"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yes, I'm Wearing My Powder Blue Tux...

I’ve seen more than a few people celebrate their 100th (or 10th if they're slower typers) post, and quite honestly, I had wondered, “Why in the world do they think anyone cares about how many posts you’ve written?”

But that was before I reached that milestone myself.

Now I understand completely. You must think this is the most awesome achievement in the world

So welcome to my extravagant 100th-Post Celebration! Please find your seat. You’ll see that there are place cards at the various linen-covered and orchid-festooned tables around the room. Those of you who’ve been dropping by here longer and commenting more will find your names closer to the stage up front. You’ll notice a couple of celebrities like StillHisGirl , but only so many people will get to sit at her table. I apologize for those who have to sit at tables with the likes of Slanderer and DeathByAsphyxiation. Maybe next year you’ll rank.

Our host and emcee tonight is Emily from TheLearningNeverStops. She really wanted this gig badly because she heard she would get to do lots of wardrobe changes at commercial breaks, and she is sooooo into the sequins. Emily, we’d love to hear your descriptions of some of the outfits that Vera Wang has made just for you for this occasion.

Gayle at Grace4Gayle is in charge of the catering. Inspired by her relatively new thrifty shopping and menu-planning blog, I selected her because I knew she could feed all of our guests tonight with my whopping budget of $50. (I think she’s going to try to spend less, because I told her she can keep whatever money she has left.) So Gayle, please comment and let us know what delicacies you’ve prepared.

BigDoofus is working up a monologue and a slideshow with flashbacks from the previous 99 posts. Be sure to have a tissue handy. Rumor has it that it may be quite emotional.

I think we may also have a surprise appearance by Tim from Duckabush. The paparazzi are hoping he’ll bring the fabled Scrabble Tile which has become almost legendary. Maybe you can even get your picture taken with it.

And Javamamma has prepared a Haiku which I hope she’ll leave in the comments as well. Who doesn’t love a good haiku?

To honor the rest of my favorite visitors (which are ALL my visitors), we’ll also have an open mic so that you can each share you’re fondest memories and life-changing moments from these first 100 posts.

Then it’s off to the After Party at Cracker Barrel (all commenters welcome) where we’ll eat, drink, dance the Chicken Dance and look forward to what’s in store for the next 100 posts…Robot dogs? Meals in a pill? Manned flights to Mars? Kids that clean up their rooms when asked?

So thank you, thank you, thank you to all my new friends and old. It has been a pleasure writing my drivel and going to your blogs to read yours. So many of us are going through this same journey of raising kids and surviving marriage, and it’s been wonderful to do that together in a way. You’ve made me laugh and cry, and often both at the same time.

Oooh…I almost forgot. I’m looking for what to put in the gift bags. Every celebration like this needs gift bags for the guests, right? So if you want to make an imaginary contribution for that, just say so in the comments, and we’ll oooh and aaah at your imaginary generosity.

Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog and made me the blogger I am today.

I truly love both of you.

Monday, January 28, 2008

! Look Ma, No More Boring Background !

[If you already have a rockingly awesome blog design, be warned. You may find yourself feeling a tinge of pity for my pathetic new discovery that you undoubtedly have known about since birth. I wrote this Monday, but I'm linking it to Shannon's Works-For-Me-Wednesday hootenanny because, quite honestly, it works for me.]

I generally think of myself as a creative type. I've written a few songs, I'm starting to write a book, I draw, I do crafty things with my wife, I write on the walls, I talk to myself, I see dead people.

But for this artistic creative type to go with an un-messed-with GENERIC TEMPLATE for my blog was just killing me. Much longer and I would have had to mail my ear to Blogger in a padded envelope.

Boredom had set in unexpectedly.
Sure, everyone's been digging those nifty chunks of swiss cheese floating around in my header, but that background on the blog? I think it was kind of flesh-toned and creepy.

No one was complaining, but neither were they sending me awards for beauty and aesthetics. So with the click of a button, I had myself a quick print-out from Blogger Buster called "A Cheat's Guide To Customising Blogger Templates." Having the print-out kept me from having to toggle back and forth between websites. If you're on Blogger and you're at all interested in personalizing your site, I recommend checking that guide out and trying something new. (Be sure to follow the easy instructions for saving your current code so you can revert back if you mess everything up. It happens.)

I quickly set to work changing things up a bit. It took me all of a half hour, and I may not be 100% thrilled about how it looks, but I've figured out the basics so I can make it look however I want once I figure out what that is.

I'm open to suggestions if you have any genius ideas for graphics or colors or anything. Or if you've seen some great ideas you want to direct me to, that'd be awesome too.

So what you see today is:
--A polished-up header. Evidently .GIF's don't look as cruddy as .BMP's.
--A graphic-tiled background. I don't know what it's officially called, but I'm naming it "Native American Snowflake Dancing in a Field of Dead Buffalo (or Tatonka)." I found it, and other free tiles, over at Squidfingers.
--A solid field behind the posts and sidebar or else the Tatonka Flakes would've obscurred the text. O.K. it's the same old creepy caucasian fleshtone #ffd5aa as before. I didn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. But that baby better not get too comfortable.

