Friday, March 31, 2006

Nice and Warm

We dodged some severe weather last night as major storms hit just north of us. Last night was awesome temperature wise as the winds swirled about us. Woke up to a slightly muggy morning and was "sick" today so I didn't go into work. I felt well enough by 9 a.m. to go and mow a friend's yard. For some reason I wore an old long sleeve t-shirt and 1/2 way thru I did the unimaginable....... I TOOK MY SHIRT OFF TO MOW! Before you gasp and refuse to read any further I'll let you know I only did this in the back yard and there was a 6 foot privacy fence. About an hour after mowing and a cool shower I was still sweating. I think I got a little red from being outside.

I announce tonight and the weather is going to be awesome. Last Friday we had heaters in the box to help keep us warm.

Play ball!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mad at Pepsi or.....

I had 2 bad Pepsi product experiences within 24 hours. Yesterday I was enjoying the use of our new vending machine at school when my coins got stuck in the machine. It is an odd machine that had a 2nd door for drink products. You have to insert 2 quarters and one dime in the specially marked slots, turn, and then your drink falls out. I was successful once, but the machine jammed the 2nd time. I saw the older gentleman working on the machine today and asked if I could have a diet Pepsi as he had the door open and I had to pay???? I don't think he put 2 and 2 together and realized that the machine jammed on ME even though I told him.

Last night I picked up a 12 pack of diet Pepsis thinking $3 for 12 equalled 25 cents a can instead of the 60 cents from the machine. As I get to school this morning I notice Superbowl advertising on the packaging. I suspiciously check the bottom of the can and find that it is 3 days outdated. It still fizzed, but did taste flat. Is this Pepsi's fault or the grocery store?

Ironically when I tried to put coins in the Coke vending machine it wouldn't take my coins. I pressed diet Coke and got a free drink. I didn't feel so bad losing my $$ for the diet Pepsi lost the day before.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Get Off the Phone

I was selling Jeeps in the early 90's when car phones was the big thing and my thought was, "Who is so important that they have to have a phone in their car?" Over a decade later those car phones turned into cell phones and now most people have them including me as of Christmas 2005. I rarely use my phone so I am still sensitive to the thought of "Is it really that important right now?"

The following are 5 real life situations lately that I've seen someone on their cell phone and I really wanted to yell, "GET OFF THE PHONE!"

You're in the check out line being checked....GET OFF THE PHONE!
You're a 4th grader and it is recess time.......GET OFF THE PHONE!
It's 6:30am......GET OFF THE PHONE!
You're a parent in a public school hallway....GET OFF THE PHONE!
You're in a drive thru.....GET OFF THE PHONE!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Useless Signs

Driving home tonite I see a sign as I approach a long bridge. It reads, "Caution, bridge may be icy" or something like that. Why is this sign posted in North Texas where it may only get below 30 a handful of times per year and maybe just ONCE with any chance of precipitation? People here in Texas aren't going to heed the warning even if the sign had flashers when it is icy.

I also see the sign, "Do Not Drive Into Smoke" while driving throughout Oklahoma. After driving for over 10 years to and from Missouri I finally saw a little smoke from the drought striken areas where fires had flared out of control. So these signs are possibly pertinent once out of every 1000 days or longer. So why the signs?

On another note I'm the type of person that ignores warning signs anyway. A dashboard light came on in my Jeep. I ignored it for over a week and it finally went out. YES!

Any useless signs that you are aware of? Deer Crossing? Falling Rocks Ahead?

Monday, March 27, 2006

No One EVER Is to Blame

A favorite 80's song of mine included the lyrics, "you can look at the menu but you just can't eat, you can feel the cushion but you can't have a seat...." and this song came to mind this weekend when something happened and maybe it was nobody's fault.

I announce high school sports and I love going to the banquets at the end of the seasons. This was my 4th season calling basketball for both boys and girls basketball and the banquets are usually held around the time the NCAA basketball tournaments so I was really wondering why I hadn't heard when the boy's banquet would be held. I received the girl's invitation Friday night while calling softball. Their banquet is this Tuesday which conflicts with our Spring Open House at school. I hate after school required events. I "may" catch the tail end of the girls banquet. Back to the boys......

Yesterday at church I saw one of the boys who starts when the banquet was going to be held and he said LAST NIGHT. I let him know that I never received an invitation and he let me know that he saw my name on the list and thought I received one because his mom handled the invitations. I don't remember getting one. Usually the coach emails me last second and I make arrangments to attend. Not this time.

This nice young man apologized and said he would say something to his mom. I sat during the first 15 minutes of our Worship service feeling extremely disappointed. I wasn't mad at anyone, but really disappointed because I am really involved in the sports programs and spend a lot of potential quality family times making a little extra money calling these games. I often feel we want answers, but at this time answers wouldn't make me feel any better and wouldn't let me catch the LATE banquet like when you miss the early show you can watch it later.

I hope to get away from school early enough to be a part of the girls program. I'll miss a nice, free dinner at Dave N Busters, but would be able to see the awards ceremony. We'll see.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Booming Town

I live in an area where they are building more than 1500 new homes per year. This suburb of Dallas has grown from about 40,000 people in 1996 to about 75,000 in 2006. For the longest time we would often venture out of town to shop and eat. There was one major road with most of the eating places: LJ Silvers, Arbys, Jack in the Box, Burger King, and a few local type places. Slowly as the city began to develop a few more places were added.

Since moving back to this area in 2002 there have been many restaurants added: Steak n Shake, Roly Poly Sandwiches, Wendys, Texas Roadhouse, Saltgrass Steaks, La Madeline, Scotty Ps, Chipotle, McAllisters, Cafe Brazil, Dodeys Cajun, Panera, Snuffers, Panda Express Buffet, Fast Eddies Burgers, A & D Buffalo Wings, Philly Connection, Mr. Jims Pizza, etc. The point is we rarely have to leave town in order to enjoy a lunch or dinner.

Bad News/Good News

Bad: Fast Eddies is officially closed. This was my Monday night place to go. I could take my family there and eat for about $8. Sometimes on Fridays I would venture here to pick up lunch for the teachers. We would order the kids meals and only spend about $5 per person. After posting this now I know why they went out of business. I'm cheap! They did have some of the best fries in town.

Good: Within 1/2 miles from my house they appear to building a QT gas station. It is conveniently located for me meaning I would not have to make any high risk turns or even have to wait at any lights to get there. This is good news because they always have the best fountain drinks and even have fresh brewed tea. The 32 oz. usually costs 79 cents and often in the summer they have the Summer Quart sale for 49 cents. I will be able to buy 2 drinks cheaper than what it costs to buy one at either Sonic, McD's, or any other local gas station.

Making Money

My main source of income is from teaching. My wife tutors and brings in some good cash that helps out, but I do a lot of odd jobs that bring in money also.

Besides teaching ways I've brought in cash:

Detailing Cars
Sold Starbucks cards for ca$h
Announce volleyball, basketball, softball for high school
Built a swingset
Raked leaves
Worked for my brother while vacationing
Morning and afterschool programs

I am sure I have made an additional $5000 on top of my teacher salary just being willing to do the extras.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I teach and at times I wonder what my perspective my students have of me. Am I nice most of the time. Do I demonstrate competence? At this time of year a few on my team really feel warnings are no longer necessary.

Students should automatically know the following:

-work quietly when you enter the room
-pay attention especially when I say "pay attention"
-you either have your homework on the day it is due or you don't
-school starts at 8:30 not 8:33 and don't blame your parents
-don't always ask "why" when told something
-only go to the instructed website to find information

Today I really showed my disappointment when 2 students out of the 40 that I had already taught decided to NOT PAY ATTENTION to the instructions. Afterwards I checked myself against another teacher asking if I were out of line.

So as I ate lunch with my students I asked honestly, "Do I seem mean sometimes?" The replies varied from: no, you're funny all the time to -yes, sometimes. I think the majority of the 5 students I was sitting by gave me positive reviews.

Spring Break is only 4 days gone by and I think I need a day off already!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Movie and Post office

Went to see V is for Vendetta last night. On IMDB it rated an 8.2. Pretty high rating compared to a 4.2 for The Pink Panther. The movie was dark and intense with a lot of symbolism that related to weapons of mass destruction, manipulative governments, etc. The movie was at 10:25 and 2 couples came in at 10:55. Just when I thought I had a great seat with only 6 others in a theatre a talkative couple comes in and sits down right behind BillyV and me. I'm sure they were making out also. Then they leave with about 30 minutes left in the movie. Didn't get home until 1am. That made for almost 6 hours of sleep. Very tired today.

