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March 12, 2007


The problem with being a homeowner, and not a rich homeowner, is all the corollary work it involves. Saturday, I was awake by about 8 am. Not because I wanted to be, but I was. I stayed there for another hour trying to get more sleep but it wasnt to be. So I got up, and made an omelette, and then started work. Mowed the front yard, then made a trip to the dump and then mowed the back yard and made another trip to the dump and edged and laid down mulch and watered and cleaned up the backyard real nice. By the time I was done I had put in almost six hours of just various yardwork. The backyard looks tons better now, though.

Sunday I finally finished putting the drawers and doors on the last of the cabinets. And planted some tomatoes. And sprayed some herbicide to kill crabgrass.

Next on the list is completely cleaning out the garage.

When do I get to just rest and sit on the deck with a martini?

March 13, 2007


Im really loving the new grill. Seriously, what's not to love? It cooks food great, and cuts down on the number of dishes since Im not using a pot or pan for whatever Im grilling.

I haven't mastered all aspects of it yet, though. Saturday, I made grilled plank salmon. Which involves cooking the fish on a board on the grill. It was going swimmingly for at least ten minutes. Then I went upstairs for about five minutes, and when I came back down, I could see flames through the side of the grill.

Sure enough, the plank had caught fire on the edges and was burning quite nicely. My first thought was to pour the marinade on it to douse the flame and further flavor the fish, but I decided against that since it was mostly oil and brown sugar. Ninsi was watching and grabbed a cup of water, but I didnt want to throw water on the grill, so I used the tongs to hold the flaming plank, and put the fish on the upper grill and took the plank to the side of the house and ran water on it. I had already soaked it for a few hours prior to using it, so I hadn't really expected it to catch fire.

My salmon was fine. It was pretty much done anyway. It was just a little more blackened than I had wanted. I am pretty sure I know where I messed up and will correct it this weekend maybe. Now if I can just train Ninsi to turn the gas off when she finishes using the grill, I'll be set.

March 28, 2007


Perhaps my dreams just aren't as large as some folks. I mean, Id be happy with just a poker table, and maybe a basketball goal on the garage. My dream house doesn't include a full casino and two storey walkin-closet like some peoples...

April 9, 2007


Snow. In April.
In Texas.

How queer is that? We awoke Saturday morning to snow flurries. It wasn't much, and it never did get bad like the weatherman said it might. But it was snow. And it was cold. The basil in the garden suffered the most, it looks like. Hopefully my tomatoes are alright. I had some blooms on a couple of the plants. This weather may have stymied that. Hopefully just postponed. My poor roses have been trying to bloom for over two weeks now. All five plants developed a bunch of buds, and were ready to bloom when the weather turned cloudy, and now cold. Once it grows warm again, and sunny for a couple days, I expect to be innundated with roses.

Spent most of the weekend cleaning. I think we did 9 loads of laundry. And there is still a couple more left to be done. But I did finally start making some headway on getting the office clean. I can see the floor again. Now I just need to get the vacuum fixed so we can get the carpet clean. I want to be done cleaning, and get everything organized so I can start getting my Warhammer 40k armies together again. I haven't played in forever, and it's way overdue. I need clean space to organize and paint.

May 23, 2007

Up equals down?

While Ninsi and I were eating dinner last night, the phone rang. I answered. It was AT&T, and the woman said that our bill rate was about to increase. She also started to say some other stuff, but I was eating, so I hung up on her. Today, I called AT&T to find out if she was full of manure or not. She wasn't. At least, not really.

As near as I can figure from the conversation I had today with AT&T, they have changed their rate plans. And our rate for DSL was going to increase from $24 to $41 dollars. That's a pretty big jump. They had another category - Elite (we had the 'pro' service) that was only $34 dollars though, and offered faster download speed than the Pro. So she switched me to that one. Which means our bill is still going up. But when I asked her what the new bill would be, she quote me a price that is $5 less than what we have been paying the past few months. I dont know what the hell she did. Maybe put us the plan that a new user gets, since I did let her know that now would be an opportune time for me to start looking at new DSL and TV providers. Whatever. Our bill should be less. I think Id still rather have fiber though.