My next post will be MY 100th POST at HoneyIFedTheKids, and I wanted the place to look nice for the special occasion. I'll be rolling out the red carpet because I expect some special guests for the gala event of the season. Consider this your personal invitation, and if you leave a nice comment, I'll make sure you get on the list for the After Party as well.
[note: Regular visitors probably noticed that I was pretty much obligated to start the title of this post with "!" to conclude the sentence spelled by the first letter of each post in January: "I Love You SeÑorita Cindita."]

Another Year, Another Couple Photos of Dubai

Two quick anniversary puzzles for you to solve:

1) What do the first letters of each of my January posts spell? (you can see the list on the sidebar.)

2) Why in the world are there photos from Dubai on this post?

Anniversary #14

I remember our wedding day vividly. I can close my eyes, and I’m there. The church with its dark wood paneling. The friends and family who drove from the corners of the earth to be there with us. The white dress. The quiet time together before the wedding. The food. The birdseed. The outfit you wore as we drove off. Everything.

I’ve told my wife many times—and I still tell others—that the whole day of January 29 back in 1994 was the best day of my entire life. Something incredible was beginning. On that day, we promised to each other, to God and to everyone that what was beginning right there and then was never going to end.

Four children, 17,240 diapers, 4 houses, 3 apartments, 7 cars, 3 jobs and 14 years later, we still got it going on! And I couldn’t be happier.

I’m sure she's just as surprised as I am by some of the things life has brought us. Some of them have been pure joy…some have been pure hell. But through both extremes and everything in between, they’ve been OUR experiences and have brought us to where we are today, and they’ve contributed to who we have become.

In fourteen years, we have become two totally different people from who we were when we were fresh out of college. Can you imagine how sad it would be if we hadn’t changed?

She's become so much more wise in these wedded years. I don’t mean to imply that living with me has made her smarter, but that she is an incredible student of life and of others. She learns from life and from God and has soaked up wisdom from older (Titus 2) women. I’ve been one of the happy beneficiaries of what she's learning, and I look forward to seeing how our lives will carry even more promise as she continues to grow. She's grown even more beautiful. She has grown stronger. She has grown gentler.

And I’ve grown bald.
And fat.

Fourteen years. So much has happened, and so much has changed. That picture of Dubai above shows how much that city has developed and grown in just 14 short years. (So now you know why that picture is there.)

She and I are even more impressive. Sure, Dubai may have an indoor ski slope in the middle of the desert, but we have hair-color kits, princess water, hugs that heal and the four most beautiful daughters to ever walk the face of this earth.

I love Cindy.
Now and forever.


p.s. Here are a couple more photos to demonstrate how much a person can change in 14 years!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

There's Something In The Water

For our anniversary, I had the genius idea of celebrating by doing nothing that my wife really wanted to do.

Now that I write that, I can see there might have been a flaw in the plan. Funny how hindsight works.

She wanted to get away to a nice hotel where someone else cleans. I wanted to stay home in our home for free.

Strike One.

So while she went and dropped the kids off at a friend's house for the weekend, I stayed home to vacuum and dust and mop some floors so she could come home to a beautiful home that would make the fanciest hotel look like my college dorm room.

I dug some scented candles out of the back of a cabinet and lit them to fill the home with the aroma of love. Evidently, Aroma-Of-Love-Scented candles are kept in the back of the cabinet and are never to be used because they give Cindy headaches, and she's not fond of headaches.

Strike Two.

Perhaps the jacuzzi tub upstairs filled and heated and waiting for her would be just what she needs to relax and soothe her aching muscles. Rumor has it that when you haven't used the jets in the tub for a year or more, they develop some kind of gunky residue that contains who-knows-what diseases. So as my wife sat in the tub and peacefully pushed the jet button, in a matter of seconds, she was coated with slime and filth unbefitting a restful anniversary soak in the tub. I heard her shrieks from across the house and first mistook them for shrieks of delight and glee. Turns out she doesn't appreciate being coated with slime as much as some people do.

Strike Three

It really is a wonder we have made it to the 14-year mark. I'm not the smartest husband, nor the most sentimental (though I did cry at the movie we saw this afternoon, P.S. I Love You).

I'm not even going to write about strikes four, five, six or seven, because I don't want to lose the remaining ounce of respect a couple of you have for me.

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be writing a tribute to my lovely, forgiving, patient, forgiving, beautiful, forgiving, sweet, forgiving wife.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'd Like To Thank the Little People

In fifth grade, I won our elementary school's spelling bee. And then I went on to be a national quarter-finalist. Do you hear me? A NATIONAL QUARTER FINALIST! I think there might have been only 20,000 of those, so I guess it's not as awesome as seemed at the time. But I do remember someone made me a cake that looked like an Oreo, and it said "to One Smart Cookie."
At sixth grade camp, I won the "Edgar Allen Poe-try Award" for my poem on the desolation of our planet caused by mankind.

I've mentioned previously that I was a "mathlete." I actually went to various competitions in the area and sat with pencil and paper and added and multiplied and sqare-rooted and geometrized and algebrized like there was no tomorrow. I won ribbons and certficates. Girls swooned. I'd just mention the Quadratic Equation, and their knees would buckle.

Oh, yes, there were more. I won journalism awards, Mr. Peanut physical fitness awards and the like.

However, we all know that there are things that we each do that no one even knows about, stuff that we may never be recognized for. For example, that chewed-up coffer-stir lying on the floor outside my office door that everyone just passed and assumed someone else would pick it up and throw it away? I could've totally tossed it and no one would've even thought to say, "Thanks, Scott, for keeping this place so nice and tidy." I didn't, but I COULD have.

Or I could intentionally park farther away from the store's entrance and let other, older and more feeble patrons have the closer spots. Again, it's possible; I COULD.

But even if I did all that kind of stuff, no one's going to applaud. No one's going to pat my back. No one's going to notify the news or dip me in bronze.

So for all those things I HAVE done, here's a little somethin-somethin:

It's for all the times I went without a Pop-tart, because there are just enough in the box for the kids to each have two.

It's for when I turned off my wipers in the drive-thru so Ronald McDonald's minions wouldn't get splashed at the window.

It's for not making a weird face when I saw your child's baby picture.

It's for making the bed.

Thank me. Thank me very much.

(I stole this award from Big Doofus, the award's creator. So if you are well-deserving and desire a moment of self-centeredness, by all means go there and get your own stinkin' award.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Does This Hat Make Me Look Fat?

I'm not generally self-conscious or worried about my appearance. On the other hand, my wife is literally horrified at my appearance at times. My mustache gets too bushy. I get a weird lone hair growing out of my ear lobe. My eyebrow hairs go haywire.

Hmmmm. Maybe you see the pattern too.

It's true. My wife has hair issues, which partially explains why I find it easier to shave my head completely bald and not have to mess with making it look good.

However, when winter hits, my head gets very cold. Cold enough to freeze an egg, my daughter said. I've got this nifty stocking cap that looked cool on the manequin at the store. For some reason, though, it looks dorky on my head. It's tiny and I roll up the bottom a little. So every time I put it on, I've started worrying that everyone's staring secretly ridiculing me.

I went out to lunch, and as I got ready to leave the restaurant, I paused at the door to pull out the hat and place it on my chrome dome. The moment I put it on, two people erupted into raucous laughter.

The whole way back to work, I tried to convince myself that they were laughing at what they were talking about. Certainly they weren't laughing at THIS, right?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Next I Will Attempt To Saw This Computer In Half

I'm not the most tech-savvy person in Cyberinternetoblogoland, but with a little bit of time, patience and the right amount of dumb-luck, I've been able to figure out a few things regarding "buttons."

A few people had suggested I add a button so interested friends and family and bloggers (who can be considered both friends and family) could donate through PayPal and help with our house-building mission in Mexico this summer.

We stepped out on faith, commiting to taking all 6 in our family and to raising the funds needed for our portion of the project. We're figuring out interesting ways to raise the money (don't click here to read my post from last week if you hate needles), and fortunately we have a few months to do so.

But since some have asked, I've created a button on my sidebar. If you click on the photo of our two cute (or too cute) little friends from Mexico, it will take you to Paypal and allow you to donate securely online from with a credit card or bank account.

We're still trying to work out details for bartering with chickens through the internet, but so far the two we've practiced with have gotten stuck in the phone jack on the wall. Not pretty.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Don't Mean to Question Smart Scientists...

Rumor has it that the Earth is warming.

I believed it last summer when my scalp received a sunburn.

But today I'm watching squirrels freezing in mid-leap and then shattering into a million ice-encrusted pieces all over the parking lot outside my window at work. Well, it's not exactly like that, but it feels cold enough for that to happen.

And on a day list this, I can't help but giggle a little at the sign in a front yard around here that pleads "Stop Global Warming."

I've been urged to do my part to stop this temperature increase, and I do what I can.

But I've asked about the cycles through earth's history of warm and cold periods. Seriously, what if the warming would be occuring whether or not humans were causing it? What if the fact that I drive my SUV to the mailbox and back, burn plastic and styrofoam in my backyard and continue to use disposable diapers (even though my children are all potty-trained) has nothing to do with global warming?

"Just to be safe, let's imagine the worst case scenario," I've been told. "What does it hurt for you to recycle and minimize waste and oil consumption? It's better to do something rather than nothing."
I disagree. If I imagine the worst case scenario, then minimalization and rainbow-powered cars aren't going to save us. They may, in fact, distract us from solving the real problem.

I think the worst case scenario is one in which the Earth is naturally warming and we're trying to stop it by throwing sticks at it.
Why aren't we builidng large exhaust fans to vent excess heat into space? Why isn't someone figuring out how to turn old Duran Duran and Eurythmics cassettes into whatever chemical it is that we need to save the world? Why isn't someone designing something to COOL the globe instead of just trying to prevent it from warming?
(I'm thinking a giant pair of parachute pants. Now THOSE were cool.)

My ideas have absolutely no basis in fact, truth or any understanding of science, but nonetheless I hope someone will read this and check into my suggestions and get back with me. I'm almost certain I've singehandedly solved the problem.

And for the record, I do recycle and I grow zucchini in our garden. Yeah, I'm doing my part, so when the Earth crumbles into a scorched ball of ash, it won't be entirely my fault.

Carpe Vomit

Don't worry.
No one in our family is sick right now. Whew. But our wonderful idea to share today is a simple vomit-related one.

The Giant Vomit Bowl.
No, it's not a nationally-televised football game sponsored by Ipecac syrup.
It's a simple plastic bowl purchased for $1 at Wal-Mart or Bowls-R-Us, and when our children (or us) are sick, it becomes their shadow. It's a big target, a little bigger than a toilet bowl, and it can travel a little more easily than a toilet as well. At the first mention of "my tummy hurts," out comes the The Giant Vomit Bowl. We should consider putting a strap on it on like a drum in the marching band.

The Giant Vomit Bowl

We used to keep it up high in the cabinet over the fridge. After all, who wants their Vomit Bowl mingling with the other dishware? However, we do clean it well afterward, so there really shouldn't be any reason NOT to invite you over to eat clam chowder out of it.

So in the last year, the Vomit Bowl has moved to more valuable real estate in the bottom of the pantry. Now the sick kids can crawl across the kitchen floor in food-poisoning-induced agony and retrieve the Vomit Bowl all by themselves without me or the Mrs. having to interrupt our blogging to assist them.

Since using the Giant Vomit Bowl (there are multiple ones actually), we have had very few accidents on the carpet or beds, almost none.

If you're grossed out by the possibility of confusing your Giant Vomit Bowl with your Giant Popcorn Bowl, you might want to invest in different colored bowls so you can easily designate which is which.
The Giant Popcorn Bowl

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Athlete I am Not

'Round about second grade it was determined that I needed glasses.

Had that been determined two years earlier, I might have realized that it WAS possible to see footballs tossed at me, baseballs coming at my head and other such niceties that make playing sports a tad more safe.

As it turned out, by the time I got my glasses (AND their fancy schmancy Fred Flintsone glasses case), I had already developed an apoplectic fear of any sport that involved having to see things in order to remain alive.

Of course, I had little choice but to become a "mathlete." Have I mentioned that before here? I actually went to local and regional competitions and figured out math problems...by choice. On weekends. When cartoons and other cool shows were on. How in the world I didn't spend my junior high years face down in a swirling toilet is beyond me, but God is a god of grace.
I got over my fear of sports with balls and became a jock eventually...I joined a bowling league.

[Pause for the pity to set in.]

Again, there must have been a huge spiritual hedge of protection around me because not once did I ever receive a wedgie based solely on the fact that I spent every Saturday at the bowling alley. I even went to a bowling tournament where I think there were famous professional bowlers, like the ones on tv. Trident or Dentyne must have sponsored it because I came home with a TON of gum...proportional to the amount of coolness I sacrificed by going there in the first place.

All that is to demonstrate beyond any shadow of a doubt that I am not responsible for my daughters' athletic abilities.

As I was watching my girls last night at their basketball practice, I was so stinkin' proud of them. They are not afraid of the ball, and they are not afraid of the pressure of all those adults watching as they try out new skills and drills.

I thank God (seriously) that there are many ways in which my children are different from me. God is good, and he has filled in a lot of gaps for me as a father.

I also thank God that are many ways in which my children HAVE inherited certain traits, abilities, interests, and especially a faith.

God knows just what each of them needs in order to develop into what he has called them to be. They've already passed me in athletic skill, and from the looks of it, they are each likely to pass me in effectiveness in His kingdom. They are going to be doing some pretty awesome things in the lives of so many people. You just wait and see.

I'm sure I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Turn, Turn, Turn

I'm not really much of a complainer. (I HATE complainers. I could gripe and moan about complainers all day long. They're awful. Horrid.)

So I like winter. It's not my favorite season, but I can easily say it's in my top four.
But when it gets really, really, really cold, it wouldn't hurt if it also snowed and closed down the whole city for the day so we would have a good reason to stay home and build a fire and not go out in the cold at all.

But today it's just plain cold...single digits. And sunny and not a chance of snow. What purpose does the cold have if it's not to make snow. It can't be solely for the purpose of freezing our pipes, causing our cars not to start and killing our hibernating roses, can it?

To make matters even worse, I hopped over to my friend Mike's blog. On his blog he has the equivalent of a "nya nya nya nya nya nya" sitting there in his sidebar.
He doesn't literally have a video of him with his thumbs in his ears, sticking out his tongue and mocking us all, but he might as well. Instead, he masks it cleverly in the form of a weather widget reminding me snidely that it's sunny and 58 at this moment in Malibu where he lives.


Well, Mike, your weather-taunting has worked. We've bought our plane tickets, and we're flying out to see you AND your weather in a few months. (Hallelujah, tickets were almost free because we got bumped last year! Plus, we're killing two birds with one stone by flying to California to get to our Mexico Mission Trip AND to see these dear friends afterward.)

If anyone else wants to taunt us with your locale's balmy goodness, you'd best be prepared to open your home to our presumptuous little family of six. You've been officially warned.

Note: Mike is actually the nicest guy in the world, so if I caused anyone to believe he had evil intentions behind his weather widget, please don't be misled. On the other hand, I HAVE played Risk with him, and he is unnervingly bent on world domination. Nice guys usually are.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Was Going To Ask For Your Advice

Now that we've redone our office/school room, it's time to upgrade our printer from the old model which is just a step up from an Etch-A-Sketch.

I thought I'd ask our friends out in Cyberinternetoblogoland about the printers they use and like.

We're photohounds, so we'd love to have one that prints decents photos. With school work, we also think it would be cool to be able to photocopy some worksheets and other items. And I'm a moron, so I need one that's easy to use.

Anyway, my impatience got the best of me, and I just ran out and bought us a nifty little Kodak 5500 with some Christmas money and gift cards.

If you have one of those and love it, let me know. If you have one and you hate it, keep it to yourself; I don't want to have buyer's remorse until I've at least used up all the free paper that came with my purchase.

So you can be excited about our purchase, I thought I'd show you a few of the photos that we're going to be eager to print right away. You may have seen some of these before here on the blog or on my wife's blog:
I was killin' time this morning and drew this nice picture to illustrate my mission trip fundraising endeavors. I just added it to that post, but since many of you have already read it, I put the drawing here for you to still enjoy.Don't even bother trying to email me to obtain this woman's contact info. I don't know her...nor do I want to.
The kiddie margaritas were the best!

Yes, even I have my serious side.

This summer, when I take my whole family to Mexico to build a house, little blonde girls will outnumber the brunettes for a change.

Back to the printer: one thing I'm curious about is if anyone has plugged in a Bluetooth wireless adapter to that printer and used it from a wireless laptop or desktop. I hate wires.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Really Not That Interesting

Not a lot happening today, but here's a quick gem of knowledge to tide you over until I blog about my alien abduction or other such morsel of interest to you, my gentle readers.
I'm often entertained by the Google searches that bring people to my blog.

Here's the latest in the fun searches that have led you internets to my front door:

- honey your car is in a tree around the corner.
- wedding dresses for rainforest
- kids and clamming
- i fed honey to my baby what to do now?
- the coolest person in the world

O.k. I lied about the last one.

But the first one really intrigued me, so I went and googled it myself. It turned up lots of different sites! After I worried for a bit that there has been a rash of recalls on vehicles prone to driving up trees, it turned out that the phrase was a quote from a blockbuster movie from 1996 that took the country by storm.

Without using a search engine, any guesses as to what movie it's from?

I don't have a prize to send, but if you desire an imaginary prize, feel free to name anything at all that you want to imagine me sending you. Then I'll invite everyone to imagine that they're jealous that you imaginarily won .

Hey, I guess I AM the coolest person in the world.

Old Desks And Some Boards

I generally hate spending money if I don't have to. Here's my latest We-Redid-A-Whole-Room-For-Very-Little-Money Moment.

We used to have our computer in one of those armoir units. We could close the door on it, and no one would ever know there was a computer there.

They'd also have no clue that there were tons of papers and old bills and coupons and checkbooks and pictures and cd's and files and schoolwork and junk mail and half-full drinking glasses and small children inside that thing. I started fearing for my life when I'd open the doors or pull out the sliding keyboard shelf. It had become a black hole of all things office-y, and I couldn't find the important stuff my wife insisted was in there.

So as she prepared for a trip out of town, I plotted how to revamp the whole room in her absence. I'd searched online specifically for L-shaped desks and hutches and anything that would help us utilize our space best. Most importantly, I obsessed over how to do so with little or no money.

As it turned out, we had two different desks around the house or in storage that were neither one being used as desks. One was simply a hamster cage- and crayon-holder. The other was a garage-based dust receptacle.

I moved the armoir and replaced it with the desks, positioning them in a kind of L shape.

But wait. There's more.

I invested only $38 in some fine wood which the nice hardware store people cut for me to make a large counter/surface. I placed the wood on top of the two desks to give the impression that it really was all one fancy L-shaped unit like them top executives in tall buildings have. Then I brought a hutch/shelves out of dust storage as well and put that on top.
My wife is beside herself that I'm posting this picture without giving her a chance to totally clean up the space, but you can imagine that it's generally tidier than this.

I still need to do some trim work and staining and all to make it nice, but for now we have tons of surface space to work at and spread paperwork out while I'm working on taxes. My artist daughter has claimed one spot for her art studio. And under the longer leg of the "L," we've shoved a table that can slide out when we need more space for homeschool work and such.

Overall, I'm very pleased. I'm most satisfied with how much impact was made by simply repurposing furniture we already had.
Speaking of repurposing, here's the old computer cabinet...minus the computer and 12 tons of paper and junk. I'm sure it will get used for something else perfect. Again, imagine my wife horrified that I'm posting this messy atrocity.

We desperately want to get more containers or boxes or baskets to complete the organizational aspects, but we're on our way to a more friendly office/school space. So if you have any suggestions of where to go or what to get to store files or magazines or what-nots, we're open to your ideas.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ño Guts, Ño Glory

Alternate title #1: "No Pain, No Gain"
Alternate title #2: "No Needles Draining Fluid From Your Corpse, No Extra Moolah"

Yes, it's true.

I just spent a couple hours at our local "plasma collection center." I got some reading done, did a little blogging, people-watched, and all of this while trying very hard to forget that jammed inside a vein in my right arm was a needle the size of a coffee stirrer.

If you've never donated (that's probably the wrong word since I got paid for my service) then boy, are you missing out.

Back in college it was relatively low-tech, what with the hammering of a spigot into my arm like I was a maple tree or something. But on my latest trip to see my friends at Biolife Plasma and Leech Center, I felt like I'd stepped onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

I placed my finger over the glowing red sensor so it could scan my fingerprint and pull up my records. Even the thermometer/blood pressure/IQ sensors are all automated. Also, they no longer have a human asking all of those embarrassing questions about sexual activity and drug use and whether or not I'd received acupuncture in Ghana from a mad cow between the years of 630 bc and ad 1987; now it's a computer touch-screen, all fancy like the ones they have on the cash registers at McDonald's.

Unfortunately, they don't have the transporter developed yet with which to directly "beam" my plasma from my veins into the bottle. But it's pretty cool nonetheless. The blood gets sucked from my veins, spins around in a centrifuge, gets stripped of the precious liquid gold (plasma) and then pumps the red stuff right back into my arm. It does just a little at a time until it goes through enough cycles to fill a bottle a little larger than those big plastic jobs you see attached to the undercarriages of mountain bikes.

The real joy comes at the end when it's time for them to give me a free bag of saline to replace the fluid stolen from my body. Of course, the saline's been hanging on that hook at room temperature (which is approximately 50 degrees judging by my goosebumps and the lady in her parka across the way). So when the saline enters my body at well-below-normal-body-temperature, it feels like something has gone very, very wrong...or right, depending on whether or not you enjoy freezer burn coursing through your veins.

My favorite part comes at check-out. Once again I place my finger on the glowing red omniscient eye who knows me very well by now. It talks to the computer, and the two of them work it out somehow to deposit $20-$40 on my Plasma Debit Card, which I promptly blow on candy, comic books and baseball cards.

Naw, seriously, this is just a simple way for me to raise a little extra to save for when our family of six takes a mission trip to Mexico in June. The participants (us and several other families from all over) raise money to pay for the materials for the houses that we will build together, so we'll do some saving, do some jobs for others and accept donations from friends and family who'd like to be a part of building a home but can't actually go to Mexico with us.

So while I really don't enjoy getting poked with needles, it's a very small price to pay for seeing a family in a brand new house later this year. If you want to go with us, you don't necessarily have to sell body fluids. Kidneys fetch a decent price too.

Since writing this post, I have been encouraged to add a "button" in the sidebar for anyone who may be interested in giving, too (financially, not plasmotically). I'm not trying to solicit donors, but if you're like me, sometimes you just know when you've been called to give and all you need to know is where and how. If that describes you, you can click on the photo at the top of the sidebar (the two boys), and it will set you up safely and securely at PayPal. Thank you to those who are joining us in making it possible for more families to have decent shelter. God bless you.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Remember in the old days when people were tortured, imprisoned or noogied for professing that the earth was round or that the planets revolved around the sun?

Seriously, it rocked the world, and people paid dearly for their beliefs.

Check out this site:

Then, whether you believe in a Creator or not, be prepared to decide if people who DO should be fired, black-listed or otherwise shunned, just like in the good ol' days.

I'm glad to see someone speaking up. I'd like to myself, but I don't think anyone would want to watch MY movie.

Of course, if I'm wrong, and you WOULD watch my movie, I can invite you to be part of the focus group for "Camping Trip '07" or "First Day of School."

Sweet Blessed Holy Glory Hallelujah Wrapped In A Clorox Wipe

I’ve read the comments you all have had about creating order out of the abyss that is our children’s bathroom.

I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel now, and much of the brilliance is radiating directly from the thought of nifty little flip-lid boxes. I’ll probably find a way to drill holes in the lids or something for some ventilation thanks to at least one recommendation.

And I like the idea of them each having their own toothpaste to be responsible for. And if they’re each a different color even, it may help us identify the vandals.

Clorox (other similar) wipes was also a recurring theme.

There were also some of you who clearly had military backgrounds as you recommended standing sentry at the door and shoot any offenders who left the scene without cleaning up after themselves. Actually, you didn’t SAY you went that far, but we’re all adults here; we can read between the lines.

I’m just giving you a hard time. We actually operated like that when our first-born graduated out of crib. We’d stand at the door (peeking in), and the moment her foot touched the ground we came in to remind her to stay in bed. We were able to retire the shock collar pretty quickly, and we never again had trouble with her getting out of bed.

I think if we could all drill into our heads what we KNOW we should do, we’d have much more peaceful lives and better-disciplined children with brighter futures. It’s so much easier to train and develop good behavior at the outset with the investment of time and modeling and helping than it is to let them go on their own and then have to UNDO the bad habits they develop. Duh. But it takes work and it takes time away from our busy blogging schedules, I know. But on the back end, we’ll save time by not having to do as much cleaning up after the children or driving all the way downtown to bail them out of jail.

So thanks for the fantastic advice. It may indeed be a life-saver.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Unbelievably Weird Facts About Me

Tech Daddy tagged me to tell 5 Weird Facts about me. Thanks a bunch. I feel kind of naked and vulnerable. (I guess that comes with blogging in the buff. Just kidding.)

It really is hard to limit it to just 5, but I'm sure everyone says that, right?

1. I like to dress up in costumes. I have a superhero costume called "VBXMan," a pirate costume for "Cap'n Scott," my "Doctor Uh-Oh" costume and a store manager costume. Sometimes it's just fun to play pretend. Usually the costumes are for children's events at church, but they get recycled at Halloween and trips to Mexico.

2. I cannot take my eyes off of those queer dancing people on the online mortgage ads. I hate them with a violent passion, but I HAVE to watch them just in case there's a new dance move I want to learn.

3. Speaking of Dancing, I was in a Spanish dance group in high school. An activity in Spanish class evolved into a group of us learning some native dances and traveling to elementary schools and performing in assemblies. To the music of "La Bamba," Brittney Puetz and I would dance while kicking a long satin ribbon on the ground until we had formed it into a lovely bow.

4. I am one of four boys, and yet I now have four GIRLS. I knew nothing about girls (or women), so God obviously had in mind for me to finally learn something. They are a different beast, oh yes they are.

5. I am not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. I played soccer once in second grade, and that's it. But now I organize and direct a basketball league and a soccer league with more than 200 kids involved. I really should learn some of the rules of these sports.

Gee, those last two don't really count as weird probably. So for a bonus, here's more:

6. When I drive, I often keep rhythm in my mind with the spaces in between the dotted line on the road. Usually I grind my teeth in steady rhythm. I don't know why. It's some kind of obsessive compulsive thing, because I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time until I suddenly feel my jaw is tired. Sweet relief, though, when I get to a solid line or no-passing zone. Whew.

7. I LOVE to clean my ears with q-tips. I'll just dig away like I'm scraping the last bit of ice cream out of a tub of Ben & Jerry's. I go way deeper than the manufacturers recommend, but it feels sooooooooooo good.

Now you know me so much better. And therefore I expect readership of this blog to be cut in half immediately.

Big Doofus, I'm not sure if you've been tagged for this or something like this, but if I at least say I'm tagging you, I won't have to experience the curse of the broken tag chain.

Our Bathroom Is Decorated the Color of Dried Toothpaste For a Reason

My name is Scott, and I am the father of four.
Hi, Scott.

In some circles, that's a large family, what with all those people walking around with only 2.5 children and all. However, our therapist assures us that he has LOTS of patients with that many children or more.

Everywhere around the house there is evidence that we have four children. For example, the coats. We were geniuses to buy the girls coats with inner and outer shells that can be zipped together for warmth. Or, as is most likely, they are unzipped apart and with the removeable hoods removed so that there are no fewer than 383 separate pieces strewn across the coat room. Fortunately, EVERY SINGLE PIECE is the same pink and black so you have to pick up each individual piece and check the sizes the find the right one.

But more evidence of four children is in their bathroom, the one that they all share. The one that they all leave their towels on the floor in. The one that they all brush their teeth in. The one that they all spit their toothpaste in. Evidently, the drain in the sink is too small a target for them to aim their spit at, because there is dried toothpaste all over:

the sink,
the counter,
the mirror,
and anything in a five-foot radius.

It is not uncommon for me to find toothpaste lid on the floor, the BATHROOM floor (gross). I have found toothbrushes on the floor as well...by the TOILET. I'm not generally a germ-aphobe, but I DO consider myself a finding-things-that-go-in-my-mouth-near-a-toilet-aphobe.

How can my wife and I get this room under control? What works for YOU geniuses out there, because whatever is going on here isn't doing it. We have only one sink for the four girls and not a lot of counter space, unless you count the top of the toilet tank...ewww.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Yes, We're Alive

Cindy returns home tonight.

Of course, her flight lands an hour away at exactly the time when two girls are finishing basketball practice and another one is starting.

I guess that means three of them won't be able to go with me to pick Mommy up at the airport.

(I could ASK the girls if they want to skip practice and pick mom up, but there's no need to force them to choose whom/what they love more: Mom or Basketball.)

It really does seem like she's been gone a month, even though it's only been three nights. I am totally capable of caring for 4 kids (6, if you count the two babysittees here today), but I figure I have to make her feel like it's a struggle for me so she doesn't get some hair-brained idea to up and leave too often.

I am excited to hear all about her trip, and I'm sure we'll be up late telling tales.

I hope she's as excited to hear all about OUR weekend too: laundry, babysitting, cooking, etc.

