« April 2005 | Main | June 2005 »

May 01, 2005

"Ok Jack. Mom's gone. Time for the Sybil Danning film festival."

Fabulous Babe is off to California for a few days. She's out in the warm holy land of In-N-Out Burger and Jack and I are stuck in the land of "It's May 2nd and there is snow on our roof."

Mrs. Dawn's Spa for the Small and Troublesome is closed for a few days. (An unfortunate death in the family.) We're having to go with "Plan B" on Monday and Tuesday and then Wednesday Jack is off to visit some family friends who've been asking to babysit him.

Mercifully all of the laundry is done, there is plenty of food and the next few days should go pretty well sans "Ma!" I'll take some pictures of our wacky bachelor lifestyle so you can live la vida loca with us.

If you get the joke in the title it just goes to show your age and how sad you are. If you don't then you've probably never seen "Reform School Girls" or some of her other mid-80's classics. While I have no idea where she is now I'm guessing Sybil Danning is still trying to shake the semi-permanant chest cold she came down with from going topless so much.

Posted by Jim at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2005

"He's training to become an Air Raid siren."

Jack woke me up at Midnight last night. Screaming.

I jumped out of bed like I had been shot. After a half an hour the screaming hadn't stopped and I had exhausted the list of possible motivators. (Diaper, hunger, etc.) The only thing that seemed to cause a let up was my holding him close. Finally, out of options, I tried a car ride which succeeded in lulling him for a while.

Only for a while.

When we got home the screaming started again. This went until 3:00 when a second car ride seemed to give him enough pause for me to put him to bed around 4:00.

At 5:30 he woke up screaming again.

By this time I was a wreck but sitting with him on my lap I leaned back only to have him lean against me, put his head on my shoulder and fall asleep. (With the appropriate opening of his sinus passages.)

The rest of the day saw me changing sinus soaked shirts in between Jack's naps against my shoulder. When I would move him he immediately would begin to cry and wail. Worse still he developed a 100 degree temp. Realizing I was out of my league I made a doctors appointment with Doctor July, our secondary doctor when Doctor Molotov isn't available.

When we got there Jack was exhausted. Everyone commented on how poor he must feel because he was anything but his usual cheery self. (He's up to 23.5 pounds now though.) The inspection revealed what I had guessed: a serious ear infection. One so bad his glands were swollen below his ear. Visibly.

He's on antibiotics now and as I write this he's been to bed for maybe a half an hour tops. (I'm exhausted.) I gave him a bath tonight to break the temp and it seemed to have worked. (More green from the nose though.) The medicine doesn't seem to have had an effect yet but hopefully we'll see a breakthrough sooner than later.

Daycare is out due to his temp so I'm home again tomorrow. (Hopefully with less screaming.) I'm swamped work wise but there's nothing to be done. (I wouldn't put anyone through a day like today and there is no telling how Jack would do trying to snuggle up like he did with me today.) How do you explain that all you did for most of the day was lay back in a chair so someone who feels miserable did nothing but cling to you for warmth and comfort? Jack's tears and crying bothered me today tremendously. Maybe it's the lack of sleep but I almost found myself crying with him just because I wanted the pain to go away.

I'm off to bed. Cross your fingers for Wednesday.

Posted by Jim at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2005

"You and I BOTH hate the snot sucker."

A better but still long night.

Jack got me up a few times last night. Eventually he tuckered out which gave me a chance to snooze for a while.

He?s in better spirits today. He smiled when I woke him up and that?s a big step. His appetite is back as well:


I was tearing off pieces of toast for him and he grabbed the whole thing and began gnawing on it. I think I?ve seen the same face on Fabulous Babe.


This is the big improvement. He fought me tooth and nail yesterday when I was trying to get him to drink. No luck. Today he finally took the bottle and started knocking it back. He?s been holding the bottle for a couple of weeks now and it makes things easier. The only exception is that Jack?s discovered that if he shakes the bottle he sprays himself with whatever is inside which he thinks is funny. It?s very hard not to laugh sometimes.

I took Jack?s temp and it?s still high: 99.9 as of this morning. He spiked higher last night so being down is a big improvement. I think the bath helped/

Talked to a freshly showered Fabulous Babe and things are going well in California. She?s still on track for coming home tomorrow night so there?s still time to fluff her pillows and put the mint on the bed.

Posted by Jim at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

A note on crying, screaming and such.

Reading back over the last few days entries I came to realize I'm now officially a parent. The reason? I can problem solve due to auditory stimulation.

Jack's yells, screams, cries, etc. are now clear indicators to me. I can tell his yells apart and know when they are good or bad. When he cries it's usually conditional, a la diaper or hunger, and easily solved. Screams are drop everything and run. They aren't normal and a huge indicator something has happened.

When Jack had the scary dream the other night and wanted mommy it was a cry. When Jack screamed the night before last it was big, bad mojo.

I hope it makes sense. I realized I had said that I had heard his worst cry and his worst scream this week and there's a difference that may not be appearant to you but is as transparent as glass to me.

Posted by Jim at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

"He's back!"

What a difference a couple of teaspoons of Amoxicylin makes.

The old Jack was back today. He's not 100% yet but the horrid misery of yesterday has passed us by: Jack took a couple of naps today, ate some food and even played a bit.

We went for a walk this afternoon and again this evening which always helps. Being trapped in the house is no fun for either of us and I'm a firm believer in fresh air. (I also haven't had the television on since Monday night.)

We saw Mrs. Dawn who was back from their funeral. She'll be open again tomorrow which means Jack's life will be one step closer to normal.

I'm on schedule for the cleaning and laundry I wanted to accomplish. Jack being sick killed a lot of my "stuff I can get down with Fabulous Babe out of the house" list but the washer and dryer are easy pleasy lemon squeezy. When my wife gets home tomorrow the hot bath will be ready, the glass of wine will be poured and the linens and bathrobe are actually clean. (She'll be out like a light within 10 minutes of getting out of the bath.)

I love her but every relationship has an Oscar and a Felix when it comes to laundry and she's definitely Oscar. I finally got to strip the bed and wash EVERYTHING which she complains about how long it takes. Tough nuggies.

So I'm completely off the chart on the "tired" scale. I laid on the couch for a few minutes and woke up to Jack crying over the monitor about an hour later. Yikes!

A nice compliment from Grace today made me blush. (I really need to find out where she lives so I can send her a card.) When I write about some of this stuff I know there are experienced parents who just go "What a dolt" but it's all still new to me.

Mercifully I don't tend to panic when things happen. (I never really have.) I usually try to "scientific method" my way through until I have the answers I need. I know that sounds detached but panic never does any good. It's why I hit on the car the other night: I had tried everything else.

I'm now laughing my @$$ off as my friend Lil has just pointed out that in the first picture from today Jack is flipping the bird. I guess that's what Mr. Ear infection gets: A big dose of Jackness!

Posted by Jim at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

Miata day picture...

A picture from our day at the Capitol with the rest of the Miata enthusiasts:


That's Fabulous Babe to the left of Baby Car. Strangely enough I was just Photoshopped out of the picture...

Posted by Jim at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005

"Working overtime in the diapers to make up for lost time?"

Some normality returns.

Today went like most days usually do and the last few days haven't: I woke up, got ready for work, woke Jack up, got him ready to go and then dropped him off at Mrs. Dawn's Day Spa for the Small and Troublesome.

