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


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We Are Easily Entertained

While yes, we have received various games and toys that have cost a fair amount of money, let us also reflect on the fact that the following can keep us occupied for countless hours:

* Jenna has wrapped cut-up pieces of green paper around her thumb to create a mask and cape for "Super Thumb." And then she spent the last 20 minutes telling us the character's back-story. Now she's off to create a son for the superhero. She claims this one will have laser eyes.

* I popped open the door to Brynne's room and caught Cassie swinging her iPod earbuds like a windmill and Brynne trying to run in between swings.

* The girls begged us to let them open a bag of Cheese Puffs. We consented, and they set it on the table and gathered around it like a campfire and ate almost the entire thing.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hair Gel, Sugar Cookies and Scott's "Twilight" Analysis

I took my wife to go see "Twilight" tonight. She'd read the complete series as a parent in order to determine how appropriate the books would be for our children at their respective ages. I followed suit and worked hard to read the first book. I'm a much slower reader, so tonight as we were driving to the theater, I gave her permission to summarize the last few chapters for me. I like to be able to compare movies with the books they're based on and/or the summaries of the books they're based on.

My comparison:

1) I was instantly struck by how much mousse and hair gel must have been used on the Cullen family. I don't remember any mention of the wicked spikes and floops in the book, but judging by the movie, I'm guessing they've created a shortage of hair care products in the Pacific Northwest.

2) My wife prepared me for the "Edward-in-the-sunlight" scene by telling me she'd read somewhere online that in the sunlight, Edward looks like a "sugar cookie." Again, there was no mention in the book of cookies or pastries of any kind with regards to his physical description.

3) I'm sorry to offend anyone out there, but I was creeped out by the Cullen siblings holding hands as couples at school. I didn't get the sense from the book that they displayed their "coupleness" in public. Ewww. I know that school counselers deal with a lot of issues these days, but if this movie starts of new wave of brothers dating sisters, don't be surprised if it's accompanied by the excuse "well, we're 300 years old, we're not even human, we crave your blood, and the only way to stop us is to cut us into tiny pieces and burn them. So I don't think you need to get all hung up on the fact that I'm holding hands with my sister."

4) Jasper. Oh my goodness, Jasper was a hoot in the movie. I don't know what I was expecting from the book's description, but the movie Jasper was a riot. He didn't have (m)any lines or scenes or actions or anything, but his hair and the expression on his face screamed either "my agent is going to pay for this!" or "my optic nerves WILL hold my eyes in, right?"

Clearly, based on these four points, the movie has taken some liberties and totally changed key details about the book. However, it was clever and interesting and kept my attention the entire time...except for the times my children called me on my cell phone. (Don't worry. The first call was about a sick stomach and fear of vomiting. The second call was about a candle jar falling and sending shards of glass all over the kitchen. So no cause for alarm.)

Seriously, the movie actually DID do a good job of following the story from the book, the key point being that Bella is obsessed with a vampire boy and can't live without him and needs him even if he's bad for her and blah blah blah needy obsessive blah blah blah typical pubescent vampire love.

I've told Cassie that she is welcome to read the book...once she and I have a talk about liking boys and kissing boys and holding hands with boys and blah blah blah since that's a big part of the book.

She's pretty much sworn off the book for life.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Letter: Unrated!

Some of you are unfortunate enough to already be on our mailing list for the Family Christmas Letter and are subjected to this nonsense year after year.
We often have some ridiculous theme as the backdrop for the letter. It helps make it easier to stomach all our "look what my kids can do" and "guess where we went" info if you are at least fooled into thinking we're a little creative about it.

This year, the backdrop was a reality show. It's perhaps the lamest of all our letters, especially since Cindy wouldn't let me paste our heads on the bodies of contestants from "Big Brother." She's holding me back creatively, I'm telling you.

For those of you who didn't receive this literary gem, here it is in all its glory.
(Note: this is the "unrated" version with the "poo" references when you get to Cheddar's introduction. Sorry, Cindy. I couldn't find the finial version, so there are other differences from the actual letter mailed to family, friends and heads of state.)

---------------------------
Welcome to the hit reality show, “The Newlands In 2008!”

It hasn't enjoyed a huge viewership thus far, but we're hoping this mass mailing will generate new interest in the show, and maybe even pick up a few new sponsors.

The set for the show is pretty much the same as last season; it still takes place in the family's two-story home outside Bloomington, Indiana. A few pictures and chotchkis have changed around the house, but if you were to drop by the set, you'd pretty much feel like you were transported in time all the way back to 2007. Maybe for next season, the network will go crazy and splurge on a new throw rug or outlet covers.

Most of the players are the same as last season too. In fact, no one got voted out...…yet.

You may remember Scott, the father figure of the show. Some viewers have referred to him as "middle-aged," but that's probably based solely on the fact that he's balding, gaining weight and about halfway through his life. Unfortunately, with the current state of the economy, he won't be retiring this year, so he’ll keep showing up for work at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church as the Family Minister, though sometimes he shows up as “Professor Scott” or “VBX Man.” Scott continued his cheese obsession in the Christmas episode by making Velveeta Fudge. He swears that lots of people have said it is “really good,” some of them even say it AFTER they find out it contains processed cheese.

Cindy, the mother hen on the show, left her position as home school teacher at the end of last season. Amid all the hoopla in the tabloids over the "Kidsaregrowingup-Gate" scandal, she made the transition to being a substitute teacher at the kids' public school. Even though she can no longer wear pajamas to class like last year, it has its good points, like an occasional paycheck which helps support her online shopping addiction. Plus she really, really, really, really loves teaching, AND she’s really, really, really, really good at it as evidenced by the success of her former homeschool students and the glowing references from her former homeschool’s principal/janitor. She’s also been traveling like an heiress with a trust fund: Vegas, Texas, North Carolina, Mexico, Malibu, San Diego and Marengo, Indiana.

Sixth-grade Cassie, who used to fool the other players with her "shy act," is no longer the quiet, unassuming girl from last season. Some viewers have written asking if she has been replaced with a new out-going player by the same name with identical features. No, it's the same Cassie but playing with a new strategy including having a starring role in the Spring '08 musical at church, actually running for student council at school, becoming a violin virtuoso and winning her class speeling beee! Keep your eye on this girl; she's going to go far on this show.

Fourth-grade Shelby is a lot like she's been in previous seasons. She's still into sports as she continues to excel at soccer and basketball, and this year she tried softball, showing herself to be incredible at first base. The ball fields were just around the corner, so we could even walk or ride our bikes there and do our part to save the planet. (We COULD, but we DIDN'T.) Shelby has become a prolific writer, with such memorable lines from her school work as “relief flowed over him like Gatorade over a Superbowl-winning coach.” We expect her to write for some upcoming episodes; watch for her in the credits and at awards shows.

Third-grade Brynne headed off to public school for the first time. Brynne plays soccer and basketball like her sister, but she’s also started dabbling in gymnastics. During cast interviews, when asked to describe herself, she said, “I’m the SPARKLY one.” Despite her sparkliness, she dug in and got dirty in Mexico building houses for the second year in a row. This time she was able to bring the whole family. The best scene of the season was her baptism in the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. You can see highlights from that episode on Youtube.com; search for “Brynne’s Baptism.” (Seriously, it’s there.)

Second-grade Jenna also hopped on the bus for the first time this season. She loves school, is always excited to go, and she comes home with fantastic stories from her day; some of them even make sense. One of the most common questions we get about her is “Where does she get her blonde hair?” All of the girls have been blonde, but Jenna’s hair remains almost white, except in the summer when pool chemicals turn it green. She proved herself to be a daredevil in Episode 24 when the gang went to Family Camp in Seymour, Indiana. Labor Day weekend was chock-full of shotguns, ziplines, rock-climbing, death-defying flights and watersports. Jenna surprised us all by climbing a telephone pole and leaping from the top to a trapeze bar. This kid keeps the cast laughing. In fact, she’s such a hoot, she may even get her own spin-off some day.

In a shocking turn of events, a new cast member was added this season. Cheddar, the famous Maltipoo, arrived and brought much laughter, joy, chewed up pencils, and soiled carpet to the show. They don’t call him a “Matlipoo” for nothing. (Actually, the reason is that he’s a mix of Maltese and Poodle, but we enjoy the double entendre.) Cindy’s character talks a good game about not enjoying him, but when the cameras stop rolling, she can be found cuddling the puppy on the couch and making baby talk to him. What a softy.

We are sorry to announce the passing of a dear family member. Scott’s grandpa—affectionately referred to as “Buddypa”—died this fall after a long and significant life. He is already greatly missed.

Next season looks to be a good one with Scott and Cindy celebrating their 15th anniversary, perhaps another house-building venture in Mexico and [insert dramatic music here] junior high.

Be sure to TiVo the cliff-hanger season finale.
You’ll be left wondering:
Will Scott grow his hair back?
Will Cindy try to give up the unemployed lifestyle and renew her teaching license?
Will Cassie shock everyone and get lower than an A on something?
Will Shelby give up football at recess in favor of dolls and girl drama?
Will Brynne stop rolling in glitter and crushed diamonds?
Will Jenna lose so many teeth that the tooth fairy has to hire help?

The cast hopes that all is going well in your own reality shows. They also wish to thank their producer/director/creator God for all His blessings in 2008 and for His faithfulness every day this year.
And that’s saying more than normal since this was a leap year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Have You Ever...

A) Have you ever sprayed contact solution on your toothbrush? (Or other such switcheroo because you were sleepy)

2) Have you ever gone on a trip and forgot to pack underwear? (Accidentally. I don't want to hear about you go commando on purpose.)

III) Have you ever forgotten to rinse shampoo out of your hair? (For me, I didn't notice until I was out in the rain and it bubbled up a bit.)

These are three things that I have done (the third one not so recently).
All you have to do is comment "yes, no, no" or whatever would be true in your case. Elaborating on your answers is totally optional unless there is a wicked backstory that must be shared with the world, then it's totally mandatory).

It's is a quick "meme" (which I believe is Swahili for "tree root") that I've come up with for our mutual enjoyment. You can do it with any number of Lhave you evers," even one. It hopefully serves the purpose of locating others out there in Cyberinternetoblogoland who are just as dorky/forgetful/forgetful as me. There ARE others like me, aren't there?

Hello? Hello?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mr. Scott Tells The Christmas Story

Last Friday was an awesome Christmas party thingie for families at our church. We called it the Jingle Jam, which is a copyrighted program from a big church in the south, but a lot of the stuff was original stuff we wrote ourselves. Yeah, there were carols. Yeah, there was a girl with chocolate smeared on her face. Yeah, there were live camels and sheep. Yeah, there was a robot named Mr. Roboto who told lame jokes. But what I want to share is the video of the teaching time that my friend Tim helped us produce. (Tim is the husband of also-friend Emily.)

In case you've always wondered what I look and sound like, here's your chance. This is also your chance to see the coveted Last Supper Lunch Box.

Once you get over the fact that I wrapped baby Jesus in toilet paper and terrorized the stable with Godzilla (played by an angel), it really is a charming Christmas video that is sure to become a classic that your children will ask to see every year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bread. Seriously, Folks

At our office, we've all signed up for what we're bringing to the staff Christmas luncheon. (We also had the discussion over the difference between a "lunch" and a "luncheon." Generally speaking, I believe doilies are the main differentiation.)

There was a list of blanks with a certain number of spaces to sign up for either appetizers, cakes, pies, vegetables, salads, nogs, etc. All that was left when I signed up?

Bread.
Seriously, folks.

Claudia's bringing her world-famous sourdough rolls. How can I compare with that? You see, Jeremy brought a delicious tray of wheat rolls last year, but when Claudia's in town, all other rolls are dismissed. (Hence, Jeremy's left-over rolls are wrapped and stored on my top office shelf. I'm not even kidding. There was a prank planned for them, but I forgot what it was 11 1/2 months ago.)

So what should I bring?

A) a loaf of Wonder Bread
B) Hawaiian rolls
C) Mini Muffins of some kind
D) Bread sticks (maybe with a little sun-dried tomatoes and parsley for holiday colors?)
E) Jeremy's Wheat Rolls

If the magic of the internet works quickly, maybe I'll be reading your ideas in time to shop and/or bake for our doily-laden luncheon tomorrow (Thursday).

One of Those Days

I'm trying to cram all my frustrations into one 24-hour period so I can flush them all out and have a good day tomorrow.

My Day:
* Heading down to the basement storage area in my pj's on a cold snowy wintry day and shutting the door behind which LOCKS ME IN and the only way out is through an outside door so I have to go outside and around the the house in my pj's on the snow.

* Assembling a shelving unit for the garage which boasts "Assembles in 2 Minutes!" They clearly didn't calculate in the extra 17 minutes for assembling it wrong and disassembling it in the first place.

* Planning 23 projects for a day off today and not having a SINGLE screw or nail or jabberwocky that I need and the roads have a sheet of ice and my brakes are questionable and my tires are balding.

And on top of it all I don't feel like going back and adding commas where they're needed in this post.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Being Held Hostage

I'm sitting here, knowing I should be doing a little work. The particular work I need to do right now involves getting files off of my computer.

The only problem (other than apathy, Christmas distractions and general malaise) is that Charlie The Computer Guy has been sitting at my desk clicking away, trying to solve a network problem for the last hour or two.

I'm assuming my computer has developed Consumption, Dysintery, or their binary equivelants.

In the meantime, I'm sitting here on a couch using my Blackberry. So I can't check speeling on this post, unless you expect me to get OFF the couch and find a dictionary.

In conclusion, if anyone has experience with a Code 1058 error or an SQL Dumper issue, please let me know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don Quixote Finds A Christmas Tree

Some people never learn. Ever.


We have this great Christmas tree farm outside town. People from our church own it, and we get to visit a little and usually see some of their animals.

Our tradition is to head out to the section where all the trees are one price regardless of size. We drive past all those perfect trees that are $10 or $15 per foot and dream about one day getting one of those because they really look great even without the lights and ornaments.

But we drive to the back of the farm. The trees there aren't as perfect, but we can get a great deal. As a man, my quest involves getting the BIGGEST tree possible (deja vu?). If they're all the same price, you might as well get as much as you can. By this weekend, they were pretty well picked over. Most were my height or shorter. Most had bald spots on one side. It was really slim pickins.

One stood out. It was sort of tall; I was guessing 7 or 8 feet. It had a really nasty bare side . It was crooked and bent. Fairly hideous...but tall. I talked my children out of more modest, well-shaped trees. My bad.

As luck would have it (by "luck" I mean "my stupidity") I neglected to request that the tree farmers drill a hole up into the trunk. If you're not familiar with this, get familiar; it's a HUGELY cool thing. They can hold the tree up straight and set it down on this drill thingie. Then, when I place it on my special tree stand with the pokey pin in the bottom, it is automatically straight. That's it. No work.

But without the hole drilled this time, I had to drill it myself. I won't bore you with the details of the 20 attempts at a hole the right size, depth and direction and cutting off the trunk a little more to start over and blah blah blah curse curse curse. Even after cutting some of the trunk off, this tree turned out to be 6 inches taller than our ceiling. I think we will hang a painting or sconce on the ceiling to hide the scuff marks after Christmas.

To make a long story just a little less long, with the help of some really thick books, some twine and a well-placed curtain rod, we got the tree to stand.

I was ready to skip Christmas altogether and move on to the next holiday. I understand Martin Luther King Day requires very little drilling, cutting and swearing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Was A Very insert adjective here Party

I must apologize to Brian and Kristin, our neighbors across the street. I mentioned their Christmas party so briefly in passing in my last post.

She commented:
"Your description of your neighbor's Christmas Party is sorely lacking in favorable and creative adjectives!"

So in reparation, let me just tell you that their cool and well-attended party was delightful and amazing, full of festive and yummy foods. Kristin was gorgeous in her fun Christmas apparel and flowing locks. The ginormous spread of food dazzled me with delectable treats both savory and sweet, and I sampled all the various pepperminty and wassailish holiday beverages. A good time was had by all, and it was a great place to unload my Velveeta Fudge on the unsuspecting masses.

Thank you, generous Brian and hospitable Kristin. Your beneficent neighborliness is truly an appreciated blessing to me and my lovely bride.

(Do you think those 27 adjectices sufficiently convey my sentiments vividly enough for friendly, kind, thoughtful, well-groomed, aromatic Kristin?)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Actual Unretouched Photo

Please study the following picture, and then answer the questions that follow.
The above photo was taken after a Christmas party tonight at a friend's house across the street.
Based on the amount of leftovers, which of the following was gobbled up the most?
a) Sweet Brown Sugar Barbecue Meatballs
b) Savory Ranch Flavored Oyster Crackers
c) Fudge made with Velveeta Processed Cheese

There you have it. The masses have spoken.
They have voted with their mouths, and their mouths say, "As long as you don't tell us that there is Velveeta in this deliciously decadent fudge, we will eat it like it's going out of style."

Actually, several people ate some even after they knew the secret ingredient. I did mention Paula Dean's name, though, to add credibility. At that point, they were just surprised it wasn't also battered and deep-fried.

So if you prefer coming home with virtually empty platters so you don't have to dirty up your Tupperware with leftovers, you better make this super easy fudge. If you missed my post with the Pioneer-woman-style photos and the actual recipe (corrected no fewer than 3 times when I saw mistakes in the amounts of cheese and/or sugar), then click on anywhere I've said Velveeta or Paula Dean in this post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

What's wrong with this picture?
It's all a matter of perspective, really.
Some people prefer their fudge withOUT the Velveeta, while others swear by its creamy goodness. (And I'm not even joking. Why don't you believe me? Come on. I'm being serious...for once. Here's a real, legitimate recipe site with it. So phooey on you disbelievers.)
The first thing I did was cube up a half pound of Velveeta (which is 1/4 of a "loaf") along with two sticks of butter, and then I nuked it for what ended up being a minute and a half.
That gave me approximately a minute and a half to continue to slice more cheese and eat it raw.

Let me warn you, as much as you'd like for the Velveeta and the butter to melt together into a creamy sauce, in actuality it separates and looks kind of gross. Surprisingly, it ended up looking kind of like globules of melted cheese floating in melted butter; go figure. Maybe I did it wrong. Next time I may melt the cheese first, and then stir in softened butter and see if it looks less unnatural.

Moving on...
In a separate bowl, I mixed together a 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar with 1/2 cup of cocoa. Important: ALWAYS use a mixing bowl that is just too small for your ingredients so that they fly all over the counter and floor with every flick of the wrist. It won't help you in any way, but it will make me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one who does this EVERY SINGLE TIME I mix.

I don't have a photo of the next step, but picture me dumping the cocoa/sugar mixture into the cheese/butter glop. It pretty quickly turned into a chocolate-colored dough-wad as I stirred it and added some vanilla. I was starting to get excited, because it looked good enough to eat at this stage.

Then I plopped it into a 9x13, and I chilled it for a couple of hours.
When the kids got home, they devoured it.
This is a picture of Shelby eating her second piece of fudge...right before I told her it was made with cheese.

The truth is, the fudge was delicious. The children and I still continued to eat it after the revelation of its surprise ingredient, but Cindy didn't finish her chunk. This was mainly a moral stand for Cindy as opposed to anything related to taste, I believe. It turns out she's a chocolate snob.

Here's the recipe so you can make it today and thank me.
[Note: I re-read the post and found some mistakes, so my apologies to anyone who tried the recipe with too little sugar or cheese before I corrected it. Below is the proper recipe...I hope.]

1/2 lb. Velveeta (or other processed cheese)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
32 oz. powdered sugar (2 lbs, I think)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
(chopped nuts, optional)

1. Melt together the cheese and butter.
2. Combine the cocoa and sugar.
3. Add the cocoa/sugar to the cheese/butter and toss in the vanilla. Mix well.
4. Plop it in a pan and chill.

Next, we'll check into swapping out the creamy nougat in homemade Milky Way bars for some Velveeta. Or maybe Oreos with a Velveeta center?
I'm sure other chocolate/cheese combinations will be just as tasty. And you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Save Yourself Literally TENS of Seconds This Christmas

[insert intro music for infomercial here]

Hi, my name is Scott, and I'm here to tell you about a revolutionary idea that will save you tens of seconds throughout the course of this holiday season and keep you safe and healthy as well.

Are you tired of climbing under your Christmas tree to reach the outlet to plug in and unplug the lights every day?
Do you end up cussing and/or crying when you reach into the tree to turn on the lights only to get a pine needle right in your eye?
Does all the trouble of dealing with those stupid lights make you consider converting to one of those non-tree-lighting religions once and for all?

Then let me share a secret that will save you from all that back-breaking, eye-poking, religion-losing heartache.

I bought a fancy-schmancy cord with a big fat button in the middle of it. It's designed to be stepped on to turn things on and off.
I don't remember how much I spent on the two that we bought, but they more than paid for themselves by reducing the frequency of December visits to the chiropractor and eye-surgeon.
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Every Wednesday you can visit RocksInMyDryer to check out the massive list of people who wish that they had Works-For-Me-Wednesday ideas as wonderful as mine to share.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Horseradish and Bananas...yummmm

Last night, Paula Dean was competing in a rerun of an Iron Chef episode in which they're making all kinds of Christmas desserts.

