Thursday, July 31, 2008

This Makes Me Laugh

First things first -- here is the answer you have all been waiting for:

Yes, that's right - a 'Chopstick Rest.' Note the regular price of $2.95. As badly as we wanted to, given the bargain and all, Amy and I refrained from this would-be impulse purchase.

No doubt we all remember my wife’s glowing post about what we did for the 4th of July. Well she left out (at my request) the single funniest event of the evening. Just to refresh everyone’s memory, we sat in the lawn section on the blankets side of the Miller Outdoor Theater, as we had no lawn chairs with us. This was rather tricky. It was very crowded, and it looked like some people had been there for eight hours or more just to get a primo location.

As we are making our way around the crowds, I saw an eight-foot by eight-foot section that is vacant in the distance; and I think to myself, "What a blessing! God Himself must have reserved that space just for us." I’m so proud that I march right over to it and then quickly notice why it is vacant. It has some sort of drainage problem, and the result is an eight-foot by eight-foot mud pit.

While I briefly consider whether our blankets will shield us from the mud pit, I come to my senses and accept that this location is not a suitable 4th of July celebration vantage point. However, I also realize that Amy and I are standing in an area that will work just fine despite being about five feet from the mud pit.

After we get settled, I decide that we need a snack. So I take a mental snapshot of our surroundings, carefully make my way AROUND the mud pit and leave my bride to people watch. When I return I am ASTONISHED to see that the mud pit is occupied. Oh yes! Someone also thought that God saved that spot for them as a little blessing, and they were not going to deprive God of his blessing come mud or high water.

The really funny part is that the people behind us actually remarked, "I cannot believe you're sitting there. Hundreds of people thought about it, but you ladies actually did it." To which the recipient of the blessing replies, "I just knew I should bring a vinyl tablecloth. I'm so glad I did." She completely acted like it was no big deal.

As if that wasn’t funny enough, when the mud pit was empty it cautioned all pedestrians that perhaps the area was unsuitable for human occupancy. However, now that it was mostly occupied, it wasn’t clear at all to pedestrians that they should use caution when walking in the vicinity. So yes, you guessed it, person after person stepped right in the mud. Some people lost shoes, others got mud up beyond their ankles, some just fell down. It was so funny, and for the most part the people sitting in the mud pit (on purpose) were just oblivious, acting as if there was nothing out of the ordinary.

Amy and I were laughing so hard. Trust me; I wanted to take pictures of the victims, but I would just burst into laughter so hard that I couldn’t get a picture for anything. So here is the one picture I did get of one of the girls who chose to sit in the mud and the obstacles that were eventually placed in the DANGER ZONE of the mud pit.

I can’t wait to see what happens at next year's 4th of July celebration, but I hope that it's half as good as this year's was.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Story of Us - Part 6 - the I love you and the engagement

For us I think it really might have been "love at first sight." I knew that Steve definitely had potential on our first date. After introducing him to my family and seeing how well they all got along and how well he fit in, I really started to wonder if he could be "the one."

We had been dating right around four months when we first said "I love you" to one another. I had actually realized that I had fallen head-over-heels in love with Steven a few weeks before, but I had never said it.

We went to dinner at Bourbon Street Cafe. While waiting for our entrees, Steve asked his all too favorite question, "So what do you think?" (I had already learned that this question meant that he had something very important to tell me. It was always his intro for those heart-to-heart talks.) And, as is common with me, I answered his question with a question. "What do YOU think?" His reply was simply, "I love you." These three words instantly put a smile on my face and made my heart race. I, of course, replied with an "I love you, too" and leaned across the table for a kiss. I was IN LOVE! He was in love! We were in love - and with each other!!! :)

It was either that night or shortly thereafter that we started discussing marriage. (We don't believe in dilly-dallying.) I, being the planner, pulled out a calendar and started looking for dates that would allow us to take a nice honeymoon. Both of us were in school full-time while working full-time, so scheduling such an event required some planning. After careful review, I decided that the weekend before Thanksgiving would be best. And so I told him that if he really was serious about marrying me, he needed to propose soon because it was already the end of May and I needed time to plan our wedding. My darling husband responded with, "Don't you think we need to be engaged at least a year?" My "what for?" response let him know that I didn't think so. And so we set a date.

A few weeks later, Steve called on a Tuesday. (Now mind you, his MO was to call only on Wednesdays to make plans for the following Friday night date. We only saw each other on Fridays. Steve was working four jobs and going to school, so he didn't have a lot of time for dating. So the Tuesday call was out of the ordinary.) He told me that he was coming to pick me up. He took me to a park, and we walked out to a bridge overlooking a pond filled with lillypads. It was there, at sunset, at 8:31 p.m., that Steven got down on one knee and proposed. I don't remember everything he said (because he actually had a lot to say), but I do remember waiting for the question, "Will you marry me?" I responded with, "yes, yes, yes!" It was so perfect and so romantic!

(FUN FACT: All of the clocks in my house that do not work because the batteries in them die too often are set to 8:31.)

The Saturday after the proposal, my parents, my sisters-in-law and I went to Dallas to go dress shopping. (What can I say? I don't waste time!) After a full day of dress hunting, we found the perfect dress.

On Sunday afternoon after the proposal, my parents, Steve and I returned to the park to take engagement pictures.

And so the whirlwind of wedding planning began...

Stay tuned for The Story of Us - Part 7 - the wedding and the beginning of our happily ever after...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Birthday Fun

For Amy's birthday I got her lots and lots (well three pieces) of artwork. She will have to show you pictures. I'm sure you can look forward to that. She also wanted to go to one of the world' s largest outlet centers in San Marcos, TX. So yesterday we took time together (see 'We Make Time' post) and drove to the outlet mall with nearly 500 stores. As soon as we got out of the car this was Amy's expression:Here is what she saw that put a look of sheer joy on her face. Oh yes! That's a Pottery Barn / William Sonoma outlet.

While Amy was looking for practical things like this wonderful RED pitcher,

I was looking for absurd things to blog about. Here we have a automatic drink shaker - for those who are too lazy to shake the thing themselves.

And then there is this:

I'm having a contest. Let's see who can guess what this is. Please leave a comment with your guess. There is no prize (except of course a shout out), but I cannot wait to see the guesses. I'll post the answer soon.

After leaving Crate and Barrel, I found something that piqued my interest...

Amy trying to refocus my attention as there is a Restoration Hardware Outlet in the distance.

What could it be that has me jumping for joy??? Oh yes, it's a Starbucks!

My SIL, Shannon, enlightened me that Starbucks smells a little like a skunk on the inside. TIS TRUE!! The next time you drive by a skunk on the road, wait until the odor dies down a little then take in a big whiff. Think Starbucks, and you too will be a believer. Either the skunk won't smell as bad, or Starbucks will be a place you only visit by drive-thru in the future.

My father-in-law and I went into a Starbucks in Tulsa right around Christmas-time last year. The store was packed, so full that we could barely make it to the counter. Oddly there wasn't a noise in the building. It felt really, really awkward. These people seemed to be engaged in a visual dialogue. They were even laughing silently, slapping their knees at times. I finally couldn't help it. I just started staring at them all. And then I realized... They were signing to each other. Yes, it was a meeting of people who were unable to communicate verbally. The funny part about it was that it took the two of us nearly five minutes to figure this out.)

Now for those of you wondering what Amy enjoys at Starbucks (She HATES coffee.), here is a picture of a certain section of the menu. What could it be???

You guessed it! The Blended Creme Double Chocolaty Chip (no coffee of course).

And now some photos of ridiculous things we saw on our three-hour drive home:
A bathtub with a duck

A house with a large chicken in the front yard
The closed 'Rock-A-Bye' Motel looked frightening.
A functioning oil well pump with an airplane on top
The sign to the local airport and an advertisement for skydiving lessons
And finally a car that doubles as a cactus planter

Remember guesses are being accepted for what you think the green thing is. It is made of resin, costs $0.25 at the Crate and Barrel Outlet, and is odorless.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm still laughing (with them)

It's not really nice to laugh AT people; so I try not to, especially as a reverend. I have a certain ethical standard to adhere to. I prefer to think that I am usually laughing WITH people.

Amy's first ski adventure, for example, was very, very funny indeed. It took nearly an hour just to get to the chair lift because there was a vicious cycle of her falling, us laughing and repeat, repeatedly.

I've figured out a sure-fire way to know that you are getting old - when you fall and people no longer find it funny, you're probably getting old.

At a family reunion last year, my mother-in-law was sitting in a lawn chair that just broke right underneath her. Amy and I looked over and saw only her feet straight up in the air in the most cartoonish style. It was funny. We all laughed. She isn't old.

But when 90-year-old Great Grandma falls, we wonder about the integrity of her hips. She is old.

All that being said, I promise I'm not making fun of these people. We all have a job to do. I would do a lot of things for money; but these poor people - seriously! - hurricane reporters. I have to think that the reporters sent out to cover hurricanes live-on-the-scene are probably not liked very much. While there is no reason to fire them, there is hope that they will quit. If I were sent out to cover a hurricane, it wouldn't be because they didn't like me. It would be because I like an adventure; but that's me. Most people aren't like me. Nonetheless, while covering a hurricane, I would shoot the footage from my hotel room with perhaps the window (at a safe distance) in the background. If I was feeling froggy, I would venture just barely outside the door of a building. But these people - seriously! - we've all seen waves, flying debris, falling trees, falling signs - no hard hat, mind you, just a hat that usually blows off.

Hurricane Dolly (cute name) reached the Texas coast Wednesday morning (yes Amy and I are fine, thank you). So, of course, it's time to weed out some reporters. And they are putting forth a valiant effort. It's just so funny to watch. I found a great video on YouTube of a reporter from Hurricane Katrina. Now come on! When told to report in the middle of the biggest hurricane ever, find a new job!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things that make me laugh

Well here I sit waiting for a delayed flight.. Sorry I digress, no aviation talk. Nonetheless I seem to have a few moments in my schedule so I decided to share with you things that make me laugh. For starters, well I don't know what it's called; but it's funny, and researching for this post made me laugh even harder. If I had to name this device I would call it the Funny Ostrich. No particular reason that's just the first thing that came to my mind. So the FO if you will was designed to vibrate excess pounds right off the body. While I find the whole idea of this preposterous, I wish someone in my family tree had invented the thing, because a lot of money was made on these bad boys. Here is the first photographic example of the Funny Ostrich.

Okay, I'm laughing so hard just looking at this picture, first of all the outlet looks like a 240 Volt (something you would use to power your electric dryer), and this women has attached the FO to her body and is getting ready to turn it on, I'm sure the pounds just melted away on her luxury train ride to who knows where.

Now these ladies are a hoot, look closely. They are clearly well to do, and have donned their exercise caps (which also make me laugh). And there is one more thing, (I know its like a 'Wheres Waldo') THEY ARE DRINKING. I don't know what they are drinking, perhaps tea, perhaps wine (Air France Pilots were served wine with their dinners up until 1998, sorry no aviation), maybe its water. The very idea that an exercise can be conducted that is vigorous enough to loose weight while drinking anything out of crystal glasses is again, absurd.This ad is my favorite, they are so positive about their product. The thing that makes me laugh really hard is that it makes "THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT." Now I've only been married for three and a half years, but I'm certain that I know the Funny Ostrich does not make the perfect Christmas gift. It turns out not even a new air conditioning unit makes the perfect Christmas gift (Don't ask me how I know this). Oh yeah, and I also like that it is sold by a place with the word Sanitarium in the name.

If you are one of these people that think that there may be something to the Funny Ostrich, and want to give it a try; then please go to the Goodwill, I'm sure they have one available, in fact I once saw one about five years ago, and almost fell on the floor I was laughing so hard. I called my Grandma to get the technical name of the device, and she referred to it as a Reducing Machine. Ahh what a perfect marketing ploy to the Funny Ostrich, call it a Reducing Machine. I found a picture of the fanciest Funny Ostrich built in the 50's, along with a current model (yes it seems that a new improved version of the old technology is making a comeback.

Notice the lady on the top of the line Funny Ostrich is wearing heels, what better footwear than heels for a vigorous exercise? The new model does away with the belt but instead just vibrates the platform which the 'exercisee' stands on, sounds hard on the knees to me. Under cons for a review of the new machine it states that the platform is capable of producing 11G's. That's more than the human body can take, who comes up with this stuff?

Have a great day, and its okay to laugh out loud in public while pondering todays post. AND LEST WE FORGET


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Well Aviation Week has come to an end. Amy and I are going to an art exhibit this weekend where everything on display is made out of Red Bull cans. Doesn't that sound like fun? So now the last post of the week.

A couple of months ago I was flying, and my FO says, "Oh! This is the airplane I had the lightning strike in a couple of weeks ago." I asked what he was talking about, and he told me the story. The airplane was on course for a thunderstorm that was unavoidable (in Texas this happens often). When they got about half way through it, there was a deafening noise and a super bright light. After taking a moment to realize what had happened, they figured out that the airplane had been struck by lightning. During the strike the pilot's hand was thrown off of the metal control wheel and against the sidewall of the flight deck with such force that it hurt him a little.

The main electrical systems of the aircraft shut down. (There is a short delay on our aircraft where there is a warning for about eight seconds before the power actually shuts off.) So imagine the passengers' surprise when the cabin lights turn off and the emergency exit lights come on in flight. Within about 30 seconds, the pilots get the power turned back on; and the airplane seems to operate normally except that one of the exterior light circuits has a short and the screens on the flight deck are really distorted.

Once the airplane lands, the ground crew has a surprised look on their faces; and there is lots of pointing going on. Here is a photo of what they were looking at:

Yes, that's a hole - right in the nose of the airplane. (The nose of this airplane is composite - not metal.) There was also a hole in the tail (where the light was located). Anyway so now I know that a lightning strike in the airplane is a painless experience where some minor damage is possible.

We actually have one guy on our staff who flies for the Air Force on the Hurricane Hunter team. They fly inside hurricanes for like 7 hours at a time. He tells of flying through the eye of well-defined hurricanes where they can look up and see the stars at night. Now he has some stories.

Even though Aviation Week has come to an end, Amy and I are going to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in the fall. I will surely share some pictures. Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Since we are on the subject

I'm having too much fun with Aviation Week. I keep running into more and more stuff I can share with you all about this crazy industry. If your getting bored I promise it will be over on Monday; but for the rest of us yet another crazy hilarious story.

U.S. Airways has been in survival mode since 1981 when they first filed for bankruptcy, and for the most part they have been in bankruptcy ever since. They have laid off so many people that it wasn't long ago that the newest new hire on the pilot roster was hired in 1988, and the youngest guy was 48 years old. I wish them all the best but their actions have alienated their customers to a point beyond repair. Here is the story.

While some companies look at marketing as an expense account, U.S. Airways looks at it as in income account. They have ads on the jetway, on the tray tables, baggage carousel, boarding pass, cups, napkins, although I didn't seen any billboards in the lavatory I'm sure that is coming. It was crazy. But the craziest of all; the thing that blew my mind was the very thing that also shocked the pants off of a certain vocal customer.

Here is the intro to his website, please if your interested click the link and spend some time reading and listening to his story (he actually has a recorded phone call of him calling their Marketing Director at 5AM at his home, and and wait till you read about the Monkey of the Month Club!). It is very very humorous indeed.

US Airways management has to listen,when you have their home number.

I'm on the plane, and they're trying to sell me an airline credit card. This is
a sign of desperation, an airline on its last legs: peddling us credit cards
during the flight. It's not enough that they've taken our meals, our leg
and our on-time departures. Now they take our dignity, by hitting us
up for an
airline credit card while we are held captive on their smelly
how US Airways does it: they turn one unlucky stewardess
into a seat-to-seat
saleswoman. She gives you the pitch, then she walks down
the aisle with
applications, while people try to avoid meeting her gaze. It
is awkward...

So have I peaked your interest? I must warn you that the guy telling the story likes to use offensive language at times, but the overall journey of his crusade is quite funny. Have fun

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Okay here it is, Seat 29E

This comment card, (if you can call it that -- it was actually hand written on a napkin) has been floating around the company for a while, it is very entertaining to read, and as a passenger we can all sympathize with this guys pain. (Unless of course you are seated in First Class where this problem does not exist). Click on each page for a larger readable version.

I love the stink shield, and the drawings to help drive the point home. We have all been there; my favorite lavatory story was the elderly Catholic nun who went into the lav and didn't lock the door, an unsuspecting 20 year old guy went to go in and was quite surprised, (the nun cracked me up because she was carrying a three foot statue of Mary with her that had its own (form fitting)Mary Cozy complete with zipper.)

How I Roll

I know I promised long ago a photo shoot of me on my wife's scooter. But first a little history. The first year Amy and I were married she really wanted a Vespa for her birthday; I was working as a teacher at the time and going to school full time, and it turns out Vespa's are not cheap; so I found the closest thing to it in my price range. A Chinese replica, this thing came with all the bells and whistles. It has the cargo carrier mounted on the rear, a remote starter, alarm system and supercharger to push the 49.99CC power plant up to 45 miles per hour.

Amy loves her scooter, but she doesn't like riding it alone. Since it only has one seat she rides mostly in the neighborhood sometimes, but until I get her a two seater, or a motorcycle for myself so we can ride the open road together the scooter spends a lot of time in the garage, or at least it did until I decided to get it licensed in Texas and start riding it to the gym and lunch dates etc. Recently I even learned that I can ride it to the airport and park very near the front door of my terminal at no charge. This is much better than riding it to the parking lot because when I do the attendant has to bring a dolly out to make the entry arm think a car is actually wanting to come in the parking lot, and that was getting old.

So how cool is this I get to ride like the wind to the front door of the airport, park amongst the pristine Harley Davidsons, and Honda Shadows, go fly an airplane all day, and ride like the wind home. What a life, seriously, does it get any better? For your viewing pleasure here are some photos of 'How I Roll'

As always safety first

Headlight on -- note the truck with a 6.0 liter engine to my right, it cannot compete with 80MPG

And I'm off like a dirty shirt

Do people laugh? yes they do! Do I care? did I say 80 MPG? I get everything from waves out of sunroofs, to jealous glares, to all out fall down (Wipeout like) laughter, I'm 6'3" on a scooter built for a 100lb oriental woman. I think people are especially jealous of the custom paint job with matching helmet (that is also a little too small for me). Every ride is an adventure -- it keeps me (and my fellow drivers) entertained.

Tomorrow the comment card about seat 29E (Spoiler Alert) and how graphically a young man who was assigned to that seat did not appreciate it, or its location in the airplane (I am currently marking out any words that I find inappropriate for our family style blog, so it will be a safe, clean read).

Have a Great Day!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Good Times

This weekend was the summer birthday bash for Amy's family, so we were in Tulsa helping everyone celebrate. I like to think it's just not a party unless we show up.

Amy got lots of fun things for her birthday which is on July 23rd (I know the year but shall not like to blab it on the blogoshpere). Anyway we really had a lot of fun, and we got to see our niece, who is walking (we last saw her in February, she sure is growing up fast).

Yesterday afternoon my BIL and I returned to our childhood by visiting a favorite pasttime of mine here is a hint.

Any guesses? -- I will share the answer at the end of the post.

This week I've decided to focus on crazy things in my world. As most of you know I work as an airline pilot, and as such am always seeing a lot of interesting people, and activities. I shall share some of these things that make me laugh, or that I find most fascinating about the wonderful world of aviation.

You can look forward to a story of a lighting strike, and the drama of what happens when a tire goes flat on a airport operations vehicle (with pictures). Also a heartwarming, funnier than funny comment card from a customer who was not really fond of his assigned seat. Honestly that's all I've got for now but I will try to come up with more before the week is over.

Have fun -- and oh yeah I almost forgot the answer you've all been waiting for. We went to...

That's right we went to (as Mary Murphy would say) BIG SPLASH, YES WE DID. Matt and I are most grateful to the kids who helped us figure out how the lines worked therefore saving loads of time. Sadly after only about 90 minutes at the park it was closed due to lightning, fortunately we had done all there was to do in 90 minutes. Next time we need to go to a real park like...


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who here uses "Text"

I often hear of people chatting through the text messaging on the cellular mobile communications receivers. I'm kind of an old fashioned guy, and certainly not an 'Early Adopter' by any stretch of the imagination. When I finally got a phone that could text I had no idea how to type a word, it had this 'T9' feature, and so I would try to spell words the old way (you know 2 three times for the letter C) and it would spell cab.

Finally one day a text came in to me that needed an immediate response, I handed the phone to my trusty Bride who schooled me on the operation of the T9 dictionary. What a wonderful invention, but still I'm not one to text. Maybe one message every three months in response to someone, then it happened.

My phone broke, actually about a week ago my phone broke, wouldn't even turn on. I call they send a new one, it works for a few days but now it too is broken. I promise I am not hard on phones, they just can't take the heat I guess. The phone I am now plagued with appears to function normally but nobody can hear me when I talk, so I have resorted (for this week only) to texting. I must say I'm getting quite good at it, as is my Bride, even my Father In Law responded to a message I sent him (I was inquiring about if he was watching 'Wipeout' as I am sure all of our faithful readers were last night).

Today I really actually saw a benefit to texting, I learned of a friend that is going to loose her job and while I wanted to talk to her, I wasn't sure what I would say. So I decided a text message was a perfect fit. No awkward discussion, no dead air just a quick "Hey sorry to hear..."

In the end my texting career, although more distinguished will likely come to an end on Friday, with perhaps some part time action here and there. If you want a text from me hurry before it is too late.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Story of Us - Part 5 - Meet the Parents

Steve met my parents - and the rest of my family - at Easter. (My family gets together to celebrate everything - birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, etc. - or at least we used to until everyone started moving away - sorry, Mom.) At this family gathering, as all family gatherings, we had my parents, my brothers, my sisters-in-law, my aunt and all four of my grandparents. It was a fun and relaxing day - very typical of our family get-togethers.

After Steve and I left the party, I got a call from Daddy. He said, "I really like Steve. I think he's the one you should marry. Don't you?" What can I say? My daddy is a great judge of character!!! :)

Steve and I had not even said "I love you" to one another yet, nor had we discussed marriage. But I have to say that I knew he was the one for me on that day, and it was confirmed by my daddy who has never suggested that I marry any other boy that I took home for him to meet.

From that day on, my family accepted Steve as part of the family. He has been treated like a son, a brother, a grandson and a nephew. And he is dearly loved by my family.

To all of my family, thank you so much for loving my husband, for accepting him, for respecting him, for always treating him with kindness.

Coming soon... Part 6 - the "I love you" and the engagement

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Scene from a movie

Last night's Fourth of July celebration was a scene right out of a movie. (Have you ever seen the movie The Wedding Planner? Remember the part where they watch a movie in the park and then everyone dances? It was like that. Amazing! What a perfect night, especially for a girl who's a sucker for romance. It just doesn't get any better than this!)
The weather was beautiful - cool and inviting (very uncharateristic of a July evening in Houston). We went to the park with blankets in tow. Here's a picture of our spot:
The symphony performed in an outdoor theater. Those who arrived at 11:00 a.m. yesterday morning to stand in line had tickets for the reserved sitting under the pavilion. The rest of us took our place on the lawn. The left side of the hill was for those with chairs; while the right side was for those using blankets. We were surrounded by hundreds of people with their families, all picnicking out under the stars while listening to an amazing performance of patriotic fanfare.

The program included a sing-along, a whistle-along and a rendition of the 1812 Overture, complete with the firing of cannons. It was fantastic!
the cannons:After the concert, we had an amazing fireworks show. The crowd ooed and awed in unison.I cannot imagine a more wonderful Fourth of July. And the best part of it all was sharing it with my hero.Thanks for the great surprise! I love you, Babe!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Happy Independence Day

My Favorite TV in recent memory has earned its place on our Blog

If you haven’t seen this show it is must see TV. Here is ABC’s synopsis of the show:

Human cannonballs! Human pinballs! Crashes, smashes and mud splashes! Twenty-four thrill-seekers will compete in the world's largest extreme obstacle course designed to provide the most spills, face plants and wipeouts ever seen on television, in Wipeout, a painfully funny new reality series. Each week 24 daring new contestants of all ages, shapes and sizes will go head to head through four rounds of grueling and physically demanding but wildly hilarious obstacle courses to win the title of Wipeout Champion and the grand prize of $50,000. The contestants and the courses change every week, with over-the-top obstacles including "Dizzy Dummy" the "Dirty Balls" and "The Dreadmill" - which will have contestants jumping hurdles on a 40-foot long treadmill at warp speed. In the end, only one contestant will win, while everyone else will Wipeout! "Wipeout" is hosted by John Henson (E! Entertainment's "Talk Soup") and John Anderson (ESPN's SportsCenter). Jill Wagner is co-host. Executive producer is Matt Kunitz (Fear Factor). Co-executive producers are Scott Larsen and Shye Sutherland.

Love the clever use of the word ‘shapes’ from the looks of it some of these people have never even ventured out of their living room, much less their zip code; when they get to obstacle number three or four they are gasping for air, which I find (ashamedly) humorous.

A key element to the humor in this show is the announcers. They announce it like it’s a football game, and they have some of the most humorous commentary.

I have to be honest I seriously fell out of my chair and on to the floor and ran out of breath myself this week when it came on, Amy had to stop the show so I could breathe. Give it a chance; it’s hilarious. Tonight I am taking Amy to a Houston Symphony Performance at the Miller Outdoor Theater, shhh don’t tell her, it’s a surprise.

Sometimes you just gotta spend the money

The Sunscreen Fiasco
A friend of ours recently blogged about the dangers of "Body Mist" sunscreen, and I, much like her am a huge fan; she was sad to learn the body mist variety is not very good at preventing skin cancer, but I will never go back to smearing that greasy gunk that has been a staple of the sunscreen industry since I was born all over my body. So here we go, this is my favorite sunscreen right here.

no rubbing, just spray it on; fell in love with this back when I was teaching swim lessons at the Indian Springs Country Club in Tulsa for a summer session. It is all I will use, and worth every penny (most of the time).

So I count on this stuff costing about $8 maybe as low as $6, depending. We have a bottle in our bathroom but in preparation for our vacation I decide we should get a full bottle. I buy one for $8 at Wal-Mart. We pack our bags and I leave it at home. In Madras, OR I am in Safeway, I see it for $7, I buy it and take it back to the hotel room. We are leaving town to go to my sisters wedding (half hour drive or so) I throw the bottle in my suitcase and we leave fully intending to repack when we get to the next hotel. Three days later we are at the airport I never took the bottle out of my suitcase and now here we are at the TSA screening checkpoint; they have found it and it is gone.

We are on the ship (the frugalness will not allow the purchase to be made on the ship, I just know it would be outrageous), so we are on Catalina Island and I see it in a drug store, its $18.00, but I have no choice. We get it, and with the way the weather was, only used it once (mostly out of principal, it probably wasn't necessary). So $33.00 this year for one application of sunscreen; it’s still better than a burn.

