Sunday, April 29, 2007


Gluttony: excessive eating and drinking.

I was invited to go out to lunch with the guys from church to a Mexican buffet called Panchos. I've been here before on a few occasions the past 11 years I've been here in Texas, but today was different. 2 of the guys were firefighters who a regulars at Panchos, myself, a teen and a first timer to Panchos. The Panchos regulars were preparing the first timer for his first trip thru the buffet line and I kind of got drawn in to filling my plate more than usual. 4 enchiladas, 1 tamale, 2 tacos, 3 flautas, 3 taquitos, 1 chimichanga, chips, hot sauce, queso, 3 diet Pepsis, 2 sopapillas, and 1 ice cream cone later I realized that I had indeed overdone it. It would be easy for me to point out that I still consumed the least of us 5, but the point is I ate WAY beyond my regular comfort zone.

As we drove home our conversation was not as lively as our trip to Panchos. We were all feeling it. Then as they turned onto my street I wondered why the digestive system relaxes when you are within a block or two from home. Then the worst possible thing happened.......I was locked out of the house and I severely needed a restroom break. Lucky for me a window was open and I manipulated the screen and climbed inside.

After a few short minutes I was in some real comfortable clothes stretched out on the bed ready for a badly needed, sleep deprived driven, stuffed belly triggered, nap.

As I reflect upon my day I understand that too much of anything in excess is not a good thing. I have paid and will continue to pay for my sin of gluttony today. I may need to re-enroll in Weight Watchers OR this may prompt me to get things under control again.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Under $100

We received our electricity bill yesterday for the last month's usage and the bill was only $84. In February we decided to switch from Reliant to Amigo Energy after going to a comparison website that showed we would have saved about $80 in February when our bill was $320. Same energy, no break in service, so why not switch.

I think we don't inform ourselves or know that there are better choices. With electricity it is all coming from the same powerlines so the differences are in the types of accounts and who can charge you more. It's not like choosing between cable, dishnetwork, or directTV.

Kind of like choosing with brand of mower you want when all of the engines are Briggs and Stratton.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anxiously Waiting

Last Saturday I had my third interview for Small District that my wife works in. The first interview was a phone screen. The second was a writing piece followed up by a round robin style scenario interview with 3 different sets of administrators. The last one was a more intense interview with an administrator and central office personel. I'm still waiting. I had hoped to hear something one way or another by now. Maybe they will interview others who have made the cut this Saturday. They claim over 1000 people have applied for 10 positions. 1% chance I guess.

I remember being in the same position in 1999 when I interviewed for wife's district and interviewed specifically at one school for a special education job at a regular campus. I had 1 1/2 years experience in an isolated behavior school so getting out was a major interest. My wife and I were at a friends house watching the Stars play a playoff game. I didn't have a cell phone, but I do remember calling the assistant principal from this house and actually getting offered the job over the phone. It was a pretty exciting time, maybe because I was real desperate then.

This time I am not as desperate as I like where I work for the most part. I am "valued" by many of my co-workers and I know exactly what my expectations would be for next year. It would be nice and convenient to be on the same schedule as my wife, but would be perfectly happy staying put.

I'll leave this one up to God. I've already prayed about it so why worry!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I stopped by BigLots today to pick up an afternoon snack and while I was browsing the chips with my son he gestured about something down one of the side aisles and when I looked I saw a bill sitting on the floor. It looked like a $10 and I picked it up to see that it was a 100 dollar bill. At first I thought I was thinking that I could be on a TV program or some survey to see what people would do if they found $100.

I folded it up in my hands and looked for a manager. The check out lines were busy so I picked up the remaining few groceries that I needed and waited to check out. When I told the cashier I had found $100 she seemed surprised that I actually turned it in. I made sure another worker was there to witness the exchange because I didn't want to place someone else in temptation's way.

She took my name and # in case someone doesn't claim it, but I don't expect anything else to come of this. I just hope the person who lost it gets reunited with it.

It never crossed my mind to keep it. Especially since we were in a public place and the person who lost would most likely know where they last had it. Now if I found it in the park on a trail I would just come to recognize that I had just won a mini-lottery.

When working the movie theatre back in 1997 I found a $50 and when nobody claimed it after 5 days I got to keep it.

We shall see! What would you have done?

Friday, April 20, 2007


How do you get CARE E O KEE out of Karoake? Anyway tonight I stopped by a local establishment after my softball game since a good friend invited me to stop by and share the pizza he had ordered. I sat there for about a 1/2 hour before they got the karoake going. I wonder how much the karoake business has picked up since American Idol has hit it big?

