Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hockey Night

We played roller hockey tonight in my old church gym. During the early 90's we moved from playing full court basketball to regularly playing roller hockey and ended up with a great gig that included 3 on 3 hockey with regulation sized goals. Instead of real goalies we took thick plywood and cut out holes where we could score. Each team had equal goalies. I was suprised to see after 10 years the old goalie were good as new.

We had 5 on a team and started play around 9pm. We played 4- 30 minute periods. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I got winded putting my skates on. Little out of shape? I warmed up and really felt ready to play. I knew from past experiences that the arches of my feet would cramp a little and also knew the 1st period would be the toughest.

I ended up scoring 5 goals and the team I was on had the lead 10-8 after 3 periods. I really was hoping that was all we were going to play. We ended up winning 15-9 even though I really think my team was out played. The other team, with BillyV who scored a goal and I think played for the first time on inline skates, had many more breakaway or point blank chances. I guess our "goalie" played tougher than theirs.

All in all it was a great night. No serious injuries. I did go down hard a few times and even felt a twinge in my ribcage, but I took a few Ibuprofen that I think will ease things a little as I sleep tonight.

On a side note I had White Castles for lunch and was not too much fun to sit by during the game. To top it off we ended the night by going thru the White Castle drive thru. WATCH OUT!

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Visit

On the way to my dad's house we drove through beautiful Washington Missouri and checked out a few houses that my wife saw online. I think we still have a yearning to be back near family every time we come back for visits. We went to me dad's place and hung out for a while. He feels left out because "nobody comes to see me....I shouldn't even bother putting up Christmas lights...." He was pretty happy. My daughter got attacked by our old cat and ended up with 3 scratches on her face and a black eye when she hit it on the coffee table trying to get away. Looks better today.

We picked up pizzas to eat for dinner at my wife's parents. Very disappointed in "St. Louis' best Pizza place IMO's". One large one topping and a medium deluxe with a salad and garlic bread for a whopping $34. OUCH. We got half bakes and heated them later. Not only were they expensive, they were skimpy on toppings. I'll never do Imo's in St. Louis again. The place I formerly delivered for, Cecil Whitakers, is much better and you can get 2 large pizzas with 2 appetizers for under $25.

We ate, did presents, then stayed the night at her sister's place. My wife and I both had our own couch. Problem was they were not long enough to stretch out on. Rough night sleeping. Didn't help that I got up to PEE 3 times.

I am back in St. Louis at a friend's house. ON the agenda for sure is to play hockey tonight at 9pm. Better start stretching right now!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Going to the In-Laws

Today we will be visiting my wife's family for Christmas. Basically her parents and her married with 2 children sister. My wife gives me a little trouble for not spending much time out there because it is 60 miles from St. Louis and they basically have 2 gas stations for entertainment. They do have cable TV. In general we gravitate towards staying with my mom because she has bedding for us, her side of the family basically offers us a futon, couch, or floor. Our friends live in St. Louis and there are no friends out there. I guess I'll do one night and come back in Friday with a friend and play roller hockey. I may get lucky and see BillyV also!

Bonus trip: We are going to drive by my dad's place. He has sacrificed a LOT this past year and 1/2. Summer of 2004 he gave up drinking. HUGE deal for him. Since then he actually travels into my moms(60 miles one way) to see the grandkids. We don't go to his place either because my brother lives close to my mom and that is just easier. So he's probably excited that we are stopping by. I felt conviction when my daughter asks, "Where does papa live?" Right in front of him also.

May or may not post on Friday. Plans are for 5 on 5 roller hockey. It's been 10 years since playing. The MAN shoots, he scores!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Meet Me In St. Louis

Went car shopping with mom yesterday. Better than expected. She's got a 99 GMC 4X4 Jimmy with 93,000 miles and it has cost her about $3000 out of pocket this past year: AC, tires, transmission. Now it seems it is losing anti-freeze somewhere. So the question is: Do you put more money into it and keep it HOPING that is the last repair, or do you bite the bullet and buy a new car? She's 62 and nearing retirement so I know she would prefer not to have payments. On the other hand she doesn't feel secure driving a car that has been so fragile.

She qualifies for the GM Discount and will save an additional $2500 on any product she picks so that is hard to beat. Maybe spend $1000 of the savings on a 100,000 mile warranty?

Last night: Drove around St. Louis last night after my wife took the kids to The St. Louis Zoo for FREE. That's right. The St. Louis Zoo is awesome and FREE! You have to pay extra to ride the train or go to the Children's Petting Zoo.

We drove some of the old neighborhoods and ended up eating dinner at a place that we often would go on dates to: Seamus McDaniels. Typical St. Louis all the way. IT was great. Afterwards we went and saw Fun With Dick and Jane. It was funny, but I thought it would be better.

Sunny and 60 yesterday. Cold, rainy and 40 today. Must take NAP!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Family Christmas #2

Monday my side of the family celebrated Christmas. We are staying at my moms and my dad came over around 10:30am. My brother made it with his girlfriend close to 12:30pm. Bowling was on the agenda. Original dinner plans were for 2pm, but with open bowl ending at 5pm we decided to go bowling first. The highlight of bowling was seeing a typical St. Louis County "hoosier." This guy was stuck in the early 80s. Tight jeans, black tank top(it's 40 degrees), tattoos all over, a Steve Perry(Journey) non-haircut. It was hard not to laugh.

7 of us bowled while mom and dad stayed home with the kids. We came back and opened presents. My brother's girlfriend goes crazy for Christmas. My brother wants to implement the "no gifts for me" rule while she probably spends $75 per person on EVERYBODY. Humbling when your brother's girlfriend spent more on my kids than we did. Or spending $25 total on him and his girlfriend and receiving probably $150 total value in return.

We finally ate dinner around 5pm. Kind of traditional considering we had junked up on chips, cheeses, sausages, and candies. We had ham, green beans, potatoes, Pasta House salad, rolls and more.

It was a good day.

Today's post will probably involve the adventures of car shopping for my mom. I sold Jeeps from 1990-1996 and I am already dreading stepping foot on new car lots. Will keep you posted.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Travels

For once I woke everybody up in my household this morning. 7 am on the dot. Get up because Santa Claus came last night. We opened presents, dismantled the tree and threw it out in the back yard before 9 am. We were on the road by 10:15 am.

First stop 10:50 am. Hoping the Burger King that was attached to the gas station was open NOPE. Cinnamon rolls and chocolate donuts for breakfast.

Second stop 1 pm. Choctaw Nation gas station and Casino. Gassed up and hoped that they fried up some goodies such as corn dogs, wings, etc. No such luck.

Third stop 2:15 pm. Another gas station. Diaper change and we all used the facilities. Microwaved 2 packages of White Castle burgers to share with the family.

Fourth stop 4:15 pm. We planned a stop 33 miles into Missouri at our friend's parent's house. Stretched and got a ham sandwich to go....on homemade bread too!

Fifth stop 6:45 pm. Had to gas up in some one gas station town. Wanted a Pepsi, but was too afraid to venture inside amongst the locals who had stopped by to smoke and talk about their own Christmas adventures.

Sixth stop 7:30 pm. Rolla Missouri. We stopped at an AWESOME Mobil "On the Run" station. 44 oz. Pepsi. This place was filled with "APU" relatives. Nice college students that were obviously new to the country.

Seventh stop 8:20 pm. Sullivan Missouri at a Jack in the Box to change a diaper and possibly fill my disgruntled 18 month old with a healthy cheeseburger. 25 minute ORDEAL!

Grandmas 9:45pm. About 15 minutes later than my original ETA....thanks to the Jack in the Box misAdventure.

What you can do on Christmas day: buy gas, gamble, stay at a hotel, visit Adult XXX Superstores.
What you can't do: EAT a normal fastfood dinner. You could eat at the numerous Wafflehouses along the way.

Pigs has to be disappointed that my 600 mile trip experienced 7 stops and took 11 1/2 hours. So sad and most of it revolved around finding FOOD!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

My Christmas Wish List

5 things I hope to get for Christmas.

5. One of my long time wishes came true. Southwest Airlines is now flying direct from Dallas to St. Louis at a price of about $120 roundtrip instead of American Airlines' $274. BIG Difference.

4. TV remote. We've managed to lose one of our Dishnetwork remotes meaning we have to move one from room to room to change channels. The receiver in our bedroom won't even left us change it manually. It is hard enough keeping track of one remote per room.

3. Digital Video Recorder. Out of everything that I've given up in the past I think the DVR has impacted me the most. I love being able to push a few buttons to record programs. This actually helped us record things that were appropriate for our daughter to watch.

2. Safe trip home. Family is very important to me and we will be traveling Christmas day to St. Louis and then back to Dallas January 2nd. I pray for safe travel.

1. Health. I'm turning 40 this year and really need to lose about 40 pounds. I can do it and really feel that I will. I'd be THRILLed to drop down to 175 pounds.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A 3 hour nap

I am the type of person who uses just about every minute of every day doing something. Yesterday was our first day of a 2 week break and I was scheduling detail appointments. First one was at 9am. When I finished cleaning a 99 Nissan Altima, one that may not have been washed since it rolled off the assembly line, I found that when the people left for the day they locked the doors so I couldn't clean the inside. I moved on thinking I had another appointment at noon. That one rescheduled to today. So when I realized I still had all day I called a friend asking if I could detail her car. She declined due to a doctor's appointment for her child. That's when I decided to wash all windows on the backside of our house....inside and out. I thought I did a great job until the morning sun exposed all my streaks and misses. Then after that I mowed the yard. YES, mowed 3 days before Christmas. Busy day.

So today I roll out of bed at 9am to detail a car. I was finished by noon and a friend took me to lunch. Chipotle, a quick order burrito place, my friend's favorite. He paid....CHA CHING$! It took us 10 minutes to get off the parking lot. He wanted to stop for drinks, but I am experiencing the initial stages of a sinus cold/infection, so I declined. When I came home I decided I was going to take a nap. I NEVER take naps. I took a 3 hour nap. I have a hard time justifying this. I think I take after my dad because I can never sit still. My justification was that I want to be as healthy as I can come Christmas day and for our trip to St. Louis so the rest would be a positive thing.

Any sinus remedies or recommendations? I have the kind that feels like someone stuffed cotton balls up both nostrils. Only about 5% airflow. I'll be snoring loudly tonight with my mouth open.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Final Gift Count

Christmas came early for me. Like PIGS says, "I was a kid in a candy shop."

$40 in Star Bucks gift cards. I have already arranged to trade out for other gift cards since I don't do coffee.

$30 in Sonic gift cards. I even got $10 from a student I am always redirecting and I was totally suprised to get something from him.

$20 to a local Saltgrass Steak company along with a cheese/salami/cracker set from one student.

2 wallets. Looks like my brother will get a brown leather trifold this year.

2 boxes of chocolates. Not sure on this??? Take some to the movies tonight?

$15 movie gift cards. YES!

About a dozen "what am I going to do with this" type of gifts. I may regift some and hold on to the others for a future yard sale.

Speaking of yards, I moved mine today. Yes, I mowed in December. It was near 60 and real nice. I wanted to clean it up and chop up the few leaves in the yard. Had to borrow my neighbor's mower because mine won't stay running.

Be careful out there.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Teacher Gifts

Wow, 1 more day to go and I almost can't wait. I've gotten more gifts in just 3 days than I got the last 8 years teaching Special Ed. I'm sort of being harrassed by other teachers about how excited I am to be getting these gifts. My biggest issue was etiquette. When do you open a gift that a child gives you? Immediately? When I do finally open a gift the rest of the class loses all sense of classroom rules and they flock around me violating my personal space. "Back off and go sit down," I grumble in a voice that appears irritated. I've found out that you open them RIGHT AWAY!

For those of you keeping score at home.

Gift ONE: A ceramic Santa coffee mug with a closeable sippy lid. (REGIFT)
Gift TWO: Actually a card. I ended up opening that at home hoping a giftcard would fall out. No such luck. Just nice, kind words.
Gift THREE: $10 Sonic giftcard from a parent/office secretary. I've got to learn to keep my mouth shut because this student's 2 other teachers have yet to get anything. KEEPER!
Gift FOUR: $5 Panera bread giftcard. KEEPER!
Gift FIVE: Actually came with the Panera card; a fleece sports themed blanket. Might work for my son. KEEPER, probably.
Gift SIX: $10 Sonic giftcard. For some reason I did not open a card yesterday and it sat on my desk all night and I opened it this morning. This student must think I'm not appreciative. KEEPER!
Gift SEVEN: A real nice Texas Longhorn brown leather wallet. Probably worth $20 or so on EBAY. KEEPER! I'll transfer the new stuff tomorrow.
Gift EIGHT: A $10 gift card to a hamburger joint called ScottyP's. K E E P E R! This came from a student mentor from my room. He also threw in some sweets!
Gift NINE: A baseball bat pencil holder. Pencils. 2 mounted baseballs that double as pencil holders. All I think of when looking at these 2 baseballs with a hole in each for the pencil is....."boobies..." . It's funny if you hear it in a Homer Simpson voice tone. Can you say, "White Elephant gift possibilities?

Let's see what tomorrow holds. I've stooped to the point of bribing students for gifts. And in one case begging one student whose father manages a nice restaurant in town.

Better make room for the gifts and clean out my car!


Monday, December 19, 2005

Special or Regular?

Education that is. I've taught in Special Education(SpEd) for 8 years and just this year I moved to Regular Education(RegEd). All I did was take a Generalist 4-8 test and I was good to go. Right now I am really enjoying the "newness" of RegEd, especially at the Holiday Season time. First of all I am now getting gifts. In the past I've really not gotten anything other than a $5 card to Starbucks, but I don't drink coffee(regifted). Last week I got a nice ceramic Santa coffee mug(regift to mom) and a card. A coworker made me some cookies. Today I got a $10 giftcard to Sonic and $5 for a bread company/bakery-Panera. I also got a fleece sports themed blanked. I still have 2 more days. Second, I actually have some girl students. It seems that 95% of behavior students are boys and that is what I taught the last 3 years. There is even a heavy tilt towards males in SpEd when it comes to learning disabilities. Girls must cope better and not get referred. Another thing I get everyday is a 45 minute planning time. In my behavior class I rarely got this "State Law" requirement.

So far this year I am not aware of any major parental complaints about me. I'm sure my colleagues could find a few things I'm not doing so well, but I think overall I've performed as well as expected, if not better. I'm still learning some things on the curve: when to send things home, how to manage girly clicks, how to avoid hugs by female students, how to write good lesson plans, etc.

I have gotten a few letters/emails of appreciation from parents and that means a lot to me. You can't always measure success by how well a student takes a test. When a parent says, "thanks for spending time with Fletch, he's really enjoying your class..." it means a lot. Especially when teachers from the prior year warn you about the student and his parents.

Speaking of testing: nothing like your smartest student making a 70% on an assessment and one of your lower students making a 75%. I praise the 75 and scorn the 70. Our 2 lowest students actually combined for a score of over 100. Now that's progress, but not according to state standards. Beats the 88 they combined for the first 9 weeks.

Last note: My colleague says this is the worst group of students she has every had. That said, I'm really looking forward to upcoming years because I am having tons of fun.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tis the Season to be Idiots

I've got a few observations and comments to make about this Christmas season.

First: If you are not a Christian, married to a Christian, want to be a Christian, know a Christian, then what are you celebrating at this time of the year? Why does it have to be "Holiday tree" if this is a Christian holiday and I would think only Christians buy the trees. I'm still scratching my head over this one. It's a Christian holiday so it is a Christmas tree. Get over it! Merry Holidaymas?

Second: S L O W D O W N people. Today I am driving thru a residential area that has a 30 MPH speed limit. I'm a rule follower so I am cruising at 30 mph and a 5000 lb. SUV is drafting off the bumper of my 3000 lbs SUV. I know they get bad gas mileage, but how much can drafting at 30 mph help? I quickly slowed down and pulled over. This totally confused the driver behind me who gave me a stare of either "what are you doing idiot?" or "is everything okay?" Ironically about a minute later I caught this person at a stop light. HA HA HA!

Third: I think it is better to give than receive. It is fun picking things out for other people. I have a harder time having to wait until Christmas day for the recipient to open their gift than I do for opening my own gifts. It will definitely be fun to give to my children this year. They are 4 1/2 and 1 1/2. We bought mommy's gifts this morning.

Fourth: What is your favorite time or holiday of the year? I know some people get so excited about the shopping, giving, food and festivities of this season. Other's probably dread it. At one point in time Memorial Day weekend was my favorite time of the year because I always associated the end of school with this time of year. As I passed my 21st birthday I learned to enjoy this weekend mainly for the float trips we went on in Missouri. Usually the weather was just nice enough to brave the cold spring waters of the Meramec. Often times it rained, but we still went.

Fifth: Why all the white only lights? I think taste and style should include some colors. The best decoration I've ever come up with was the C7 medium sized red bulbs attached to the roof line. Then I attached the white ice cycle lights. I also put the C7 reds along my flower bed edging. Nice and unique. Just about EVERYBODY in this area has white only lights. I'd say about 80 %. Then we have Clark Griswold living at the end of our streets. One billion lights of ALL sizes and colors along with a nativity scene and a Santa scene.

Merry Christmas. I pray good things for you. May you have a season of hope as you prepare for a New Year.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Apprentice Finale

2 weeks ago the teaser on The Apprentice was, "An Apprentice First". My wife immediately came to the conclusion that 2 people would be hired. As we watched last week's episode the 2 candidates seemed to start their final projects equally well. Then, after watching this week's 2 hour episode I was convinced she was right. EVERYTHING that Trump said boosted and seemed to tout that both could be hired. When it came down to the final Randal was hired and as he was celebrating with the previously fired candidates "the Donald" summoned Randal back to the table. He asked Randal what he thought about Rebecca. This after Randal had to say why he should be hired instead of Rebecca. He said some nice things and then Trump asked Randal should he also hire Rebecca. HA! My wife was right! WRONG. Randal immediately said "...this is The Apprentice, not the Apprenti." Then Trump says, "That's sad, I could have been convinced to hire her...." The door was shut. She did not get hired.

Before last nights LIVE show I wonder if both knew the outcome and the ending would be scripted? Or would Trump have truly hired both? If it wasn't scripted why wouldn't Randal throw Rebecca a bone and an opportunity to work for Trump Enterprises? Kind of fishy.

It did make for good early morning TV.

What do you think about the ending? IF you watched it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Just a Few Comments For Today

After driving in towards the big city 2 nights in a row to do a little Holiday shopping I am thankful that I tlive, work and go to church in the same community.

Do Chinese restaurants buy discarded frying oil from other restaurants? My sesame chicken tasted great, but the smell of that old oil stunk up my Jeep.

When taking a 1 1/2 year old out Christmas shopping make sure you take a diaper bag. OOPS. 30 minutes in my son poops his diaper. I got lucky. There was one diaper in the Jeep and a ziplock bag with a few wet wipes. That extended our shopping one hour.

One of our school calendar choices has the kids starting the Tuesday after Labor Day. The only reason I like this is we would actually have 3 FULL months off for once. We'd pay later by only getting 2 days off at Thanksgiving and 9 days at Christmas.

Assessments in school are helpful most of the time, except when you have a child having anxiety attacks 2 days in a row. Watch out, for tomorrow is Math day. This is a bright kid too!

KING KONG IS SHOWING AT THE THEATRES. Almost pulled the trigger last night and went to the 12:01 showing. So last night when I took a 2:30 am bathroom trip I was thinking that I could actually have been at the movies still. Glad I didn't go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005




Monday, December 12, 2005


Upon leaving work Monday I stopped by one of the after school program workers and asked if they would put the left over apple/fruit juices in the fridge that was located in the teacher's lounge. Every once in a while I'll come in and they've sat out all night and since they are pasteurized I have to throw them away. As many as 30 sometimes. I rescued some last week and they make great quick drinks at home.

Before I could get away this young lady mentioned that there were plenty of left over snacks in the program's closest that I could have. The FREEBIE RADAR went off and even though I was cutting it close on time I could not pass up this opportunity. I grabbed nearly full 2 boxes of snacks. I quickly horded them to my little corner of the world. I let my coworker/mentor in on the find in order to bribe her to keep it down about all the freebies I get. I can't have my cover blown and have every deal seeking teacher stalking me in the hallways. She only took a handful of items, but let me tell you what was left that made it to my house.

20 single packs of Pop Tarts
3 Hawaiian Punch fruit snacks
11 Brachs fruit snacks
8 Fruit roll ups
23 bags of Animal Crackers
21 bags of pretzels
23 bags of popcorn
18 bags of Cheeze-its
16 Teddy Grahams
13 Gold Fish

On top of this I have 42 single serve bowls of Golden Grahams and 12 containers of milk: chocolate, 2 % plain, and strawberry.

Sure I made over $200 in pay today, but add to that the retail value of 199 single serve items and 12 milks and I figure my bonus pay(in edible goods) was over $100 if you consider they all retail in vending machines for 50 cents or more.

The MAN shoots, he SCORES!

Eat In or Dine OUT

I woke up Saturday determined not to spend a cent on meals for the day so I made breakfast instead of spending $3 on a few donuts for me and my kids. My fare included eggs(sunny side up), toast and hash browns. Sounds good huh? The eggs were perfect. I made a huge mess trying to make hash browns from scratch and my toaster only toasts on one side. Time making breakfast: 45+ minutes.

Lunch came around and I had a late lunch that consisted of a hand made sirloin burger. Sirloin left over from last Wednesday's "ice storm" night. I made square burgers and like Good Eats demonstrated I rolled out the hamburger really thin, added my spices, then folded it over sealing the spices inside. Nothing like burgers on sandwich bread. It wasn't too bad and I accompanied my burger with my donated Doritos. Time making lunch: 30- minutes.

Now time for clean up. What a mess! I had hash brown shreddings everywhere and since I tried 3 different ways to make them I had extra dishes. Add to that grease splashed everywhere from hash browns and my 2 burgers. Dining table all amess from the kids. Time cleaning up: 1+ hour.

After thinking about how I spent at least 2 hours of my day I think it best that I spend $3 on donuts. Plus I could have gotten a buy an adult combo, get a kids combo free and spend an additional $7. It would have been well worth the time saved and effort avoided to just go and eat out. Especially since I know where all the deals are.

On the way to our church Christmas party we stopped to get the kids Sonic. One kids corn dog meal and one grilled cheese sandwich, plus a 99 cent 44 oz. Coke: $5.70. The bummer thing was if I had ordered a kid's grilled cheese and added the corn dog, I would have saved 60 cents.

Don't you think a good order taker would inform me of this? SO, BUYER BEWARE. Darn near ruined my night spending 60 extra cents that I didn't have to!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Paying the Sitter

My wife and I are going out 2 nights in a row. Tonight a friend of the family is going to watch my kids for about 5 hours. Tomorrow night the church is watching the kids for FREE as a ministry to those with kids. My question is: How much do you pay someone to watch your kids in the evening? I know that I've asked this before, but I've got a short memory. It seems like a year and one half since I've gone out with my wife since we really can't afford to pay a sitter that often. My sitter services come from trading out with friends: yardwork, auto details, watching other friend's kids, etc.

5 hours, 2 kids. How much?

I'll share what I actually paid later!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wasted Time

You know the time that you have to do and don't want to do it, but can't do anything else while you are doing it. Today I had an after school special curriculum meeting for Science. It was to last from 4-5:30. All after contract time without pay. I got there at 3:45 and it starts at 4:10. 10 minutes in I'm already staring at the clock and then at the presenter. I instantly became so tired and had to start rubbing my eyes. THIS STUFF IS BORING! Nothing like sitting thru something that you know isn't going to help your quality of life at all. I feel the same way about our many Wednesday after school staff meetings. Maybe 1 out of 5 meetings actually pay off. The whole time I am sitting there wondering what I COULD be doing and that I'll never get this hour of my life back. In my teen years I felt this way about going to worship services at my church. I guess I've matured and I actually look forward to worshipping with fellow believers.

The worse thing about today's meeting was the teaser. About 4:30 we were told that she would do her best to end it by around 5pm and give us a little daylight minutes for our drive home. About 4:45 she said we would probably go a few minutes past 5pm. At 5pm she said about another 15 minutes. Then at 5:32 she looks at the clock and says, "Oh my I guess we need to wrap this up." It was bad enough having to be there and not really at all checked in mentally. But to tease us like that and add another 30 minutes was torture and not at all fair.

Now I'm going to have to look at how to get this 1 1/2 hours back from my employer! This erases a lot of the FREE things I manage to get in this life.

Missouri weather

It is nice to have a student in my class that formerly lived in Missouri. We are having a severe cold snap with freezing rain, sleet and possibly some snow. This after nearly reaching 90 degrees just 5 days ago. As everyone else is cry babying about how cold it is this student simply says, "This reminds me of Missouri." No big deal folks. So what if it is cold. The news forecaster just said the weather is heading for the basement. Funny thing is, THERE ARE NO BASEMENTS IN THIS AREA, and most people from this region do not know what a basement is anyway.

Being from Missouri I do have a heating pad that I've got cranked up and it is warming up my bed right now.

Good sleeping weather, 6 layers of blankets/quilts/comforters deep! Good night. My prediction is we will have a late start time tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"I'm Really Sorry"

I stopped by the Panera Bread Company to drop off my Wednesday breakfast order for my work. I ran into the manager that helped open the store and was on duty the first few times I ever placed my order. Well, out of the last 5-6 weeks the store has actually been ready for me on Wednesdays maybe once. The order either gets lost, misplaced, or once I was shorted a few bagels. A little frustrating, but they are nice to me and usually compensate me with extra goodies or a large soft drink. As I stopped by today "Billy" was there and I told him I didn't have my peice of paper. He first said, "I want to apologize for all the trouble we've put you thru here in the past. I'm real sorry." My first reaction was, "Oh, don't worry about it." Then he reiterated that he was sorry and that he appreciated my continuing to order with them. No matter what I'd still go there because:

A) they have great food
B) they do not have competition
C) they are on the way to work
D) they have great food

But it was nice to hear an apology as I've had to make 2 trips on occasion, or have been late to work waiting for them to fill me order.

He hand wrote my order and said thanks. He informed me that he would be putting the order together in the morning as I walked out the door. I got in the car and thought that places and people RARELY offer a genuine apology and this guy just did. I actually appreciated it.

Makes me think back to 1997 when I worked for Sony Loews Theatres and their big thing was to train us on handling customer objections and how to immediately correct the situation. Tough to do when one customer comes out complaining how cold a theatre is and within one minute another says it's too hot. "Sir I'm sorry you feel that way, let me see what I can do about it." Both ended up happy if they saw you adjust a thermostat even 1 degree. We would also hand out a coupon for a FREE coke for the customer's inconvenience. A $3 value!

So, who do you need to genuinely apologize to?

I could start with apologizing to my wife for being a little cranky lately. Sorry to my kids for not spending enough quality time with them. Sorry to my ABF members for not giving my best lately when preparing a lesson. I'm sure I could go on all night, but at least this is a start.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I am so flustrated and fustered about people who mispronounce either FRUSTRATED or FLUSTERED. Last year I knew someone who always said "flustrated". This person was over the top anyway and it was so hard not to laugh or tell her that it is not a word. Then yesterday I heard someone on the radio use the words "fustration" and "fustrated" within the same dialogue.

I know some people have different dialects and and pronounce the same word in different ways, but to use a word that doesn't exist!!!!!! At this point it is hard not to stereotype that this person is very UNEDUCATED!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Colder Today

I had planned to detail a car right after church today so last night I got out a tee shirt, shorts, socks and shoes to change into after church. Well, as I walked out to put my son into the Jeep I realized it was going to be much colder today. I got him a sock hat and added sweatpants and a long sleeve T to add to my wardrobe. It was near 80 yesterday and maybe 50 and breezy today. Chilly willy for sure.

After detailing a Honda Pilot I drove by an older mobile home park where the residents are mainly Mexican immigrants. Their entertainment today was volleyball. There must have been about 20 guys around the court and as many as 5 of them were not wearing shirts. Then they break a major sporting rule by wearing jeans to play a very athletic game. I also think beer was being served.

Why is it people from Mexico prefer to drink Budweiser? You'd think they would choose Dos XX, Milagro Negra, or Corona.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

$139 Christmas Tree(not Holiday tree)

Friends of our from church run a Christmas tree lot and they still call them CHRISTMAS trees! Are people really interested in having a "holiday" tree? Anyway, last night as we were walking out the door on a family adventure this friend from church called saying they would be at their tree lot. He upsold me on a Noble Fir and said a 7-8 ft. tree would be the best. Normally we pick the Douglas Fir as they are the cheapest. You see, this will be the 3rd year in a row that I barter and trade a Christmas tree for auto detailing. The last 2 years I've detailed a Suburban in exchange for a $50 range tree. This year, this friend, upsold me on a $139 Noble Fir.

I get the most expensive and tallest tree we've every had, and he gets his Suburban detailed, his father in law's 2 door Lexus detailed and his wife's Lexus 4 dr. recleaned and dressed since I detailed it a month ago for cash. The tree is now in our living room, but it is still naked. We don't really have the right ornaments/lights for this kind of tree. My friend now has a clean Lexus and his father in law is driving a clean Lexus 2dr. convertible which even in December has the top down. It's 80 degrees today.

So I am all about trading! I also detailed another friend's Chrysler minivan and he gave me $100 asking me to put one future detail on credit.

What would your trade in order to have your car detailed?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Southwest Airlines

Yesterday I was watching TV and was pleasantly suprised to see that Southwest Airlines now flies from Dallas Love Field to KC and St. Louis airports. This is big news for me since I am from the St. Louis area. My mom just paid $274 to fly round trip with American Airlines and now Southwest is advertising $79 each way or less than $170. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS CHEAPER. The reason SW couldn't fly to StL from Dallas was due to The Wright Amendment that restricted long distance flights from Love Field, the only terminal SW flies out of. American Airlines has tried for a long time to block lifting these restrictions doing their best to protect their turf and potential profits.

If given a choice to fly SW or AA, please choose SW. They take better care of their employees, are a profitable company, even though they offer more competitive rates.

Thank you Southwest Airlines for pushing for this and for the governors who lobbied FOR this and for President Bush for signing the bill lifting some of the restrictions that were put in place in the mid 70's when DFW Internation airport was brand new.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hanging out with an 18 month old

Wednesday night I cancelled a scheduled auto detail because it was a little windy, we had a baby shower for a fellow worker after work, and I have been having sinus issues with a sore throat. So I came home really just wanting to rest. I got to hang out with my 18 month old son alone since my wife and daughter have church things to do on Wednesday nights.

I had a blast. I brought home hot chili for me, a burger for him, and fries for the both of us. We ate dinner in the dark while watching ESPN. He is actually starting to put dents into meals and will start costing us soon. From 4:30 to 8:30 we did nothing but hang out, watch tv, and play around. His favorite thing of the night was letting me hit a small Clifford ball with a bowling pin and he would FETCH it. He'd laugh any time it would hit a wall and come right back to us. His second favorite thing to do was shove french fries in my mouth. Now I have an excuse for being a plunky guy. He also enjoyed climbing all over me while I lay on the couch with remote in hand.

About 8:45 I went to put him down for the night and when I said, "night night time" he shook his head no. Since Grandma came to town he has started crying when we put him down for the night. Last night I was firm and said, "You need to go night night and I'll see you tomorrow." Thankfully he lay his head down on his pillow and I shut the door without him making a sound.

Selfishly I would have liked to have a totally peaceful night. I ended up being blessed with a fun night with my son. It just takes effort sometimes to receive such easy blessings.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

News Prostitution

I really don't enjoy watching the news, especially the local news, which we have 5 different stations. I'll put up with CNN and Headline news, but that is just occasionally. One reason is that it is so shallow and negative. The other reason is that all day long and even the day before they start prostituting stories.

Recent teasers:

"Viagra for women, tonight at 10." When the story finally aired it got 15 seconds of time and it won't be available to the USA before 2007. How many men did they lure with this tease?

"Rain in the forecast?" After teasing about the forecast before 3 breaks, we find out their is a 10% chance of a light rain. FOLKS, it has rained only 2 days since Labor Day! You fell for it.

"Robbed blind during daylight hours." A very bory story of how thieves drive up and down alleys looking for open garage doors with easy access to lawn equipment.

"Want to avoid those automated calling machines?" YES, I DO! Watch tonight at 10. A story basically saying you should hit the ZERO button right away and it transfers you to a live person. Wow, how long did it take them to research that story?

"Anyone who owns a computer needs to watch tonight. Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft." EVERYONE owns a computer and we learn that the average person can do very little to TRULY protect their computers from hackers.

Watch and listen to see how much 4 play the news gives us only to leave us unsatisfied! Best off not paying attention to the leads and watch Seinfeld reruns at 10pm!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bundle Up

Yes, it is getting colder, but this isn't about the weather.

Lately, SBC phone and internet company has been offering a bundle package of local and long distance phone service, along with DSL internet, and Satellite TV. My wife figured it out and we would save about $40 a month. For that we could finally get the cell phone everyone says that we need. No brainer right! Wrong.

She called today and was told that since we already have Dishnetwork Satellite we wouldn't be "new" customers. Already being with SBC for local and long distance wasn't a problem, but it is a joint venture between Dishnetwork and SBC. Even after threatening to switch to cable or DirecTV the guy didn't budge. She even hinted at maybe letting us have a Digital Video Recorder for free. No such luck. The representative basically said there are no existing promotions for current customers.

I say we go ahead and switch to Digital Cable. Sure I'd have to learn the channels all over again, but I've got a college degree and could figure it out. Maybe they would give me a DVR in their package.

The representative said we would have to be away from DISHNetwork for 6 months before we could sign up for a bundle package. Maybe switch local and long distance, keep Netzero internet, and call up DirecTV or Charter Cable.

Any suggestions? Comments?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Disney Sucks, plus other stuff

My daughter is 4 1/2 and can either take or leave television. She is just as happy coloring, playing with her animals, or playing with her sticker books. Every once in while she does want to watch TV and we let her. There is not much on for a 4 year old in the afternoons. Dora, Blues Clues, The Wiggles, etc all run pretty early. So when she watches after 5pm it is Disney and Nickelodeon. We notice a sassier attitude or just some borderline unacceptable comments from her when she's had too much tv time. AND the shows she watches all say FAMILY. This is one reason I miss my DVR recorder. We could stock up on decent kids TV.

What movie? "Looking good Billy Ray!"
"Feeling good Lewis!"

I am feeling a little better. My father offered to pay for a doctor's visit. We shall see. My mom flew out today. She puts forth more effort with my kids than the 3 other grandparents all put together. She's a living Saint.

Saw the movie, Walk the Line, portraying Johnny Cash. Very good. I was just a lad in the late 60's, early 70's when his career really took off. My parents would always make me do the, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" intro for their friends.

Sure was windy the past 24 hours. Blew down a couple of privacy fences in the neighborhood. I despise those fences. If mine blows down I think I would install a black iron fence.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Grandpa's Death

My grandpa's been dead for over 2 years, but with my mom in town we talked about the past. As we were talking I figured that my grandpa beat all odds to live to be 93 years old and to die of natural causes along with alzheimers.

Top 5 things my grandpa should have died of:

5. Gun shot wound: there were pistols laying everywhere in his small 2 bedroom "shotgun" shack.
4. Ax wound: my grandpa walked with a limp because one of his siblings took an ax to his knee.
3. Fire #1: there were 2 wood stoves in my grandpas house and he often kept the temperature up around 100 degrees. Crazy thing was there were always burning pieces falling to the floor whenever he would add a log or stoke the fire.
2. Fire #2: when he lived in the senior center he once caught the carpet on fire because he didn't know how to cook with electric.
1. Food poisoning: we ALWAYS stopped and picked up food before visiting because he never wrapped anything and you never knew how long something might have been sitting on the table. Nothing ever went to waste with him.

Honorable mention: car accident: the local school bus would pull over each day at 3pm and wait for my grandpa to go flying by. He drove way over the speed limits on country roads. In his 80's he ran over his own dog and even flipped a car in the ditch because he thought he hit the break when backing up and instead pumped the gas.

And I'm complaining about a little stomach virus and sore throat. Compared to my grandpa I'm probably a 1 on the toughness scale.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The MAN vs. toilet

No, unlike woman vs. bathroom sink that a friend/coworker suffered physical injuries, mine is of the illness type. Once again I've pick up a stomach virus and did not get any more than 2 hours sleep at a time last night as I was posing on the toilet, time after time. This on top of having some type of sinus infection that has caused 2 nose bleeds and a few body aches and pains.

I have started taking Zicam, an oral spray, to ward off any colds. This comes highly recommended from PIGS. Hope that works. Now I don't know what to take to keep food from sprinting right thru my system. Last time I took Imodium AD and Tums and it seemed to work, although I did suffer from heartburn a little. I'm actually a little afraid to eat this morning. Could go and order the FREE Chick Fil A breakfast sandwich which seemed to set me free last time I had this bug 2 weeks ago.

Wish me luck.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Walking out of movies

With mom in town my wife and I got to go on a date. With reckless abandon we went to see Ice Harvest with Jon Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, and Randy Quaid. Good cast. We walked out after 15 minutes. Within that 15 minutes we probably heard the "F" word 20 times, saw 3 different sets of breasts, and over 50% of the setting was in topless bars. Who formulated this movie? Sad thing is Harold Raimis, from Ghostbusters, was the director. I walked out to see what else was still showing and my choices were Just Friends and Walk the Line. I chose Just Friends.

The night was saved. It was a really good, funny, tragic, romantic comedy.

3 Movies I have walked out on: The Lady Killers, Bad Santa, Ice Harvest.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Nice Thanksgiving

Woke up at 6am to get ready to pick "grandma" up at the DFW airport. We left at 6:40 for the 40 + minute drive if traffic cooperates. To my delight traffic was running at about 1% of normal. BUT, this is the North Dallas area and you can have a traffic jam at any time. Almost 1/2 way into my trip I started seeing brake lights and traffic slowing down. I quickly got into the right lane and was able to sneak by the fresh accident. It seems like a full sized GMC truck pulverized the rear end of a Chevy Avalance. There were a few other cars stopped in the middle of the highway, some of them stopped to asssist. A few people's holidays were ruined.

What movie? "You people can keep this city!"

Picked up grandma and made it home by 9am.

My ideal day will go like this:
Blog, go to the store to get a newspaper and the gravy my wife forgot to get. Then spread out in the floor during the NFL Today pregame show. Eat a few snacks and fall asleep off and on during the boring Lions/Falcons game. Eat our downsized version of T-day dinner. Watch the Cowboys/Broncos game and maybe go see a movie tonight with my wife.

Ideal dinner: Turkey(white), mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. A nice dinner roll would be fine. Nothing else. I don't do adult beverages on T-day and don't really care for dessert. Also leave off the cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes/yams, salads.

Have a great day! Wear lose fitting close so you can eat all you like and not ruin your holiday

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Break Day #3

My family is not going anywhere for Thanksgiving. Read the blog ending to help us decide what to do for Thanksgiving dinner. We've chosen to stay in town because it should be cheaper. My mother is coming Thanksgiving day and will stay until the following Monday so my wife and I should be able to get away from the kids a few times.......finally. Being 600 miles away from family is one downfall, no built in sitters.

Monday day #1: Detailed 2 cars and went to eat at Gatti's pizza, it replaced Pete's the place I once dogged on tblog. Not much better. Too expensive for my family and it wasn't that good. Played cards Monday night and won!

Tuesday day #2: Really only put up Christmas lights for a friend and did some yard work including cleaning up so doggie dookie. In exchange I got my computer cleaned up, defragged and Netzero 8.0 downloaded. Much better. Announced last night and the boys lost a heart breaker.

Wednesday day #3: Slept until 9:15 am. Not feeling to well. I need to know what PIGS takes to keep the colds away. Hopefully something legal and over the counter.

Thanksgiving: to make a meal or go out and eat. Our dilemna is whether to spend $30 + preparing a meal for 6 hours, eating for 30 minutes, and then having 2 hours of clean up. OR, let my mom take us out to dinner. I do know Ruby Tuesday's is open Thanksgiving.
Pro: no clean up and possibly cheaper
Con: how anti traditional is this?

Eat in or eat out? Let me know

Monday, November 21, 2005

The MAN Fan Club Quiz

The time has come to see who truly the MAN Fan Club Members really are. Have fun taking the QUIZ! You better score 80 or better to get an free membership or to keep yours current.



Saturday was a marathon day.

6:30 am-mowing the church lawn with 5 others
8:30-11 am-detailed a Honda Van
11:30-2 helped a friend dismantle and move a queen mattress/bed and 2 king beds in 2 different 2 story homes
2 pm dropped daughter off for art lessons
2:30 picked up lunch
3pm quick detail of black Wrangler Jeep with wife's help
4pm pick daughter up
5-6:30 pm prepare lesson for Sunday's class
7pm prepared Mac n Cheese dinner for kids
8pm little house cleaning
9-12:30 hung out with friend and played cards
1am- chatted with wife
1:30-hot bath to stave off physical sorness
2am-folded clothes that had been piled a mile high on bed

I lucked out that my son was too sick to go to church so I was able to sleep with a few interuptions until 9:30am. Took a nap from 2:30-3:30 today during Cowboy's game. Had a Thanksgiving dinner with friends from church 4pm-6:30. Came home, read paper, got caught up on blogland.

Having computer problems. Keeps kicking me off at random times if I hit the back button or click the red X to close a webpage. May have something to do with pop up blockers??????

OFF ALL WEEK, but will be busy!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Gas and Dookie

Gas: I went 39 hours without comfortably being able to relieve myself of any stomach gases. From 1am Thursday until about 4pm Friday I was in bad shape. Luckily I was able to make it thru both days of work. Friday I left work about 12:30 for an appointment at the Shriners Hospital so we could look at my son's slightly pidgeon toed left foot. We got there early enough to drive around and find lunch. Nothing greasy I was thinking. My family picked an OLD Arby's. One without indoor bathrooms. We got 5 Arby melts, a curly fries and 2 drinks for $8 plus tax. Not too bad. I took a few bites and stopped at that. While at Shriners I was feeling unfortable so I tried to relieve myself of these stomach pains. Nothing but gas! YAHOO! So at 2pm on Friday, about 37 hours after it hit, I started feeling better. Confidence hit as I came home and reheated our last Arby's melt and I was able to eat it without any negative feelings or side effects. I'm back! The issues with the son are nothing to be worried about. YES!

Dookie: This one is closely related to a gaseous story, but funny, not sick. Saturday night we were playing cards and I was once again able to eat food that is bad for me. Nachos and chips. After playing cards for a few hours I felt a little gas build up and being around guys and confident I wouldn't soil myself I let a few go. It was about 15 minutes later when we recognized a nasty smell and since I was the only one to let loose lately I got the blame. I was thinking, "I haven't tooted in over 10 minutes." My handicapped friend was there and I thought maybe he did it, but I accepted the blame and said I would step away from the table should it happen again. Well, a few minutes later one of the guys said, "I knew that wasn't a human smell, look right there." One of the host's Weenie dogs had laid(lain?) a human sized turd right in the middle of the kitchen floor. I was vindicated! IT WAS NOT ME!

Sadly enough I was beginning to wonder if it was me.

It is nice to be stomach free for more than 48 hours! Sing praises and make joyful noise, so to speak!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Rough Day

You know you are in for a long day when Imodium AD and 2 Tums makes up a big part of your breakfast. I woke up last night about 1am with a volcanic stomach and no Tums in sight. I ended up taking one of my mom's left over Nexium pills, but that didn't seem to help. After tossing and turning I decided to go sleep on the couch in a propped up manner. I had severe heartburn, nausea, and diahrea tendencies. I managed a few hours of sleep and woke up before the 6am alarm went off. Eww boy.

I took some Imodium AD to work and stopped and got some Tums. That was my breakfast along with a plain cake donut. Fortunately I managed to stay out of the bathroom all day, mainly because I hadn't eaten anything. Belch city all day and I finally braved the cafeteria's Thanksgiving lunch. I think I had turkey stuffing suprise since I was the last person at the school to go thru the line. I may have had an ounce of turkey in my 1/2 pound of stuffing.

Being the only guy in our hallway the bathroom thing is a serious issue. 99% of the time I do my duty in the boys room next to the staff restroom. I've heard horror stories as my team talks about someone in our hallway who devastates the bathroom and fails to use the smelly spray. Well, about 3pm while my kids were at PE I was about to put the disclaimer out to my team that if they needed to use the restroom NOW was the time. As I walked out into the hallway I noticed it was pretty calm. I figured maybe I could duck into the boys back stall and do my think. I'd been pinned up all day and the Imodium was wearing off. Sure enough, in and out in less than 2 minutes and not even one student came in. Whew!

For the record, I did not destroy the staff bathroom!

It's late tonight and I'm still a little rocky. My daughter said it sounded like a monster in my stomach.

Wish me luck, or others luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Tooth Fairy

Had dinner with a friend tonight who treated me and my son to pizza and drinks. During our dinner I eagerly displayed my son's ability to make the cow sound. I asked my son, "What does a cow say?" He volunteered MOO. Same with the duck, "Kak, Kak". The dog, "Wuf, wuf." Why do we get so excited as parents and make it seem like no kid has every imitated an animal? After doing my silly son tricks my friend shared that his 6 year old daughter lost her first tooth. He mentioned that it was loose for 2 weeks and he tried the string trick and failed. He then just wiggled it and yanked on it.

My friend shared that a few days before it fell out he was trying to get a feel for what his daughter was going to expect cash wise from the tooth fairy. He thought she would ask someone from school, but she said nobody told her. She finally told him that $20 was fair because it is only one bill. Smart young lady there. I think he ended up reasoning with her and she got $5 instead.

So what is the going rate for the tooth fairy? Is the first tooth worth more than the others? Do kids really think there is a tooth fairy or are they smarter these days?

I still believe in Santa Claus, but for some reason he only leaves gifts for me at my mom's house.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Yesterday during our church quarterly conference we were proposing a new document that would change the church constitution. During the conversation one highly educated gentleman made the comment, "To change the document at this point would be committing an act of rape." The use of the term rape to describe amending a document seemed overboard. I bit my tonque in order to not say anything. I know people have used the term in the past to describe getting ripped off, but using it in church?

Now that I've thought about it 24 hours I thought I'd research what the term rape really means. The #1 definition does have to do with the act of forcing someone into committing sex acts. The #3 definition does state that rape is: Abusive or improper treatment; violation: a rape of justice. So now that I've researched it I'm not as alarmed by the use of such a harsh term.