Speaking of last night's dinner: I made beans. Ninsi, added her own personal touch to the beans by dropping in a half jar of hot peppers. Not Jalepeno's, but rather a jar of peppers that we usually just use the juice out of for some spice. Half a jar. The beans tasted real good, but they were rough on the belly after only a couple minutes. That's the kind of thing that can cause a wife to sleep in the other room sometime...

June 26, 2007


The mailbox was full when I got home yesterday. Full of things both expected and dreaded.

I had three new bills from the hospital and blood clinic. I'd been expecting a bill from the hospital, but was afraid of how much it was going to be. I was not expecting the bills from the clinic. Insurance didnt fully cover all the bloodwork, but it isnt too bad. I owe the clinic about $50 for three tests.

I was really concerned with the hospital bill. They charged the insurance about $6000. I knew BC/BS woudn't pay it all, so it was always a question of 'how much?' They actuall paid just under $4k. Then the hospital made an adjustment of almost $2k, so my final bill from them is only $125. I can live with that.

A few weeks back, I posted about having to send in my old trimmer to Philips Norelco because the dog ate it. Well, yesterday I received a brand new one in the mail. I also got the new earbuds for my phone so I can listen to MP3s again at work. Im debating whether or not to invest in some stereo bluetooth headsets. Then I would be able to listen without the damn cord.

Someone finally called to schedule a time to pick up the conference table. Should be taking care of that tomorro evening. And possibly getting rid of the bigass tent on Friday. I'll finally be able to completely reclaim the garage. Maybe use the funds from the table or tent to get some more shelves for it. I think one more set of shlelves is in order.

I also think Im going to have to send my wedding ring back to the guy that made it. I seem to have bent it somehow. I think it might have a lifetime warranty. I'm not sure on that though.

July 7, 2007

In da house

Found this little guy on the steps this evening...

He's a couple times smaller in real life than in this picture. On the steps, he's less than an inch and a half long.

July 12, 2007

Space is limited

We are having a dinner party Saturday. We have a total of fourteen chairs in the house. Today, the number of guests jumped from 13 to 18. Four of those new ones are kids.

It will be interesting to see if we can actually get everyone seated. Reptile is going to bring Zero's folding chairs, so we should have enough actual space for butts. However, that doesn't mean we have enough table or floor space for everyone.

I'll be working on the logistics of seating arrangements on Saturday while Im cooking. I have a turkey. It's only 16.67 pounds. I fear it may not be quite enough. Granted, there will be more than ample supply of desserts. But I will probably go and buy a small ham to augment the turkey anyway.

Or I could just get a small chicken and put it on the rotisserie. hmm. That might not be a bad idea. Though, I think if I get a ham, I wont have to actually cook it. And it will probably be hot on Saturday.

Sunday, we clean.

July 16, 2007


Possibly way back in the archives I mention the wall built by my neighbor. I had a wood fence between us, but when they moved in last March, they had a brick wall built. The concrete runoff from the footing poured onto my side and destroyed chunks of my fence. The neighbor never even talked to us before starting the wall.

Fast forward. Ive been working on cleaning up the back yard completely, and it is pretty much done. But for the concrete that was still on my side. A couple weeks ago when I was busting up the small amount on my side in the front yard, I saw my neighbor outside and talked to him. Turns out, I wasnt talking to the neighbor, but a friend or relative instead. But that guy went to fetch the actual neighbor, so I talked to him and explained the problem with the concrete and rocks.

A couple days later, he came over while Ninsi was home and busted up the excess concrete and put it all into a nice pile in my yard. It sat there for about two weeks until Friday evening while I was mowing the yard, the neighbor came over with another guy and they proceeded to throw all the rocks over the wall into his yard. So now that part of the back yard is done.

