on my lap and then climbing until he is standing on my shoulders. To ease the minds of all the mothers and Child Protective Service people that read this, I hold onto his hips to make sure he can’t fall… too far. Part of the game is that when he gets up there he likes to “fall” backward to the ground. He doesn’t actually fall; I guide him gently to the ground. Once there I tickle him for a couple of minutes and the game starts over. We have played it this way for the last six months.

Until yesterday. Yesterday Clone makes his triumphant climb to the top of Mount Dad. This time he just stands there for a while looking around, balancing by himself on my shoulders. My hands are right there getting ready for him to fall backwards to guide him to the ground. For reasons unknown, instead of just leaning backwards, he jumps backwards. I’m not talking about a small kid jump, but an Olympic diver about to do a triple back flip jump. He jumped right out my hands.

Ancestors from days of yore smiled down upon him as they bestowed upon me the temporary grace and reflexes to be able to catch and lay him gently upon the floor. If I had missed, I could just see his little skull cracking open like a ripe watermelon being dropped onto concrete. Trying to tickle him longer then usual so my heart rate would slow down, I told him that he should NOT jump off daddy. He hasn’t done it since, and we did continue to play, but I was much more cautious with him when he started standing up there.

I think it’s great that he trusts me and has enough faith in my abilities to do such a stunt. However, I wish I had that much trust and faith in my abilities.

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August 26, 2005

Another reason to hate mowing.

For those of you that don’t follow the weather in Illinois, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t, we’ve been in an extreme drought. Of course the first time I heard that I thought the media was trying to get hip and was saying “X-Treme Drought” (Not only is it not raining here, but the government is putting up giant awnings to keep the rain away!) I mean c’mon everything is X-treme now. Even my deodorant offers an X-treme line. But I’m getting off point, that’s another post for another time.

Since we are not getting the rain, most of our lawns look like the dry plains of the Serengeti, all brown and withered. The grass just isn’t growing and I’m not one of those water the lawn type of guys. If you water it, it grows. If it grows, then you have to mow it. If you don’t want to mow your lawn and don’t care that your grass looks like some plagued wasteland, then you don’t water it. Once the local governments started putting a watering ban or limitation in effect, most people lost the option to water and their yards started to die slowly off anyway.

Just to make sure, and to appease my wife, I would check the lawn about once a week to see if it needed mowing. Right up until I went on vacation, I checked it weekly front and back to make sure. Even my wife didn’t feel it needed mowing. Then something happened.

When we returned from our vacation, I checked the back yard. There seemed to be enough growth to warrant mowing, unfortunately I was busy that week with a re-enactment and various appointments for me and the boys. I figured it could wait one more week. As I was loading up for my re-enactment I noticed the weeds seem to have flourished and where getting to a respectable height. Even the grass had started to grow pretty rampant. I figured we must have had quite a bit of rain while I was in Kansas.

While unloading from our event, I noticed the weeds where even taller and the grass grew some more. I knew it was time to mow the lawn. Looking at my calendar on Monday I noticed my only free night was Thursday. Promptly I informed my wife that I was indeed going to mow the lawn on Thursday. Operation Agent Orange was marked on the calendar.

Thursday comes, I send Boopie out into the yard with a trash bag, and a yard waste bag to pick up sticks and trash that has blown into my yard. Proceeding to my shed, I prepare my lawn mower for its duty. Having not mown the lawn since early June, some maintenance was required. I run down the list: Gas, check; Oil, check; Blade, Sharp enough to split atoms, check. Everything was ready to go.

As soon as I started mowing, I knew I was in for a fight. The grass, mainly weeds, had grown even more in that dry 4 days. Some of the weeds were almost hip high on me. The grass had started weaving itself together in some kind protective mat. Hitting one of these dense patches, I heard my 6.5 horsepower push mower engine start to struggle. What the hell?!?! We are in a draught. Nay, strike that… an extreme draught.

I fought my way through the front yard. Along my porch, some kind of funky vine had started to build up along it. Some of the weeds appeared to be small trees. TREES! When I tried planting a tree, I couldn’t get it to grow. Now that we are in a draught, the damn things are sprouting up on their own! Unbelievable!

After finishing the front yard, I headed into the back. Now the trouble began. Taking a close look at the grass, I notice that it is much taller then I had previously believed. I had the distinct feeling that something was stalking me through it. Maybe it was my imagination that a patch of weeds and grass moved in a wave as if a large predatory cat was silently stalking up to me. It was when I started my mower and a herd of deer jumped out of it and ran across my driveway I knew I was in trouble. Okay, maybe that was a little exaggerated… but the grass had grown a hell of a lot in the last 2 weeks!

My mower is really bogging down in the foliage that has overtaken my yard. I started contemplating buying gasoline to burn away the annoying vegetation. Then I realized that it was just too damn expensive to buy that much gas. No, I wasn’t worried about burning the house down… It’s insured.

Working my way through the yard, I started noticing the mower was becoming more difficult to push. When I stopped to check out why, I made a horrid discovery. The lawn was fighting back! A different kind of vine was attacking my mower, wrapping up in the wheels and entangling the blade. To make matters worse, it was attacking me! I kid you not, while I was working on the mower, vines started to entangle my feet and ankles. It was as if it knew who had caused the vegetation pain and was fighting back.

Hurriedly I finished working on the mower and went back to work. My feet kept pushing the mower on, quickly wiping out the vile plants. Boopie was following behind me raking up the clippings that didn’t make it into the bag. He kept complaining that the piles where pulsating like a heart that had been ripped out of someone’s chest, yet didn’t realize it was dead yet. Watching the pile pulsate, I told him it was his imagination.

After about an hour and a half and 2.5 times the number of lawn bags I normally use, I finished mowing the lawn. Both Boopie and I showed signs of our battle, small cuts and scratches on our arms and legs. It was at this point as we put the last of the yard bags into the alley Boopie asked me, “Dad, why didn’t you just burn it all away.”

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August 15, 2005

It must be the DNA injections.

During our vacation, we stayed in a motel a couple of nights. On one of the nights, we had the neighbors from hell. We don’t know how many people were in the room, but I know there had to be at least three, a mother and two kids. From the sounds of their voices, the oldest child couldn’t have been over five. By the time, they checked in and arrived at their room it was after 10:00 PM.

The kids instantly start screaming and yelling. The mother, sounding like the kids had been doing this all day, starts yelling at them. They are pounding on the walls, slamming drawers shut on the dressers and jumping on the beds. Kids will be loud; they cry and just make noise. Having a two and a 12 year old, I understand and can over look that. Adults yelling and slamming drawers, letting kids pound on the walls and jump on the bed, I cannot abide by. There are certain courtesies and etiquette one follows when staying in a hotel or motel.

This would go on for a couple of minutes before stopping. As soon as I would fall back to sleep, they would start again. After a while, I had finally had enough and jumped out of bed to throw some clothes on and see if I couldn’t gently persuade them to shut the hell up! Just as I sat up to do something, my wife leaps up in the bed. With hair flying, she pounds on the wall as hard as she can. With her head flailing between the blows, she hollers out “SHUT THE f#&K UP!”

Stunned, I slowly turn to look at my normally serene and peaceful wife. Her eyes are bugged out, her hair wildly disarrayed, her lips peeled back to show her gritted teeth, a mask of anger had fallen over her beautiful face. Informing her that I was getting ready to head over and “talk” to the neighbors, she responded with, “I couldn’t take it anymore.” I guess I’m starting to rub off on my wife

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August 14, 2005

My vacation.

I survived the family vacation. It was interesting there were some good points and some bad points. For the sake of brevity I am going to highlight some of the most memorable parts of my vacation, both good and bad.

The world’s largest truck stop is on I-80 in Iowa. We stopped there just to check it out. Yep, it’s a mighty big truck stop.

