Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Glued my pants to my leg

The morning is not off to rousing start.

There were wailed of frustration and anger at 6:30am from Mayhem who was paying Lego Indiana Jones & was stuck somewhere. It developed into shouting between Havoc & Mayhem about what do to, where to go & just who was going to drop out if they don’t listen.

Cats were rubbing all over my face in bed. I am allergic to cats. Yes, we have 4 of them. As long as they are not rubbing on my face & I remember to wash my hands after petting them I am normally fine.

I am still breathing with allergy wheeze right now

The coffee pot clogged, sending grounds & hot coffee everywhere. It had to be remade.

I went to find the wood glue to fix Mayhem’s sword.  I couldn’t find it but I did find that the chest freezer in the utility room has been sitting open since god knows when, possibly since noon yesterday. It is nicely defrosted & all the meats still seem to be solid blocks, but the waffles thawed and the freeze pops too.  Havoc was the object of an angry lecture from me because he was last person in there – getting freeze pops. So he can no longer get them himself but must as & wait until an adult can get one for him.

I didn’t find the wood glue but did find some craft glue, one of those press down on the pad & the glue comes out on the pad types. I did not realize it was leaking when I opened it. It dripped on my pants. I glued the sword, put the lid on the glue, finished my coffee, stood up and realized my pants were firmly stuck to one spot on my leg.

After all this I am really not looking forward to my personal trainer session this afternoon. It just can’t go well.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekly Winners – week 26

I had no internet last weekend so there are 2 weeks worth of photos today.

We had overcast days


and beautiful sunsets


It was nice enough to swim sometimes


The army men are closing in on my position


  I got some work done on my crochet shawl


The dinos were on tv


And I played around with my macro lens



For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bucket truck photos

One of the fun things about having the bucket truck visit is everyone gets to go for a ride in the bucket with DH. He takes them about 35 feet up & they get to look out over the side. *insert standard safety precaution disclaimer about harnesses etc here*. 

I realize it looks like my 5 year old is alone in a bucket way up the air, but DH is actually kneeling in the bucket holding him up a bit so he can se over the edge. You can kinda see the top of his head behind Mayhem’s left elbow.


As you can see here

Havoc is tall enough to peek over the side himself


Then I went up and took some photos for a 360 view





The view is nice from up there, it’s like a ferris wheel ride sorta but I am flat out freaked by heights & ferris wheels so I don’t do it very often. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Well that is over with

I suppose it is just as well that there was a confluence of doom rather than having the various doom occur consecutively.  Saves time.

The pole went down at 6:30pm Wednesday taking with it all outside forms of communication. We live in a fringy cell zone & have a cell signal enhancer on that pole along with our internet antenna, so the cell went out too.

Thursday morning the new HD arrived & the laptop was so hot I was shocked the keys weren’t melting & it was useless after about 11am. The plan was for DH to take the laptop in Friday & have the Clonezilla copy the existing HD onto the new HD.

But the guy that knows that software was at the dentist with an abscessed tooth, so DH had to wing it with occasional calls to that guy who was naturally whacked out on pain meds.

He is also the guy that drives the bucket truck & who we were going to pay to come out over the weekend to help put the pole back.

Five tries later, at 6pm, DH calls and says “It says it has 30 more minutes to go what do you want me to do? Wait it out or come home & we’ll check on it tomorrow.”

Since I assume the projected is doomed I say come home

There is not much on TV on Friday night. I did not know this.

Saturday we swing by the office, find the doomed project has in fact failed but the problem is identified and attempt 6 is made while we take Houndini to obedience class and get some lunch. We go back to the office to discover – Blessed Be! – the HD has copied!

But…the new HD doesn’t want to accept the copy.

Much wailing & gnashing of teeth ensues.

Then! For no reason anyone can ascertain, it starts copying & says it will take 3 hours to complete. A plan is made that DH will come back to the office in the evening, get the computer and drive the bucket truck home himself & the two of us can reset the pole Sunday afternoon.

The HD copies but won’t boot. DH drives the truck home but it dies a mile from the house & he has no phone. He gets the truck started again & limps into our yard. The laptop continues to refuse to boot.

There is even less on TV on Saturday night. I did not know this either.

Sunday morning attempts are made to use a recovery disc on the recalcitrant HD but to no avail. Eventually the LINUX based operating system UBANTU is loaded on my computer and it boots and then I can choose Windows XP and GLORY HALLULUIAH! there is everything on my hard drive, right where I left it!!!

Four hours later the pole is erect and tied down and we have reestablished communication with the outside world.

