Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Political Sign Fairy

(Originally posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 by Tim)

I've been working on painting the back porch door to our house for the last three days. Cat had asked me to paint is as Little Dog liked to scratch it while you were opening it so he could go out. When he isn't scratching the door on his way out, he?s biting Sam. All this has relegated him to sitting 6 feet from the door (and everyone else) when it is being opened.

As you are likely aware, we have an old house. One of the bonuses of having an old house is that you get lead paint and asbestos for free. Hence, when Little Dog would frantically scratch at the door while you were struggling to let him out, the lead containing chips would fly everywhere.

The door had been living on the garage floor for last three months. I had taken the door off its hinges and moved it there so that I could paint it without having to worry about dogs pinstriping themselves when they get let out. I then shut the garage door (out of sight, out of mind) and the rest was history.

The temperatures have started dropping here and without the porch door, the cold seeps directly through the cracks in the kitchen door. Needless to say, Cat has been hinting that maybe I could actually paint the door and put it back up. The forecast called for 65-75oF on Sunday through Wednesday and I figured I might not get another chance to paint that door. I?ve been trying to get it finished before I hit my long work days (Tuesday and Wednesday).

So I was out on the driveway last night frantically painting the door while the sun set. The light was getting so dim that I turned on the headlights for my car to help me see what I was doing. As I was working on it, a black truck pulls up into my driveway and a guy in a suit and a guy in a flannel shirt get out. It turns out that the guy in the suit was the Democratic candidate for Commonwealth Attorney. I guess there is going to be a rally in town soon and they wanted to put three small signs in my yard.

It?s probably a good idea to bring you up to speed on who is running for what in our area.

Senate: Allen (R) vs. Webb (D) ? a close race
House: Boucher (D) vs. someguyidon?tknowcausehesgoingtogethisbuttkicked (R) ? a massacre
Commonwealth Attorney: Finch (R) vs. Nagel (D) ? no polls on the race that I?m aware of

Now I have been meaning to get a big sign put in the yard for Webb for a while. It is a really close race and we live on a busy street. I figured the sign might assuage some of the guilt I feel for have strong political views, but never doing anything about them.

So these guys ask me if they can put three small signs in my yard. My response is, ?Well, I?ve been meaning to get a big Webb sign for a while.? I then feel bad because I have the candidate for Commonwealth Attorney standing next to me and I say, ?and you can put a big Nagel sign up to.? I follow this with, ?Is there really any point to putting up a Boucher sign??

Boucher has been in congress multiple terms and is so far ahead of his opponent that I don?t know who it is.

They looked at each other and one of them said, ?He likes to see them.?

I gave in. ?Ok, you can put up three big signs. Put them where ever you like.?

The sun had pretty much set by the end of our conversation so I went in for the night. When we woke up this morning, we had three new large signs in our yard, just in time for Halloween.

Those of you hoping to see Dalton in his Halloween costume will likely have to wait until Thursday. He was in full Dalzilla mode this evening and there was no way we were going to try to get it on him. He finally got to sleep about a half hour ago. I?m told screaming at the top of you lungs is hard work.

Today's photo is from October 7th. It's another example of Dad being not too good with that focus thing, but I like his expression.

Monday, October 23, 2006

There might be a post here eventually

(Originally posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 by Cathy)

(At the right: Grammie gets to hold Dalton)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No big post today

(Originally posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 by Cathy)

No big post today. Dalton and I are in Florida, visiting his grandparents and great grandparents. Today's pictures are in the photo album, please help yourself.

Friday, October 20, 2006

One down...

(Originally posted on Friday, October 20, 2006 by Tim)

E is for edgy, that no one likes to see rawr rawr?
and F is for fussy, it?s Dalton?s specialty rawr rawr?
and G is for grumpy, he?s a big grump you see?
and Dalton Dalton Dalton starts with D rawr rawr rawr rawr.

Cat pointed out to me that I hadn?t posted about meeting one of my life goals a few weeks ago. Yes, Cat and I finally beat Diablo II on hardcore mode. It?s a victory that has been two years in the making. We lost a few characters along the way. When we play these games, we both tend to be fond of making glass cannons. In other words, we like to play characters that are all offense and no defense. This isn?t a good match for hardcore mode where you lose your character and have to start over if he/she dies. Over the years, we progressed to higher defense characters and finally managed a combination that let us win the game.