Woo Hoo!

After the last few days I really needed that

Jack was in a great mood today. Jack laughed at me as I struggled with a truly horrid diaper change and was Mr. Happy Go Lucky as I got him dressed. He didn't even fight me like he usually does on the sock front.

After I got him dressed I plopped him on the floor while I fed the cats and pulled some last minute things together. Just to make sure he was firing on all cylinders I asked him to explain Einstein's theory of Relativity. Not even a pause. I asked him to explain Chaos theory. His answer was swift, concise and spot on. Finally I asked him to tell me when the stars and planets would align and Fabulous Babe might come home.

His answer?


I can't tell if that's befuddlement or he's struggling to get his head around the concept of his Mother being home. (Especially after this week.) Maybe it's just him realizing that there's been some action in the back section. Who knows.

Posted by Jim at 07:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2005

"It makes noise AND flys?"

Pictures from Thursday afternoon...


How can you not have a good time when you get a look like that? Finally after the cold snap we had some warmer weather. I took Jack out in the stroller and he was bouncing off the walls.


Then the plane flew over.

Posted by Jim at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

"Now that's some hotness! The grill's warm too!"

Fabulous Babe broke in the grill on Saturday night. It was grill steaks and veggies with potatos and a killer desert of grilled pineapple, ice cream and brownies.


If I had realized how happy this made her I would have bought the darn thing years ago.

Posted by Jim at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

"A Mother's day that we never thought would happen."

Today was a big day.

When I met Fabulous Babe it was made very clear to me that children were not a part of the agenda. How clear? Try the phrase: "Not happening." After coming to grips with this I realized that my love for Fabulous Babe was going to win out. (I also figured that over the next 10 years I might convince her to adopt.)

When FB and I had the discussion a couple of years ago about our having children I was pretty stunned. Disbelief was one word to describe how I felt. Joy was another.

Since then we've gone on to have Jack. Imagining life without Jack is impossible. Our ever growing, ever changing, little man is as much a part of our lives as the breath I take and the food we eat. Jack's the center of our universe and while that's taken some getting used to it's not been a bad thing. In fact it's the greatest thing that has ever happened to us.

What do you get the woman who was never going to be a mom and now is one? What can you find to stand as tangible evidence of her now unique roll in the universe? A role that countless other women have shared but is so unique to each.


Jack gave me some ideas when I discussed it with him. (Mostly in answers along the lines of "Ma" or "Ba" or my personal favorite: "Ghhhk!") Still he suggested this:


It's from the Elsa Peretti collection at Tiffany. It's simple and beautiful. I think Jack and I did ok, Fabulous Babe seemed to like it. It probably means I won't be able to go by her offices for a few months as some of the co-workers will be looking to lynch me. (Tough nuggies.)

Fabulous Babe has struggled to come to grips with her drive for work and making sure that Jack has had the attention he needs from his mother. She's like tons of other women out there who have created incredibly successful careers but still want to be wives, mothers, etc. In a juggling act of the occasional self doubt I wanted to let her know how close to our hearts she is. Jack and I love her very much and her role as my wife and Jack's mother is more important to us than she may ever know.

Sunday afternoon the Racetracks wandered over. Mr. Racetrack got the Mrs. a nice link for her snazzy necklace and she was beaming. Here's a nice shot of Mom with Kate:


I love the smiles. Kate's hair has started to thicken and she's really turning into a pistol. I think she is looking more and more like her mom.


Fabulous Babe and Jack. That look in Fabulous Babe's eyes is the look that says "I'm up to something and heaven help the man who stands in this redhead's way." Jack, clueless, is trying to figure out if he can stuff his whole hand in his mouth. She gave him a big smooch right after I took this. I'm hoping I get that same look sometime in the near future.


Here's Jack looking for gold in Kate's ears. Kate on the other hand has Soggy Froggy and is preparing to administer a beat down.


Kate: "I think you're cute too but our parents will never let us date."

Jack: "Doh!"


Kate: "Besides which. Your overalls are undone and you can't crawl. You have to be mobile if you expect me to date you."

Jack: "Curse this massive body of mine. Oh well. Where are the Teddy Grahams?"

Posted by Jim at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2005

"Imodium, blessed Imodium."

Late Sunday afternoon I started to feel really tired and run down. It was so bad that I ended up taking a nap on the living room floor for a while. When I woke up I started mowing the lawn so that it would be done before the big storm we were anticipating hit.

Halfway through the job I started to feel awful. Really awful. By the end of the lawn mowing extravaganza I was ready to drop. When I was done I sat down in our mudroom off of the garage and didn't move for about 20 minutes. After trying to eat and drink something I discovered, oh joy, I had come down with a case of Montezuma's revenge. Ugh.

I was up most of the night with stomach cramps and a need to visit our facilities more than I normally would. By morning I was dosing up on Imodium and gritting my teeth to get through the day.

It was a 24 hour bug which I'm glad of but it didn't make the day any easier. When I got home I was weak as a kitten and glad just to lay down. I woke up about 3 hours later to discover Fabulous Babe in bed next to me watching "24" that she had "taped" on the Tivo. By the time she got to the second I was a bit more coherent. (How CTU and Jack are going to stop an inflight missile is beyond me but we'll see. I'm betting they use the Missile Defense system.) After it was lights out I got up to make a couple of Eggos so I wouldn't try to sleep on an empty stomach.

If you get this bug watch out. It's quick but nasty.

Posted by Jim at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

"Load up the iPod, we'll have a barrel of fun..."

Fabulous Babe's iPod showed back up from Apple on Friday. We'll see how the repairs went. I spend some time Sunday night, between bathroom runs, loading it up with some of her favorite music.

We're not buying CD's very often anymore. The popular cultures fascination with Hip Hop, Rap, G-Unit, 50 Cent, etc. leaves us out and while there are no shortage of good cd's in the last few months I haven't heard many that are of the "rush right out to buy them" quality, with one noticable exception.

The new Garbage CD is out. It's called "Bleed like me" and it's simply awesome. 10 out of 10. It's a bit of a cross between their debut album and "2.0" but without some of the things on "Beautiful Garbage" that never quite grabbed me.

I bought "Bleed like me" a couple of weeks ago and whichever car I'm driving has the CD in it. The opening song is titled "Bad Boyfriend" and it's really a classic Garbage song: Shirley growls out the lyrics like some sort of gutteral, jungle raised, musical predator while Butch and the boys back her up with some thunderous guitar music. The whole album is as good as that first song and the $10 I spent at Target for it was a bargain. (Especially considering some of the craptacular releases it's competing with.) If you're wanting to be on the bleeding edge of hip go buy this now. You'll be way far ahead of the masses on the hipness curve. Miles ahead.

To make it easier and help Jack's college fund here's a link to Amazon:

Posted by Jim at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005

"She's turning on the heat..."

Jack had astonishingly bad hair this morning. I mean unbelieveably bad hair.

We're talking Mike Reno from Loverboy bad hair:


Woof. Scary isn't it.

I love him but I have NO idea how he does it.

Posted by Jim at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

"See. I wasn't faking."

On my way home tonight I got a call from Fabulous Babe:

"I think I'm sick."

I got home and she was already dressed for bed and ready to crash. It seems the bug I had ambushed her when she wasn't looking. Instead of the Montezuma's revenge version she appears to have the "Throw up once and all better" version.