There is a place in Iowa called the Amana Colonies. It is about 30 minutes north northwest of Iowa City. This place is a really neat rural community with a rich history. The food is excellent (heavily German influence), they have all kinds of specialty industries including wool weaving, wine making, beer brewing, meat processing, etc. I will go out on a limb and say I had some of the best beer I have EVER (better then Guinness in my opinion) had from the local brewery, an oatmeal stout. I brought home two one liter bottles of it for my next weekend re-enactment. At their woolen mill we were able to pick up a historically correct wool blanket for our re-enacting for only $59.00.

Clone needs to work on his restaurant etiquette. We really need to get him to stop yelling at the top of his lungs things like; “I go potty” and “Momma, you go potty”.

While in a nice family restaurant in the Amana Colonies, Clone was coloring when he dropped a crayon. At which point he proceeded to yell out, “DAMMIT!” I don’t know where he learned such language. I blame my wife.

Kansas City sucks. This is the worst city I have ever been too. There are 3 major highways through/around Kansas City, and they feel it is completely appropriate for them to completely close down two of them at the Missouri River to work on the bridges at the same time. Our hotel was right at one of the last exits before the bridge was closed on the highway we wanted. We planned our alternate route that night before going to bed only to discover the next day that highway was also closed. I was more then a little miffed.

People in Kansas City do not eat in restaurants unless it is fast food or at the Casino. We spent an hour driving around looking for a decent sit down restaurant and couldn’t find one. Finally I went back to the hotel and asked the clerk where I could go find a decent restaurant. The clerk went on to say that I could take my family to either the casino or a sports bar. I felt so trashy taking my 2 and 12 year old to a casino to eat mediocre food.

We spent half of a day in Independence, MO, the launching point of the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails west. We went to multiple museums and soaked up a lot of history about early pioneers and settlers. If you like history or just want to do something educational on a vacation, this is an interesting town. It’s also where the Harry Truman library and Museum is. While touring the Frontier Trails Museum my wife made an interesting observation. In a lot of their displays about mountain men and frontier travelers they had replica items. From our re-enacting, we own many of those replica items and or know where which retailer they bought them through, especially the ink packets labeled “Jas. Townsend”. This was consistently the case at every museum and historic center we went to that had displays ranging from the 1700’s through the 1880’s Does this mean my house is a museum?

My wife has been lying to me for years. She grew up in Wichita, KS and has told me for years that Kansas is flat and has no trees. We drove through some pretty hilly areas covered in forest. We did come to spots where there was not a tree in site, however it was still rolling hills.

If I really wanted to quit my job and do living history full time, there are plenty of places for me to find a job. The pay is pretty bad however.

At the Zoo in Wichita, animals like to get right up to the glass. This makes for some really neat picture opportunities.

Wichita has a really neat Living History center, Old Cow Town. This is one of the best-recreated towns I’ve seen. Even on a weekday they have re-enactors peppered through out the town to talk to the people. They even had the saloon open and running, however you could not get a whiskey there, no matter how hard I tried. There was even period pr0n on the walls!

While at Old Cow Town, the boys decided they needed guns. I ended up buying Boopie two six shooters and Clone a Derringer. These being my boys, they ended up getting into a gunfight IN the church.

They had a fur trapper/hunter section in the town. After the living historian finished her speech about the display, I politely explained I’m a re-enactor and she had some of her information wrong. I corrected her on the use of a couple of items and even cited sources for the information. She seemed generally appreciative of my information. She was also rather annoyed by her inability to answer a couple of my questions. No matter how tempting it was to quiz her, I didn’t. My questions where all legitimate ones that I didn’t know the answer two.

In the small Kansas town of Hutchinson is located the Cosmosphere and Space Center. This impressive center also houses a museum on space flight and holds a large collection of rocket and space artifacts from the back up Sputnik satellite to the actual Apollo 13 capsule. I’ve been to the Smithsonian and Cape Kennedy; this place rivals them. It is located about 45 minutes northwest of Wichita, if you are ever in the area you would be doing yourself a disservice by not stopping by. We attempted to see a couple of shows; I however had to miss two of them. Clone would start getting loud and crying and I had to take him out of the theater. We figured this would happen, so I was prepared. I wish I had been able to finish the I-max movie on fighter pilots, as that was interesting.

We went to a chuck wagon supper at the Prairie Rose. The food was great. There was also a cowboy song/story show that went with it. Clone would not sit still or be quiet for the show. I ended up having to take him outside so he could run around. Boopie joined us shortly after. I just could not get Boopie to go back in and try to give the show a chance. He kept saying he didn’t like country music. Even after explaining to him this was the other kind of music, western, he still would not go back in. When clone finally settled down I took him back in and actually was able to see part of the show. These guys where good. After three songs Clone was back to his old tricks and I had to take him out again. This time Boopie decided to stay to watch the show. He liked it so much he ended up buying a CD and having the cowboys autograph it. Dad knows best!

Clone did scream a lot during the drive. If any of you had stock in Advil and noticed that it’s value skyrocketed; it’s because I was popping it like pez.

West of the Mississippi they have gas stations called Kum & Go. Words cannot begin to describe the juvenile levels of mirth I had with that name.

During the whole trip I was constantly speeding. I passed many more people then I was passed. Doing some quick calculations, I figure that for every 500 vehicles I passed, one car would pass me. Yet I did not get pulled over once. There were a couple of close calls.

I’m sure I forgot something, there was so much that happened.

UPDATE: Per request, here's a picture of the Kum N Go sign. Yes, I'm juvinile enough to get a picture.


Posted by Contagion at 11:11 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 04, 2005

Family Vacation fun?

Tonight we are packing the van for our trek to Wichita Kansas. We are taking it nice and slow. Leaving Rockford around 1:30 tomorrow afternoon and only traveling to Iowa City, IA. Saturday we are heading to Kansas City and spending the night there. Finally, on Sunday we will arrive in Wichita. We are doing it in short legs on the way there because of Clone. That boy has not gotten any better at riding in vehicles. Many of you have given me advice on how to deal with Clone’s hatred of all things car. My only wish is that some of it would have worked. Everything we’ve tried to this point has been a failure.

Part of packing tonight is going to be a huge bottle of Advil and some left over oxycotin I have from a knee injury two years ago. I know, I know… but I don’t have the contacts to get morphine. That’s a joke people, I don’t have any oxycotin left, and I sold that last year. j/k. There is going to be toys, books, snacks, drinks and even a new seat just to try to appease “Scream Master C” (Clone’s street name if he was a rapper). The drive down there and back is the part I’m dreading the most. I wonder if it is too late to have a soundproof barrier built into the van.

I’m not sure if any of my readers live in the areas that I am heading. If you are and want to get together, e-mail me and we’ll work something out. Other then a handful of people, I think most of my regular readers are east of the Mississippi river. If I’m wrong, call me out on it.

Once we arrive in the hot, oh so hot, Wichita (It’s been getting over 100 the last couple of weeks!), we are spending 5 days with my in-laws. My wife will be showing me around her old haunts, she grew up in and around Wichita. This vacation is mostly so my wife’s family can spend some time with her and the kids. As far as I know, we aren’t doing any type of touristy/site seeing activities. If I’m lucky maybe my wife will let me stop at a spot on the Missouri where Lewis and Clark set up camp 200 years ago and snap a couple of pictures. Then again, I’m not sure how far out of the way that will take me and if I really want to drive that much extra with Clone.

Then on the return drive, we are zipping back the same way we came (quickest possible route). Except this time, we are doing it in only two days, with a stay in Des Moines, Iowa. Afterwards I’m expecting that I’m not going to want to get into a vehicle with my family anytime in the near future. That won’t be possible, as on the 19th I have to drive them three hours to a re-enactment down state. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Posted by Contagion at 04:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005

The Traveler returns!

There are morning people and there are not morning people. Everyone falls into those two categories, or at least that is what I have been told. Now, I’m not the most personable person in the mornings but I can fake it. Over the years I have found that it is, easier to start your day if the people around you aren’t “bite your head off” pissed. My wife is another story; there is not a word strong enough to explain her personality in the mornings. Some of you that have met her might find this hard to believe, but it’s true. She is just down right nasty to be around in the mornings. After six years of marriage, I’ve noticed two things. The first being that if she felt sacrificing small animals to the gods that be would prevent her having to be up before the crack of noon, she would. The second is the fact she is getting worse. It used to be either she would ignore my existence except for the occasional glare or she would complain about anything. In the last couple of months, she has taken to snapping at the boys and me.

This morning I walk into our bathroom and I pause for a second to admire my beautiful wife. Of course, I start to grin; beautiful women always make me grin. From the corner of her eye, she sees me looking at her. Whipping her head in my direction she yells, “What the hell are you smiling for?” Attempting to save my hide, I explain I was just admiring her beauty. My loving wife then tells me to “Shut up and finish getting ready for work!” While putting goop in my hair to make it all nice and spiky, I’m apologizing for smiling at her. To which she responds with a grunt.

After finishing my hair and cologne, I head downstairs to wake up Boopie, then to make lunch and breakfast for Ktreva and me. When Boopie comes bopping into the kitchen, I warn him. I tell him, “No matter what you do, do NOT smile at your mother this morning.” Boopie, like all 12 year olds, wants to know why. With a warning look on my face, I explain that, “Your mother is in a bit of a mood this morning. Worse then normal.” Boopie then bounces out of the kitchen grinning. He says, “What ever you say dad.” Typical 12 year old, doesn’t believe what I’ve told him. Hollering after him that I wasn’t kidding, I go back to work on packing our breakfast and lunches.

Then it happened. From upstairs, I hear Clone crying (He has his mother’s love of mornings) and my wife yells, “What are you smiling at?” A heard of elephants comes flying down the stairs, a crash comes from the living room. Sticking my head around the corner to see what is going on; I can see Boopie with a look of terror on his face. He is sprawled out on the floor after tripping on some of Clones toys. My wife comes through the door holding a screaming Clone. Boopie is trying to scramble to his feet to get away as his mother attempts to wrangle him in with one hand. I’ve realized that one of my worst nightmares has come true… my wife has hit “kill” mode. Poor defenseless Boopie is frantically attempting to scramble to his feet with minimal success. If it weren’t for Clone wiggling as much as he was, Ktreva would have easily skinned Boopie.

I’m looking around the kitchen for some kind defensive device for me to use to help Boopie; hence, I missed how he actually did escape. I’m searching around for a large cutting board to use as a shield when Boopie comes running into the kitchen screaming, “HELP ME DAD! MOM’S AFTER ME!” For a second I contemplated letting her destroy him, I mean I did try to warn him and he didn’t listen. Isn’t my duty as a parent finished at that point? I didn’t think so. My wife comes crashing into the kitchen almost taking out the trashcan. Clone comes screaming in behind her wanting to be picked up.

Murder.

It was murder in her eyes. One of us was going to go down. Boopie was cowering behind me. This was it folks, I knew I was a dead man. The karmic wheel has spun and is paying me back for all the mean things I’ve done to others. My wife, with a voice like Gozer the Gozerian, proclaims that we shall pay in blood for our disrespect. Boopies goes limp as he falls to the floor. Her eyes glint to him for a second and return to me. Knowing I had precious little time left before I’m wearing my rib cage as a hat, I did the only thing I could think of.

It’s amazing how the most innocent phrase can turn a super pissed off ancient Sumerian god back into a lovely and enchanting woman. It was a simple phrase that made everything okay and restored normalcy in the Contagion household. When the words, “I packed you a chocolate bar in your lunch today, because I love you” passed from my lips, all was restored. My wife smiled, tilted her head to one said and said, “Really?” We finished getting ready and then went to work.

For those of you that need a moral to this story. I have three for you. 1) When women are made at you, Chocolate makes things better! 2) Children sometimes need to learn lessons the hard way, especially when they disregard valuable advice. 3) Don’t awaken a pissed of ancient Sumerian god if you don’t want to pay the price.

Posted by Contagion at 01:06 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

Contagion in peril, Day 3.

SHE’S HOME! MY WIFE IS HOME! All the sacrifices of small animals (cats) to the gods paid off! She did not have to stay the whole week in Chicago. It was a rough three days, but I survived. When I last left you in this saga, Clone was insuring his inheritance by ensuring that I am incapable of producing any more offspring.

When my eyes finally stopped watering, I cleaned him up and dressed him. He was relatively good while he was getting dressed; however, he still wanted his Momma. It wasn’t until I went to make my breakfast/lunch that I ran into problems. While slicing the summer sausage and cheese that I eat for lunch, Clone decided he had to have some. He barged his way between the counter and me, barely missing my sore testicles. He stood there looking up at me chanting, “Dadda, I want more.” Whenever he wants something and doesn’t know exactly what to call it, it becomes “more”. Thinking it wouldn’t hurt anything, and the fact I do this on a regular basis, I sliced him a thin piece of garlic summer sausage. Even though this appeased him, he did not move. There he stood, right in my way.

During the slicing of the hot pepper cheese things became interesting. Again, he wanted some; however, he knows what cheese is and was asking for “Dadda, more cheese”. Hot Pepper cheese is a misnomer. It is cheese, there is jalapeños in it, but it is not hot. Correction, I don’t think it’s hot. According to most people that know me, I have no feeling left in my mouth. For the longest time I disagreed with them, then one day I was eating lunch with a bunch of people that like hot and spicy food. We all tried an appetizer that was supposed to be really hot. Everyone else said they couldn’t eat it; it was too hot. Me, I thought it was mild and finished it off figuring they where wimps. Come to find out, it was really hot… but I’ll spare you the details on how I discovered that.

After telling Clone for the third time, he wouldn’t like it and him insisting on it. I gave him a piece of the hot pepper cheese. I know what you are all thinking, “Insane bastard! That’s just mean.” Well you know what, you’re right; but it shut him up and it was only a small piece. He took a big bite of it and was happy. After a couple of seconds, he pulled it out of his mouth and tried to hand it back to me. I’m trying not to laugh, remember I’m not feeling too sorry for the little boy that tried to detach my testies with his foot. The “my mouth is on fire” dance he did was rather amusing. Taking the piece of chewed up cheese away from him; I asked if he wanted some milk. Of course, there was an emphatic yes. After he finished his milk, we left the house.

Everything was fine when I dropped him off and went to work. After work was a different story. Upon picking him up he did not want to leave, he wanted to stay with Grandma or Momma. Now he doesn’t do this when my wife is with, so he must really not want me right now. This is fine, because when he gets older it will be a daddy thing all the time. When we get home, before I can even get the mail put away, Clone has started instigating trouble with Boopie. Since Boopie had been helpful, I told him he could play a new video game he bought. Boopie’s room is off limits to Clone, and Clone knows that. Being forbidden only makes it that much more desirable. Again, Boopie was being a good kid and told Clone he could come in his room and watch, but he could NOT make a mess. At this point, I should have just said, “Wait! Clone can not go into your room because that is all he is going to do.” However, I did not say that and went about my own tasks. After 15 minutes, I hear Boopie yelling at Clone and go to check out what the problem is. Legos are everywhere. The bucket they where in was upturned and Clone is sitting on the bed laughing. Clone had climbed under Boopie's bed, pulled out the Lego container and dumped them all out by flinging the case across the room. Trying to be a good father, I helped pick them up.

I had spoken with my wife on the phone earlier in the day. She had told me that she was coming home that afternoon, and in fact was leaving around 1:30 PM. However, they where going to stop at a restaurant. Even with Chicago traffic and an hour stop, they should be back to Rockford by about 5:00. I was starting to worry around 5:30 when I hadn’t heard from her. Then I hear my cell phone on the charger in the kitchen vibrating. My phone is always on silent as that at work they are not allowed on the floor and I frequently have to walk out there as part of my job. Wondering who the hell would call my cell phone before calling the house; I go to check it out. It says I have five missed calls and two voicemails. When I’m at home, my phone goes onto the charger. I don’t check it nor listen to it. No one that calls my cell phone after my work hours should expect me to answer it unless they called my home first and there was no answer.

Checking the messages, my wife tells me that she is back in town. Allegedly, she called our main line; however, it rang busy. We have call waiting so I don’t know how that would happen and the phone was working normally. I wasn’t on the phone and no one had called the house. There is no reason to doubt her; I just have no idea why that would happen. We went and picked her up, Clone was so happy to see his momma again. Once she was in the van with us, he settled down and acted the perfect angel. My wife is having a hard time believing that he was not the perfect child for me…

I am taking the necessary steps at work to make sure she doesn’t get to go on a 3-day business trip again… EVER!

Posted by Contagion at 01:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 20, 2005

Contagion in Peril, day 2

Somewhere out there, my male ancestors are looking down upon me and, in family tradition, are laughing there arses off. Why are they laughing at me? BECAUSE I’M PLAYING SINGLE PARENT! Great googlie mooglie. I thought this was going to get easier. At this point, I think the spirits of my forefathers are actually interfering to make this more amusing to themselves!

When I last left you, I had gone to work with my cordless phone in my pocket on Monday. It is now Wednesday... It’s not exactly rocket surgery to figure out why I haven’t posted. (Yes, that was intentional). Monday I had to work late, when I finally was able to leave, I had to work on my father’s computer. My father, after a year of prodding, finally bought a new computer last month. The problem with my father and technology is that even though he is a plumbing and electrical engineer, he knows nothing about computers and doesn’t understand them. I get there and after being fed, I start working on his computer installing software and trying to figure out what he did so his computer won’t recognize his digital camera. The whole time Clone is being a handful. He wants to play with the mouse or the keyboard. Boopie is fine; he’s outside playing with the neighbor kids. Finally, I take clone outside and tell Boopie to play with him and get back to work.

This whole thing should have only taken me 30 minutes tops, however since I had to explain every little thing I was doing 5 times to my father; it took me almost an hour and a half. When I finally left, it was just after 8pm, Clone usually goes to bed around 7:30 during the week, he was somewhat cranky. All right, he was down right nasty. I had to stop at a pharmacy to drop off a prescription I needed to pick up the next day. By the time I got home even Boopie was saying, “Why the heck won’t Clone stop screaming?” Clone wanted Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Stacy and most importantly Momma. No matter what I did, he wanted NOTHING to do with me. I’m not kidding, when I picked him up to carry him to the house, he went rigid and fought me the whole way. I almost dropped him twice. When I put him down, he tried to run back to the van!

Finally, I was able to wrangle him into the house, it was after 8:30 PM and he needed sleep. Clone decided that he was NOT going to sleep and let the neighborhood know it. He again fought me tooth and nail to get out of his clothes and into his pajamas. I was finally able to get him down by a little before 9:00 PM. By this time the liquor in my kitchen was screaming, “Contagion, come drink us. We can make the pounding in your head go away.” Making myself a drink I sat down to do some light blogging, reading e-mails, talked to Bou, my wife… my ex-girlfriend. What? What was that last part...? OH YEAH! Unexpectedly, around 10 pm an ex-girlfriend of mine, I’ll just call her Amazon (Stop laughing LittleJoe) called. I don’t know why or how she got my phone number, but she did. That conversation lasted about 3.5 minutes. There were no pleasantries, as it was a short unpleasant relationship. She wanted to know if I still had something she had given me years ago, which I didn’t. Now this has to look good. My wife is out of town, I have women calling me at home. In addition, for the last 3 days I’ve been receiving strange text messages on my phone. The latest one was “Hey Sweetie, last night was great. I can’t wait to see you again. I love you much XOXO”. Boopie is giving me strange looks and asks, “Why are girls calling you?” (Thank god he hasn’t seen the text messages.) I, being in not such a good mood respond with, “Because all women want a piece of me.” I have a feeling that is going to come back to haunt me later on.

Right as I was getting ready to hit the sack, I remember my wife had asked me to do stuff for her. I couldn’t remember what it was though. Then it hit me, I was to water the cat and feed the plants. No, wait… Water the plants and feed the cat. Pulling the hose out of the cats mouth… I’m kidding, I’m not that inept. I’m running around putting food in the cat’s bowl and filled it to near over flowing just in case I forget. I then went and watered her plants. Now I have a black thumb, just the act of my tending for plants tends to kill them. When I was younger, my mother left me in charge of taking care of her plants when they went on vacation. I did exactly as she said. However when she get back they were all dead. Accusations were made that I did not water the plants as I was told to. I had, they just didn’t like my touch. Fortunately, one of the neighbors saw me watering the plants and vouched that I had indeed done it. My mother was so pissed at me she never asked me to care for her plants again. Ktreva has heard all of these stories and knows what is going to happen, yet she asks me to water them anyway. This morning when I left for work, most of the plants where dying. They received a watering exactly as she scheduled. All I can say is in my defense is, “she was warned.”

Tuesday morning, Clone’s mood is much worse. While picking him up out of his bed he does a full leg swing kick right into my right testicle. People, I am not ashamed to admit that after I regained consciousness, I cried. Trying to get him dressed was a chore and a half. Fighting me over the last couple of days must have taught him a thing or two, because he was much better. Finally, I get him dressed; I have him in his clothes and shoes. Attempting to pack my breakfast and lunch he is under foot, screaming that I need to hold him or he wants yogurt, or he wants mommy, or he wants my sanity to slide away so I can spend the rest of my days drooling into a cup attached to my chin. Boopie comes and tries to distract Clone for me. Unfortunately, Clone’s mood was impervious to Boopie’s attempt to play with him. Finally, my cooler is loaded and we head out the door, with the boys this time.

Clone does not want to get into the van. He continues to fight me. He screams all the way to my parents’ house. When we arrive, I’m trying to get him out of the van and he’s fighting that. I ask if he wants to see Grandma and Grandpa. His little head hanging down, chin on his chest, he shakes it no. I ask, “What do you want then?” Head still hanging he says, “Play daddy” DAMN THAT BOY! DAMN HIM! My anger and irritation is replaced with guilt. I thought about calling off of work, but I couldn’t do that. I have too much going on. Talking to my mother, (She runs a daycare out of her home, so she is our daycare provider. It makes her and my father happy) I find out that Clone didn’t take a good nap on Monday, couple that with late bedtime and we have a really tired boy. When I picked him up on Tuesday night, my mother tells me that he took a real long nap. He seemed to be in a better mood. At least he wasn’t screaming for Mommy. He did however scream for Grandma the whole ride home.

Boopie tried to help with Clone once we got home, but Clone was into everything. Attempting to make dinner was fun. Looking at the menu, I see Tacos are scheduled. Son of a… Who the hell picked Tacos?!?! Wait… that was me. What was I thinking? While trying to cook my wife calls and wants to chat about her day. Meanwhile I have the boys fighting in the background and I’m trying to drop the phone into the ground beef. My wife, sensing that not only am I busy but that my phone tolerance is over stretched, lets me go. I proceed to get dinner made and served to the boys.

Clone is not the neatest eater, but he loves the tacos. Actually, what he loves is basically a bowl of taco fixings mixed together with a broken up shell. He likes to smear this anyplace he can reach. There was taco in his hair, all over his face, in his ear, on his ankles. It was everywhere. Contemplating turning the garden hose on him, I cleaned him up. Finally, he was happy. We actually sat down and played for a while. He would sit on my lap and I would read him a story or play cars with him. Then he tells me he’s hungry. It’s almost seven, so I figured why not. Following Bill Cosby’s advice, I give the boys Chocolate Cake. When Clone is finished, he has cake in all the same places he had taco earlier. You’d think I would have learned my lesson, but I didn’t. Cleaning the boy for the second time that night, I realize that he is happy and not crying. Apparently, the bribe of chocolate cake works… Bill Cosby is a genius! Clone is all loving and happy and wants to play by himself. Boopie, who was helpful, goes to play some much-deserved video games. Being 12, Boopie is really self-sufficient so he was no trouble all weekend.

Come 7:30 pm, Clone tells me he is ready to go to bed. This time when I change him, he cooperates and all is well with the world. The angels are singing, the sun is shining down, birds are chirping, I’m having a Norman Rockwell moment. This moment of normalcy is going to come back to haunt me the next morning. Why? Well apparently, I’m really good at getting a diaper on properly when the child is fighting me. When they are relaxed and cooperative there seems to be an issue. This morning when I go into his bedroom to wake him up, he is soaked in urine. Either he had to pee his weight in urine or the diaper leaked seriously. From the warmth of the fluid I could tell it hadn’t happened too long before I went into the room. Waking Clone up I go to pick him up out of bed, apparently he thought yesterday’s wake up game was great fun, because he kicked me in my left testicle this morning.

Did I mention I am not cut out to be a single parent?

Posted by Contagion at 01:11 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

Contagion in Peril Day 1

My wife left for Chicago just over 24 hours ago. I knew there was going to be problems the moment I left her with a co-worker that is going in with her. As I climbed back into the van to head home, Clone started screaming for Mommy. I tried everything under the sun to get him to calm down. I even resorted to singing The Wiggles' tunes. Nothing seemed to work. Digging through my wife’s van I found one of my Queen’s Greatest Hits CD’s (Little thief is stealing my music and hiding it on me again!). Popping it into the CD player, I turned up the volume so we could rock to it. Appropriately enough, “We Will Rock You” started playing. At a stop light, I was teaching Clone to clap along with the beat and he calmed down. We ended up listening to that song 4 times on the ride home. When it was over, he started screaming for more, as long as he stayed quiet and wasn’t screaming for “Mommy”, I was happy.

Once we got home, Clone decided Daddy sucks and wanted nothing to do with me. He wanted Mommy, Grandpa, Grandma, or Aunt Stacy. I figured it was time for daddy to show him how we could have fun. I ordered dinner for us. He had his favorite, pepperoni Pizza. Which made him a happy little boy then. Afterwards I played with him doing puzzles, cars, catch and tag. We both quit playing the overly active games rather quickly. Our region set a record high temperature yesterday here, and I don’t have air conditioning. Too much activity made us very sweaty.

Clone cannot be left unsupervised for more then 2 minutes or he will be destroying something. After my wife was gone, my phone didn’t stop ringing off the hook all evening. I’m trying to get some work done around the house AND watch clone AND deal with people calling me for nothing more important then to tell me the new Harry Potter book is out. As if I care about Harry Potter. One of these calls was from my mother. I had just finished getting Clone a sippy cup filled with Ice water and myself a giant mug of iced tea when she called. I had set my drink down just long enough to answer the phone and start talking to my mother when Clone grabbed it. Laughing in glee, he proceeded to attempt to take a drink out of it and poured 36oz of iced tea down the front of him and onto the floor. Apparently, Daddy’s unsweetened Tea was better then his ice water he asked for. Quickly hanging up on my caller, I proceed to clean up Clone and the mess he made in his “Flashdance” re-enactment.

My evening went down hill from there. Clone would drag out his puzzles and start spreading them all over the place every time I turned my back. I would get on his case and make him help me pick them up. If I left the room to refill our drinks or go to the bathroom (Even if I tried to take him with me) He would find someway to run back and start dumping puzzle pieces all over the floor. I’ve developed a special hatred for puzzles, especially the ones with the wooden pieces and plastic knobs. Those pieces hurt like hell to step on bare foot and they blend into my wife’s rug really well! If it wasn’t the puzzles, it was matchbox cars, if it wasn’t matchbox car’s it was EVERY OTHER TOY HE HAD IN HIS TOY BOX! People, my living room looks like it was hit by a F5 tornado! If it wasn’t his toys he would go after what ever drink I had. He either wanted to stir it for me or wanted to dump it all over the place. Either way I wasn’t in the mood for either game!

Boopie didn’t arrive until after Clone had gone to sleep. His help would have been much appreciated. Once Boopie arrived and Clone was asleep I was able to get housework done. Today was my late night at work. On my late nights, I don’t have to get to work early. The extra sleep is always appreciated. Since I had to handle both boys on my own this morning, I decided to wake up earlier then I needed to. I’m so glad I did. Clone, like his mother, does not always wake up in the most pleasant of temperaments. All right, he is down right nasty! He has to do everything himself; if I try to help to expedite the process, he starts yelling, “I DO IT! I DO IT!” This leads to me asserting my dominance by taking the “Mean dad” tone of voice and explaining that if he doesn’t settle down, he won’t be able to sit down. Either that or he’ll just cry and go limp while I try to change and dress him.

Then while I’m getting him ready he wants to brush his teeth, put on his shoes; play with his toys, etc. He re-drags out all of his puzzles and books while I’m trying to get my breakfast/lunch together. Boopie is trying to get ready himself so he wasn’t able to help either. Then the damn phone starts ringing. People calling to make sure everything is okay, because they forgot it was my late night and the boys would not be dropped off at their normal time. I had a company call to try to reschedule an estimate on windows (Which I canceled because I’m not interested and told them that twice). There was also a wrong number. The whole time I’m trying to finish getting my breakfast and lunch together, get all my stuff and take care of the boys. Clone is screaming for his mommy, Boopie is asking me questions about various things, I’m trying to remember everything my wife told me to do and I knew I was forgetting something. I still haven’t figured out what it was yet either.

After 30 minutes, I had finally had enough and told the boys, “That’s it! We are going bye-bye!” I grabbed my stuff and headed out to the van. Putting the van in gear, I quickly stop, run back into the house and grab Clone who was happily coloring in a coloring book. Boopie had been talking, but I was just ignoring him at this point. He was trying to tell me I forgot Clone. I stopped by the post office and the bank, and then dropped the boys off. As I did this, I realized that I had something in my front pocket that didn’t belong there. At first I thought I put my cell phone in there. Pulling it out, I looked at it puzzled for a second… It was my home cordless phone. For what reason I put it in my front pocket is lost to me. I have never done that before and I don’t know why I would have this morning. Usually I just toss it where ever when I’m finished with it. You have to understand that I really hate the phone and I try to avoid using it at all cost. It is not uncommon for me to holler at my wife to answer the phone, even if it is sitting right next to me. I hate those vile things.

I was never so happy to get to work in my life. I have until at least Wednesday before my wife comes home. I’ve decided there is no way in hell I can make it as a single parent. I don’t have the patience or the temperament for it. It’s going to be a long week.

Posted by Contagion at 07:17 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 16, 2005

Happy Birthday Ktreva!

My beautiful, charming and loving wife celebrates her 29th (Version 5) birthday today. In celebration of that I’ve arranged a sitter for Clone and we are going to be hitting the town doing what ever she wants. As I’m writing this what she wants to do is sleep, thus she is upstairs sleeping in. This afternoon when she is awake I’m going to spend some quality time with her.

My wife is the best thing that ever happened to me, without her I’m afraid of the type of person I would have become. Through her love and companionship she destroyed most of my self-destructive behaviors. My friends and I still like to make fun of the way I was before her. I’d get to drinking and I’d start to get violent and combative for absolutely no reason. One of the more infamous times was about 9 years ago when we all went out to a bar one night. I had been out with a couple of my friends hitting other bars first and had drunk two cases of beer. At the bar where we met everyone else, Grau bought me a 36oz Jack and Coke. I had about finished that when this guy comes walking in, he had to be about 5ft 2. Upon seeing him I felt my blood start to boil and I announced, “I’m going to go kick his ass because he is short!” I don’t know why, but that is what was going to happen.

Since Ktreva and I have been together I no longer have those urges. My drinking has considerably dropped off, and I don’t find myself getting more hostile and violent when I drink anymore. To me these changes are a direct relation to our relationship. I now have something to lose that actually means something to me. When I was younger, there was nothing in my life that I couldn’t replace. Now I don’t want to do anything that will screw up that relationship. I just don’t believe I can be a functional member of society with out her. If something where to happen to her I know I would slip into a downward spiral of self-destruction.

Her love is like a drug to me, I always want more. There are times when I wake up in the morning, look at her sleeping next to me, and wonder how I was lucky enough to marry such a wonderful woman. We work together, and there are times when I’m having a rough day, I will catch a glance of her. Just that brief glance can smooth over a lot of the bumps. When times are bad I can sit and talk with her about the problems. Afterwards I always feel better. Sure we have our fights, but I think the longest we’ve been mad at one another has only been a couple of hours.

I don’t know that I deserve her, but I have her and I’m lucky.

Happy Birthday Ktreva, just remember your not old. Grau is old!

Posted by Contagion at 09:02 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Bonding time.

My wife is going on a business trip next week into Chicago. That leaves me at home with the boys. Some guys might not like the idea of having to watch after their kids for 3 days on their own with out any help. Not me, I’m kind of looking forward to it. We are going to do all kinds of manly-man guy activities. I have a list of things that I have wanted to teach the boys, but I can’t while my wife is around. There is too great of a chance that she would interfere and ruin my tutelage. Now I’m sure some of you are assuming this is teaching them stuff like controlled burping, skinning animals, Fire fun or fighting. All of you would be wrong, not this weekend. This weekend I’m going to work on the art of womanizing, ogling and flirting with girls.

It is time for Boopie to start learning some of the tricks of the trade. Sure, I could be like most fathers and let him discover it on his own and make the same mistakes most guys made, buy why? Being as I am a father is it not my duty to instruct my boys on various skills that are needed? Why should I let my son make the same mistakes I made growing up? To me that is just cruel, amusing, but cruel. Now I may be rusty in my skills. There is no need for me to practice them since I’ve been married. Sure some people say, “Just because you are married doesn’t mean you are dead.” I, however, subscribe to one of the greatest philosophical minds of the last 15 years, Homer J. Simpson. Who once said, “Marriage is like a coffin and every kid is a nail in it” Due to my rusty skills I am going to have to spend extra time on each subject. I figured that since I only have three days I’m going to have to focus on three very important aspects of trolling for chicks.

First is the “Check her out with out her noticing” ability. We’ve all been somewhere and seen a guy fall over himself to check out an attractive woman. Maybe it was at the mall, the grocery store or even possibly at work, but it happens way too often. What is even worse is when the guy is with one girl and is caught checking out another. Hilarity ensues when the girl he is with proceeds to pour a 36-ounce coke down his pants. There is however, a way to check out girls with out the subject or even your date realizing what is going on. I mastered this technique when I was in college. I can look a woman in the eye having a nice conversation and still be checking out the three girls around her simultaneously. This is a hard trick to master, so I figured I should start early. There are a lot of guys that can do this, so ladies if you feel you are never being checked out, you’re wrong. The guy is probably being nonchalant about it.

Second is the most important aspect of picking up a babe, Attitude. Woman might not like to admit it, but the nicest, “sweetest” guy could ask them out and they will turn him down if he doesn’t have the right attitude. I’ve seen butt ugly guys pick up girl by having the right attitude for the moment. Females say they want a “nice” guy, they lie to themselves. They only truly want the nice guy after the mean guy has hurt them. Ladies before you go to tear me a new one, just hear me out. This may not be true with all women, but I swear 95% of them it is dead on accurate. Every female I know, beyond an acquaintance, that is in a happy long-term relationship is there because some bad boy hurt her emotionally. She then went on to find a nice guy and is now happily with him. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to teach my boy to be a jerk to women, no. You can use the proper confidence and determination to camouflage the nice guy with in. That is what I’m going to teach my boy, how to have confidence and determination with women.

Thirdly I am going to teach the boy how to bring the women to him, how to make a woman instigate the contact. This has nothing to do with coy looks or body language. That is all covered in attitude. I will teach him how to use “bait” for his trolling. In this case we are going to use the most coveted of all baits… little children. For this lesson, I will take the boys out to the store and maybe to dinner. I will use Clone and his blue eyes to demonstrate how women can be lured in by something and use that to start a conversation with them. You think I’m kidding? Clone once was responsible for my getting four cases of pop free. I had told her that I was buying five cases of pop after putting one on the belt. She acknowledged that I had five total before Clone worked his magic. HE was flirting with the cashier at the store, which started her and I talking. Clone continued to flirt and the cashier and I joked about it. I didn’t realize she only rang me up for one case of pop until I got home. I called the store to advise that I had been under charged, they said they appreciated my honesty and to keep them. Well a similar trick can be done with women. I know that with out trying I’ve gone to the store with Clone and ended up talking to some very attractive women just because they came over to see him. If I were single, I’d be using him to get a date.

I know some of you are thinking I’m a pig. Some of you are wondering if you can baby-sit Clone. Either way, it’s my bonding time with the boys.

Posted by Contagion at 04:28 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

How to explain this one?

My son is really starting to develop his vocabulary. He’s been talking for a while now, but of late, he is actually trying to expand his vocabulary. The problem is that his pronunciation and enunciation needs work. My wife and I are trying to teach him the proper way to say words, but sometimes he is stubborn and refuses to learn. Other times he sticks by his guns and refuses to pronounce it correctly, like last Sunday.

Clone had spent the weekend with my sister while my wife and I participated in our re-enactment. While with her, she had taken him to the zoo. He fell in love with a stuffed monkey. My sister being the spoiling type bought it for him. When we picked him up Sunday night he had this bright, neon green stuffed monkey in his arms. Okay, if it makes him happy, what do I care? At least it’s not a pink unicorn. We started the long drive back to Rockford. (Oh, we found the cure for his not liking to ride in cars. He must ride in my truck. This is fine for short trips, but since we are not taking my 14 MPG on the highway truck on our vacation this does not help there.) Clone is in the back seat playing away with his new pet and drinking his Chocolate Milk from a sippy cup being happy as a clam.

Clone has always been fascinated by Semis. Even when he was screaming on a trip, the only time he would stop is when we passed an 18-wheeler. He would stop screaming, point and say, “WOW!” over and over until we were done passing it. Then he would take a deep breath and proceed to start screaming again. Sunday was only slightly different in that he wasn’t screaming as we drove down the road. This time however when we passed one of the big rigs, he would say, “Wow, look! Truck!” Except that isn’t exactly how it came out, what came out was, “Wow, look! F*CK!” He then would start chanting “F*CK, F*CK, F*CK!” My wife and I are trying not to laugh, we know he is trying to say truck, but can’t make the TR sound. We kept trying to correct him. We had the following conversation a couple of dozen times.

Us, “No, TR-uck”

Clone mater of factly, “F*ck”

Us, “TR-uck”

Clone “F-*ck”

Us, “TR-uck”

Clone, “No, F*ck”

Us laughing now, “No, it’s a truck. TR… TR-uck.”

This would go on for miles. Every time I passed a Semi he would start over all again. At one point he was playing with his stuffed monkey when we passed the truck and he started chanting, “Monkey F*ck, Monkey f*ck, MONKEY F*CK!” The attempt to correct it failed miserably. No matter what we did, he kept calling them the wrong thing. Then to make matters worse my wife, in an attempt to change the topic, was pointing out the cliffs alongside the road. She said, “Look Clone, ROCKS!” I kid you not, with out skipping a beat that little boy shouts, “COCKS!” and proceeds to chant it. I almost caused an accident due to my hysterical laughter. My wife is not as amused by this as I am. This went on for the entire trip home.

I’m just glad he didn’t get creative and attempt to merge all three into one. I don’t know if I could have handled driving down the road when my 2 year old says, “Monkey f*ck cocks!” My head would have exploded from trying to control my laughter.

Posted by Contagion at 06:23 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

So what, I'm a bad dad.

Reasons 12,214 and 12,215 why I am a bad dad.

It is July third. Tomorrow we are having a small party of close friends at our house and we have been preparing for it all day. At the end of the day the Scot in my told me I needed a drink, therefore I made myself one. I started to stir my Jack and Coke. Clone found this highly amusing. When I would stop he would say, “Dada, do more!” I would then stir my drink again. After doing this six times I finally asked, “Would you like to stir my drink?” He enthusiastically said, “YES!” Hence Clone stirring a Jack and Coke:

Clone Stirs


Then after I had drank that one I had. He tells me, “Dada need more drink!” He was adamant about it. Since he insisted, I went to make another he came in with a glass I had been drinking water out of earlier that day and said, “Dada, I more drink.” Me, being the ever so bad dad that I am, felt the need to “pour” him a drink. I started making mine, pouring Jack Daniels into my glass. When I put the lid on he pitched a fit. He had to have some for himself. At that point I pretended to pour Jack Daniels into his drink. (No, I did not actually give him any. I’m not that bad of a dad!) Then I add Coke to both of our drinks. Unbeknownst to me, when I would stir my drink Clone would stir his. My wife found this highly amusing. She snuck in with a camera and took this picture of us.

Clone and Dad Stir

Yea. That’s right. Not only is he getting me to drink, but also he is mimicking my habits! And yes, this is my Karnival of the Kids entry.

Posted by Contagion at 10:17 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 19, 2005

Father's day Bahumbug!

It’s father’s day for many people out there. I however am not one of them. I hate this holiday. I think it’s a stupid and insulting holiday. I have since I was a teenager and continue through to this day. I feel the same way about Mother’s day, Valentines Day, Sweetest day and birthdays. I’m sure someone is not happy with that statement, others are curious as to why. For both cases I will explain to everyone.

Is any father any more or less special today then any other day? How about mother’s on Mother’s day? Shouldn’t you shower you Wife, Husband, Girlfriend or Boyfriend with love and gifts all through out the year, not just on the days some body set aside for you to do it? Should you only recognize the effect of someone special to you on their birthday?

My father is special to me all year around. I appreciate him and everything he does for me all year. Through out the year I show him that I love and appreciate him. Now because of the day, I had to go out of my way to buy him gift on top of the others that I give him all year round. This gift has no meaning to me; I have no heart behind it because I’m forced into getting it for him. Therefore, I really don’t put much thought behind it. This day means something to my father, so I observe it for him.

In fact I observe Father’s day, Mother’s day, Valentines Day and birthdays for my loved ones. Even my wife hates sweetest day so neither of us observe that day. Those days mean something important to them, where as I am insulted by them. I buy them gifts and fake it. They all know how I feel about it and appreciate that I’m at least making an observation on it. That is not a two-way streak however. A lot of my family and friends refuse to accept my non-observance of these days.

My mother is currently mad at me due to a conversation we had on Friday. She asked me if my wife and boys where doing anything special for me on Father’s day. I reminded her that we don’t celebrate father’s day at all in my house and went on to explain my feelings about it again. My mother responds with, “Well it teaches the boys to be adults.” To which I respond with, “How, by having mommy buy them something to give to dad? I’m an adult, you didn’t buy Dad’s gift for me.”

Then my mother used the argument she always does, “This isn’t for you, it’s for them.” She uses this argument on me for birthdays and holidays whenever gift giving is involved. This year however I had enough, I responded with, “Wait, so you’re saying them giving me a gift is for them. However when I don’t want to give a gift, you tell me it isn’t for me, it’s for the recipient. When in the hell is it actually about me? I don’t like Father’s day, Mother’s day, Valentines Day and Birthdays. Yet I have to suffer through receiving gifts. I also have to suffer through giving gifts that I don’t mean. I know you would be mad if I didn’t give you a gift for your birthday or mother’s day. I lose out there, and you’re mad because I don’t want to get a gift for father’s day and my birthday. Well I thought these day’s were about getting the person what they want, and I want nothing.” To say she didn’t like that response would be an understatement. She could not argue with it. She still doesn’t understand my reasoning.

My wife likes the fact that I feel that way about these days. She still gets her gifts and she doesn’t have to spend any time and money getting me something. It makes life easier on the family. Plus we can then spend money on stuff we would rather have… like a babysitter.

So if you are a Father out there and don’t get a “Happy Father’s day” from me, don’t think that I don’t feel that you are special for being a dad. That would be wrong, it’s the exact opposite. I think Father’s are special every day of the year and deserve to be shown it year round. However if you are a bad father, you don’t deserve any recognition anyway.

Now I’m going to go clean the garage out and do some housework.

Posted by Contagion at 02:09 PM | Comments (6)

June 16, 2005

Splitting Hairs

Before my business trip next week, I need to get a haircut. My spiky hair is starting to lie down and look like crap. I brought this up to my wife, who agreed I needed to get a haircut. She however wants me to go to her “Hair Designer” (aka Hair Dresser, Beautician) to have my hair cut instead of my normal place. Her “Hair Designer” just separated from her partner and opened her own salon. My wife is worried that if she doesn’t get more customers she might go out of business. The “Hair Designer” is also pregnant, and with her being self-employed if she doesn’t work, she has no income. I understand and appreciate her loyalty to her “Hair Designer”, but I’m hesitant to go there.

I’m a guy; I have a simple cut it’s like a long military style crew cut. I don’t need a fancy “Hair Designer” to do it. Neither do I need the stigma of having to admit I went to a “Hair Designer” to have it done! I’m a guy; guys go to barbers or to a haircutting chain not a “Hair Designer” or salon! It’s not to save money, what her “Hair Designer” wants to charge is actually $2.00 cheaper then where I normally go. I have nothing against the lady, she seems nice enough. It’s that whole guy code issue. Guys don’t go to “Hair Designers” unless they have a little extra swish to their step. Well there is absolutely no swish to my step so it’s just not happening!

This morning, before work, my wife gave me a business card for her “Hair Designer” apparently; she subjected my boys to haircuts there last night. She did a good job, Clone looks like Caesar and Boopie has a buzz cut. When she was there, she told her “Hair Designer” about my proclivity to use a barber over her. Her “Hair Designer” took and crossed off her title on the business card and wrote barber on it. When my wife gave it to me this morning, she pointed out that it said barber. This started a little disagreement between us. By little, I mean there are no lawyers on the phone and be disagreement I mean she did not threaten to kick my arse.

As a compromise, I told her I would poll everyone and see what they have to say. Am I being old fashioned and chauvinistic by not using her “Hair Designer”? Am I correct in sticking to my guns and not going to her Salon? Please assist with this debate as neither one of us are going to budge in our opinions with out some outside interference.

Posted by Contagion at 12:58 PM | Comments (11)

June 14, 2005

Summer Fun

Summertime, the part of the year that is annoyingly hot and I continually curse the sun. I hate that stupid life-giving star! It blinds me in the morning on my way to work. My skin turns to a bright red, peels, and freckles, no matter how much sunscreen I use because of it. It makes the temperature get above 65 degrees. Damn you sun! Damn you! There is only one way to battle a hot summer day. WATER FIGHT!

Last night when I got home from work, it was again annoyingly hot. Clone and Boopie where both asking to go out and play. They wanted me to set up the inflatable pool we bought last year. When I checked it out, I discovered it had ripped along the bottom. Well, that wasn’t going to work. I then decided to get out this sprinkler made for kids that we have. It is designed to get people wet, not water the lawn.