The last fights in the game were rather tough. This was not so much a result of the game mechanics as much as Dalton feeling grumpy the Saturday we sat down and finish the game. We had to take turns where one of us played while the other held and sang to Baby Dal. Eventually, we got to the final battle and had to set him in his bouncy chair for 5-10 minutes. He was having none of it and protested loudly the entire fight. I think we both felt pretty bad by the end. If he ends up pursuing a life of crime as an adult, I?m pretty sure it?s that 10 minutes of not being held that will be the cause.

Today?s picture is a screen shot of the account that contains the characters that Cat and I beat the game with. The title Guardian is given to characters that have won. I played the barbarian and Cat played the druid.

Before you start protesting loudly about the lack of baby picture, I have a special surprise today. I finally managed to record Baby Dal when he was in a talky (and happy) mood. You can be assured that this was not recorded when we were fighting the final battle in Diablo II.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

O is for off key...

(Originally posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 by Tim)

One of the things I did not anticipate in being a new parent is making up your own songs. Cat is much better at it than I am. She can spontaneously make up words for extended ballads. My version of spontaneity usually involves a thesaurus and an hour of grimacing at the keyboard.

I will take credit for starting a recent song that we have been singing. Dalton has a sleep and play that has a roaring stegosaurus on the front with the words ?D is for dinosaur?. I turned this into a song that goes through the letters of the alphabet. The words are sung to the tune from the Cookie Monster song. The first four lines can go like this.

A is for angry, that Dalton likes to be, rawr rawr?

B is for boobie, that Dalton likes to see, rawr rawr?

C is for cranky, he?s cranky as can be?

and Dalton Dalton Dalton starts with D, rawr rawr rawr rawr.

That is about as far as I can go. Ok, to be honest, even the above lines are Cat modified versions of my original lyrics. She can do this song all the way through the alphabet while changing the second half of each line on the fly. Did I mention she was driving at the same time?

Today?s picture was taken on the 12th of October. I title it, ?Dad can?t figure out manual focus.? Maybe I need to be looking through the view finder instead of using the digital screen.


(Originally posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 by Cathy)

Help, this dragon is trying to EAT me!

(There is a certain art to taking photos while the swing is going. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm sure there's a certain art.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Frost and Fall

(Originally posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 by Tim)

Ah, the cool days of Fall. The skies are clear and the leaves have started falling from the trees. For me, this translates into more yard guilt. I didn?t rake the leaves in the backyard last year and I seem to be a bit more busy this Fall. Unfortunately, the guilt multiplier will be higher this year as I should be composting those leaves. There is still some chance that I?ll manage to rake the leaves this Fall. It?s only slightly less probable than me being struck by lighting twice?in a leap year.

Along with the changing of the leaves, we have had our first set of frosts. As a result, the tomato plants this week. I can?t say that I?m too disappointed. We hadn?t gotten much out of them recently. They had been sprouting tomatoes left and right, but all the fruit was splitting while it was still green. I?ve asked around and the consensus is that it was very wet this year. It?s not a very satisfying answer as I can?t do anything about it.

Part of me is actually glad the tomatoes have died off. The other day I went out in the back to throw the bone (ball) for TY. All the dogs get excited when a human goes in the backyard so the usual stampede ensued. Now our three dogs will occasionally get in fights. Probably the worst one they had was when TY and Sam started fighting when Cat was throwing the bone. To avoid a repeat of the experience, Cat and I are very careful that Sam has a bone in his mouth before we throw for TY. Modi loves this because Sam won?t drop the bone once he has it and it makes him a wonderful target. I don?t know if I?ve mentioned it before, but we once found Modi?s great grandfather in a book on Welsh Corgis. Apparently he is descended from a long line of deranged champion herding stock.