I know that she'll be thrilled to see how spotless the house is :

By the way, do you think she'll be keen on me planning a guys' trip to Vegas?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Everything Is Under Control, Officer

Oh my, is it ever hard to get three girls ready for church without mom here.
Wait, there are supposed to be four. Now where is that other one?
Fortunately, I take the doctrinal stance that God looks at the heart while man looks at the outward appearance. So I wasn't freaked at all when my girls only had 5 minutes to get ready for church since we stayed up watching another movie last night. God won't mind what they wear to church.

Also, it's only one morning, and if they don't have a nutritious breakfast one time, it won't kill them. Look at what Shelby found in the pantry.

yum. who doesn't love a little sugar, syrup, marshmallows, chocolate chips, ice cream cones, tootsie rolls and smarties for breakfast? And yes, she is eating tootsie rolls with the wrappers still on them. Rush rush rush. Don't worry, by the time they get to church, they'll have brushed the hair out of their eyes. And maybe there will be some coats in the lost and found.

You don't even want to SEE the other two girls.

These kids sure hope their mommy is having fun in Vegas.

It's just not the same here without her.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Vanishing Wife Trick

So my wife left me.
For three days.
She's with friends, eating, staying up late, partying.
Click here to hear her gloat.

If anyone cares to hear about MY party weekend, here's a start:
Here I am back at home, slaving away over a hot stove (or is it called an oven? I always get those two mixed up). I've got four children running around who have to be scrubbed, fed, clothed and shuttled to and from basketball, church, Bible Bowl competitions, the emergency room, school and the like.

The house is a pig sty after only 6 hours without Cindy. Pizza boxes are strewn across the kitchen, and paper plates are exactly where the kids left them after eating. I watched three extra children for friends, so we also have all the toys and games still left out as well.

Once we run out of paper plates, real plates and silverware will start stacking up in the sink.

Coats are lying on the floor by the door, sticking their little tongues out at the empty coat hooks.

The kids stayed up till 10:00. (Really 11:00, but if Cindy were to find THAT out, she'd kill me.)

We watched a movie on tv that I'd never seen or checked up on. I just threw caution to the wind and reserved the right to turn it right off if something inappropriate was said or done on the screen. Fortunately, Mr. Bean stayed within my general movie guidelines, other than some brief cross-dressing moments. But really, those were integral to the plot and done relatively tastefully.

If anyone is interested, I'll be glad to continue throughout the weekend and list the various areas of our house (and life) that experience entropy while Cindy is away. I assure you the bed will not be made until minutes before I leave to pick up Cindy at the airport.
Check back tomorrow for chapter 2: "Skipping Showers and Taking The Girls Out In Public With What Dad Lets Them Wear." It's kind of a horror story of sorts.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Only God Knows, eh?

I don't normally get all theological in these posts, but I've had this headache for almost two days, so I've had some laying-around time to think. Usually, I avoid thought. But I just couldn't today.

I also try my best to avoid getting projects done around the house, but I went and did one today. I'll get some pictures of our home office/school room that I "re-did" for about $70 and post them tomorrow...or not.

Anyway, back to thoughts.

So, how many of you hear from God? Do you ever sense the Holy Spirit's prodding?

I can generally tell when something is from God rather than from Scott's Ingenius Well of Bad Ideas.

Now here's the interesting dilemma which has plagued countless people through the ages I bet:
have you had any experiences where God has made something clear to you...and then someone else claims that God (or the Holy Spirit) has told them just the opposite?

Whose "God" or "Holy Spirit" is right?

Right now, I'm really only in the mood for raising the question. I'll work up the energy to think through it more later, but I figured those of you who've already spent some time going down this road might be able to give me a headstart.

Man, how I wish I had my very own burning bush to go to for answers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Leapin' Into A New Year

You probably already know this, but this is a Leap Year.
Yup. You have a WHOLE EXTRA DAY this year.
24 unexpected hours.
1,440 extra minutes.
And...well, I don't know how many seconds, but if I weren't so darn lazy, I could find the calculator feature on this computer and tell you, but that would start chipping away at those extra unknown-number of seconds that I surely will use for more noble purposes.

Like organizing our office/school room. We currently have our computer crammed inside one of those armoir thingies. Great space-saver. Unfortunately, I've recently developed claustrophobia. I diagnosed myself with this disorder after spending the last 24 hours on the couch thanking God that I was not:
A. in the middle of Times Square on New Year's Eve
B. in the grandstands at the parade route in Pasadena.
C. in Tempe, Arizona watching the Hooisers lose the Insight Bowl in person.

Can you imagine? I almost hyperventilated just watching people pressing up against each other for hours on end in Times Square. And I didn't see a single bathroom. It could not have been a pretty place. I know that people say it's cool and fun and exciting.
They say the same thing about cocaine, but I'm not going THERE.

Anyway, I'm probably going to spend my extra day this year doing something involving whatever I buy with my giftcards for Lowes home improvement heaven-in-a-warehouse.

Or sleeping.

In case you wondered...

I haven't screwed anything up yet in 2008.