Saturday, May 27, 2006

Eau de Toilette

I came home for lunch the other day and stepped inside the house. Tori walking out of my room, brushing her teeth. With my toothbrush.

Anna came around another corner and said, "Oh geez, she got into that again? Take that away from her!"

"Why?" I asked, figuring that she'd already pretty much ruined my toothbrush.

"Here," she said as she grabbed the toothbrush out of Tori's iron clad grip. "Smell this," as she rammed the toothbrush under my nose.

I reeled back, expecting something nasty, as if Tori might have used water from the toilet or something. My initial assumption was pretty close. "Yikes, that smells like Aqua di Gio!"

"Daddy, smell. Smell good. haa.. haa... Me smell." There she was, grinning from ear to ear and wanting me to smell her good breath. Thankfully, she didn't get sick or anything. So, I now officially have a daughter who has brushed her teeth with "Eau de Toilette".

The next morning, when I got ready for work, I grabbed my toothbrush and began to brush. Ewww! Yuck! Spit! pllllt! What is that? Oh nuts! I forgot. Guess I've officially had the Aqua di Gio treatment too.

By the way, in my quest to make sure I spelled "Eau de Toilette" correctly in this post, I ran across a website that explains the difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum. I didn't know there was a difference, so I thought I'd share the website with all of you for your own enlightenment: Click Here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Trevor asked me the other day how my tomatoes fared in our hailstorm. Suprisingly, they did pretty well. They lost a lot of leaves and there was some scaring on some of the vines, but they survived. The pepper plant right next to them took some direct hits and only had about 3-4 leaves left on it. I wasn't sure it was going to make it, but it's also recovering. I think this is all in a large part due to the very hot weather we had for about a week after the storm. There wasn't anywhere for the water to go, so the air was very humid for a while as well. Now it's dry as a bone and we haven't had any rain since our storm, which was on May 5th.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Going to Grandma's

The other day Hope asked us why we had to buy a van. Anna told her that we bought the van so that it will be easier for us to drive to Grandma's house. That seemed to be the end of it and she scampered off to go play. About an hour later Hope came to me and told me she was all packed and ready to go to Grandma's. She wanted to know if I was ready to leave. I told her it would be several weeks before we went to Grandma's house. She seemed very disappointed and took me in the other room to show me that she was all ready to go:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Out of Focus and into a Mini.

"The best laid plans of mice and men," or so the saying goes.

Three years ago, I purchased a 2003 Ford Focus ZTW wagon. I thought it would be a great car with plenty of room for our family. It was good on gas and handled really well.

When I purchased the car I intended to drive it for 5 - 6 years. I didn't buy an extended warranty.

It looks like some of my assumptions weren't really that good. The little Focus served us pretty well, but it's a little cramped, especially on trips. The gas mileage hasn't been too bad, but I should have bought the extended warranty. The vehicle has 50,000 miles on it and so far I've replaced the tires twice. Yup, third set of tires. Yup.. that baby can burn up 60,000 mile tires in 20,000 miles. I've replaced the rear wheel bearings, rear lower control arms, front rotors (warped at 40,000 miles), and sway bar links. The size of the vehicle and the frequency of repairs was really starting to get to me. I got rid of it yesterday.

I decided that I needed something cooler. Something that would meet my family's needs. So, I bought a Mini.

ahem. I bought a Mini.

ahem.. cough... uh... I bought a Mini-van.

So, here it is. The vehicle that will officially take me from being a young man to a "Suburban-Mini-Van-Driving-30-something-kid-toting-Dad". It's a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT with 7 yr/100,000 mile warranty. It doesn't have a HEMI, but it's got Stow'N'Go seating baby! Wooohoo! And a remote power liftgate! Watch out WalMart, here I come!

Saturday, May 06, 2006


It's been storming all week. Since Tuesday, it's been bright and sunny each morning, about 90 in the afternoon, and by 6 PM storms roll in. There's been a couple of good ones with magnificent lightning and strong winds. When I drove in to work on Friday, there were two empty Fedex semi trailers laying on their side in one of our parking lots. I don't know how strong the wind was on Thursday night, but it must have been pretty strong to tip over two semi trailers!

