30 July 2010

Highlight of a slow news Friday

This has been a long, long week at work and I'm really glad Friday is here. I'm looking forward to the weekend. It will be good to spend some time with the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. It's another week of only one child - CAL was at Church Girls Camp this past week and the Boy leaves for a full week of Scout Camp. To him, I say good luck.

While my week has been anything but slow, it seems that this Friday has been a slow news day. The news has mostly focused on Ellen DeGeneres quitting the train wreck that is American Idol. How that is headline news worthy, I know not. I did, however, come upon this gem, this highlight of a slow news Friday:

N.J. man gets jail for vomit-assault at game

What? Apparently said New Jersey resident, pictured above forced himself to puke, or as the article put it, "projectile vomited" on a man and his daughter at a Phillies game in April. The story ran in the Associated Press on msnbc. Read it yourself here.

Unbelievable. The comments about the character of the puking perpetrator by his family are worth the read. Unbelievable. Sure makes me eager to get to a ballgame. Instead of trying to catch a foul ball, now you wonder if you need to catch chunks. Nice.

24 July 2010

Friday Night - Shrimp Tacos and Bugsy...Malone

We've been buffeted by all kinds of thunderstorms all night and it led to my 10 miler being canceled this morning (lightning was crazy). Looks like the rain will be with us all day.

When it started last night, I was grilling. Grilling this:

That's right. Shrimp. Shrimp on the barbie...queue the lame Australian accents and jokes now. We grilled the shrimp for tacos. They were darn good. Of course, we had to grill some chicken for CAL, our psuedo-vegetarian. Still trying to figure that one out.

After dinner, I subjected my kids to an oldie that I found on Netflix. Bugsy Malone.

Yes, that musical about gangsters featuring a cast full of kids, including Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. This is proof that his acting career should have ended with this film, but no, he had to go on and give us the soul crushing "Charles in Charge." Scott, you owe the good people of America an apology.

I remember seeing "Bugsy Malone" when it came out. I had to be about ten. It seemed pretty clever then. Now, in seeing it again, not so much. It's just plain creepy. And weird. I guess I can only blame the 70's. What a weird decade. Seriously. I mean kids vamping it up like adults (go to YouTube and search "Bugsy Malone" and you'll see what I mean). No, I'll give you a taste of it now:

There are no words.

22 July 2010

Good times in the waiting room

So Tuesday night, I flew to the cavalcade of sweltering heat and discomfort that is Phoenix, AZ, to be with my Mom for a surgical procedure on Wednesday. Said trip started auspiciously when my flight, the last of the evening to PHX, was delayed for three hours. No one at Mother United seemed to know why. Because it was so late, I wound up in the terminal rather than the Red Carpet Club. This did allow for some interesting people watching, capped off by a screaming match between two Spanish women, one of whom was a dwarf. Good times.

I got up early Wednesday, thinking I'd beat the heat, to go for a run. I could have not been more wrong. 97 degrees at 545AM plus humidity (not Chicagoland-style but humid enough to exacerbate the already stupid heat) is simply unacceptable. I was the only dope running...this should have told me something. It was not a good run. Pace was off due to the heat. Yuck. I'm glad I did it because it prepped me for the rest of they day.

Mom's procedure, without going into significant detail, involved a long day at her doctor's office. It had been converted into a surgical center for the day. A specialist surgeon flies in for the day to perform a specific series of procedures. Each procedure lasts between four and six hours. I knew that in advance. What I didn't know is that the average age of the patients was about 900 years old. Let me give you a flavor of what went down in this waiting room. Picture it:

Seating for sixteen people - there are at least 12 patients plus people accompanying them. This does not include one wheelchair and one guy on a scooter. So things are TIGHT.
A table with water bottles, vending machine items like "Hunny Buns" and an endless supply of Satan's refesher, Sunny D (Sunny D flowed freely on my mission - los cubanos thought it was great. It is not.)
Hearing aids not working - lots of yelling. Lots of it. It started with yelling about what they were in for and quickly descended into Obama-bashing. Several people are convinced that they are on the Obama Death List due to their age and maladies. It got worse from there...someone old man started complaining that he couldn't watch Fox News and needed to see his Glenn Beck.

