Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Then say something!!!!!!

Very sad story out of Connecticut about a Grandma who picked her 2 year old and 6 month old grandkids up from daycare, drove out to a lake, and then used her husbands gun to kill the two children and herself.

I don't have a lot of commentary on the story itself.  As I said, very sad all around, with a bunch of folks asking 'what if.'  I know the day care workers are kicking themselves for letting the kids go, but the grandma was on their approved list of folks to release the kids too. 

Nope...my emotion over this story comes in the very first sentence:

'Debra Denison's struggles with mental illness were well known in her family, and when she wanted to pick up her grandsons from day care to mark the older boy's birthday, mother Brenda Perry hesitated.'

If that statement is true, then the question must be asked: Why was there still a gun in the house?

Did people not know that her husband had a gun?  Was an investigation already completed into her condition?

Basically, what we have here is a perfect example of how adding new, restrictive laws ISN'T going to make things any safer.  This sad situation is a perfect example of how we can't even use the exisiting laws on the books properly because even though people thought Grandma was getting a little loopy, NO ONE did anything about it  Even the husband in this case didn't do anything.  I mean, if my wife starts acting crazy(or crazier) I'm going to have to face up that the responsible thing to do is keep the guns away from her.

The trick here is to keep things from being too knee jerk.  There is a thin line between having a safe and timely responce to a family members concerns and knocking down doors to seize guns because of anonomyous phone calls.


I'm lacking satisfaction.

Two weeks ago, my washing machine broke.  For those of you who don't want to drive up my visit counter by clicking on the link, it's a sad, lame story.  The stupid little plastic/magnetic latch that locks the door shut broke.  Called home depot who told me it was going to be 5 days before the scheduled repair date.  I did some looking and found out that the broken part, while cheap and easy to fix, was not locally available, and ordering it through the interet and paying for overnight shippong was not going to leave it a cheap fix.


Last Monday, as scheduled, the repair man showed up.  Of course, he didn't have the part needed to fix my machine, so he used some electrical tape to try and fix things, while he ordered the right part.

Electrical tape.  Yup, I probably could have done that too, but in this age of 'beware the fine print', I was kind of worried about 'modifying the original design' and voiding my service plan.

Anyway, the tape only worked for a load, but if I replace it every other load, I can still get laundry done, which is nice.  What's not nice is that 48 hours to get the new part in has turned into over 192 hours, and I have heard nothing from Home Depot, OR the local guy they contracted the repair job out too.

This pleases me not.  I'm getting ready to sic my 'overly polite while looking for an excuse to bite your head off coiled ball of malice' New England wife on them.


A good reason to make the paper.

It seems I am always focusing on somewhat negative news in the papers, so, let's have some positive news.

A few months ago, one of the ladies I used to work with at PSNS posted a 'look at that!' type photo on facebook, showing off the new freezer she and her husband had purchased specifically to handle all the excess milk she was producing.  That picture, posted as mostly a joke, actually got her contacted by a couple of different networks that specialize in putting women with an excess of milk in touch with women who are not producing enough to meet their kids needs.

It's a good story...and a the world needs more of those.  Good job Nicole. 

I feel safer already, Part 2.

A few weeks ago, I ranted and raved about how the Fish and Game Department spent 18 months running an investigation into the purchasing habits of a local Chinese restaraunt, just to get what might be one felony conviction. 

Now from Everett, we get a story about a two month investigation into the dressing(or undressing) habits of local baristas, that might get a few misdemeanor convictions. 

What kind of competition do you think there was for the folks that got to run that investigation?  Did they cycle it around the department, or did two or three lucky guys get to stop for coffee two or three times a week to become 'regulars'?  I'm sure this was an investigation to be handled by seasoned officers...


Ummmm....Just bring back the original!

Earlier this week, word was leaked that Jeep will be ending the Liberty after this model year, and bringing back the beloved Cherokee for 2014.

Now...with the disclaimer that I have never actually owned a Jeep Cherokee, I can say I have always wanted one, and I have never really heard anything bad about them aside from raw towing ability.  The 4.0 liter straight 6 engine they had is reputed to be a hacker, so much in fact, that if I ever do decide that I want to adopt the hobby of car maintenance, my two choices would be a late 90's Cherokee, or an mid 90's Bronco(Junk yards are full of F-150/Bronco drive trains).

This announcement that the Cherokee name is coming back should be met with rejoicing, and would be if they simply started cranking 2001 Cherokee's off the line again.  I would be one of the first people in line for them, assuming they priced them in the mid 20K range.

However, these are New and Improved.  And more than a little, well, ugly.

Picture from yahoo autos. 
I don't know...I kind of like the reassuringly blocky lines of the original.  Details are thin yet on specs for this thing.  It's estimated since it's replacing the Liberty that there will be a 4 cylinder and a 6 cylinder option. 

It still might warrant a little bit of interest on my part, but it won't keep me from looking on craigslist for a 2000 in great shape. 


In a word, yes.

Yesterday, the Seattle Times(and a few other newspapers I'm sure) ran a story questioning the dollar amount of Congressional pensions, in this time of budgetary stress. 

There were some sobering stats in this article, one of them being that this year there are 75 new retirees from Congress this year...and their combined pensions will add $28 MILLION a year to our budget.  The headliner on the list is local Congressman Norm Dicks, a 36-year career politician, who due to his length of service time, immediately began collecting a $107K a year pension, which he will earn ON TOP of whatever money he is making a 'consultant with defense companies', whom he spent years approving budgets for in Congress.  Nothing incestuous there.

Hey...I am a free market guy.  If the shareholders at Dell, or HP, want to allow their Board to provided 10's of millions of dollars worth of Golden Parachutes to executives, fine.  Just know, I am willing to do 20% as good a job for 20% as good of a job for 10% of that money.

As far as Congress...that's pretty out of line.  Especially, because: He doesn't NEED it.  Heck...he even has selected an option that means he isn't earning his max pension of 125K a year like Dick Lugar, so his wife can keep earning some if he passes away. I HAVE to believe whatever sweetheart deals he is getting as a consultant render his pension a minority of his income. 

It's just broken.  Then, on the other side, there is Ron Paul.  Now, Dr. Paul wouldn't quite max out like Norm Dicks, but he would still qualify for something around an 80K a year pension...and he turned it down, because he doesn't NEED it.  He has shown character, unlike Mr. Dicks.  Props also go to Howard Coble, of North Carolina, who turned down his pension. 

If it's broken, how do we fix it?  Well...make the pensions go away.  That's easy.  Unfortunately, I don't personally believe you can go yank them back from the folks how have earned them, as much as they may not need them.  You can say NO MORE.  Here...you get a 401(k) which is what a lot of companies and other organizations are doing.  The day's of your traditional 'pension' are going away. If you were part of the generation and a half that got one...good for you.  You managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. It's becoming clear though, that these type of pensions(at ALL levels...private, city, state, Federal) are not sustainable. 


Not the course of action I would recommend, but...

It seems everything came out alright in the end, but stories like this one kind of make me shake my head.

In fear, Bremerton woman fires gunshot at would-be intruder.
You hate to second the person on the scene...in this case a frightened mom in her living room, with someone pounding on the front door and screaming after midnight.  She did the right thing by calling the police, but...I question this wisdom of shooting through the door.  It brings up soooooo many questions about proper target identification.  I mean, what if the loud drunk guy had been replaced by the responding police officer? 

If she launches an unaimed shot through the door and clips Beat Officer Smiley, I'm guessing they aren't giving her gun back right so soon.  In fact, it shows some pretty open attitudes on the part of the Bremerton Police and Kitsap County Prosecutors office that they have already given it back to her. 


At the risk of being called names...

So, earlier this week, Borepatch put up a post about how it's beggining to look like 'universal background checks' might have a chance at the Federal level.  Here in Washington, a bill for background checks has already cleared the State House(but faces a tougher time in the Senate). This shouldn't be too surprising, since the NRA came out shortly after the Newtown shootings and basically said they wouldn't fight background checks.

Here is where I risk my limited reputation....you see, considered in a vacuum, I really don't have a huge problem with adding 'Universal Background Checks'.  It doesn't offend me the way an AWB, or even just a Colorado style magazine limit would....as long as the Background Checks don't evolve into a registration, which wouldn't happen with the way the proposed bill in Washington is worded.  I'd just mentally tack $20-25 on the price of a used gun, and carry on.

The problem is, we aren't in a vacuum, and bending over and taking it on Background checks this legislative session in the hopes that they won't push an AWB only saves us THIS year.  If we give up easy on this fight, then what do we throw under the bus next year?

That's a point I try to get across to my friends...the line NEVER stays stationary.  Either we are trying to make the laws less restictive, or the other side is trying to make them more restrictive.  There is no such thing as enjoying the status quo when it comes to Gun Control.


A window!

Due less to my own slightly above average performance and more to the below average performance of someone else, I find myself assigned to a new team at work.  It's a lateral transfer...same job, just a 'reorganization'. 

But...it's a step up, to a better team, doing ever so slightly less mundane work.  Plus...my new office has a window, which my other one didn't have, so it has to be a step up.

Contrary to the earlier opinion of one of my former co-workers at PSNS, this view is FROM my office...my office is not the short, thin blue building on the left side. 
If you can squint past the trailers, it's not a half bad view of Rattlesnake Mountain, although it does need a little bit of snow to make it interesting...otherwise, it's fairly brown.  


You guys need a new pancake recipe.

I'm a sucker.  People like me are the reason that you have to sit through commercials on TV.

Case in point...during a recent trip to the liquor store, I remembered a commercial I had seen for new Crown Royal Maple.  Ooo...new!  Shiny!  Must buy!

Between the whisky section of the store and my truck, I had no fewer than 3 people tell me I was going to LOVE it 'because it tastes just like pancakes!'

I'm here to tell you...the stuff is pretty okay if you are in the mood for something a little sweet, but it does NOT 'taste just like pancakes'. 

It's hard to describe how it does taste...I mean, it's kind of like whisky, with a touch of extra vanilla and sweetness.  When mixed, there isn't a load of difference between the Crown Royal Maple and the Black Velvet Toasted Caramel.  Straight..well, it's still Crown Royal...and it's pretty smooth on ice, or neat.

You just aren't going to confuse it for scotch...there is not the slightest bit of bitter in it. 


Wish it was MY idea...

Once upon a time, I was cruising the Internet machine looking for ways to 'jazz up' a box of Jiffy Cornbread mix.  While a true southerner might not accept Jiffy as being good cornbread, for this Yankee, it's not bad for being so quick and handy.  Add in a can of corn, and some diced jalapenos, and smother it with butter as soon as it's out of the oven, and it's pretty okay.

While on this journey of exploration, I came across one person who says they use the Jiffy Cornbread Pancake mix, but cook it in a waffle iron instead, and then they will serve chili on it.  I filed it away in my 'try it someday' file, and pulled it off and dusted it off today.

I wish I could remember who originally put the 'cornbread waffles' idea in my head, because it was fricking GENIUS.  Not at all crumbly like Jiffy Cornbread comes out sometimes.  Perfect, and I can't wait to try it again. 


And yet, people still vote for them.

Yesterday's lamentations by the Seattle Times that a proposed AWB was unlikely to pass because it included provisions that would allow your County Sheriff to perform an annual inspection has actually given me fodder for two posts.  In addition to the whole 'inspection requirement' itself, we get this nugget:

'Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, a lawyer who typically is hyper-attuned to civil-liberties issues, said he did not know the bill authorized police searches because he had not read it closely before signing on.
“I made a mistake,” Kline said. “I frankly should have vetted this more closely.” '

Sometimes, we need a second course:

The prime sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, also condemned the search provision in his own bill, after I asked him about it. He said Palmer is right that it’s probably unconstitutional.
“I have to admit that shouldn’t be in there,” Murray said.

God Save the Republic. 

Hey...so they made a mistake.  But...it's one thing to vote on a bill you haven't read 100% of...it's another to SPONSOR that bill. 

At least those Seattle Democrats got to get their name on a AWB Bill.  I'm sure they won't make a mistake like THAT again.

Except, at least in the case of Mr. Kline, he already did.  You see, Adam Kline introduced a very similar bill back in 2009, right down to the annual inspection clause.

And now he acts surprised and says he didn't properly vet the bill this time around. 

Must be nice to have that (D) after your name in Seattle...it doesn't matter what you say or which bills you read. 


Some mistake.

Just a few weeks ago, folks at the Seattle Times were rubbing their hands together with glee that people had finally seen the light in Washington, and might be willing to embrace 'Common Sense' gun control. 

Now, those very same folks are wringing their hands in distress because some politicians had eyes too big for their stomach made a mistake in introducing an Assault Weapons Ban here in Washington.  In addition to specifically singling out such dangerous weapons as 'Shotguns with Revolving Cylinders' as Assault Weapons(Because we all know how those Circuit Judges are flooding the market). 

The mistake in this case?  Placing a provision in the AWB that anyone wishing to still own Assault Weapons that are graciously being grandfathered in, must be willing to submit to an annual inspection to ensure they are being properly stored.