That doesn't mean I'm not disturbed by it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Alcohol, Divorce, and Women

Our church is moving from having a 7 person "leadership team" to the more traditional Elders and Deacons model. Today we voted on what that actually meant. We met from 12:30-2:15 to tie down a few issues and to ammend the document that myself and a few other committee members put together.

One person brought 8 of the 9 overall amendments to the meeting today. Issues we voted on today included:

Alcohol: the committee chose not to force the Elder/Deacon candidate to abstain from alcohol, although one amendment recommended it. The amendment was voted down. The idea is that a church leader should really use alcohol very discretionately and we did say abstainance was the best choice.

Divorce: the committee basically said an Elder/Deacon could have divorce in his/her past. A few opposed this, but biblically we couldn't justify excluding anyone who had a divorce for any reason. We chose to look at each candidate individually.

Women deacons: the committee recommended men only Elders, but felt biblically justified allowing women to serve as deacons. An amendment was brought forth to only allow men to serve. That amendment was voted down.

It was tough breaking few "traditions" that some grew up in. If you think about it Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament, probably wouldn't be allowed to be a Deacon or Elder in many Baptist churches because he had a violent past, ordered and watched many Christians be executed, and he was a convict.

Old and New

I'm teaching a bible lesson to adults that deals with how you are supposed to be different once you accept Christ as your savior. My lead in is to compare things in our everyday life that have changed in our lifetime. Some of my examples are:

Coke bottles: used to come in 32oz and 16 oz glass returnables, now they are plastic and disposable.

MTV: 1981, 99% true music videos with Marc Goodman, now Celebreality and Realworld and 1% music videos.

Potato chips: I remember buying the "twin" package, now just one big bag.

McDonalds: sit down only with outdoor tables, now all have drive thrus and playlands. Remember life before McNuggets. McDonalds is the #2 purchaser of chicken behind KFC!

What are some things in your life time that has really changed?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Missouri Mud

I'll quickly post my freebies as they all happened this morning.

2 Chik'n biscuits and a free diet Coke via coupon from Chick Fil A: FREE $6.50
30 Cheerios/Lucky Charms which I then in turn gave to someone else: FREE...briefly $15

I never got to enjoy my FREE drink this morning. As I entered the cafeteria, on time for once, I noticed the janitorial staff had not put the tables out so I parked my drink on our cereal cart next to the case of cereal. I dealt out the sandwiches and when I came back to the cafeteria I was informed by coach that my drink had met it's demise. was all over the floor. Good thing it was free. The ONLY student in the cafeteria never admitted to knocking it over.

Uneventful day. Came home to find 1/2 my family sick. After my wife tutored we went out for Chinese dinner. We can still feed a family of 4 for under $15 at a Chinese restaurant. Not bad. On the way home I stopped by the car wash to rinse off the Missouri Mud that my wife had brought back. Her sister is part of that 5% that still lives on a gravel road, drinks from a well, and lives off the land.

I spent $2 just washing the mud out of the wheel wells. The other $1.50 went towards knocking off the rest of the dirt and unsuspecting bugs that nailed the windshield.

JOKE: What's the last thing that goes thru a bug's mind when it hits the windshield?

It's rear end!

No set plans this weekend other than another marathon day at church when we vote on a deacon/elder plan. Issues: divorce or not, men only vs. women, alcohol or abstinence. Block out 6+ hours for Sunday morning.

Jarhead Review

I couldn't wait to see this movie. I was bummed out when I wasn't able to go this weekend. I ended up going right after school on Wednesday. Could have seen the 50 cent movie, but didn't. They did a great job marketing this movie because I am afraid the second week word of mouth will kill the box office take.

Not a bad movie, but I wouldn't recommend this one to anybody. It is hard to pin down. NOT a date movie and not very entertaining. It may be an accurate showing of what ONE Marine went thru back in the early 90's during Desert Storm, but I don't think the Armed Forces would endorse the behavior that went on.

The movie was crude, rough, and in your face with some stomach turning issues. IF you do see it go to a matinee show when it is cheaper. I was able to only spend $2.75 before popcorn and soda costs so not much of a risk.

If Saving Private Ryan is the Gold Standard of war movies, then this was recycled aluminum.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Positive Cranky!

Is it possible to become crankier, yet more positive at the same time. I feel that somehow I have managed to become much shorter with the students and my tolerance level is much lower. That said, I feel I am more positive around my colleagues, maybe even giddy as someone has said.

Maybe I am not letting the lack of common sense or courtesy of my students get to me, but I am dishing out consequences IMMEDIATELY if they fail to follow society's standard guidelines for MY expected classroom behavior. Maybe since I've quit allowing them to beat me silly with the same irresponsible behaviors it has allowed me to free up my mind and actually have some fun at work. I actually played kickball twice with the students at recess this week.

I started off my day by stopping to get a cinnamon roll for myself and a few coworkers. I paid for those, but got a dozen donut holes for FREE! $1

When I came into school the afternoon program had left out the day before's case of water and snack. 1 case of water and 6 small packages of Goldfish. FREE.....$8

Another teacher took the Coco Puffs this morning so I only scored 2 boxes and 2 milks. FREE $2.

When I arrived jovially to work my lunch duty a room mom volunteered to watch the kids so I backdoored into 30 extra FREE minutes. If I roughly make $30 an hour that is kind of like getting $15 free in services.

Knowing Friday is Chick Fil A day I sent out an email at work checking(begging) to see if anyone had any of the coupons from their yearly calendar that they would be willing to give up. 10 minutes later one of our front line people handed me their $5 calendar for FREE! $5 right now, but futures freebies for sure! Chick Fil A will take expired coupons....YES! Free breakfast tomorrow!

Tonight: Beautiful day out and the sun is gently setting. From 4pm until 5:30pm my kids have been playing outside on the swingset and in the sand box. I cooked Hamburger helper and they ate their dinner out on their pic nic bench. Life is good!

Cranky, yet positive! Friday is coming!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


A partner in "rhyme" has really given me either a hard time out of jealousy or kudos for all the deals I seem to score and most of these deals are free. It started early in our year when I scored a $50 giftcard to Walmart from a parent who does not even have a child in our grade level. Then another parent gave me a $25 giftcard. I think these were pitty gifts as I am new at what I am doing.

As I think about all that I get for free I think I will start having a daily update on any freebies that I do score.


This morning I ordered 34 bagels and 2 muffins for my crew and I get reimbursed by them. The bakery gave me 3 free bagels and a free large drink. First score: $4.25 FREE.
When I noticed I was short a blueberry bagel and 2 muffins I drove back and then was given 2 free muffin tops......against my will. 2nd score: $2 FREE.

As I worked the morning program I got the left over cereal. 48 individual bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the cafeteria lady says they charge our program 58 cents each for these. 3rd score: Almost $30 in cereal.....FREE.

I also benefited from a leftover case of bottled water: $4 FREE.

Yesterday I brought home 4 large bags of prepacked romaine lettuce at about $2 a bag and also helped myself, with permission, to the ice machine at school and brought home some purified ice. Tuesday's total: About $10 FREE!

On a side note my day started with my chosing a shirt I had yet to wear this year, partly because it is hard to iron, and secondly it makes me think about square dancing. It is red with small lines that form tiny squares. As I am leaving the house before 7am my daughter gets up and I do my usual, "GET BACK IN BED!" My daughter says, "I just want to hug you and kiss you." Awwww. When I get my hug and kiss she says, "Wow, I really like your shirt dad."

Watch out next year teachers, she's going to kindergarden.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Roach and the Cricket

Why does the cricket get a free pass and the roach gets discriminated against?

I grew up in Missouri and we seemed to be plagued with huge black waterbugs that would scramble for it when the lights came on. It was normal for us to track them down and step on them creating a nice "crackle" sound. My creative brother would take an aerosol can and a lighter and even torch the legs off of these guys.

Now that I teach in an elementary school it seems like 9 out of 10 kids want to catch a cricket and let it back outside so it can make its way back into my classroom the next day. Being the responsible science teacher I allow them to scoop them up and temporarily free the cricket. Now when roaches are involved it seems as if the same 9 out of 10 would smash the roach into the carpet.

Why the free pass for the cricket and instant death for the roach?

The are very closely related. From the arthopod family and if you took them apart I think their legs and such are very interchangeable. They both make a crackle sound if stepped on and both try to run for it when pursued. I think they have both been dipped in chocolate and served as a novelty treat.

Are you a discriminator?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Dirty Laundry

"Kick em when their up, kick em when their down....." Dirty Laundry, Don Henly.

After doing truck loads of laundry after my wife came back from her Missouri trip and made following comment, "You wear more underwear than anyone I know." I can either take this as a cleanliness compliment or can worry about how many people she knows and how she knows about their underwearing habits.

In defense: 1 fresh pair after the morning shower. A new pair after coming home from work. A final pair when hopping in bed for the night. I don't think 3 pair a day is anything out of the ordinary. I guess I could alter what I wear to bed at night? Add mowing in the summer time and it could top up to 5 pair in one day.

On a side note my wife informed me that the new thing, making wearing a thong an outdated trend, wear no underwear at all. This can't be healthy can it?

Hmmmmm? What's in your laundry?

Thursday, November 03, 2005


The heavily promoted(Jesus walks song), long awaited movie JARHEAD opens this Friday and I'll probably see it this weekend. It sounds like it is basically a war neutral movie from the point of view from the soldiers. One side is from a soldier who regrets being there and the other from a soldier who needs or strongly desires to be there in Iraq. It is based on Dessert Storm, but can easily be paralleled to fit our current situation in Iraq.

