Wednesday, May 30

disaster strikes

We were cleaning our wine equipment this evening and it was time to rinse the carboy. When Brian turned the spigot on, the handle came off and water started shooting from that hole all the way to the ceiling. He turned off the main water supply as fast as he could, but it still made a big mess. I pulled out the shopvac and he headed to Lowe's. Hopefully they're still open. If not, WalMart probably has what we need. Anyway, my part is done, so I thought I'd share my tale of woe as I await his return. I hope he can switch out the faucet quickly so that we can rack the wine tonight as planned. I mean, everything is already clean, so might as well finish the job. I really hate plumbing problems, but at least this one doesn't involve a propane torch and solder--those are the worst!

Monday, May 28

memorial day

Brian's parents invited us over for a cookout today, so we headed there for lunch. The weather was nice for a change (it normally rains on Memorial Day around these parts). Erika was there, too, so Jake had someone to play with all afternoon. After dinner, the kids went swimming even though the water in the pool was only 68 degrees. Brrr!

After we left there, we headed to Home Depot to pick up a few things. OK, a bunch of things. Home Depot was having one of their 12 month no payments/no finance charge deals--I can't pass those up. I wasn't able to find everything on my list. But we did pick up some plywood for the bar Brian's going to build this summer and also for the ongoing library bookcase project. And, we picked up two ceiling fans for the upstairs. It gets so hot up there in the summer. Lastly, we got a power washer. It seems like we're forever borrowing one from someone, so I thought we should pick one up. Plus, I'm sure I'll use it a lot now that I'll have one accessible. I got a few things for the grill, too. It's officially time to do the annual tune-up.

We were going to cook out for supper today, but decided to eat leftovers from yesterday instead. So, tomorrow, we'll be having a delayed Memorial Day celebration.

grizzly man

This was quite the interesting documentary. I don't think it would've been half as good had the main guy been the manly type (the dude was pretty flamboyant for a supposed heterosexual if you ask me). This led to some unintentionally amusing moments. Anyway, if you haven't heard about this story, it was about a man who developed a love for grizzly bears and spent 13 summers in Alaska documenting their activities. In the end, to paraphrase Dean Koontz, a bear ate him.

Sunday, May 27

birthday dinner

We went to my parent's today for the annual birthday dinner for my brother and me (my brother's birthday is in May and mine is in June and we normally celebrate both birthdays the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). The dinner was kind of like a Thanksgiving dinner--turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and the like. Everything was delicious, of course--especially the cheesecake we had for dessert. I got some cool gifts, too. My brother got me the latest Type O and NIN albums. My parents got me a subscription to Organic Gardening magazine and some recipe books among other things. We had dinner on the deck and it was the perfect day for that. I guess the weather should be no surprise as it is the "official" first weekend of the summer.

Saturday, May 26

dirty work

I took advantage of the beautiful weather this evening and planted some veggies and herbs. I also put my pepper plants outside to harden off. Unlike my tomato plants, I'm starting them off in the shade. So hopefully they will survive their stint in the cold frames. As it turns out, a few of my tomato plants lived. They're pretty small, so I hope they bear fruit. I still had to buy most of my tomatoes, though. And, I still need to get a few herbs. I went to two places yesterday, but could not find what I was looking for. I have another place or two to check before I give up and plant something else.

There's still plenty of work to do outside. There always is. The weather looks good this week, so I should be able to get a lot done. I really love working in the yard this time of year.

Friday, May 25

chicago

The title of this post is deceiving. A co-worker and I had to go to AJAX training this past week. The training was billed as being in Chicago, but it was actually in the Chicago suburbs in a town called Schaumburg. Nothing exciting going on there, let me tell you. The class was through Learning Tree and it was quite informative. We checked out some nice restaurants for supper each day, Benihana being the most interesting one. And we trekked over to the Woodfield Mall after class the one day. The evenings were pretty boring, though--I didn't have room for my laptop in my luggage. Next time, I'll wear the same clothes all week if I have to, but I'm not leaving my laptop at home.

Our trip out of Pittsburgh wasn't the best. Everything was running on time, but right when we were about to take off, it was announced that all flights going in and out of O'Hare were grounded due to weather. So, we sat in the plane on the tarmac for 90 minutes (the length of the flight was only supposed to be 90 minutes) and then finally took off. But, there was more bad weather and we had to fly around it, so we ended up being in the plane for a total of 4 hours.

