Monday, December 31, 2007

Year's End

In review, it has been an odd year. The kids have been doing well. Cindy and I have been doing well. I have a new niece. Cindy's nieces returned to the Coast. And we've been making crazy amounts of progress on the house.

But everything seems to pale next to the series of losses that have scarred the year for me. My friend Stanley Cline died. My cohort MacArthur Wright died. And last week, my Grandfather died.

So that's how I'll remember 2007. A swirl of personal successes spangled red by unexpected departures.

Welcome, 2008. I've been expecting you.

Friday, December 28, 2007

MOVIE: Charlie Wilson's War

It is a good sign when Cindy doesn't sleep through a late movie. And Charlie Wilson's War kept her awake the whoooooole time.

Stellar cast. Excellent acting. Well-written dialog. Good pacing. All around great flick. Well worth the price of admission and I know there will be numerous awards in its future.

I was glad to see the movie allude to the fact that America trained and armed the Mujahideen to fight the Soviets, but created a new generations of enemies by "not finishing the job." We left the fragile, still-wounded country to fend for itself. Then the Taliban slithered into the void, to fill the Afghan people with hatred towards its former ally. And the rest is history.

So, just a touch of self-righteous liberalism. But not enough to spoil the mood.

In closing, I do have a confession to make. I thought the male co-star was Dan Akroyd.
I was happily surprised when Cindy told me it was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Loved his character, too! His best role since Capote. I would have went to the theater just to see him. The rest was gravy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Santa's Leftovers

Santa came and left several surprises. First, the kids both got a reindeer Webkinz. I think that makes 8 pets for Liam and 6 pets for Meg.

Here's a picture of their displaying the newbies.

Next, Liam rocked the house with a new electric guitar. It is a pretty cool little axe, too. It has different cartridges that let you play different genres of music. And you can hook it to any relatively modern television that has a red/yellow/white input. So, Liam's new motto is: have grooves, will travel.

Here's a snap of him getting ready to shred.

And wee Meg, recently returned from her Medical Tour of Gulfport Memorial, received a Hannah Montana wig and a nifty karaoke microphone, among other things.

Here's a photo of her preparing for her first appearance with the new gear.

After we went through all the findings at our house, we went to my Grandmother's house for a few more presents and lunch. Then over to my parents house, for the next round of gifts.

I was supposed to go with everyone to my Father-in-law's house, for the final round of presents. But my allergies or sinuses fired up, and I all but collapsed in bed for a couple of hours. I slept while Cindy and the kids went without me.

In the end, it was a good day. The weather held out for us. The families all came together. Everyone was happy, given the situation. 2008, here we come.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My wee lass

Meg was sick for a couple of days. The first day she threw up several times and couldn't keep anything down. The next day, she barely ate and threw up again. Yesterday, Cindy took her to the pediatrician. He said Meg had lost too much weight too quickly and was very dehydrated. So we had to admit her to the hospital, to keep her from deteriorating further.

The first day was bad. She was very lethargic. And didn't speak much. She wanted to be home. And didn't like the fact she had an IV in her arm and they had to draw blood (for tests) from the other. I don't think she ate that day, either.

On the good side, they pumped her full of fluids. There were TONS of presents from schools and nurses. And they had plenty of games and books to keep her entertained.

By the end of the second day, she was eating a little bit. Her color had returned. And she was talking again (mostly about going home.) I managed to catch her smiling. (Click picture to enlarge.) That's her bed and her Mommy and her new pink bear. I forgot what she named the bear, though.

Just as Liam and I were wrapping up, the doctor came through. He said, "It wouldn't hurt to keep her one more night." Which Cindy and I clearly took to mean: Her labs are close, but she isn't normal, we'd like to keep giving her fluids over night and we'll send her home tomorrow morning.

So that's the plan. One more night for Mommy and Meg. We'll all be together tomorrow.

Monday, December 03, 2007

This Olde House - Part 8

We've had three pallets of tiles sitting, under tarps, under my carport, for the better part of a month. We bought them early, when they were on sale. They've been taunting me ever since. Daring me to try and put them in place. It all came to a close this weekend.

The tiles are done!

These things are eighteen inch, "roman stone " tiles. That translates into "very heavy and cumbersome." A six pack easily weights more than forty five pounds. Seriously, the large weighted plates at the gym weigh less! And there are three hundred square feet of them to put down.

In the process of putting them down, I learned several valuable lessons: you always have to mix the mortar the same way to keep it consistent throughout the project, sometimes the floor isn't perfectly level, and you have to vary the thickness the mortar to in order to get the final product to be level.

Fortunately, the dining room is fairly square. And the back wall lines up flush with the kitchen walls. So there really wasn't aanything overly complicated involved in getting the pattern in place.

Only really had to cut about twenty pieces. Six along the arch to the living room. Two along the hallway. And the rest along the cabinets in the kitchen.

A day and a half for the tile. Half a day for the grout.

I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Cindy loves the final results. That makes it worth the time, effort, and cost.