Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bucket, Shark, and Bill

This is our bucket. Rather, it was our bucket. It has been forever banished from our household...

Two weekends ago was another crazy Saturday. I stayed up until 2 am Friday night shopping and baking for a fondue party for 6 adults to be held Saturday night. Then I had to wake up very early on Saturday morning for a swap-the-kids temple trip with Tyce and Faith.

Our car, as I've posted, hasn't been in great shape lately. The radiator kept doing its best impression of Old Faithful, so there was antifreeze all over our garage floor and I had to continually fill the radiator. And that's what I was doing that Saturday morning. I mixed the antifreeze in the red bucket and filled the radiator. That way we'd be able to make the trip to Chicago without overheating.

However, I had some fluid left. So I hid the bucket and made the kids promise they wouldn't touch it. After all, antifreeze is liquid death.

I fully intended to put the remainder of the antifreeze in the radiator when we got home...but I forgot to with the dinner preparations I had to take care of.

Fast forwarding past dinner (which was delicious), we started playing a few rounds of Coloretto. Carter decided to show the pantry (our garage) to his two friends. We didn't think about them for a few minutes. Somewhere between 2 - 10 minutes. And when someone went to check on them...

they were covered in antifreeze and were talking about drinking it.

I've never thrown a party before that ended in the emergency room.

We called poison control to be safe and they made us take all three kids (one from each family present at the party) to the emergency room. We were there three hours waiting for results of the blood test. Carter was a trooper and despite being scared of the hospital bed, didn't even cry when his blood was being drawn. That's even more amazing given that the tech who drew blood sounded like he'd never spoken with a child before. "Ok, we're gonna stick this huge needle in your arm and pull out a buncha blood. But don't be scared, because it will only hurt like the dickens for a few minutes! I'll get a nurse to force your arm still during the excruciating pain. Ready, buddy?"

We weren't worried about the whole mess because the kids seemed fine and we really didn't think that they drank any antifreeze. The results confirmed that all three children were fine. The other two couples are on medicaid so I'm glad that they didn't have to lose their life savings over a fondue dinner. We had to pay, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected.

One of the two couples was at our house for the first time that night - no word yet on if they'll come back...

The car is now fixed ($260 for a water pump), I threw that bucket away so it wouldn't remind me of the incident, and Carter has mostly stayed out of trouble since; that may be a record.

Carter was given a shark beanie baby at the hospital by one of the nurses. Given that the $360 bill was pulled from our HSA today, I now consider that shark to be the most expensive toy we own. I'm looking for an appropriate name to give to that stupid shark; something expensive and possibly sinister sounding. Comment if you've got any good ones.

Hard to post

It's been 15 days since my last post. Many serious things have popped up in that time and I've found it hard to post about anything - I'd rather post about things of a light and happy nature. I've also been trying to figure out my new responsibilities at work and somehow fit in time to study for my next exam.

However, I've come to realize that this blog is the best history I have of what is going on with our family. It's my large plates - if you know what I mean. Blogging also gives me a venue to let others into my life, keep track of you all better, and I find it very rewarding to hear your comments on this site. I'm also in serious need of a distraction right now - and no one is around to play Crokinole with!

So, it's time to get back to into posting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why is that on my hard drive again?

I download some pretty random stuff. These following pics were retrieved from my work laptop and show just how big of a nerd (or is it geek, Tyce?) I truly am.

Oh, I get it... Escher's "Relativity" but with Legos...clever.

An xkcd comic. Honestly, if you don't read xkcd, you should. Be careful, though. The site has the following warning:

this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

Any comic with that warning is ok in my book.

You might want to click the image to get the full glory. No idea where this came from.

Wow. That's some impressive origami. It looks like a perfect 1960's shirt and tie! If it were real and in a store, I'd consider buying it. That is, before Cyn would tell me 'no'.

So, I know enough about guitar (and music) to know that's Willie's gee-tar, but why do I have it? I'd be hard-pressed to name five Willie Nelson songs.

Almost good enough to be an xkcd comic. The fundamental theorem of Batman. More than once I've also been completely clueless on an exam and felt like doodling something like this. Instead, I made up a math joke and wrote it down. Pathetic, I know.

If you guessed that this was a computer image of a fractal extrapolated to the physical world, you're wrong. Nice guess though.

If you guessed that it was an untouched photo of broccoli, you were right. Here's proof.

A Nintendo poster? I don't even own a Wii! Why do I have this? Still, interesting how far iconic games have come in my lifetime.

Lastly, this image is a magic eye. No, really...I'm serious. It's a magic eye. An autostereogram, to be more correct. All that's required to make an autostereogram are heterogenous horizontal lines of evenly spaced images, so you can make one just out of words. Bonus points to the first person who can read and post what the message says.

Edit: Just minutes after posting this, our blog got hits from India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Singapore, and Australia all in less than 2 minutes. Should that scare me?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

MORE maintenance costs

You may remember a whiny post back in May in which I expressed my frustrations over the broken things in my life. Mainly, the car and the computer. Some things never change.

The check engine light went on AGAIN last night in our car. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the third EGR valve in as many months is bad. I'll get the code checked out today. Worse, the radiator is no longer retaining fluid. If I could actually find a good mechanic to just tell me (without guessing) if it's the cap, water pump, thermostat, etc, I could easily fix it myself. The non-functional power windows are also ticking me off in the summer heat.

And the "new" hard drive that Seagate sent me? It failed. That's two broken Seagate hard drives in 6 months. At this pace, I'll get 19 replacement drives during the 5-year warranty. Promise me that you, dear reader, will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVAR purchase a Seagate hard drive. Ever.

My motorcycle is not treating me well either. I need to change the oil, but the drainage bolt is stripped. As of yet, no real progress in trying to extract the bolt.


At least I have an assistant-fixer-upper who works for cookies.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Boys' Commentary on Fireworks

Actual quotes from the Menomonee Falls fireworks display:

Carter - "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! That means 'wow', boys!"

Jordan - "They're as bright as Jesus!"


The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too, they would never forget.
Especially for those who had been with Washington and who knew what a close call it was at the beginning - how often circumstance, storms, contrary winds, the oddities or strengths of individual character had made the difference - the outcome seemed little short of a miracle.
-David McCullough, 1776

I love the 4th of July. My favorite holiday; it has an almost-sacred feeling about it. The above quote is the final summary of 1776; it's an amazing read and I recommend making the time for it. David McCullough doesn't beat around the bush in stating that only divine providence could have allowed some ragtag rebels to gain their independence.

To celebrate, we camped out with Faith/Tyce in Sussex on Thursday, watched the Menomonee Falls parade and fireworks with the Van Blarcums on Friday, and had a wonderful barbecue and fireworks in Cedarburg with the Thompsons on Saturday. What a weekend! Here are a few pictures of our campout on Friday.

One of our independence day traditions is a buttermilk pancake breakfast. We never make 'instant' pancakes - always from scratch. This year, we had the added complexity of making it while camping. Then Jordan took it up a notch by demanding a smiley-face pancake. Due to our camping limitations, this is the best we could do...but it sure did turn out cute.

Either Tyce is jealous of my pancake making skills or he's showing his wrath at my BYU sweatshirt. Could be both, actually. ;)

As our family tent broke during the Father and Sons', we had to borrow these tents from Tyce. With its bright pink color gained the nickname "Camp Barbie". Carter did not do well sleeping in a tent without his Mom and Dad. I was still trying to get him to sleep at 2:30, much to the comic relief of Faith/Tyce.