Sunday, December 31, 2006

End of Year

Friday night at the Powell Symphony hall watching Charlie Chaplin movies was GREAT. My date was fine and dinner was awesome also. We hadn't had a unique date like that in a while.

Today is the last day of the year and all is well. Saturday my family got together and bowled, exchanged gifts and ate dinner. I went WAY over my point total for the day. Last night my son kept me up most of the night because he was coughing. Everyone else is just fine. We've probably overdone it with him this week.

I think we will spend new year's eve with some special friends. It should be a repeat of last year. If memory serves me correct we came home before midnight because the kids were asleep and we wanted to avoid most drunken drivers.

Crazy thing tonight will be at midnight when shotguns and fireworks are blasting off all around us.

Happy New Year. May you find many blessing and good health in it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Date Night

I get to see my family again today around lunch time and I think we are going bowling. This evening I get to go out alone with my wife as the kids stay with grandma. I think I will get culturalized tonight because my wife mentioned going to Powell Hall where the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra will play to 2 Charlie Chaplin silent movies: The Idle Class and The Kid. Hopefully we will have time to have dinner ahead of time at one of our favorite places such as Seamus McDaniels in my old Dogtown neighborhood.

Right now my problem is that I only brought jeans and sweat pants so I'll either have to borrow a pair of nice pants from the brother, hit a thrift store, or run over to Kohls or Walmart and buy a cheap pair. I'll also need a pair of shoes.

The downside is that the cheapest tickets are $20 each. The upside is I'll not have to pay a sitter $30.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Movie Night

Wednesday marked our first day in STL and my dad drove in to spend a couple of hours with my family. We exchanged gifts and the kids got to play around a little bit. Biggest event of the day was when my dad tried to change my son's diaper. My dad has a HUGE gag reflex and we always tease that my son, 2 1/2 can't go out to pawpaws until grandpa learns how to change diapers. He got down to the wiping stages and lost it. WE were outside and he abandoned my son butt naked on the front porch. My wife and I stepped in and finished the job.

Around noon my wife took the kids and drove about 1 1/2 hours out to her parents. She "said" she didn't mind if I didn't go so I stayed to spend time with my mom. As my wife is leaving I get stuck in the mindframe that maybe she did really want me to go. Well, if she REALLY wanted me to go she should just say so. My mom and I watched 2 Anthony Hopkins movies last night: Proof and The World's Fastest Indian. The latter movie was based on a true story and was the better of the 2 movies. I recommend that you watch it.

Shopped and ate lunch at a pizza place where I once delivered pizzas. The owner called out my name as I walked in. We got to talk and reminisce a little bit. He's 1 year older than me and has a son in college and a daughter in high school....WOW!

Friday: Bowling and date night with my wife
Saturday: Bowling, family dinner and gift exchange, Giants vs. Redskins
Sunday: Rams at noon and New Years!
Monday: Wife goes back to Texas, I stay here til Thursday.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Left Texas just after 8am and arrived at Grandma's house just before 8pm. Normally it is a 9+ hour drive but we met great friends 1/2 way in Carthage for lunch at El Charros(not sure how many points that was for Weight Watchers). Not sure what my St. Louis plans fully include, but I am here for about 10 days. My wife is heading back with friends on the 1st and I'll stay til' about the 4th when I'll probably drive thru Nixa, MO to see BillyV . Be aware that his latest post is about someone taking a dump.

A few Things to do in St. LOU

Eat at "some" of my favorite places
See a few good friends
Visit with family
Watch the last weekend of football
(slight chance the RAMS can make playoffs)
Get remote car start put on truck
Receive a few more presents
Find a mellow New Year's Eve party

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gifts fit for Pigs

Our school Christmas parties were Thursday and I got more gifts. I did get a few that my wife suggest that we drive over and place on the doorstep of Pigs because she has been known to place some of her most eccentric or teachery gifts on Ebay. She may have been proud of the following:

1. A glass Eiffel Tower that sits on a turn stand. Light filters thru it and it turns in various speeds.
2. A 3 panel Christmas plack from Kirklands
3. A nice looking 2 wick candle that we can't stand the smell of.
4. Chips and Salsa party trey with matching bowl.
5. Heavy wooden book ends.
6. Traveling coffee mug with coffee.
7. A crafty looking cloth bowl with candy.
8. A plastic collapsable organizer.
9. Snowman candy dish(had a gift certificate in it.
10. Stained glass snowman wall light-plug in style.
11. Coffee mug with cookies.
12. Heavy metal picture frame.

I did feel really appreciated with ALL of the gifts, but the ones that really stood out yesterday were:
1. 3 separate gift certificates to a local hamburger joint-Scotty Ps.
2. 2 Starbucks gift cards that I can trade out with someone.
3. Potato chips and dip!

The hard part is spending my gift certicates on myself. I am talking about the $60 in Target and $20 to Best Buy. I tend to either regift thinking I am saving money or use the Target cards for stuff we need around the house.

ALSO, our $700 in giftcards from Lowes came in yesterday. We received a rebate from having our floors put in. Merry Christmas to us! Happy Holidays to you!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Take Part I

Gifts have already started to come in and there is still Thursday's grand finale.

This is what I've gotten so far:

$50 Target
$10 Target
$20 Best Buy
$5 Chick Fila/Calendar/Dry Sausage
$10 Cinemark
2 St. Louis Cardinal World Champ Ornaments
Box of Treats
Tin of Cookies
Tin of chocolate covered popcorn

To top off an already productive day I took the family tonight to Panera because I had a FREE coupon for a Crispani pizza. While I was ordering the manager asks me if I would like this order that someone didn't pick up. 3 meals valued around $20 plus. I wasted my money ordered a meal for my kids to split. They basically gnawled away at the free food. My $40 dinner basically cost me about $9.

What I've spent so far on gifts for people at work:

$20 Dinner card for someone who just got married
$20 Target for my kid's homeroom teacher
3-$5 Panera gift cards for the PE/Art/Music teachers
$3 for administration gift

I'm ahead.

I also weighed in one day early and lost another 1.8 pounds. I broke the 20 pound barrier and finally got below 210. If I lose another 5 I'll be close to what I weighed when I got married in 1995. I am surely dodging bullets with all the junk/snack foods being thrown my way. Do I sense "regifting" coming on?

Blessed Be the Name

Sunday morning we went early to our church home and participated in adult bible study with our old friends. Afterwards we decided to visit one of 2 area churches for worship. We had about an hour so we drove by one of the churches to just check it out. I had my mind set on going to the church that started at 11am. We had about 45 minutes when my wife said to drive by this church called Stepping Stones that meets in a local kids Jump Zone. I had found it online and it is a new start up church. We drove by just to check it out and noticed a decent number of cars on the lot. We cased the joint and decided that since the service started at 10:30 and the current time was 10:20 that maybe the Spirit led us there to worship so we got out and approached the business. A portly man in overalls named James was the first one to greet us. He was great with the kids and led us to the information table. It was weird being in a game room designed for kids. They had a big table set up with lots of cookies.

During the worship time the praise band played Blessed Be the Name.....of the Lord..... My wife and I looked at each other. We have visited 3 churches so far and they have played this song at all 3 churches. This song has stuck in my head and the last few nights I've fallen to sleep singing the song in my head.

We enjoyed the worship service, got to meet the pastor personally and I saw someone that I taught with 3 years ago. They seem to have a great kids program going and we enjoyed the service. I think my family will give it a try after the new year arrives.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Lost Again

I weighed last night and was down another 1.2 pounds. Just short of the 20 pound barrier and almost cracked the 210 threshhold, missed by .2 pounds. It was a little bit of a letdown since I've stayed the course. The one thing I have slacked at lately is that I have been skipping caffeine free diet Pepsis. Need to get back to that again. I also worked out pretty consistently last week so maybe this week I won't work out at all and see what happens.

I feel good, I like me, and dog gone it I am a good person.

4 more days of work before I get an 18 day vacation..............................................................

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Barter and Trade

Today we picked up a Christmas tree, an 8 foot Noble fir. Once again I worked out a trade, one tree valued at $129, for 3 full auto details. The question is, who got the better deal? I know my costs for detailing. I may spend $10 total in supplies, but will spend at least 6+ hours in time detailing these cars. When I charge for detailing I figure my time to be worth $25 per hour and now that my wife is working I'm not as desperate for cash so it may go to $30 per hour. That said, the retail value of 3 auto details is probably between $150-$200. So, what did the tree REALLY cost my friend? He is paying a decent price for the month for a prime location just off the highway AND he has a huge tent with all the trees displayed on stands. His hired help is probably pretty cheap since it is mostly high school students who hustle for minimum wage plus tips.

All I know is both sides walk away happy. We are not out of pocket for the Christmas tree and it may be months before I detail any cars.

By the way we figured our tree to be about 9 years old. I showed my daughter how to count rings to see how old trees are. My 3 choices for trees were Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Noble Fir. They were a lot more expensive than the ones at Home Depot, but "supposedly" they don't sit in a warehouse before being shipped out. I just hope it stays lifelike for 2 more weeks.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tale of 2 Meals

I weighed tonight and lost another 2.4 pounds, my lowest loss since starting 6 weeks ago. I am down a total of 18.6 pounds, the weight I probably came to Texas in 2001. Nice to know that in 6 weeks I was able to overcome 4+ years of bad habits.

Sunday after church we went to lunch with some good friends to a bar b que place called Dickeys. They have kids eat free on Sunday so I ordered the 3 meat plate, a free kids meal, 2 adults drinks(big drinks, not alcohol), and an extra kids drink. My meal total was about $14. Then Sunday afternoon after a short nap I went and worked out while watching a crazy Cowboys game. I decided that I'd pick up a semi-healthy Subway footlong sandwich for me and my wife and let my kids split the $2.49 special of the day for my kids. I thought I could pull it off for about $8. I ordered the chicken bacon ranch for us and got a regular ham sandwich for the kids. The total came out to about $11. Then add $4 for the fat free chips that I picked up and all of a sudden my wimpy Subway meal WITHOUT drinks cost more than our awesome lunch with drinks and a complimentary ice cream cone.

