Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Max is a dinosaur (and please do not let him hear you call him a monster) and Wyatt is a monster (he does not care what you call him as long as there is candy and food involved).
Lauren made the costumes (see Wyatt's shadow?) and she made Max's first.
I secretly hoped that Wyatt's costume would look like Rodan, Mothra or Gamera the flying turtle, but that didn't happen.
They both looked awesome.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Lauren and I talked about dressing up for Halloween this year; maybe in matching costumes.

So, Lauren, my wife, will be the sexiest woman alive. Costume by God.

and I ......

...does anyone know where I can get a Tim MCGraw costume?

Monday, October 29, 2007


We have a screened-in porch off the back of our house. The porch is old and in need of major repair but it works for the time being. This weekend I had to clean out the gutters on the porch.

As I climbed the ladder Lauren called out to me.

"Bill? Do you think the roof will hold you?"

"Yes. Wait a minute. Is that a "fat" joke or "weak roof" joke?"

She thought for a second. "Both."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Twenty-ish Questions

Maxfield has picked up on the game Twenty Questions from my friend's, Bob and Kris, kids. Lauren told me he learned the game two weeks ago but last night was the first time I got to witness his version of the game. I don't know which is more humorous, when Maxfiled is the Asker or the Askee.

Max as the Akser gets to ask questions and tries to guess the answer.

Lauren: I'm thinking of something...
Max: Does it fly, live on the land or in the water?
Lauren: It lives in the water.
Max: Is it a seal?
Max: Is it a Penguin?
Lauren:No, but the name of the animal I am thinking of, it's name also sounds like an animal that lives on the land.
Bill: Ask her if it has whiskers.
Max: Does it have whiskers?
Lauren: No.
Max: Is it an Elephant swimming?
Lauren: No.
Max: Is it a seal?
Lauren: No
Max: Does it have big ears?
Lauren: No but it has a long curly tail.
Max: Is it a seal?

It goes on for more than twenty questions and Lauren leads him to the answer.

When Max is the Askee.

Max: I'm thinking of an animal.
Lauren: Does it live on the land or in the sea?
Max: It lives on the land and it can fly in the sky and it has lots of colors and it is a parrot.
Lauren: Is it a parrot?
Max: You win.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This Guy

The week after we moved into our home, I had all types of workers at my house. We had plumbers come out to give us quotes on some projects. An electrician came out to upgrade the service. The Verizon guy was out to install the phone, internet and TV. We had a tree service company cut down a white birch that was infested with carpenter ants. We also had the exterminator stop by to spray and kill any remaining ants.

I did my best to schedule all of these guys on the same day. Much to my surprise they all showed up on the same day. The problem with having all these workers at the house at the same time is that they all like to chat with each other about the "last house I did." And they all try to outdo each other. So, I spent most of my day trying to get the workers to work.

The other problem I ran into was, that, as I would interupt their conversations trying to direct them to stay focused, each and every one of them, I guess from networking, "have this guy" that can do any job I may need to get done.

"Hey Bill, if you are going to get the house painted I have this guy that can do it for you." The electrician tells me.

"Bill I have this guy that can do the cabinets and countertops. I will tell him to stop by and give you a quote." Says a plumber

"You want these bushes removed let me know because I have this guy that can do it real cheap." Explains the exterminator.

They were all just being helpful and nice but by the end of the day it got a bit trying.

Around 4:30, just as most of the workers were finishing up, someone knocked on my door. I looked out the window and saw a heating and air condition truck at the curb. I was tired and I did not feel like dealing with one the guys from "I have this guy". I gritted my teeth and tried my best to look frustrated as I opened the door.

"Can I help you?" I said in my most dickish voice.

The man handed me his business card. "Hi." he said. "I'm Nelson. I own that Heating and Air company." He pointed towards the truck.

I thought this dude is going to try and sell me a service plan and I was not in the mood. "What do you want?" I asked.

"Are you the new owner of the house?" He asked.

"Yeah." Again I was trying to be a jerk.

"Well, congratulations."

I was thinking that he was trying to soften me up so I would allow him to give me the sales pitch.

I started to go back inside as I said, "Look I am not interested in any type of ..."