So I?m trying to throw for TY, and Sam needs to have a bone in his mouth. I start saying, ?Sammy, where?s your bone?? This drives him into a frenzy as he begins to comb the yard looking for one of his toys. While he is looking the other way, I decide to risk a throw and TY goes running. While TY is looking for the thrown bone (he can?t seem to keep his eye on the ball), I walk over to the garden to look over the tomato plants (pre-frost). While I am there, Sammy shows up panting hard with is tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. I say, ?Sammy! Where?s your bone??, and then I go back to inspecting the tomatoes. A minute or so later, TY shows up with his bone and I walk away from the garden to throw for him. At this point I notice that Sammy has something in his mouth. It?s green and he seems to have drool oozing out of both sides of his mouth. Sammy grabbed a big green tomato out of the garden while my back was turned. While I watched, he frantically ran around for about a minute before he had punctured tomato enough to realize it was edible. He then promptly sat down and started eating it.

Now let me remind you that Sammy is Mr. Explosive Diarrhea Dog. I?m thinking, ?Oh great! He?s going to be sick in the middle of the night in the middle of the carpet.? Actually, if he was sick in only one place, that would be pretty good for him. I march back in the house and decide to leave him out for an hour or two. Maybe he?ll get sick right away and then we wont have a mess in the house. After about five minutes, I poke my head out to check on him and see him grazing with his head over the fence in the garden like it?s the salad bar. Curses! After that I chased him back into the house. We lucked out and he didn?t get sick that evening. I?m hoping he forgets that the garden tomatoes are food by next summer.

I call today?s picture, ?Dalzilla vs. The Dragon.? It was taken last Thursday, October the 12th.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Brrr. It's cold in here today

(Originally posted on Sunday, October 8, 2006 by Cathy)

Today's photo.

More Scrabble

(Originally posted on Sunday, October 8, 2006 by Tim)

You would not believe how much grading lab reports motivates me to do other work around the house. Well, maybe you would.

I have managed to clean my entire desk, hang some insulation in the basement, and hang a load of laundry. I?ve also been playing a space based video game and read a graphic novel. Oh, and I have graded 10 out of 40ish lab reports.

Part of the motivation to cleaning the desk was so that Cat and I could set up a newly purchased Scrabble board between our computers. I?ve been getting better at the game. Until Cat and I started playing a couple months ago, I never realized how much strategy there was in the game. I always thought it was just about having a big vocabulary. The vocabulary helps, but I often end up playing some lame two letter word in the place of something more elegant to block a potential good move by Cat. Either that, or I end up playing ?Zee? or ?Ex? on a triple letter space because it?s worth a lot more points than the six letter word I have in my hand.

Cat and I didn?t get a chance to go to the coffee shop this weekend. If we had, I would have gotten more work done. Our Scrabble games have been limited to home. Yesterday, we played on some clunky web site that had to send me an email every time Cat finished her turn even though she was logged in on a computer four feet away from me. Despite a decent level of irritation with the interface, the game went well for me. I only lost by 9 points instead of my usual 100 points. I also scored above 300 for the first time. The current game in progress has the potential to be very high scoring. I lead off with ?Puree? for 20 points. Cat used all seven of her letters with ?Peeling? and earned 64 points. I was thinking I should just forfeit for a fresh start when I realized I could play ?Suffix? across a triple word score for 78 points. I think the most points I have previously earned for a play was 39.

I could thoroughly bore you about Scrabble, but I want to get to bed and I?m sure you want to hear about Dalton.

He continues to do well. We haven?t been into the doctor lately so I can?t tell you how huge he is. He did seem to nurse most of the day today so I expect he is working hard to maintain his reputation.

When he hasn?t been eating this week, he?s been experimenting with his vocal cords. Dalton has discovered that he can make some very high pitched squeals. Right now, he isn?t really using them when he?s distressed. We?re finding them to be quite cute. He?s also cooing a lot more as well. We tried to get a recording of him, but it?s proving as difficult as catching him smiling on film.

As you can see from this post?s picture, I did manage to catch him in the act this morning. The trick is not using the flash. Our camera has a pre-flash and it tends to startle him out of his smiles. This one was taking without the flash at breakfast.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Stages of outgrowing a (footed) sleeper

(Originally posted on Saturday, October 7, 2006 by Cathy)

1. Sleeper fits like a bag. Dalton can put both feet in either side, and generally does.

2. No sign of the feet actually being in the sleeper feet, but now the legs are in the right places

3. Feet well differentiated.

4. Feet don't fit! Another sleeper into the "too small" pile.

(this picture is actually from today)