Sunday, July 30, 2006

They're for when I get Married

Hope came up to me tonight carrying her Strawberry Shortcake "jewelry box". She opened it and said, "Look at what Mom gave me Dad. She told me to keep them in here because they are for my wedding."

I'm starting to feel old......

Tonight's Grilling Masterpiece

Tonight's Grilling Masterpiece:

The journey continues. I'm working my way through Weber's Real Grilling and I've added two new items to my list of grilling accomplishments: Tequila Ham Steaks and Grill Roasted corn. Both were really good. The neat trick for the corn is to soften up half a stick of butter and rub it all over the corn before putting it directly on the grill (No husks, really) at about 350 degrees for 10 minutes, rotating it about every two minutes.

Anyway, I was going to have Anna take a picture of me holding the platter of buttered ears ready to put on the grill. However, as she went to take the picture, the corn started to fall off the platter.... I was able to catch the falling ears by shoving them forward with my chest. This did save the corn, but left a butter streak on my shirt. It was a cruel twist of irony that I was wearing the shirt that I was. Here's the picture of me saving dinner:

(Yup, the shirt really does say "Let me drop everything...." In spite of that, I still maintain that I didn't drop them; they fell from me.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hope Makes the Rules

Big sisters can be bossy, and Hope is no exception. This morning she took a piece of paper out and wrote down two rules:

1) Yes
2) No

She taped the paper to the wall. Every time Tori did something Hope didn't like, Hope would drag her over to the wall and point to the word "No" and say something like, "Tori, don't do that. See, the rule says "No" so we don't do that."

When she wanted Tori to do something, she'd drag her over to the wall and say, "See, you have to do it because the rules say "Yes", so you have to."

I love the logic of children. We tend to overcomplicate things. They keep things simple and straightforward. I asked Hope what gave her the authority to make the rules. Without batting an eye, Hope grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to the wall and said, "See Dad. Hope makes the rules. It says so right here. See? It says "Yes". So I get to make the rules."

hehe. I think I could probably get her a job working for Kim Jong Il. She could teach the communists a few things about making rules.

Anyway, I couldn't let this little escapade go without a response. So, I grabbed a pen and wrote on the sheet: Dad makes the rules. I pointed it out to Hope and told her that Dad makes the rules and told her in no uncertain terms to stop picking on her little sister.

A few minutes later I came back and here's what I found:

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Father's Day

We celebrated Father's day while we were in Indiana. This was the first Father's day that Anna has been able to spend with her Dad since the year we were married. Anna got me some new grill tools and an apron. I made Kabobs for everyone for dinner.

Fishing with Paka

While we were in Indiana, Anna's Dad and I took Hope on her first fishing trip. She wasn't originally supposed to go with us. Anna's Dad and I got up fairly early, hooked up the boat, and headed for the local reservoir. We made it about two miles before we blew a tire on the trailer. We limped back to the house. Undaunted, we pulled the wheels off the trailer, and ran them out to a tire shop while we grabbed some breakfast. Hope came with us. At the restaurant, the cook made her a special Mickey Mouse pancake.

Over breakfast, Hope kept asking if she could go fishing with us. I figured, hey, why not? It's going to be afternoon by the time we make it out and we probably won't catch anything anyway. So, on the way home, we stopped by Meijer and bought her a Barbie fishing pole and life jacket. Hope could now go fishing in style!

A few things came up, and we didn't end up going fishing until about 5:30 in the afternoon. Hope was really excited and asked all sorts of questions as we launched the boat and drove out to the bay where we would be fishing. On the way, I took this picture:

It wasn't too long until she caught her first fish, which turned out to be the biggest catch of the day:

Here's my "lunker":

Here's Paka's fish. Don't be fooled. That's not his minnow. It's his big catch.

Hope did really well on our little fishing trip. At about 8:45 PM, she was starting to look a little tired. I asked her if she was sleepy. "Yes," she replied, "Can I take a little nap here in the boat?"

I explained to her that we didn't sleep in the boat and we'd just leave when she was tired. She thought for a minute and said, "Maybe I could just catch another big one and then we could go."