Out of the handful of songs that people sang I maybe heard one person who was half way decent and from prior experience I've seen this GROUPIE singing for this karoake person before. He dresses like Elvis and sings mostly Elvis songs. We sat and wondered what a guy with side burns that big did for a regular job.

My idea is that there should be a gong like the Gong Show of the late 70's where a talent act came out and any of the 3 judged could put the person out of there misery or embarrassment by banging a gong. A few of the people were horrible. Guess that is why they sell so many beers. One, for the person who can't sing who needs the encouragement to sing and second for all the people who have to listen to American Idol wannabes.

I sang karoake one time and it was after last call and the bar area dwindled down to about 5 people. I sang Suspicious Minds originally be Elvis and redone by Dwight Yoakum.


There was a time in my youth when I was known for the good hugs that I gave. This was a great way to get closer to girls when going to youth camp as a youth and later as a chaperone. There was always plenty of The MAN to go around and I never ran out of hugs. When dating I would probably give a high hug to kiss ratio which moms and dads liked, but some dates eventually got bored with.

Then something happened along the way and now I seldom hug anyone. Actually I give hugs to family or my male friends. Maybe getting married limited the number of girls that I hugged, or at least the really attractive ones. I didn't want to offend my wife. Or was it because I got into teaching? Male teachers who hug could jeopardize their careers when the female teachers seem to be able to hug all students. My policy is NO HUGS. If a student insists on giving me a hug I am purely a receiver with my hands away from them or at my sides.

I actually feel that I am hugging impaired. Guess it is time to buy Hugging for Dummies. My wife and kids would really appreciate it. AND it would be good for me.

We did have an activity at a staff development where we had to develop a rubric for hugging. One co-teacher said a good hug would last for a minute. To prove her wrong I hugged her and held on until she got embarrassed or flushed. We had fun with this activity and then we were told that the hug we should have been analyzing was the Hershey Hugs. OOPS!

When is the last time you had a good solid hug?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Staying Home

Loaded up the truck this morning figuring that I would mow a few yards after school. The forecast called for rain late in the night. Well, the steady drizzle and mist started about 11am this morning and steadily kept pace all day. That said I stopped by the grocery store for a few goods and came on home. My daughter is so adept to going places she pleaded with me to stop by LA Fitness.

Tonight was one of the rare nights that we actually stayed home. I made sandwiches and also prepared pork roast for pulled pork sandwiches on Thursday at school. Even though I stayed home my mind has been racing trying to sort out what all is left this month.

Wednesday night: pick up a fridge and go to church
Thursday night: detailing a car
Friday night: announcing the last softball game of the season
Saturday: interview #3
Sunday: church and new members lunch afterwards
Monday: ??? mow and mow and mow
Tuesday: wife and I both have school events
Wednesday: church again

and on and on and on

I did buy a new mower from Home Depot. The SEARS store never contacted me about the lack of service. So I'll say it: DON'T BUY FROM SEARS! Hey, one unsatisfied customer will tell at least 10 people. Fix his problems and he'll tell 20!

Monday, April 16, 2007

End of the Rumors

The 3 1/2 years at my current teaching position is the longest I've endured this far in my career. I've had stints of 1 1/2 years, 1 year, 2 years, 1 year, 3 months and now 3 1/2 years. Recently some people at my building have been asking my closest peers if I am interviewing with another district. That said I am currently interviewing with my wife's Small District and have survived the first 2 interviews: one by phone, another last Saturday.

Tonight I got an email to interview for the NEXT round. 1000+ applications:10 jobs, 1% chance.

As I ponder what to do I am currently fidgeting and bounding my leg. I'm sure I will be gritting my teeth to the point of needing Advil to relieve the pain.

My biggest worry switching districts is expectations. For 8 1/2 years I've basically had teaching positions where I really was left alone. I've never had anyone looking over my shoulder, yet feel that I am a good teacher who is great at relationships with parents, students and co-workers. My biggest fear is getting into a situation where I am micro-managed having someone looking over my shoulder all of the time. I get the feeling from my wife that Small District is more concerned about what is going on in each classroom and is very involved in visiting classrooms.

Time to pray! If I do switch positions it will just have to feel like the right thing to do.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bad Service at Sears

Last Saturday as I mowed at the church I saw oil gushing out the side of my mower and just knew the time for buying a new mower had arrived. Last year BillyV helped me change a fuel bowl which helped keep it running for a year. In that time I also lost part of the undercarriage and have had to add oil each time I mowed. My last mow last season I busted the handle bracket which serverely disabled my mower. I spent about $40 this spring to revive it one more time.

This week I researched mowers online and found a Craftsman at Sears. After comparing a few models between Sears, Lowes and Home Depot I decided to look one more time online at the Sears Craftsman mowers and much to my delight the one I liked was an additional $30 off.

I loaded the family and drove 13 miles to the closest Sears. We walked in and found the Lawn and Garden department. I browsed a few minutes expecting someone to help me and it never happened. One salesman ended up helping another couple who were looking for their first mower. I waited about 30 minutes before leaving. A young man in a Craftsman hat walked by us at least 3 times and didn't even great us.

What kind of service is that? I tried to call the store and after 3 unsuccessful attempts to reach a manager I just decided to contact the corporate office via their "contact us" online form. It said to expect to be contacted within 48 hours. Well, after looking online tonight I figure I may just as well go to Home Depot and buy a similar mower for $15 less. This store is 11 miles closer to home too!

Did you know most mowers have the Briggs and Stratton engine? So whether it is a Craftsman, Yard Machine, or Troy Bilt they have the same engine.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Welcome Race Fans

I received 3 tickets from a student for Thursday's events at Texas Motor Speedway. I've never been to a Nextel Cup or Busch series event so I didn't know what to expect. I went with my friend and his son and we arrived about 4:30pm and immediately I was shocked to see so many motor homes parked throughout the nearby fields. The Busch race isn't until Saturday and the Nextel Cup race isn't until Sunday. Any how the lady who gave me tickets did warn me that diehard fans show up as early as Monday to find a good place to party all week.

We were able to park way up front and we walked through many of the racer's trucks were they sell their goods. It was cool to browse basically with few people around. We mosied into the track area about 5:30 and the qualifying trials didn't start until about 6pm.

What I did see was a bunch of white people. Texas Motor Speedway is a place where they allow you to bring coolers full of beer into the seating area. I'm not talking about mini coolers that carry maybe 6 beers. I'm talking about the pull behind kind that can hold as many as 24 beers. WOW! If you are a beer drinker you can drink 12 beers at 50 cents a can at a total of $6 instead of shoveling out $6 a CAN! That is a savings of about $60 or more. In case you run out of beer they do have pints in plastic bottles for $6.

At 8pm they had something called Fandango which was for season ticket holders only. It was over hyped and maybe it was a fun event for diehard race fans who have been drinking beer out at their motor homes all day, but for the Nascar virgin like me it was easy to head for home a little early.

That said, it was a fun event even though it was an hour drive. I just can't imagine being there on Saturday or Sunday bumping elbow to elbow with sunburned white people who have drank an average of 13 beer BEFORE the race began. I do understand that it takes about 4-5 hours to exit the raceway after the race on Sunday. I'll watch it on TV thank you.

IF I ever do experience a Sunday Nextel Cup race I think I would arrive on Thursday night, pitch a tent and party with the rebels and stay until Monday morning when I can be on the highway 5 minutes after pulling off the parking lot.

It really seems like a weekly Super Bowl event for race fans.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

5 Kinds of Chips

1. Snack chips
2. Poker chips
3. Wood chips
4. Golf chip
5. Guys named Chip, or Skip?

Well, last Saturday I ended up having 5 different kinds of snack chips. I fell off the diet wagon very hard. I started the day off well having 2 small muffins that were only worth 2 points total and after that my wife and I played racquet ball and worked out a little so I figured I was well ahead of the program. After we got home my wife ran for a few groceries and she ended up bringing SunChips home and that's where the downfall began.

While sitting around snacking we got a phone call to mow at the church and that added another 3 hours of work out time so I figured I worked off the Sun Chips. After mowing we stopped at a quickmart for hotdogs and you guess it, chips. I ended up getting sour cream and onion chips as well as bar b que chips. 3 chips by 4pm.

After we got home I also ate a few hard pretzels. Then I went with a friend to watch the Mavericks at a local sports bar. While there I had to have their chips and hot sauce.

Fittingly I had to eat about 5 Tums during the night.

Wow, what a confession. No wonder I am up over 200 pounds again. This week has been a little better, but trying to break the snack habit!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Soldier Appreciation

I feel fortunate that I do not know many people who have served in Iraq these past 3 years. I haven't had to worry about something bad happening to a close friend. I really only know one person personally who has served in Iraq. I met RB about 20 years ago thru mutual friends at an indoor soccer facility. As our circles entwined we got to know each other thru parties, softball, float trips and such. I was lucky enough to sell RB a car also....I think, it's been a LONG time since then.