The Air Conditioning Fiasco

In Texas a consumer has the ability to choose their power company, when I first moved here it was with a good friend of mine to work. I left Amy in Tulsa about 3 days a week and I was here in a very small apartment in an, lets just say interesting, part of town. The apartment recommended a power company and I signed up. The apartment was on the second floor and very hot all the time. I eventually realized that that air conditioning was never turning off, nor was the temperature ever comfortable. How annoying, when I showed the apartment manager my $300 electric bill for the 600 sq foot apartment, she said oh you chose an expensive electric company. I'm like you've got to be kidding me, I'm certain that this bill cannot be normal under any circumstance. Their test was if the air conditioner cooled the apartment to 20 deg. cooler than the temperature outside, it was fine.

Rest assured it is not fine it was so unbelievably hot one day I couldn't take it anymore. Any hint of frugalness out the door (for the moment) I drive to Wal-Mart and promptly purchase the LARGEST window air conditioner I can find. I race to the apartment and install it, once the temperature is cooler I come to my senses and the frugal side says that since we will only be in the apartment for three more weeks (we were waiting on the house to be finished, and Amy had moved down to join me) I could very possibly take advantage of Wal-Mart’s liberal return policy and have enjoyed cooler air at no cost to me. It worked like a dream, and we were rather comfortable during those last three weeks. Thanks Wal-Mart!

The Water Fiasco // with bonus theme park tip

More recently at Sea world I kept stopping to buy bottled water, every stop two bottles, two bottles six bucks. Mother in Law Linda in her wisdom suggests the souvenir cup with free water refills (who knew). We inquired and in fact it is true, buy the souvenir cup and get discounted soft drinks, or free ice water for the rest of the season (TIP: AT THEME PARKS, THE WATER IS FREE IF YOU HAVE THE SOUVENIER CUP, THEY DON'T TELL YOU THIS)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Brug is Blooming -- The Brug is Blooming

Well finally after all this time the Brug (see here for more info) has bloomed. Amy is forever seeing pictures in the home and garden magazines and wanting to do exactly what they have. First of all who has time, and second it never looks quite the same. Well I wanted a water feature and Amy wanted lots of color.

One day she found a gorgeous water feature and the Brugmansia plant (also known as Angels Trumpets) blooming over it. Its a win win I get the water feature she gets the color. We buy a lot of plants at the store for this project (About 18 months ago), but they don't have the right kind of Brug (we needed a specific color of course).

We did what any red blooded American does and bought it online (from some foreigner no doubt). We planted per the instructions and fertilized like we should, and it got big for sure but no blooms. I called Grandma last year, she says 'Did you pinch it?' I'm like what?

Pinching a plant evidently helps it bloom, well this was just before our first freeze that year and I pinched the fire out of it, would you believe that it actually worked??

That thing got one big bloom right where I pinched it, did I mention that was right before the first freeze, I needn't say more.

This year the pinching didn't work, petting, watering, grooming, trimming, cleaning, nothing worked, I fertilized it a lot but out of frustration I dumped about 5 gallons of nitrogen rich fertilizer on it last week. I'm here to tell you that it appears to have done the trick.

There are at least 30 buds on the thing, probably closer to 50, once they all open it will be gorgeous I'm sure, and we will no doubt include pictures. So props to my favorite fertilizer (found at your local Lowes if you are lucky)

And the beautiful flower

While I'm talking about Lowes they no longer carry UPC #149415 which is the ever important disposable 12x12 air filters. I for one am outraged; but life goes on.

Oh yeah and speaking of vendors, for our Houston Area readers I am putting you on notice that Houston Garden Centers means business when they say no refunds. Yes this means if you spend $1200 on the 50 gallon palm tree, and it dies in two days, they will not be interested in anything you have to say. I threw a fit about $9.63 in plants that died, and after they yelled at me (seriously) I reversed the charges on our debit card (who knew you could do that?), thats what they get for yelling; just be professional, seriously.

She started yelling when she pointed out that she doesn't know if I even watered the plants when I took them, maybe I poisoned them etc. My response was "If you are serious about customer service, then none of those things should even matter," she flipped her lid (which is quite funny I think, its not her money.)

Maggie was excited to see me yesterday when i got home, here she is assuming the position, and enjoying the foot rub.
And this is her listening pose, she thinks she heard "Cookie" when what Amy said was 'Lookie'