Paula Dean is such a realistic cook, it's hard to believe they let her on TV. While other TV cooks are creating masterpieces out of arugula, capers and vichyssoise, Paula deep-fries things, drops in whole sticks of butter and pretty much makes me want to lick the screen.

It was late, and I was drifting in and out of consciousness. In a moment when I was neither here nor there, I thought I heard them say she was making fudge using processed cheese. This couldn't be true, so I fell back asleep and dreamed about how perfect it WOULD be if you could truly make cheesy fudge. I love cheese. Cindy loves chocolate. It would be our perfect edible love child.

After a full night of dreaming cheesy-chocolate dreams, I hopped online to investigate this mythical food of the gods. It turns out that there are extremely popular recipes that involve Velveeta and sugar and cocoa, and some people swear that they will never bother with any other fudge recipe. One recurring recommendation was "do NOT let people know what is in the fudge or they will not like it." But if you keep the cheese a secret, people will gobble it up like it's crack cocaine. (I have no experience with this drug, but I understand it's addictive...like cheese.)

I hope to try making this fudge very soon and giving a report so you can celebrate with me.
[All right....I made it. Read about it here.]

In the meantime, hold on to that hope you've had that you and your lover's favorite flavors may actually go great together:

Steak and blueberries.
Salmon and espresso.
Chocolate ice cream and lentils.
Cinnamon and tuna.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

You Must Destroy This Post After You Read It

Psssst.

I'm over here...hiding under this rock. Don't tell anyone I'm here, because I have a shameful secret to confess. I'm afraid to tell you, because you may not be able to be my friend anymore. After all, people might associate you with me, and the tabloids will latch onto it, and the next thing you know you'll have to cancel your plans to run for president in O-Twelve.

This information absolutely cannot leave this blog. No linking to this on your site. No stopping me on the streets and saying, "I read your sinful post" in earshot of other humans. And by all means NO telling my mom; her heart's not as strong as it once was. She's still coping with the fact that her son SELLS PLASMA.

So this is just between you, me and my eye-rolling Catholic priest.

[deep breath]

I played Bingo on Friday night.

I know. You don't believe me, but it's true.

Our girls' elementary school had a Bingo fund-raiser. They had different sponsors who put up the prize money for each of the games (if I understood correctly), so that 100% of our entry fees went straight to the school PTO. It wasn't gambling, you see. It was donating to this wonderful organization.

Then the worst possible thing happened.

I WON the very first game. From that moment on, Bingo dauber ink was coursing through my veins so thickly you could see the subdermal lump sliding up my arm on it's way to cause a pulmonary embolism. (Yes, we watch "ER." Can you tell?)

I couldn't get enough; I was playing six cards at a time, sweating and cursing at old ladies who were calling "Bingo" long before it was humanly possible. I now know all about "four corners," "double postage," "B&O" and "pig in a blanket."

By the end of the night, I was even able to say "Are you down yet?" and sound like I knew what I was talking about. (I believe that being "down" means you're one number away from winning. For examply, you're just waiting for B8 to be called next so you can jump up and down and shout "IN YOUR FACE" to Ethel Fitzenstein who has not been at all humored by the last couple times you yelled "Bingo" prematurely.)

It's like a drug, I'm telling you. I can't wait for my next fix. I even suggested to Cindy that for our anniversary, if we end up going out of town, we can look for a Bingo game there and not have to worry about being seen by anyone we know.

Now that I've been so vulnerable about my addiction, please tell me I'm not the only one who's looking forward to spending my Tuesday nights at the VFW.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mommy Needs A Break

Cindy is regularly voted "Parent Most Likely To Not Be A Screw Up" in our weekly family election. At least I'm a shoe-in for runner-up.

While I have minor lapses and forget to feed the kids, pay the bills or unplug the toaster before taking it in the bathtub, Cindy is generally on top of things.

But sometimes, once in a very great while, she has a moment like today:

Cindy: "OK, kids. While we're gone, I want you to empty the dishwasher and then fill it up with dirty clothes."

The election could be a little closer this week.

Post #305

Now that I've passed the 300-post milestone, I feel like my blog should evolve and take on a more sophisticated tone.

I've investigated other blogs that represent the kind of serious maturity one might expect of a man of my experience and wisdom.

So I may just try my hand at intriguing posts on financial wisdom, understanding women, deep theologicial issues and astrophysics.

