Monday, April 30, 2007

My Poopy Voicemail

Thank You Very Mulch

So, Saturday I started working outside on a little project I've been meaning to take a stab at for a few weeks.

The dreaded swing-set landscaping project.

Well, I marked off an area that was roughly 16'x24' as I had originally planned on using some simple landscaping lumber to create an edge. Well, after removing all that sod (nearly 400 square feet of the crap), I realized the simple rectangle wouldn't work. So I consulted Yvonne (who was shopping in town at the time) and she agreed to not use an edge. Something everyone else seemed to think of well before me.

So I curved it out around the slide and see-saw (as those areas were a little too close to the edge) and began to spray the weed killer. I doubt it will help much, but hey, every little bit counts. From there, Dad helped haul the first 15 bags of mulch to the site. That went down after installing the weed fabric. More mulch. More fabric. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Multiply that by Sunday's re-mulching the flower bed next to the swing set.

In the end, I removed close to 600 square feet of sod and weeds. I put down about 200 linear feet of weed fabric. I put down 43 bags of Norfleet shredded hardwood mulch (3 cubic feet per bag). And I spent way more money than I wanted.

What was fun about this project? Seeing Elizabeth play on the slide, pick flowers, and working outside with my lovely wife. While I'm sore today, I'm glad I can cross it off my list.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sonogram scans

Here are the latest sonogram scans from last week. You can see some of them are "3D" but they look kind of wierd to me. Well, they all do I guess.

Anyway, here they are.

And no, none of these show the sex of the baby. Click here if you want to see that.

A hand.

A "3D" profile.

Another "3D" profile.

Another hand.

A foot.

Baby and Weekend Update

I'll start with the update from this weekend first just to keep everyone in suspense (keep your pants on cinda.....I'm working on the post right now).

Saturday the three of us (well, three and a half I guess) did a lot of shopping. Yvonne and Elizabeth went to swim class while I did a few loads of laundry. Then we went to town to get some lunch at Goolrick's (one of Elizabeth's favorite places to eat). From there we went to the Chocolate Extravaganza, a fundraiser for the local SPCA. Local companies bring in their chocolate desserts and sell them to raise money. Items ranged from brownies to chocolate covered strawberries to huge pieces of cake. Lots of good food.

From there we went down to the fire station to climb on the fire engines. Well, just as we got on one, they got beeped out so we had to leave. Yvonne and Elizabeth went back to the van while I went to the antique book shop and bought more ephemera (a whopping $8 worth).

After that, we all drove over to the mall where Yvonne ran in for a quick return while Elizabeth crashed in the back seat. She woke up to go into the Dollar Tree for more clothes for her Barbie. Then we went to Best Buy and bought a new vacuum (Hoover Wind Tunnel 2 if I remember right). Then grocery shopping at Wal-Mart and a stop at Carl's for a shake on the ride home.


Yesterday was just about as busy. We cut the grass, put down new mulch in the flower beds (after they got weeded), and burned more brush. I also broke the weed eater just as I was finishing. Great. Elizabeth's sandbox (or "sand turtle box" as she called it) also got moved and opened, just to make sure nothing was living inside. Yvonne and Elizabeth also went through a bunch of clothes, trying to sort them out and get them boxed in totes (still working on that one). And that was about it.

Oh, yeah, the sex of the baby!

Don't read if you don't want to know the sex of the new baby. And, yes, there are people that do not want to know. Right now, Yvonne's parents don't want to know, so don't ruin it for them. Please.

Spoiler Warning ahead!

Are you ready? It's a boy.

Now, I'm sure there's a lot of you out there that are thinking I'm very happy. Well, I am, but not as happy as you think I'd be. Maybe it hasn't set in yet, but it really didn't matter to me if we had a girl or boy. I just wanted the baby to be healthy.

But I am dreading the potty training already. I must be a wimp.

Oh, and the next post will have photos.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A vote for William is a vote against Jake Ryan

Vote now!

Please support my cause. My wife is trying to name our next child "Jake Ryan Richard" after the esteemed actor, Michael Schoeffling. Well, Jake Ryan is NOT my hero, nor my high school crush.

No matter how much the ladies think he's cute, I don't want my wife to use that dreadful line "Jake? Jake's my boy!" (from that classic 80's movie, Sixteen Candles). It's bad enough she wears socks that say "I love Jake." Come on, she's a married woman carrying our second child!

I myself would rather name our child "William." It's a good "classic" name that is seen throughout my family tree. And I think it would match Elizabeth (our 3 year old daughter) quite well.

So, vote now. Should it be William or Jake?

* Caution - we do not know the sex of the second baby at this time. Expect updates Friday.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It only takes one idiot ruin people's lives.

Early this morning, the normal routine on the campus of Virginia Tech was rudely interrupted by gunfire. As of this afternoon, over 20 are dead with another 20+ injured.

The worst thing I had to fear in college were exams until the fire we had. That was pretty traumatic. But I was shocked even more when we heard about the school shooting down the road from us (April 24, 1998). We didn't know what to think.

I still get goosebumps thinking about the night I heard the sirens going down the road.

In the end, it only takes one idiot to ruin people's lives.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Ephemera Album

So in my previous post I talked about my new ephemera collection. Albeit a small collection (a few letters), it was very cheaply acquired (less than $7).

After some initial research, I found notes relating to a Mayflower (as in the ship) family (not mine, but passengers on the boat).

Pretty cool.

But it gets better. I got a letter from one Marcia Davenport that, according to some preliminary research, could be worth about $50. Not a bad investment.

For those interested, I've uploaded the photos to my Picasa album. Enjoy reading (assuming you can decipher the handwriting).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Will I ever get back to writing?