So the lesson learned here is that on a Sunday go to Dickeys and not Subway. Yes, I'm losing weight eating out all the time. I've had donuts, french fries, and the such. I am working out more too though.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Regular or Electric

It is the time of the year that ESPN is bombarded with electric shaver ads and every year I ponder and contemplate buying an electric shaver. Last year my wife bought me one of the cheaper ones and I only used it for a while. I look at the $50-$90 prices and wince, yet my kind of razors at the grocery store cost over $7 for 10 not on sale and without a coupon. I figure I probably spend $40-$50 a year on disposable razors and really wonder if the titanium triple blade electric shaver would be worth it or not.

Does anyone have any electric shaver advice or experience? I did not have the 3 rotating heads that some offer.

Should I wait until after Christmas when everything is 50% off?

One thing for sure is I will be shaving my beard tomorrow morning because I weigh in at 6pm tomorrow night. Can I get closer to the 20 pound lost mark?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Left Behind

I did read a few of the books from the Left Behind series, but it all got weird on me and I abandoned ship after the 4th book. The title of the blog isn't about the book series or the song by Larry Nelson-"there's no time to change your mind, the Son has come and you've been left behind", but about my daughter. We've attended our current church for a little more than 4 years, right when she turned one is when we joined. We were blessed to have connected with many other young couples who also had one younger child. For 4 years my daughter got to know a few of the kids really well and she ended up having 2 favorites, one boy and one girl.

The big disappointment came this summer when our daughter promoted to the kindergarden Sunday school class and most of her friends stayed back, either due to age, or because their parents were going to hold them back from kindergarden for one extra year. Now on Sundays she isn't even in a bible class with these friends and she goes to worship service with us. She is probably handling this better than her parents.

Last night we did fellowship with many old friends from church. The church offered child care while the bible fellowship classes met for Christmas parties. A big part of the day we hyped up that she would get to play with certain friends and when we signed her in we realized again that she wouldn't be in class with those old friends. She didn't complain one bit and she had fun.

So, in a way I feel like she has been "left behind" when it comes to friendships at church. My 2 kid's abilities to adjust and accept change should make it easier on us should we indeed decide to find a new church home. Maybe I'd miss my old friends more than she does hers.

Friday, December 01, 2006

One Month

December 2nd will make one full month that I've been doing weight watchers. Tonight was my 4th weigh in and this week I lost another 3.2 pounds pushing my total to 16.2 pounds. I feel better, but still know that I have not reached my goal. As Paul talks in the New Testament I do not want to take my eyes off of the prize. In the past I would lose a little weight and then get comfortable, gain it back, plus one. One whole month of changing habits has made things a little bit easier.

I have lost 16 pounds still having bagels, donuts, McD's and Chick Fil A for breakfast. I do usually have a low point Weight Watchers Smart Ones meal. I'll save enough points to have a decent sized dinner and now I usually snack on "light" or fat-free snacks. I have been pretty faithful to go to the gym up to 5 times a week also. Whatever I am doing is working and I plan to press on during the month of December.

It would be great to lose another 14 pounds this month and finally push down below the 200 pound mark, a number I haven't seen since I got married 11 years ago.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Church and Dating

The last 3 weeks my wife and I have visited 2 churches away from our home church. It has been on our hearts that we need to possibly make a change for at least 6 months. I compare church family hunting to dating. You know pretty soon whether or not you want a 2nd date. This weekend though we are going to celebrate Christmas with our closest church friends from our home church and we will attend this church Sunday. This should give us a solid feeling of whether we should continue looking elsewhere or should we try to reconnect spiritually at this church. Like a dating relationship, in this case we still like most things about our current church, but feel we haven't grown spiritually in a while.

So, did we fall out of love with Christ at this church? We do know that wherever we are attending we will need to start serving others.

I am looking forward to good times with special friends this weekend.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dinner and Lunch

Last night we went to look at Christmas trees. We went to the location where I trade out auto details for a tree. The owners were there and he said we could work something out again this year. After looking we decided to eat dinner. My wife had a $50 giftcard to a local steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, so we drove by to see that people were spillling out of the place. I quickly called the "call ahead" number and was told about 35 minutes. We drove around a bit and came back in 20 minutes. I received my number and we waited for about 20 more minutes. When our number was finally called I went to motion to my wife who was taking my son outside since he was choking on one of their free peanuts. We were seated and I ordered drinks for us and was trying to figure out how to spend $50 AND stay within my alotted Weight Watcher's points when my wife informs me that the giftcard was to Saltgrass Steakhouse right across the highway. OOOPS! Our free dinner turned into a $32 dinner, and this was with sharing ONE meal. So much for being frugal.

Today we took a long drive looking for garage sales and such. We even drove by BillyV's old house and our former church. Around lunch time we began to look for another place to eat. We came across Cane's chicken. All they have are deep fried tenders so we moved on. We ended up at Burger Street Cafe, a fancier version of the small Burger Street fastfood drive thrus. The sign said $1 off combos so we went in. I was disciplined and ordered the grilled chicken as did my wife. Tough to do when this place has great fastfood level burgers. The combos with $1 off were still $6. I was disappointed to find that my grilled chicken was a pressed parts patty injected with a smokey flavoring. How can they charge $6.99 for a 2nd rate sandwich combo? I'd rather had a real breast from Wendy's or McD's than to eat a processed chicken sandwich. I did grab a comment card on the way out and will mail it Monday. Maybe I'll get coupons for free food. The biggest mistake I made was to put purple onions on my sandwich. Boy is my breath ripe!

Eating a Weight Watcher's meal for dinner. I weighed in last Wednesday and was down another 3+ for a total of 13 down. I'll have to hit the gym every day to make up for Thursday and a bad Friday evening.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

Last night after our company left and we cleaned up a bit my wife got the itch to go to Garden Ridge. This was about 10:10pm, my equivalent to going to a late movie by myself. On her way home she drove past the outlet mall and traffic was backed up for about a mile at that exit. This was 12:25 AM. The mall opened at midnight. As I think about these shopping habits and crazy ONE DAY ONLY sales I wonder how many men are actually a part of this madness? I am thinking less than 5%. And think about all of the people who had to work at midnight just to help feed this shopping addiction.

I know it is called "black Friday" because this one day can really bring a struggling store or company into the black, or profitable margin. I personally have NEVER gotten out and shopped on this day.

Question #1: Is it REALLY worth it getting out and battling all the maniacs? Are the sales THAT good?

Question #2: What time did you eat your lunch/dinner yesterday?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

It may be cheesy but today I post about 10 things that I am most thankful.

10. Parents who raised me right
(AND both are still alive)
9. My health
(ability to lose weight)
8. Local Christian friends
(Chet, Chad, Trey, Scott)
7. Brothers in Christ abroad
(BillyV, Jon, Dave C., Dave F.)
6. My "Eastside" house
(with new hardwoods)
5. 2 Wonderful, healthy kids
(anyone want to baby sit?)
4. My teaching position
(all I teach is Science and common sense)
3. Beautiful Day
(any U2 song AND it's awesome outside)
2. St. Louis Cardinals-World Series Champs
(I invested plenty emotion of the years)
1. Perfect Wife-for me
(we NEVER fight out loud and she's simple)

My faith in Christ has blessed me with so much, friends, family, health, joy, peace.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cheese Balls and Buttery Popcorn

I've spent the last year or so on the constant lookout for cheese balls or butter flavored bagged popcorn and I usually end up empty handed or with some other alternative snack. A few times I hit the jackpot at Big Lots on cheeseballs when they stock the cylinder cannister of Planter's cheeseballs. In St. Louis the QT's stock Okee Dokee butter flavored popcorn and it is better than movie popcorn. When I say I am always looking I basically mean that at every store I would check for these snacks. Even when we would travel from Texas to Missouri I would check at a gas station when we'd stop. If I were driving by myself I would consider stopping at EVERY station in hopes of scoring.

If you've followed my blog at all you know I started Weight Watchers early November and I have made some major changes in how I approach food and snacking. Instead of stopping by Big Lots right after a large Sunday lunch I go home instead and eat a few pickles during football. Well, today I picked up Subway sandwiches for myself, a friend, and 2 hired day laborers and since it was right next to Kroger I walked a few extra feet to get the Light Lays and a bag of regular generic BBQ chips for the others. Then it happened, within 5 feet of each other in the chip aisle I see Kroger brand baked cheese balls AND buttery flavored popcorn. Why is it when you aren't looking you find something. OR when you are looking to do well temptation jumps right out at you?

I refrained and stuck to plan. I bought the $4 bag of light Lays and the $1.50 bag of Kroger chips.

Other news: most of the hardwood flooring is installed(looks great) AND I weigh tomorrow at noon, one day early since they are closed Thanksgiving. No food or drink until NOON Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dieting Roadblocks

I've managed to do pretty well on my Weight Watchers diet and only had one day since 11/2 where I planned to blow my diet, but the plan I am on allows for special occasions like poker night as long as I have enough "points" to spend on food. Two times now that I've gone out and eat I've been put in harms way by receiving extra or more food than I ordered. Last Tuesday night I ordered the 4 piece strips from Chick Fil A and I got a 6 piece. Of course I ate them. It put me over by 3 points on the night because I didn't plan on anything extra. Tonight I went thru Jack In the Box's drive thru and ordered one monster taco and a small fries.....14 points total and I had about 17 to spend. The girl manning the drive thru window was a student of mine 4 years ago and somehow I got 2 extra FREE tacos. I used up 2 of my 3 remaining points by munching on 1/2 of a taco. Pre-diet I would have munched on both and not thought twice about it.