Here's hoping the boy wonder doesn't come down with it.

Posted by Jim at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

"Don't mind those son. You won't rust."

When I got home tonight Jack and I tried to go for a walk. A shower caught us on the street and I ended up having to wheel His Majesty back to the house. The whole time he was looking around and trying to figure out what was going on and what was hitting him.

We're starting to get strings of noises now. Not quite sentences but the parsing and spacing seems to be there. It's like the foundation is being poured for his vocabulary and we're just waiting to see some framing up for actual words.

I had a horrible nightmare the other night. One of my uncles lost his only son a few years ago and I dreamed of something similar. (I never knew my cousin that well due to the age difference and the distance.) His death was a shock to our family. It happened quickly and with no warning. He literally answered the front door, collapsed, went into a coma and died within 24 hours.

SIDS is something that lays at the twilight of your perception when you have an infant. You try to shove it as far from your mind as you can because you never want to think it's something you'll have to deal with. I knew of two families growing up who lost children to SIDS and I can still remember being 9 or 10 and watching the one house as people in black came and went after the funeral.

Jack's no longer an infant. Just as he's grown in weight his personality and character have grown as well. Losing Jack now is even more unthinkable to me. It's the sort of nightmare that had me waking up in the middle of the night, sitting bolt upright in bed and walking to his door just to hear him snore. (I think he gets that from his mother.)

I know when he's older he'll do something dumb that will make me want to ground him for life. (With my luck he'll accidentally catch the Miata on fire.) Maybe I'll just get even by hugging him in front of his friends when he's a senior in high school.

Posted by Jim at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2005

?You would have thought it happening to her brother would have been some sort of object lesson.?

I got an email with some news last night.

If you’re trying to keep your recreational reading to just baby stuff then feel free to skip this one.

If, on the other hand, you’re interested in hearing about a twisted, sordid, Kentucky soap opera that has reached epic proportions including a “Runaway Bride” like disappearance…

My Boy Scout troop was the “nerd” troop of the area. We weren’t the “do push ups until your arms fall off” troop that was led by the ex-Marine and we weren’t the “We’re staying in the woods until our own stink drives us out” troop like some of the others. It was, all in all, a pretty decent group of guys.

One of the people I met in that group was someone who went on to be a friend of mine. (We ended up taking a computer course together on TRS-80 Model 1’s which gives you an idea of the timeframe.) He was a couple of years ahead of me in High School and his younger sister was a couple of years younger. For a while she was the communal “kid sister” of our group of friends. We’ll get back to her in a minute or two. A key point to know is that for years her nickname was that flightless bird in the Antarctic that looks like it's wearing a tuxedo.

After college he was driving home from Cincinnati one night and had a horrible car wreck. He was in a coma for a while and most of us who knew him before the accident would say that it brought about some immediate changes. In the weeks following the girl I took to my Senior prom, the Prom Date, latched on to him to nurse him back to health.

I learned a hard lesson from this. I was very vocal among our friends that I thought she was using his weakened state to get in close to him. (This is the woman who had the nervous breakdown in my high school Anthropology class and had some other issues as well.) Like a fool I didn’t conceal my thoughts and it’s one of the hardest lessons I ever learned about keeping my mouth shut. Within 6 months, they were engaged and married and I wasn’t invited to the wedding.

Word had gotten back to them and I was the only one of our group not asked to attend. (I swear I told this story somewhere else around here but can’t find it.) I brought it on myself but it really, really sucked at the time. It also taught me to wish people nothing but the best and shut the heck up.

Sadly, they divorced within a year or so. He had come home one night when he wasn’t expected and heard “noise” from the bedroom. After glancing in and getting an eyeful he went into the kitchen and just sat down in the dark. A while, and I mean a while, later his wife came into the kitchen to get some cold water from the refrigerator. To say she was surprised is an understatement. To say the other woman was surprised is also an understatement.

He recovered and went on to a good life. He re-married another friend of mine and though things didn’t work out in the long run they have a beautiful daughter. His life is good. (Although he is the goofball who purchased the lap dance for me the night before the wedding that was administered by a woman in excess of 250 lbs.) His Halloween parties are killer.

His 1st ex, my former Prom Date, is now on her third marriage. The less said the better.

Back to the flightless waterfowl…

My friend’s sister went on to have a pretty normal life: college, married and kids. Then a few years ago I started hearing rumors.

Normally rumors tend to wash up on my shore and just die in the sun. I’m so far removed from people in some of these circles that it just doesn’t make sense to even care. I just hope people are happy and don’t think anymore of it. I now operate under the “You’re adults! Go figure it out!” rule with the assumption that if they don’t know any better their mother and father just didn’t do a very good job of raising them.

None the less the rumors started. Most of the rumors centered around her being involved in a local community theatre group.

Community theatre groups are odd things. The smaller the group the weirder they tend to be. They draw all sorts of egos and strange things happen. (Maybe I’ll do a guide for Jack at some point.) It’s not somewhere that you should expect people to behave rationally all of the time.

The last time I was home the rumors were pretty thick. I heard them from a couple of unrelated sources and it’s pretty depressing. One person said the husband, whom I’ve met a couple of times and seemed very nice to me, needed someone to put a sign in his yard that says “clue” so that he could have one.

When people come to you with gossip you have to decide what you want to do with it. I tend not to pass things along and some others broadcast them everywhere. No matter what you do with the gossip you have to decide if it's true or not at some point. Unfortunately I had witnessed some things over time that had led me to privately think that the odds were they were true.

That's why I wasn't surprised when I got the word tonight:

First part: She’s told him that she had an affair. With another woman.

Ok. A little non-conventional but at least he knows now. I have a low opinion of this sort of thing but telling him was a step in the right direction. I'm not forgiving her just saying that at least she's come clean.

The second part: She’s disappeared. With the kids.

Poof! Gone with no forwarding info and a frantic father who can't find his two children.

If I had anything to do with it her nickname going forward would be Dodo. *sigh*

I hope the part about the kids isn't true but my source hasn't been wrong before. I just hope it all works out. For everyone.

Posted by Jim at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2005

"All I want for Christmas..."

*shudders with anticipatory ecstasy*

My Precious! My Precious!

Filthy stinking Playstation Hobbits can't have it! Ha!

My Precious!

Posted by Jim at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

"By my figuring our next date will be around January of 2008."

So Fabulous Babe got a big fat envelope in the mail the other day. Deep inside was the good news we had been hoping for: her application to grad school has been accepted.

Fabulous Babe is now an official member of the Executive MBA program.(I know this to be true because we just sent out the first check.) From August to April for the next two years she will be taking classes all day Friday and all day Saturday every other week.

The commitment of support from the People?s Monolithic Dairy Concern is pretty significant. Without that support Fabulous Babe?s participation in the program wouldn?t happen. Several of her co-workers contributed some very nice letters of recommendation. Here are some quotes:

?Fabulous Babe has a good head on her shoulders. Please take the time to fill it with more smarty know whats that may be of benefit to our company. Thank you.?

?We have encouraged Fabulous Babe to attend this program due to her usually being the only person working on Friday in our office. (It is Minnesota don?t you know.) With this schedule we are anticipating a 50% reduction in our winter guilt load.?

?Does this mean she will finally take down that gigantic Illinois Indian head sticker on her window??

