Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hot Weekend.

Yesterday was spent with morning chores (food shopping and painting 3 of 5 brown outdoor chairs candy pink) and a Graduation Party of a good friend's son.

We came home exhausted but still awake enough to watch a few tivo'd episodes of our new favorite show, International House Hunters. The Chancellor has always like these HGTV house hunting shows but I am recent convert.

A couple of days ago we watched an episode on moving to Panama and we've been hooked on the idea ever since. I'm not sure it's something we would ever follow through on but it has replaced Arizona as the "when we retire to X" place in our daily conversation and dreams.

Panama looks cheap and warm and you can get places that look like this.

It's nothing serious yet just day dreaming when we get a free moment on the Internet, but it looks feasible if you get the right place.

The Chancellor work a half day yesterday and left at 7 am for a full day. I  started the morning with a 10 mile bike ride in the heat followed by a jump in the pool at 9 am. I had a nice quiet breakfast reading about how the US World Cup team should have done better followed by more chores (kitchen duty and laundry) and listening to the Phillies game while painting the remaining two chairs candy pink (I had run out of paint).

The boys played soccer in the heat and then came home and devoured everything in sight. 

Now it's time for steaks on the grill and later we'll watch True Blood.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bike riding in Philly.

Summer is officially here since I spent some time Friday night picking up towels from around the pool and Oldest Son is commuting back for weekends. Tensions are higher than those of the Israeli/Palestine blockade between the Parents and the Children as we discuss how to study for a high school final and what "out" on Saturday means.

On Friday Oldest Son and his friends went "out for ice cream" and he returned at 8 am the next day covered in magic marker. "Fell asleep first?" sufficed for "Good Morning".

There was drama Friday night as Youngest son broke it off with his Girlfriend of 9 months. I'm sure later in life he will regret breaking up with a double jointed girl who models but for now he just wants to hang out with boys. I liked it better when she was around as she was a much more stabilizing influence.

Technology at least allows we the Parents to say good bye to this person that we have had in our house for nearly a year. I wrote her a nice message on Facebook as did the Chancellor. We really liked her and the older I get, the more I am pro arranged marriage.  Let's face it, when you are 18 you are basically an idiot.

Oldest Son is looking for room mates for his apartment in Newark. He has an old friend in there for the summer but come fall we are on the hook for the whole rent. Needless to say, this make the Chancellor "uneasy". One idea floated has been a female exchange student from Ireland. Personally, I don't really care where she is from as long she pays in dollars.

Yesterday I up and took the bike over to Philly on a whim and rode the Fairmount Park trails along the Schuylkill River.  I rode from the Art Museum west towards King of Prussia and had to decide between the East or West River drives. I chose East.

I chose poorly because by time I crossed the East Falls bridge and turned the corner a cop was opening the road to car traffic so I had to turned around and head back down the trails on the East side of the river. By the time I got back to the Art Museum for a drink and rest, brides from all over Philly were showing up to take their wedding photos along the river.

Then some guy from the UK asked me for directions to 30th Station from there. I've lived in Philly all my life but of course have never tried to walk from the Art Museum to 30th St Station so I had to think about it. I had always gone by car so my first thought was cross the river and then make your way along the West bank of the river but what a mess that would be, walking along the rail yard and expressway.

Finally it occurred to me to STAY on this side of the river and cross at the station. It's funny how another persons perspective of a place you've lived in your whole life can be so different. As we were talking he looked over at Boat House row and asked if that was in the movie Trading Places.

I swear He thought Philly was the Paris of the mid-atlantic cities.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


I found a great site with a bunch of old ads and was amazed at how stupid some them were.

I just had to share.

According to Jon Stewart, the Gremlin Automobile was invented for two reasons:

1. To keep young males from procreating
2. So that the Pinto wouldn't feel so bad about itself.

If Jon's off brown '76 model kept the ladies away in droves just imagine how one with a Levi's interior did.  That's right, this "poor man's Pacer" came with an interior made to look like real Levi's Blue Jeans, complete with orange threading, buttons (where were those?) and a "Levi's" label.