I weigh in this Wednesday and I am hoping to break the 10 pound barrier. I feel pretty good and have been to the gym multiple times. I'll probably go over points Thursday, but I've saved my extra points for that occasion. I'll have what I want Thursday, but not too much of it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Garage

I spent about 3 hours Saturday morning cleaning the garage in hopes of parking my truck indoors at night. I put a dismantled crib into the attic along with breaking down 2 storage shelves that basically were a holding spot for trash. I also brought down a few Christmas decorations since we usually decorate the week of Thanksgiving. After noon the big moment arrived. I pulled the truck in lign with the newly cleaned garage bay. Next I pulled my side view mirror in and eased the truck into the garage. With a little help from my wife I nudged the front bumper against the front wall. IT FIT! It fit by about 2 inches and I had to squeeze out the driver door to get out. I was both excited that it fit, but defeated in that I probably wouldn't be jamming the truck into the garage every night.

My most realistic option is to let my wife park the Neon inside while I continue to park outside. At least I know it will fit should we be expecting severe weather. I will probably let my brother install a remote starter on it so I can let it run for a few minutes on those mornings where frost has settled . I'm the guy driving down the street with my head sticking out the window for about 2 miles while the defroster clears the windshield for SAFE driving. The remote starter will also come in handy during the summer months when we have 100 degree days. I could shut it off with the AC set on full blast and then allow it to cool down before getting into my new black Silverado.

Tonight we stuffed the garage with furniture as we have installers coming tomorrow to start the process of installing hardwoods. Wiccachicky would be pleased to know that we chose Lowes! So if you are planning to visit this week you have to wait until Thursday since the install will take 3 days.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In A Pickle

Since I am partaking in the Weight Watchers program I've come to like a few foods that are FREE(no limits) on the plan. Last week I happed to purchase a sliced pickle made by Claussen and they served me well as a late night snack, and then I ran out. I went to 2 place Saturday looking for them and couldn't find them. I ended up buying Vlasic pickles and didn't like them. I then purchased Mt. Olive pickles and didn't care for them either.

Tonight I had a little time after dropping my daughter off at church so I drove to a different grocery store, no luck. I faught traffic and went to a 2nd store. Again I struck out. Determined to find them I went to a 3rd store. While peeking down the aisles looking for the "pickles" sign I ran into someone from school who is also doing the WW program. I told her I was looking for pickles and immediately she said, "You're looking for the Claussens aren't you?" My eyes must have lit up. YES! We discussed how they were different and she said that they are always refridgerated. After a brisk scavenger hunt we found them in the back corner of the store. I really felt like I hit the jackpot. I ended up buying 2 jars, one of 1/2 pickles and another of slices.

After eating a point's worth of Light chips I partook of the spoils of a good Claussen pickle.

I weigh tomorrow. I lost 6.6 pounds the first week. Not too sure about this week. I really only blew it one day and that was last Friday. Will let you know.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

One Week

Last Thurday I went to my first Weight Watcher's meeting and it has already been one week. I am on the counting points system and I really feel that I've done pretty well. I am allowed 28 points a day and a bonus 35 to spread out if I need them during the week. I've only used about 3 of my bonus points and I earned 3 by working out one day.

I'll go Thursday to meeting number 2 and will let you know how much I've lost.

Counting points has really helped me be conscious about what I am shoveling into my mouth. It also helps me make better choices when it comes to deciding what to eat. A typical day for me might involve the following:

Breakfast: Egg McMuffin and hashbrown 10 points
Lunch: SmartOne entree from Weight Watchers 5 points
Chick Fil A for dinner: 4 tenders and 1/2 order of fries 10 points
Weight watchers ice cream for a snack: 2 points
1 serving of a rice snack: 1 point

28 points for the day

Pickles and vegetables are free so when I feel the urge to nibble I will have a dill pickle spear. My weakness has been filling some of the points with 2 milk servings, fruits, and getting enough water.

I do have room for improvement.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


High school volleyball announcing ended for me about 3 weeks ago and tonight officially kicked off the girls basketball season and I am announcing my 3rd year for the girls. If the boys coach ever asks I'll probably start announcing my 4th year for the boys program. I've also announced football, wresting one year and most likely will do softball next spring. I really enjoy announcing and get so pumped up for the player introductions. I used to get nervous, but now I do most of the announcing unscripted. During the volleyball season on 2 occasions referees made comments that I was the best announcer that they've every heard. I loved hearing that. Our athletic trainer usually comments, "Great music tonight."

I do my best to present a quality product on a paupers budget. I have rag tag cds put together and remixed over and over. During the players warm ups I will play mostly music that the players have put together as long as it is clean, clean from words and suggestiveness. It is difficult screening some of the crap that is out there. Once the game is going I feel it is my job to keep the tempo of the crowd and game itself upbeat. Whether we are up 20 points or down 20 I try to stay upbeat. In the past I was told that a visiting coach had complaints that I was more of a cheerleader than an announcer so I have toned down my biased game calling.

On a typical night I may leave the house about 6:30 for a 7:3o game that could go as late as 9:30. I think I make about $35 a game and it does tie up about 3 hours of my time. My question is, "Is it really worth it?" During basketball season I may announce 2 nights a week taking me away from family. When my wife stayed home the extra $200-$300 a month did come in handy, but now the extra isn't as crucial. All told I do REALLY enjoy being around the athletes, the games and sports in general. I always said I wish I could announce full time and teach part time.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Habit or Addiction?

In 1996 my mother quit smoking "cold turkey" after suffering a heart attack that doctors contributed to her smoking for 40+ years.

During the summer of 2004 my father quit drinking alcohol "cold turkey" after doctors told him his liver couldn't handle any more alcohol and if he didn't quit he might be dead within 12 months.

If you asked my parents to quit these "bad habits" before their near death experiences they probably couldn't have stopped. Although my dad drank everyday for over 40 years he felt he could stop any time he wanted. Thankfully he wanted and could. Does this mean he had a drinking habit or a drinking addiction? My mother still craves a cigarette now and then, but doesn't give in thankfully.

Could one person have a bad habit while another person has an addiction? Am I addicted to eating bad food, or is it a habit? Right now I am trying to break some bad eating habits. This will probably mean avoiding situations that put me into temptation's way. As I think about instituting discipline it is tough to do, but when successful the feeling is awesome.

Laundry or Dishes?

Would you rather do the laundry or the dishes?

2 of the main chores around here that sometimes get neglected are washing and folding clothes along with doing the dishes. If I had to chose one that I'd do and assign my wife the other then I would pick doing the dishes. I don't mind washing clothes, but folding is another issue. Picture planes taking off from airports with nowhere to land. That kind of describes the way I do laundry. Wash, dry and PILE, PILE some more, PILE again.

That said I guess doing the dishes is no big deal. The only thing I could get better at, just as with the laundry, is unloading the dishwasher when they are clean. That way I could rinse and place dirty dishes as I use them instead of letting them stack up in the sink and get a little crusty.

Now that I've posted I would say that I just like washing the clothes and the dishes. I just don't like putting things away.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat?

Top 5 Things I Like About Halloween
5. Handing out candy(for about the 1st hour)
4. Variety of candy given out
3. Smaller kids and creative costumes
2. Seeing my kids trick or treat
1. Adult Halloween parties

Top 5 Things I Dislike About Halloween
5. Cost of giving out GOOD candy
4. Kids that don't dress up expecting candy
3. Knocks on the door even when the light is out
2. Keeping my kids from eating it ALL in one night
1. Teens who go around for candy

I sometimes turn into a party pooper on nights like Halloween. I do enjoy it SOME, but the enjoyment wears down quickly as I see teens who have no business trick or treating. At least put out the cigarette tough guy, OH, you're James Dean. Does a child less than 1 year old in a stroller really need a bag for candy? I think neighborhoods need to coordinate the pre-dark trick or treating where GOOD candy is given out and then give out the cheap stuff after dark when all the kids outside the neighborhood come looking for freebies.

The number one thing I liked about HALLOWEEN while attending a Catholic High School was November 1st, ALL SAINTS DAY where we had the day off.

November is here. Look for changes!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Left for St. Louis Friday the 27th to spend time and celebrate my father's 66th birthday. I took a friend who had never been to St. Louis. Our first item on the agenda was bowling. We watched the Cardinals win the World Series in the confines of my father's 2 car garage. I told my dad that I got him a World Series for his birthday.

Saturday we watched OU embarrass MU much to the delight of my OU supporting friend. I took this friend on a small tour of St. Louis. We had Ted Drewes for lunch and he just said, "It's just ice cream just like Dairy Queen. For dinner we had thin crust pizza. Fittingly I dropped a chunck of sausage on my white Rams sweatshirt and it bounced around on my light tan pants. My friend Jon supplied me with a pair of shorts. At night we played cards well past midnight, but didn't lose much sleep since it was daylight savings time.

Sunday was spend with family munching on salty fried foods. We had a mini-birthday celebration for my dad and ended up the night playing cards.

Monday I went looking for St. Louis Cardinals World Series stuff. I ended up getting a special made embroidered sweatshirt that both my wife and I can share. I did splurge on a Cardinal cap at the airport gift shop. We made it home about 5:30pm Monday.

All told I think my friend had a fun trip. I got to enjoy family and food from my hometown. I did sleep on couches 3 nights in a row so sleeping in my bed last night was priceless.

Today I got to stay home with my sick daughter.

Trick or Treat!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No Caffeine

2 weeks ago I sat at a local bar and grill and had about 5 diet Pepsi's along with 2 baskets of chips and hot sauce while watching the Cowboys/Eagles game followed by the Cardinals/Mets games. It was at this time that I decided that I would forego soda altogether and give up caffeine along the way. I made it one week with no soda and no caffeine. I only had one or 2 days of mild headaches. I was feeling better overall too until I got on the scale. I hadn't lost any weight. It kind of disappointed me to the point that I started drinking sodas again, but with sugar and caffeine. Doing this I did drink less water.