Other recommendations came from some other sources:

?Please accept Fabulous Babe into your program so that she can quit coming to the spinning class on Saturday mornings and making us look bad. How can we keep our makeup and hair in place if she keeps actually sweating and working out next to us??

They go on like that for a while. You get the idea.

As a result of the good news we?ve now refined the schedule for upcoming 4th and 1st quarters. Illness is allowed but only on the odd weeks and for a brief period between Christmas and New Years. Jack claims he?s onboard with it but we?ll see.

Posted by Jim at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

"It's the Iron Range. What do you expect?"

Had the occasion to rest in the comfort of my dentists chair a few days ago. Despite my horrific experience as a youth, a dentist drilled my gum that hadn't been numbed, I look forward to going due to the staff being so great.

My technician is great. She had her daughter since I saw her last and we traded pictures. They lost a baby that was due slightly before Jack but their newborn is as cute as can be. We were trading stories about sleeping through the night that made me feel like an old pro. (Slightly weird.)

She grew up in Northern Minnesota in an area called the Iron Range. It's where the mines are and the people from there are known to be a bit, um, odd. She and I started talking about weird prom customs since it's the season around here and she had a couple of stories that were doozies. (The fact that her aunt booked her hotel room for their night being one of them.) The simplest explanation for most of it was simply the phrase: "It's the Iron Range, what do you expect?"

Where I grew up in Kentucky is similar. The big employer now is the hospital but it used to be the refinery and the steel mill. The nature of large union populations tied to key employers seems to breed this sort of strangeness. (Especially when you have a population that is uncomfortably close to the poverty level.) I won't say they are the same but many of her stories were achingly close to things I remember growing up.

I got a clean bill of health and a star for no cavities. I was also left with her great story about her first date with her husband:

He came to the door to take her out and when she saw him she was so excited she skipped to the door to open it for him. When she did he said, "Do you know you just skipped to the door?" to which she replied, "Do you have any idea how cute the person standing there was?"

Great stuff.

Posted by Jim at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2005

"For my next trick I'll juggle three chainsaws..."

Got word from Kentucky. The runaway mom brought the kids back home. It seems that when she told them they were leaving their daddy out of the blue they threw the appropriate fit. The screaming and crying continued non-stop until the mom relented and brought them home.

I've no idea how she thought that ripping children away from the only home they've ever known was a good idea. Top that with replacing their father with a second "mom" they've never met and it strikes me you couldn't do a much better job of pouring gas on the fire.

Doesn't anyone ever think of kids anymore?

Posted by Jim at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

"I hear they're hiring in Mayberry."

Our local Chief of Police is in a bit of trouble.

A week or so ago the police department in a different municipality found his overturned car in an empty lot. (Laying in plain sight inside was his badge and gun.) Despite efforts to find him he remained "unavailable" for a number of hours after the accident to answer questions.

Care to guess how long he was unavailable?

If your answer was A.) long enough for blood tests determining if he was under the influence or not to have spotty results then you would have guessed correctly. His excuses of needing treatment, via his attorney, seem pretty thin. Then again I'm not one to cut slack when a law enforcement officer abandons the scene of his own accident while leaving his badge and sidearm. (Every cop I've ever known would chew their own arm off than abandon either.)

My local paper is loaded with DUI's every Wednesday in the police summary report. My gut says that DUI seems a larger problem here than it did where we lived in Seattle or where we've lived previously. The ages are widespread too: teens, young adults, older adults that should know better and adults that should have kids who prevent them from being that dumb. With the cloud hanging over this incident perhaps people will start putting two and two together.

Posted by Jim at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

"No. I don't wear an Engineers hat."

When you're involved in a hobby you find yourself wondering if you really want to share your participation with the rest of the world. Often times it's the people you also participate with in the hobby that drive you to think this way.

When I was an infant I would stand in the crib and watch trains passing in back of my parents apartment before they woke up. As a tot I loved toy trains and the Christmas I was 6 I got my first HO set. I have a lot of fond memories of trains but I can't say I'm consumed by some sort of feverish sickness that makes me want to decorate my house, wife, cats and son in Railroading garb. I would say that I'm only a moderate enthusiast. (Especially compared to some.)

Now I find myself participating in a hobby where the inmates have overtaken the asylum. From rivalries that make the old Ford vs. Chevy arguments seem pale by comparison to pontificating nitwits it's all quite frightening.

In some ways it's a hobby infested with ghosts. From the spectre of the hobby's glorious postwar past to the neer do wells that post frequently on the various internet forums about how "this was better then" or "that will fail with time" it's all you can do not to go poking around the phonebook for Ghostbusters. To say it's infested with trap door spiders of loneliness is an understatement.

I collect/run/have a pile of O-gauge (think Lionel) and it's given me an excellent distraction from other things. My simple motto is that I like to drink beer and run trains but not necessarily in that order. Unfortunately few of the hobbyists are my age and fewer still seem to be interested in following my motto. More's the pity. I have a lot of free beer. (lol)

Posted by Jim at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

"My family puts the fun in dysfunctional."

My grandmother that raised me had two sisters and one brother. Of the four of them only my great uncle has passed away. The others are, at ages 86, 82 and 78ish, still kicking.

They fuss and fume the way that older people do. I think it's fun to watch them spar because time has honed their barbs to the sharpness of flensing knives. (My beloved Fabulous Babe is sometimes aghast with horror at their brutal quickness.) They are obviously siblings and while they love each other they sometimes seem only minutes away from killing each other. Were they whalers I have no doubt that with verbal quips they could strip a Blue Whale to the skeleton within minutes. (Using the oil to cast balls of flame at each other.)

Each of them has a virtual Tome of Grudges that carries within it the sins of past years that cannot ever be forgotten. Misdeeds inflicted upon each other and preserved forever as if stuck in amber.

Allow me then, oh gentle reader, to share with you one such cherished tale of sibling annoyance. A foul deed that goes back over 40 years and to this day stands testimony to the truth that only the ones you love can truly bring about great suffering.

To set the stage: My great aunt Dee Dee, youngest of the four, lived in Baltimore with her husband and three children. (A fourth was due within a year or so of these events but doesn't play a part in this story.) My great aunt Beulah lived in Kentucky with her husband Jerry. (Whom I'm lobbying to be the first Jewish saint.) They had no children.

One day Dee Dee receives a phone call from Beulah:

"We were wonderng if you two would like a break from the kids. We were thinking of coming up to Baltimore and then, if it is ok with you, taking the kids on a vacation for about a week. Would that be alright?"

Que Dee Dee's husband picking her up off the floor.

After recovering and being told that the conversation really happened Dee Dee enthusiastically agreed. The plans were made and soon after the three children, Hank, Bruce and Ginger, ages 11, 9 and 8ish, depart for a vacation with their aunt and uncle.

Dee Dee has often described how the first few days were fraught with anxiety. Was everything going ok? Were the children going to be sick? Had they tied Jerry to a telephone pole and tried to cook him yet? After a few days the phone rang:

"Dee Dee? The kids seem to be having a good time. Can we just keep them a while longer? How about instead of us working our way back to you in Baltimore we just meet you in Kentucky in another week?"


Thus the one week vacation became a TWO week vacation from the kids. Dee Dee and her husband couldn't believe the luck. Their only concern was the kids. They had talked to them and everything seemed to be going well. Would they burn out before the second week was over?

Fat chance.