I wanted to die. I probably lost more blood than my Mom did during her procedures from biting my tongue and the inside of my lip. It was crazy. Now the good news is that my Mom sailed through her procedure and did great. She was worn out by the day's end and we were lucky. We got out after five hours. I felt like a freed hostage once we were out of the office. Of course, as soon as we were outside, where it was 107 degrees, I once again felt like one of the oppressed.

Anyway, so Mom has some cool wounds that are now recovering nicely. She looks like she got into a knife fight with Lindsay Lohan. I wish she'd use that excuse but something tells me she won't. She's on the mend so I'll go ahead and fly back home this afternoon. Let's see if I can get home on time.

17 July 2010

The Campaign That Won't Quit

A goofy picture of you and your daughter at your first Parents' Weekend during her freshman year of college.
Goofy picture wins a contest and is used as the feature advertising of the next year's Weekend.
Screaming phone call from said daughter this very morning, saying that the picture is being used again for the 2010 Parents' Weekend and she's getting texts left and right from people saying they saw it.


Yep, there we are, bottom row center. Do you think BYU will toss me a free ticket to the Parents' Weekend game this year? Check here for no. No matter. It will be good to be in Provo again, October 22 - 24, hanging with Our Lady of BYU. Looking forward to it!

14 July 2010

Kitchen Renovation - iPhone Photo Update

So it's day three of the kitchen renovation here in the Den. Here a few photos:

The kitchen as it was before the cabinets, backsplash, and drywall went the way of the wind. Thanks again, Mike Brady, for the quality design work. Sorry for the quality of the picture. A) it's from my iPhone and B) I was probably jumping up and down at this point knowing that the crappy countertops were on their way out.

The gutting goes on. No water, but that's OK.

Granite countertops in and backsplash starting to go up. Looking forward to it being done! More pictures, ones of higher quality, to follow later.

12 July 2010

Happy birthday, SML

Today is the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML's birthday. If you're dying to know how old she is, go back to my post on this same day in 2008 and then do some quick math and you'll have it figured out. Good luck.

When you are out of the house by 6AM to get to your office, it precludes a lot of breakfast in bed traditional niceties. It doesn't help either that your kitchen is torn up for a much-needed and long-awaited "cosmetic" procedure. So I managed to warm up a blueberry muffin before she headed out to a day full of teeth and more teeth. When you're a dental assistant, that's what it's all about.

Her gift remains in a tragic heap in the basement. This thing has tested my handyman abilities like nothing I've ever encountered. I got as far as Step 2 in the myriad of steps before I threw in the towel. I called the store today and am thrilled to report that a "tech" will be out to put the thing (a treadmill - now before I get flaming comments for buying this for her - she's been asking for one, so back off, haters!)

And more birthday fun...we have no running water in our kitchen, no countertops, exposed drywall and no dishwasher. So dinner is going to be interesting. Nothing says loving like paper plates. But in the end, the new kitchen will be worth it. Like I said earlier, it's a cosmetic procedure, more of a nip and tuck than something like this train wreck:

No, no Cat Lady horror story makeover for our kitchen. Instead, it's getting rid of the wrinkly old faux granite Formica counters and purging the backsplash with its painted ivy. Gone, baby, gone. Today's destruction of the kitchen did reveal more electrical shenanigans - a newer wired junction box behind a piece of drywall. It also revealed a couple of cabinets not even mounted to the wall. Nice, nice, nice. So I'm glad the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML was at work today during this phase of the overhaul. The good news is that we have a really good contractor and I think it's going to be done by the end of the week. So we'll make that a part of the birthday fest once it's done.

So I hope this has been a good day for my wife. I'm very blessed to be married to her. She's my best friend. Really wouldn't want to live life without her. She's made this life awesome. She's awesome herself.