Well, last night we rented a couple of movies for the girls to watch: Felicity (American Girl) and Dreamer. (By the way, both were really good.) Anyway, we sat down to watch the movies, but it was begining to storm and there was an incredible amount of lightning. So, we decided to turn off all of the electronic stuff and unplug it. We made cookies and watched the storms roll in.

They really started to look nasty, so we turned on the radio and found out that there had been a tornado about 30 miles west of us and the same storm was headed our way shortly. As the storm approached the warnings got more severe. So, we grabbed a flashlight, radio and batteries, some drinks, snacks, and toys for the kids and headed to our walk-in closet to ride out the storm. We said a few prayers for us and our friends and then sat back and listened to the radio while the kids played.

The rain came down in buckets (5 inches in 90 minutes) and it started to hail. Having been through this experience when we lived in Wisconsin, it didn't seem so bad. There was some hail, but it didn't seem that there was too much and it didn't seem to be striking too hard.

SMACK! The wall shook behind us. Anna looked at me and I looked at her. What was that?

THUNK! It sounded liked someone was hitting our roof with a sledge hammer.

THUNK! BUNK! SMACK! Is that hail? It couldn't be... it would have to be huge to sound like that.

Over the radio we hear, "We're now receiving reports of tennis ball and baseball sized hail."

SMACK! THUNK! Now, our house doesn't really have any interior protected closets. All of the closets touch an outside wall. So, we elected to hang out in the one on the northeast corner of the house where two solid brick walls come together and the nearest window is in the next room. We were sitting on a cermaic tile floor over a concrete slab with our backs to a brick wall. When the hail struck the brick wall, it shook the floor. That was pretty impressive. We heard over the radio that the hail was forming at 41,000 feet. So, imagine a baseball sized hunk of ice propelling down from 41,000 feet and hitting your house. Yikes!

When the hail stopped, I waited a few minutes to make sure it was clear and dashed out to the yard to grab a sample to put in the freezer. It had already melted some because it was raining buckets and it was about 70 outside, but when I measured it with my caliper, it came in at 2.94". This is the biggest hail I've ever seen in my life. Here's a picture:

In my hand:

When these puppies hit the ground they make a little crater. Most of them were about 2 inches deep and 3 to 3.5 inches wide:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I planted some tomatoes in early March. This seemed really early to me, but they had them at WalMart, so it must be time to plant in Texas, right? The temperatures had been in the 80s for a few weeks and so I planted them. They started to take root and were really taking off when we got a late frost. They died.

I was at the barber shop a few days later getting my hair cut and getting the now customary shave with a straight razor. I told the Barber about my tomato growing woes. He stopped cutting, leaned back and said, "You know, the old timers say that you need to go out of town and find some old gnarly mesquite trees. When they start to bud, the frost is over and it's OK to plant."

I took the barber shop advice to heart, opened up the back gate and looked at the gnarly old mesquite trees the line the other side of the alley. No buds. I waited about a week and checked again. Buds!

Instead of buying Walmart tomatoes, this time I bought some starts from Sligers, a local produce store. I planted a Celebrity, which is a good slicing tomato, and a hybrid cherry tomato. I made a raised bed for them along the fence using pavers and filled it with Miracle Gro garden soil. The results have really been great. This picture was taken this evening.


Lately, we've been working on our landscaping and lawn. My neighbor lost his yard to grub worms. It was really sad actually. He had a beautiful yard last year, but the grubs settled in through the fall and destroyed the root system of his grass. Of course, grubs eat all of the root over the fall and winter, so you really don't know there is a problem until spring. The poor man was almost in tears when he told us (the neighbors) all about it. The rest of us all ran out to Home Depot and bought Spectracide to kill off any of the bugs that might have migrated to our yards. So far, mine looks ok.

I've been doing a bunch of other stuff to try to get the lawn well-established. We've been talking about putting out some shrubs or something, but haven't gotten to that just yet. We may not get that done this year. In the mean time, we felt like we needed some plants or flowers or something. So, off we went to Wal Mart and Home Depot in search of some plants. After looking around I told Anna that we should take advantage of the fact that we're living in Texas and get something cool that would be hard or impossible to grow up north. So, we bought some cool stuff: