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    3 2451

    Smurfs in the toy box.

    It’s been, well, over 5 months since I last did a “Photo of the Week” and since I don’t really have anything on-topic to write about today, I figured I’d just go all Mommy-Blog…

    Today while cleaning Duncan’s room we decided to put him in the toy box too. And then take a picture.

    Exciting stuff, let me tell you, at the Smurf household…

    2 2334

    Nice Parking Job...
    I’m not sure if it’s just a consequence of driving a small car or if it’s just that HUGE American truck owners don’t know how to drive…

    My wife and I were still in the car when this dude pulled in to the spot in front of us. I couldn’t believe it.

    While it may not be noticable in the photo, he’s about 3-inches from the hood of my car… and a good foot over the yellow line painted on the ground.

    Granted, I drive small cars that don’t take up an entire parking spot but I like to think of the extra space on all sides as a space cushion of sorts.

    Protection for my vehicle, you know?

    But for whatever reason, there’s always a pick-up or SUV (and it’s ALWAYS a pick-up or SUV) that uses my car as a guide for where to park rather than the lines painted on the pavement.

    I’ve had a front grill smashed this way so I’m usually very selective when it comes to parking. You know, against a curb, next to a minivan with sliding doors, or way off to the side and no where near the entrance…

    On this day, though, I just parked among the masses as it wasn’t very busy.

    And then this jerk pulled in. Way. Too. Far.

    He didn’t hit me, thankfully, but his door did touch the car next to his when he got out.

    What a jerk.

    I know I already called him that but he deserves it.

    In hindsight, I shoulda left a post-it on his window with the message, “Hey, I almost stole your clearly visable GPS unit but you parked so close to that GEO Prizm next to you that I couldn’t get your door open…”

    11 4505

    The Baby's Room
    We’re on the verge of a single digit countdown now…

    The smurfling could decide to arrive at any time and, let me tell you, we’re ready…

    Well, I think we are…

    (No credit given to that birthing class we took, though…)

    But I must admit, I’m finding it almost unsettling to have a “due” date that isn’t really set in stone. It’s a blurry due date.

    “Yeah, maybe this day, maybe that day. It’ll be in a two-week window or so…”

    It’s foggy.

    That doesn’t really work well with me.

    My cable bill is due on the 14th. My electric bill is due on the 27th. A project at work is due by 8:00 am on Monday.

    The baby? Well…

    For now, though, we’re in a holding pattern of uncertainty…

      2 2134

      It’s almost wrong of me to continue a series of posts called “photo of the week” when I haven’t actually posted one since early February…

      But this occurrence, a homicide of sorts, right in my back yard, was too much to ignore…

      Homicide in my backyard.

      When I arrived home from work last night — the first warm evening of the year — I spent some time out in the garage preparing the BMW for it’s first car wash of the season.

      It’s been in storage all winter.

      As I backed the car out of the garage, I couldn’t help but notice the number of crows in the trees above causing a commotion.

      Looking up, there were certainly a lot of angry birds milling around and thought it was a bit unusual, strange enough that I even walked around the entire garage trying to figure out what the big deal was…

      And then I saw it… standing on top of a telephone pole.

      Bird near a wire.

      That’s no robin!

      I went inside to get the camera (to take all of these pictures).

      By the time I returned, a dog-walking neighbor had stopped to admire the bird. He called it a hawk.

      Big BirdAnother neighbor, joining the crowd (yeah, this is probably the most exciting thing to happen on our street in well over a year), thought it was a falcon.

      I just thought it was a big bird — and not the yellow variety.

      Seriously, does anyone out there know what kind of bird this actually is?

      So we’re all just standing there as the crows dive bomb this magnificent bird on the telephone pole until we finally lose interest.

      My wife and I get in the car, put the top down, and drive away.

      When we return, maybe 45 minutes later, the crowd of neighbors is gone. The cawing crows are all gone too. Things seem pretty quiet — back to normal.

      And then I see that our bird friend just so happens to be peacefully eating dinner — a poor squirrel — right in the center of my backyard…almost exactly where that giant mushroom grew last year.

      I won’t describe everything in detail, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some of the more interesting ones…

      Big eagle hawk thing.

      I think I’ve been spotted… Thankfully, I’m a lot larger than a squirrel. But really, if this bird wanted a piece of me, I’m pretty sure he could get one.

      Big eagle hawk thing.

      Mmm… that meat looks about as well cooked as a burger from Chili’s.

      Big eagle hawk thing.

      For this next one, I’m just taking full advantage of having loads of professional equipment

      Big eagle hawk thing.

      Best of all, when he was finished, the bird cleaned his plate.

      I won’t even have to pick up a carcass before I mow the lawn (possibly this weekend)!

      4 7143

      Honeywell T87 Thermostat

      As I’ve mentioned before, my home is old. Definitely over 100 years old.

      Probably even over 125 years old.

      And while my furnace is only a few years old now, my thermostat is probably around 50 years old. That’s just an educated guess. In reality, I have no idea how old it is…

      Oh, and you don’t have to email me to let me know that it looks like crap and that I should get a new one. I already know that.

      But if you’d seen the room that surrounds it, well, the aesthetic appearance of the thermostat is the least of my problems…

      And, hey, the old thing still works like a charm!

      Anyway…

      It looks like your standard round Honeywell thermostat, right? If you grew up in North America or western Europe, it should be pretty familiar. It may even drum up some warm fuzzy memories.

      If you were born in the 1990’s, well, this is how we turned the heat on in the dark ages, you know, before everything went digital and became programmable.

      My thermostat is a very early version of the T87 — a model that Honeywell released in 1953. If it were in better shape, it might even be worth something. Apparently one is even displayed in the Smithsonian.

      But look closely… There’s a feature on there that isn’t on more modern versions

      See it?

      I’ve lived in this house for over six years and I just noticed it earlier this week while researching my BFO post about turning the freakin’ heat down.

      At the bottom, just above where it says “Honeywell”, they’ve highlighted a so-called “Comfort Range” between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

      Apparently, heating the home in the 1950’s didn’t cost so much…

      It’s about as warm as it gets in here during the winter months and I’m still 4 degrees shy of the “comfort range”.

        2 2183

        This Week on MTV Cribs... Brainy Smurf!

        I know, there wasn’t a “Photo of the Week” last week…

        It’s not that I forgot or was too busy… I just had the nastiest flu-like symptoms that I’ve had in years…

        Anyway, on Thursday evening we picked up part of our order at BabyUSA. The remaining piece of Furniture won’t be in until sometime in March. Yeah, one of those 6-8 week things… Not sure what takes so long… They can’t be made to order… I digress…

        Everything came in a nice big cardboard box — which they opened at the store (you know, destroying any protective integrity that the boxes once had) then taped them back up haphazardly and helped us load them into my wife’s truck.

        We drove to the far end of the parking lot, took everything out of the back, and then re-arranged things in a MUCH safer way for the car ride home.

        After an uneventful car ride home, entirely due to our stellar packing job, it was time to bring stuff into the house.

        We started with the dresser — the heaviest and most awkward of the pieces — and slowly made our way in the front door.

        Inside the cardboard box it was fully assembled, you know, like a REAL piece of furniture. For $519.99, I’d better not have to break out an Allen wrench…

        The second box, a big wide flat one, contained the crib. Just from looking at the box, this was going to be an IKEA-style project. Luckily, since it wasn’t nearly as bulky, it was easy to get into the house and up the stairs.

        The dresser, however, was a beast.

        We took all of the drawers out to lessen the weight, but it was still pretty heavy. Weight wasn’t the main issue though.

        The dimensions of the stairwell were the problem.

        Low clearance, walls on both sides all the way up, and a 90 degree turn thrown in for an added challenge.

        How we managed to get a queen size mattress up this flight of stairs is still a mystery…

        Our first two attempts were unsuccessful. Both attempts ended with the dresser tightly wedged at the turn in the stairs.

        Hmmmm…

        Knowing that I was planning to have the first floor completely renovated, and doing a quick check to make sure the wall wasn’t supporting anything above, I was almost ready to break out a circular saw and make the opening bigger in my own special way…

        We tried one more time and it barely, with less than a half inch to spare, cleared the corner and the lowest part of the ceiling.

        Phew!

        Now, at this point, I’m all sweaty and out of breath. It’s also beginning to get late and we’ve got to go to work in the morning.

        Does that stop us?

        Of course not. The project is not complete.

        We start putting together the crib and it’s just like an IKEA piece of furniture — something we’re very experienced with. Of course I don’t ever remember paying so much for something that I had to assemble with an Allen wrench, but still, it looks like a pretty nice and solid piece of furniture.