Dee Dee's oldest son, Hank, who first told me the story summed it up like this:

"You can't imagine it in your wildest dream."

From the moment they left Baltimore the kids had free reign of whatever they wanted. If they wanted soda they got it. Candy? No problem. Driving south through Virginia at the height of the Civil War centennial saw all of the kids outfitted with Jonny Reb hats. When they hit Atlanta they stopped at the Cyclorama. Fireworks stands? Sure! Alligator Farms? Absolutely! The Florida turnpike was a detour at every rest stop for orange juice and those wax statues you could get for a quarter.

Hank again: "It was like we had died and gone to heaven."

The second week was more of the same as they cut a swath across the south and headed back up towards Kentucky. Sunglasses for the beach were a must as well as new swimsuits. Roll after roll of film and enough comics for all the kids to read and switch off during the drive. They even stayed at motels. With pools!

By the time Dee Dee and her husband were in Kentucky they could hardly wait to see the kids. When the car pulled up and they came tumbling out it was a joyous and loud reunion. (Filled with cap pistols.) Everyone congratulated Beulah and Jerry on a job well done and all was well.

It was during a quiet moment after the initial reunion that Beulah and Jerry found the time to hand an envelope to Dee Dee and her husband. Inside were scraps of paper.

A list. With receipts attached.

Not just a list but an itemized list of the entire cost of the trip: gas, trinkets, motel room expenses, food, baby alligators, wax statues, coonskin caps, etc. A list that documented everything down to the last penny.

"You can just pay us back when you get home. No rush."

$1500+ in 1962 dollars.


Needless to say this little detail hadn't been mentioned in the initial planning stages.

It took years for Dee Dee and her husband to pay back everything but they did. With interest. My grandmother says it was years before Dee Dee could stand in the same room as Beulah.

As it stands now the two of them couldn't be closer. They're like two matched hens clucking away about everything and everyone. Testimony to forgiveness.

Hank still remembers that trip to this day. "Imagine what it was like to be 11 and for two weeks have everything you ever wanted. Anything! All you had to do was ask." He laughs and laughs about it now and from the look in his eyes you can tell it was very clearly a hell of a lot of fun.

Makes you jealous doesn't it?

Posted by Jim at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

"No you can't give her roses for her first birthday."

We spent some quality time with the Racetracks over the weekend.

Saturday was dinner at Las Margaritas which just gets busier and busier everytime we are there. (I should have never plugged it.) The kids were as good as ever and Kate seemed to be recovering well from some wrong gender infliction incidents from earlier in the day. ("Oh what a cute boy!") We remain confident that some hair will fix that in a jiffy.

Sunday saw us receiving an invitation to Kate's first birthday which is quite exciting. (Jack is particularly excited but doesn't know what to get her.) On Sunday evening Mr. Racetrack ran to the DQ and we lounged around woofing down Sundaes as Jack and Kate played on the floor in their PJ's.

A year. Geez I feel old.

Posted by Jim at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

"But darling. It's just not a conversation without it!"

I hate it when a word pops up into the common vernacular that then becomes the new buzz word for people who need those sorts of words.

The current word du jour? "Meme"

For the last few months I've noticed "meme" creeping into the lingo of the hip and wannabe hip and I'm now at the point simply wanting to scream anytime someone uses the word in a sentence.

I'm certain you remember similar "hot" words. Perhaps its erstwhile cousin "paradigm" that was used with such nova like intensity for a while around 200-2001 that it simply collapsed in on itself like a black hole. The continued abuse of the word "brand" in business is another. There are others but it's late and I need to get to bed.

Let's all agree: The next time you notice some ponce dropping the word "meme" into something they are writing or saying we agree to berate them. Ruthlessly.

It's 2005. If you really expect us to believe "meme" is a word you use every day then you deserve to be punished and "meme" deserves to be banished back to the tacky "word a day" calendar that spawned it.

I'm not alone. I spoke to my friend the Artist the other day. He agrees and he's far more in tune with these sorts of things than I can ever hope to be.

Posted by Jim at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2005

"Old man, funny looking boat, animals in twos, etc."

It's the monsoon season here in the Twin Cities.

If the unseasonably cool weather wasn't bad enough it's now coupled with rain in mass quantity. It goes from light drizzles to gales and there's hardly any dry spells inbetween.

I'm used to this sort of garbage weather from Seattle but the average Minnesotan I speak with is pretty bummed by this turn of events. The last time this sort of thing happened it was 40 odd years ago so it's far out of the memory of the locals.

My friends in warmer climes are all having a laugh at our weather which is to be expected. The new tires and wheels for the Miata are on hold indefinitely as it doesn't appear the warm season is going to be long enough to justify the expense. I'll just get out the scrub brush and polish the old ones.

Jack remains cheerful throughout the entire experience. He doesn't care either way about the weather. When I take him outside under a blanket he thinks it's a game of some sort. Go figure.

Posted by Jim at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

"It's not just my birthday. It's also Bob Dylan's. Go bother him."

My birthday is next week. At this point it’s beginning to feel like it is stalking me. I feel like I’m on a ship and every time I turn I glimpse the white whale getting closer and closer. I feel like it’s just a matter of time before he breeches beneath us and I wind up clinging to a piece of wreckage.

Birthdays are hard for me. (Christmas as well.) It’s not Fabulous Babe’s fault. Most of it goes back to when I was a kid. My mom forgot a few of them which didn’t help. My dad was usually out of the country. (He always sent really neat toys though.) My grandparents always did their best but things were always a little off just because the dynamic was a little odd. (When I was 6 they were 54 and 56.)

As I got older it was hard to break the cycle. Part of me just wanted to shut everyone out and have it pass as quickly as possible with as little notice as possible. Then, just when I thought I was getting ahead of all of it, a couple of days before I turned thirty I ended up having a CAT scan that found the tumor. (I do remember that I drank a LOT that year.)

A year later was my first birthday with Fabulous Babe. We took the day off and headed into Toronto for the day. (We ate at the Indian café and hung around downtown.) It was the first time I had ever taken the day off to just do nothing and it was glorious.

Fabulous Babe has been asking me what I want for my birthday and I really have no clue. I suppose I can knock out some soft of list but there isn’t really anything that I’m burning to own or do. I like surprises but Fabulous Babe tends not to have the time to really pull that sort of thing off. I think we are going to go out this weekend for dinner somewhere. Knowing my lack of imagination it will probably be Las Margaritas.

My favorite birthday cake ever was when I was 5 or 6: a strawberry cake that was iced dark purple and dark green in quarters. When you cut into the cake it looked like it was bleeding. My family was repulsed and I thought it was simply wonderful. I ate cake for a week.

Posted by Jim at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

"You cut four teeth at the same time and see how you feel."

Jack's cutting four teeth at once right now. We have drooling at unheard of levels and some cranky behavior.

He also seems to be on another growth spurt. He's drinking 6-8 ounces at a whack and eating anything that moves. I've been getting home later at night than usual so I tend to miss his dinner but the evidence in his diapers is overwhelming.

Jack actually sits still when you read to him now. (Still a bit bored from time to time.) We tackled "How do Dinosaurs clean their rooms?" the other night and it was good fun. By the books end he was trying to turn pages and was babbling a bit.

We're trying to figure out what to do with Jack and his birthday. It's a Thursday night so the odds are the celebration will be over the weekend. I doubt my family will try to attend and I'm pretty certain that my assorted in-laws are out of the picture as well. El Jefe is talking about coming out so we'll see.

For those of you playing the home game here are Jack's favorite Dinosaur books:

Posted by Jim at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005

"Welcome to Chez Racetrack"

Had dinner with Mr. Racetrack and Kate tonight. Mrs. Racetrack is working late this week so instead of making Taco's for one he invited us over for Taco's for three.

Jack fussed a bit but that ended once we started sitting him on our laps. Kate crawled around our feet the whole time and every once in a while would stand up next to us to look around. The difference between the two of them is pretty funny. Kate has mobility where Jack has size and it's funny to see.

We took a present over for Kate a bit early for her birthday: A bumper jumper! Jack spends time in one at daycare and loves it so we thought, after watching Kate jump up and down in the Pack and Play on Sunday night, that one of these would be a good thing for Kate. (I had visions of Mr. Racetrack working in his office at home with Kate in the doorway.) We'll see how it goes over but I hope it's a hit.

Mr. Racetrack introduced us to something we didn't realize was going on. Jeopardy is having a huge tournament where people are competing to go head to head with Ken Jennings. Mr. Racetrack had taped the show earlier in the day and watching it we were dumbfounded at the sheer toughness and obscurity of the questions. We can only imagine what the final contest will be like.

The entire time I was watching the show all I could think of were the parody Jeopardy skits on Saturday Night Live. (The only funny thing on SNL in about 20 years.) I kept hoping the category of "Pen is Mightier" would pop up but no such luck.

Posted by Jim at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2005

"I thought all my bad luck was supposed to be here last week."

Today will be the nicest day out of the last two weeks. The day I've been looking forward to all week long.

So of course the Miata didn't start when I tried to start it this morning.


Posted by Jim at 07:19 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2005

"It's it a little warm to be wearing a sweater?"

Jack slept late Sunday morning so Fabulous Babe said it was time to go to church for the first time in a while. (Usually Jack?s morning nap is during the service.) Jack was a wiggle worm of the first order and even tried to help the choir during one of the dirges. We only lost one program to his fang rimmed maw which is better than I expected.


Here?s the heartbreaker in his big boy clothes. He?s attempting to figure out the intricate nature of a plastic spoon while looking his best. This was after church and of course his hair is now a spit infested wreck. *sigh*


Of course I tried to get Jack to pose with his mother and he fought the entire process. Here you can see him arguing the point with his mom. Jack?s oratory skills aren?t quite up to William Jennings Bryant standards but he?s giving it the old college try.


Mom of course gets even by trying to bite Jack?s ear.


Here?s a keeper. There are times I can say I?ve never seen Fabulous Babe happier than when she?s holding Jack. Here?s one of those moments.

Posted by Jim at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

"Big Texas Burger! Because your momma raised you right!"

Brace yourselves.

I had a dream on Friday night. One of those vivid dreams where you just wonder what in the hell it was that you ate that would give you these sorts of thoughts.

I dreamed that Jack decided to go to college in Texas. (College station actually.) No clue why. He just did. Normal enough right?

For some reason I followed him.

Then opened a hamburger joint called "Big Texas Burger" that was sort of a cross between In-N-Out and Johnny Rockets.

Wait! It gets weirder!

To promote "Big Texas Burger" I was going on television a la Cal Worthington, the California Used Car dealer. I was wearing a white suit with a big white stetson and kept throwing out one liners during the commercials. (All of which were "live" at the diner.)

"Big Texas Burger! Because you life's too short for burgers like the other guys!"

"I'm Jim and this is Big Texas Burger. Don't adjust your set because I always look like this. Honest!"

"Big Texas Burger! Because college students need all the energy they can for whatever it is that college students do."

"Big Texas Burger loves you the way you are, which is why there will never be any salads at Big Texas Burger!"

"At Big Texas Burger we believe in true love. The kind of love that you can only find with a really good burger. It may not last very long but you'll remember it as being one of the great loves of your life."

"Big Texas Burger! Because if you're going to spend $2.00 on a burger you ought to get the parts of the cow you want!"

"Big Texas Burger! Our burgers are almost as big as the average hairdoo of Miss Dallas! Almost."

"At Big Texas Burger we figure that if you weren't meant to eat meat you wouldn't have those sharp pointy teeth!"

"At Big Texas Burger we only use happy cows for our burgers and it shows!"

"You will never see Tofu on the menu at Big Texas Burger!"

"When I'm dead and gone I don't know who we'll get to do this but never fear: Big Texas Burger will still be here!"

It goes on and on and on.

I woke up Saturday reeling with these. An entire branded concept from start to finish. The restaurant had a western theme but was geared for high volume. Simple menu of 15 items. I must have had 150 of the commercial lines. A never ending variety of animals introduced as my dog "Spot" that were anything but a dog. (Cheetah, Rhino, Alligator, Monkey, etc.)

If I remember the dream correctly the business did well but Fabulous Babe and Jack weren't exactly quick to point out their relationship to me.

Must have been the bolo tie.

Posted by Jim at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2005

"How exactly did I wind up here?"

I figured out what happened Friday morning: the Miata battery had run down while parked in our garage. After letting it charge all weekend I decided to take it for a spin on Sunday night.

Seemed like an easy trip: Take the baby car out to the main road our neighborhood is off of, hit the highway for a few minutes and head back home. (The full moon didn't hurt.)

About halfway down the big hill on the main road I hear something go "whap" off the back of the car. Not sure what it was I looked around but didn't see anything. Oh well.

A short drive later I start to pull into the drive and then realize: the whap was the garage door opener that I had placed on the roof when I was getting into the car.


I then spent the next 65 minutes driving along the same quarter mile stretch of the main road with my high beams on looking for the darn remote. (Aided by the tiny little flashlight I keep in the Miata.) I drive past the soccer field, the park and then turn around and head back up the hill.

Did I mention the remote is black with a small grey button?

The choice is find it or go home and wake up Fabulous Babe to let me in.

I kept looking.

Finally I spot the darn thing and scoop it up. It's now ridiculously late and I'm pretty sure I ran over the remote a few times while looking for it.

Posted by Jim at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

"Que deep breathing..."

Fabulous Babe and I saw "Revenge of the Sith" on Saturday night. Well worth the ticket price to see things wrapped up after 28 years. (Jack didn't mind our absence. We left him with our most excellent babysitter, Miss Brittney.)

Highlights: Some "gee whiz" moments that were breathtaking visually. A few bits and bobs of humor that were equally pleasant. Goose pimples as those first raspy breaths emerge from the mask. The Peter Cushing look alike. Nifty foreshadowing of things to come from the very first movie.

Lowlights: Some goofy things that just make you shake your head and wonder what they were thinking. Poor sound editing that had the audience and I sitting in wonder what was being said. Yet another promising bad guy who meets an untimely end way before his time.

I saw "Star Wars" the day it opened in 1977. It was part of my birthday present and my first PG movie. My grandfather only took me because he wanted to see the "new movie with Alec Guiness" not because it was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. (That was "Logan's Run" which had a HUGE commercial blitz at the time.)

I went on to see "Star Wars" in the theatre a total of 12 times if I my memory serves me correctly. The second time we sat down in the front row and then moved after the Star Destroyer flew over. Somewhere around the 8th or 9th time I went with my Dad and Stepmom. (She recalls me reciting the dialogue with the movie in an odd stereo effect.) No surprise there.