Words fail me.  But hey, according to one of the bills sponsors, it's okay, because 'he came to realize that an assault-weapons ban has little chance of passing this year anyway. So he put in this bill more as “a general statement, as a guiding light of where we need to go.” '

I sense a shifting of the target demographic.

With the disclaimer that I am in fact a guy, and I am in my mid(soon to be late) 30's...I don't mind when my daughters watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  While I don't camp in front of the TV with them like I do when Phineas and Ferb is on, I do keep an ear out for the TV.  There is just enough subversiveness in it to keep me interested.

I'm guessing they intend it to be that way, if you can read anything into their newest promo commercial.

When you are running spoofs of the Dos Equis commercial, I think you are shifting the target audience a bit from Under 14 Girl demographic. 

It also means I'm not as creepy as I feared I was.



Once upon a time, my wife and I bought a house with what a real estate agent would call a 'Mature Landscape'.  What that really means is that the yard was quite overgrown. 

One of my biggest challenges was the ivy...two or three varieties had been allowed to get out of control, and I learned that one can not maintain ivy...you are either cutting it back of getting out of it's way.  I spent many, many hours pulling up ivy. 

This was fresh on my mind this afternoon as I began tackling the grape vines growing on the fence at our new house.

They haven't been taken care of much, so I did a lot of ripping, and pulling, and cutting. 
What I really should do is install a trelis system running parrallel to the fence, to keep the weight of the vines off the fence...but I kind of need to wait and make sure these grapes are worth it.  I have ZERO idea what variety they are, and the only real info I have come from my neighor who said the grapes produced were small and kind of bitter. 
At some point, when there is identifiable growth, my wife or I will try to bring a clipping to the local WSU extension office, and figure out what variety we might be dealing with. 


Spring has Sprung...I hope.

Temperature has been in the 50's the last few days, and nice and sunny.  Overnight lows have still been dipping to around freezing, but, spring is getting close.  The daffodils and croci crocuses crocus have broken the surface, and the tulips aren't far behind. 

Having just moved in a week or so ago, I have not even thought about breaking ground for the garden, and I might not this year.  Realistically, I think I will embrace container gardening this year, although I might try to get raised beds set up in the next month or two. 

Whatever might happen in a month, I decided that the time had come to get something going.

From right to left I have spinach, swiss chard, kale, and then a 'lettuce mix'. 

Now, there is a chance I am too early, and we could still have a freeze.  If I am..oh well.  I lose a week or two, and throw a fresh batch of seeds in each pot.  It's not like I'm going to remember where I put the left over seeds by next spring anyways. 

Deja vu all over again.

I'm going to the laundromat.  One of the reasons we moved out of our first Richland apartment in only 6 months was the lack of in apartment laundry facilities.  While there was a laundry room on site, it sucked greatly, and we decided it was easier for one of us to head to the local laundromat every Saturday morning with a car full of clothes than to use the on site room every day. 

Anyway...my washing machine is still broken, and I'm not entirely happy. 

When we bought the washer and dryer(last March, upgrading from the stackable unit we had in our 2nd apartment), we paid for the maintenance plan, washers and dryers being one of the things I have historically proven to me it's worth buying the plans for.  After I found the machine was broken late Tuesday, I called Home Depot bright and early Wednesday morning, to be told that the first available repair slot was Monday morning.  Like...5 days away.

That's crap.  I stewed, and started doing some research.  The piece that is broken is the little plastic/magnetic lid striker.  It basically lets the machine know the lid is closed, and also locks it shut.  Unlike me good old avocado green washing machine I used to own in Belfair, it is too smart to be fooled by stuffing a broken Popsicle stick in the hole.  It actually wants to feel the magnet latch into place.

I CAN do this repair.  Two little set screws hold the striker assembly in place...that is within my capabilities.  I just couldn't find the piece locally.  Tried Home Depot, and Sears, and a few local appliance places, but no one had that piece in stock.  All of them offered to order it for me, which I could have done myself online, but, no method would get it here prior to this morning, and ALL of those options would have cost me more than going to the laundromat today, with overnight shipping changing a $20 part into a $50 part.

So, off I go to do my laundry.  I'm doing enough to get us through the weekend, which is fine.  I'll be home before things really get going today, and I have a 4 day weekend to accomplish stuff around the house. 

The worst case scenario here is that on Monday, the washer repair guy doesn't have the part either.  In that case, I sic my New England wife on Home Depot, to reimburse us for the cost of having to go to the laundromat.