Tonight I stopped by the post office to mail a few things. I wait in line for nearly 5 minutes. When I walked in an Asian man was at a back counter trying to figure out which package and slips he needed for his package. He then walks up and tries to figure out which person he should be standing behind. Everyone ignored him and finally the lady in front of me tells him where the end of the line is. I ALMOST let him in front of me, but I didn't want to hack off anyone in line behind me. I guess this guy thought his spot in line should have been reserved. He wasn't rude, I just don't think he had much post office experience. He had a hard time communicating in English.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza

"Equinox--The Mayan Astronomers"
Ancient stone masons built and aligned this stone pyramid centuries ago to project the sun's rays into a diamond-back rattlesnake of light and shadow.
On the morning and evenings of Equinox March 20, 21 and September 21, 22 thousands flock to Chichen Itza to view the same dramatic display.
In the spring, the sight is clearly visible in the early evening from mid to late February, and through mid-April. In the fall the appearence is visible from mid August through mid October.
For optimum viewing of the serpent of light, be near the great courtyard which faces the western facet of the Kukulkan Pyramid beginning at about four in the afternoon. The best viewing of the sight is from five days before until five days after Equinox. Needless to say, accomodations fill up fast! On the actual day of Equinox, people stake out their vantage point early in the day, as a great sea of humanity begins to deluge one of the great wonders of the world!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Weekend Update

Friday I rode back from Missouri with BillyV.

Saturday we woke up and accomplished a few major tasks. BillyV replaced a broken sprinkler head while I waxed his car. Afterwards we cleaned out the fuel system of my mower. Saturday night we played cards and it pretty much poured rain all afternoon.

Sunday morning was a fulfilling church day. A lady from school attended. Today she said she was Catholic and watching an adult get baptized was a little bit of a stretch. After church my wife and I tried to treat friends to Texas Roadhouse. After we treated they were out of pocket about $20**. It rained again all day. Perfect for napping.

**Dinner order: Awesome blossom onion, 2 teas, a child's rib meal, ribs and rib eye, monterrey chicken with mushrooms, and a 16 ounce rib eye. Our bill came to $6 after discounts(2 free dinners and a $20 gift card) and our friends payed and tipped $15. Great meal though and awesome company.

Issues at home: Our almost 5 year old daughter has really been a toot for about 2 months. We are pretty sure she is jealous of the attention that her cute and full of personality 2 year old brother is getting. We are getting a lot of "no's", talking back, tongue being stuck out, tantrums and such. I've taught behavior kids and do better dealing with school kids in a structured setting. ANY ADVICE is appreciated!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Brokeback Kansas

Went to an Italian Restaurant/Grill last night to watch a little bit of the NCAA tournament. 2 amusing comments/situations came up.

Brokeback Mountain-my good friend BillyV admitted that he wouldn't mind seeing Brokeback Mountain. We came up with a Top 5 MUST for watching BBM with a straight and married friend.

Top 5 Musts for watching BBM with a straight and married friend:
5. Buy tickets separately
4. No sharing of the popcorn
3. The normal 1 seat between each other becomes 2
2. Neither person can cry
1. Don't tell anyone about seeing the movie

Kansas-The Kansas Jayhawks were playing as a favorite in one of the 4 night games. BillyV asks, "I wonder how many days of my life I would have to give up in order to guarantee that Kansas would lose?" I offered him 6 months and he declined at first before adding, "Well, if I knew I were going to live to 95 then I would." A little later as I was frequenting the men's room that had the games on little TVs above the urinals I somehow got into a conversation with the man next to me that included my saying that being from St. Louis you grow up hating the Chicago Cubs and the Kansas Jayhawks. Then a guy from the stall says, "I'm a Kansas fan and we grew up hating Missouri Tiger fans."

I thought that was the end of it. I was standing off to the side in this crowded place when my friend CBar waves me over to where he was. Ironically the guy he was with was his neighbor who was the Kansas fan in the bathroom....ooops. BillyV and I sat there willing the Kansas Jayhawks to lose and they did. Guess BillyV will only live to be 94 since he sold part of his livelyhood to the devil. It was a little awkward STRONGLY rooting against the team of a guy who was obviously upset that HIS team was losing.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lake View

Stayed on the lake last night with BillyV's inlaws. They live near Camendton Missouri on the Lake of the Ozarks. It really is in the middle of nowhere, but is a really nice place. BillyV took me by Windermere lodge where over 20 years ago I had a religious experience and for the first time I really felt the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. The old cabins are still there, but they have really built this place up with modern buildings and conference/activity centers.

I am in class with BillyV in SBU here in Bolivar Missouri this morning. After class we are headed back to Texas where my life and diet should become more stable again.

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


White Castle breakfast: $5.45
Full tank of gas: $25
Tinted back window for my Neon: $75
Lunch for the family at Buffalo Wild Wings: $35

My cost: NOTHING

One nice thing about visiting family and friends in St. Louis is the generosity they pour out. Today our plan included having my back window repaired and then driving a little out of town to look at Villas for my mom. She bought breakfast, we filled up her GMC, dropped off my Neon at my brother's shop, then ventured out to beautiful Washington, Missouri. Afterwards we met my brother for lunch, his treat.

After lunch my wife and I left the kids with Grandma and just drove through parts of St. Louis. We drove to an Italian neighborhood and bought a sandwich and a great Italian loaf of bread. From there we proceeded to a local custard place Ted Drewes for a St. Louis favorite. Our final journey home included visiting some special friends. Our final destination was Grandmas house.

Tomorrow we start our true good byes. We are actually staying overnight at my dad's place for the first time in over 5 years.

Monday, March 13, 2006

More Storms, Less Plans

Last night was tremendous when it came to severe weather. I am a praying person and struggle to have a consistent daily prayer time, but last night I felt the urgent need to pray. My wife and family were staying with either her sister or her parents and about midnight they were getting pounded with a mega-storm. This morning all was well as the hardest hit communities were just north of where she was staying. There were a record 110 tornadoes recorded in Missouri this past weekend.

The main reason we came to Missouri this weekend was for an infant Baptism. My wife was to be a Godparent for one of her 2 nephews. Not sure about infant Baptism when the Lutheran Pastor says, "These two children are not old enough to make this decision on their own so who here today is making the decision for them?" I firmly believe a person should wait until they personally decide to follow Christ before they are allowed to be Baptized.

Our whole trip has been a hodge podge of plans and last minute decisions. I never made it to the brewery tour today. It is hard coming all the way to St. Louis and trying to do all that I want to do and also fit in with everyone else's plans.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Into The Storm

The warning was given hours in advance, but I didn't pay attention initially. Later in the day the warning was given again and this time I knew things were serious. My pulse began to increase as I gripped the wheel tightly trying to keep focused. When was it going to happen? Should I be prepared for the worst?

The sky darkened and approaching cars all had their headlights on. Could I arrive safely before the storm hit? The National Weather Service broke in mid-song to inform everyone that a tornado watch had been given for the county that I was driving towards. Only 10 more miles to my final destination and the dark skies begain to spit a little rain. Lightning began to flash a little closer as the rain began to become more steady.

As I neared the Truxton exit, just 5 miles from my exit, the skies opened up dumping rain at a rate that made it difficult to see any lines on the highway. I almost exited in order to wait this storm out, but I was only 5 miles away. For 3 miles I gripped the steering wheel with both hands and with white knuckles. The standing water on the highway made it difficult to steer. Then at mile marker 187 the rain became less pounding. I was slightly relieved.

I could see my exit in the distance when my last challenge was thrust upon me. An 18 wheeler charging ahead at 70+ mph created a spray of water that took away any visibility that I had. I can't see my exit I thought. I must have slowed down to below the 40 mph minimum just to get a sense of control. Then, there it was, exit 185. I made it.

A few minutes later I pulled up in the driveway having survived the roughest 5 minutes of driving that I had ever had to endure.

Tonight's forecast: Chance of severe weather.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring Break

October 9, 1973-Elvis Presley and Priscilla got a divorce.

Spring break is finally here. 3/4 of the teacher year is complete unless you are keeping score by state tests, then it is only 1/3 complete with Math and Reading still to go.

Friends who know me should know that I will be in St. Louis Saturday the 11th until about Thursday the 16th. Activities include bowling Saturday afternoon, a Lutheran baptism on Sunday, Anheuser Busch brewery tour on Monday, and plenty sampling of St. Louis food favorites.

Thursday morning I plan on meeting BillyV and spending a night with him and then driving back to Texas with him Friday the 17th.

No Balderdashing for a week! Sorry.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Just 2 Things

H.S.A.-Handbag Salesmen's Association

Thing #1: Should it concern me that my Jeep key will start my Dodge? The keys are very similar. Maybe it should concern me if any of you know where I live, have a Chrysler product key and are in need of a reliable car. Or you could play a trick on me and hide my car at times.

Thing #2: Watched the Oscars with little to no fanfare. What was disturbing was the song from the movie Hustle and Flow, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." The song itself stirred up some anxiety inside me just from the sheer noise. Then when the song won Best Music the acceptors ended up thanking Jesus. Hmm?