At the movie theatre on Saturday night there were no shortage of kids with lightsabers. (No sense in pointing out the potential flaws or early retirement options in their careers of choice.) Some of the kids were in costumes but most just were armed for our protection.

I've no idea what Jack's "Star Wars" will be. I can't begin to imagine. In my dad's generation it was "War of the Worlds" and "Forbidden Planet" and movie serials that haven't been screened with movies for almost 50 years.

On Friday I was listening to a local radio show on the drive home. An off the wall and lost in the deep end fan called in to froth about "Revenge of the Sith" and Lucas the genius. As the call went on the earnest intensity of the fan gave way to obsession and compulsion. The hosts, realizing good radio, gave him more than enough rope to hang himself which he did. By the end I felt dirty for wanting to see the movie after listening to him.

Worse still his birthday was just a few days before mine. Yikes!

"Revenge of the Sith" is dark and grim but sets the stage in the ways that it is supposed to. After all this time it's nice to see things wrapped up. From me at least it gets two thumbs up.

Posted by Jim at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

"You try growing up in Kentucky and learning Asian customs."

Jack's Haiku for the day:

Sunrise through window,
I lay in my crib alone.
Oops! My diaper leaked.

Posted by Jim at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

"Hi, I'm Garth Brooks. Can you hand me my pants?"

Garth Brooks proposed to Trisha Yearwood tonight.

This isn't exactly groundbreaking news. They've long been linked as an item by the press. (She's rumored to be the reason they broke up.) I think the business about proposing on stage was a little tacky but I don't perform in front of 7000 people every night.

While I was at University I worked in a record store. This brought me exposure to both of these country legends. (At least indirectly.)

The first is story is Garth Brooks. Garth, before he exploded in Country music, used to tour the smaller regional concert tours. This is very typical. Kenny Chesney and Gretchen Wilson are two who've recently come up out of this farm league sort of approach.

One of our local venues for these sorts of smaller shows is a small amusement park called Camden Park in Ceredo Kenova, WV.

One of the guys I worked with at the record store was Wayne. (I have a LOT of Wayne stories.) Wayne used to work part time at Camden Park with his friend Charlie whenever there was a concert. Wayne worked the first concert Garth Brooks played at Camden Park.

During the show it was getting closer and closer to the time for Garth Brooks to take the stage. No one could find him. Someone tasked Wayne to go find Garth and off he went.

The main dressing room for the venue was also the storage room for all of the midway prizes. This was one of the last places that Wayne checked and, sure enough, he found Garth Brooks. Garth was struggling to get dressed and when Wayne walked through the door he found Garth trying to wrestle his shirt, hat and guitar and doing a poor job of all three. (Almost falling over in the process.) Finally Garth noticed Wayne, introduced himself and asked if Wayne could hand him the pair of pants on the doorknob.

When Trisha Yearwood's first album came out she had the full court press of her record label behind her. (Sort of like what MC Hammer had going for his second major label record but in Trisha's case it worked.) We received a metric ton of Trisha Yearwood crap to dress out our cashwrap and store windows. Posters, signs, etc. By the time we were done our cash registers looked like the centerpiece of the Trisha Yearwood temple.

About a week later I was ringing up a man at the cashwrap. I remember that he looked really annoyed about something. He had a lot of country music in his pile so I gestured to the wall behind me, chock full o' Trisha Yearwood posters and asked "Have you heard any of her music yet?"

I was then given a hard look as he stood there silently for a minute.

"That's my ex-wife."


Without being asked he opened up his wallet and pulled out the photo sleeves. He began placing pictures on the counter: He and Trisha in a staged picture a la Sears Portrait Studios, one from Christmas and one with them and a dog.

"That's my dog. When we separated she tried to take my dog. The dog I had raised since I was a kid. When we went to court I told the judge I didn't want any of her money. I just wanted my dog back."

At this point almost all of the employees were now at the counter listening intently. (It's not everyday you witness a Nashville soap opera.) He then showed us a picture of just him with the dog.

"She can have all the record deals she wants. The b#$%@ couldn't get my dog."

He said some other things about Trisha that made it pretty clear that he felt fame had changed their relationship and not for the better.

I hope Garth and Trisha have a great life together. I just hope that Garth makes sure to put his dogs in the pre-nuptial agreement.

Posted by Jim at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

"We're not having a Celebrity Golf Tournament this year. Too many people died last year."

In the mornings I usually have a few things I am trying to do before I load Jack into the car. (Trash, bringing the papers in, etc.) This usually means that I have to leave Jack to his own devices for a few minutes before we make the 30 second car ride to Mrs. Dawn?s Day Spa for the Small and Troublesome.

Today Jack wanted to stand instead of sit which is easy to manage.


I caught Jack in mid babble. His typical sentence is ?Dabba dabba dabba sheesh quirt? or something similar. (Fabulous Babe and Mrs. Dawn have taken to calling him Fred Flintstone due to the frequency of the ?Dabba dabba dabba? business.)

Let?s be clear however that our son?s butt is not as large as it looks in the picture. It?s those @#$% corduroy pants.


Another shot of the red hotness that is our son. If any of you talk to my Canadian Sister anytime in the near future tell her that Jack loves the Exersaucer. (Like Fabulous Babe her schedule is a thing that doesn?t include much recreational browsing.)

Check out those arms. It's all I can do not to laugh when I see Jack in short sleeves. I keep thinking of Will Farrel in "Anchorman" pretending to work out and referring to his biceps as his "guns". *chuckle* It's still my favorite comedy from last year.


I got a laugh! You can see the beginnings of his hideous maw of fangs. (He cut those four top teeth at the same time.) Now if only I can squeeze another haircut into his schedule?

Posted by Jim at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2005

"Your complaints have been noted with management."

Jack was in a bad mood tonight. I got home from work and he was doing his best "Mr. Fussy Pants" imitation. As far as we could tell it was just a generally cranky disposition. Maybe it's the weather?

A bath helped some. Jack always grabs his favorite toys and splashes around which puts him in a good mood. He's so much larger compared to what he was like when we gave him baths in the little tub or the baby bathtub.

After tucking away Jack we headed down to the basement to watch a movie that the Poker Widow lent Fabulous Babe: Sideways.

This is the movie that everyone raved about shortly before the Oscars. Set in California wine country it's the story of a couple of guys having a week off before one gets married. They meet two women and the movie chronicles the events between the four of them during the course of the week.

I thought the two standout performances were Thomas Haden Church as the morally bankrupt Jack and Virginia Madsen as the deeper than originally presented waitress Maya. Sandra Oh's character was solid but overshadowed by events involving Jack. Paul Giamatti's character seemed to come from the typical Hollywood mold for depressed divorced men but he handled it well.

I thought the film was a movie for wine enthusiasts more than anything. It rolls out like a love story to the art of winemaking. As Giamatti delivers his various insights into wine I understood why the movie was so well regarded among the California wine and cheese set.

At times you're left with the impression that it was originally written as a stage play. The dialogue certainly works that way and the scenes compliment the perception. Watching the movie I was imagining how I would have blocked out the movement and how I would have decorated the sets.

When I was younger I used to really like Virginia Madsen but her career never really took off the way you would hope for someone. Here's hoping this movie leads to some better parts and work for her. She's gone from a "hot" starlet to an actress with some serious talent and that's not easy.