The one fly in the ointment here is the laptop problem. It’s still very very hot. I think there is a fan issue, which caused the last HD to overheat, leading to the ticking & other issues, which makes this new HD at best a temporary fix. I’ve ordered one of those cooling pads & have it sitting on one of our cookie racks now. But I’ve bought a few months time at least and have my list of what needs downloaded so I can get going on that.  I’m hoping it holds out until the new Windows platform is released & has been out a couple months. 

Tomorrow there will be photos from the top of the bucket truck because no visit from the bucket truck is complete without rides in the bucket for everyone.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The woe & doom continues

Perhaps you may remember this photo from Feb when the pole with my internet receiver collapsed in the high winds


and this had to come out 3 days later to fix it


Look what I found at 7pm last night


I had internet before dinner and 90 minutes later when I got back on the computer I didn’t. I went out to see if maybe the antenna had moved maybe and there was no antenna to be seen. There has been no wind & it is tied down now with steel cables. What could have happened?


I found this


That is the spike that was screwed in the ground that had the cables tied to it. Apparently a month of nearly non-stop rain saturated the ground enough that the weight of the antenna & receiver pulling against it, pulled it out.

So to recap

1. hard drive is dying & must be replaced

2. most of the software has to be downloaded

3. I have no internet at home

4. Library internet filter views every single page on the web as spam & unpleasant, pissy library lady must come over and override every page I visit. She blames the government & seems really annoyed I would even want to use my own laptop rather than the ancient PCs the library has, but that you can’t use a memory stick with or download anything on.

5. I’ve already started shaking from internet withdrawal and it’s only been 15 hours.

I knew there was cloud of doom hanging over me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The doom has come upon me

{scary thundery voice}


My computer hard drive has a terminal condition. It’s dying slowly as we speak. The buzzing comes more often. It gets so hot I am surprised the keys are not melting.  Or maybe its the fan. Either way, the thing is dying. A borrowed hard drive did not create a buzzing sound so those who know these things feel 95% sure its the hard drive.

It is a 3-4 year old laptop. It has a certain type of hard drive style they stopped using about 50 seconds after my Visa payment went through (which is the story of my life) So the various computer docs I consulted did not give me much hope that a replacement hard drive could be found.

But one has been found!

A  160GB Seagate of appropriate style has been located. The current drive is only 80GB and is a Seagate as well. It has been ordered & will be here by the end of the week.

Which is why I have this cloud of doom hanging over me.

I have to load a hard drive from the ground up. Operating system, drivers, software…my GOD the SOFTWARE!!! All the little tweeks and fiddly things I have done to this laptop over 3+ years & no longer recall doing or downloading. Little adjustments to get things just the way I like.

I’ve got a huge list of software & serial numbers. Half the software was downloaded & I have no disc for it. I am using a version of ACDSee from 3 years ago. There is no place on their site to download that version. I’ve had to email them with my serial number & hope they hook me up with a link.

Windows Live Writer? Download. Firefox? Download. Audible Manager, Creative Media, Picasa? Dowload, download, download. Anti virus, tweet deck, add ons, plug ins, updates… And I don’t exactly have a rocking cable internet connection.

They have some software at DH’s office that will copy your HD onto another one, but it partitions the new one & of course there are registry issues to deal with and I’m not entirely sure there is enough space to do that on the new drive. I have recovery disks, but will they work on a different hard drive?

So I have this horrible choice to make… do I want to try copying over the contents of my HD and then have to deal with registry issues or do I want to start from scratch and live in download hell for days?  The one bright spot is next week is vacation bible school so I will have a couple hours every morning to sit in the library & use their wireless internet to download.

The real feeling of doom I have though is that three months from now the laptop just dies, the fan collapses and the keys melt and motherboard fizzles and I am left HAVING TO DO IT AGAIN!!

Only with Vista!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 24

It was nice enough to be outside most of the week.

We had a bonfire


There was a lightsaber duel

610Some swimming


Things were crowded at the food bowl


This guy caught up on some reading


I love my macro lens


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I don't virtually exist really

On the other side of your computer screen there sits a real person typing these words. A real person, with real live feelings, hopes, dreams, a past that stretches back into the mists of times (it was 1967, perhaps it was the smoky marijuana haze of time) and hopefully a long and glorious future. This real person does not exist online. Not even a vague reference.

I was reminded of this other day when I read something about people googling themselves and had an idea I'd done it once but couldn't recall the results.

That would be because there aren't any.

Lots of people with the same name as me do exist online with Facebook & MySpace pages and Flickr albums and job resumes. They appear in newspaper stories, or lists of swim meet winners or tags on other people's photos. But none of them are me.

Anyone googling me without meeting me first (for a job interview for example or because I'm the mom of one of their kid's friends) is going to be in for a bit of a surprise when they actually do meet me.

