Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gus and Ted

Had Gus' Pretzels yesterday for lunch. Had 1/2 a pretzel dog, pretzel bites an one pretzel stick. After shopping at a small t-shirt shop we bowled and then had Ted Drewes frozen custard for dinner. There I had a small plain cone and a mini chocolate chip concrete. If you are from St. Louis this is a pretty good thing. If you are from somewhere remote(Oklahoma or the rest of he USA) you just don't understand as my friend CB said something like this in 2006, "It's okay......"

Long sleeve dark blue St. Louis Billikens shirt $10
Heavy duty St. Louis Cardinals Hoody $29
St. Louis Cardinals hotwheel Hummer $2
St. Louis cap for wife $10
Black hoody $6

We did The Funnybone Comedy Club last night. Open mic night with about 15 different comedians. The first one was the most vulgar. A few didn't use profanity and did just well. Definitely a weird bunch. They were the odd group hanging out in the small bar befpre, during and after the show. Wonder if a Christian comedian could break into their fraternity. Or would the atmosphere be a beatdown?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crunch Time

We'll be heading home in just over 48 hours. Hope all the stuff fits in the car. Still have things to do, places to visit, food to eat, friends and family to see. My dad is coming in today. Going to the Funny Bone comedy club tonight. New Year's Eve with friends and driving home January 1st.

Sunny and 50 in St. Louis.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Dream day for me yesterday as I went to the movies with my mom to see Doubt(loved it), bowled 4 games with me brother(won 3 games) and played in a card tournament with a good friend(came in 2nd place). In the movie Doubt the priest has one sermon on intolerance and overall I think I am tolerant to much, or at least I think I am.

2 things that I know I'm intolerant of is disrespectful behavior and profanity. Twice on this trip I've become uneasy with the behavior of the local youth. One time in my life I'd quickly refer to them as "white trash." At the movies the other night about 6 teens kept going in and out of the movie and when they were in the theater they were often texting. They'd also leave to go smoke. Also at the bowling alley one kid(maybe 12 years old) was disrespectful to the bowling alley people and I could just tell he wasn't up to any good. Also, as a teacher I don't have much patience with a student who falls way outside the norm of what is expected.

The last thing is profanity, especially frequent use of the F word. I grew up around some of it and had a grandpa use the GD term in every other sentence. Had an uncle that always said "C" sucker with every sentence so it is not like I'm sheltered. Last night I played poker with a largely baptist crew. At least 6 of the 10 were associated with baptist backgrounds. At this poker match there was alcohol which included whiskey, rum and tequilla to mix with drinks. Totally okay with all of that in moderation. Our "gambling" was just for $5 each and by coming in 2nd place I earned $15 for 3 1/2 hours hard work and entertainment. The only thing sour about the night was the use of the "F" word by one lady there. She also threw in a few other words and her boyfriend of many years threw in a few sexual connotations. I'm not sure if they were connected with a church, but it didn't appear so.

Then upon coming home I ended up on the Comedy channel and Chris Rock was on. He said the "F" word in every other sentence. People were laughing and after a few minutes of hoping the dialogue would smooth out I changed the channels.

So, I'm fine with gambling, alcohol in moderation, have bi-racial friends, many friends of different race, have become friends with gay couples. I feel over all I'm very tolerant. I just get repulsed by rude behavior and profanity. I'm not talking about the occasional "SH.." word my mom uses or a random hell or damn. The spirit inside me just doesn't do well with severe and vulgar language.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

WE Moved Away

I am always more excited to come back to St. Louis than my wife. Slowly I am figuring out why. Before we came she commented, "Just don't turn me in to a single mom." That purpose of the comment was to point out that I often have much more to do than she does. I grew up in St. Louis and maintain many friendships. My wife doesn't have many friends here and another point is she doesn't tolerate her family as well as I do mine.

Out of the 4 grandparents only my mom goes overboard to make us feel welcome and to make our children the center of our visist. She is always willing to keep them and take them to go and do things. My dad will come and visit, but he is definitely a part-timer. Her parents are more distant and do very little to make things happen. Even when we go the extra they may or may not participate. I now know that it frustrates my wife and by coming home her disappointments are reinforced many times over.

We just remind ourselves that we moved away and to make thing happen we often put ourselves in vulnerable situations when it come to our feelings.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Made It

Drove up to St. Louis on Tuesday the 23rd. Only got about 30 minutes from home before we had to pull over for a while due to icy conditions. The temp teetered between 32 and 35 all the way and the 9 1/2 hour trip took 11 hours. It was rainy and misty the whole way. We were able to meet up briefly with friends who were traveling the opposite direction. We were 7 hour into our trip and they were about 2 hours.

The roughest stretch was after meeting them we still had about 3 hours as we cut across Lake Ozark. First I saw a deer dart across the road and wondered if more were coming. I caught the shoulder one time and without our stability track steering we may have hit the ditch. The worse ordeal was seeing that a deer had been pulverized and while doing 65mph I came upon the rest of the carcass and had to hold the line with the pavement being wet. I ran over it and felt like I ran over a 50 pound dog. I checked the front end a bit later at a gas station and didn't see any damage. I told my daughter there was a deer head under the car. Only $19 to fill up.

Earlier in the day there was a traffic fatality and a 12 car/truck pile up on the last highway we were on. We did pray to make it safely when we left. Thanks God!

Did the 3 Christmases. May do the zoo today. Cards tomorrow night. Football watching and a Blues hockey game Sunday. Funny Bone comedy club Tuesday. New Years something Wednesday and probably drive home New Years Day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

3 Christmases

1. Today my immediate family started the Christmas season off by opening our gifts. Our Christmas kicks off the Saturday after Thanksgiving with us all going and picking out a tree. Even with a shorter span between Turkey day and Christmas our tree fell about 10 days short or surviving. It really didn't take on much water and turned dry and brittle very quickly.

We opened presents this morning. Good times for us as we have a 4 year old and a 7 year old. We wrote a letter to Santa telling him to deliver our gifts to grandmas house as we will be in St. Louis Christmas morning.

2. Tuesday the 23rd we will travel most of the day and end up at my sister-in-laws. They have 3 kids and we will probably will do Christmas together during the day Christmas Eve. I hope to travel in to St. Louis early enough to maybe catch a Christmas Eve service with good friends.

3. My kids will wake up Christmas morning at grandma M's house. My dad, brother and his 2 girls will come over for the gift exchange and we'll probably do the typical potluck roast, green beans and Hooter's wings luncheon.

My wife prefers to do Christmas here and avoid all the running around. She sacrificed and gave the okay to do Christmas here today allowing the kids to actually play with their gifts. In the past we did the 25th here and we were on the road by 10am. Her big thing is not to be driving all around Christmas day so this plan hopefully was a fair compromise.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where is The MAN?

I haven't posted in a while. We had 5th grade camp last week. We left Monday with the temperatures in the 30s and it was really windy. Compared to sunny and 70 on Sunday. All of our camp activities were based on outdoor activities: boat ride to an island, hiking a small mountain peak, survival trails. It really wasn't bad IF you had the right clothing.

Tuesday was the toughest. We received word that school had been cancelled, yet we were plowing ahead with our activities. We are trying to find out if WE have to make up that day since we were still "at work" and "at school."

Our last day was a 1/2 day Wednesday and we arrived back at school all in one peice. I survived the trip without getting sick. I did acquire something that hit me Friday night so I'm currently taking Sudafed and Benadryl at the same time.

Our Christmas is Monday morning and we'll head out to Missouri on Tuesday. Temps in St. Louis today in the teens with a windchill near ZERO. Wonder how tailgating was for my brother this morning.

Meet Me In St. Louis for Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

CP Down

We've had our Toshiba laptop for I guess 5 years and last summer the power jack came loose and we had to have it serviced. While servicing it they said the mother board fried and the $115 cost now became a $275. "Sure, go ahead and fix it." They then talked me into spending an additional $100 to reimage it since nothing had ever been done to it since we've had it. I've never added an anti-virus software either. Lucky it hadn't crashed on us.

We got the laptop back and it worked fine, but it never seemed any faster or more efficient than before I dropped $100 for a reimaging. Then this week as I was trying to find songs to download and simultaneously searched UTube for the songs the thing came to a grinding chug. I also downloaded a song from an unknown sight and then started getting pop-up 2009 anti-virus sight. It was relentless.

Anyway, I took it in Monday morning and let our school tech look at it. He said it was very much infiltrated by trojans and spyware. He recommended a few anti-virus software packs. He did clean it up and it seems a bit faster now.

Just frustrating spending about $400 with tax and for just a bit more I could have purchased a new one MUCH faster.

I'm back.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

How to Save on XM

When we bought our Pontiac G6 last March it came with 3 months of (XM) Satellite for free. After 2 months it cut off so I called and told them. Seems the dealer had it turned on for about a month since this car was an autoshow car. They gave us an additional 3 free months. In August when it ran out we got a call to extend it for 3 months for only about $15, or $5 a month. I agreed.

Well, yesterday I opened a letter from XM saying we now owed $155 with taxes for one year subscription. I called and the gentleman, he was nice, told me that they had it on recording that I agreed to a one year subscription once the 3 month deal ran out. I asked to listen to the recording and he said it wasn't possible from my end. I assured him that I was pretty cheap and would never agree to pay about $13 a month for the service.

After about 20 minutes of talking he said he would offer me a one time deal for just $77 for a year. I asked if I could call the next day and have the "deal" cancelled in December 09' without any suprises and he said yes. SO, I got a DEAL!

Deals can be had when it's not really worth it to you at the original price. Seems right now it is a buyer's market.

Now, go deal!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Going Commando

Monday morning I packed my gym bag and headed off for work. Right after work my Monday routine usually involves about an hour long work out and then I go weigh in to see if I've lost weight. I put my time in the gym trying to sweat off a few last ounces and showered before going to the meeting. When I unloaded my bag I could not find my underpants. My dilemna at that point was put my sweaty drawers back on or go commando. My first incling was to put my old drawers back on. Once they were on I knew that was a mistake so I went commando.

The toughest thing was just worrying that the barn door might be open so I walked basically with my hand over my fly. I weighed in and figured those few ounces with not having drawers on would have helped. It did not. I gained 2 pounds this week. This after going to the gym 8 straight days.

I figure I have let the little snacks creep in along the fact that I really don't push myself at the gym. I also have quit journaling or keeping track of what I've eaten. I'd rather walk for an hour on the treadmill to do 3 miles instead of jogging and getting it done in 30 plus minutes.

We'll see. I am thinking of taking a month off and start back up in January LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Next Blog: How I saved money with my XM Radio service.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I Gained

Of course I'd expect to gain something over Thanksgiving break, but it was as if I weren't on a diet at all AND I went off the deep end. In 2 weeks I've gained 3 pounds and I'm frustrated because I made a concentrated effort to hit the gym 8 days in a row. I do know I've fallen short in many areas: drinking water, counting all my points and spreading out food choices throughout the day instead of holding all my points for 6pm and later.

I'd love to lose 8 pounds and hit my goal before Christmas, but know I feel if I can just hold steady until the 1st of January and not be so caught up in thinking about eating and making choices for just a bit.

We'll see. I'm kind of going this alone so my only accountability is myself and my students who asked today if I gained weight. Tomorrow the answer will be, "Yes."