BalderNASH-October 9, 1973(clue-music and entertainment)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

First Jobs

BalderNash-On December 3, 1967 the first heart transplant took place.

My first job was at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. Barnes Hospital is known as one of the most advanced heart hospitals in the nation. I was an ice cream scooper for Barnard Buffet my sophomore year of high school. I think I had this job for about 4 months. I went straight from school on the city transit bus taking only one transfer. I think my parents picked me up late at night. This job is where I learned the difference of what a malt and a shake was. For 20 cents more you got a scoop of malt powder mixed in with a normal shake. I was fired along with the 2 brothers who got me the job. The company did an audit and we were accused of pilfering and bilking the company of tens of dollars. NO COMMENT!

I then took a job at an Italian restaurant bussing tables Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Please Pull Forward

S.S.S.C.-Stainless Steel Sink Council

Yesterday I decided to join millions others and have fish on Friday. My restaurant of choice was McDonalds. For 12:15 the drive thru wasn't all that bad. I placed my order and paid at the next window. My card was swiped and I proceeded to the pick up window. The smiling lady said the fish weren't quite ready and asked me to pull forward. No problem I figured. I only sat for about 20-30 seconds before someone walked out with my sandwich. That was quick.

As I drove away I realized that I just helped this McDonalds manipulate their drive thru statistics. They had me pull forward even though NOBODY was behind me. I have seen this done before. I just helped them keep their average wait time down. According to the sensors in the ground my order only took 30 seconds from ordering to leaving.

Bummer thing about the ordeal was my sandwich had some black specs all over it and I took it back an hour later.

BALDERNASH-December 3, 1967

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Unplanned Personal Day

B.C.C.I-Business Card Collectors International

Early in the week my colleague and I planned on taking a "mentor/mentee" day on Friday. On Tuesday we found out that we could not take it on a Friday so we figured Thursday would work, but the 2 subs we had for Friday couldn't do Thursday so it was back to the drawing board. I found my sub for today, but my mentor was not able to find a sub she wanted. She also didn't want to risk randomly calling in a sub that could range from a dimwitted yahoo to a power hungry dictator. So as of last night at 9:30pm our mentor day crumbled.

I decided that it was only fair to my sub to keep our arrangement and our school secretary changed it from a professional development day to a personal day. After connected at school with my sub I journeyed our the doors to freedom and my first stop was getting the oil changed in my Jeep. Just 3 months overdue. After paying $33 for the oil change at a quick lube place my wife uncovers a coupon for a change for $21.44. My second task of the day was to clean the Jeep up. After that I took the Dodge in for an oil change. Just 4 months overdue. I then drove from the Dodge dealer to the tire place for a FREE tire rotation. I finished my early morning chores by buying a few items for the cars.

After my wife tutored, the family went for lunch and then tried to see Doogan, a kids animated movie. My son didn't cooperate so my wife took him home. I ended up falling asleep during the movie that was entertaining only 4 people, minus me. I called my wife to find out that my son was sleeping so we walked home. A nice little walk along the park and lake. We stopped at the playground and my daughter did the "I gotta pee dance." We took off for home, part piggy back, part racing. We tried a short cut through the woods, but I got my daughter tangled in a thorny bush. Once home it took 6 bandages to ease her pain.

All said I got a lot done and it was an awesome day outside again. I may have gotten a little bit of sun.

BalderNash-S.S.S.C.(think home improvement)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Weather Extremes

W.P.F.- Worldwide Pen Friends

9 days ago we were dealing with below freezing weather, strong winds, and icy conditions. Today we reached near record 86 degree temperatures. On Thursday February 16th we had mid 80 temps before it bottomed out in the 20's on the 18th and 19th. Now, just 10 days later one could seriously lay out and tan. I chose to wear black Adidas wind pants with a black mock turtleneck today for our Warm Up Wednesday and I had recess duty. The windy conditions helped, but I was glad to get back into the AC. YES, Air Conditioning for March 1st.

Gifts/gift cards update: I think I lost one of my breakfast giftcards valued at $10. Then for dinner I used a $10 deli gift card. After dining with my family I went to Lowes and Target and used up $20 and $40 respectively. Sad thing is I bought stuff I needed: lawn fertilizer and ant killer, socks and briefs, writeable CDs, pens, tooth brush, etc. I really don't know that I WANT anything special so I figured I had better spend them before I lose them.

BalderNash: B.C.C.I.