Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Gone Fishing

Memorial Day we had an informal bbq at my brother's house and around 4pm we left for my moms. The kids took the usual 30 minute car nap so while they were napping we stopped at her place to get a few fishing poles and we drove to a small park nearby. We got there early enough to visit the farm animals: pigs, small ponies, goats, a sheep, a turkey, rabbits, chickens, and geese. We also tried a little bit of fishing. I did learn that you need a license to fish between the ages of 16-64. That's why I was holding the pink Barbie pole.....I was helping my 5 year old.

Got up early this morning and drove the kids to my dad's place. We ended up fishing 2 different small lakes. Ended up catching about 10+ fish: perch, blue gill and small mouth bass. Now if I can just get the fish smell off my hands.

My daughter really gets into fishing. She touches the worms, tears them in half, and even wants to hold and release the fish. She even catches a few fish on accident.

Wednesday we will either go to a 12 noon Cardinals game or try to go to the St. Louis Zoo(FREE).

Monday, May 29, 2006

600 Miles From Home

Is home where you are originally from or where you are currently living?

Right now I am back to where I grew up, St. Louis. Already I am reassured as to why I moved 600 miles from my family. Saturday I drove 9 hours and arrived at my brother's weekend cabin to find 90% of the inhabitants intoxicated by 4pm. I guess if you are getting ripped at the same time as everyone else you don't notice how stupid everyone is being. They were being obnoxious.

Sunday was relaxing as I got about 3 hours to myself while my mom took the kids to church with her. It was one of the rare Sundays that I didn't go to church. Sunday afternoon I made it to a friends pool party. One of the guys just finished his one year commitment in Iraq so there was reason to celebrate. Plenty of Bud and Budlight for everyone. Seems like Sunday was just day 2 of a 3 day "celebration" for this clan as I found out Saturday most were partying at the lake and today many of them were going to the Cardinals/Astros game at 3pm.

I guess I just don't understand how someone can drink alcohol 2-3 days in a row. Even in my 20's and single days I rarely drank 2 days in a row. Whether I had 2 or 3 beers or binged with double digit numbers I was always tired the next day. Growing up with the nickname "Porky" it suggests that I probably couldn't afford the extra 1000+ calories that came with drinking a 12 pack anyway.

This brings me to Memorial Day with my family. Even with cell phones we are not that succesful in communicating. My dad is taking a 6 hour round trip to visit gravesites in Smalltown Missouri. "Dad, you're retired, go on Tuesday when the traffic won't be so bad." My brother has 3 different kinds of steaks ready to grill and he just called wanting to know what time we were coming over. "Bro, I guess that means we are coming to your house today."

Probably to most flexible person in my family is my mom. She invests the most time in my kids and always has the "just tell me what's going on" attitude. I do take after my mom, fortunately.

Meet Me in St. Louis!
Tuesday: fishing
Wednesday: the St. Louis Zoo
Thursday: ???
Friday: Cubs/Cards game??? Billy V in town.
Saturday: Birthday party for the boy
Sunday: A day of rest before driving back to Texas.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Busy Week

Haven't posted in a while. Maybe it is burn out mentally, or maybe I am just really preoccupied with the end of the school year stuff. Friday is the last day of school. This is my first year of having my own class of 20 so it is all really new, even after 8 years of teaching. It has been a great year with a few bumps. From what I hear from my mentor, this has been a difficult year. That means the next year should be easier and more rewarding!

Heading out for St. Louis on Saturday to spend 9 days with my family. I am taking my 2 kids and giving my wife a 9 day break from me and the kids. She's spent the last 2 years at home with the kids and will be going back to teaching next fall. She needs this break and I need some family time.

I'll try to post from St. Louis, but I'll be busy so I won't promise anything.

Top 5 Things I Want to Do In St. Louis
5. Take a brewery tour
4. Visit special friends
3. Stay at my brother's cabin
2. Go bowling
1. See a Cardinals game

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I Got Thonged

While watching the talent show at school yesterday I was enjoying the entertainment with a fellow female teacher when a parent came and sat near her child. When she squatted down she exposed about a 6 inch gap of flesh and right there above her jean line was THE THONG. I simply turned to my colleague and said, "Didn't expect a show like that." She acknowledged that she was a victim of the thong also. When I glanced back at the students near me one boy was looking at me as if to say, "Did you see that!" I simply shrugged during that one second of eye contact and looked away.

Are thongs the female equivalent to muscle shirts? Is it a matter of comfort and preference or is there unwritten rules for who should wear them? There aren't too many men who should wear a muscle shirt in public, me being one of them. You should be in decent shape if you are going to wear a tight fitting muscle shirt in public. Is it the same for thongs? Should you be between certain ages to wear a thong? Should your size or shape determine if you should wear one?

It is only fitting that I had a thong experience at the end of the year. The first week of school during a team building activity I got to find out which 8 staff members were wearing thongs. We were playing the game, "I would like to meet someone who is........." and whoever was it would add something like "wearing a thong." Anyone who fit the category had to get up and find a new chair. The last person standing got to do the new tag line.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Velveeta Cheese

Went to WalMart tonight to pick up a few groceries for card night tomorrow night. We first went to kindergarten open house to meet next year's possible teachers so by the time my family arrived at WalMart I was pretty much beat. I picked up a few necessities but was disappointed that as big as WalMart is they really don't have much variety. I went to the cold adult beverage aisle looking for 2 different Mexican brews and they didn't have either. Then the biggest issue I have is how the grocery department is designed. We also were looking for Velveeta cheese. I know exactly where it is located at our variety of grocery stores, but not at WalMart. You would have thunk that Velveeta CHEESE would be somewhere near the cheese section. It wasn't. I walked every food aisle and finally found a small section of Velveeta cheese next to the pasta. What's the deal with that? At a grocery store Velveeta tends to have an endcap for display and the grocery store even has a cheaper version. And why at WalMart is it on a non-cooled shelf and at grocery stores it is in a cooler section? I know it isn't really food and its SHELF life is about 2 years.

If you don't have anything to do tomorrow night come on by for cards, wings, nachos and a few cold ones. I'll harvest my first jalepenos from my garden tomorrow.

Forecast: fun.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I See the Light

My wife signed a contract to teach for the next year. That means our income will go up come September when she gets her first paycheck. Things are looking better financially and hopefully we can climb out of debt and start positioning money for the future. By September our income will go up and we will have lowered our monthly bills by $500. Our biggest concern now is trying to find decent daycare for my son who will be 2 years old this Summer.

Other than that right now we've got about 2 weeks before our schedule lightens up. Seems like there is something every night and on top of that I am mowing 4 lawns and this weekend is my teams turn to mow the church lawn and I'll have the kids while the wife is out of town.

Boring post....sorry.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Doing Extra

Real busy week for me even though I only put in a 4 day work week and one of those days was a blow off day considering I wore my Cardinals jersery and a ball cap to work Friday. How serious could that have been?

I made about $450 extra this week doing miscellaneous jobs. I detailed 5 cars this week and made $250, got paid for 3 weeks worth of mowing $90, and announced to girls playoff softball games yesterday and today and made another $110. This on top of my $150 extra I make a week working our before and after school program. Making this extra cash does help us get by each month a little more comfortably. 8 years ago the bulk of my extra cash came from working at a movie theatre making $8 an hour. I'd have to work about 90 hours extra each week to make the equivalent that I made this week and I only worked about 27 extra hours.

Before you go thinking I worked 67 hours this week figure that 2 of those hours were from mowing pay for 2 previous mows and I did take one day off and worked about 8 of those hours on the day that I took off. Still about 15 hours above a normal 40 hour work week.

My question is how am I so active yet I carry around extra weight? Alright PIGS, fire away. I did confess this week to having eaten french fries with all 3 meals the day that I took off.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mission Impossible to Follow

Since I was taking the day off today I went to the 10pm showing of Mission Impossible III last night. The movie was very enjoyable, but I came home wondering what it was really about. Plenty of action and I stayed with the movie, but seriously I don't know what the overall plot was. If anyone saw the movie could you answer a few questions that I have.

1. Who were the "buyers" in Rome?
2. Was the first agent that was kidnapped just bait for Ethan?
3. Who actually had possession of "the rabbit's foot" before Ethan captured it?
4. Do you think they editted out the capturing of "the rabbit's foot?"

No controversy here today. The In the Ghetto post was enough for the week.

Awesome day out today. Took the day off to watch the kids while the wife interviewed her 3rd time for a job. Detailed one car and mowed 3 lawns. Finished the night going to church for a session on "Decoding The Davinci Code."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In the Ghetto

Who sang, "In the Ghetto.......and his momma cried?"
billy v will get this one right away

If you are an occasional reader of my blogs you would know that I am involved in church, I teach, am a family man and really not that confrontational or controversial by nature. Not much offends me. Maybe I'm calloused, older, or just calm by nature. I'm not sure why. This weekend AT CHURCH my wife stood near a conversation of a few ladies one of whom teaches in the same district that I do. This lady's conversation included the statement, "I'm so glad I won't be teaching in the ghetto next year." This is the 2nd time my wife has overheard this lady saying this comment.

She is referring to having to teach at the school with the overall lowest net income, highest hispanic and black population. This bothers me on several fronts. FIRST: How unprofessional is it to talk that way about kids who can't help their situation? SECOND: She is at church and CHRIST would never talk like this. THIRD: I live in the "ghetto" she is talking about. I don't live in the rough parts, but my daughter would go to that school if I weren't a teacher and she can go to my school.

Keep in mind the church I attend is in one of the wealthiest areas in the country. It is surrounded by homes that range from $150K up to $1 million.

I hope my wife addresses this because if she doesn't I think I will talk to her husband who is responsible for her behavior. I would hope that he wouldn't condone her behavior.

In the Ghetto -Elvis

Friday, May 05, 2006

16 Years Ago

What happened 16 years ago today?

A. I watched The Kentucky Derby
B. I was working on a Saturday
C. I started selling Jeeps
D. All the above


May 5, 1990 was my first day selling Jeeps in St. Louis at Reuther Jeep-Eagle. I remember the day as if it were yesterday as the Reuther family hired 5 outside the family salesmen for the first time ever. Everything stopped when the Kentucky Derby started in the afternoon. I went from delivering pizzas to selling Jeeps. It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since I left the Reuther family and moved to Texas where getting into sales proved unsuccessful. What a blessing.

We are getting close to the end of our lease on our current Jeep Liberty lease and I wonder why buying a car has to be so unpleasant. I sold for one family for 6 years and now a salesman rarely stays at one dealer for 6 months. Why can't buying a car be like buying a pair of pants where the price is the same at each like store? The sales on Saturday at most stores are for everybody.

In auto sales you only qualify for the advertised price if you:

A. Have A+ credit
B. Don't have a trade in
C. Give up the Specially Advertised Interest Rate
D. Are a current "Loyal" customer
E. Lease the new vehicle
F. Finance with the dealer
G. Are currently in the military

You see a $13,990 price and $275 payment, but for YOU it is $16,500 and a $350 payment. It's not necessarily the salesmen as it is the manufacturer. Salesmen are just the puppets at the dealership. No wonder Honda and Toyota are doing great......they make great product and DON'T JACK WITH REBATES and teaser leads. Sure you pay a little more, but their cars are worth more years down the line. Paying $1000 more up front for their product can yield you double that in the end.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Do The Right Thing

Last Friday night I joined an impromptu card game since my wife had a friend come over with her kids and they planned on going to dinner. I headed north for about a 15 ride on the highway arriving around 7:30 for the 8pm game. I settled in with a cold drink and got our mini-snack buffett going as the final 3 contestants showed up.

We had a good mix of guys and I was really enjoying the company when the phone rang. It was my wife telling me that a severe weather system was headed our way. As we were in the last 15 minutes of a timed card event I told her I would check the TV, finish up our game that would end at 10:30pm and then call her back.

We turned the TV on to see massive storm systems heading Northeast towards our area. At first it looked like my house would be spared, but when we turned to another station they showed the storms heading due East. Around 10:45pm one of our players felt it was best to just head back home in case the system hit as bad as they were predicting. That made it easier for me to cash in also and head home.

I left a little after 11pm and made it home by 11:30pm. The storm never hit. Like the Moses and the Red Sea our city seems to part the storms.

I took a little razzing from the host about leaving and I understand his point. In reality leaving early cost me about an hour or 2 of card playing.

The following is a breakdown of what I could have done and what the outcome probably would have been on the homefront.

Stay/No storm=wife a little miffed
Stay/Storm=wife really miffed...REALLY MIFFED
Go home/no storm=wife pleased
Go home/storm=wife very pleased....VERY PLEASED

The next day my wife was trying to tell me that she wasn't telling me to come home and that she was just warning us since we wouldn't be watching TV. She really never tells me no on anything I want to do, but we have a great relationship and usually I can just tell what she is really wanting. She would feel better if I came home.

I'm sure by coming home we've had a better week than if I hadn't come home. I just told her that since I came home early that didn't count as my one night playing cards. I get a REDO!

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Night Out

A rare opportunity to be alone with my wife presented itself this Saturday. About a week earlier one of our newest neighbors whom my wife has befriended suggested that we take turns watching each other's kids one night a month. We accepted the offer. Our window of opportunity was from 6pm until about 10pm.

I first made dinner reservations for a high end wood fired grill restaurant called Goodhues. Before I called I noticed that our $50 gift certificate had actually expired 3 days earlier. It took us one full year to do this. The gentleman on the phone said they would still honor it. From 6pm until 7:30 we shopped for shoes. Not much fun, but after 10 years of marriage with 2 kids anytime without the kids is kind of new.

We arrived for dinner early and talked about things. My favorite way to spark up conversation is to play "I remember when......." I can include remembering about a vacation, a dinner out, a hospital visit. It avoids any moments of silence. Dinner was very good: I had ribeye and she had pork roast.

We almost went to a nearby bar/grill to see a band, but we declined since we didn't leave Goodhues until 9:40. Come to find out our good friends were at this place so we could have enjoyed a little time out with friends too. Going home I did avoid having to climb out of smoke filled clothing.

We finished the night off by playing a game of Scrabble. One of my wife's favorites. Especially since she wins half the time now.

Simple as that!