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.