She's hooked and has been talking about going fishing again ever since.


I've pretty much burned myself out trying to beat Anna in Scrabble. So today we played Monopoly instead. This is a game that I normally do very well in. I lost.

So, tonight, we played again. The game started beautifully. I collected Baltic and Mediteranian and secured St. Charles, Virginia, and States within the first several turns. Great! Two sets! Then I secured almost one of every other color on the board. But I didn't get any railroads. This turned out to be tragic for me.

Because, even though Anna had no complete sets, and therefore, no houses or hotels, she had all 4 railroads. I landed on at least one railroad nearly every time around the board!

Eventually, I built my properties up to having hotels. I knew for sure that soon the game would be over and I'd be victorious. Well, Anna never really landed on my properties and kept hitting the Free Parking space and taking all of the money out of the pot (House Rules).

Even though I wasn't going bankrupt, I wasn't doing all that well and she was amasing a pile of cash that would have made Warren Buffet and Bill Gates proud. Things started to turn around for me later in the game, but I wasn't really draining Anna's cash. Finally, about 1:30 AM, the bank ran out of 500s, 100s, and 50s. We were tired. So, we decided to end the game.

Here's a photo of our board: (Anna's on the left and I'm on the bottom - By all accounts, she actually won, even though we decided it was a draw. She's being nice to me. I think she wants me to play Scrabble with her tomorrow. Besides, she knows that losing twice in the same day on a game I'm supposed to be good at would be hard on my fragile ego.)

What's the moral of the story? Given enough time and money, men and women can figure out a way to coexist peacefully.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pretty in Pink

We went to Steve's wedding a few weeks ago and had a really great time. It was a real honor to be able to participate in the wedding.

On Thursday evening, I went with Steve, his Dad, and his brothers to pick up our tuxedos. Trevor picked his up separately. The tuxes were classic black with a silver/gray vest and tie. They looked pretty sharp.

While we were at the Tux shop, I noticed a pink tie and scarf hanging on one of the displays. I pointed it out to Steve and commented that it would be really fun to swap out Trevor's tie for a pink one and add a schnazzy pink scarf to boot as a gag. Steve got a good chuckle out of it and asked the clerk at the store how much she'd charge us to rent us the supplies for our gag. She overheard us talking about it, laughed, and said... "Just take it."

So, while at the bachelor party on Friday (which was conveniently hosted at Trevor's house), I snuck off and found Trevor's tux. I removed his silver tie and replaced it with a nice bright pink one and draped a pink scarf over his jacket. Perfect!

So, as it worked out, Trevor and I ended up getting to the wedding before Steve. We ran into the mother of the bride who suggested that we go ahead and put on our tuxes. Trevor stepped into the restroom and a few minutes later I heard him exclaim, "AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!" I reached for my camera. Nuts! I'd left it in the car.

I ran outside to grab my camera. When I got back to the building I ran into one of the usher's and the father of the bride. They asked me if we'd figured out what we were going to do about Trevor's tux. They told me that the mother of the bride was pretty upset about it.

GULP! I'd failed to let the mother of the bride in on the joke. hehe. Whoops!

While I was gone, Trevor had told the mother of the bride about his tux issues. He thought that perhaps they wanted him to wear pink since he was the best man and the matron of honor was wearing pink. She told Trevor that she had other things to worry about and didn't care if he wore silver, pink, purple, or whatever. It wasn't her fault that Trevor had failed to check his tux. hehe... this actually worked out better than if I'd let her in on the joke.

I explained what was going on to the father of the bride. Then, I went and looked for the mother of the bride to apologize. I know from past experience never to mess with the mother of the bride on the day of the wedding. It was as if I'd walked with hobnailed shoes where angels would fear to trod. (Actually, she was really cool about the whole thing, but that last sentence sounded way too good to omit from my story). At any rate, I couldn't find her.

I went back to the restroom and gave Trev a bad time for a few minutes and decided I'd better cut the joke a little short and make amends with the mother of the bride. We did get Trevor to put on his pink ensemble and pose for some pictures: