Somewhere between hypercompetence & homeownership
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Whatever the hell that means.

Thursday, August 30
How's this for disturbing...

An AltaVista search turned up the Hannah page, search criteria: +diaper -porn -pussy -baby -halloween +naked. Yikes.


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Transitional Car
Much like the so-called transitional girl/boy friend between longer term relationships, I now have a "transitional" car. Thank goodness. Our friend Eileen really saved my butt and she gets some benefit from the arrangement as well. I ended up never getting into the office yesterday but I got the whole thing worked out. Long story made short: Eileen's son is working in NYC, so he mothballed his car in her garage. While the registration was still technically within the 2 year term, he surrendered the plates in order to cancel the insurance coverage on the car, terminating the registration in the deal. So, I got the all the docs in order, schlepped to the DMV, registered the car and got new plates. Getting the car out of the garage and running took a while, it was buried behind a whole bunch of junk, covered with blankets, the tires were practically flat and the battery was dead. A few thousand pumps on a bicycle tire pump and a jump from the Subaru quickly got things moving in the right direction. Actually, getting the new plates attached was more time consuming and aggravating, requiring drilling out a stripped bolt and 2 visits to the auto parts shop (at least I was smart enough to do the work in the parking lot of the store so it was really more like 1 extended visit.) Last but not least, I had to get the car inspected. This could have been a showstopper if the car really needed some work but the gods smiled on me and it passed without a hitch.

So, $55 and 24 hours later, I am back on the road with the means to wait out the arrival of the new car.


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Tuesday, August 28
Not so fast there cowboy. Whoa, things change. Previous blog, we were thrilled to have sold Blue Car (Hannah's name for the Honda). We spoke too soon. In hindsight, we were naive and gullible and should have been more skeptical, suspicious and maybe even a bit more cynical.

Long story made short: We sold Blue Car because we expected to take delivery on a new 2001 Honda Odyssey. In the process of ordering this car, we had debated the merits of waiting for a 2002 model. Dealer assured us that the only difference would be a price increase. 3 days after we gave them a (refundable) deposit, Honda published the specs and prices for the 2002 model. Lara specifically asked (after that date) the dealer if they knew anything about the 2002. They didn't and deny knowing anything until 2 days ago. He's either lying or ignorant. Either way, he lost the sale. (Turns out, many significant improvements in the car for only a slight increase in cost) But now we have only 1 car and a 2002 is still 4-6 weeks away.

If Subaru made a minivan and we could have purchased it from Van Bortel, we would have. It is amazing how slimy car dealers are. If anyone know one who isn't, let me know and bring proof. We ended up putting in an order at a different dealer but they have already been deceptive and misleading about what they could do between a phone call and the visit to the showroom.

I keep reminding Lara and myself that at least we didn't already take deliver of the 2001.


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Monday, August 27
Too busy or too boring? I haven't 'blogged much lately. I am not sure why. Either I am too busy with my life, or my life is too boring to write about.

We got the new fridge this weekend. A major QOLI (Quality of Life Improvement). The real benefits aren't the ice and water in the door, or the increased capacity (not sure there even is increased capacity). No the improvements are: 1. keeping the old in garage for other stuff, like when my in-laws come to stay and immediately overload the one in the kitchen and 2. multiple light sources so you realy see what in the fridge. Its like Broadway in there when you open the door. Don't get me wrong, the automatic ice and filtered water are cool too.

More good news: we sold Blue Car. We got what we asked for it and got it quick too. Not bad considering that the ad was screwed up in the paper. Not entirely sure if it was my fault, or theirs, but the ad was run in the wrong place. No matter. First guy who drove it, bought it. Drove it all of 30 seconds, came back and said, "I'll take it!" Yay! Now Aaron has to go and take down all the flyers he put up for me. Sorry, bud. I owe ya one. Maybe we should leave them up as part of the Mysterious Bunny campaign, I see a whole new direction, Bunny in cars, Bunny on bike, Bunny at a garage sale, etc. etc.

It was also Hannah's bithday party weekend. A big success I would say. No muss, no fuss. You pays your money and Gymboree does the rest. The kids had a great time, only minor incidences and traumas, nothing to worry about. And best of all, Jenny made a spectacular caterpillar cake, nicer than anything Martha could whip up.


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Tuesday, August 21
Disturbing searches Like Matt and Aaron, I am constantly amazed at the searches people run. I don't have a tracker on my blog, I guess I don't care that much or I am that lazy. (More likely). I do have one on Hannah's pages however. Since that blog often discusses topics that surround bodily habits, its far more prone to turn up in the weird search results. A few of my favorites: "girl pee in a trashcan", "little girl gotta go pee", "diaper change photos" "post bathtime photos" and my personal favorite: "girl with knife photos". Now, none of these actual text strings appear in the Hannah blog, the people are just too stupid to put quotes around their text strings.

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Monday, August 20
MIA blogs? Where'd they go? Just like the disappearing Parmalat. First Daniela and now Heidi. I am assuming that they have chosen/built templates that are not friendly to Netscape 4. I hate to admit it, but I am starting to use the dreaded IE 5 at home, if for no other reason than it seems to run better for some of the more interactive sites I visit with Hannah (Disney, Pbskids, etc.) I was never able to get v4 to run right at the office, it couldn't seem to get outside the firewall. I guess I will need to try downloading and running 5. Does anyone know if there's an email client in IE5. I couldn't find one, a major drawback.

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Saturday, August 18
Spent. When it was new, the hot question was "what are you going to do with yours?". No, I mean your tax rebate check. George W of course expected us all to do the right thing and spend it quickly and foolishly. Well, Lara and I did our part. Today, in classic American fashion, we spent on a large but largely unneeded household appliance. We bought a new refrigerator, we're so proud. Actually it was quite unlike us, we fairly quickly ended up plunking down $1400 bucks on a shiny new Kenmore side-by-side. We went to the store only expecting to kick the tires and pull the drawers and waste the salespeople's time but we found a good salesperson who actually knew more about the products than we did (most places it became quickly evident that they knew squat) and the "right" model was on sale and they had zero percent financing for a year. We aren't usually enticed by the financing trap but we can use it to our advantage now, since the new car is coming soon, too. Yes, we are singlehandedly keeping the US economy afloat.<.br>Yes, you're welcome.

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Up and Gone...

Just like that. The Gelateria Parmalat at Eastview Mall is gone. We were in the mall a long time today and promised H some ice cream. We ended up with a heavy package so we went to the car, loaded up, and drove around to the other side of the mall to where the Parmalat was. Parked, walked in, came down the way and saw the security grate was down. Bad sign. Got closer and discovered that it was nothing but a big empty. Nothing but the floor and the lamps. All the freezers, counter, everything, gone. Sort of tough to explain to H. Sorry, hon, they're gone. "Who took it?" was the reply.


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Friday, August 17
Paint the Moon! Have your heard about this? Sounds stupid, but I'll participate, if I remember.

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What's up?

Track lighting!

ha ha.

not.

Suck ass losers from the lighting store. Yesterday afternoon, they leave a message, "your order is in, please come pick it up". Yay! Right after dinner, I zip on over. Woman who took my order doesn't even recognize me, even after I give her my name and she pulls my order (which she took). Jeez. Schleps to the back without even saying where she was going. Comes back five minutes later, says, "it's not here" Mild apology, mostly blames the secretary and says she'll fax the company and try to find out where the missing part of my order is. Yeah, good luck with that.


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Tuesday, August 14
This space intentionally left blank

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Return to the road
A monumental event, at least to me.

Last night I actually got my fat lazy a** out on my roadbike. A vast array of circumstnaces and forces have coincided and combined to nudge me out of stagnant inertia. Over the last year or so, I have gotten fat and lazy. A combination of life events and a shift in priorities; work, Hannah, house, etc. and exercise fell too far down the list of priorities. The dunlap was getting out of control (as in my belly dunlapped overmy belt) and I was really feeling guilty and disgusted with myself. I had intentions to make improvements and had taken steps in the right direction when my back problems emerged and sidelined me for a while. This past weekend, I ran into a friend who asked when I could start to ride again and I simply had no excuse to fall back on. House projects are in a self imposed hiatus (till track lighting arrives), my back is feeling absolutely fine, and I have promised to get this belly off before the babies arrive.

So, last night, after dinner, I hooked the trailer to the roadbike (also a first), tossed H in and rode a few miles. I love riding so much and quickly remember how great it is that it only takes a little to get me hooked again. (Remind me to stay away from the crack cocaine)


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Monday, August 13
You are worth exactly: $2,114,894.00. F*** You

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F***

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Ahem, maybe we need some explanin'
I forgot to follow up on the cryptic messages.

On my commute to work, I pass a house where the owner has fake (ceramic, plastic, whatever) geese in their garden. They dress them seasonally, hats, sunglasses, scarves, etc. Pathetic, tacky, call it what you want, but it made them happy so more power to 'em.

But then, the cold hard heart of the suburbs emerged. Someone stole the geese!

The poor little people immediately put up a sign where the geese used to be that said, somewhat cryptically, "Return the Geese". Imagine if you'd never seen the geese, the sign was really bizarre. I never got a picture, they took the sign away after a couple days. I think they should have been more polite and pleading with the geesenappers, maybe a "please" and a "thank you" would have softened their hearts.Now there are just a few fading, tattered yellow ribbons around the yard, tied to signposts and trees.

Drama in the 'burbs.


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Friday, August 10
I said...


Return

the

geese.



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Return the Geese.