That said, one of my students came in today with a Jarhead haircut(marine style) and it looked pretty good. I've always wondered if I could get by with such a short cut. Nearing 40 and my hair receding slower than others I've worried that cutting it short might make me look even heavier or speed up the process of the receding hairline.

That said, you're welcome to meet me at the movies this weekend and if you'll pay for my haircut I'll even get the Jarhead cut! OOO RAH!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Just a few things..........

Missed posting yesterday because my family finally came home. I was actually online when the front door opened. I peeked around the corner and caught my sons eyes. All smiles as he made a mad dash towards me. Just a few feet away he collapsed and flopped onto the floor. He looked up as I scooped him off the floor. Yes, it is good to have my family home. Then 2 minutes later I changed a smooshy poopy diaper.

Today was Bagel Wednesday. I stopped by Panera to pick up my usual order that I placed Tuesday evening. For the 2nd week in a row they've lost my order and I've had to place the order off the top of my head. On top of that I usually have a small margin of error to work with and this forced me into being 10 minutes late, again.

Tonight I actually got on the treadmill. 20 minutes and just over one mile. I feel like I've had a fat year and haven't had much motivation to do anything about it. Maybe I can build some momentum and make a few changes. Anybody have a good book to recommend about changing unhealthy habits? Once I set my mind to it I can lose 20 pounds, but this time it would be nice to lose more and break the 200 barrier. Don't forget, 40 is coming around the New Year and being in shape would be a big psychological and physical boost.

It's November, so all you teachers do the Thanksgiving countdown!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Hideout

When my wife informed me that she intended to come home on Tuesday instead of tonight my number one goal became avoiding trick or treaters at all costs.

First of all we finally got rain on the last day of the month and I thought maybe Halloween would get rained out. No such luck, only recess was rained out. Then I developed my plan. I brought a friend's car home from school and detailed it knowing that I needed to finish by 5:30 or else I could get caught by the early bird Halloweeners. 5:35 and I was out of here. I then decided to go the outlet mall to purchase shoes at the Reebok store. There were actually kids in costumes begging for candy at the mall. Who trick or treats at a mall????

Having finished my shopping by 6:15 I went and purchased dinner. 1/2 price night at Golden Chick. The drive home down side streets was probably the toughest part of the evening. I had to make sure no kids darted out into the street and had to avoid cars on both sides of the road with their flashers on as they followed kids. We're obese America, GET OUT AND WALK!

Seeing a few kids close to my house I turned my headlights off as I pulled into the driveway. Tennis shoes and chicken waiting to be taken inside. After one group walked past my house I opened my car door knowing the domelight was out which meant a better chance of not being had. I made it in and peeked outside making sure nobody followed me up the sidewalk.

Once inside it was LIGHTS OFF! It was tough navigating my house with the lights out. No way was I turning a light on allowing someone to find out I was home. I did turn the overhead stove light on along with a nightlight in back of the house. A few times I peeked out the window knowing someone would find out I was home. Imagine how tough it was finding a black remote control in a dark house.

Well, it is nearing 9pm and nobody has approached our house. I've won, unless some teenagers come around like a few years ago ringing door bells well after decent trick or treating hours. If someone does ring the bell they are going to get an individual serving of cereal that I've stockpiled from school for months. Halloween hasn't cost me a dime. For the first time in my life I didn't even purchase a pumpkin.

The MAN is getting old! If my kids were home tonight I would definitely have enjoyed taking them around the neighborhood trying to find which houses contained people and candy.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dinner for One: $2.68

Late Saturday we finally put together a card game so I rushed out the door around 6:30 to break a $100 and buy a few snacks and my dinner. Being a food/deal specialists I wavered on what I was thinking about eating. Eat too heavy and that would blow snacking during cards. Spend too much $$$ and approach playing cards would be too tight. At first I thought chinese sesame chicken with an order of crab rangoon, cost @ $8. Then I thought an order of white meat chicken from Golden Chick but figured that would be greasy and cost almost $8 to get what I wanted. I ended up at Jack N the Box and ordered 2 tacos for 99 cents and an order of onion rings. Total cost $2.68 and it was filling, fried yet not heavy on the grease. I feel better spending this little compared to the near $12 I spent the other night.

Drive thru DON'TS
5. If you have to turn your car off to order.....GO INSIDE!
4. If your order is over $20......GO INSIDE!
3. If you have to open your door to place a drive thru order....GO INSIDE!
2. If everyone in the car has to shout their own order.....GO INSIDE!
1. If you have to ask questions about the menu.....GO INSIDE!

At the expense of everyone else waiting these circumstances were created by ONE vehicle at the drive thru. Luckily I was not in a hurry!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mr. Tetris

I went and helped a friend load up his Budget rental truck today in preparation of his family's moving back to Missouri after living in Texas for 15 years. I arrived around 10am and the truck was maybe 1/3 full. My friend BillyV realized that the truck wasn't going to be big enough so he and his father in law went to rent a tow behind trailer. While they were away I helped pack the truck with a few guys I have met before. As we were loading one guy says, "this is kind of like Tetris." Anyone who lived in the 80s and 90s would know that Tetris is the video game where you manipulate different size geometrical block shapes and you keep the game going by packing them in perfectly, thus avoiding uncompatible pieces from piling up.

Mr. Tetris, they guy in the truck, is responsible for packing in different size boxes into the moving truck. He needs to do this as the few box carriers deposit various shaped boxes and other items on the back of the truck. If he works too slow then the boxes pile up. If he works too fast he may do a poor job packing, thus wasting space and possibly creating the need for another truck.

Our Mr. Tetris was pretty good. Not only did he manage and place the boxes that we brought to the truck, he would often follow us into the house and locate the perfect sized, ALREADY TAPED, boxes to fit the unique hole that needed plugged.

Tetris piece comparisons:
Long straight: these were the long boxes such as Christmas tree boxes
L shaped: the couch, sofa, chairs
C shaped: coffee and end tables
Multi-edged: odd items including benches, a bike with training wheels
Square block small: small boxes of various sizes
Square block large: the refridge, dressers, night stands.

I think our Mr. Tetris did a great job filling the moving truck to it's near capacity limit.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Platinum Club

I'm not talking about some club outside the city so hold your horses. Last night a friend asked me to go and watch the Maverick's last preseason game at American Airlines Center. I declined since I'm not much of an NUBA(NBA) fan. Well, today he asked me to go and watch an NHL Dallas Stars game. I said yes. Although they aren't playing my hometown St. Louis Blues I agreed.

This is my first experience ever sitting in the luxury boxes, the Platinum Club. Special parking on the first level. Entrance into a side gate. Elevator to the 3rd floor and there we were. A short walk later and we enter the SUITE. Yes, it is sweet. About 25 seats in our own area. Plasma Tv, internet service(posting from the game) and we can order without going out of our box. Bad thing is the bathroom is a little far away. It hasn't cost me a thing yet. I've just ordered drinks and I just filled out a credit application so we'll see how much it really costs.

Hockey is secondary tonight. The experience is primary. It is nice receiving special treatment! My friend who gave us the tickets says, "PEACE OUT."

It is amazing how many seats in these luxury boxes are unoccupied. White collar game for sure.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Home Alone

My family left for St. Louis this morning before 7am. They will be gone until at least Monday so I'll have extra time to myself. How will I use it? Earlier this month I took the kids to St. Louis and my wife had alone time. Now it's my turn.

Today I took a personal day and spent most of it outside building something. Another beautiful October day her in Texas. I had tentative plans with a friend to see a movie, but he did not return my call. Got invited to go out to a bar n grill, but opted to still go to the movies. Since I arrived too early I decided to watch a little bit of Two for the Money. I just know if I lost about 20 lbs. I'd have a cut body like Matthew McConaughey. I bought a ticket for Stay starring Ewen McGregor. Odd movie and very disturbing. My mind was spinning enough that it felt like I was in the movie as long as 10 minutes after leaving the theatre. Very odd. Maybe I should have stayed in the Matthew movie.

Friday: I'm not sure. May play cards.

Saturday: Mowing at the church and loading a Uhaul for my best friend BillyV who is leaving me behind in Texas. Not sure about Saturday night.

Sunday: I'm sure church is involved, but I may actually go out and watch the first set of football games at a decent sports bar. Maybe see a movie Sunday night.

My dad turned 64 today. Happy Birthday dad! I do sometimes wish I weren't 600 miles away.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

$11.55 dinner for ONE

I broke all the rules at dinner time tonight. After being at school for 13 hours I went and picked up the kids at church. From there I deposited a $50 check to boost my checking account to $51.35. I proceeded on to Home Depot to purchase a swingset kit for a friend. The time was nearing 9pm. I actually had plenty of cash in my wallet from collecting on my morning bagel order and I was hungry. My food intake for the day was one bagel with spread and a blueberry muffin for lunch.

My mind raced on what I wanted and I was thinking Popeyes for their delicious catfish and possibly a wing or 2. My daughter has decided that her dinner at 5pm wasn't enough so I kind of ordered for 2. Catfish combo with drink $6 plus anouther $3 for catfish only and then at about $2.50 for 2 orders of wing/biscuit. WOW, my dinner total for as much as what it costs me to take my family to dinner at a few places in town.

As I drove away I realized they hadn't given me my drink so with kids in tow I had to go back through the drive thru and wait an extra 5 minutes for my drink. Dinner was good.