Nelson cut me off. "I just wanted to say welcome to the neighborhood. I live two houses up the street. If you need anything give me a call."

A few seconds passed and then it registered in my brain. He was not here to sell me something he was just being a nice neighbor and I was being a dick.

I tried talking about kids and the other neighbors but I think I overcompensated for my previous nastiness and I was overly nice. I shook his hand vigorously and thanked him like a hundred times for stopping by.

I think that maybe Nelson thinks that I may be a little nuts.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and I feel so bad about how I treated Nelson and I don't know how to make it up to him. The only thing that I can think of is by sending business his way. So if you live near me, and you need some HVAC work done, I have this guy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Great Pumpkin

Yesterday we went to the pumpkin patch. It was a perfect day and eveyone had a great time. There was no screaming or crying or carrying-on; I was on my best behavior.

It is days like this that I feel like I am one of the luckiest people alive.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Record

Twelve days ago I bought Lauren a bag of M&M's. They are still in our fridge. The new record is not that Lauren has not eaten them yet.

The record is that I haven't.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Making Some Bucks

Part of the agreement of sale, when we purchased our house, was that the previous owners could leave anything in the house and we would assume possession of those items at settlement. The previous owner was a 90-year lady who was going into assisted living. Her sons were quite happy about not having to move any of her furniture.

They left us a ton of stuff. Some of the items were nice or interesting and Lauren and I decided to keep them. We kept the dining room table and chairs, the electronic organ that Maxfield and Wyatt love playing, a few end tables and we kept some lamps and other odds and ends. We had to get rid of the rest of the stuff. So on top of moving, painting, unpacking and re-doing the bathroom we also had to hold a yard sale.

This past Saturday we had the sale. We were quite happy to unload a bunch of items and make a few bucks at the same time. It was also a great way to meet the neighbors. I was on my best behavior and I kept in mind the list of things that I was not allowed to say in public (according to Lauren). What we did not sell, we donated to local thrift stores.

Yesterday Lauren went to the local Italian Market to pick up some items for dinner. The female clerk told her that it would be 20 some odd dollars.

Lauren pulled out a wad of one-dollar bills from her purse that we earned from the yard sale and said, “I hope you don’t mind all ones.”

The man in line behind Lauren gave her a look, as did the clerk.

The clerk said, “I don’t mind the singles and I am not going to ask.”

Lauren looked at the clerk and then the guy in line and said, “No, I am not a stripper if that is what you are thinking.”

Monday, October 15, 2007


Our bathroom is in such disarray. There are hammers and screwdrivers on the sink next to the toothbrushes. There is spackle and tile adhesive on the floor next to the toilet and plunger. The medicine cabinet houses a razor scraper and a utility knife as well as make-up and other toiletries.

The newly renovated tub is not quite ready for us to use as a shower, but taking a bath is okay. The only problem is getting the bathroom ready in order to take a bath is such a chore. I have to remove the chemicals and cleaning supplies used to prep the certain surfaces. I have to sweep the tub of all the dust. Remove certain tools that could cause harm to certain body parts. By the time I get the room ready for a bath, I need a shower just from the work.

Last week I organized the bathroom for my bath. I settled into the hot water and realized there was no soap in the tub. I scanned the floor and saw a bottle of dish detergent we used to clean tools. I did not feel like getting out of the tub.

Let me just say that I smelled Lemony fresh all day and the little flecks of food that were on my chin…Gone.

Friday, October 12, 2007


The other day, while Lauren was tiling the bathroom, I took Max and Wyatt to the playground down the street.

There, I met Mike and Denise and their two kids. During our chit-chat they mentioned they recently moved to our neighborhood. I told them that our family was new the development and we started talking about home repair and renovations.

Denise mentioned that they gutted their bathroom.

"That's funny. " I said. "We just did the same thing. As a matter of fact I brought the kids down here so they would be out of my wife's hair while she installs the tile."

"Your wife is laying tile?" Mike asked.

"Yes." I replied.

Mike looked at his wife. "Did you hear that? His WIFE is laying the tile." He said smiling as if to point out that maybe it would be cool if she learned how to lay tile.

"So." Denise said. "She is laying tile." And she gave Mike That Face that only a woman can give her husband.

