Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The culvert is collapsing

About a month ago, a tree fell near the creek in front of the house and lodged in the pipe under our driveway. I removed the tree, but the steel pipe was bent to the point that little water could flow through it.

The neighbor and I (mostly the neighbor) cut several sections out in an attempt to get the water flowing again. Unfortunately, I knew what was happening. As the water was not able to pass through the drainage pipe, it was going around it, taking much of the compacted sediment with it and undermining the driveway. This is what we get now when it really rains! This has only happened once, but .... wow!

Fortunately, the insurance company sent out a structural engineer today to get the process of repairing it started. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One of those almost perfect weekends.....

The boys and I had one of those weekends that many dad's dream about. It started out on Saturday morning by attending the "First in Flight Jet Rally in Wilson, NC. Handing over the camera to Andrew and telling him to take all the pictures he wanted resulted in amazing me. These are some really cool pictures by an 8 year old.

After the airshow, we took off the Grandma's and worked with the boys to help her fix items around the house. We also took our bicycles so we could ride until our legs were sore. We returned home on Sunday with the family boat long enough drop it off (would not start), then walk into the house to change out the cooler and grab the tent and sleeping bags. Off to the lake ... where we swam, killed ticks, and canoed.

By the time we left on Monday about lunch, the children we so tired we came home and spent the afternoon playing computer games, napping, and watching TV. All together, an almost perfect weekend.

Thank you Lord for holding off the rain!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Some of the souls have changed, but the fun continues

I wanted to take a few moments to update the members of our changing family. We have had a couple of really sad times with the death of our oldest cat and our guinea pig (Scruffy). When Scruffy got sick, Vickie worked very hard to try and save her, but she ended up continuing to get sicker and finally died.

Vickie waited for about 6 months before deciding that she wanted to adopt another guinea pig, which after a few weeks needed a friend. We have not really named either one of them, but the cats have taken them into our family.

Finally, I could not talk about the members of our family without saying that we seemed to have unintentionally got our neighbors dog, that we now call our "step dog".

So, the list of non-humans is (in order of size):
Gracey Grey
Genny Guinea

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Great Jasmin Repair of 2010

Although I was sick for much of today, Vickie and I took Jasmine to the vet. For anyone that has been around our house lately, you know that our dog has a skin problem that has continued to worsen. She has gotten to the point of not wanting to touch her and she really stinks. Finally, we decided to take some of the tax return and spend it on vet bills for Jasmine.

Today was the first visit. I was embarrassed that the vet found six ticks, but otherwise it was OK. After all the examination, she does not have "The Mange" or anything. She is just a yellow lab with skin issues. Her skin and ears have a yeast infection and bacteria that is the main reason for the smell. For the next 4 weeks we have an entire page of procedures to follow: daily bathing, lotions, and medications. After only one day of this, we feel (maybe it is hoping) we can already see a difference.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How was your day .... today?

Hopefully, your day was better than mine. After finally figuring out where I could find free wireless (Durham Library) and then determining that I could take the children to the dentist, then to school, hangout at the library for the rest of the day, then go to Patrick's wrestling practice, I was ready for this day to start.

Well, that is not how it ended up. First, my driveway is now dirty again after 8 solid hours of pressure washing it. Seems there is enough trash washing down the creek to dam it up and wash over the culvert. I came out to trees and lumber that had to be moved (in the rain) before I could leave the yard. Traffic was slow, but OK, then I noticed the car was running a little warm, just as we got to the dentist. Making sure there was enough coolant, we started to take the children to school after the dentist appointment, only to get about 3 miles down the road to an over heating car.

Driving about 2 miles at the time, stopping and letting the car cool off is not fun, and it made Patrick very nervous. I made it to Durham, but not to school (thanks to my ex-wife's mother-in-law for getting the children the rest of the way). Thanks to one of the guys at work for finding me an Advanced Auto Parts near where I ended up.

Finally, there is a good side that they had the parts and tools that I needed to replace the thermostat. Now, off to the library where I spent much of the afternoon. Then about 4:00 PM, I find out that Patrick is sick and cannot go to wrestling practice ... arrg, I have hung out in Durham all day. O'Well, the library was quiet and I got a lot done. I did finally make it back home!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Farewell to Lou-Lou - Part Four

In July of 2008, I married Vickie and she and J.C. moved into what was my house, only ... I "thought" it was my house, turns out it was Lou-Lou's house and I was being ALLOWED to stay here. My new bride found it extremely funny to watch me feed Lou-Lou. I always made him meow before I would give him food or treats. He did not like it, but I always did it and sometimes I fully believe that Lou-Lou had an internal mental struggle giving me the meow for his dinner.

Lou-Lou was slightly annoyed when Vickie moved in and brought along her four cats. As humorous as all the interactions with the various cats were, Lou-Lou still remained "Dana's Cat" and continued to be fun, even being more playful sometimes than before the new marriage. After about 9 months with all of these animals, Vickie and I decided that we had to do something about the fleas that seemed to be worse than ever before.

As the unofficial King of the House, Lou-Lou was either used to the baths, too dignified to get very angry, or already getting sick and we just did not know it yet. About 3 weeks after these pictures were taken, my friend for so many years started to slow down, not be so playful, and no longer even able to jump on my bed. Twice I found him by the creek in front of our house just laying there, not coming to my calling.

I have to admit that I was not at all prepared for the emotions that came with having to put Lou-Lou to sleep. It really was one of the most painful and complicated experiences of my life.

The peaceful experience of holding him as the veterinarian gave him the medicine to stop his heart. The sense of loss when his breathing and movements stopped on June 23rd, 2009.

The grief that came over me as I showed him in his cardboard casket to my children when picking them up from summer camp. The pride I had in my boys as they insisted in helping me dig the grave in the back yard.

While it might seem trivial now, I could not be more proud of Vickie and all her words of wisdom during this time. I really did not want to have a "funeral" over a cat, but it really did help both the children, Vickie, and especially me to find Bible verses to read and prayers to say.

Lou-Lou, you will never know how many memories you gave me. Even now it is difficult to write about your death. We continue to laugh at the joy you gave us and the times we shared.

Goodbye old friend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Farewell To Lou-Lou - Part Three

It has been a long time since posting, but I wanted to continue my sharing of Lou-Lou's life with my family. When I wrote last, Lou-Lou was living "the dream" with everyone in the neighborhood.

When my wife asked me to leave in July of 2003, I never even asked for any of the cats that we had. To be honest, it would have been very difficult for me to care for them as I was out town much of the time and where I was living, I did not know many people around me.

About 1 year after the purchase of my new house, several of my old neighbors were calling to tell me that my ex-wife had moved and that she had left Lou-Lou behind. At this point, I told the neighbors to "catch him" and let me know when they had him.

Here is when the fun begins ... of course they caught and called when my children were visiting me and we had to bring this poor cat home in the trunk of the car. He had gotten used to his new "way of life" that no longer included me or the children, so he was very scared when we brought him home. This was, after all, a bachelor's house with two small kids. Just walking through the house could be a hazard!

The fear he had evaporated very quickly and after only a few weeks, the old Lou-Lou that I knew and loved was back. We fell quickly into a routine. I got up in the morning, went to the front door and let him in, played for a few minutes, fed him, then went to work. He of course had been out all night "hunting" or whatever cats do all night and needed to sleep all day. After work, I came home to Mr. Sleepy that would take a little time to wake up. We would again, hang out and play, then at bed time, he would go outside and I would go to bed. This continued until our new family moved in July of 2008...