At one point we were reminded why Thomas Haden Church was the only reason to have ever watched "Wings" on a regular basis. His natural ability to channel a clueless doofus is a rare talent. Network television should seek him back out.

Fabulous Babe and I both liked the movie. (She more than I.) The rough spots are sanded smooth by the movies end which is pretty good these days. If you're looking for a nice movie for a rainy night in front of the fire or something to watch while you're knocking back a bottle of Mertlot this is just the right fare.

Posted by Jim at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

"You should see the ones I left out."

I get a lot of referral traffic from search engines. Some lost soul out there in the world of the internets types in some string of words, gets some results that include this website, and winds up browsing for a while.

Because of the way I have the site meter set up I can see the website that is referring to me and the search terms that brought them here.

For your amusement here are some of the best from the last two weeks with a few comments...

9 year old still nursing
Ugh. Can we all just move on?

bedtime vomit child

cheerios babies

sorry to a special person
I'm certain there's a love story here.

certificate first haircut

foghat logo
Dude! I've got to airbrush something onto a t-shirt pronto!

funny grilling t-shirts

how to repaint a toilet seat
Any bets that this is Bob Vila?

Richard Haliburton
Cool! Maybe I'll become the world's nexus for Haliburton enthusiasts.

Special words for a funeral
Here you go: "Open bar!"

rude coworkers

womens slacks

Mike Reno (several times)
With my luck I've drawn the ire of the Loverboy fan club.

faking sick

garage layouts


grilled pineapple
Mmmmmm. Grilled Pineapple.

redhead pictures
There were several variants of this. (Most of which I can't publish.) Let's just say that there seems to be a fascination with some people out there that borders on a desperate need for therapy.

rock band Reverand Horton Heat
Good taste!

Sprinklers with lights in them

Strip repaint guitar
Dude! That indoor satin latex didn't work out the way I wanted.

Taj mahal acid rain

Tim Hortons logo

Twin turbo propane
Doesn't this just sound like a bad idea?

Immodium kitten
I don't want to know.

Cowlick cover
Doesn't this defeat the purpose?

Babe in Miata
We've got this covered. In spades. With bells on. Growl...

Zamboni Explosion
I should set up a shrine to the hallowed Zamboni Explosion. When the NTSB releases their report on the explosion I'll make sure to have it available for all of you.

Posted by Jim at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2005

"No nursery staff should know your wife by first name."

Memorial Day weekend brought something no one expected this year: Spring!

Going into the weekend the local forecasters were all predicting rain every day of the long weekend. Thankfully their track record for the year so far of being wrong almost all of the time held true. It was gorgeous. Warm and sunny with nary a hint of unwanted moisture.

I got off early on Friday but traffic hosed things up so I didn?t get home until most of the afternoon was gone. Fabulous Babe picked up Sir Snicklebritches which took some of the stress off.

Friday night we made our first attempt to watch The Aviator. Fabulous Babe passed out about 20 minutes into the movie so we called it off and Fabulous Babe went to bed. (No sense fighting the tide.) If falling asleep on the couch on a Friday night were an Olympic sport my wife would be covered from head to toe in medals.

I stayed up and spent the next few hours tinkering with the train layout. The end result was that I finished the outer two loops and laid out the track for the third. The worst part was trying to get the two loops on the last incline squared up correctly. Mercifully I bought a drill bit small enough to drive the teeny tiny little screws that keep the track in place or I would have gone mad. Granted the 18 volt Dewalt drill is a bit of overkill but when you?re driving a LOT of teeny tiny little screws it makes things easier.

Saturday saw Fabulous Babe head to spinning class while Jack and I had ?Awful waffles? in the living room. I make Blueberry Eggo?s and then tear them into small pieces and hand them to Jack while calling them ?Awful Waffles? in a funny voice. He eats and laughs and we?re both good. I?m looking at this as setting the groundwork for Father and Son Saturday morning breakfasts later on. (Mom can have Sunday mornings.)

That?s a pretty typical Saturday morning for us. Fabulous Babe leaves at o-dark-30 to get to the gym for her spinning class. (She has to get there early to get a bike because the classes fill up pretty quickly.) She?s usually pretty quiet when she leaves but occasionally Jack wakes up. That then means I stumble downstairs bleary eyed with the boy at around 7:45.

Saturday afternoon was a lot of yard work: mow the lawn, weedwhack the bejeezus out of the front, etc. We?ve still got some dead spots in the grass from the Roundup that we used on the weeds. We?ve also got some spots that look grim from the winter where the sand and salt piled up. Foo!

Saturday night was our big entertaining event of the weekend. The Lost Control?s came over as did Fabulous Babe?s old co-worker Wonder Woman, her husband the Rickmeister and Baby Sofia. Steaks ahoy! T-bones and New York Strips. I ended up eating a huge T-bone and equally gi-normous Strip on Saturday night which should put any vegetarian reading this into apoplexy. (Sorry!) The Lost Controls were great and Jack loved playing with the other kids. Sofia was doing well and is starting to get big.

Sunday morning was some running around before the Indy 500. I never used to watch the event, blame it on my aversion to Jim Neighbors, but somehow we now catch it every year. Saw the amazing performance by first time rookie Danica Patrick. The last 10 minutes were some of the most exciting I?ve ever seen.

On Sunday afternoon we loaded up into the truck and headed over to the huge nursery that services most of Southeastern St. Paul. The place was packed although the staff said things were worse in the morning. Despite filling the back of the truck Fabulous Babe planned to come back Monday with Mrs. Racetrack.

Sunday night was eventful. The oldest kid next door, Brian, occasionally has networked Xbox parties and invites me to give me a good dose of humility. (?You?re dead? Again??) I?m also the adult ?chaperone? that his parents rely on to keep things in line. The game of choice is Halo 2 and Sunday night found me sitting shoulder to shoulder with Brian in front of a 28 inch television as we teamed up against two teams of his friends.

At one point our team was in a jeep, called a ?Warthog?, with Brian driving, Brian?s friend in the passenger seat and me standing in the back manning the turret gun. We were careening around the map, shooting anything that moves and generally being a nuisance of such magnitude that all the other teams decided to put us out of their misery.

Simultaneously our ?Hog? came under attack from a tank, a rocket launcher and a grenade. The result was that our jeep launched up sideways in the air and began spinning. (We flipped three times this way as we arced across the sky.) The entire time Brian?s friend and I are shooting for all it is worth and I managed to score two more kills. The ?Hog? lands on top of someone else and Brian?s friend pegs someone else as the dust settles. All of us were staring at the televisions in amazement. Our team explodes in high fives as the rest begin screaming and raging at our insane amount of luck. Where?s a video capture when you need it?

Monday was the second trip to the nursery which then led to Fabulous Babe planting like a fiend:


Note the Fighting Illini hat. (All the best gardeners wear them.) Fabulous Babe is working on the flower boxes we have on our railing.


Jack hung out on the porch with mom while she was working. (He wound up with about a pound of potting soil all over him.) He was extremely animated but eventually the nap pixies came a calling.


We weren?t the only family out planting things that will just die and have to be replaced the following year. Here?s Mrs. Racetrack and Kate across the street having a heart to heart on why little girls shouldn?t hit their mommies in the head with clay pots.

Posted by Jim at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)