That Face that is a half squint and fake smile, where the head slightly nods up and down and side to side at the same time. That Face that can that say so many things at the same time. Things like "Shut up idiot" (where the emphasis is on the UP part), or "I can't believe you said that." or "I am going to kill you when we get home." or "I can't believe I married him." or it is a simple as "Please be quiet." And That Face is usually difficult for the receiver interpret.

Mike did not pick up on the subtle/obvious hints from That Face.

“Wow. That’s impressive that your wife is laying tile.” Mike said.

Denise sighed and said “Yes Mike. I get it. His wife is laying tile.”

They weren’t bickering. He was trying to be funny. She wanted nothing of his humor.

I tried to defuse the situation and I have recorded here, before, how sometimes I have no filter between my brain and my mouth and I said, “Well at least my wife is laying something in our house.”

Denise looked at me as if to say Did I just hear what I thought I heard?

Mike said nothing.

I laughed nervously and gave Max the five more minute warning. “Sorry.” I mumbled. “Bad Joke.”

Two Minutes later, Mike started cracking up. “ I just got that.” He said.

I then tried to explain to them my filter problem. Denise stopped me in mid sentence, “Don’t’ worry about it. He is the same way.” She said and pointed at her husband.

He then told me a few stories about his filter problem. We all laughed and it was good.

When I got home, I told Lauren about the exchange.

She gave me That Face.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My dad always calls home projects "Begats". It is in reference to a part of the bible which covers the genealogical ancestry of Jesus. It goes something like "Abraham begat Isaac; And Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat so-and-so" and it continues for 30 or so people. That is how most home projects turn out.

A simple improvement or job around the house turns into something a lot more complicated and ends up "Begatting" other jobs.

The bathroom in our house had a small leak in the faucet area that needed to be replaced. I called in a plumber friend who looked at it and asked me to remove some of the tiles around the faucet area so he could replace the hardware. Plumbing "Begat" tile removal.

This picture is me starting the removal of the tiles. We could not find our safety goggles and Lauren insisted that I wear some type of eye protection. They only thing available were her sunglasses. I think I look like Elvis. TCB.

Lauren knew that we would not be able to replace the tiles with the same color which was a Brownish Mauve. So Removing a few tiles "Begat"...

..removing all the tiles in the entire shower/tub area. As evidenced in the above picture, I dinged up the drywall pretty good. You are supposed to replace new tile on a flat even surface. So removing all the tiles "Begat"...

...tearing out the drywall. Tearing out the drywall "Begat"...

...replacing it with new Cement Board. The new Cement Board "Begat"...
...the new tile that Lauren installed.

This "Begats" was three days of hard work. We could not shower or use the bath all this time which "Begat" us smelling pretty bad.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Hello Neighbor

Our new neighbors across the street from us are a multigenerational household. Living there is the older couple, their daughter and their grandchildren. I have not met them yet but I have seen the older couple every morning sitting on their porch drinking coffee. They have been enjoying the unseasonable nice weather.

The same unseasonable nice weather has caused the bugs in the area to be a bit more active for this time of year. Active bugs bring active spiders. I hate spiders and I think one of the worst feelings in the world is walking face first into a spider web.

The other morning I walked out the front door and my face was immediately wrapped in the silky threads of a web that must have been built the night before. I started slapping my face and doing the “ohmygodgetitoffmegetitoffmegetitoffme” dance, flailing my arms and shivering and twitching.

15 seconds later I took a deep breath, satisfied that I removed the web and the potential spider. I looked up, and staring at me from across the street were my new neighbors.

I waved.

They were hesitant, but they waved back.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


The day we made settlement on our new house THIS greeted us at the front step. In some cultures the Praying Mantis is supposed to bring good luck. Both Lauren and I thought it was very cool that this Mantis was at the entrance to our new home. Lauren hates snakes and I hate spiders but we were both okay with this guy. Lauren took the pictures and then we shooed it away with an envelope.

It was a great start to our new home.

Then I read that the Praying Mantis eats it's mate.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Moved but not unpacked

Maxfield's Room --Before--
Maxfield's Room --In Progress--
Max working.
Maxfield's Room --After--