I think I'll plant some monkey grass or something along the length of the wall to cover up the footing somewhat. But it is way better already than it was. And it seems like maybe the neighbor isnt a such a bad guy after all. Just someone that didnt want to talk to us before he built the wall. Though, I dont really expect to talk to him much more now. But at least the backyard is clean.

November 15, 2007


I have managed to make it to the gym every day so far this week. And I think Ninsi and I are going again this evening. Mostly, I've ridden a bike. Monday I ran 5k and did weights. Which is probably what I will do again tonight. But Tuesday, my knee was bugging me, so I spent the last two nights just riding. If the knee keeps bothering me after a run, I may have to think about investing in a knee brace.

Aging sucks.

In other news, the wife and I are looking into a new bedroom set. We have furniture now, but none matches. So we want a completely matched set. Another friend of ours is wanting to sell his set, so we could buy it, and we may, but we want to look and see what we can find for new, first. Beds are not cheap. And she wants a King size, so we will have to buy new mattresses as well, and those will run us a few hundred dollars more. BTW, can someone explain to me the difference between a King size bed, and a California King?

I can envision the scenario where we buy three pieces of a bedroom set, and come back later in a couple months to buy two or three more pieces. Hopefully they wont discontinue the set after we buy the first part.

February 27, 2008


In a dream last night, there was a little girl. Her name was Barbara. I dont know anyone by that name. If you looked her in the eyes, she could make you completely forget about her. You'd forget her name, that you knew her, and anything about her. I dont remember why she wanted no one to know about her, but I did spend most of the dream with my eyes closed, so she couldnt make me forget. Since I remember that her name was Barbara, I was obviously successful. It was still a little weird, though.

I spent most of yesterday evening restless. Finally, I decided that the locks on the door leading from the garage into the house needed to be changed. So, about a quarter of 11, I changed both the locks on that door. Im hoping the restlessness will be eased once the time changes and I have more daylight.

Had I not changed the locks, I probably would have taken a file and started sharpening the lawnmower blade. I gotta find something to do in the evenings.

March 3, 2008


Ninsi's family is coming down for a weekend in about two weeks. Her mom, aunt, and three cousins will be down here on Good Friday. The Squid should also be here, as that week is her Spring Break, and I think she may be bringing a friend. That means there will potentially be eight women in the house for the weekend. I dont think Noah had enough water for that many women to shower.

The logistics are unreasonable for how everyone will get clean. Im going to take the 'not worry about it' approach and see if it devolves into a primal feeding frenzy for hot water.

What I wish I had, is a tankless hot water heating system. A small unit just for the master bathroom would be nice, though Id much prefer one that supplied the whole house with hot water. The expense itself for the tankless heaters is not too bad. But I think the expense of a contractor to install one for the whole house would be the prohibitive part. Especially since I think I'd also have to hire an electrician to run a dedicated circuit.

I think, for our next house, I will make an effort to get a tankless system put into it. It would be a lot easier to do if we could manage to build our own house, rather than have to tear out the old heating and install new. I'll worry about that in a couple more years. But tankless is definitely the way to go, I think. Plenty of hot water, all the time. mmmmmmmm

March 11, 2008

Spring Cleaned

It was cold this weekend. But not too cold. And the snow did not close down everything on Friday like some had prognosticated. I stayed home anyway. Mainly because I wanted to, and I have the hours. The weekend was largely uneventful.

Ate out Friday, piddled around Saturday, and Sunday I rented a Rug Doctor to do some cleaning on the carpets. The dogs do make a mess of them. And we wanted things to be a little cleaner since the Squid would be in town next week, as well as half a dozen members of Tracy's family.