I seriously hope so. I finally had enough free time today to edit War Wagon. The good news is I only have about 3 pages left to edit. The bad news is I have two major plot points that need to be worked out. The really bad news is I don't have the time or energy to write.

So I'm seriously hoping after the tax season monkey gets off my back, I'll be able to meet my goal of 3 pages a day. In looking at my overall goal of 100,000 words, I'm only at 17,000 words. That's 17%. Not a bad start, but I'm just too short on time to add much more at the moment.

Oh well.

In other news, by the end of this month:

- I'll be done with tax season
- I'll know the sex of our second child
- I'll be preparing to move to a new team, coach, and program at work
- I'll be preparing to have the roof replaced on the house

In short, I've got a few things on my plate to deal with. But I don't want it to impact my writing.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Some of you may know that NIMBY stands for "Not In My Back Yard." Well, we have one of those battles going on in King George (the county where I grew up and currently live). The Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail group has been hit hard by many citizens of the county, well, hating them and their supporters. The group is trying (and essentially has already completed) to convert an old railroad bed to a hiking and biking trail.

The land was taken from the original owners by the Federal government back in the day and was used for the Naval Base in Dahlgren. Well, times change, peace arrives, and it's no longer in service.

Enter the current owner, Joe Williams and "trail boss" David Brickley. They teamed up to make this great conversion that has the potential to be a great attraction for the county. Aside from having one of the only bridges across the Potomac River and a large Naval Base, we don't have much to offer. Well, there is the dump that takes in garbage from the entire east coast.

Anyway, the guys are just trying to do right by the trail in creating a place for people to bike, hike, run, walk, etc. in peace.

Now those opposing this have done some damage. They've cut trees, fired shots, the list goes on and I won't glorify their stupidity. In the end, they hate (or at least strongly dislike) the trail folks.

Enter DC and the Railroad Realignment Feasibility Study.

Oh? What's this? Homeland Security wants to re-route dangerous trains through King George? And they might use the old railroad bed?

Can you say IRONY!!!

While I'm not too keen on have trains loaded with dangerous things traveling through my county, they can't be any more dangerous that those trucks on the road. But part of me really wants the trains to come through these assholes backyards just so I can walk by their house and say "See? You could have played nice and had people going by on bikes. And look what you have now. A huge train, blaring it's horn, roaring through your back yard at 3 am. Happy now? I am!"

Just cross out the little hiker on this map and put in a nice large CSX engine or two.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


You can start here with a definition.

Why do I mention this word? Well, I've always been interested in the stuff. It's very much like people-watching (something I've always enjoyed). But with ephemera, you can only see what's on the page. Which means you need to look at their handwriting, tone of voice, content, punctuation, everything gives you a little glimpse into their life at that one moment.

So far, my hardest part has been finding a reason to go buy the stuff. There's a store in old town Fredericksburg that has a nice little stash of it and whenever I get the chance to go there, I always take a peek. Granted, they also sell some nice antique books (another interest of mine) but my collecting in that genre has drastically dropped.

So today after eating breakfast with Dad, I walked down the street to have a peek. I didn't even look at the books, but did buy some handwritten letters, most dating back to the early 1900s. And yes, I did come up with an excuse. RESEARCH!!

Same reason I picked up a book on the American West. Research for War Wagon. I've already read the letters and have a few things that sparked ideas. Most of which I'll likely find a way to include in my story.

I may head back tomorrow for more browsing, but I feel good with the stash I have so far. I've already back-tracked the one sheet of genealogy info to an original passenger on the Mayflower. And while the book I got is a bit cartoony at times, I'm probably just as excited about it as I am the letters from a stranger.

So, that's my adventure for today. Ephemera.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

For my Russian readers

Right, like I have any of those.

But if you know Russian, well, maybe your ears won't bleed as bad as mine.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Viral Video Genius Vilified Voraciously

Kevin "Nalts" Nalty, a native of south-eastern PA (we'll keep his exact location secret), is a self-proclaimed Viral Video Genius. I've seen him do stupid bits (like how to kill an animal) to pure comedic genius (think candid camera of a kid with a fart machine).

In no way do I feel my videos "measure up" to his. But I do take on a sense of pride seeing as my wife (and family) are from PA (including a sister-in-law in Macungie).

Anyway, for all those Nalts fans out there, I think we need to start a Pool of our own. Kevin has been getting progressively more and more "ballsy" with his videos. He's escalated from the video of Spencer stealing fries (but he told the employees) to crawling through an airport (with no notification to local law enforcement).

I can totally see Kevin doing his best to talk his way out of a hairy situation with camera in hand (or sitting unseen on a shelf). But when will he get arrested? When will the cops finally say enough is enough, you've crossed the line, put these silver bracelets on?

So I open this pool to you the fans (like me) who think Kevin has one a step beyond his normal routine and is now "officially" pushing the envelope.

Simply reply with your best guess when Kevin "Nalts" Nalty will end up in the back of a squad car having his Miranda Rights read to him.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thunder leads to Starbucks

Oh yeah, I've lost it. Completely. After sleeping for a good 3 hours last night, the dog decided to shake and quiver from the approaching thunderstorms.

Which meant he ended up spending most of the night in his cage.

And after an hour of finally getting comfortable enough Elizabeth decided to wake up, scared to death of the lightning and thunder.

Which meant a couple of hours of laying in bed with a kid kicking and tossing around.

Not fun for anyone.

After finally getting her back in bed, we were able to sleep. For an hour or so.

Then the alarm clock sounded the end of my slumber.

How did this all lead to Starbucks?

I had to resort to drinking one of their frappuccino drinks to get a boost of go juice (aka caffeine).