I left home this morning at 6:35 am and arrived back home about 9:30pm. And a few of you think educators get paid too much and work part time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fun and Fellowship

It was a pretty good weekend.

Friday night: I spent time with my 2 kids while my wife hosted a bible study. We shopped for groceries and tried to eat at Wingstop. That place was PACKED. Nowhere to sit and about 4 deep in line. Not good for kids. I was stuck on getting wings and drove to a place about 10 miles away called Wingcredible. Great food. A little over my frugal budget though.(I had a coupon for Wingstop) ):

Saturday night: I actually stayed home ALL DAY. I am not sure when the last time I stayed home without leaving the house. I had many of my friends over for cards and we played from 5-11. I hit a rough spell the first 3 hours winning only one hand. I tread water the rest of the night.

Sunday night: It was nice to have cooler, damp weather come into town. We were invited to dinner with former neighbors of ours from 97-00. Back then they had one son and we were empty nesters. We had a 2 bedroom home and they had a small 3 bedroom home. We've moved on since then and when we moved back to Texas we ended up at the same church as them. They've got 3 boys and we've got 2 kids. We've had some times the last 3 years together, but had never gotten together for dinner so they invited us over for an excellent meal: grilled marinated pork, homemade scallop potatoes and grilled corn. We even managed to play a little cards and I had as much fun playing for FUN as I did playing for small stakes.

I do indeed feel that these are special times. Probably because they are flying by!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Out of Food

4 days left until payday and once again we are out of $$$ and out of food, so it seems. I checked the pantry closely and noticed we actually have a lot of food still left to choose from.

Items in the pantry: infinite # of cereal containers, oatmeal, Lasagna Hamburger Helper(no hamburger), Chicken and Stuffing Helper(no chicken), Chicken and Au Gratin Potato Helper(no chicken), 5 jars of freshly canned green beans, 2 small cans of peas and corn, pork n beans, Campbells cheddar cheese soup, Ramen noodles, spaghetti and elbow noodles, 3 different brands of rice, instant potatoes, Idaho potatoes, bread crumbs, 1/2 load of bread, Scooby Doo mac n cheese, canned tomatoes, 1 graham cracker pie crust, pancake mix, 2 cans of tuna and popcorn kernels.

Items in the fridge: 3 Coronas and 3 Bud Lights left over from cards, 2 packs of cheese, a head of lettuce, 1 cream cheese, 2 packs of brown and serve sausages, 6 eggs, water, hot dogs, pudding packs, jello packs and one cannister of cinnamon rolls.

Items in the freezer: Single serve salsbury steak, frozen vegetable packet, broccoli and cauliflower winter medly, green bean casserole, fish sticks, chicken fried steak patties, popsicles, and 2 flavors of Cool Whip.

Any ideas on meals for the next 3 nights. You've got plenty to pick from!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Shut the Windows, Again

Last week we gave in and shut the windows and turned on the AC for 2 more days. This morning it was tough to get out of bed because I was buried deep underneath the comforter. Colloer weather indeed.

After arriving at church this morning a cold front came through and the winds kicked up and a light drizzle covered the area. Something we haven't seen since probably April. When we came home after lunch the house was really cool. Almost too cool. I ended up closing most of the windows. I flopped on the couch to watch a little football and looked over my lesson plans. Before I knew it I managed to cover up and doze off. I napped for about 2 hours. Ah, great napping weather.

It is also nice to be able to wear some of those long sleeve shirts that have been hanging since last Spring. A few people might think I went shopping.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


30 single serve boxes of cereal left over from the before school program: FREE

Bag of purified ice from the school cafeteria: FREE

Every 8th order of bagels on Wednesday: FREE

Long sleeve school spirit long sleeve t-shirt from PTO: FREE

Getting to play cards with BillyV and friends on Saturday: PRICELESS

Everyday I get the left over cereals from our AM school program. I get to help myself to the school ice machine for free and often bring home big bags of ice. Every 8th bagel pack I order on Wednesdays ends up being free. My PTO must feel pity on me because I've gotten a lot of free things from them including a school spirit long sleeve t-shirt.

I also specialize in knowing when and where kids eat free or who has the best kids prices. I'm good at knowing which places have meals large enough for 2 people to split. I'm always uncovering places that my family of 4 can dine at for about $12.
I recently grifted a 99 cent 44 ounce Sonic sticker to put on my windshield for cheap Sonic drinks anytime.

If there is a deal to be had. I'll find it. Am I cheap? Not sure. Am I a tight wad? No, I'll spend every little thing that I have. Am I frugal? Probably.

I only spent $16 in preparation for tonight's card night. I already had many of the ingredients and went to a local grocer and bought most of the remaining items for $1 or less including shredded cheese, sour cream, peppers, lettuce, plates. The only thing I didn't get a deal on was the Velveeta cheese, $4.79. BUT, I knew where I could buy it cheaper!

Playing cards tonight with friends: PRICELESS!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cards Weekend

I wish it were St. Louis Cardinals weekend, but it's not. Still, Saturday is card night. I'm really looking forward to this because it will mark the first time all the regulars have been together at one table in at least a year. Should have 7 guys IF nobody bails. Plus, it will mark the last time best friend BillyV will play before he runs off to Missouri to live.

Food for the night will be fajitas. I'll grill chicken and fry up some ground beef. Stew up some onions and peppers and add a little cheese queso and a bunch of sides and it will make for some good eating. Difficult part will be shopping for the goods tonight and having to wait until tomorrow to enjoy it. (I'll not look at the shoes this time at Walmart)

We'll still have the ballgame on in the background, but the cards on the table will be the only cards happening thanks to the Houston Astros.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Buddy Gone Bad

I posted on one of my blogs a while back about being excited about my under $20 Walmart tennis shoe purchase and referred to discount shoes as "BUDDY." In St. Louis we would make fun of the guy who bought his shoes at KMart. Traxx were the bottom of the line entry level shoes. I've had my shoes for about 2 months and they are actually comfortable and decent looking. Well, today my buddy purchase has gone bad. At first I noticed an air swish sound everytime I took a step with my left foot. Not loud, but annoying once I noticed it. I finally sat down at work and looked closer at the shoe and then noticed a seam coming undone leaving a hole big enough for me to poke my finger through. I assume nobody but me noticed as I walked around the Arboretum most of the afternoon.

Guess I'll have to upgrade my next purchase to Outlet Mall status. Jump from the self imposed $20 level to the under $40 level. Reebok here I come.

I have reached a theory on shoe purchases. They will last one month for each $10 you spend. I think this applies only to tennis shoes or sneakers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Let's Try November

Long story short. It's mid-October and we're still using the AC. We got away with a few days of no AC and some decent nighttime sleeping weather, but we're giving in tonight. Maybe I'll crank it down to 65 and get a good night's sleep for a change.

What will November bring? The problem with Texas is there are truly only 2 seasons. Winter and Summer. We get teased with a few mild days, but nothing that is lasting. I do miss living in Missouri where there are true Springs and Falls. And, the leaves change colors and take their time making their ways to the ground. Here in Texas they are green one week, then on the ground the next.

What's the weather in your zip code?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Barter and Trade

Saturday morning I was asked to detail a few vehicles for a friend from church. His family was having a yardsale so I went and detailed in his driveway. First vehicle was a soft-top Jeep that I really enjoy doing so I only charged $30. I also did his full sized 4 door Lexus for only $40. I ended up detailing a Mustang Convertible so for about 5 hours of work I made $100, cash. A typical full detail can run anywhere between $100 and $200 for what I do. So I give great deals. I will do his Suburban for a trade out. This friend sells Christmas trees so I'll get to pick out a tree worth as much as $75. Nice deal for both of us. Costs him very little and it only costs me time and about $5 worth of materials.

Top 5 things I've traded details for:
5. Cash or check
4. Child Care-I detailed a car Sunday for a friend who will watch my kids
3. Tickets to a Cardinal/Rangers game
2. Christmas trees
1. Friendship( I have done a few for free for those special friends )

Now that the weather is A LITTLE cooler I will try to drum up some detail business. It makes for good spending $$$$$$. I am trying to line up a few details for a guy I know that owns a restaraunt. Details for fajitas!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Just 3 Minutes

What did it take me 3 minutes to do this morning?
A. Run 1/2 a mile.
B. Take a shower.
C. The Intimacy Thing
D. Stand in Line to pay for a soda.

On my way to detail 3 cars I stopped for a 59 cent soft drink. My choice of places was a grocery store gas station. As usual there was only one person working and there was a line. Why does 3 minutes feel like 10 when you are just standing and watching poor customer service at it's best? In reality the 3 minutes was a small part of the day, but it causes my anxiety level to increase. (If you've seen Quick Change with Bill Murray, think about him trying to get change at an Asian convenience mart.)

I worked for Lowes Sony Theatres from 1997 to 1999 and one of their policies was if someone stood in line for longer than 3 minutes we gave them a coupon for a free drink. Good in theory. We had a concession stand in the shape of a long hexagonal island with 13 stations. Great design IF it was used properly. We rarely went more than 10 stations and that was when Titanic was at it's peak. We even had concessions in the hallway and rarely opened them.

So my question is: Why have 2 registers at this gas station if only one is being used DURING PEAK TIMES? Same question for the movie theatre. Why put in remote concessions if they won't be used properly?

The free drink coupon: It was given IF a customer complained. The problem is maybe 1 out of 10 will actually complain therefore you don't really know the real depth unhappiness.

Today I held my comments to myself, thought happy thoughts, got my 59 cent drink and went on my way. It was truly just a small portion of my day.