Today I was all ready to give in to caffeine while we sat down at a local BBQ place until I noticed that they had caffeine free diet Coke. I didn't have to compromise my mission. Although the caffeine isn't the problem for me, it's the snacking. This I hope to address when I come back from my St. Louis trip. If you've read my blogs for long you know I add about 5 pounds each time I go back home. This time won't be any different. I will not deny myself.

When I get back on the 30th though I may need to call Jenny or go by Weight Watchers. A friend of mine has lost about 40 pounds drinking nothing but water. He was drinking a case of water a day=3 gallons. We'll see!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bad Customer Service

I pay pretty close attention to things such as customer service and noticed 3 situations recently where the customer was definitely not #1.

1. LA Fitness: I parked my new truck out where nobody would park near me and I watched a car take the closest spot to the door. 2 of the trainers climbed out and proceeded into the gym. They were at the gym during my whole workout so they just didn't stop by. To me it is obvious that employees should not take the closest spots.

2. Taco Cabana: I went by one night this week around 6:45 pm to pick up dinner. I was about 3rd or 4th in line and I waited and waited and waited. The young girl at the counter apologized for the wait each time she helped a new customer. When I finally got to order it was obvious that she was new on the job. Why was she the ONLY cashier DURING rush hour? Do they only use the 2nd register during lunch?

3. WalMart: Upon entering the store one of the lot lizards was gathering carts and was ready to bring them into the store. Thing was, he was smoking. Then when we left the store 2 employees were sitting withing about 100 feet of the entrance smoking. Customers should NOT have to walk past smoking employees.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Easy Week

It has been an easy week thus far. Last Friday the students had the day off as teachers held parent meetings. We were off Monday and then Tuesday had a less than exciting staff development day. The kids came back today and it was really a catch up and review day since Thursday and Friday we are giving an assessment. I imagine I'll take the time while the students are testing to get lesson plans inline for next week. My trip to St. Louis will take place Friday Oct. 27th. I'm getting excited about that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Call Off the Dogs

We finally purchased a 2nd vehicle, but what was it?
A. 2002 Saturn SL2
B. 84 Jeep CJ-7
C. 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport
D. 2007 Chevy Silverado

Last weekend I noticed an ad for a Smartbuy(lease) purchase on a 2007 Chevy Silverado extended cab: $169 a month for a 3 year lease with $1500 down. I went into our local dealer Tuesday night to see if they could match the deal PLUS I qualify for the GM discount. They gave me a little bit of a run around so I left. Saturday morning I went in at 8:15 and after an hour of waiting I got a much better deal than I was looking for.

D. 2007 Chevy Silverado Extended Cab, Black, 6 cyl, work truck. It's called a work truck because it has rubber floors, manual locks and windows and just an FM radio, but it won't see much work. We've put about 70 miles on it in 2 days and I'm really confident that we did the right thing. For 3 years I have a CHEAP payment, I only put $500 down, and we'll not have out of pocket expenses for 3 years. All told here is how the deal ended up:

$22,300 MSRP
$20,200 Invoice
$19300 GM Employee Pricing
- 2,500 rebate
- 1,000 October bonus rebate
- 700 Smartbuy rebate
- 1000 Bonus certificate my dad had
$14,200 BUY PRICE!

That's over $8000 off retail or about a 40% discount! Once again, I'm frugal, NOT cheap! I bought a full sized Chevy truck cheaper than I could buy a Kia or a Hyundai!

I thank all of my RESOURCEful friends for the rides!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Tried to Buy a Truck Tonight

I saw a Sunday dealer ad for a 2007 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup, 6 cyl, automatic with AC for $169 a month on a 3 year lease with about $2500 total out of pocket including taxes, title, and license. I took the ad to a local dealer to see what they could do. We were met by a newbie salesman who knew less than I did and a few times mentioned that maybe we could take the truck home tonight. My family was there and my wife checked to see how the kids would do with the extended cab seating and it seems like the truck is a good fit.I took my family home so I could work on the numbers. I qualify for the Employee Discount plan because my dad is a GM retiree so I figured a little more discounting would be in order. I also would have $1000 additional incentives thru a certificate that my dad received from GM. After being there for about an hour my $169 aspirations with little or no down turned into a $200+ payment with about $1000 out of pocket. The payment went up about $50 AND I still had to put some money down. I walked!Guess I should call back the dealer who actually had the ad in the paper, although I prefer buying locally.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Day of Rest

Today in our bible study class we looked at Hebrews 3 and the topic of God resting on the 7th day was discussed.

What if anything do you do to keep Sunday a special day of rest?

My family has made a conscious decision to not turn the TV on before we go to church. We also only listen to a local Christian station that plays gospel music as we drive to church. As for the rest of the day I do think overall we treat it a little differently than we do Saturday. We try our best to have both kids take naps. This time of year I often relax with the newspaper and multi-task by watching football and eating snacks. I have rarely drink any alcohol on Sundays. There have been times when I've done yardwork, but that is a good time for me to meditate and get a little workout.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Ones That Got Away

I'm not talking about Becky, Brenda, or Michelle, I'm talking about cars. In my month long search for cars I've found 3 worth calling on. When I've called they were "just sold." The first one really crushed my spirits. I'll list them in order.

1991 Jeep Commanche pickup, 5 spd, 110,000 miles. This was listed by an individual on for $1695. We could have definitely paid cash for that. We could have kept our Jeep tradition alive and even had a 6 cylinder vehicle we could use for hauling stuff.

1998 Saturn SL2, auto, 97,000 miles, very clean. This was listed by a wholesale dealer on for $2950.

2002 Saturn SL1, 5spd, 89,000 miles, very clean. A dealer about 50 miles away had this one listed on for $3900. Overall this one seems like it was the best overall deal. I did go to the dealers website and most of their cars are Toyotas and Lexuses over $10,000. They had a 2002 Honda Civic with MORE miles for $8900. It blows my mind that the Hondas and Toyotas have incredible resale value.

We did find a new pizza place today within about 10 miles of our house that makes St. Louis style, thin crust pizza, with provel cheese. It was a little pricey, but GOOD!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Latest

The Good
I've gotten to sleep past 7 most days this week.
I booked airline tickets for St. Louis the end of the month.
Still no car payments!
My family is healthy.
Card night is FRIDAY night!

The Bad
We've been getting 90 degree days.
My "clients" are really grating at me.
I need to break my daughter of her tantrums.
I need rides everywhere.
After hour "required" meetings are wearing me out.

The Ugly
I'm not enjoying work.
I have not been to the gym this week.
I've had a FAT week.

I did make chili tonight. IT IS GOOD! It will season a little more over night and I'll take it to card night. No real commitments this weekend. Might detail a car Saturday.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bonus Sleep

I actually got about 8+ hours of sleep last night and it was refreshing. It doesn't end there because this upcoming week my wife is off school so I won't have to be at school until close to 8am so I'll get to sleep until 7am instead of getting up at 6am or earlier. This is a welcome change after having to leave the house every morning before 7am.

Still looking for a 2nd car. The car search is tough if you are like me and you refuse to go to a dealer's lot and pay about $2000 to $3000 profit to the dealer. I am treating buying a car like I treat food.....a 1/2 price deal or even one for FREE!

Good sports day for a St. Louis fan. The Cardinals limped into the playoffs and the Rams outlast the lowly Lions.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

what time is it?

Went to sleep Friday night about midnight and fully exhausted. I awoke about 1am to make bathroom trip #1 since I drank 2 diet Pepsis between 9-11pm. I laid back down and heard a few voices and what I though was the sound of people playing pool. When someone breaks a fresh rack in pool it makes a distinct marble and marble sound. It wasn't close enough by to keep me awake so I fell back asleep. Then at about 5:30am I awoke for bathroom trip #2 and heard the pool balls clanging again. It is still dark at this time so I figured I could look out my back door and see if I could locate the billiards game. I could see a house in a small cul de sac nearby that had 2 guys shooting pool in the garage with both doors open. This gargage was converted into a bar-like pool hall. It was painted red and I could see some decor that suggested that it was more of a party place than a car or storage place.

I can only imagine the people in the cul de sac who could hear and better see what was going on. It has been nice enough to sleep with windows open so I am sure someone else was kept awake by the game. My mischevious mind thought I could go about 9am with my daughter and take her fund raising information, ring the door bell, and wake them up.

I know of at least 3 houses that have pool tables in garages in my small neighborhood. In Missouri we put them in basements. I guess a garage would make for easier unloading and setting up.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm NOT Taking It

You know those times when someone tries to give you money for something and you refuse to take it. It can be an awkward moment. It happened to me tonight as I showed up to mow for a friend from church who was recovering from stitches so he couldn't mow. He had emailed me yesterday and I originally was going to mow last night, but got talked into going to the auto auction so I postponed mowing since my friend said as long as it was done by Saturday.

I showed up right at 6pm expecting him to be on his date with his wife, but he was getting his equipment out so we chatted a little bit. I started the mower and started cutting grass when my friend starts to hand me a $20. I simply said I wasn't taking it and he insisted that I take it. The conversation went something like this:

Friend: Here take this.
Me: I'm not taking that.
Friend: Here, put it in your pocket.
Me: I don't have pockets.
Friend: I'm leaving it here on the table.
Me: It might blow away.
Friend: If you don't take it I will mail it to you.

