Monday, May 28, 2007

It's Nice To Be Appreciated

Nessa and I were running errands this morning, and after we were done I decided to get us some lunch to have a picnic at the park. I pulled into the McDonald's drive-thru and placed our order. When I was done, as I was pulling forward, a little voice from the back seat piped up:

"That was great, Daddy!"

What could I do but say "Thank you, Nessa!"? :-)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Pot-ty! Pot-ty! Pot-ty!

Our new toilet is installed and flushing nicely, thank you. Toilet innards have gotten more complex in the last few years, apparently--I didn't recoginize half the stuff I saw inside this one (and I've repaired a number of toilets over the years). The new seat isn't quite as comfortable as the old one, but maybe that's a good thing. Nevertheless, celebration is in order.

I'm sure that Tami has learned much more than she ever wanted to know about how toilets work, and will be perfectly happy if she never has to lift the lid on a toilet tank again. But she showed pluck and determination in the face of adversity, and that's what counts.

Bring on summer--we're ready!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Toilet 1, Shawn 0

... but that one was a knockout blow (although a Pyrrhic victory for the toilet).

After all of Tami's wonderful work trying to fix the toilet while I was gone, it was still leaking a little around the bolts that attach the tank to the bowl, so when I got home she asked me to tighten them. I missed the part about "Do not overtighten," and was cranking away when I heard a cracking noise ...

... and suddenly my legs were all wet from the water pouring out of the side of the tank.

Yes, I overtightened the bolts and broke the tank. Given that we don't know how old the toilet is, and the only part number I can find on the tank seems to be incomplete, replacing just the tank is proving difficult. So Tami, Nessa and I are going toilet shopping this evening (just the sort of fun family activity everyone should do sometime) so that our plumber friend from church can come over and install the new toilet tomorrow. He's already fixed the clog, so once we have the new toilet installed our main bathroom should once again be completely usable.

This is (I hope) the final bit of unpleasantness connected to my cursed San Jose trip. I hope I've used up all my bad travel karma, because I have to go back to San Jose for three days after Father's Day.

P.S. I want to go on record as saying how proud I am of Tami for tackling the toilet problem by herself. Everything she did, she did correctly, using unfamiliar tools--it's not her fault that her work didn't fix the problem. If I hadn't come along and really messed things up, our toilet would have completely new innards, all installed by my sweetie. You go, girl!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jog

I'm finally home from my moderately awful San Jose trip. Naturally, the flight home could not be uneventful either. I got to Minneapolis just fine, but once we had all boarded the very hot plane to La Crosse, the computer wouldn't let it take off. So after 30+ minutes of sweltering on that plane, we got off, trooped to another gate, and waited for a plane from Nashville to land so we could take that plane to La Crosse. End result, instead of getting to La Crosse at around 8:10 PM on Friday, I got here a little after 9:30 PM. It was after 10:30 before we got home and got Nessa to bed. Nessa and Tami were troopers, though--putting up with the delays and schedule changes with a minimum of fuss. We were all very happy to see each other, and there were many hugs and kisses both at the airport and at the house. It's good to be home again.

Unfortunately, my brother Kevin and nephew Max got sick up at my parents' house, so they were not able to come to La Crosse this weekend. We're sad, because we were very much looking forward to seeing them, and especially to seeing Nessa and Max together now that they're both walking and talking. We'll have to find a time to get together with them as soon as possible.

On Saturday I looked through my pictures from San Francisco, and there are a few good ones. I'll get those posted with some commentary when I get a chance. Otherwise, I'm just enjoying being home again!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Toilet 10, Tami 0

Yes, a big fat 0 ... I have finally given up on the toilet after replacing everything in the tank and trying several different tools to clear any possible clogs ...

I admit defeat.

And if Shawn fixes it within moments of returning home I hope he lies and tells me he could only do it because I eliminated many possible solutions already! (I have faith that he will do this because he never fails to tell me I did all the work when he opens jars for me.)


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Do You Know The Way Home From San Jose?

I cannot wait to get home. This business trip has been cursed. First, my flight on Sunday the 6th got canceled due to mechanical failure, and I was unable to get on a later flight out of La Crosse that day. Then, when I arrived at my hotel on Monday evening, they told me that they had overbooked, so I had to stay at their sister property until Thursday. The problem was that their sister property was 30 minutes farther from the San Jose office, and I’m sharing a rental car with a co-worker who was at the other hotel.

Both hotels have been a travesty of proper hotel management. From not having everything in my room, to the evening staff not being able to find things like extra boxes of facial tissue, to not having change for the coin-operated laundry machines, to not refilling the breakfast buffet in a timely manner, to not cleaning my room when they said they would, this has to be the most poorly run business hotel chain in the world. (Having stayed at two, I feel entitled to claim that the problems are systemic.) I will NEVER stay by choice at an ExtendedStay brand hotel again, and I recommend that you not do so either.

The sightseeing in San Francisco last weekend was fun (well, as much fun as it could be without my sweetie by my side), but now that it’s done I just want to come home. I miss Tami so much it’s palpable. I feel like I’m missing time (and experiences) I can’t ever recapture with Nessa. My cube here is uncomfortable and noisy. The people are nice, but I can’t concentrate well, so I’m not getting as much done as I should. And I may be getting sick.

Apparently I've been missing lots of excitement in La Crosse, both general and family. I have gotten to talk to Nessa on the phone several times, which has been keeping me sane. (That and IM--as Tami said, we love IM.) But it's not enough--I'm officially tired of San Jose, and want to be back in La Crosse.

"Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I want to go to bed. I had an awful business trip to California, and it left me feeling dead."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Suspicious item detonated ...

And it was detonated very close to our new van!

Any locals catch the news about this? Here's a link that should work from the Tribune:

Sounds pretty simple ... someone finds a suspicious item (a cylinder with a magnet apparently ... not sure how suspicious I would have found it ... apparently I need to become more suspicious of things) and notifies the police and the police notify the Explosive Ordnance Demolition Team (in our case from Fort McCoy) ...

Let's back up though...

Are you familiar with the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (by Judith Viorst)? Yeah, that was my day BEFORE the whole "you need to move your car" episode. All little things that I will hardly remember next week, but it was building to a "nothing is going right" kind of day -- from falling back asleep after the alarm went off and then opening the bedroom door to immediately smell that the cat litter was NOT working (that could be an entire post) ... and frustration after frustration at work ...

So then a co-worker cam on the intercom and announced that anyone parked on 2nd street had to move their car due to a bomb threat (or some vague reference to the bomb squad). Hmmm, I thought that would be a pain and I wonder what's going on, but I'm not parked on 2nd street so... Then I start overhearing people talk about streets being blocked off, etc. ... the Tribune posted a short blurb about it already on their site ... eventually I get the idea that it's more than 2nd street and I better go see what's going on. I happened to be having an Instant Messenger conversation with Shawn at the same time (we LOVE IM ... especially with him out of town) so I quickly pasted the link from the trib and told him I was going down to see about the van.

The van was parked in the Harbour View Business Objects parking lot (Shawn's workplace but not his building) which AND it was parked in the row closest to my building which also happens to be closest to the Radison and VERY close to the statue the suspicious item was found near (WHY did I park there today when I had been in the habit of parking in the row adjacent to 2nd street?). There is a parking sticker allowing me to be in the lot (or rather the vehicle) but of course Shawn is in San Jose today and could NOT here their announcement about moving cars ... he got an email that he read after I told him ... and a coworker told him to call him ASAP but again that was at about the same time I was telling him ... and someone from Business Objects called my work about it too and that was WHILE I was out trying to move the van.

Yes, while I was TRYING ... By the time I got out there -- even with all this "instant" communication -- the "bomb squad" was there and wouldn't let anyone that close ... If I was on 2nd street they probably would have let me, sigh. So, one of the higher up police officers (sorry I didn't take the time to ask for his title) took my name, cell phone number AND my keys. He wanted to move it for me but he wasn't allowed in either so he just took my keys.

In the meantime I was getting messages (from whoever called) that if I didn't move my car it would be towed. I tried to assure coworkers (and Shawn) that if they wouldn't let anyone in to drive it away, then I don't think they were going to let a tow truck in either. So ... I would just have to sit tight and hope no damage was done. The officer had said it should all be over in a half an hour (I said I needed to leave at 2:30 to get my daughter ... that seemed important at the time).

I was back to my desk some time around 11:30 I think but I'm not sure ... I do remember the officer asking what time I took lunch (yeah, that was funny ... generally when I don't bring lunch we have something delivered and that wasn't going to happen). As soon as I started working at my desk again my tummy started grumbling ... remember I was late getting up this morning so there was nothing besides more snack bars in my desk/fridge and I already had 2 of those for breakfast.

Finally at 12:30 a couple of us were going to go out our buildings other door and try to walk someplace to get food (no buildings were evacuated but all the streets around our building were blocked off). Then, finally my cell phone rang ... I could come get my keys.

When I got there I asked if I should still move it (dumb eh ... thought I should ask though). I was told that no, it didn't matter now and it was over as they "blew it up."

I went to get lunch at the sub place across the street from my building ... several of the "higher ups" from the "crime scene" ended up behind me in line.

Luckily my day got better when I got home to my girls so I don't have to move to Australia after all (read the book) ... Megan reminded me that they have Horrible, no good, very bad days in Australia too. :-)

Just have to sneak in a quick comment about my wonderful girls -- they are hands down THE BEST! Megan has been super helpful again and Nessa has been SO SWEET this week too ... hopefully more happy family blog posts and photos soon.

So, now I need to go finish changing over the cat litter and so on ... and then CRASH!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thank you Ellen for Nessa's special ABC book!

Aunt Ellen made Nessa a special ABC scrapbook for her birthday! Nessa loved looking at it right away when she got it last weekend while we were all at the farm. Nessa looked at it with Grandma Karen.

We all read it many more times on Sunday as well.

Nessa also loved sharing it with her teacher, Jen on Monday ... Jen said that she described each of the pages all 4 times that they read it.

This will be a treasure forever -- thank you Aunt Ellen!!!

Nessa working on her golf swing

Our favorite babysitter got Nessa some golf clubs for her birthday and Nessa had a chance to really try them out last weekend while we were up at the farm (Ridgeway).

Grandpa Bob could probably teach her a thing or two, but she sure likes to play. Nessa is also getting much better at throwing and kicking balls and has discovered that if she kicks a ball against our fence in the back yard it will come back to her and she thinks that's great.

Shawn, I miss you!

And watching you snuggle on couch with Nessa is one of the things I miss the most. I'm sure Spats is missing his lap time too!
It was good to talk to you briefly today as Nessa was being tucked in for her nap (for the first time). I know she enjoyed you singing to her ... sadly it didn't put her to sleep.
I know you're having a great time seeing San Francisco ... next time we explore a place together though! I'm practically counting the hours until your back.
{{{{ I love you }}}}
Always and forever,

This is your brain on toddler...

Ugh ... I should have known yesterday's "I'm exhausted from the boat ride" nap where Nessa fell right asleep was too good to be true. She was tired since after church although she did OK at brunch ... but she's now been in the bedroom for an hour and I've been in and out of there ... she's still not asleep or settling down .... I'm going to have to break the news to Megan when her and Grandma get back for a walk that we're going to have to leave earlier than I thought because if Nessa doesn't nap here we'll have to leave so she'll sleep in the car and some thing close to a nap time so she'll still sleep at her normal time tonight.

So, on to my brain "on toddler" ...

I am going to post a few pictures ... I downloaded them to Shawn's computer on Friday ... on Friday I also transferred many things (from work and home) onto my flash drive so that I could take them with me to work with this weekend. So here I am just now searching and searching my flash drive folders and files and not finding one that says "May pictures" as I start panicking and getting upset that I'm not going to be able to post those pictures ...

Suddenly it dawns on me ... I'm USING Shawn's computer and I downloaded them ONTO Shawn's computer and hence had no need to put them on the flash drive. DUH.

So now if Nessa doesn't get in too much trouble I can get them posted ... just had to share though ... hope a few of you can relate.

And Shawn, thank you again for letting me borrow your laptop this weekend. I'm afraid I'm getting spoiled by the wide screen. :-)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Just us girls

Thought I better send out a quick update to all ... hope to get a few photos posted before the end of the week (but nobody better hold their breath)...

Shawn left Monday for San Jose for work. Yes, those of you that thought you knew when he was leaving, I did say Monday. He tried to leave as scheduled Sunday but after sitting in the airport and then on the airplane for a couple of hours he came back home for the night to wait for a plane that did not have "mechanical problems." Monday's travel was thankfully uneventful. :-)

The girls and I have been more than busy here. There are many things going on with both work, home, family and friends and I feel my attention is pulled in several different directions, but all in all things have been good. We do miss Shawn a lot though -- from his cleaning the kitchen routine to hugs, kisses and smiles ... and at least for me most importantly, his being here to converse with at the end of the day! After a night of bad sleep while adjusting both Shawn and I slept better last night so we at least shouldn't be walking zombies for the next 10 days or so.

Last Saturday was our annual Girl's Spa day with my mom and sisters ... it was nice. Then we spent the evening at the farm and it was lots of fun to watch the kids play together (may have pictures of this later).

When you see me, ask me how the toilet repair went. I didn't quite finish last night so I don't have a dramatic story for you yet ... results will either be very good or I'll give in and call a plumber. So far the most irritating thing is that the toilet is in such a small space (and I don't want to even think about doing this in our downstairs bathroom!).

Last night the girls and I headed over to Hintgen for Young Authors night at Megan's school. I had fun reading Megan's writings from the year and looking at projects other kids have done, and Nessa had fun waving and talking to the kids.

The weather has been beautiful this week so far ... I'm just hoping rain holds off and the grass doesn't grow too much while Shawn's gone (could I get lucky enough to not have to mow it?? and if not then can I get lucky enough to successfully start it?)

Well, Nessa's favorite Blues Clues video is done (started it while doing dishes) so my time is up ... I hope all of our loyal readers are doing well. :-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ready Reader

All school year, as part of her reading homework, Megan has been tracking the number of minutes and number of pages she reads. She is supposed to read 4 100-page books per month, with longer books counting multiple.

We knew she was ahead of schedule, but last night she told us that she doesn't have to track anymore--she has finished all of her books through the end of the year! She is still supposed to keep reading, but that won't be a problem. The only problem these days is getting her to stop reading and go to sleep at night!

All of this is thanks to the vision therapy work Megan did for months last year. It was hard work, and at times she thought it would never end, but it's sure worth it all now. Seeing the smile on her face when she talks about reading is wonderful enough, but this latest achievement has made us extra proud of her. Way to go, Megan!