30 April 2002

More on Bogie
Bogie's our Miniature Schnauzer. He's about 11, I think, (That's 77 for you and me) and not long for this world. He's been acting like a little old man dog for the past year or two, but he's gotten worse in the last couple of months.

The first sign we had was when he started puking on a regular basis. We thought maybe he had some sort of stomach tumor or some degenerative condition. Gerri and I debated whether or not to have him treated or just put to sleep. I kept saying that if he had something treatable - within reason - then we should do it. Eventually she agreed and took him in to the vet. $400 later we found out that his esophagus had basically lost all muscle tone and stretched to several times it's normal size. The reason he was 'regurgitating' (as the vet put it) was that the food wasn't getting to his stomach - it was literally stuck in his throat. He was down to 7 lbs. and was essentially starving to death.

That made us feel nice.

The fix was that he had to stand on his hind legs to eat and drink. The vet also recommended some high-calorie food to help him gain some weight. So we did all that and he really started perking up a little. Amazing what a difference regular nutrition can make.

29 April 2002

Weekend Update
Trekked on over to Green Bay this weekend for a wedding. My step-sister-in-law (?) got married. Gerri, Ben, Hailey, and Maia left around noon Friday with Jennifer, Madison, and Peyton. (how terrible is it that I'm not sure I spelled my niece's name right - may be Payton - this is no way to start the week) Dave flew into Green Bay from his meetings out east, and I left after work with Matt and Bogie (the dog - more on him later).

Matt and I were listening to a book on tape - Far North, I think - and I was pretty into it, and not-so-much paying enough attention to where I was going. I missed out exit and didn't figure it out for a loooong time. It could have been worse I guess, but it still cost us at least an hour.

Saturday morning we got up and I took the kids swimming in the hotel pool. Maia pretty much monopolized my time - "Let's jump in, Dad!" "Come into the hot water!" Come into the cold water!" She had a blast, but by the time we were done swimming she was about ready for a nap. This was bad, because it was time to get ready for the wedding. That was an adventure in itself - six people taking showers and getting dressed in one hotel room. Eventually it was decided that Dave and I would skip the wedding to stay with Maia and Peyton while they napped. It was a tough job, but we managed to get through with beer and the Hornets vs. The Magic. (Baron Davis was robbed at the end of regulation - that was a ridiculous call.)

Eventually the wedding-goers returned and we all freshened up and headed over to the pre-reception party. It was in someone's garage, which is very Green Bay, and there were plenty of adult beverages. It was a nice garage, but I'm not a fan of parties where I know virtually nobody. I find that I just smile and nod a lot, and usually follow in Gerri's wake. The kids actually did great - the boys played cards and Hailey hung out with some high school kids and played a computer game - she's much better than me at making friends in strange places. Which makes me nervous, sometimes. I'd rather my cute, five-year-old daughter was a little more cautious with strangers.

The reception was fun. Dinner was the obligatory fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes and dressing. It was fine. For some reason we had a table right up front. I was a little uncomfortable with that since we barely know the bride.

After dinner there was free beer at the bar and a band. The band was great. They were from Milwaukee and really a lot of fun, though not at all your usual Wedding Singer type band. They played a lot of alternative rock stuff - Dave Matthews, Sara McGlothlin, Alanis, Train - and some different older stuff - James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, Grateful Dead, Warren Zevon.

Gerri had told the girls that they'd get to dance, and they were way into it. Hailey made a new best friend with the flower girl - another five-year-old running around in a miniature bride dress. Maia dragged me onto the floor and had a blast except for her complaints that it was 'too loud'.

26 April 2002

Cars are a pain in the ass
I despise most aspects of owning a car.

I mean it's nice being able to get where you need to go, and mostly I even like driving. It's all the other stuff that makes me crabby.

Some people enjoy buying cars. My brother-in-law does it for a living - actually, now he's in charge of a lot of other people who buy cars, but he used to do it himself. These people like to negotiate; they like the back and forth, the games, the histrionics of the salesman who'll 'have to check with my manager'. I am not one of those people. The whole process makes me very uptight and when it's all over I'm always sure I got screwed, and everyone at the dealership is having a nice chuckle over my inept attempts to be a hard-nosed deal-maker.

Only slightly less upsetting to me is having a car serviced. Actually, I think I feel even more helpless when I have to talk to a mechanic then I do talking to a salesman. I don't know enough about cars to know when they're selling me shit I don't need. I know the salesman is trying to ring every last drachma out of me. With the mechanic there's at least a chance that he's being honest and only fixing stuff that's actually broke.

My whole car-service-buying life I've known one mechanic that I really (almost completely) trusted. He had a shop in Knoxville, Tennessee and he only worked on Hondas. At the time we owned two Hondas (actually a Honda and an Acura - same thing) so it was perfect. Unfortunately, I didn't discover him until right before we moved to Green Bay.

This subject is on my mind because I took our van in yesterday to get two new tires. The tire people tried, of course, to sell me four tires. Our van has all-wheel-drive and they were telling me about some (supposed) friend at another shop who just got sued for putting two tires on an AWD van, because the transfer-case crapped out. After a couple of minutes of back-and-forth I convinced them to just sell me the two tires I came in for. But it's still in the back of my mind - what if they're right ...

All in all, cars are just barely worth the trouble.

They were right ... $1800 later, I can tell you, they were absolutely right.

25 April 2002

My latest jones, and some serious rambling
I really, really want a new computer.