So what ultimately happened? He left the $20 on the table and I almost forgot about it. I went ahead and took it knowing it would easily cover my Chick Fil A order in the morning.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

High Anxiety

I have been experiencing a level of high anxiety today. The following are partial reasons that I am experiencing anxiety:

1. Frustration with students in general not listening to directions.
2. Still one car and my mind is racing on who I'm riding with and when.
3. I need a sub for Wednesday and it took me 2 hours to prepare after school.
4. I need to mow for about 3 people AND I have one car and a broken mower.
5. I'm out Wednesday, but I still need to get bagels to school.
6. Exciting H.S. volleyball game tonight. We won in 5, needing overtime.
7. While announcing I ran out of battery power for the mic.
8. Before running out of power I said the wrong name for OUR team, first time ever.
9. I felt like I needed to verbally unload when I got home and my wife was on the phone for an hour. Usually she wants to spill verbage.
10. I lost a student and got a new one today.
11. I'm tired.

Hope I can sleep.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Car Update

Still no 2nd vehicle. We did test drive a 98 Volvo GLT Turbo Sedan Friday night, but I'm not too sure if this car will be on the market because the potential sellers are looking at the new 07 Civic CRV that will be coming out this week. I would anticipate a scarce number of them being available, and knowing Honda they will probably sell over sticker until their lots fill up.

Consumer reports calls the Volvo reliable, but many people that I've read reviews from dog it for it's electrical glitches and say that when you do need a repair it is very expensive. It does have 96,000 miles and I've been told by the seller that for some reason the AC/heater fan occasionally stops for a few days before restarting. Hmmm? May be a good buy if we can get it below private party book value.

Our dilemna is whether to look for something about $2000 that we can pay cash, or find something a little nicer and borrow about $3000 from the bank.

Nicer weather is here! YEAH!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Houston Update

The travel to Houston was a safe one. We avoided all rain and most traffic. We arrived at our hotel, Club Quarters Houston at 3:30pm in time to check in, freshen up and walk to the stadium. You can see Minute Maid Park from the front door of our hotel(about 8 blocks). We were one of the first 10,000 fans to enter the park so we each received a Roger Clemens bobble head doll. Since it was early we decided to take them back to our rooms instead of keep them with us during the game and afterwards.

Houston right now is hot, humid, yet breezy. I was soaked from the 8 block walk to our hotel and had to change shirts before going back. Lucky for us the stadium is a dome and was climate controlled just right.

Watched a good game and my 60% stock on the Cardinals winning went belly up. Another late inning dramatic win for the Astros. After the game we stopped by our hotel to change out of our Cardinal clothing before we headed off to The Flying Saucer right around the corner. It is a place that serves about 100 draught beers as well as 200 bottled beers. We ordered a few drinks and a late dinner. *FOOD critique ahead: I ordered a plate where I got to pick from a list of salamis and meats as well as cheeses. The pick 2 was $7.99. We received a wimpy 4 slices of Genoa salami and a small wedge of Cotswold cheese garnished with a few almonds, grapes, crusty bread peices and dressings. AND no fork or knife to cut or spread the cheese with.

Worked out this morning and we will head back for North Texas around 11am. Be home in time to see if the Cardinals can beat Clemens in his possible last game as an Astro.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Houston Here I Come

Leaving for Houston this morning to catch tonight's game between MY St. Louis Cardinals and the Astros. I've watched the last 2 games on tv and the Cardinals have coughed up late inning leads only to lose in dramatic style. Tonight the Astros will pitch their best pitcher and who knows which batting practice pitcher the Cardinals will be using.

I've wanted to take this trip for about 5 years and I'm finally going with a church friend who grew up outside St. Louis. My happiness rests about 60% on the Cardinals winning, 20% enjoying time spent with a friend, and 20% the experience of visiting a different Major League ballpark.

If you watch the game tonight I'll be in the bleachers right next to that little burm(hill) in right center field. I might be wearing my PUJOS #5 jersery.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


This weekend was our growing city's flea market called Trade Days. It happens every month on the 3rd weekend. My mom was visiting with her sister and they are professionals when it comes to flea markets and yard sales so we took them Saturday morning. This flea market is the perfect size because with steady movement my wife and I can get thru it with the kids in less than 2 hours.

For me the draw is trying to find a decent ball cap for about $5. I didn't have any luck this time because most hats were of the Mexican or Texas football varieties. I almost pulled the trigger on a $4 red Addidas hat or a $3 Budweiser Dale Jr. hat, but resisted. One stand also has multi pack socks for cheap but there was no need at this time. My wife did find one vendor who was selling ALL of his shirts for $1. This included decent thread count Fruit of the Loom t-shirts as well as a few short sleeved golf style pull over shirts. I ended up buying 2 shirts, one a reddish-maroon and another a color that Billyv would probably like to have....a burnt orange Texas Longhorn colored shirt. It actually had a tie dyed effect across the chest. I wore both shirts this weekend and washed them. They didn't shrink or fade. What a deal.

The cool thing was getting a couple of compliments on my burnt orange shirt Monday. Little did they know the shirt only cost $1. I guess next time I'll spend the $3 to park and walk straight to this vendor. It might help if I went on Friday for a better selection. Buy at least 10 shirts and clear out old shirts to give to Goodwill. At least I wouldn't feel so bad staining or ruining a shirt that only cost me $1.

Now if I could only find a car for $1.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


When our last computer was on the outs we weighed our options for our 3rd ever computer purchase. In the previous 8 years that we were married we have owned 2 Compaq computers. Both of them were of the separate monitor and tower kinds. I personally checked out computers online and in stores and decided that a laptop would do all that we needed it to do and it was just as cheap if not cheaper than most tower driven computers. We settled on the $499(after all rebates) Toshiba laptop. It has been wonderful. I'll probably never own a modem towered computer again.


The laptop takes up so much less space. We've also taken the laptop on long trips and it has acted as a DVD player, gaming system and music player. I've been able to use it at my mother's house in St. Louis and conveniently I don't have to remember any of my passwords for any of my accounts that I use. It also conveniently travels to other places in the house were I have been able to search for cars and such while still being in the same room with my wife....meaning good quality time. I can surf while she either reads or watches TV. Maybe it has kept us closer and not in separate rooms.

So if you are faced with a computer purchase in the future I highly recommend buying a laptop, decent price and convenience.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Water Facts

At the request of Mommyprof I will share some of the interesting(at least to me) facts about water. I have taught a 4 week unit on water and it's properties to my students, 4 times a day. I teach that you could go 2-3 minutes without air, 2-3 days without water, and 2-3 weeks without food. The following are some facts about water:

Water covers 70% of the earth's surface.
Fresh water makes up only 3% of all water.
97% of our fresh water is frozen, most at the poles.
Cold water sinks, hot water rises.
Water is the only element that can naturally
change between it's 3 states: gas, solid, liquid.
Water is the only element where it's solid floats
in it's liquid.
The molecules of water consense(get closer) as
it gets colder and at 4 Celsius, 29 F it EXPANDS.
(that's why ice floats in water)-GOLD cubes
would sink in liquid gold.
The 4 things that help water evaporate are:
heat, wind, surface area, amount of humidity.
Our bodies are 70% water.

We watched a video that said the amount of water on earth never changes so while we are experiencing a drought, somewhere else must be receiving more than their share of rain. If this fact is true and humans are 70% water, then isn't more and more of our available water being used to sustain human bodies? Maybe that is why we are in a drought period.

Drink up! Take showers to conserve water too!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Last Christmas I purchased a paralell bible for my wife. She was wanting The Message and our pastor often reads from the New International Version so I bought one that has both versions side by side. It was a smaller leather bound bible and she loves it. Since it was smaller it only cost $35. The larger leather ones run up to $80 and higher. Ever since then I have really wanted to buy myself a new bible. I've had my last NIV maroon leather bible since about 1992. It is the bible that I marked many sermon dates from 1993-1996 and there are plenty of underlined favorite sections. My favorite bible that I've had was The Life Application hardback student bible that has lots of notes at the bottom. I still have it, but it hasn't had a cover on it in over 5 years. I do usually turn to it when I am doing some serious research.

The first bible that I actually remember receiving as a gift was a New American Standard bible that my mom gave me back in 1981 when I got baptised. It did the job for a while before I bought the ultra slim, sleek, NIV leather bible. I ended up not liking that bible that much and gave it away pre-1990.

That said, when I purchased my wife's birthday gifts on Sept. 2nd I ended up buying myself a similar sized, smaller NIV leather bible like my wife's. I really like it. The print is a decent size. The bible is small and convenient to carry. My first casualty came Sunday when my daughter used it as she drew pictures on paper during church. She missed the paper a few times. I guess I could try to use our couch leather cleaner on it.

One thing I've learned in the past is that leather bibles are pretty durable. My maroon leather bible once got drenched as it road in the trunk of an older Mustang one night. To date it is still a durable bible.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Would Jesus Drink Beer?

Tonight I went to the new Racetrack gas station to air up a tire and fill up my Neon while I was at it. I gassed up the car and proceeded inside to buy my wife a Pepsi and ask if they could turn on the air machine. While walking in a guy was asking everyone for some change. He got some and moved to the front of the line to pay the 7 cent tax on his 99 cent Natural Ice beer. He mumbled something on his way out and another patron threatened to "beat that crackhead if he is still outside."

I had to pull my car over to the air machine and noticed that the guy was standing by the ice machine. I was slightly worried that I could be approached while airing up my tire. Before I could stretch the hose around he was in my personal space telling me his story. "That's my blue car over there and I ran out of gas and I need to get back to xxxxx." He said he worked at a local Honda dealer and had a $750 check, but needed cash for some gas. There I was isolated and basically at this guy's mercy. I told him that I thought I had a few ones to spare and opened my wallet. GREAT, the first thing that shows is a $10. I quickly said that was for my family for breakfast. When I gave him the $3 he said he didn't like to panhandle. I mentioned that I couldn't turn him down because what if he was Jesus just testing to see if I would help out a stranger. This might have been to appeal to any morals that he might have had. A worker came out to dump trash and he backed away a little bit. He asked for a ride to somewhere and I declined. He then asked for any other spare change and I emptied my pockets of about 50 cents.

I couldn't help but wonder if he thought I believed that it was really his car.

If it was Jesus would he really be drinking a Natural Ice? If it was Jesus would I get any credit for giving out of fear?

The $3 I saved with gas being cheaper just went to buy some guy more beer or some crack.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Blue Ice

Tuesday's science lab requires the use of blue ice. I taught this lesson last year and really look forward to teaching it again. If you use food coloring to make blue ice you can then put the blue ice cube in a cup of water and see what happens. As the ice melts the blue water sinks to the bottom of the cup of clear room water temperature. A whole more dense/less dense activity that I have been teaching for about 2 weeks.

Problem is while prepping the lesson at school today I could not find ice cube trays. I had them last year and for some reason they are not in my science kit. Our science lab was practically dismantled to make room for an extra regular classroom so many of the materials were distributed across the grade levels. I looked and looked and did not find the treys. So tonight I went to Big luck. I then went to grocery store luck. Then off to grocery store luck. I decided to purchase the bathroom sized solo drink cups and make my cubes with them. I went to luck. My debit card was in a pair of shorts at home.

I drove back home and finally located the shorts. They were in the dryer and the card was not in the pockets. I unloaded the dryer and stuck to the back of the dryer was my debit card. It was melted a little bit, but when I went back to the store it worked.

Bottom line is, science goes on. Do you think I should be able to comp. out the 1 1/2 hours that I spent looking for ice cube trays? AND when did ice cube trays get phased out?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Addicted to Jeeps

I have found myself spending hours online looking for Jeep CJ-7s. If you've been trying to call I apologize. In the past I would blame the busy signal on my blogging addictions or my desire to play poker online(FREE KIND). Since selling our Jeep Liberty our thoughts and efforts have casually turned to looking for a 2nd mode of transportation. I really feel that I am an educated consumer. I've been through the Consumer Reports used card book trying to weed out cars with bad scores(nearly all American made cars). I've looked thru the local paper classifieds for new and used cars. Last week I went to the auto auction.

Our possible choices for vehicles under the $5000 mark includes: Jeep Cherokee, Dodge Neon, Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Stratus. All which score poorly with CR. This weekend my wife and I have probably spent 6 hours looking online at CJ-7s. My sources have been,, and Ebay. Last night my wife found the car we are looking for. A 1980 Jeep CJ-7 with an 8 cylinder motor and a hardtop for only $6000. Cheap if you know Jeeps. Problem is, it is in Georgia. How can someone realistically buy something they haven't seen or driven?

This morning at church I had to confess my coveting or lusting for a Jeep CJ-7. I've owned 2 in my life, but it has been nearly 10 years. Believe it or not they were cheaper back then.

Anyone out there with a CJ-7 for sale?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One Car Blues

It has been a tough 2 weeks being a one car family. To start the day it means that my wife has to drop me and my daughter off at school one hour early. That translates into waking up 30 minutes earlier and no messing around. I get to school at 7am. Somehow I've managed to keep Bagel Wednesday, Cinamon Roll Thursday and Chick Fil A Friday intact. Give my wife credit for getting 3 people ready and me ONE. I do brush the kid's teeth though.

I have been stranded at school and last Friday had to borrow a vehicle to pick up our lunches since I am the Food and Beverage Specialist. After school a "resourceful" friend has taken my daughter and myself to the gym where I work out and get picked up at 5:30pm by my wife. Or on Wednesdays and today my wife picks me up after 5pm. I did get a little bit of school work completed today.

It is my team's weekend to mow at church and usually I take my lawn mower in my Jeep and go mow, either Thursday, Friday and sometimes Saturday. I am not going to mow this weekend although tonight it did successfully shove my mower into the trunk of my 2000 Dodge Neon. I mowed a yard that I had already received cash for. Cash is KING!

That said, a few people have offered to let us borrow spare vehicles. One is a 97 Jeep Wrangler that my neighbor has. I would hate for something to be stolen out of it. Maybe I could use it on weekends. A church friend offered to let us use their mid 90 model Ford truck. This might work because their home owner association gets on to them for leaving it parked in the street.

I did enjoy the auction and will probably go back in the future. We are going to take our time with NO car payments and just know that God will provide the right vehicle. Even if it is the 97 Dodge Neon, 5sp, 2dr, NO A/C car that we drove from 1998-2000. Small world, but it could happen.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Auto Auction

I've sold cars retail. I've bought cars new and used. I've also sold personal cars. One thing I've never experienced was a wholesale dealers auto auction. A good friend from church had some insight about a local auto auction and we went tonight to look at cars since we are a one car family. I learn on the way the this friend's step brother owns the auction. His brother in law buys and sells cars and owns a nearby car lot. And his sister works the Wednesday night auction. Talk about a family affair.

We arrrived at 6:30 to check out some cars. There were at least 150 cars running thru 3 auction lines simultaneously. I am looking for a car in the $3000-$4000 range. Once I find a car and win it on a bid I would still owe a purchase fee to the auction place and $500 to the brother in law since he would have to handle all the paperwork. This would turn a $4000 car into about a $4700 car. Not bad considering to buy a similar car on a dealer lot might cost at least $6000.

There were people everywhere scoping out their personal favorites. I'm sure there are many niches for dealers to buy for. I learned that $15 would get me a 12 oz. ribeye and I was tormented by the smell of good ol' fried foods. Next time I won't eat before hand. There was also plenty of beer being drank. It was almost like I was at a festival of some kind.

The following describes some of the cars I was interested in:

01 Jeep Cher. Sport, 105,000 miles, black, 4wd, auto-did not sell-reserve $5300
02 Jeep Liberty, 85,000 miles, blue, 2wd, auto-did not meet reserve-last bid $7950
01 Chrys. Town & Country van, Silver, 104,000-SOLD $4000
98 Jeep Cherokee, 124,000, 2wd, auto-did not meet $3800 reserve

I learned that many cars did not sell. A 2000 Hyundai sold for $800. A Dodge Conversion van with new tires that could hold 20 migrant workers sold for $1100.

If you buy a car you have one hour to check it out. Drive it off the lot and really test it out on the road. Upside is that you save at least $1500-$2500 on what it would cost on the open market. And just like a car you buy on the open market it would be AS-IS. If the 01 Black Sport wasn't 4wd and automatic it probably would have been in my price range. I'll go back next time a little more wiser.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor/Memorial Days

For as long as I can remember I have misnamed the holidays of Labor and Memorial Day over 1/2 the time. Kind of like getting someone's name wrong the first time so you mess it up all along. We didn't go anywhere for the big weekend. Friday night was card night, Saturday was date night, Sunday was my wife's birthday and we went to a kid's birthday party and today it rained all day long. First time it has rained all day since before Memorial Day. It has been kind of nice.

I spent about 3 hours shopping for my wife. She prefers not to tell me what she wants and she really likes surprises. After being married for 11 years it is really hard for me to buy her things. I refuse to buy jewelry because it gets lost or broken in a short manner. I have tried my best not to buy her "guy" type gifts: sporting equipment, gift certificates, etc. After my flower flop on Friday I decided I would buy her $50 in flowers that she could plant or such. I ended up buying her a gift card to a local nursery. I also got her 6 other little to medium sized gifts and overall she seems very pleased.

We are still using one car. I need to complete our sale. The title came Friday and the buyer was supposed to come by and finish it all up, but something came up. Haven't heard from him since. He's got the car and I've got the title. Guess he could return it and I have a car that is paid off!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Flowers or Not?

My wife's birthday is this Sunday and she doesn't like to tell me what to get her for her birthday. Unlike my dad I refuse to buy giftcards or give cash as a birthday gift so I try to be creative. I thought about sending her flowers at school and then last night about 10pm I realized I hadn't ordered them yet. My excuses could be that we had a busy week since we only have one car now and our schedule is out of whack and last night was curriculum night at school. I got online and searched for florists and found one called sunshine-florist. I ordered a European arrangement for $40 plus delivery. I clicked order and entered my credit card info. I made a cute card and ask that it be sent to her school. I thought it was a great idea. I could kill 2 birds with one stone since she got a new position AND it will be her birthday. I could make her feel special amongst her peers.

As the day went on I tracked the purchase and by noon it wasn't delivered. I called 3 times before 3 and they assured me it would be delivered. By 3:30 I gave up since my wife was about to leave school. Fortunately I was able to cancel the order and get my $50 refunded.

Long story short, I got to tell my wife that I TRIED to deliver flowers to her school. Now I can let her spend $50 on flowers at a local nursery and she'll really enjoy planting them out front since hopefully the drought and heat wave is over.

Now I just have to figure out what else to buy her since she hasn't given me any hints. Problem is we have ONE car and she'll have to stay home while I shop.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Purple Little Pill

Last weekend I suffered some severe heartburn. If you know me I always sleep within arms length of a bottle of Tums. My general rule of thumb is when I'm eating fine I don't have heartburn. If I am eating junk, which I have been, I get heartburn often. Sunday night I found the big bottle of Nexium that my mom had given me 9 months ago. I have taken one pill a night for 5 straight nights. The heartburn is gone and I've actually slept better. No waking up reaching for the Tums. I think one of the side effects is GAS. I am having a hard time making it through the day without putting myself in embarrassing situations. When you are in front of kids 2 1/2 hours at a time it is hard to keep excusing myself to the restroom.

My embarrassing moment came Wednesday as I sat in a leather chair while the students worked on a project. The gas build up was more than I could bear so I decided to let out a little "tester." I would see if I could slip one out silently and odorlessly. Relieve a little pressure. It was silent, but DEADLY. A few students started gasping and asking who dealt it. After a few seconds of commotion I threatened a few girls because they were "off task." They had the nerve to ask me if I had eaten beans for lunch.