The trip home went just fine, but the hours leading up to it were another story. Our flight was not until 9:10PM last night (central time). Our class let out at 2PM. You do the math. There was a nice atrium in the building our class was held in, so we sat there for a while and read. Then we headed back to the hotel for a while and sat in the lobby and read. Finally, it was time to get the taxi to the airport. Getting through security took a while. And the place was very crowded--evidently there were a bunch of canceled and delayed flights yesterday. And, while the Chicago O'Hare airport touted Chili's as one of its restaurants, we only saw Chili's Express vendors. Pretty much everything was fast food. Ick. I grabbed a salad from McDonald's and called it supper. We sat around and people-watched after that and then headed over to our gate and waited to board the plane. The flight left on time and wasn't too bumpy considering that it was pretty windy out. The only snag was when we hit Pittsburgh, we had to wait 15 minutes before we could get off the plane because the ground crew was working on another plane when we arrived. But, I wasn't going to complain about that.

Brian picked us up and we finally made it home around 2:30AM. It was a long day. But, I'm glad to be home. I actually have to work today (can you believe it?) starting at our 11:00 staff meeting. Ugh. I'll probably be face-down on the keyboard by 2:00.

Sunday, May 20

forever odd

I started reading this book on my last business trip and made pretty good progress with it. But, life got in the way and I never finished it. I wanted to finish it up before my next trip (which, incidentally, is tomorrow), so I've been making an effort to read it in recent days. I just got done with it this evening. I liked it, but not quite as much as its predecessor--Odd Thomas. I suppose if I would've liked it as much as that book, I wouldn't have had to make an effort to finish it. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Brother Odd.

Thursday, May 17

busy as a bee

I have to go to a training class for work next week, so I've been trying to get ahead on my household duties so that I'm not overwhelmed when I return. Couple that with Jake's bedroom remodel and I've been quite busy the past few weeks. As I previously mentioned, Jake's carpet was installed on Tuesday. Last night, we finished assembling his new desk/wall storage unit and put it in his room. At this point, all of the furniture is back in his room, but none of his stuff has been put away yet.

I'm looking forward to Memorial Day because it will be the first day off I've had since New Year's Day. Normally, I like to take a day off per month, but with all of the job changes I've had this year, that's not within the realm of possibility thanks to my new and improved reduced vacation schedule. But, what can you do? Grin and bear it.

Monday, May 14

i call it 'motivation'

Brian has been working on the trim for Jake's room, but there was still a lot of work to do on it before it could be installed. Unfortunately for him, REC Carpeting called today and said our carpet was in, and they just happened to have a cancellation for tomorrow, so they could install it then if it would suit us. I just want to complete this project, so I was pretty excited to hear that news. I hung up the phone and told Brian about the conversation and he said, "You know, we still don't have the trim installed. I guess I know what I'm doing today." I totally forgot about the trim--I wasn't expecting to hear from REC for a few more days. And, I certainly wasn't expecting to get an installation appointment so quickly. So, he took off work early and got to work. He didn't even complain (too much). By the time I finished working, the trim was ready to be finished--I did that while he prepped the room. Then the two of us spent the next few hours installing baseboard trim. We just got done a little bit ago and the room looks great. It's going to look even better tomorrow once the carpet is in and we can put all of Jake's new furniture in there.

Sunday, May 13

mother's day

We spent Mother's Day at my parent's house. My mom invited Brian's parents, so that was nice that we could all get together today. My grandmother and Aunt Betty were there, too. We had actually given the moms their gifts yesterday because that is when I got mine (after Jake's party). Brian and Jake worked on the bird feeder when I was traveling for work last month. I've been wanting this particular bird feeder for so long, that I finally gave up on it and bought some cheap plastic ones in the spring. So, this gave Jake the idea to make me a bird feeder for Mother's Day. Brian knew I wanted this particular one, so that's what I got. Pretty nice, eh? Brian's going to put it just outside my kitchen window so I can watch the birds when I'm in there (which is quite often). He dug the post hole this evening and I expect he'll finish it up tomorrow night. Then, the birds will be eating in style.

Saturday, May 12

party time

We had Jake's birthday party this afternoon. Things went smoothly. I'm pretty sure everyone had a good time. Luckily for me, Brian took charge of the party and kept the kids entertained all afternoon. Jake made a haul as usual. Good thing we are remodeling his room--we might actually have some place to put all of this stuff once we get his room back together.