Now that's a sea story...

I haven't been following this story of the broken cruise ship stuck in the Gulf of Mexico very closely, but now that they have finally pulled into Mobile, I did a read a summary, and HOLY CRAP,  it makes my underway's in the Navy look like a pleasure cruise, which is kind of backwards.

As near as I can tell, these folks have been bobbing around in the Gulf for almost 4 days with no power thanks to an engine room fire.  No power means no ventilation, no bilge pumps, and no septic system.  People have been sending out messages about the lowest decks of rooms starting to flood, and having to poop in bags.

I had to hold it once or twice because we running drills, and I'll admit there was a time or two I could not get relieved from watch, and so I had to pee in an empty soda bottle...but I never actually had to poop in a bag in the Navy.

One thing about a Warship, even something potentially as fragile as a submarine...it's built with redundancy and survivability in mind.  I'm just fascinated that an 'engine room fire' can knock out power to the whole ship.  I can't think of ANY casualty that we could have suffered on the submarine that would have left us bobbing in that condition, without actually sinking the ship. 

At least those folks on their honeymoons can hand their hat on the fact that things can only go up from here in their marriage. 


I was ahead of the curve!

As someone who is not ashamed to admit that I do a fair amount of my work clothes shopping at goodwill, I'm glad to see it is catching on as something The Cool Kids do. 

Macklemore is a rapper from the Seattle area, which means some folks in the Northwest have been listening to him for years. 

I'm not one of those folks, but I was introduced to his music about a year ago.  I'm glad to see him getting a little bit of real airtime now.  Youtube may make us endure Carly Rae Jepsen, but it also gives us Macklemore.

Yes...there is cursing...it's rap.


Trickle Down Economics

Here at the new house we are all about supporting the service sector.  Earlier today, we had an electrician come in to fix in 10 minutes what I was too scared to do after staring at it for half an hour.  Luckily, he had to charge us for the full hour, but hey...I'm going to give the guy props.  After fixing my outlet, he then went ahead and hooked up the vent ducting on the dryer, and pushed it back against the wall.  Plus, he gave us a quote for what it will cost to have 5 can lights and a new switch installed in the kitchen.

Looks like we get to support someone else too.  Dryer fixed, I went to start a load of wash, only to find out that the magnetic switch on the door of my fancy washing machine had snapped, so...no worky worky. 

Luckily, we paid for the two year protection plan, so this shouldn't cost us anything...it's just time.  It's time my wife has to wait at the new house for a maintenance person when she would be cleaning at the old place. 

Of course, if I'm really lucky, then I might need to leave work early to be at the house to meet the maintenance guys tomorrow.  

Taking me down a peg.

Moving in seemed to go pretty well today.  I had training today, so I was able to swing a coffee by for my wife, but other than that, buy the time I made it home, it was all over.  The movers were gone, the cable guy had come and gone, and the only thing left to go was go get the pizza.

After dinner, I learned that not everything had gone perfectly.  There was a problem in the laundry room...the house has a 3-prong 220 outlet, while our one year old dryer has a 4-prong 220 plug.  Given my recent success with shelving, I was feeling up to the challenge of replacing the outlet on the wall myself.  A quick trip to Ace to buy the new outlet, and then I headed to the breaker box.

My confidence didn't last long.  I got the front plate off the outlet, and then I couldn't even figure out how to get the existing wires out of the existing outlet, let alone get enough wire to work with to connect them into the new outlet.  Plus, I wasn't 100% certain that what I thought was a ground wire was actually a ground wire. 

I might be dumb, but I'm not stupid.  Electricity is not something I'm willing to be risky with.  I backed out, and admitted my failure to my wife, along with my opinion that we should just call an electrician.  I'd rather pay a couple of bucks than burn down a house we just bought.


Today's the day.

Been an active weekend, getting ready for the movers to show up bright and early Monday morning and do the heavy lifting for us.

For me, the hard part is over.  I get to go to work tomorrow, while my wife gets to direct traffic and ride herd over everything.


I feel safer already.

When a police unit feels the need to expand it's man power by 500%, you know they are dealing with serious issues.

Police cracking down on infused drinks

Or not.

Now...I went to the Idaho Statesman's website, and read the original story that this information was taken from, and I'm willing to admit that two police officers to enforce liquor rules for the whole state of Idaho is probably stretching them a bit thin.  If you split the new guys up geographically, with the money they save on travel, the state might actually save money.

It's just...using 'We are protecting people from infused vodka!' as your rallying cry is a bit weak... I mean...couldn't they use drones for that?


A special place in Hell...

I'm of the opinion that our legal system is not flexible enough.  For instance, stealing bronze/copper head stones and vases from a cemetery is exponentially worse in my mind than stealing a roll of copper wire that county workers leave at the job site when they go to lunch.

Case in point:stealing $220 from a Camp Fire Girl is worse than stealing money from an FDIC insured financial institution.

Truthfully, I'm kind of surprised this doesn't happen more often...there were times my wife and kids had much more money than this after a cookie sale outside of Wal-Mart, and while my wife has her carry permit, I have to think you average cookie sale is a 'soft target'. 

I just hope the security cameras give them something to work with...while I am greatly angered by this type of activity, I don't know how much time the Spokane Police have to dedicate to a crime like this. 


At least it's over.

They say some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug.  Today was one of those bug days.  My boss was scheduled to be off, and one of my co-workers was sick, so I ended up wearing 3 hats today.  As my dad would say, I ended the day feeling like the one-legged man in the ass-kicking contest. 

Occasionally, the only cure for days like that is something that can make you laugh.  Dr. Tran is guaranteed to do that.  Vulgar?  Yes.  Funny?  I think so.

Lessons in Attention to Detail.

More than once, I've had a 'friend' jump onto facebook and post something, without first realizing that their significant other is still the one logged into their account.  The same thing would probably happen on twitter, if I participated in that.  So...it happens to the best of us, and usually, it's just kind of embarrassing. 

Unless you share computer accounts not just with a significant other, but with a U.S. Congressman, and then those kind of mistakes can be a firing offense

Hey...I can't blame the guy for being excited.  While I have never watched 2 Broke Girls, I am a fairly vocal fan of Miss Kat Dennings, and as someone who was paying attention to the Superbowl specifically for commercials, this one registered high on my list. 

There just isn't a much bigger demographic to screw this up with than conservatives in Idaho. 

His pain is my gain though, as it gives me the excuse I've been looking for to post the commercial that has caused all the trouble.


Well, THAT didn't take long.

Here in Washington, Marijuana has been legal for about two whole months, and while there isn't yet a system in place to allow the legal growth and distribution of the product, the Powers that Be have already decided that it will be the subject of a 25% tax at each level of handling: Growth, Distribution, and Retail.  The math experts out there will realize that this is not a 75% markup, but rather a 95% markup, assuming the taxes are all passed along to the final purchaser. 

However, the Legislature is not content to just tax recreational marijuana use, and now they want to add a 25% tax on medicinal marijuana use. 

Okay.  I'm not a user of marijuana, for either recreational or medicinal purpose.  That doesn't mean I'm a big believer in taxing the heck out of it, even though everyone should have seen this coming.  First...I don't think you tax medicine(although, with the number of people that are using medical marijuana for 'insomnia' we can debate just how much legitimate medicinal use is going on).  Second...what makes the Legislature think people are going to pay it?

This isn't something like cigarettes, or alcohol, where people are used to going to the store to buy it.  You raise the taxes on those, and people will bitch and moan, but they will still go to the store and buy it(unless they live close enough to the Oregon/Idaho border).  Marijuana isn't like that.  People have been buying that illegally for decades.  If they can get it for 50% cheaper, then I think they will keep buying it the way they always have. 


Hair on fire!

Had one of those 'Argh...we are moving in less than 5 days!' days today.  We got call yesterday from our current landlord saying that they already had three people interested in looking at the house, and would we mind allowing a few showings during the day this week.  Wanting to play nice, my wife agreed, but it caused no small amount of chaos, and cleaning.

My big involvement was replacing the blinds in three of the rooms.  Due to kids, and cats, and life, a few of the blinds were looking worse for the wear, and I decided I would rather replace them than have the property management group take it out of my security deposit. 

Between the blinds(which I had to go to home depot and buy) and my wife working hard to clean so we present a good front, it was after 9 before we were able to sit down on the couch and enjoy a glass of wine(Terra Blanca '02 Malbec...very, very, tasty) and watch America's Country Test Kitchen. 

That's an okay way to end the day.

At least they got it right in the end.

Once upon a time(and I believe it was just last summer, although I'm not 100% certain), the town of Oak Harbor passed a local ban on guns in city parks and marinas.  Yesterday, the town corrected this mistake.

Oak Harbor repeals ban on guns in parks, marinas

Now....was it wrong of them to pass such a ban in the first place?  Yes...but they do deserve a slight golf clap for seeing the error of their ways and fixing it themselves before wasting tax payer money trying to preserve the ban in court.  And overturned it would have been.  Washington has fairly black and white wording about firearm law preemption.

Which is nice...it's been the only thing keeping Seattle mayors from trying to pass ther own Chicago/D.C style gun ban the last 20 years.


Glad we haven't tried that place yet.

Sometimes, the funny thing about jokes and stereotypes is that they are based at least a little bit in fact.  For example, I'm sure most folks out there have made a joke about the Chinese restaurant that is located conveniently close to the veterinarians office.  Well, this local story kind of makes you pause, and think about how scary that might be.

Restaurant owner pleads innocent to buying bear gall bladders, game animals

Ummm...I just wish I knew what it was that was so special about bear gall bladders.  I can understand the pheasant, and deer, and even the steelhead.  I've got a hard time wrapping my mind around gall bladder though.  Part of me is hoping that she was buying this stuff for private use, but...wow. My family and I have been lucky enough that we never ate at this place yet, but I do work with a few folks who have, and they said it tasted like Chinese food. 

It's probably not surprising that the longer I think about this, the angrier I get...but, it might be surprising that not all of my anger is directed at the restaurant owner.

The way I read this, the Fish and Game Department invested over 18 months worth of resources in this case...for what?  The total money collected from this lady was like $230(but then she got some good deal...$20 for two quarters of a deer?  6 pheasant for $15?  I'd pay that in a heartbeat).  Now...I understand that if she was buying this from Fish and Game, she was probably buying horrible things from other people...but it really took 18 months to build a case?

And then...they sold her BEAR GALL BLADDERS, and WALKED AWAY!!!!  Fish and Game sold her BEAR GALL BLADDERS, and walked away, to let her potentially serve that to PEOPLE who thought they were eating General Tso's chicken. 

Makes horse meat sound okay. 


September will be here soon enough.

Football is over, and I am already looking forward to September when next season starts. 

It was a good game, even if I didn't much care who won.  In the Battle of Diva's, Jennifer Hudson took the first place prize for America the Beautiful, even if I did not approve of the political act of bringing the Sandy Hook choir to sing along with her. 

Most of the commercials failed to live up to the typical Superbowl hype(okay, I liked the Hyundai Santa Fe, the M&M one, and the Oreo Whisper Fight), but I was excited by the movie ads.  It confirmed that Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness are the Must Sees, Oz the Great and Powerful and World War Z are intriguing, and there is NO chance I will see Fast and Furious 6 or The Lone Ranger. 

There was still nothing that lived up to the glory days of Terry Tate, Office Linebacker.

Now THAT can hold something.

Didn't get as much done at the house yesterday as I wanted to, so I decided I would prove my motivation by heading over before the Superbowl started.  The goal for the day was replacing the shelf under the stairs with something more manly.

This isn't the first 'before picture'...it would have had saggy drywall installed over the wood, with that sad looking middle piece of trim that wouldn't have supported a fly, let alone a box of shells. 

The first thing was replacing that middle piece, with something a bit more supportive, a couple of 1 x 4's

Over the top of that, I laid a bunch more 1 x 4's...with the degree of difficulty increased by the fact that the original cross beams aren't exactly perfect, going from about 30.5 inches apart on the right, to 32 apart on the left.  I tend to be a function over form guy though, so I'm pretty happy with the final result.
Now...that looks like it can hold some ammo. 
Mission complete, I am preparing to kick back on the couch, and watch some football.  The beer for the day is Blue Moon, the food is some roasted garlic Triscuits with some hummus, and then a pork shoulder for pulling that has been in the oven for about 7 hours now.  Truthfully, I am not emotionally attached to either team, but I do have a few pool's I'm in...and I'm looking forward to the commercials and movie trailers.  



After a late start, had a fairly productive day at the new house. 

See....we got most of the important stuff moved over!

I also finished installing the new shelving units in the girls closets.  It's a flexible system, so I might move things around and add a shelf or two, but the hard part is done.  And yes...it was hard...trying to get those things level while simultaneously tightening the 'toggle bolt anchors' was an ass-kicker.  It certainly took me longer than the 'about an hour' the stupid video I watched on youtube said it would. 

Next big task for me is doing the shelving under the stairs.  Today I took out the saggy drywall the previous owners had used for shelving, and maybe tomorrow I can bring over my miter saw and cut the 1 x 4's up that I intend to use for man-style shelves.  