So what should I do? Take the purple little pill only on occasion, or keep taking the pill knowing I'll get better sleep at the expense of my colleagues and students?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cake or Death

If you ever watch an Eddie Izzard stand up comedy routine make sure you see Dressed to Kill. In his monologue he talks about the Inquisition and how things might have been if the English were in charge. The following is a sample of dialogue:

Cake or death?
Cake please!
Very well.
Cake or death?
Uh, I'll have the cake.
Cake or death?
We've had a run on cake so it will be death.
But I want cake.
Oh, alright then.
Cake or death.
Death please. I MEAN CAKE.
Oh, you said death!

This came to mind as I sat and watched Animal Planet's Most Extreme as they analyzed the world's deadliest animals. More people are killed by hyenas, jelly fish and scorpions than sharks. Scorpions kill more than 1000 people a year. Yet, here in America sharks get all the publicity. Just as many more people are killed in car accidents than plane crashes, people fear flying more than riding in cars.

In other news: The Jeep is sold and delivered. It only got into the 80's today AND we got plenty of rain. Summer isn't over yet, but today was a breath of fresh air.

Friday, August 25, 2006

General Things

Successfully made it thru the 2nd week of school although we are currently experiencing our 19th consecutive day of 100 PLUS temperatures. This is rough on everyone because a few days it has been too hot to have outdoor recess and the other days it is almost too hot to stand outside monitoring the kids. The 10 day forecast calls for 2 more 100+ days and it looks like starting next Monday we will have temps ONLY in the 90's.

Seems like we have our Jeep sold. We will be a one car family without any car payments. In my 11 years of marriage we may have been without car payments for about 3 months. It is a nice feeling not being upside down on a trade or being stuck in a car we don't like. Pray our 2000 Neon serves us well. Not sure when we are going to pull the trigger on a used car. May go to an auction with a friend.

Made it to the gym 5 days in a row and have exercised 6 in a row. This may be harder to do since my wife will have to drop me off at school and she wouldn't generally pick me up until 5pm or later. A "resourceful" friend may give me rides to the gym after school and my wife could pick me up from there.

3 birthday parties for the daughter on Saturday. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Guess I'll have son duty then. Need to thoroughly clean the Jeep in 100 degree heat!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

School Start Dates

I think the legislature of Big State finally passed a law that pushes back the start dates for schools next year. Actually there is a law already in place, but districts are allowed to petition and ask for an earlier start date and they are always granted the request. The new start dates will be the week of the 20 something as opposed to the August 7th start date that my wife's district had this year.

I remember starting school the Tuesday after Labor Day. YES, we started in September. I still remember those damp dew laden mornings that required a light jacket be worn. There was a true sense of seasons changing. Here in Big State it is August 23 and temperatures are still in the high 90's, low 100's. This means kids do not get outdoor recess if the temps hit 95. They only get 10 minutes if it gets up to 90. Forecast thru Wednesday, August 30th call for temps in the high 90's-low 100's. This is ridiculous.

I would be all for school starting after Labor Day weekend, we trim a few days off of our extended holidays, and school let out mid-June. The kids would truly be off school the hottest dog days of summer. Right now they ask all morning what the temperature is because their favorite time of the day is RECESS, then LUNCH, then MY CLASS!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Locked Out

My wife was outside tonight and I followed my daughter out as I was carrying out a bag of trash. I proceeded to shut the door behind me before realizing my son was wanting to come out also. I called out to my daughter asking her to open the door. She told me it was locked. Great, we were locked out and my 2 year old was inside. I peaked in the window next to the door motioning to him to unlock the door. I could hear him moving the deadbolt. I'm sure he was locking the door even more. He remained calm and finally opened unlocked the door. I knew he could because he has unlocked and opened the door before and let himself outside without us knowing. He's a pretty smart guy. Takes after his mommy.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

One Car Family

A guy I know thru church and school came by today and took our 2003 Jeep Liberty for a test drive. I let him have it the whole afternoon because he is in need of a 2nd vehicle. Our lease is up late November and we have 2000 miles left to spare. Our dilemna is whether or not to sell it right now. I think he is interested in buying it since he is between jobs and he needs a vehicle to drive to interviews. If we sell it we will then be a one car family. It will only disrupt our life a little bit as my wife could drop my daughter and me by school on the way to her school. We would only do this until we could buy a cheap 2nd hand car. We are a little apprehensive about this, but trust things will work out.

I am going to break down the financial potentials of our vehicle.

Actual cash value or trade in value is $9000.
Selling it outright we could expect to get $11000.
Retail similar vehicles are sitting on lots for $14995.

There is a $6000 discrepancy between what a dealer is willing to give and and for what it will try to sell it for. We are actually only trying to break even and that means selling it for about $10600.

Seeking reliable transportation, willing to spend up to $4000.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Anger Management

I turned myself in to AMA today, Anger Management Anonymous. I have never raised my voice to my wife in the 11 years that we have been married, but that doesn't stop me from yelling at my kids. I have a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy and they are really good kids. Our daughter never gave us an ounce of trouble until our son turned 2 in June. It really started before he was 1 when he started getting most of the attention you could see her doing whatever she could to be recognized too. Now that they are old enough to interact it seems that the past 2 months there have been more negatives than positives. First off our son started getting "bullying" reports from church. Then when he started his daycare late July he was receiving bad reports too.

My daughter has mastered negotiating and she is extremely jealous and possessive while my son is mischevious and onery. One night this week while driving home after dining at Arby's they both started bickering and when I looked back he had a hand full of her hair. He was suprised when some came out and stuck to his shake sticky hands. What was I to do, I was driving? It all came to a head this morning when during the 20 minutes that we have together before heading out to school the "MINE" followed with screaming and hitting started. Both received their consequence. Then my son insisted on having a sippy cup that was full of soured milk. When I gave him a new one he threw a tantrum and reached for the sink where I had just sprayed for ants.

"STOP IT!" I yelled. Then I realized that I just yelled at a 2 year old. All of my Love and Logic training for dealing with behavioral children just went out the window. I thought about it all day and still struggle with how to get control of my kids and their bickering. It has gotten to the point where it is easier to split them up between mommy and daddy and go out seperately. Or take long drives and hope he doesn't yank out her hair.

While driving they can fight over the horses they see out their windows. "MINE" they both claim as it turned into a tennis match of MINES.

What to do?

At least tonight after they played in the sprinkler they both went down without a fight. Praise God!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Here They Come

School starts tomorrow and ready or not the kids will be showing up before 8am. This year will be unique in that my daughter will start kindergarten and she will be attending my school. This is my first school aged child and I've yet to get sentimental about it. Maybe tomorrow. It will be weird just knowing she is in the same building as I am.

Top 5 concerns I have about her being in school:
5. bathroom issues: she won't be able to have mommy or daddy assist in wiping
will she actually take time out to go to the bathroom
4. teacher's kid: will my parenting skills be subject to scrutiny?
3. will she sit still? she had a hard time today sitting still in church worship service
2. new friends: she never has problems making friends, but once recently she was the outsider to 2 friends and she "felt" being left out
1. extra curricular things: If I go early she has to go with me. If there is something after school I have her to take with me.

Other than that she will do fine. I have a great relationship with the teacher that she was assigned to. My biggest worry about school right now is finding a couple pair of comfortable shoes to wear.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

2 Things

Thing 1: Sat through a teacher training yesterday that didn't have anything to do with my subject area. It would be equivalent to making a Spanish teacher sit through a teacher training for French. I just don't understand.

Thing 2: I left my tooth paste in St. Louis and all this week I've been brushing my teeth with Dora bubble gum flavored and Bugs Bunny bubble fruit flavored. It just doesn't feel like I've brushed my teeth. My colleagues haven't said anything yet though.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


On my way to St. Louis I drive Hwy 44, or old Rt. 66, and I drive by a town called Dolittle just outside of Rolla, Missouri. I can't help but wonder how the town got it's name. Did the original people who lived in that town do anything? Were they deadbeats?

Saturday and Sunday I did very little around the house. Saturday morning I was all ready to take the kids to the gym while I worked out when the wife mentioned that my son hasn't stayed home in over 2 weeks since his daycare started, we worked out the previous Saturday morning and of course he is at church Sunday's from 8-noon. So I stayed home. This is a hard thing for me to do. I've always got to be doing something. Saturday I did leave the house 2 times. Once, for a drive thru breakfast and a second time I went to the grocery store for ice. I did make a homemade pizza for dinner Saturday. Everything from scratch including the crust. 1/2 bar-b-que chicken and 1/2 spicy sausage. Major accomplishment considering we average eating out 3 meals a day. Sunday I did go to church and to eat lunch afterwards, but the rest of the day I stayed home.

School started for teachers yesterday and it was a slight welcome in my book. After school I mowed 3 front yards and one whole yard and actually felt like I accomplished something. I even slept better last night.

I think I made the trip to Missouri last week in fear of doing little.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm Back

The Ballgame: I went with Minhaul to the game and it was hot. We parked for FREE on the White Castle parking lot. A friend of mine lives next door to a WC manager and he worked it out to where we could park for free. I was a little worried that for some reason the car might get towed. It didn't.

We received our tickets and I saw section 132 and got excited...."WE GOT GREAT SEATS." Minhaul then informed me it was section 132 Standing Room Only "seats." After the first inning Minhaul scoped out some seats about 25 rows up and we sat in them the whole game. Cards lost 5-3 in an uneventful game. They currently are stuck in a 7 game losing streak, but are still in first place.

The Ride Home: This was my 3rd trip to St. Louis in 2 months. It is at best a 9 1/2 hour trip, but it usually turns into an 11 hour trips with unforseen traffic or multiple restroom breaks. It is entertaining to listen to songs you haven 't heard in years as you travel across cattle country. I personally do not want to listen to another Cher song in my life. I also think George Michael tunes should be banned.