While digging out the sprinkler I found my squirt guns. Yes, they are mine. I bought them for me! After I set up the sprinkler, I pulled out a tin tub to set with it so that the water would collect in it to fill the squirt guns. I turned on the sprinkler and the boys started having fun. Clone would run up to it and get a little wet and go running away. Boopie would try to run between the drops as to not get wet. He said the water was too cold. Me, I stood in the bucket. When the tub filled enough, I pulled out one of the squirt guns. It is nothing more then a tube with a handle on it. You stick the tip in the water and pull back the handle to load it. When you push the handle forward, it squirts the water. Depending how hard you push on the handle depends on how far it shoots. We have three like this, one for each of us. Boopie picked up another one and started loading his. Clone picked up a third and kept trying to figure out how to use it.

Boopie and I started out with target practice because we were rusty. We aimed for the wind catcher on one of my wife’s wind chimes. If we hit it, it would make noise. It was a good target. Clone started getting upset because he wanted to load and shoot his gun. However, he could not figure it out. Every time I tried to show him, he would get mad and start yelling, “I DO IT! I DO IT!” After a while, he wanted my squirt gun, because his was obviously broken. He’d yell, “MY TURN! MY TURN!” while reaching for it. We traded squirt guns, he had my fully loaded tube o’ water and I had his empty one. As I filled my new gun up, I watched as Clone struggled to pick up the toy. With all the water in it, not only was it longer then him, but it was too heavy for him to hold the muzzle up. He’d get mad because I was shooting the squirt gun, drop the fully loaded one again as it was obviously broken and want the one I had so he could squirt water. We traded guns probably 30 times, each time I tried to explain the mechanics behind it. He, however, did not want anything to do with my silly logic and explanations. He wanted to squirt water!

Boopie gave Clone a water grenade to play with to see if that would appease him. A water grenade is nothing more then a sponge with a fabric coating. Clone would dip it in the water and throw it. When it landed, it made a big splash much to his amusement. He would laugh in that deep belly laugh only that little kids can do.

Boopie pulled out a super soaker he has. Because he was pulling out the big guns, I had to get my super soaker. My super soaker is over 6 years old. It has three settings for the thickness of the streams. 2X, 10X and 20X the normal stream. It has a decent sized tank and is the Continual Pressure System. That means that it will always shoot the same distance as long as there is pressure in the tank. It does not slowly fade away. The only problem with this is that when I set it to 20X the normal stream, I empty the water reservoir with one shot that lasts about .5 seconds. That stream of water has a lot of force behind it. Boopie and my wife refer to that squirt gun as “The Fire Hose”. When I first bought it, Boopie was 6 years old. The entire family bought squirt guns. We went out in the back yard to have a squirt gun fight. I set it to 20X, pumped it up and waited. Boopie came running around the corner of the house shooting at me. My shot was beautiful; I hit him with that .5 second burst right in the middle of his chest. Boopie was knocked over from the hit. With my first shot, I drenched him from head to toe in water. There was not a dry spot on him. To this day, he does not like playing squirt gun wars when I use the “Fire Hose”.

Boopie and I started our fight; I would shoot at him with the stream on its low 2X. He however would not shoot back. I am hot, sweaty, and wanting to be hit with that ice-cold hose water, but neither boy will shoot at me. Clone can’t figure out how to pick up, let alone make the gun squirt, with out hitting himself. I would shoot Boopie and he would drop his squirt gun. The rules in the house say you cannot squirt someone that doesn’t have a squirt gun or while they are filling it with water. However, I did try to squirt my wife while she was gardening… I like it when my wife is wet. ;) Boopie's whole strategy was to lure me in close, drop his gun and wait for me to go away. *I* was not being hit with water! It sucked!

Finally, Clone picked up his squirt gun, and came up to shoot me. I helped him by holding onto the nozzle and let him push the handle. He had great fun squirting daddy with his gun. He would be mad when it was empty. He didn’t understand the whole, “You need to reload” concept. He also didn’t like when I would squirt him back. He’d get mad and cry, but laugh while he squirted me. I explained to him that if he is going to squirt other people, then he would be squirted as well. He decided it was worth the trade of to soak daddy with cold water. This whole ordeal went on for about an hour and a half.

I was able to spend some fun time with my boys playing and laughing. We all had fun. It’s times like this that I’m grateful for my boys. They make life so much better. I will always cherish playing with them.

Posted by Contagion at 03:56 PM | Comments (7)

June 11, 2005

It was bound to happen sooner or later

It was only a matter of time before Clone discovered the security system. Boopie knows what it is and pretty much leaves it alone, although I swear he is trying to figure out what the codes are to operate it. I know that at his age I would do the same thing, it’s how you secure your ability to make life difficult on your parents. Unfortunately for Boopie, he has me as a father and I’m paranoid. Therefore I send him out of the room every time I need to set/deactivate the alarm. I also wipe the keypad down with alcohol/bleach wipes to make sure finger print analysis wont show up on it. Then after that is done, just to play it safe. I touch a lot of the other keys as well. Did I mention I’m a paranoid person?

This morning while I was making the below Karnival o’ da Kidz post I had my first non-routine contact with the monitoring company. I had just kicked Clone out of Boopie’s room for the third time this morning and sat back down to finish uploading the picture when all of a sudden I hear the alarm going off. (SCREEEEEEEEEEE…) “Panic button pushed, main turrets operated. STAND STILL AND IDENTIFY YOURSELF OR WE WILL OPEN FIRE!” (SCREEEEEEEEEEE…)

I go running through the house trying to get to clone before the turrets pop out of the ceiling and start spraying down the house with 50 .cal rounds. I leap over the port-a-prison gate we have set up to keep him out of the dining room. With a move that would make Barry Sanders proud, I plant my left leg and do a reverse spin to my right in order to turn left. I grab clone and run for the main security panel. I try to turn off the alarm, but it was too late. I hear this voice echo through the house say, “WE HAVE A PANIC ALERT ACTIVATED! POLICE, SWAT, FBI, NATIONAL GUARD, RED CROSS AND THE BOYSCOUTS ARE IN ROUTE. DO NOT MOVE, IF YOU DO OUR SECURITY SYSTEM WILL TURN YOU INTO A FINE PASTE BEFORE YOU GET TO AN EXIT”

I reply with, “I’m sorry, my two year old got a hold of my wife’s keys and hit the panic button on the remote. There is no emergency…. How do I disarm the turrets? We really are fine.”

Security system, “WHAT IS YOUR NAME AND PASSWORD?”

I give them my name and password.

Security system (sounding disappointed), “YOUR INFORMATION IS CONFIRMED. SYSTEM DEACTIVATING. WE WILL STAND DOWN THE RESPONSE TEAM. WE ARE GLAD WE COULD BE OF ASSISTANCE.”

I tell the guy thank you and watch and the turrets retract back into the ceiling. I take Clone upstairs to his now wide-awake mother and explain what happened. Outside there are neighbors looking intently at my house until they see me come out on the front porch. At which point they are turn and flee back to the safety of their homes.

What a way to start out your day.

Some of the details about the security system abilities and the conversation may have been slightly exaggerated.

Posted by Contagion at 09:55 AM | Comments (5)

Karnival of the Kidz

I decided to take that big step. I've never entered a carnival before and I'm not sure if I did this one correctly or not. The prospect scares me a little. I've seen carnies; they are scary people. I'm not sure I want to be associated with them. Ah, what the hell. Being a carny can’t be any stranger then who I really am.

A couple of weeks back we did a re-enactment in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. This event led to a lot of turmoil in my life since then. However we did get one really great picture of Clone in his costuming. I’ve been kind of bragging this picture up so I thought I should share it with all of you.


Clone looking GQ

Click to enlarge


Please ignore the bright orange fencing in the background, it’s not period, however the event used it for crowd control to keep people off of the football fields.

Posted by Contagion at 09:14 AM | Comments (8)