Not so bright and early

If yesterday was my motivated morning, today is kind of the opposite.  Last night was my companies Winter Party.  After spending about two and a half hours there, my friends and I headed to a local dive bar for some karaoke for a few hours. 

It was a good night...in fact, despite the fact that I didn't win the Bed and Breakfast basket raffle at the party, it was actually a great night.  Early on, I was did my part by acting a curmudgeon...I had to spend half an hour watching videos so I could remember how to knot a tie.  Dress for my company party is a varied thing...everything from jeans and nice shirts/sweaters to full on suits.  Last year I wore nice slacks and a brand new Hawaiian shirt, but this year my wife begged me to wear a dress shirt and tie, her point being that we have been together about 12 years, and she has only seen me in a tie 3 times so far.

Pain in the butt, and I felt like I was choking the first hour, but, my wife...she's worth the effort and discomfort.

Compared to previous years, the party was a bit...reserved.  Contract negotiations are still not going well, and so there was not a lot of craft participation.  Also, with budgets becoming an issue, there weren't quite as many gifts given out as there had been previous years. Still, it's a quite a party, and both this one and the summer picnic are different from the parties I went to in The Shipyard...those were potluck type get togethers with volunteers setting up, tearing down and manning the grill.  At this company, they are catered affairs, and, yeah, it's nice to show off your beautiful wife sometimes without having to bring your own cooler or get grease splattered on you manning the grill.

Karaoke was fun.  We were seriously overdressed for the bar, but we were with a group, so, who cares.  The tie stayed on until my 2nd song.  It had worked with Billy Joel but after that, I moved a bit more uptempo.  I was a meanie, because I made my wife order her own drinks at the bar...I just could bring myself to walk up to the bar with a bunch of bikers standing there and order a 'Shirley Temple'.  Yeah, I'm lame. 

Now, it's Saturday.  At some point, my wife and I will head to the new house, and make progress for the day.  I only accomplished about half of what I wanted to yesterday, and the wife needs to mud and prime the guest room.  We'll stick the girls in the family room with the kindle or lap-top for a few hours, and hopefully have a productive day.


Use enough gun

Sometime last year, my cordless drill gave up the ghost.  For Christmas, I got a cordless drill, a cute little 9.6V Black and Decker model.

Today, while trying to drive 2-inch screws into the studs so I could properly mount the new shelving in my daughters closet, I learned that my cute little 9.6V cordless just wasn't up to the task.  So, I ended up making a 3rd trip to the hardware store today, so I could spend more money picking up a man-style plug in drill. 

So, while the new drill made short work of driving those screws into the studs, it also reminded me how expensive it is to be a homeowner.

Bright and early.

It's my Friday off, and of course, I am up and getting ready to head out the door at 6am.  Bless you, Home Depot for being open early enough that I don't feel I am wasting part of the day staring at the wall.

Today is kind of my big day to make some progress at the new house.  My wife has completed painting both the girls rooms(totally unnecessary in my mind, as they were both nice green, browns and blues...but my wife has some point about 'girl colors', a point totally blown out of the water by the fact that my older daughter chose to keep the green on two of her wall, and go 'fossil'(not quite white) on the other walls. 

My chore list for the day is getting a 4th shelving unit for the garage, and then removing a nasty old storage cabinet that the previous owners screwed into a wall in the garage.  Following that, I need to get the closet shelving units installed in at least one girls bedroom.  We are going with this ClosetMaid ShelfTrack kit...it's what we have in the master bedroom of the place we are renting, and it seems like a fairly sturdy setup.  The only real skills required on my part are being able to use a stud finder, a level, and a drill, all of which I should be able to do.

After that, time permitting, I need to decide between working inside more, or outside.  Outside, the grapes growing along the fence have not been cut back since the fall, and if I don't do something soon, things are going to get fricking crazy with them this summer.  Some of these varieties of grapes can put on 20+ feet of new growth a season.  Inside, down in the laundry room, at one point the previous owners tried to turn the space under the stairs into storage shelves.  Most of it looks okay, but one of the shelves, they used left over drywall as a shelf, instead of the 1 X 4's they used on the other two shelves.  This will need fixing at some point...the drywall already sags in the middle, and I don't trust it hold nearly as much compact weight(like ammo cans) as a shelf made of 1 X 4's could. 

Well, the time, as they say, is wasting.