"You don't look a thing like your Facebook photo!" will be the least of it.

I have been online, in the big wide internet world sense since 1996 or so. I was on Prodigy, which was sort of like AOL, in 1991 and had been on local BBSs since 1988. That's 20 years of a virtual version of me.  Yet there is no trace of the flesh & blood person.

I blame this on the 8 character user name limitation in effect back in the day.  Also on the fact that from 1988 to 1994 I mostly participated in various MUDs and role playing games. Nobody used their real names in gaming. We all knew each other at Trake Dragonsword, Arianna Wyldwyd and Magical Mellicaent the Mendicant. (all of which had to be abbreviated down to 8 letters so I actually knew trdrgswd, ariwdwyd and mellmend). Prodigy gave you a 7 character ID that you couldn't change. (I was RTKG98A, DH was RTKG98B). AOL only allowed 8 letters in those day, and my first ISP was the same (I was embrajde).

By the time internet technology allowed more characters for a user name my brain was hard wired for 8 from over a decade of exposure.  ComfyMom has 8 characters & the lack of space between the words is also a hang over from back then. Only once in 20 years have I ventured outside of the 8 limit. I used a 10 character name on a parenting board. (and I feel vaguely like I committed a crime for creating an email for havocandmayhem.  14 letters!)

My real name has more than 8 letters, and a couple of spaces, so the idea of using it never really occurs to me. Plus I have a knee jerk privacy response whenever I see a last name box & only ever enter one letter. I think Amazon & PayPal are the only people in the whole web I have ever been totally honest with when creating an account, and even Amazon greets me by an alias.

"But how does anyone FIND you?!?" my friends ask in disbelief.

Most likely, they just don't.  And I am fine with that.

I have very few long lost friends to connect with. They know where I am or can find me by asking their parents to ask mine for my email address. All of my long lost friends are the kids of my parents’ friends.  It’s been 24 years since I graduated High school.  I’m not particularly curious to find out how many kids my sophomore year tormentor now has & I’d rather they not know about me. I’m on Facebook with part of my real name. If you went to high school with me, it is recognizable.

I wouldn't mind reconnecting with people from my Dragonlance gaming groups but they knew me as atmrorak (Autumn Aurrora, Paladin of the Knights of Krynn) so they aren't even looking for the real version of me.

I left the workforce in 2002 and my company then was technologically a bit behind the times. You can now find all my former coworkers online but back then it was all private & internal. So there is no job history to check out. I've never shared my beer bong photos or my Spring Break 1987 wet tshirt photos so there is nothing to hide either.

I do wonder how big of a detriment that will be if I ever do re-enter the workforce.

“Sorry, you don’t exist virtually. We can’t hire you.”

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

My other hobby

I believe I have mentioned in the past that I like to crochet.

Unlike many people who knit or crochet, this is not a fall or winter weather hobby for me.  I crochet in the summer. I am much too busy on the internet in the fall & winter to sit down & crochet.

Summer is swimming season.  I sit out on the porch, under the 70% shade cloth & watch the kids in the pool. My high gloss screen laptop is useless in these conditions. I can’t see a darn thing on it in daylight. So I crochet instead.

Back in March I showed you all this


The 1000 yard skein of yarn I was rolling into a ball prior to crocheting it into a shawl.

Eventually it became this


And I started working on the shawl yesterday at long last.

I’ve finished this much so far


Hmm… that needs something to give a sense of scale…

What can I use…

Oh yeah


It’s granny T-Rex


I’ll be posting periodic updates as it gets larger.

Someday I hope for it to fit me.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 23

It’s a mostly floral group this week.

In the brief moments between thunderstorms I went out with my macro lens & photographed some small flowers





The rain lifted briefly last Sunday and swimming season was finally able to begin


Now that we have a dog, we have a dog crate. Mayhem is fascinated with it


These are his Weekly Winners

Dinos at dinner


Angry jail kittehs .


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Friday, June 05, 2009

I’m a follower

All the cool kids in the blogosphere are doing the 30 Day Shred. So I had to get the DVD and do it too.

And yes, before you ask mom, if they were all jumping off of bridges I’d do that too. Presumably they’d have to live through it to post about it so it must be safe.

I do Body Pump 2x a week and cardio one day a week on average. I’ve been doing that for 4 years. I’m not starting from scratch.

I’m also lazy sensible, so I did level 1 like a good girl. I thought about level 2 but personally I’d rather have an easy time & know I can do the next higher level next time than get my ass kicked & be unable to finish level 2 at the start.

I chose wisely.

