Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Impromptu Staycation

For some unknown reason, we've been unmotivated to do much advanced summer planning this year. Thus, most of our summer plans have been developed in less than one week.

After briefly discussing the possibility of visiting my brother in Dubuque last weekend, we decided that was a trip worth planning in advance. So, we just decided to stay home for the weekend and get a few things done around the house (and watch the Tour de France, of course).

Ethan expressed an interest in taking the trail-a-bike (note the "bike-train" pictures, this is probably in my future) to Homer Lake, where he knew that he could probably weasel a soda out of me. So, the saga begins (In the spirit of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)

If your oldest son wants to ride the trail-a-bike, chances are
You will want to give your next-oldest son a short ride to help learn pedaling, which will lead to
Him wanting to ride in the trailer. If you say "okay," chances are
Your youngest son will want to ride in the trailer, which results in you saying you will
Take them both for a ride to the Homer City Park. If you go for a ride, chances are
Your oldest son will want to ride along on his own bike. If you go to the Park on a hot day, the water playground might be on and
Your sons might want to get soaked to the bone, but that's okay because you remembered a towel.

If your sons burn off lots of energy in the water, they might be hungry, so you might ride across town to the gas station to
Get your sons Schwann ice cream treats.

If your sons have had a fun afternoon, chances are they'll want to continue this by
Planning to sleep outside in the tent.
After remembering how to sent up the tent/house with the "help" of your three sons, chances are you'll want a drink...

If your kids are going to sleep in the tent, of course they'll want to
Have a campfire and cook marshmallows.

If your kids are outside in the summer evening,
They'll want to catch fireflies.

After sleeping in the tent all night, chances are
a) you'll want a Tylenol and
b) Ethan will still want to ride to Homer Lake on the trail-a-bike.
If you get out the trail-a-bike, chances are...

I apologize to the photography-inclined for the blurry cellphone pictures.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Test Passed

While I'm sure it will take a while for our new Pilot to fully feel like a member of the family, it sure earned itself a lot of points this past week. After waiting weeks, Menards finally had 1/2 baltic birch plywood in stock for a couple of days (literally) when I could actually pick it up.

Hauling 4x8 sheets of plywood was always a bit dicey with the Jeep. It involved the plywood lying at an angle, lots of tie downs, and the back door being mostly open, which made for a fun drive on the interstate.

When we were shopping for the new car, I took a trusty tape measure to measure critical dimensions, such as garage door clearance, snowy driveway clearance, and plywood loading clearance. The Jeep Commander cargo area was so small, that I wasn't convinced that I'd be able to even get plywood through the rear opening. However, my measurements indicated the likelihood of 4x8 plywood actually lying flat between the wheel wells of the Pilot.

I wouldn't believe it until the Menards guy helped me slide it in there. Simply Amazing!

Of course, when the plywood lies flat the back door closes nearly all the way. I had the most pleasant drive home that I've ever had with wood sticking out the back of the car. It was so exciting that I took a picture before unloading this ridiculously expensive plywood:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Postal Terrorism - One Year Later

To those who complain about federal terrorism dollars being spent in Smalltown, USA, I tell you that terrorists can strike anytime, anywhere.

At approximately 11:45pm on July 2, 2008, unidentified terrorists (likely sleeper agents) executed a coordinated attack on our defenseless, unsuspecting mailbox. Although the ATF never showed up to investigate, I'm guessing that the explosive was highly illegal in Illinois (but maybe not in Indiana). The attack was boldly commenced while lights were still on in our house (I think I was working when the grass-rocking explosion occurred).

The explosion blew the top, , which was never recovered from the scene, off of the mailbox. The bottom of the mailbox was permanently deformed, and the top of the mailbox post was nearly severed.

If the Department of Homeland Security had provided me with the terrorism dollars I had requested, this disaster could have been prevented with high-intensity security lights and high-definition security cameras.