All you need to go with this baby are some Spock ears and a "I brake for UFOs" bumper sticker and you'll be fighting the ladies off with a stick. 

See any chicks in the picture? I didn't think so.

You have to love the 12 whole month or 12,000 Mile warranty too.

Before I was the most interesting man in the world, I used to drive my car out into the desert and do peyote for entire weekends. One time I think I saw Jesus on the hill behind me.
Stay thirsty my friends.

So whatta say we have a couple of drinks and then go fix that flat on your bike?
Pass the screwdriver please, no silly the other screwdriver.

There is no way she brought that giant hat on that bus.

Maybe I'm missing something but why would anyone associate Che Guevara with timeliness? Was he known for being punctual?
Translation: My friend Fidel said he would meet me back in the jungle at 10 with reinforcements.Fidel? Are you there?

The perfect way to pick up hippy girls - Winnebago.
Couldn't you see this giant thing pulling up to the earth day rally and this guy in his tennis outfit wandering the crowd to play his part in the sexual revolution? Hey baby, wanna take a real slow ride?

Nunn Bush Shoes? Really? I couldn't think of a more out of context ad.
Nunn Bush: Bringing Sexy back.

A Slave to the Backyard.

The Chancellor and I worked like slave labor in the backyard this past Memorial Day weekend. It's been eight years since the pool and landscaping were installed and they are starting to show their age, especially in the brook stone mulch around the patio.

Sunday was declared "brook stone" day and we got to work early in the heat. We both had basic strategies in mind to clean the brook stone, strategies which I'll call Hers and Mine.

Hers consisted of picking up each stone out of the mud and muck and filling a bucket and the dumping that bucket of semi clean stones on the patio.

Mine was to shovel out stone, dirt and debris onto the patio and sort it out later, like the wheat and the chaff.

Each had advantages and disadvantages. Mine was fast and Hers was painfully slow, Hers ended up with somewhat clean stones and Mine with a large pile of mess.

Did I mention mine was fast?

In the end we compromised at this step and did both. She did it her way and I, mine.

After lunch, we were left with a large pile of stones to clean and return to the bed. Again, we had differing approaches to the problem. She went back to washing each stone in bucket of water while I devised a contraption to separate rock and debris from the iron screen chair set and the hose.

The version 1.0 contraption was a flop but I was pretty sure I was on to something, it just need tuning. This separating the stones from the muck looked like a task man had performed for centuries, at least at archeological digs. I could build an inclined ramp with traps for the debris or rent a shaker. Everything I came up with would only make sense if we were doing this for life and I simply decided the hose wasn't enough power for the job. I needed a bigger, more powerful hose. I needed the pressure washer.

The race was on. She had seventeen rocks done and I had none, but I knew I could pull ahead if I could only clean larger groups of stones in mass production. I gave up on the chairs and just started pressure washing them on the ground and soon I had a large pile of clean rocks to put back in the freshly cleaned bed.

After overspray from the power washer prevented the manual method, she moved over to help me in mass production. 

We started working together but of course we had differing philosophies about cleaning the small groups of rocks on the ground. She wanted to pick out the larger debris first and then power wash and I just wanted to power wash the crap out of the pile. This turned out to be what I would later call The Great Conflict.

Men and women have been arguing stupid things like these since the dawn of time: should the English muffin be separated with a knife or a fork, is the best way to the shore on the faster highways or secret back roads, should you put on both socks and then shoes or a sock-shoe, sock-shoe, and the mother of them all, which way should the TP be put on the dispenser.

To this list we now add "Should the debris be picked out of the stones first?"

We never did resolve it. After each new group of stones were separated out, she would bend down and pick out the big debris while I waited anxiously with the power washer. I would squirt the pressure washer a couple of times near her to let her know I was growing impatient with her picking the debris out. We argued over it instead of working and it went that way most of the afternoon until we needed supplies.

Then I "let her win" by volunteering to make the trip to Home Depot for weed barrier and she happily picked the debris out and then power washed without someone revving up the power washer above her.

At the end of the day the stone beds looked great but the mess on the patio looked like New Orleans, post-Katrina. We just turned off the power washer and walked away. I felt like FEMA.