Awwww. Who am I kidding?

My dog just devoured half a loaf of french bread he found in the driveway (no clue where it came from). I tried to take it away because I know his stomach is only so big. I'm going to hang around a bit to see if he's going to vomit it all up or get diarrhea or something. I really don't want Cindy to come home and find Cheddar swimming in a sea of reconstituted french bread.

THAT'S the kind of stuff my friends expect me to write about. If you want a discourse on predestination, hedge funds or the feasibility of wormholes, I have other friends who can cover those quite well.

I should stick to what I know: poop, cheese, vomit, laziness, cheese, television, eating, cheese, and raising four wonderful little girls under the careful supervision of my lovely wife.
----
Updated to add: So far so good with Cheddar and the loaf of bread. His belly hasn't exploded yet. But if it does, you can bet I'll turn it into one heckuva post for ya'.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Scoatch Like Christmas

I'm home from work today, keeping watch over a child and her vomit.

Don't worry about me, though. I have a big, long to-do list to keep me company. And, as I always do when I have a to-do list, I have found a number of things that "need" to be done that aren't even on the list, like trying to Christmas-ify my blog header (the big title block at the top).

Before you get all impressed and say, "Great idea, Scott," please know that what you should say is, "Great idea that you stole from someone else, Scott."

Well, my lovely wife Christmas-ified her blog header this week, and I do everything she does. She started blogging; I started blogging. She started having children; I started having children. She started wearing fishnet stockings; I started wearing fishnet stocking. Just kidding. I did that all on my own.

Here's what I've worked up so far:
It's no Mona Lisa, but it does have a bald man in a Santa hat which is the modern equivalent. You really can't go wrong with that. I need to put some finishing touches on it, like maybe I need a glowing red nose.

There will be time enough for the 27 things on the to-do list later...well, actually no, but we'll cross that poorly constructed bridge when we come to it.

And for Marie, here is our house with the wreaths all in place (#14 on the to-do list...check).
For the record, it looks like a big house from the front, but it's only like 3 feet deep. I don't know how it doesn't fall over.

Adult Fantasies

There's a store in town called something like "Adult Fantasy Store."

I've never been in it, but you can't miss it on one of the main streets here. I have to admit I'm a little intrigued. I've talked with some friends--who are also adults, the target audience of the store--and we've discussed what we would fantasize about finding in that store:

* Obedient children
* Magic weight loss pills
* Comfortable shoes that also look cool
* Affordable dental care
* Pain-free permanent back hair removal
* Free child care
* Someone to clean our house
* Hovercars

I should call the owners up and recommend some of these things if they don't already carry them. If they do already, I bet they're raking in some serious cash.

Is there any other merchandise that you think they should carry?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lazy Man's Wreath-Hanging

It took a few years to figure out how best to hang wreaths on our windows at Christmas time.

We have a traditional-style home with lots of windows (11 or so) on the front of the house, and we love to have a plain, artificial wreath in each one, and a candle on each window sill. (See how badly the house to the right needs a bunch of fake wreaths?)

I had tried suction cups and attachments to clip on the frame around the window. I'm not too eager to put nails and screws on the outside of the house, because I imagine the house might fall down if I did.

A couple of years ago we discovered the easiest and fastest method that works for us.

I simply take a length of red fake-velvety Christmas ribbon and loop it through the wreath and staple the ends of the ribbon together. If I was industrious, I could also make a bow out of the same ribbon...but I'm not, so I haven't.

We have the double-hung windows (i think that's the term), so we can open either the top or bottom pane. To hang the wreaths, I slide down the top pane and fling out the wreath while holding onto the ribbon.

I lower the wreath to the right spot. Then I shut the window with the ribbon stuck in it. The window does all the work of holding the wreath in place, and I haven't had to do any major construction or destruction.

Best of all, I haven't had to step outside for even a second! In a matter of minutes yesterday, I had all our windows wreathed and ready for Christmas (except for the garage windows which will require burrowing through 12 months-worth of spiderwebs and ladybug carcases trapped in the blinds).

I hope this helps at least one person be a little lazier this Christmas season.

[photo added]
You can pop over to Rocks In My Dryer to see a bunch of other people's great WorksForMeWednesday ideas; I just scanned the list, and there's a heck of a lot of Christmas ideas for you...plus a yeast infection idea if that's your thing.