Sunday, May 28, 2006

An Over Arching View

Well, I finally did it. After growing up within about 70 or 80 miles of it, living in St. Louis a couple of summers, spending a summer there as a kid, actually walking up to it a few times and visiting the museum once -- I went up to the top of The Arch.

It's not that I was afraid to go -- just never really had a real good chance, except for the time I went to the museum, and nobody else wanted to go up. I didn't want to go up myself and have people waiting for me.

We went to visit Honey & Ray, Sam's mom and stepfather in Breese Illinios friday night. Just hung out. Went to dinner, watched the end of Iwo Jima and the beginning of Sgt. York. Memorial Day weekend, you know. They went on down to Evansville Saturday, and we came back home, but on the way I decided that the Arch would be on the agenda. We spent a little time at the top. It was relatively crowded, and the windows aren't that good. Got a good feel for it, though. Oddly, the city side was more interesting that the less populated Illinois side & River. I thought it would be prettier -- trees, water. Turns out big casinos and parking lots aren't really that attractive. I did get a nice shot of the new Bush Stadium and one of the water in the big muddy.

Did you know vinca blooms? I didn't. But ours is. Not that it should be surprising, but it's known as a greenery plant, not a flowering one. Not that the flowers aren't pretty... but ... there's only one on the whole plant, and I'm not lookin' for another. Still, here it is, just for proof.

We went on the float trip last week. Didn't seem like it went long enough. But Brian and Kristin came down with us, and we set up our little mini tent city and did just a Bay to Alley float on the Jacks Fork river. With an hour of fooling around, it still only took us about 4.5 hours to do the float. The river was up slightly and a bit faster than normal. There were a couple of unfortunate spills -- and unfortunately Kristin caught the worst of both of them. But she's pretty good natured, and she wasn't hurt.

It rained Sunday morning for a few hours and we had to break down in the rain, first time I'd ever had to do that. So we had to set the tents back up when we got home to dry out. Ours leaked a little (first time this tent had been rained on) -- I never seam sealed the rain fly. Apparently it needed it. I'd done the rest of the tent before. It didn't leak much, maybe a whole cup of water in 3 or 4 hours.

We did well on the float. Vicki let me do most of the steering and apparently I do know what I'm doing on the river ;-)

Got the water heater part and replaced it yesterday. So no more leaking. Also helped Ryan put up more siding. Next weekend we have to finish because he's renting a man lift for 1 weekend and we'll need it to finish the high parts on both sides.

Today I got the house vaccuumed and cleaned some spots in the carpet. And tomorrow, need to set up the automatic irrigation system for the deck plants and garden.

Well, I'll leave you with this river pic.

Monday, May 15, 2006


The water heater part is ordered, but it hasn't arrived yet. New output pipe. It started leaking again. About a gallon a day.

Let's see, what else? Had a minor traffic accident last week. Fender bender, mostly mine. My fault, too. Well, I've been driving what, almost 27 years now. First one I've been involved in that it was my fault. Needed to turn around and look one last time before I went. Didn't think I needed to for some reason. But I needed to. And I didn't. So... that'll be a $500 deductible. You can hardly ding your car anymore without spending $500.

Went and got Mom last week (I usually call her "mother" here to distinguish from my mom, so "mother") from Fort Wayne. She spent the week. Her birthday was Monday, and we had the boys and their girlfriends over.

We also went to the new Buckingham's BBQ place later in the week. Nice place, and good food as always -- but their horseradish slaw wasn't ... well, it was hard to tell if it had any in it. It used to be real good and hot. He should keep some "hot" around for those of us who like it.

I weeded out the garden and put tar paper over it, hoping to kill the other weeds. I'll probably leave it there and put the drip irrigators through it to water each individual plant. I was going to get some horse stuff or goat stuff from Mom and Dad's, but I didn't.

Went out to Mom and Dad's for the annual Mother's Day Dinner (this year it was American, * yeah!) I brought apple and cherry pies we made here last Saturday. Vicki and Mother stayed here and had the boys over for brunch and an afternoon. Tom and Betty brought ribs, Jeff brought potato salad, Joel brought carrot salad. We had a nice afternoon. Jeff brought his Taurus 40 Ten for show and tell. It's a pistol that shoots 45 LC's and 410 shotgun shells. A real crowd pleaser. Apparently it works well for dispatching copperheads. Anyway, with this cool puddle of air that has settled over the midwest and most of the east for the past week I had brought my tan fleece jacket. I think I left it there.

