Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mow, mow, mow the lawn.

I declare today, Lawn Day. I just happened to have a weekday off and the weather was perfect for mowing my lawn. Temp was just under 70 degrees. The sun was shining with only a slight breeze.

I feel good when mowing the lawn. I get exercise. This is something I need since the chin-up bar has already lost it's luster. I also get to enjoy the outdoors. I work inside all week and it is nice to get out. When I really get going, I mow in a diagonal pattern. Just like the big leagues.

Then I can fire up the leaf blower to scatter the pesky clippings from fouling the driveway.I'm not much of a fan of trimmers. You have to mix special gas for them. You have to untangle and load trim line. And watch out for your shins when that line is whipping. I've also 'trimmed' too many flowers by accident.

When all is said and done, it is very satisfying to walk out to the street and check out your house's curb appeal. I then stand on the grass and imagine I'm on my own private golf course inspecting the groundskeepers work. My dream fades when I see the bikes and bucket of sidewalk chalk.
I don't see mowing the lawn as a chore. I view it as a chance to get away from work and the kids for an hour. It is my work out for the week. And I can take pride in creating something pleasant to see.

Do I obsess a little about my lawn? Is it wrong for my blood pressure to spike when I see a few dots of yellow in my sea of green? I suppose it is. But my Dad always told me to keep your lawn looking nice. You never know when someone from out of town will visit. You want your town to make a good impression.

I just want someone to walk by and say, "Nice lawn."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Let's Hit the Road

It's not fair! Number One Son isn't even nine years old yet, and he already has his own car. His great grandpa Roy collected and restored cars when he was alive. He had various classic cars that went to family members after he died. He also had a 1930 Model A Roadster with a rumble seat left in the garage. Now that Gramma Ollie is moving to an apartment, there is no room for the Roadster. Gramma Ollie said the car now belongs to N1S. Lady Di had the great idea that N1S and I should restore the car ourselves. A father-son project. Judging by my mechanical prowess, we should be able to take a Sunday drive to the lake by about 2097. I'm pretty good at checking spark plug fluid, and tightening the muffler belt. But that's about all. I did fix a pesky dashboard light that wouldn't shut off by covering it with a piece of black electrical tape once.

Although, this would a be a great time to get an awesome set of new tools. "Kids! Were going to Sears!"

The car is actually in very good shape for 77 years. Very little rust and only a few interior rips. The rumble seat still rumbles too. Grampa Roy took very good care of his cars.

We just had the Roadster towed from Gramma Ollie's house to ours last weekend. The next morning N1S and I were putting our shoes on in the garage. I asked him if he wanted to see his car from Gramma Ollie and Grampa Roy. He took a quick scan of the garage and asked, "Where is it?".

When I pointed to the bright red Roadster 6 feet away, his eyes grew to saucer size and he said, "That? Really?"

I nodded and he said, "Can I drive it?"

"Yeeeeah. About that. I don't think that's gonna work."

I then got two buckets and two rags and set N1S and his sister, Sweet Pea, to washing his car. The 40 year old dust mostly got moved around rather than wiped off, but they were excited to do it.

Now N1S wants to show everyone his new car. Which doesn't sit well with SP. She thinks it belongs to both of them. When N1S tells friends about his car, SP pipes up and wails, "I washed it too!"

She also likes to call the car, 'Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.'

I guess there is a slight resemblance.

I think they will both get their turns to ride and eventually drive.
I guess I will treat this as a personal challenge. N1S and SP and I will learn about classic auto mechanics together. We may also learn the concept of the money pit. But who can put a price on bonding with your children?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Biker Babe

Our daughter, Emery, has a new bike. Gramma Bev and Grampa Ray brought a beautiful pink and purple 'big girl' bike down from Bemidji. Emery was so excited. She still uses training wheels but we will help her learn to ride this summer without them. Right now she is using the one-training-wheel-lean technique. We'll work on actually balancing later this summer.
She already has had her first wipe out, even with training wheels. Don't worry, I won't show another gory picture of mangled flesh. Dad made the mistake of letting her ride with a dress on. Her knee got a huge raspberry. It was traumatic for a while, until she got the Dora the Explorer band aid. Then she was back on the bike and tootling around the cul-de-sac.

She is growing up so fast. It seems like she just learned to crawl and now she will be riding her bike soon. Each time the kids reach another milestone, it always allows them a little more freedom and enables them to reach just a little bit farther from us. I know it is inevitable, but I only hope they don't go so far as to not come back.
Maybe I'll leave the training wheels on for one more summer.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Is it over yet?

Our five year old, Emery, has been worried about being scared lately. She doesn't want to see any scary things on television or she will have bad dreams. Whenever the Goblin showed up in the Spiderman movie, she would cover her eyes and ask, "Tell me when it's over."
This system usually worked pretty well. We would say when a scary part was coming up. She would cover her eyes. And we would tell her when it was over.
This worked great at suppertime during dessert too.
"Emery! Look out! I think you're coming to a scary part in your cake! Cover your eyes!"

As I removed her fork from the back of my hand, I reconsidered how great that plan was.
I'm not sure why, but she also is saying she is afraid of the dark. She has three night lights in her room. How dark can it be? One nightlight is a cool mini lava lamp that puts a color show on the ceiling. Another one is an owl that has glowing eyes. How could anyone be scared with an orange eyed owl protecting you? She even gets scared when I wake her up to show her my new Halloween masks.

Anyway, we were watching the movie, Flubber, last weekend. There was only one scary part. One scene showed Robin Williams kissing his character's love interest. Ethan groaned. "Oh, great! Kissing!"
Emery answered, "Ethan, cover your eyes. I'll tell when it is over."

The Corpse Bride

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Birthday Girl

Today my little sweet pea turns five years old. Emery went to bed last night reminding all of us what tomorrow was.
"Hmmm. There was something I was going to remember about tomorrow. Now what was it?", I teased.
"My birthday, Daddy!", she shouted.
Emery and Lady Di had a Mom and Daughter birthday day today. After Emery's swimming lesson this morning, Lady Di took her to her first nail salon. Lady Di said that Emery had an ear to ear grin the whole time. They then went out for lunch at Subway and did a little shopping at Target.

You may ask why I wasn't invited. I had taken the day off from work to be with Emery on her birthday. Last night, I coached Ethan's team's baseball practice. As I was walking off of the field, I stepped in a gopher hole and twisted my ankle. Nothing
broken, but I had a lot of stiffness and swelling in the morning. So I am sitting with my foot elevated, indoors, on the best weather day we've had this Spring. Hopefully, I will heal up enough to join the family at Space Aliens tonight for a birthday supper.

Happy Birthday Half Pint. Don't grow up too fast.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Could I bend your ear?

On Thursday, Ethan had surgery done on his right ear. When Ethan was younger, he had multiple ear infections. He got ear tubes and the infections went away. Then he would get water in his ears from swimming. Ethan has always had sensitive ears and water in them would be very painful to him. His ears have also been very sensitive to loud noises. This is pretty common in kids with Asperger's Syndrome.
Sometimes it's as if he has bionic super ears. Especially times when Lady Di and I are discussing possible Christmas gifts, whispering in the garage to each other. Ethan will often come down from his room and ask, "Are you getting a baseball glove for me?". Then there are times when his hearing shuts down completely. Spongebob and Jimmy Neutron can usually block phrases such as, "Time to do homework." or "Please make your bed and clean your room." Yet his hearing magically returns when, "Snack time." is said.

Well, back to his surgery. A couple of years ago Ethan tubes came out and the right one left a hole in his inner ear that didn't heal up by itself. So,this week, the doctor had to graft a piece of skin from behind Ethan's ear lobe and use it to patch the hole. Don't worry, he came out just as handsome as he went in. The procedure is pretty common but it still is scary when your child goes under anesthesia. Ethan was very brave and was interested in everything the nurses and doctors were doing. He was a little cranky coming out of anesthesia but a Popsicle and two juice boxes brought him back to normal.

Ethan has been through a lot in his 8+ years. Hopefully this will be his last surgery for a while. Now the challenge is to keep him 'low key' for the next two weeks to let the patch heal. That means no Phy. Ed. No baseball. No running, climbing, swimming or roughhousing. No fun for two weeks. At least it is only May and not the middle of summer, when he broke both arms last year.
We'll just have to think up other fun things to do for the next two weeks. Like playing, "Get Daddy the remote." and "Extreme Hammock Rocking."

I think his ear will heal even faster.
Caution: Next photo is not for the squeamish.

Dude! Nice stitches!

Stuff About Me

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.