It was a tough workout. Like someone had squeezed Body Step & Body Pump into one 20 minute routine. I was dripping sweat when I am done & that doesn’t happen much at Pump, even upping my weights, I am not dripping for 55 minutes. Just enough cardio. Too much cardio set off an asthma attack.  Perhaps a few more pointers on form would have been good. And sorry, but I need water every 5 minutes when I sweat like that. 

I felt it in my upper body last night. Today it is in my calf muscles. That is going to make lunges in Pump even harder than normal this morning, but I’ll survive. Lunges regularly take me out.

My plan is to do Shred on non-Pump days. I’ve been doing Wii fit some of those days, but mostly for yoga & cardio so I don’t think I am getting much weight loss (though my posture & balance are much improved)

I had a munchy winter. My summer pants barely fit, so I need to drop a few pounds & kick my workout up a notch.

We’ll see how it goes.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Only 47 more to go

Last month we acquired 48 months of car payments.

We bought a 2006 Grand Caravan with 24,000 miles on it


We had looked at 2008 version in an electric blue first & I liked it more. But I didn’t like it $4000 more. It had the same mileage & I like the radio better. I mostly liked that it was electric blue.

Because there are exactly zero electric blue mini vans in the Wal Mart parking lot at any given time.

But silver?

You can’t swing a cat without hitting a silver mini van in the Wal Mart parking lot.

However it does have electric doors, so I can stand in the general vicinity of several silver mini vans, push the remote & then go to whichever one’s door opens.

Mayhem loves the electric doors. He pushes the button & then stands in the doorway waiting until the last possible second to leap through the gap, like Indiana Jones.

Assuming Indiana Jones would have anything to do with a mini van.

I wanted a car with more space for luggage and thought a third row would be nice for the 3 times a year I need to seat more than 4 people in the car. We looked at a lot of hatchbacks with 3rd row seating & then we got to the 08 Grand Caravan

It has this


Stow & go seating. No need to take out chairs or benches & find somewhere to store them. And when the seat isn’t collapsed you have a storage bin!

The car has POCKETS!

I couldn’t resist the pockets

It gives me the ability to do this

DSC_3599  Havoc sits in the second row, Mayhem in the third & I get all this space to climb in and get everyone settled without pulling any muscles reaching over anyone.

The real bonus though is that they CAN’T TOUCH each other. Sweet Mary & Jesus what an unexpected blessing!!! They can’t grab things away from each other. They can’t push or shove each other.  Drives are so much quieter now. And! And! The boys decided all on their own that they wanted to sit that way! They do it willingly!

I may never pop up that other seat again.

It also gives us a place to put the dog crate.

The only drawback is Mayhem is so far back I have to throw snacks to him and hope he catches them.

Bring the water & pemmican! I’m headed for the back of the mini van!

Speaking of the back of the mini van


There is no trip to Sam’s I cannot make.

I won’t have to UPS clothes to FL for our vacation this year. 

DH won’t have to pack the explosives around the children when we buy fireworks in South Carolina.

It even has a roof rack, in case, you know, we want to bring our bed with us.

Then there is the entertainment system.


It doesn’t play 8 tracks, VHS or Blue ray but other than that you are good to go. It has a cassette player, a CD player that also plays mp3s, plus an AUX jack for my mp3 player & Sirius satellite radio.

Hell, it may even get AM & FM stereo but where we live there is only the Christian Country station & a static-y NPR station from someplace about 75 miles or so away & I haven’t really tried those out.

It’s overkill in a big way. All I use is the Sirius and the AUX jack. But it makes no sense to have it replaced because I want to get rid of features.

Oh, and it has a 6 disc DVD changer. 6 DISCS people! That’s like 12 hour of non-stop movie viewing (or at least 12 hours of no arguments about who’s turn it is to pick a movie because that was all decided before we left home & you get what ever is next up in the player) And wireless headsets! We have a dual monitor portable DVD player we strapped to the back of our headrests in the Cruiser. They were connected by assorted cables & there were other wires that plugged into the car and headset wires…wires all over the damn place.

It’s not an option we would ever have chosen ourselves because it just seems like a hassle waiting to break, but I’m delighted to have it. We use it on any trip over 90 minutes long & we take one of those every month just about.

I bought my PT Cruiser on special order, picked it up fresh off the boat, on April 28, 2001. It had 12 miles on it. I paid $18,000 for it on a 3 year loan & paid that off 4 months early.  I handed over the title to it on April 27, 2009 with 139,994 miles on it. (and I really wanted to go drive it up and down the road a few more times just to roll it over when I realized that at signing)

8 years, 140,000 miles, one new transmission, 2 head on collisions (neither my fault) and a year without air conditioning.

I hope this one lasts as long.