Back then I remember RB spending a few weeks and weekends a year training for the Army Reserves. I think it paid a little bit and back then who would have thought it would mean committing your time and possibly your life serving overseas in a strange country.

About 3 years ago March I returned home for the funeral of an uncle and while in town I went to a going away to serve party for RB. Since this time RB has served 2 tours of duty in Iraq and hopefully he is finished.

I really appreciate what he gave up in order to defend strangers and to provide a safer country for me to live in. RB left behind his wife, 2 children, friends and a job. Not sure who had the greater sacrifice, RB or his family.

While in town this past March I really wanted to do something for RB and his family and was thinking about getting a gift certificate to the movie theatre or possibly a bowling alley so he could take his family out without cost. My good friend recommended a certain Mexican restaurant so I picked up a gift certificate. After having this certificate for a month I finally called and got his address. Now I need to personally handwrite a thank you note to this great guy and his family.

Thanks RB!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Super Sunday

Easter Sunday for Christians really is like the Superbowl Sunday of our faith. Good Friday, when Christ was crucified, is like a team being WAY down and today that team has a miraculous come back to win it. The miracle in our faith is that Christ was NOT in the tomb and he was indeed ALIVE!

Today at church we had an awesome celebration. My wife and I missed the worship time as we had our first experience with our kid's SUPER church. After the service 5 people were baptized in the jacuzzi. It sure was cold too! From there we had Jason's Deli catered in and all the families ate lunch provided by the church. The kids had many things to do also: egg hunt, jump house, hayride, pinata and a petting zoo.

I am so excited to be involved in this church . 2 coworkers from school have started attending and one joined today! My faith is being renewed and I can't help but tell others about the good news.

When my wife and I first attended early December they were meeting in a Jumpin Zone place for kids. Since then they bought 5 acres with a house and a reception hall. We converted the house into Sunday school classes and the reception hall into our sanctuary. Attendance was maybe 80+ when we started attending. Today we had 180 people all told.

You are welcome to join next Sunday!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Tale of 2 Brothers

My older and only brother made a rare visit last weekend and flew out early Tuesday morning. We had a great time and I often reflect on how our paths in the life have run different courses.
I will share a few ways we are different:

He listens to country, I listen to 80's, and 90's pop. He spends Sunday mornings tailgating before football games, I spend those 3 hours in church. He graduated high school early, I was the first in our family to graduate college. His favorite drink is any non-light beer, mine is diet Pepsi. He gives 10% of his income to the NFL, I look to give 10% to the church. He was married at 18, I was 30. He was a dad at 18, I was 35. He is divorced, I am on my first and only marriage. He's great at most sports, I'm just good enough at most. He hunts all the time, I once shot a rabbit. He owns his own business, I'm employed by the state. I go and watch free 4th of July fireworks displays, he spends at least $500 an shoots his own fireworks.

We do have some similarities:

We both will help anyone in need, have 2 kids, are giving, drive black Chevy trucks, have owned Jeeps, played varsity baseball, and we both enjoy each other's company.

My friend CB will surely comment on this!

Monday, April 02, 2007

2 for 2

First of all, Happy Birthday to a good friend Minhaul! I tried to call and left a message!

My brother arrived Saturday. Gotta love the cell phone parking at Love Field. You can wait in a holding area and Saturday my brother called when they picked up their bags and I drove up and picked him up outside of the baggage area. Great when you have kids in the card.

Day 1 was a success. We watched the NCAA Final Four games and played cards. Both T-Man and his friend had a good time.

Day 2 was great too. My brother headfaked me and last night said he would go to church with me. WHAT? He's probably been inside a church twice in 20 years and one of those was for my wedding. Instead this morning he said he would install 2 ceiling fans.

Today we sat around watching NASCAR, the Mavericks and Golf. All 4 guys in the house napped while the girls went to my wife' school do do lessons for the week. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for drinks and appetizers. Watched the Cardinals take a beating too!

We ended the night bowling. 97cent games and $1.50 drinks. Cheap night. The only negative on the night was getting all the way to my home area and when I pulled up to get gas I realized my license and credit card were both still at the bowling alley. That added 30 minutes to the night.

All told we have had 2 great days and tomorrow, Monday, should hold the most fun. Golf early, followed up by a trip to the Grassy Knoll where Kennedy was shot, then the closer would be watching a Stars/Blues hockey game.

Family, friends, fun!