        By 9:30 pm, we’re done and I’m settling in to watch 30 Rock, part of my normal Thursday night routine, before hitting the sack.

        All-in-all, the room looks pretty nice and I’m pretty happy with our selection and not at all worried about how much we spent on it all.

        Grant, who just had a baby of his own (congrats!) and often leaves great comments here that get me thinkin’, mentioned after the we purchased the furniture that we should just accept the fact that we’re going to buy a bunch of stuff and to get all of the big purchases made now.

        He’s right.

        You often hear the line, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…”

        Right now, I’m not even sweating the big stuff…

        We’ll see what happens when the statement arrives!

        2 19852

        So my wife had her 22-week ultrasound today, apparently the final one barring any issues, and I took some time off to go with her.

        This was my third time going to one of these appointments so, for once, I kinda knew what I was in for. Truth be told, for the most part, I just sit there with my mouth shut — it’s not that hard.

        This time was kinda neat, though… See, if you’ve ever gone to one of these appointments you can’t miss how the women in the waiting room size one another up. It’s hysterical.

        On our first visit, back in November, it was hard not to notice the other women in the waiting room looking down on us — you know, cause we weren’t “far” enough along.

        The second visit, well, everyone in the waiting room seemed to be at about the same stage, so the women were obviously sizing up the “support partners” (ha!) in a pseudo my-man-is-better-than-your-man sort of way. Thank god I don’t wear sweatpants in public.

        Really, by that fact alone, I out-manned one fellow.

        This time, my wife was the cow of the room. No doubt. One woman across from us in the waiting room was so sheepish about it that she wouldn’t even make eye contact.

        I couldn’t help but be proud.

        Yeah, that’s right. My wife is fatter than your wife.

        Once we were called into the room where they do the ultrasound thing, the appointment went just like the previous ones. Yep, little monster skeleton looking thing in there kicking and squirming. Think… velociraptor.

        Unfortunately, the images didn’t seem as clear this time — not sure what that was about — but could clearly see the baby opening and closing it’s mouth, so that was neat.

        Then it was time for the real doctor to come in for a look. Again, it’s just like going to the dentist — the person without the degree does all the work and then the big bad doctor comes in at the end for 5 seconds.

        The door opens, and without even introducing himself, he blurts out, “What hospital are you having the baby at?”

        Poor grammar aside, I thought it was a pretty strange entrance. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but later my wife thought he was prying to see if he should bother pretending to be nice, you know, since we’re NOT having the baby at this hospital, he had no problem coming across as gruff.

        He sat down and took control of the little wand/scanner thing. It was blatantly apparent that he had the personality of a door knob.

        Now, I was an engineering major in university.

        I know what you’re thinking; those guys are always a bunch of nerdy dweebs.

        For the most part, that’s true. What I’m saying is that I’ve hung out with a lot of people with zero personality. I can honestly say that I’ve spent a few Friday nights discussing math — I’m not ashamed to admit it.

        But here’s the thing — engineers generally only interact with engineers.

        This guy, on the other hand, is a doctor?!

        Doctors deal with the public!

        Further, this guy is a freaking BABY DOCTOR?!

        I dunno, but I think the med schools out there need to start teaching these guys something about dealing with the public. I mean, to get your engineering degree, you had to pass a communications course that taught you how to NOT speak geek speak all the time.

        Most of us considered it a “bird” course, but really, for some, I’m sure it had some effect.

        Anyway, at one point, while scanning all around looking for a nice clear shot of the heart, he lifted his free hand and started scratching the top of his head like an ape.

        We’re not talking about a discrete index finger itch. This was an all out four-fingered plow-the-fields scratch that lasted over 10 seconds. Un-real.

        Now, I must admit, I’ve been known to scratch my head like an ape too — usually while driving around in the convertible.

        I dunno, there’s something about the wind whipping your hair all around that makes your head really itchy.

        Am I alone on this one?

        Either way, it wasn’t windy in the examination room…

        For the record — this is the first ultrasound post that hasn’t included a reference to an action figure.

        I’m pretty proud of that.

          2 1880

          Yummy Yellow Snow!

          Starting to sense a theme this week?

          After reading yesterday’s post, my wife couldn’t help but point out one of my Christmas gifts from her mother.

          So, as I crunch away while watching the season premiere of the Biggest Loser (a guilty pleasure), it’s become apparent that sometimes happiness can actually come from eating yellow snow.

          Can You Dig It?

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