Last Day Off: Today is my last official day off for the summer. I do have a meeting at school from 1-4 today that I'll make part of. I do have my daughter and I don't think she'll sit quietly for the 3 hours.

Yesterday I went to school and Pigs helped me get my classoom going. Last year she stressed as I waited until the last possible minute to get my room ready for "Supply Night" or meet the teacher night. This is fun for her, necessary for me. I get professional help in setting up my room and she gets a full detail of her car. Bartering is not bad!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

First Pitch Tickets

The St. Louis Cardinals are playing their first season in the new Busch Stadium and I have really wanted to go to a game this inaugural season. My family has been to St. Louis 3 times this summer and I've yet to make a game. Tickets are hard to come by as most seats are sold out. A person can only buy standing room only seats or single seats for all games. You could go to or other ticket agencies and get tickets, but this usually costs a good 25% above face value when all is said and done.

The Cardinals have a "First Pitch" ticket program. The first 125 people lined up outside the ticket office at 9a.m. purchase a voucher good for 2 tickets for $11 total. Considering the cheapest seats are $13 this will at least be a $15 savings. I went down this morning with my daughter and bought a voucher. After juggling possible options of who I would take to the game Minhaul opted to forego his softball game and committed to going to tonight's game. We will need to arrive at Gate 4-15 minutes before game time to get our 2 tickets. We could get Field Box seats valued at $78 each or general reserved seats valued at $13 each. I guess some of the excitement is built around CHANCE. The type of seat depends on which seats are turned back into the box office from players, promo companies, etc. Generally unused tickets.

I am excited to be going. The easy route would have been to stay home and watch the game on TV. I really didn't have anyone that interested in going with me so when I went down this morning I really went down in blind faith.

General comments about my experience so far:
1. If you take a 5 year old take something for her/him to do. Otherwise go alone.
2. You can actually park near the stadium for $2. I was worried about parking and almost took the Metrolink to the stadium.
3. Arrive by around 8am if you want a decent spot in line. For weekend or Cubs games get there even earlier. I am sure some people will camp out overnight for these tickets.
4. Plan on using up 3 hours of your morning time. Left my mom's about 7:20am and arrived back just after 10am.
5. Take a foldable chair and something to read. Or strike up a conversation with complete strangers......easy for me!

I am sure tomorrow night's post will be about my first game to the "new" Busch Stadium. Or the 10 hour drive back to Texas.

Monday, July 31, 2006

All You Can BOWL(not eat)

Busy day here in St. Louis today. Mowed for 2 hours early. My daughter and I met a friend and his daughter at the theatre and we watched Ant Bully. After that I met Minhaul for All You Can Bowl for 2 hours for $ included. I paid for my daughter and she bowled for the first time in over 2 years. Her first game was a 79 with bumpers.

I bowled my best game ever...258. 10 strikes and 2 spares. I think my 5 game series went: 190, 137, 200, 258, 155. I even bowled one lefted handed game and scored 157. Minhaul bowled his first ever left handed game and broke 100. I needed a day like this because my brother and Minhaul dominated the last 2 bowling outings. I think between my daughter and Minhaul we bowled 15+ games. We probably saved at least $20 with this special.

Finished the night with a little swimming action at my friend Andy's house. Tomorrow I hope to get tickets to the Cardinals game before heading back to Texas on Wednesday.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Up Hill BOTH Ways

Remember the stories your parents or grandparents would tell you about walking to school, two miles, up hill, BOTH WAYS? ANd thru 2 feet of snow! Well I helped BillyV move yesterday and loading the truck we worked UP HILL and unloading the truck we worked UP HILL.

We started Saturday morning about 9:30 and it took about 2 1/2 hours. We had to move boxes and furniture from the basement of a local pastor who was generous to let them store their items for free. The logistics had us walking out a basement door, across a flat area, and then turning left to negotiated a huge tree and then up a steep gravel hill that was at least 20 steps long. From there you made your way to the driveway and another 20 uphill steps to the truck. If you had the energy, you walked the last 10 steps UP the ramp. This was a tough trek walking without anything let alone pulling a dolly stacked with 3 boxes across the gravel. Of about 15 trips with the dolly that I took I only had 2 spills.

It only took about 1 1/2 hours to unload. Most of the stuff went into the ground level garage, but some went up about 20 steps to the front door which led into the living area. A few items even went up one more level to the bedrooms.

I was impressed with the generals(dad and dad-n-law) who were near 60 in age. Then you had BillyV and myself at 40 and then a couple who came and helped who are mid to low 30 ish. AND she is expecting. I am so thankful that this couple made the trek too.

I ended up with one tick bite, a slight sun burn on my neck and shoulders, probably a little dehydrated(100 degree index) and this morning my calves are BURNING. Ibuprofen will be my friend today.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Red Lobster

Last night my family dined at Red Lobster for $16. That was $38 for 2 entrees and a kids meal, minus $25 for a gift card, minus $4 coupon, add $6 tip. Not bad for plenty of food with left overs to bring home.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Philly Connection: $11.30

Our Wednesday night dinner plans usually include dining at the Philly Connection. It is "Kids Eat Free" with the purchase of a large combo. Our dinner total came to $11.30.

The following was our order:

Large Original Philly Cheesesteak, no onions as a combo: fries and drink included. Basically the kids split this one,$7.39
Kids Philly Cheesesteak meal, with onions: fries and drink included. This was my meal,$FREE.
Wednesday special sandwich: chicken chunks with cheese, no onions: $2.99. The wife ate this one.

This is plenty of food for us and we even had french fries left over. We visit enough that the lady was able to punch in our order last night without help. I did recommend this place to a friend and I was SHOCKED that he didn't like it. He thought it was bland. Oh well, taste is a preference.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eat Cheap

I am going to start posting cheap dining experiences since this is a specialty of mine. I may be able to pass on some tips to those of you with families to feed on a tight budge.

Sunday after church my family had lunch at Taco Cabana. The following is the order and food description.

1. Personal Fajita Skillet-$4.99. This meal comes with fajita chicken served on a hot iron skillet accompanied with rice, beans, lettuce, pico, sour cream and 2 tortillas.
2. 3 Taco Combo-$4.99. This meal comes with 3 tacos of choice(beef or chicken), crispy or soft tortillas, a bowl of tortilla chips, a decent side of queso and a 20 oz. drink.
3. 3 extra tortillas.

The meal total was $10.99. This gave us plenty of food to share with a little bit of the beans and rice left over. Nobody left the table hungry. Sharing the soda does lend itself to a few refills, taking turns and trading germs, but we share the same toilet so what's the big deal. Our only sacrifice on the drink is that my wife would prefer tea or coke and I try to mix a 1/2 Coke and 1/2 diet Coke.

Let me know how you cut corners and save when it comes to eating. I've got a few people I know asking me "Where can we eat cheap today?"

Monday, July 24, 2006


In the movie Tombstone, Morgan Earp(Bill Paxton) says, "I know what they say about live and let live, but there aint no livin' with bugs Wyatt." This weekend we went to a pool party in the neighborhood and if you've read my blog in the past you know my feelings about flies(HATE THEM). When you sit there and watch fly after fly land on the deviled eggs, cheese dip, pasta salad, etc. you kind of lose your desire to eat. Especially when you know that they vomit and poop each time they land. Great diet plan I guess. I only ate the meat that was covered FULLY by the foil. We were at the party for about 2 hours when the host picked up one of the 2 remaining deviled eggs. "NO!" I screamed silently, but it was too late. I almost lost it for her. Tip: If hosting a party keep the food INSIDE!!!!!! Then keep a fly swatter handy.

Pigs posted about how her home was being invaded by crickets so you can go to her site and read about it . I don't have the cricket problems at my house.

Typically when someone in Texas talks about ants they are talking about FIRE ANTS. They are nasty ants that attack when disturbed and have on occasion killed someone who reacted negatively to the bites. But right now I'm talking about the general ant. The one who in human distance travels about 10 miles in hopes of finding a crumb or a puddle of spilled Pepsi. When we came back from Missouri mid July we found ants all over the house. And since this time we have sprayed and sprayed and they still manage to infiltrate our house looking for either water, a cooler habitat, or food. They are on the counters, in the pantry, in the bathroom, scattered across the carpet. You name it. Fortunately they aren't the biting kind so until it rains or cools off we'll just learn to co-habitate with these arthopods.

What's bugging you?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

To Go or Not to Go

My summer break is slowly coming to an end. My first official report date is August 7 making the next 14 days extremely valuable. That said I have one more chance to trek up north to the great picturesque state of Missouri. My best friend BillyV is moving from the Camdenton area to a small town just outside of Springfield called Nixa. There are many people that I do not hesitate to help with no questions asked. BillyV is one of the few that I would go the extra to help out regardless of the circumstances. I've known of "the move" for about a month and told BillyV that I could possible drive the 8 hrs. and help him out. My wife has school commitments and all I would need to do is bring my daughter along.

The following is the lists of PROS and CONS on making the trip

BillyV needs the MAN power(I think he has 2 other people helping-dad and father-in-law)
Friendship-my friendship with BillyV can't be replaced
Memories-I would journey the additional 3 hours to St. Louis and visit family again and use my FREE Six Flags ticket, possibly go to a Cardinals game with my dad, and spend time with my aging parents.
Boredom-I would probably be bored here at home anyway
Delivery-I could take my treadmill to my mom and 3 cookie jars to my aunt

The biggest con is it will cost me at least $150 in gasoline costs. My dad usually fills my gas tank once when I visit(-$35) and gives me a little cash so that would offset my costs a little.

I would probably drive back on Wednesday or Thursday so I would still have 3-4 FREE days before going back to school for trainings. I think in the long run I would regret NOT doing this and I usually don't spend much $$$ in St. Louis since my family usually treats and such. I could maybe even work for my brother one day if I had too.

Chime in and let me know what your opinion is.