The Rug Doctor did not exactly work wonders, but it did clean. We also moved the TV out of the bedroom. Ive been wanting to do that for a while. The room is much nicer looking now, what with the clean carpet and the ugly-ass old dresser moved out. And we have more room. That room is temporary, as we plan to get new bedroom furniture eventually, but it is nice in the meantime. And I think I like not having the TV in there.

We moved the TV to the spare bedroom. Of course, the satellite is not hooked up in there, and when I called Dish today to ask about having it connected, they told him it would cost $99 to have the technician come out and do the wiring. That's a bunch of bull. Im not going to pay them $99 just to connect a wire outside, which is about all they would have to do. I'll manage it myself, somehow. Or drop Dish and get DirectTV and they'll do the full hookup as part of an install special.

DDRing is not a game for old men. Like me.

March 13, 2008

TV Free

I mentioned that Dish wanted too much money to come out and wire another room for us. So I took it on myself to do it. I did not fail horribly, but I did mess everything up for a while. We had no TV Tuesday night. I think I can blame Ninsi for it, really, since she stripped the cable in the bedroom, and once I put a new terminator on that yesterday, everything worked fine again.

However, it doesnt work the way I want it to work, yet. And I think that is a factor of the cable wires themselves. The old wires are not high enough quality for the digital signal. So I cant just plug it into the old wire that goes to the other bedroom. There are ways around that though, and Ill work on those later. If I get it all done, then our cost will be about $21 (the cost of the cable crimper I had to buy) instead of the $99 that Dish wanted.

Im really looking forward to next week and not having to work for a few days. Just have to get through two more days of working first. Im not sure what we will be doing all next week. Probably do some birthday shopping with the Squid, since her birthday will is soon. And might try out a couple new recipes in the kitchen. Cooking may not sound exciting, but it does give you something to do for a couple hours, generally. I think we will may pizza, from scratch. And I think she is old enough to start using a grill. So there will be some open flame lessons as well. Then I can make her wash my car.

What's the point of having a kid if you dont make them do all the chores that you dont want to do?

May 22, 2008

Make my day

Our neighborhood has a lot of dogs. And most of our neighbors see fit to let their dogs just run around freely. Ninsi and I keep our dogs in the fence. We dont let them run around. Maybe because our dogs are each 5-10 times the size of most of the neighbors chihuahuas and terriers. And maybe because one of our dogs might think the little dogs were lunch. And it is a lot easier to keep track of them if they are in the yard. And we aren't as open to random liability from someone that is afraid of dogs.

Anyway, most of our neighbors do not keep their dogs in their own yard. And the other dogs often wander through our front yard which makes Barley and Luna go nuts. Yesterday, I opened the front door, and two chihuahuas were laying in the front yard. As if it was their own. So, I picked up a rock and threw it at them. I missed, badly. Why was I so far off the mark? Because Im not a caveman and have not developed good rock throwing skillz.

However, I do have good sling shot abilities. So today, I purchased for myself a new slingshot. And ammo. Next time a dog is in the yard, they will run out yipping.

I thought about getting a bb/pellet gun. And may still do that later this Summer. But, Im not looking to kill or seriously hurt any of the dogs... yet. Yes, I know, I could kill a small dog with the slingshot. But it's less likely. Plus, the bb gun would have the same problem as the paintball gun. It makes a noise that the neighbors can here.

The slingshot is silent, and thereby, much more suited to my purposes. I'll be sure to inform if/when I actually use it.

June 2, 2008


June now.
And it's hot.

But that didnt stop Reptile and I from playing golf Saturday. It was about 95 out, and we played 18 holes. Did not do as well as last week, but it was decent.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I purchased a new slingshot for dealing with the neighbor dogs that I sometimes see in my yard. When I got home Friday, there was one that looked like it was about to walk into the yard, so I went inside and got the slingshot. Unfortunately, some of my neighbors were outside, so I had to be careful. I opened the front door and stood back out of sight. My first shot was low. But I was barely aiming. Trying to be inconspicuous. The second shot though, hit the little neighbor dog right in the abdomen. It yelped, jumped up, and ran home. Exactly what I wanted to happen. I only pulled the sling back about halfway, so it wasnt enough to actually hurt the dog. If I see him again, I might have to pull back a little more. But the slingshot purchase was totally worth it, now.