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Thursday, August 9
Damn, done. I realize that I must seem obsessed about these inane home projects. They'd get done much faster and without the obsessive quality if I could work on them for more time each day. After H goes to bed or Lara agrees to look after her on her own, I set to work as fast as I can, so I can get a reasonable chunk of progress accomplished each day. Things that would normally take a day, take a week of evenings. Anyway, conduit done, what's next? I think cleaning the office, filing and purging is inevitable, while waiting for track lighting to arrive.

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The Den is Alive with the Sound of Music and wires laying on the floor

Ahh, the sweet sound of my Polks, Lara decided it was more important to hook up the wires first rather than put the conduits up. Good idea. Provides much motivation to complete the task, the end result will be so good.

But first I had to go through some wiring hell.

I have used the same lengths of monster cable with premium gold plated connectors since I bought my speakers. When I ran the new cables, I figured I'd just used bare wire and the threaded terminals. After owning the Polks for 15+ years, I discover that the bare wire terminals don't work so good for nice fat wires (apparently the fancy cable ends were well worth it). So, I had to yank off the banana clips from the old wires and reattach them to the new cables. Not so easy to do either part of the process, they're not meant to come off or be reused. An hour of cursing and grunting later... the sweet sound of success.


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Wednesday, August 8
Do-it-yourself Chunnel Project Some of you may know that I am endlessly fascinated by major engineering projects. I can watch just about any program about the construction of huge things: skyscrapers, Hoover Dam, the Space Shuttle, the Chunnel, etc. In fact, if its about the Hoover Dam, I'll watch it. If its pictures from space, I'll watch it. Pathetic, I know. But I digress...

If you hadn't guessed by now, this is more home improvement story coming your way

A part of the family room project spills over into the den. When we got the home theater, I gave up my deliriously wonderful Polk speakers. Lara loves the sound, but hates the bulk. We stuck them in the den, temporarily, without any connections. We discovered that the home theater amplifier has additional jacks to support them, so we decided to wire them up. Originally, I intended to run the wires into the basement, into heating ducts that run under the floor and out to the speakers. Well, I decided that was not the best idea, getting the wires into and out of the ducts was not going to be pretty so I went looking for an alternative.

I decided to run the wires around the sides of the room inside special conduits made for just such a purpose. Cool. The only trick is getting the wire from the family room into the den through an adjoining wall. No problem. I had a drill bit wide enough, but not long enough to do the job. I got an extension thingie at the Depot but then I discovered, at 11pm last night, that it wasn't the right size for the bit. Damn.

I was not to be denied. Screw it, I said, I can drill from both sides and meet in the middle. Little trickier than it sounds. Measure precisely from the common door way and the same distance up from the floor, hope they meet. The Chunnel project used laser guidance and GPS locators. I decided to wing it. Did it work?

YES!

Tonight I will install 24 feet of conduit behind a million toys, a desk and two bookshelves and hopefully, actually connect the wires on both ends and have wondrous stereo sound in my office. Praise be to the lord.


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Tuesday, August 7
Never go back... to your old job.

Amongst other things, Jenny does much of my old job, I have transitioned to more of a planning/dreaming role. Since she's away this week on vacation (well deserved), I am doing all the stuff she does such a better job of when she's here. Yes, I'm in Hell. All by myself. Whine whine. Thank god for the CD player.


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On the plus side...the track lighting is ordered, coming in less than four weeks. Not that I am all that excited about track lighting but it assures that I will be finished with the family room. Lara still has the burden of window treatments but that's not my problem until she's done making them and I have to hang them up.

Of course, I am only happy to be done with the family room so I can move on to some other project, probably Hannah's room.


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Q: How much time can one person spend staring at a wall in Home Depot?

A: Too damn long, that's how much.

One of the bonuses of our new house (not that new, we've been here almost 3 years) is that it's half the distance to the uberWegmans as our old place. Very handy. Now I wish I was that close the Depot, its pathetic. I could go there everyday. Tonight I spent at least 30 minutes looking at the various alternative in cable routing systems to run speaker wire around my den. Amazing. At least I actually made a purchase so it wasn't a total waste of time. Of course, I bought things I didn't intend on buying when I went in there and I didn't find one of the things I went there to get. I got about 4 out of 5, and only 2 things I didn't plan on. Not bad for me.


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Friday, August 3
Only scratchin' the surface
Jenny's recent top 10 list is a pretty good start but I'd bet Lara's average daily activities include far worse. I was actually surprised that Jenny's list wasn't as bad as I'd expect from someone who passes the time on car trips by imagining and describing horribly painful actions.

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Thursday, August 2
Bad joke:
What's up?
Track lighting.
Ba-hah-hah.


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Wednesday, August 1
Through. Done. Spent. Wasted. Exhausted. Sick and tired.

I haven't blogged in a while because I was committed to THE PROJECT. Well, it's done at last. It came out pretty good, too. The color is maybe a touch darker than I expected but its good. Definitely one of those projects that you finish and then say, "Why didn't I do that sooner?"

Maybe I'll try to take some pics with my mc3.

Special thanks to Aaron for coming over and moving furniture and entertaining H during the process.


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