The one we have now is a piece of shit. It's about five years old which makes it an antique in Moore's law time. It has a Cyrix 166 processor, 96MB of Ram, two hard drives totalling about 11GB. The last time I re-installed (crappy) Windows 98 I partitioned the drives into about five different logical drives so I'm often moving stuff around to free up space. I thought it made sense to have separate drives for me, Gerri, and the kids. I put the OS on one partition, and also created another miscellaneous one. I don't ever remember smoking crack, but this makes me wonder.

At one point I had it set up to dual-boot Linux, but I trashed that. I'd love to move to Linux, but I don't think Gerri would be thrilled. She fears change. I have Linux running on my laptop which is currently living in my closet. The good news is I bought it old and used off of Ebay. The bad news is it has a 1GB hard drive so I can barely make it fun.

Actually the biggest problem is that my home network doesn't so much work. I have DSL through my phone company - a small non-Bell former co-op. Instead of a cable/DSL router, they gave me some kind of funky modem with only one connection. I've got it running into a hub with all my (two at the moment; three if I haul out the laptop) computers hooked into it, but I can only have one on the Internet at a time - my ISP doesn't do DHCP anymore. I've got a fixed IP. (uh, I think) I think if I had an open PCI slot , I could throw another NIC in it and maybe get something going, but all my slots are full on my Win98 machine and I don't really want to mess with my Mac - an old 9600 with a 133 MHz processor (I think) that I got for $40.

So, you see, all my problems will be solved when I get my new computer that I really, really want. It'll be:
* faster
* more stable with XP
* better for networking, 'cause XP is
* more capacious - I'm thinking at least a 40GB drive
* ready for another NIC so my home network is really a network
* generally cooler 'cause it's new

And then I plan on turning my current clunker into a bad-ass Linux rocker. Or something like that.

24 April 2002

Those bastards at Yahoo
Yahoo's doing away with free Pop email forwarding and I'm a little crabby about it.
I switched to yahoo as my primary personal email a couple of years ago because I got tired of asking all my friends to update their address books every time I switched ISPs or jobs - which seemed to be happening a lot. I picked yahoo over the other web-mailers because of their Pop server access - I could set up my email client to download my yahoo mail just like my email through my ISP.
Now they've decided to charge for this service. The words 'Bait and Switch' come to mind.
I won't be giving those yahoos (ouch, sorry) one thin dime. I'm shopping the alternatives. I'm thinking about going ahead and getting my own domain and getting my email through whoever hosts it.

23 April 2002

Funny Maia Story
Gerri met her friend Gina at the health club today. She dropped Maia (age 2) off at the club's daycare and got away with minimal fuss - no tears, Maia just told her she needed a hug.
Gina was still getting her Tyler settled when Gerri left, but when she was done she went to give Maia a hug. Maia told her, "No, Gina, I not want to hug you. You're scary."
An amused Gina told her, "I'm not scary, Maia. I'm your friend and my feelings will be hurt if you don't give me a hug."
Maia's other friends Hannah and Hailey were standing right there, too. Hannah was hiding behind Maia, but Hailey was standing besider her. Maia pushed Hailey towards Gina and said, "Hannah's afraid of you, too, but Hailey will hug you."
The weekend
Friday I got home and ran 5 miles. It was chilly, but I ran okay. Gerri was working, so i just hung with the kids for the rest of the night.
Saturday was a little busier. Gerri and I had planned to run in the morning, but we decided it would be warmer in the afternoon. Matt had his last indoor soccer game at noon. They demolished their opponents 11-0. A nice change from their last two games which were hard-fought losses. Matt scored a goal, so he was happy about that.
The girls missed the game 'cause they went to their cousin Madison's birthday party - she's three. I took the boys over there after soccer. It was quite a party - all the kids got to decorate t-shirts with paint, glitter, and all manner of decorative doo-dads. Our boys skipped that bit, but they were happy to have some pizza and cake.
All was good until I went outside to check on the girls and saw Matt throw Hailey's candy bar. Then as she was walking to go get it, he threw a football and hit her in the back of the leg. I made him go sit in the car for the rest of the party - about an hour. Matt, Ben, and Gerri all thought that was a bit much, but I don't think it was too extreme. He's 12. He shouldn't be throwing things at his 5-year-old sister. Anyway he cried and yelled at me most of the way home in the car. He said Ben had tackled Hailey several times and didn't get in trouble. I said I hadn't seen that and yada, yada, yada.
Gerri and I ran 8.5 miles after we got home. We ran to and around Cleary Lake. I felt pretty good and we were making pretty good time (for us). Gerri's all about us improving our speed. Last year when she ran the Twin Cities Marathon we were running 10/min miles. Now that she's talked me into running it this year, we're going to try to knock a minute or two off that pace. The faster we can run the less time we have to spend doing it. I still can't quite imagine running 26.2 miles. I ran a 25K last summer (roughly 15 miles) and that was rough. I'll definitely have to focus a little more on my training this year.
Saturday night I played poker with some guys from work. I'm not much of a poker player. They kept having to explain the rules to me - not the BASIC rules, just what the hell High-Low Chicago, Baseball, In Between, and Criss-Cross meant. I played pretty conservatively and ended up about $20 up on the night.
Sunday Gerri worked and I stayed home with the kids all day. Sunday night I played basketball. We had about 13 guys which worked out okay. A few weeks ago we had over 20 and that was a nightmare.
All in all it was a decent weekend. We'll be in Green Bay this weekend for my step-sister-in-law's wedding. That should be fun.

19 April 2002

Apparently I'm blogging.
I guess it'd be more compelling if I had something to say...
I'll work on that.
Testing ... 1...2...3