Sunday, I finally got around to doing some work in the front yard that had been annoying me for a while. When we bought the house, there were shrubs in front of the bay window, and they had used bricks, put into the ground at a slant, as the border for the shrub/yard. I took the shrubs out the first month we were in the house. Always hated those, and replaced them with rose bushes. Yesterday, I decided that I was done looking at the bricks and was tired of them falling over and looking like crap, so I bought new mulch and some landscaping edging blocks. After pulling out the old bricks and raking out the old mulch and putting in the new blocks and mulch, it looks about a thousand times better. Im only sorry I waited so long to do it.

Next project - new railing.

June 10, 2008


This weekend, while doing lots of mostly nothing at the house, I finally decided on a new project to start. I am going to re-tile the guest bathroom upstairs. "Re-tile" is not quite right, since that would imply that it was currently actually tiled. It has linoleum times, and I dont think that qualifies.

It is a small bathroom. Less than 30 square feet, I think. So it should not be too difficult a project. I have never done tiling and think it would be a good practice run. If it turns out well, I may move on to doing the master bath, which is significantly larger.

So, I have to find myself a tile saw. I want a decent one, but dont want to spend $600 on it since I wont use it more than a couple times. But Im afraid the cheap ones wont hold up well. They might work for the light use I need though. I may try a couple pawn shops to see what they have. Once I get around to doing it, I'll post pictures. It'll probably be a month or two, since there is no rush. Im just looking at it as a project.

Oh, if you wake up the slumbering Sleep God, and he gets petulant and irate, it is because he wants incense. The answer is: incense.

August 20, 2008


I took a half day off work Friday so that the AT&T guy could come out and install new TV/Internet for us.

They made it out Saturday morning.

It is actually pretty nice. We have four video feeds coming in, which means we can record up to four shows at one time. Starting in October, we will be able to watch what we recorded on one TV on any other TV. It also has a lot of integration with the internet. A lot of shows that are put online after the network has aired them are available through our DVD at no cost. And one channel is dedicated to our Flickr page. I'm not real sure how useful that will ever be, though.

And, if I hear about something while I am at work that I want to record, I can log in from the internet and tell the DVR to start recording it.

Of course, when we got home yesterday, it wasnt working and the whole thing had to be power cycled. And it emits a fairly high pitch whine most of the time. So AT&T is supposed to be back out tonight to replace that box. Hopefully they will also be able to tell me why the internet just randomly stops working. I never lose the connection, but if I have chat windows up, they will all drop. And I have to force a reconnect.

8 Days til we fly out to Atlanta. Ninsi's head may explode well before then.

September 29, 2008


Our new wall hangings:

December 11, 2008

a Tree!

Ninsi and I bought a Christmas tree last week. Tuesday, I think. Brought it home, and put it up the same day. It is now Thursday of the following week, and our tree has exactly zero trimming. No lights, no bulbs, no ornaments or tinsel. But even without all of that, it actually looks pretty nice.

It is a well formed tree. We might get around to sprucing it up this weekend. (there's a pun in there somewhere, I just know it...) but maybe not. Because it looks just fine.

We also got the new sleigh bed put together in the bedroom. When we came back from Thanksgiving in OK, my mother sent the bed with us. It looks very nice. I do not know if it looks good because it is a nice wood sleigh bed, or just because it is something different in the bedroom. Either way, it is nice. We had to use my nephew's truck to bring it down, and will be heading back up to OK tomorrow to return that.

Saturday night we have to be back in Dallas though for dinner with the gang.

HOlidays, HOlidays, HOlidays...

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Notival in the Home category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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