But the cool puddle needs to move out for this weekend's float trip/camping trip. Ryan & Kristie, of course US, and Brian and Kristin are going. Didn't think Kevin and Angela would want to go -- but apparently they sounded like they might've wanted to. So we'll have to make sure they get in on it next time. Angela's feeling a bit under the weather anyway.

We're getting the gear together. My new tripod grill you hang over your campfire... tents, sleeping bags, and stuff. We always have a good time down there.

Well, time for bed.


Thursday, May 04, 2006


For the last year we've changed our diet so that we go heavier on the protien and lighter on the carbs. Makes for a healthier us.

Well, one of my staple short-cut breakfasts consists mainly of two eggs in a coffee cup, having been previously sprayed with cooking spray ... a little salt & pepper, and stick 'em in the microwave for a couple or few minutes on medium-low and you get something like poached eggs. I did, however, occasionally have problems with them exploding due to steam buildup inside the eggs, and I started stirring them first after that. That seemed to break up any serious vapor barriers, at least at lower power.

But then you get something more like a cross between scrambled and poached, and this morning, I decided I wanted something more like poached again.

So I didn't stir. Put them in for 4:00 on 30% power... and they weren't quite done. Sometimes when this happens I just turn it on 100% for a few more seconds to finish it off.

I decided to do that this morning. Only I punched in 30 seconds. I had something to do on the deck for a few seconds so I went out there.

Excactly 29 seconds into the cook time, I hear this loud FOOM! and the clatter of the coffee cup on the glass turntable. Usually that amounts to a little spatter but mostly everything's still intact. But this was louder than usual.

I went back inside, and saw that the explosion had blown the microwave door open! There were a couple tiny bits of egg left in the cup. So I figured that steam had pushed the egg up to (and maybe out of) the top of the cup so the egg was not constrained anymore by the cup and it was all explosion.

After I regained my composure from laughing and a little disbelief.... I took this picture.

Egg coated every interior surface of the microwave.

Yes, sweetie, I did clean it up. :-)

Take a Hike

Last weekend R&K called up and wanted to know if we wanted to go hiking out at Gans Creek. Vicki wasn't feeling well, so I went, and we coaxed Daryl along as well. Haven't been out there in many years.

This is a good time of year for such a hike. Lots of flowers out, and the trees are just greening up nicely. It's not hot or humid yet, and the bugs aren't out in full force yet either.

Ryan wanted to try out his new backpack and see how it felt. He also got one of those nifty Eureka Solitaire lightweight backpacking tents I've been looking at for about a year now. At 2 lbs, 9 oz, it's a pretty light little bugger. My WalMart Ozark Trails "Kids" tent that I used is about 8 oz heavier. Has a lot more room though. But condensation problems because my face ends up too close to the tent wall ( I sleep diagonally in it -- the corner runs about 8-10" above my face.) Still, 8 oz is 8 oz. Hmmmm...

I got tomatoes, peppers, & flowers this weekend to get the deck decked out and the veggie garden started. I'll need some good manure for the veggies. Maybe I'll try to scare some up out at mom & dad's in a couple of weeks.

And in insane news, Ryan and I have started working out again... in the morning. So now the alarm is set for 5:30 am, and I go across the street and do weight training with him. Well it's nice to have it out of the way so you don't have to do it when you get home. Which leaves more time for.... Beer!!! And other stuff we need to get done. Like changing my oil the other night.

Got a Weider Max Ultra home gym for Vicki (well, for me, too -- but it's in lieu of Vicki's gym membership). It's like a bowflex, but it doesn't have as small a storage footprint. Still, it was half the price... maybe less than that. So I've also been playing coach Phil when I get home. I continue to work out with Ryan though, on the free weights in the morning. She's doing well on it.

A crack has developed in my windshield. Grrrr. Too long to repair, too. So... that'll be $220.

What else, what else? Going to go pick up Vicki's mom tomorrow... bring her back Saturday -- so I'll have one weekend day at home. It's for her birthday and Mothers' day. Larry's going to lend us his slide projector so we can look at old slides from Vicki's parents. I looked at a few of young Vicki last night (like at 6 years old). Man, what a cutie!