31 July 2012

Thought for the Day #9

Ah, ya know it's gonna be a good day when your precious baby girl tells you you're the best Daddy she's ever had.

30 July 2012

Review of the ArmorSuit MilitaryShield for the ASUS Transformer TF300 Tablet

Okay, it takes a lot to make me recommend a product, but I've found some doozies here lately. The most impressive is the ArmorSuit MilitaryShieldscreen protector for my new ASUS Transformer TF300 T-B1-BL Tablet. I was having fits keeping fingerprints off the screen, since the Princess loves nothing better than to touch the screen with a sticky little finger and say, "What's that, Daddy?" Now, Daddy is a little bit OCD - well, okay, I'm a lot OCD. Fingerprints drive me nuts. Not to mention the Little Man has developed a passion for pens. We can't figure out where he's getting them all, but he manages to always find one and scribbles on anything he can reach. So I've been dreading him getting after my screen and damaging it.

No more worries. I did a little research and found the ArmorSuit on Amazon.com for a reasonable price. I  was leary of it since some folks seem to have a hard time with installation. I had also had nightmares with a previous product when I had my last touch screen device. So it sat on my table for a couple of days with me thinking I would screw something up. Then I summoned up my coordination, which is normally absent, and got to it.

After thoroughly cleaning the screen and making sure there were no specks anywhere, I cleaned it again. The product supplies a good amount of cleaner, so I figured I'd make sure it was good and shiny. Then I sat it aside while I prepared the film. The instructions are easy to understand, and very easy to follow. Simply wet your fingers, wet the film evenly, peel it carefully from the backing and then wet the adhesive side evenly. Place it on the screen, maneuver it into place, making sure to keep it wet throughout the process, and then work the air bubbles out with the included tool. I was surprised to find that I had only one tiny air bubble. But I figured just to make sure, I'd wet it down again and do it twice. Then I sopped up the excess and gave it and light wiping down. I left it to dry overnight and was shocked the next morning to find that it was a perfect installation.

Some had complained of decreased sensitivity, and the manufacturer says it may take a few days to regain full sensitivity, but I experienced none of that. I was able to use it as soon as I woke up and had no impairment at all. In fact, the screen seems to respond better to my input now. It's almost as is the film gives me a little traction and ensures I hit the right spot without my pudgy fingers sliding around.

So there it is, my first died in the wool product review. If you have a touch screen device, I don't think you can't get a better protective material than ArmorSuit.




Question of the Day #12

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Is it animal cruelty when the Princess shares her animal crackers with the Furball?

Do you think he considers it a return to a carnivorous diet?

(Hey, whattaya know - a twofer!)

?

29 July 2012

My Most Redneck Brother Just Said...#2


~~~
"Oh, S**T"
~~~

(Said as he opened his grill to learn that he had let the fire get, perhaps, a LITTLE to intense)

Now that's a FIRE! And that's after it settled down while I grabbed the camera! 
  
And that used to be a lot more arm hair! 
Boy, those ribs were sure worth it though!

Ta Da! It's Here!

Thank God they didn't use 40 candles! There'd of been no cake left!
Well, I'll be! I'm 40, and I'm still kickin'! And feeling great, no less! It's nice to know my teenage beliefs about what age was "over the hill" were so obviously wrong.

Yesterday, Sweetheart told me we were going to go visit my brother and sister-in-law for dinner. Apparently, I'm completely guileless, because it didn't even occur to me to expect a surprise party! They blew me away. (Note: see my next post to see how close that came to being literal). It wasn't just dinner with my brother and his wonderful wife. I walked in the door and there were me niece and nephew, and my sister-in-laws whole family!

What a great surprise! And to top it off, Sweetheart went off portion control watch and let me chow down on my brother's incredible BBQ ribs and my sister-in-law's phenomenal potato salad. She even let me have a big ol' piece of cake with ice cream! I'm still full!

The little ones had a blast, too. Princess was the belle of the ball and she knew it. She danced with all the guys and she had an audience at every quarter, which was great because she jabbered herself hoarse. That child loves and audience. Little Man was in his element. Lots of women folk to woo! They thought it was cute - I thought it was hilarious! He had 'em eatin' out of his little bitty hands. That boy didn't even have to lift a cup. He just found a lady to tip it up and hold it while he drank! Oh my. And of course, being 101 degrees, the sprinkler can out and we all lived our younger days vicariously through them as the sprinkler came out and they played.

What a great night! Even when we started to leave and found our headlights had burnt out, the night stayed great. The men came out and worked to replace them as quickly as possible to get our young'uns back home to their beds. I know several guys who are cut up and bruised this morning from trying to replace those danged bulbs before realizing we had to remove the whole danged grill to do the job. Gotta love modern engineering. But they got us on the road!

That was without a doubt the best birthday party I've ever had!

28 July 2012

1 Day to Go

Okay, when you start becoming antiquated, you can lose track of days, so I forgot to post my countdown. Or maybe it's not so much senility as two year molars forcing their way into the boys mouth and Sweetheart being sick. In either case, I lost a day.


So today is my last day as a thirty-something. It's remarkably anti-climactic. I thought I'd be bawling and morose. Wailing over the years gone by. Or maybe planning a proper midlife crisis, complete with gold chains, furry chest and a red sports car to make me feel young.

Nah! My chest isn't furry enough, I hate gold and I'm too fat for a little red sports car. Now a comfy Cadillac, perhaps...

No wailing either. The years ahead are more interesting to contemplate than the years gone by, and the present is a whole lot more fun to pay attention to.

Well, now speaking of presents and whining...


I did whine just enough to be allowed to open one present early. Oh my! Mom and Dad bought me a Merkur "Futur", which is only the best double edge safety razor made! I almost broke a leg getting upstairs to try it out. Toss in a feather blade and my face is now smoother than a baby's bottom. And I change a baby's diapers every now and then, so I can safely make that comparison.


And this pleasantness is after being woken up with hugs from my sweet children. Now you just can't get a better day to end your first 40 years than this!

26 July 2012

3 Days to Go

Today was a fairly uneventful day in my countdown. I had tea with the Princess and got head butted by the Little Man. The most interesting part of the day was when I started to tell the Little Man to stay away from the Furball's water bowl and did a double-take as I realized he was washing one of Sweetheart's bras in it. I'm not exactly sure how he got ahold of the bra, or why he was stuffing it into the dog's water bowl. But I'm guessing he was expressing discontent with his recent weaning. I managed to snap a picture, but I'm afraid something bad would happen to me if I posted it, so I'll leave it to your imagination.

The funnest part of the day, by far, was discovering that my son finally enjoys being read to. I've missed that. I used to read Dr. Seuss' The Sleep Book: 50th Anniversary Edition (Classic Seuss), which is fondly called the yawning book around here. Now there's one that will prove your manhood. Get all the way through that book each night without passing out, and you know you're a real man! But Princess stopped letting me read to her about a year ago, and the boy just wanted to eat the book. But tonight he let me read to him and he got so excited! It was a blast! I read him Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Sitea book about construction equipment and he was jumping up and down as I showed him all the machines.

It made for a good day.

Fun Good Night Conversation

Princess: "Daddy, how did you make your tummy so squishy? It's so nice and comfortable."

Me: "Well Little One, Daddy ate too much. But I'm working on losing weight."

Princess: "Well Daddy, when you lose weight, can you find a way to keep your tummy squishy. If you don't, I won't have anywhere comfortable to put my head when we snuggle to watch TV."

Me: (Giggling) "I'll try."

Princess: "And Daddy, Mommy's tummy is kind of squishy, too. Can you tell her to make sure her tummy stays squishy, too?"

Me: (In my head) "Uh uh - I ain't touching that one!"

Me: (Out loud) "Good night, Princess."

25 July 2012

4 Days to Go

Okay, so I'm beginning to think someone is feeding my sweet little Princess one-liners. It can't be my Sweetheart, she's trying very hard to convince me I'm a teenager.

No, I'm beginning to suspect the Old Man himself, my father-in-law. I don't know why he would do it. I mean, teaching my daughter to ask him what it was like to ride a dinosaur was harmless fun. And I hardly ever make wisecracks about his age myself. (Oh dang - I think lightening just hit my yard.) Okay, so perhaps I make a few jokes at his expense, but it's only 'cuz I love him. And if you had seen his eyes when Princess asked him about dinosaurs, you'd have to admit it was funnier 'n all get out! I thought my Sweetheart was gonna beat me over that one.

Yep, I think Dad is calling in one-liners to her. There's just no way - even as brilliant as she is - that my darling little four year old could come up with the kind of remarks she's been popping out to make me feel decrepit these last few days.

Last night, after I blessed them both and was putting her to bed, I tucked her in and began to kneel down beside her bed to give her a hug and tell her a story. As I started to take a knee, she said, "Careful, Daddy, you might hurt yourself!"

Now that's just mean!

But, I'm a big boy. I shook it off and began my story. Now, Princess doesn't like fiction. She prefers biographies. So I started to tell her about a trip my Mama took me on when I was a lad. I was describing the pickup we drove in when she stopped me and whispered in surprise, "You mean you had cars when you were a boy!?" She then proceeded to ask how I could remember something that happened so long ago.

Now that's just pure dee harsh. Next thing ya know, she'll be asking about dinosaurs I rode.

24 July 2012

5 Days to Go

Ouch!

Only five days until my fortieth birthday, I woke up feeling great and my Princess just blew me out of the water by telling me I need a power chair like the one she just saw advertised.

"You know, Daddy - to help you get up."

And to add insult to injury, when I told her I had no trouble getting up or around, that I'm not that old, she responded by saying in that sweet little voice:

"Of course you are, Daddy! You're REALLY old!"

Double Ouch!

23 July 2012

6 Days to Go

Well, there are six days left until I turn 40, and I've finally entered the 21st century. Only 12 years behind schedule. Hey, for an aging redneck, that's not too bad. Yep, today I finally got rid of my antiquated Directv and went streaming wifi for everything. It's great! And the kids love it. They can watch dang near anything they want, any time they want. Between Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Vudu, I'm having a blast. Having a blast watching TV you say? Spoiling my children's minds with too much TV you say? Shoot no! I'm having a blast saving over $900 a year for channels we have no interest in watching. Ouch, that kind of shows my age doesn't it? Oh well. I kind of felt like Jeff Foxworthy for awhile - "Somebody turn something off!" I figured out that we were watching maybe 3 or 4 hours of TV per week and most of that were kids shows. So out it goes! I've got my Blackberry, my internet TV, my tablet, my kindle...and I even know how to use most of this stuff!

Shoot, I'm gettin' so modernized - before ya know it, I'll be doin' that chirpin stuff like the young folks!

22 July 2012

7 Days to Go

Okay, so perhaps I'm feeling my age today. Or at least I am at 2 in the morning as I write this. I can remember my Mama inadvertently waking me up by doing chores in the middle of the night because she could only sleep for a couple of hours at a time. My Granny was the same way. I would often wake up to find her making a pot of coffee at 2 or 3 in the morning. She said she was too old to sleep any more. Most of the time, I'd get up with her and listen to the stories she would tell of her life, often accompanied by tears. I always got the feeling she was kept awake by grief and regret, since most of the stories seemed to end up in one or both of those emotions. I recall telling myself I wouldn't be that way.

But, perhaps I am regardless of my self admonitions, seeing as how I'm lying here wondering how to fix the problems which have developed with my Princess. Recently, she's begun having attitude problems. Not just temper tantrums, which are normal for a four year old, but actual attitude problems. Speaking disrespectfully; ignoring the household rules; ignoring her Mommy and I when we correct her; and a host of other behaviors she's never exhibited before. Today it had Sweetheart and I at wits end.

It's my fault. My illnesses have taken so much of my time and energy to deal with lately. I do what I'm able with the kids, but it's definitely not enough. And she knows it. It seems like every minute I spend in activity with Princess is met with her demands for an hour more. Which isn't possible right now. Which causes a lot of guilt and anger in me. I feel I should be able to push through and do more with the kids, regardless of how I feel physically. I feel like I'm failing them in my weakness and that's why we're having so many problems with Princess. I feel like a failure as a father.

I wonder if this is why Mama and Granny were so often awake at 2 in the morning.

Or maybe I'm just freaking old and should go make the coffee.

21 July 2012

Question of the Day #11

So Sweetheart just just heard a radio ad for a local men's clinic. The ad said they have a new drug for erectile dysfunction. Nothing new, right?

But this ad said you can try it out in the clinic to make sure it works before you buy it.

Um...

Um...

Dang! I forgot my question!

8 Days to Go

Eight days to go, and I feel downright childish!


Seriously, it's hard to feel old when you're standing in the doorway watching your daughter poop and listening carefully for a clink. Yep! Princess swallowed a quarter. And I'm listening for it to hit the porcelain so I can quit standing here listening for it. And laughing. Princess is not pleased. But come on, she swallowed a freaking quarter! How can I not laugh.


And laughter keeps you young!

20 July 2012

9 Days to Go

Well, there are only 9 days until my 40th birthday. It snuck up on me. I can't believe I am actually about to hit middle age. So I figured I would ramble on each day and see what it's like as I approach the halfway point in my life.


Now that right there is kind of funny. I know that I am getting older, but in many ways, it feels like my life is just beginning. I was a confirmed bachelor until I met the most amazing woman in the world almost seven years ago. I thought I had it all. I was an OTR trucker, free and happy. I rarely slept in the same place twice. I just roamed around enjoying life.


Or so I thought.


Then one day I met my Sweetheart, and about six weeks later, she agreed to be my wife. It was great. She traveled as well. We had a rather enjoyable lifestyle. Vacations in Mexico; trips whenever we wanted; meeting up on the road when we could. But the flip side of this carefree lifestyle was that we only saw each other about a week out of every month. And there was also something else missing. The proverbial pitter-patter of little feet.


Now, I'll grant you, my little Princess running around upstairs sounds more like a herd of elephants in full stampede, but she fills that pitter-pattering role pretty well. She came along, round about 10 months after our last trip to Mexico actually, and changed our life forever. I soon sold my truck and began working locally. Then Little Man came along and the decision to be a SAHD became an easy one. Especially after Sweetheart told me there was NO WAY I was going back on the road and leaving her to change all those diapers herself!


And that's really why I feel like my life is just beginning, regardless of how old my body says it is. It seems like everything that came before I became a husband and father is just a vague memory of a long prologue. I may be 40, and my body may feel it, but when it comes down to it, I'm really a young Daddy having a blast.

Friends

"No man is an island unto himself," I believe is how the old line goes. And that is a very true statement. We try to handle all of the interesting twists life throws at us by ourselves, but it's simply not possible. Life will inevitably throw a curve ball at you and you'll have a choice. You can stick to your pride and never ask for help (because that shows weakness) which is how I was reared, or you can reach out and admit you need a hand. Everyone needs help at some point or another. Over the last week, I learned that asking for help when I really needed it was not only the wisest path, but the most enjoyable.

When Sweetheart had to go out of town before my seizures were completely under control, I was forced to reach out and ask for help. I had to have a sitter - not just for the kids, but for me. Now you want to talk about a blow to the pride! That definitely hurt.

But, I asked. And the next day, I got a message on Facebook from an old Navy buddy whom I hadn't seen in 14 years. He not only volunteered to come sit with me, taking almost a week off work to do so, he did it with the understanding that I might have more seizures and that he would be taking care of all of us.

As it turned out, Shorty was a great caretaker. He helped change diapers, he cooked great meals, he helped keep the house clean, he watched the kids for hours and hours when seizures and migraines knocked me down and he did it all with a smile and laughter. The kids loved him. Even the Furball loved him. And our friendship picked up again as though we had never been apart. The reminiscing hardly stopped. I watched him drive off after Sweetheart returned with a tear in my eye. This friend of such selfless nature. Would that I could say I've always been the same. But Shorty has reminded me that I have some great examples to follow, and follow them I will. My new goal is to pass on the example and teach my children to know the value and joy of true friendship.

17 July 2012

Question of the Day #10

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How in the world did he get that arm out?
?

14 July 2012

Thought for the Day #8

If you're mopping with a regular mop, instead of your normal steam mop, and it's been so long that you have forgotten the cardinal rule of wet mopping, remember to always mop TOWARDS the door. Especially if you're mopping the bathroom. Bathtubs can be particularly painful to fall across.


And fat men can actually fly quite far.

13 July 2012

Thought for the Day #7

You know you really need to lose weight when your child snuggles up on the couch next to you and says, "Daddy, can I lay one your tummy? It's comfy 'cuz it's so squishy."

12 July 2012

How to Surprise Your Husband

So, your beloved husband has everything he needs, and almost everything he wants. He knows you're going to buy him the ASUS Transformer TF300 Tablet he's been drooling over, so there's really no surprise.

But you love surprises!

So how do you still surprise your dear hubby for his milestone birthday? Well, it's quite simple. You tell him that something unexpected has come up and you're not sure you can buy the tablet on which his heart was set. Then, you wait until he is completely off guard - for instance, when he's taking a nap to recover from a wicked migraine. Then, you burst in the door preceded by a gaggle of excited children (and dog), and as everyone jumps onto the bed, your ecstatic daughter can throw the box containing the tablet you just bought onto your husband's face while screaming, "Happy Early Birthday!!!!"

Do this three weeks before his birthday and I personally guarantee you will knock him speechless. And put a huge smile on his face.

Oh, and it's a great cure for a migraine, too!

11 July 2012

Don't Tease the Dog

Princess fell in love with these danged Furreal Friends Furry Frenzies awhile back. Sweetheart thought it was funny teasing the Furball by making the annoying little critters zoom across the floor at him. Now, Furball already has a real nervous disposition. And apparently a brooding sense of vengeance as well. Lesson learned - DON'T TEASE THE DOG!


09 July 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

Well, we've had a lot of fun visiting with the Grandma and Granddad, and now we're back home. Funny thing is, with my recent seizures, I'm not allowed to drive. Now that is simply NOT the natural order of things. My Sweetheart is an intelligent, accomplished professional woman. She helps save the world, literally, every day. She can do just about anything she sets her mind to.


Long distance driving...ehh, not so much. She considers 20 miles too long a drive. So for her to drive 800 miles in a week MESSED her up! She told me she never wants to drive again as long as she lives! I think she searching for condos in downtown right now!


Poor thing, after awhile, I felt sort of bad for her. That is, in the bits between my drug induced sweet dreams.
ZZZZZZZZ!
See, the first leg of the trip was so hard on me - between the discomfort of being a passenger, the car-sickness (who knew?), the seizures and the migraine, not to mention the fear of not being the one driving - that I took some benadryl and knocked myself into happy little dreams occasionally interrupted by a screaming child or too, or an odorous whiff of my gassy Furball, or the muttering of my wife as she grumbled for the 90th time that she now understood why I would be so cranky by the time we got to our destination when I drive.


At one point I woke up as we stopped for a lunch break. Sweetheart went in for food and left me rubbing my eyes and watching the kids run around screaming. Little Man walked up to me, pointing at his hair - or so I thought. Now. His hand was glued to his head by a gummy bear Sweetheart had apparently given him to stop him from screeching in the car!

PRICELESS!
Princess couldn't stop jabbering and was moving so fast it was like she was warping through space-time or something. She collapsed to the curb long enough to sit for the camera, then was off again. I could track her by the periodic calls of, "I'm all right!" This is her way of letting me know she tripped/fell/bumped her head/ran into a wall/etc. and does not immediately need medical attention, but reserves the right to ask for a bandage later.
BREATHLESS!
I did the manly thing and offered to drive, and I did a pretty good job of not snickering as she jumped and hollered. In any case, she refused.


So I went back to sleep. It was hard, and I almost felt a little pang of guilt, but I managed to sleep most of the way home.
Maybe being a passenger isn't so bad!

06 July 2012

Ramblings at Grandma's House

As we sat around the family table, enjoying a good meal and pleasant conversation, Mom commented that Sweetheart and I should have two more children, so we could be like both our parents and have four little ones.


Umm, no.


No, no, no.


I am 100% sure that I am done. Sweetheart is 90% sure she's done. I've agreed to revisit the topic later this year on her birthday, but if she doesn't change my mind, I'm getting snipped. Just to make sure. At that point, if God desires us to have more little trekkers, then that's fine. But it'll take nothing less than an act of God. I am done.


This is especially easiest to determine whilst on family visits. The two partners in crime are running around like the proverbial headless chickens. Tormented dogs yowl; vases vibrate precariously throughout the grandparents non-child proofed home; crumb trails multiply; and, Lego land mines proliferate. The crankiness which can only be produced by overly stimulated, nap refusing, adrenaline fueled little hellions is growing. As is the fatigue which is felt by all, but is translated differently in each body according to age. The older you get, the more fatigue related pain is felt. I don't quite understand the physics behind the conversion of fatigue to pure energy in the rug rats, but it's phenomenal to watch. Little Man is literally bouncing off walls, tables and dogs. His speed is increasing to such highs I no longer even try to catch him any more. I figure I'll just catch him when he bounces hard enough to land on his butt momentarily. Gotta be quick though - he shakes it off pretty fast and then it's full speed ahead again and I'm left in the dust. Princess turns the fatigue into vocal energy. I'm pretty certain her mouth hasn't been closed in three days. I keep expecting her to lose her voice, but apparently four year old vocal cords are really tough.


Yep, traveling to visit family with two little ones who transform into little heathens every time we get in the car is an interesting adventure. It's tiring, stressful and makes my hair go gray. Okay, it makes my hair go gray-ER.


Ah, but it's worth every second.


Now, excuse me while I sneak off for a nap.

02 July 2012

Love is...#5

Love is that first wonderful hug of the day from your child, morning breath and all.

01 July 2012

Daniel Prayed

I was listening to the radio when I heard Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs sing the bluegrass gospel song Daniel Prayed. Wow, what a song! And how timely! Sweetheart was pointing out, on the same day, that we had become very self-focused and were letting the medical issues define us. We had no answers as to how to fix it. But God sure does.

Here are the lyrics from Cowboy Lyrics:

     I read about a man one day
     He wasted not his time away
     He prayed to God
     Every morning noon and night
     He cared not for the things avail
     But trusted one who never fails
     Oh, Daniel prayed
     Each morning, noon and night

     Oh Daniel served his living God
     While upon the earth he trod
     He prayed to God each morning, noon and night
     He cared not for the king's decrees
     But trusted God to set him free
     Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

     They locked him in the lions den
     Because he could not honor men
     But he prayed to God
     Every morning, noon and night
     The jaws were locked, it made him shout
     And God soon brought him safely out
     Oh Daniel prayed
     Every morning, noon and night

     Oh Daniel served his living God
     While upon the earth he trod
     He prayed to God each morning, noon and night
     He cared not for the king's decrees
     But trusted God to set him free
     Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

     Now brother let us watch and pray
     Like Daniel did from day to day
     He prayed to God
     Every morning, noon and night
     We too can gladly dare and do
     And pray to God he'll see us through
     Oh, Daniel prayed
     Every morning, noon and night

     Oh Daniel served his living God
     While upon the earth he trod
     He prayed to God each morning, noon and night
     He cared not for the king's decrees
     But trusted God to set him free
     Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night


Daniel prayed earnestly, not caring about the world, only about God. We had let ourselves get so bogged down by everything the world was throwing at us, that our prayers were only by habit. We had become numb as we tried to cope with all the medical issues I've faced. It's really easy to let it happen. The babies get sick; I develop a seizure disorder out of nowhere; Sweetheart's gallbladder goes kaput; the Furball hurts his back; the medical bills pile up, and it goes on and on. Life gets messy. Stress can become overwhelming if you let it. And we had definitely let it.


As usual, God speaks to me through music. Praise God! In a catchy tune and beautiful lyrics, He gave me an example to follow to pull myself and my family through all of the hardships and trials life can through at us. And we will watch and pray gladly as our Good God sees us through the messes.