11 July 2010

Swampy Saturday - brief recap

So yesterday was swampy. Yes, swampy. I can think of no better way to describe yesterday. It was hot and humid...just plain swampy. So what does one do in swampy weather? Here's what went down:

- Ten mile run with my group. It was pretty hideous-felt like the walking wounded once it was over. And I could not believe how many groups were on the Prairie Path yesterday morning. Our group (CARA), the Wheaton running club (thanks guys for letting us borrow some of your ice cold water at mile seven - it was a godsend!); the Team in Training guys, plus a lot of lone runners, and the usual slew of bikers, both courteous and rude.
- Shopping for the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML's birthday present. Mission accomplished. Still trying to put it together. I suspect this will NOT end well. Why? For a host of reasons, not the least of which is that I was born missing the handyman gene. Secondly, she is way better at putting stuff together than me. I have no trouble admitting that and don't feel like I have to turn in my man card as a result. I don't think the DIY Network covers what I need to assemble. So as I said earlier, this is not going to end well.
- Watching a little bit of the World Cup. Kudos to the Germans for taking third place.
- Swimming and a BBQ with good friends that was interrupted by a bizarre downpour while the sun shone brightly. I also played my first game of water basketball in forever. I was reminded why basketball was not one of my sports. Apologies for the loss, well both losses, to my team...

And now it's Sunday. Spain just beat the Netherlands for their first World Cup title. Felicidades a Espana. Although my Northern European heritage cried for a win by the Netherlands. It's also National Blueberry Muffin Day. I hope you have celebrated appropriately. If you haven't, there's still time to do something about it. Please do so now. Thank you.

06 July 2010

A Bike Ride

So in honor of our nation's birthday, my company, like so many others, was closed on Monday, 5 July. Woo and hoo! So what to do? It's just the three of us - me, the mighty fine SML and CAL. What to do?

I got up early, with all intentions of another five-mile run. That went horribly wrong. Right about mile one, the unmistakable rumbling in my stomach started and it was on - the gastrointestinal battle that I was destined to lose. At the end of mile two, it was clear that the pounding sensation from the running was wreaking havoc on me and that a porta-potty was priority numero uno if the run was to continue. I turned tail and walked home, yes, walked (running was a death sentence at this point) fast home.

Once home, battle over, we decided to drive into the city to rent bikes and ride along the Lakeshore Trail. This awesome trail runs all along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive. It's incredible. Simply incredible. We rented our bikes through the very cool people at BikeChicago at Millenium Park and before you knew it, we were off.
CAL and the mighty fine SML ready to go

It was a gorgeous morning (the heatwave we are experiencing now hadn't hit yet) and the trail was full of bikers and runners. I was so, so envious of the runners. I decided then and there that one day we are moving downtown, simply to run and ride on the trail. Dare to dream!

We had such a good time riding. I took a couple of pictures from my iPhone as we rode:

We round up riding for just under eleven miles. It was awesome. We probably looked like tourists - OK, no denying it, we totally did, but it was great. The helmet proves once again that my head is unnaturally large. I look like a complete spaz. Still, a great time...

We're looking forward to doing this again, sooner rather than later. This is such a great city. So much to do, so much to enjoy. I'm pretty fortunate.

04 July 2010

A Fine 4th - Happy 234th, USA!

It's the 4th of July and best wishes to the USA on her 234th birthday, better known as Independence Day. In terms of nations, the US is actually pretty young. It is a nation that has done much in her brief history. I'm grateful to be a son of the USA. Being born here has afforded me many things - the freedom to speak as I wish (this blog is proof of that), the freedom to participate in the electoral process (hello, Barack and good-bye, Blago), and the freedom to travel around the world. I cherish these freedoms but I count the ability to travel as I wish as one of the choicest. I've been very fortunate to travel all over the world, using one of these:

It's allowed me to see how other people live. I've literally tasted the world while I was at it. It's allowed me to appreciate the wonder that is living in the US. As I reflected on this holiday last year, I recognized that in many ways, the US is one big train wreck. It still is, but that's the beauty of this country. It manages to hang together in spite of itself. The economy is still teetering. We've got a state that is moving rapidly towards fascism (um, that would be you, Arizona); we can't quite figure out how to get socialized medicine right; and we're stuck in an endless war. That being said, this is still an amazing country. I'm glad to be one of her citizens.

It's also an auspicious day. It's my mother-in-law's birthday today! Happy birthday to Julie, who let me assure you, is nowhere near 234 years old. She's pretty awesome. She's hanging with the Boy today and I hope she's having fun with him.

Hope your 4th is a good one. Celebrate and enjoy.