We got to try out our new gazebo today. We bought it at Home Depot last fall. It was an impulse buy, but it turned out to be a good decision--it was pretty warm outside and we would've fried if we had been in the sun all afternoon. (Actually, Brian got fried, anyway, because he was playing with the kids in the sun all afternoon and forgot to put on his sunscreen, silly boy.) The assembly and disassembly went surprisingly quickly for the first time. I don't know how much use we'll get from it, but even if we only use it once or twice a year, it will be worth it.

Anyway, Jake's one happy kid. We bought him a lego set and he spent all evening working on that. Now, he's listening to the Ipod shuffle we got him (I found a refurbished one on the Apple store for a great price--I couldn't pass it up) as he goes to sleep. Tomorrow, he has a date with the Lego set my parents got him. And, I'm sure he'll probably be wearing some of the camo clothes he received from both sets of grandparents as he works on it.

Friday, May 11

big dogz

As is our tradition, we took Jake to Big Dogz tonight for his birthday dinner. The only reason he likes the place is because they serve the kids' meals in a dog dish. I don't know why he gets so excited about that--we have plenty of dog dishes here. We had a good time, but the real party is tomorrow. Jake's so excited, I'm surprised he's asleep right now.

Thursday, May 10

the departed

You know us and the mob--there wasn't any way we weren't going to like this movie. They did that thing I hate where they say the name of the movie as one of the lines just so you know why they named it that, but this was pretty subtle, so I'll forgive them. This time. The ending was somewhat reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs (and that's a good thing). This movie starred some heavy hitters: Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon. I've always loved Nicholson. I'm really starting to like DiCaprio. Matt Damon is so-so. It seems like he's always playing the same character. He plays it well, but all of his performances remind me of each other. Mark Wahlberg was in this, too. I think he's pretty darned good, too, but I don't know that you could classify him as a heavy hitter.

Anyway, this movie was great. If you're into that sort of thing (great movies), then you'll like this one.

Wednesday, May 9

fried dead tomatoes

I got a little overzealous with my new cold frames and totally fried my tomato plants. I actually know better than to take the plants directly outside and put them in the hot sun, but that's what I did anyway. In my defense, my planting schedule got screwed up when I had to travel for my new job. When I got back, it was past the time to transplant the tomatoes into pots. Still, they looked OK at that point. But a week later, they were looking a little scary. So, in a fit of brilliance, I put them in the cold frames and now they are just about history. I'm still holding out in the hope that they might sprout some new leaves and it won't be a total loss, but the more likely scenario is that I'll be buying my plants this year.

I have to travel again soon, so I should be frying my peppers in about two weeks.

Sunday, May 6

new tattoo

When I was in Stamford the other week, Brian got a new tattoo. On all three elbows.

Saturday, May 5

a plethora of booze

Today started off by heading to Virginia wine country at 9am with our parents. We drove to the Leesburg area and hit Tarara Winery first. We did a tasting there and then had a picnic lunch on their deck while enjoying the entertainment they had for the day. Brian and I went to this winery once before, years ago, so we knew it would be a good place to start.

After that, we drove around for a bit and ended up at Village Winery in Waterford. This winery was new to me. Heck, it wasn't even on the winery map I had for the area. Unfortunately, it was also the least favorite winery of the day.

Then we returned to one we found on last year's winery trip, Doukenie Winery. This happened to be everyone's favorite winery of the day, so it more than made up for our previous stop.

Next up was a new one that looked pretty good, Hillsborough Winery. The wine here was good. But, the only thing I didn't like about it was that most (or was it all?) of their wines were blends and I generally stay away from blends for some reason.

And as if that wasn't enough for the day, we were invited to a tequila party (in honor of Cinco de Mayo) at my former manager's house. His parties are not one to miss, so I wasn't about to miss this one even if we were going to be late for it. After we got home and got things settled, Brian made a layered dip to take to the party (the food theme was Mexican, of course) while I got cleaned up and ready to go. I had such a good time at the party that my face hurts from smiling/laughing so much (those particular face muscles don't normally get such a workout). I was tired from the day's trip so I hadn't planned on staying at the party long, but I was having such a good time, so we didn't get home until after 11:00. I think the dogs might hate us, but what can you do?

It was a good day.

Tuesday, May 1

hurt

This is the funniest thing I have seen since I don't know when.

I didn't like this song when NIN did it. I liked it when Johnny Cash covered it. But, Kermit nailed it.