Friday, June 29, 2007

La Pachanga

I have no idea what La Pachanga means in Spanish, but we did eat there yesterday for lunch. YES, another food entry.

This place reminds me of El Charos in Carthage, a Mexican restaurant that we at almost every week. Yesterday we ordered the lunch fajitas for a bargain price of $5.99. It was a large enough order that we had some left over. The chicken breasts come chopped up and was probably stewed in some sauce. We also ordered their white cheese queso and shredded cheese and felt like we were back in Carthage. The chicken nachos were a disappointment due to the fact that the tortilla chips got soggy pretty quickly. The hot sauce was a bit on the tomotoey side for my wife. My 3 year old LOVED the chips and hot sauce.

Lunch was close to $20, but you have to figure in $6 for the drinks. Places are killing people for ordering teas and sodas. The other day I paid $2.09 for one drink. That is why I usually order water when dining at a nicer establishment.

Going to my dad's today to do a tile project for him. My brother got on to me Wednesday for saying, "It should be easy." Just when you say that something will NOT be easy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


My daughter is the master manipulater, queen negotiator, skilled arbitrator and DRIVING US CRAZY. My daughter definitely does not turn off until she falls asleep, about 1 minute after her head hits the pillow. When she is awake she is always wanting to do something. She'll bring up stuff that I've promised a month ago and she wants it NOW! When we tell her not right now she usually begins the next sentence with "well...." followed by a quickly thought out plan that will convince us to do it NOW!!!

So, this past weekend everytime she brought up something to do I simply said YES and told her to put it on her list. she has written out a list with about 10 things on it: The Zoo, Six Flags, movies, park, visit friends, etc. She even asked her mom,
"If I go and write sno cones on my list can we go get one right now?" We no sooner left the Zoo yesterday after 4 fun filled hours when she asked if we could go to Six Flags........... now.

We have 2 more weeks of her drilling us with all the requests and demands. Hope we regain control!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vacation Part II

Picked up the wife at the airport on Monday and officially part 2 of the vacation started. The reamining 2+ weeks will focus on family things such as:

-going to the St. Louis ZOO(free)
-going to Six Flags(free-school tickets)
-going to Grant's Farm
-visiting the wife's family which includes a birthday part
-Bed n Breakfast-12th anniversary July 8th
-July 4th fireworks downtown St. Louis
-July 7th fireworks at my brother's place(he'll spend $500+ of his own money)
-dining at favorite spots(Seamus McDaniels, Ted Drewes, Cecil Whitakers, etc)
-bowling(99 cent games on Wednesdays)

We did go to the St. Louis Zoo today and I'm pointing to the Rhino and the kids are more interested in chasing birds and chipmunks as well as pointing out the duck and rabbit in the Rhino area. Hmmm???? Kind of like getting a gift for your birthday and being more interested in the box that it came in.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

10 Cent Cones

I'll not bore you with my tile project today. Still working, yes.

My mom lives in the fast food mecca of Missouri and one of the best roast beef places around is Lion's Choice. Puts 3rd world, low grade beef Arby's to shame. Lion's Choice also is the home of the 10 cent cone. Perfect for a quick fix for a tasty treat. Chip in an extra 15 cents and get the cone dipped in chocolate. I think I could eat one of those EVERY night. I'm telling you, it is "right across the street."

I have also spent my share of $$$ at the McDonald's next to Lion's Choice. Spending a lot of time on the tiling project I end up getting the kids cheeseburgers, "ketchup only." McD's is stealing my business from the convenience store QT because the 42 oz. Hugo drink at McD's is only 89 cents. PLUS they have the $1 a day rental Redbox. Drawback is going to McDonalds with kids to just take the movie back. "I'll have a Hugo while I'm here......."

The wife is in town early Monday morning so the 2nd half of my St. Louis pilgrimage will be different. Time for family things.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saved By the Gal

I felt like the luckiest guy in town Friday. I planned on taking a break from my tiling project and giving the kids a day for themselves. We headed out about 9:30am for bagels at Einstein Bagels. Minus one big altercation in the bagel store everything went alright. With the washer and dryer at my mom's unattached I took a basket full of laundry to my brothers. After starting a load I then swung by a friend's of ours house and the wife was home with their 2 kids. She volunteered to keep both kids for a few hours while I took care of business.

Business included getting keys cut for my mom's house since my dad locked us out Thursday delaying the tile project for 2 hours. I also picked up a few other needed hardware items. While waiting on the laundry I mowed my brother's lawn. After that I switched loads and went for lunch. I was craving an Ameghetti's sandwich from "the Hill." WOW, it his the spot.

If you are ever in St. Louis you really need to visit "the Hill" which is less than 10 miles from downtown. This is the area of my first job and this place is full of tidy shotgun shacks with neatly manicured lawns. There are plenty of bakeries along with deli shops and authentic Italian restaurants. I worked at Lou Boccardi's and my best friend BillyV worked at Rigazzi's. There are many more places to visit beyond this. I am probably going to visit a shop that I saw that is selling "the Hill" t-shirts.

Friday night I napped a little bit as my daughter went to Vacation Bible School at my friend's church. I picked her up and visited with some former mentors/friends from Maplewood Baptist: J Byrd and D Affolter. It was pretty rewarding visiting old Christian friends.

Saturday, today, my plan was to finish 2 other areas for tiling and possibly get to one bathroom. I didn't mention that I busted a pipe on the washer machine and someone had to come out and fix it today at $165. My mom and I also spent 2+ hours trying to attach the drier attachment. FINALLY at 7:30pm we were successful. The bathroom with have to wait until tomorrow.

The biggest blessing of the past 24 hours was my friend KF keeping my 2 kids. I had been cramped up in grandma's house for 5 days with them, and they with ME!!!!! Washer, drier, dining table and chairs ALL located in the living area. We were CRAMPED and the kids were bored.

My wife will be in town on Monday and I can't wait! It is REALLY tough being a single parent. I respect my friends who do this along ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Worn Out

Thursday was basically day 4 of my tile project for my mom. All that is left to do in the kitchen/dining area is to wipe the excess silt from the tiles and replace the trim. After that she should be able to cook and do laundry again. AND get the appliances along with the dining set out of her living room.

Friday will be a day for the kids. They've sacrificed the most by being cramped in close quarters with very little to do. My near 6 year old would sit on the computer all day playing noggin or with the TV being on as well. My 3 year old is the hardest to keep busy. The bible talks about the trouble with "idle hands" and with nothing to do he climbs things or is constantly aggravating his sister.

So, "We're off to see the Wizard..................." Hope we have FUN today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Top Gun Moment

"Crash and burn huh Maverick?"
"Slider..........(takes a whif) stink."

I started the ceramic tile project for my mom on Monday. I woke up Monday with a tweaked back so just getting in the truck to go get supplies was rough. I loaded up my cart at Home Depot with 17 heavy 3X5 foot backerboards and 2-50 tubs of mastic glue only to walk out of the store to see it pouring down rain. I worked close to midnight on Monday.

Tuesday I started working about 9am and finished putting the backerboards down in order to prep for tiling. I was sweating up a storm. My mom comes in at 4pm and states that it is really hot in here. After checking the thermostat she figured something was wrong with the A/C. It was 90 degrees inside.

I started to lay tiles about 5:30pm and the A/C guy came and replaced a switch inside the unit for a total cost of $240 with the $100 fee include for just showing up. I labored past midnight and all of a sudden I actually smelled myself starting to wreek. This meant I was probably very offensive when I took my 9:30pm trip to Home Depot for one more tub of mastic.

I can't recall the last time that I actually smelled my own stench. That probably came from not showering yesterday as I worked from 9am until 3am the next morning. Boy, did that shower at 3am feel great last night.

I think I fell asleep by 4am only to hear my mom rustling things before she left for work. Then there was the 5am moaning from one of her loaner cats.

Finished laying the tile this morning(Wednesday) by 10:30am and the next step for tomorrow is to wetsaw cut the difficult tiles and put down the grout.

The rest of the day entails getting the kids out of the house and then bowling in the afternoon. Yes, I did 3 days of tile work with a 3 and 6 year old in my midst.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Trip Update

Wednesday: worked for my brother as my dad watched the kids. Biggest concern is the poopie diaper as my dad does not change diapers. Only one minor mishap. I spent the night with my dad and watched the Cardinals.

Thursday: drove all the way to Kansas City to watch the Cardinals get whipped 17-8. Horrible game, we left in the 6th inning. Nachos and a drink=$15. We retreated to the Holiday Inn Lounge where we closed the place down. Total tab was about $160 for 7 of us, with very little being spent on food.

Friday: travel day back to St. Louis. Picked up the kids at my sister in law's house. All together she had 6,4,3,2 year olds and a 4 month old baby. The kids did well.

My blunder of the trip was misplacing, probably losing, a $30 check that a friend wrote out to me. Before going to the game yesterday I remember clearing out my wallet of everything except cash. I even asked my brother if he'd accept the check for 30 Ca$h. We couldn't find it at all. I even looked thru the trash 3 times. No telling where I hid it.

Saturday we will celebrate Father's Day one day early. We may bowl, go fishing and then visit over some odd arrangement of foods. I left my dad's gift in Texas so either my wife will need to mail it, or more likely bring it up with her when she comes in.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rough Get Away

Monday night before leaving on Tuesday for St. Louis my wife asked me to check the shifter cable on the Neon. 2 years ago my neighbor and I, mostly my neighber, replaced it when a 10 cent rubber bushing wore off allowing the shifter to break causing the car to remain in neutral. I proceeded to check the car in the 100+ heat index, full sun, afternoon at about 5pm. Once again the bushing had worn away because my El CHEAPO battery from AutoZone had corroded and dripped down on it. I called the local Dodge dealer and was able to secure the $165 cables. 10 cent part turns into $165. What a MOPAR scam. Then add $55 for another battery.

I pulled the Neon up on the curb allowing some access to the under side of the car. On my own I pulled the batter and dismantled everything except ONE bolt that held the cable system in place. This bolt was WAY up underneath the car and all I had was a simple jack meant for changing flats.

Long story short I did all I could from 5-6:30, wolfed down a great tasting spaghetti dinner my mom whipped up, attended a 7pm PTA meeting for my new school, snuck out at the 7:35pm intermission, came back home and with the help of my 2 awesome neighbors who had a hydraulic jack and 2 jack stands we finished up the job about 10:30pm. This 5-10:30 mad scramble followed about 5 hours of mowing so I was whipped.

I started packing last night about 11pm after eating another helping of spaghetti. The goal was to leave by 7am and we just missed that by 40 minutes. So far the only thing I know I left behind is my dad's father's day gift, a lawn tractor rain guage. Hoping the wife can mail it?????

We arrived tonight 13 hours later. 1 food stop, 3 antigue stops, 1 gas fill up, dropped my aunt off and then retrieved my mom's car from the airport parking. Managed to squeeeeeeze in White Castles ALREADY!

Busy day tomorrow too! Good night.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Good Bye Texas

Today is going to be my last full day in Texas for about 30 days. My mom came to visit last Friday as Saturday was my son's 3rd birthday. I've been just a little bit sick and worn out, but hopefully I have recovered in time to drive the 10+ hours to St. Louis Tuesday morning. I had many things to take care of before leaving.

1. Mowing at the church since I am now the new lead groundskeeper.
2. First impressions greeting ministry at church
3. My weekly mowing commitments
4. Packing
5. others

I'll post from St. Louis. First thing on the agenda is to drive to Kansas City with my brother to watch the Cardinals take on the Royals Thursday night.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Last week a police officer knocked on the passenger window of my truck while I was inside QT getting a healthy lunch for my family. I didn't notice the exchange while gathering the hotdogs, chips and drinks. My wife informed me that our truck didn't have a registration sticker. He just gave her a warning, fortunately.

For one I guess we could have received a ticket. AND, our registration papers were not in the truck.

So, today I took advantage of my mom being in town and left the kids with her as I visited our County Tax Assessor's office to reapply for my sticker. The cost was $6.30. A LOT cheaper than receiving a ticket.

Mark this one down. We never seem to remember the breaks that we get in life.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Things That Pay for Themselves

The other day I went with my family to buy ink cartridges for our Epson printer. When we had problems with our orinial Epson printer the company said throw it away and we'll send you the newer model for FREE! What a joke, we spent $86 on 4 separate color ink cartridges that it needed.

From there we journeyed next door to Sports Authority to look for shoes for my wife since she left and lost a pair at the gym. I was ready to let her use my $15 giftcard, but she didn't find any shoes. We did find a small putter that my son could use when playing putt putt golf. While in like to check out I spotted a clearance table full of bowling shoes. 1/2 price of the lowest price. I would only have to pay $9 for some decent looking golf shoes. NO brainer, except I already have golf shoes. I bought them anyway figuring I could take a pair to St. Louis next week and leave them there. A few times I have been stranded in St. Louis without my bowling shoes and it turns my stomach having to pay $3 to rent some crappy shoe that 1,000+ other people have worn. A $30 investment for the bowling alley next a 100 fold return.

As I think about my $9 purchase it is easy to see that I'll recover that $9 spent in just 3 visits. What other things out there could pay for themselves in just a few happenings. I justified buying my cheap model $199 lawn mower knowing I make about $100 a week mowing lawns for people. I am really wanting to justify buying a gas powered edger and blower since I drag around electric ones now. Look at all the time I would save not winding the cord.

Cars do not fit into this category of paying for themselves, unless your talking a taxi cab or a limo.

What things can you think of that could pay for themselves quickly. Something like a season pass to Six Flags!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bad A$$ Tattoo

This post will be about:

A. The STL tattoo I will get when I'm in St. Louis
B. A new show on Bravo
C. A commercial on the kid's Noggin Network


Yesterday the TV was on in my room because my daughter was watching Noggin. I think it is automatically set up to tape The Backyardigans, Dora, Go Diego Go and The Wonder Pets. As I walked through I heard a young lady say something along the lines of "....or a bad a$$ tattoo on your chest....." It was for some commercial for an older kids program that would be on some future evening. It was 5:25 in the afternoon and filthy language like that is on AND it is on a kids network. I doubt I'd hear something like that on a local channel at that time of day. It really goes to show that you can't let the TV babysit your kid without you knowing EXACTLY what is on. I hope that ad wasn't aired during the designated up til 5pm younger kid time. At 5pm everyday they have about 2 minutes of dead air signaling that little kid TV is over, but why does a slightly bigger kid TV need to have "Bad A$$" advertising?????

Maybe that is why I like for my kids to watch Animal Planet.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Bad and the Good

Last night my family went to Home Depot looking for a certain rug that is being discontinued. This certain rug is on clearance for 1/2 the original price. We left the house a little late and drove to the 3rd closest Home Depot. We were successful in finding the rug that we need for our small dining niche. Until now the chairs have been leaving slight scratches noticeable when the light hits the floor just right. While we were at the store my 2 kids went bonkers. I had to take my son kicking and screaming to the truck. Before going outside this was the conversation: "Since you were choosing to stand in mommy's cart you are getting your own. You can either sit in this one and wear the buckle or we will go out to the truck." We ended up in the truck. I am a big fan of following thru on consequences stated. We did not go to the other Home Depot, instead we drove straight home. I didn't say a word as I was all JACKED UP! This is the BAD!

Next Tuesday I will drive to St. Louis with my mom and 2 kids. My wife is currently attending a 3 week workshop and due to the above circumstances I chose to spend the last 2 weeks of her workshop surrounded by friends and family in St. Louis. She'll fly up Monday, June 25th. The full cost of her one way ticket flying Southwest Airlines is $64.90. She couldn't drive to St. Louis for that price. What a deal. Even if we owned a Toyota Hybrid it would be cheaper to fly. I say THANKS to Southwest Airlines for the great deal. Until Southwest was allowed to fly out of Dallas Love Field, the cheapest one way ticket thru American Airlines would have been at least $125, or double the cost of flying Southwest. This is the GOOD!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Movie News

Right now is not a good time to be a movie goer fan. There is a 16 screen theatre near my house with Pirates and Shrek taking up 11 of those 16 screens. 3 movies opened up this weekend taking up 1 screen and there are 3 movies scheduled for part time runs. The only non-new movie to take up a full day is Bugs and for some dumb reason I saw it last night without researching the full was horrible.

Also, MTV is hosting a movie awards ceremony tonight with Sarah Silverman hosting. I had it on for about 3 minutes and had to change channels because my kids were still up. Even if they were not up I would have changed channels because she was extremely vulgar and the content was disturbing to the Spirit that lives within me. Bummer!

Why does Hollywood insist on putting out such non-wholesome junk? Even the animated "kids" flicks have much inappropriate material. There is no way I'll take my family to see "Surf's Up" that is due out in a few weeks.

That said, I still have about $20 left in theatre giftcards to use along with 4 free movie passes. Once I go to St. Louis I'll have to keep these for late summer movies. Hopefully by then something decent will be out.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Final Rake

School is finally out and my wallet is so fat from all the gift cards I ended up receiving. Between the teacher appreciation week and the final week of school here is most of what I ended up getting:

$50 to Ruby Tuesday
$25 Target and candles
$25 Starbucks
$10 Starbucks
$5 Starbucks
Case diet coke and a sports drink bottle
$15 Sports Authority
2 Ceramic containers
Starbucks mocha drink with biscotti and bath salt
Beach towel and sports drink bottle
Personalized Mr. THEMANFC drink cup
$50 movie theatre giftcard
Homemade breakfast
$10 move theatre giftcard

I finally used a $40 giftcard to Saltgrass today. I got it in February for my birthday. Not often would you let your 6 year old order the $15.49 grilled shrimp plate. Our total lunch bill= $40.40. I was only out of pocket $8 for the $7.60 tip.