Day One

Well, we all survived Sam's first day of kindergarten. Here's a picture of him on our porch, with our lovely dirt yard in the background, and Allison looking cute just for good measure.


When I was a kid, my elementary school was visible from our house, and my mom used to watch us through binoculars from the house to make sure we got home safely. It was embarrassing, and I couldn't understand it at the time.

Now it kind of makes sense, though. My main fear for Sam yesterday was that he wouldn't get on the right bus to come home, or would get off at the wrong stop. I never rode the bus to school, so it was a little outside my experience. But he made it, and even though Katie was a minute late meeting him at the bus stop in the afternoon (Allison was asleep and she didn't want to leave her alone in the house) he started walking the right way to get home.

Overall, he enjoyed his first day and was eager to go back. Now we'll just have to be ready for the first time he has a bad day. But we'll take things one step at a time.

Dream Car

Last night I dreamed that I was involved in a group planning an intricate heist of some sort. We all had our jobs. Mine involved researching the average weight of a variety of dogs so we could correctly dose the sleeping pills in the meat we would give them, because we apparently didn't know the breeds we would be up against.

Eventually we successfully broke into the place the valuable item was stored, which was a high-rise apartment building. We ended up taking the small locked box the item was in (I remember we had to ride the elevator with some cops on the way down), allowing our lock guy to work on it for a couple days. When he eventually got it open, it was some sort of Micro Machine.

We were all a little skeptical about the value of such an item, but it did look like an unusual one, and it came with something labeled a "micro computer." So we decided to check around to see what it was worth, but I woke up too soon to find out.

The Morals of the Story

The other night I was reading Rumplestiltskin to Sam from a fairy tale book. As you all know, at the beginning of the story, the miller is a big fat liar, bragging that his daughter can spin straw into gold. So the king locks her up to make her do it, promising to marry her if she does it. So the creepy guy shows up and does it for her, and the king breaks his promise. But he tells her to do it again and he’ll really marry her this time. And so on.

Anyway, around the second time the king lied to her about marrying her, Sam spoke up. “Why is everyone in this story lying so much?” Sometimes I forget how insightful he really is.

And, on an unrelated note, the other day he didn’t want to put on a particular pair of shorts because he didn’t feel they were modest enough. And yes, he used that word. Maybe we’re doing a better job raising him than we feared.

Trapped

Someone doesn't want us to go outside...

[caption id="attachment_1367" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="If this works, I'm set for life."][/caption]

Back to School

Last night we went to Back to School Night for the first time ever. So I guess we should just call it "to school night."

Semantics aside, it was an odd experience. I still dimly recall my experiences as the student, so it's a strange feeling to be on the other side now as the parent. It's one of those landmark experiences that makes you feel a little bit old. Not as old as having your kids graduate from high school, but still.

Anyway, Sam is excited about school, and his teacher seems to be really nice, so we'll see how everything goes.

The Longest Yard

Imagine you are standing at the base of a mountain, with your climbing gear on, looking up. The top is shrouded in clouds. That’s how I feel as I consider the mammoth undertaking of getting a yard installed.

For several weeks I’ve been trying to plan what needs to be done, in what order, and I’m running out of ways to pretend I am being productive without actually doing anything.

So we have been trying to plan out what we will do. Katie and I love grass, so we never planned anything very ambitious. Frankly, a lot of people seem to try cramming too much stuff into their yard, leaving it looking cluttered. And as our previous landlord can attest to, we are not cut out to take care of a lot of garden area anyway. So the plan is to plant grass everywhere and have one small flower bed in front of the porch, and a couple of trees. We are also going to add a concrete patio in the backyard. So the to-do list looks something like this:

1. Till the soil to loosen it up. (We have already tried this, to little effect due to mechanical problems. I will be renting another one and giving it another shot. Our soil is really hard.)
2. Have a soil analysis done to see what we need to do for a healthy lawn. (I’m waiting for the results. It seems a bit excessive, maybe, but it was a good suggestion by my dad. We do want things to last.) Then we need to add organic matter, or whatever they recommend, and till that into the soil.
3. Pour the concrete patio, and curbing for the flower bed in front.
4. Plan the sprinkler system (I do have the plan, courtesy of a local sprinkler supply store.)
5. Install the sprinklers. This involves renting a trencher and laying all the pipes and all that good stuff.
6. Create a final grade for the lawn, which means raking it until it is all smooth, draining away from the house.
7. Lay the sod and get it established, and then get a lawn mower.

Yeah, climbing the huge mountain seems a lot easier.

Zap

Last night we had the most impressive thunderstorm I have ever seen. It all started a little before midnight, as I was trying to get to sleep. Bright flashes of lightning kept interrupting my descent into slumber, at a rate of several per minute. There was no thunder, though, at least for a while. As the storm crept closer we began to hear low rumblings, and the lightning became even more intense. I should have counted the flashes, but they were often interrupting each other, and the thunder was too. I kept thinking maybe the center of the storm had passed, when a huge peal of thunder would crash overhead. We opened the blinds for a while and just watched the show. The amazing thing was that the kids didn't wake up even though it lasted for an hour, with a few really deafening crashes.

I always wondered how much electricity we could get from lightning, if it were possible to capture safely. According to one random website I just found, "One storm can discharge enough energy to supply the entire U.S. with electricity for 20 minutes." I don't know how much we could get over the course of a year, but it would certainly be awesome to toast your bread indirectly with lightning power.

You Have a Dream

Lately I’ve given a lot of thought to dreams. Not the kind you have while asleep, as amusing as those often are. I mean our aspirations for our lives. I suppose dreams seem a little more far-fetched and a little less rational than our goals.

We’re often told that we should pursue our dreams at all costs, for the sake of our happiness. But lately I’ve been thinking that there must be some limit there, or we are more likely to jeopardize our happiness than to find it. If, for example, a man dreamed of being the CEO at his company (don’t worry, I’m not that ambitious), that is a relatively understandable dream, although it’s a bit lofty. But if he works 18-hour days, never sees his family, gets divorced and ruins his relationship with his children in order to achieve that dream, then it’s definitely a Pyrrhic victory.

I’m trying to think about whether or not I have crazy huge aspirations, but all I ever really wanted was a family, a house, and a decent job, all of which I now have. I guess I still dream of running a full marathon, and getting a novel published, but those seem more like things to add to a standard list of goals.

So I guess the question is, at what point do we draw the line and realize that our dreams shouldn’t necessarily be pursued at all costs? What are your dreams, and how far would you go to achieve them?

Dream # Whatever

I dreamed I was on Mars, harvesting beans with something that looked like a hockey stick. Why I couldn't just pick them up is anyone's guess.

Happy Returns

After a few days offline, my site is back! So if anybody actually comes here again, thanks.

Well, my 31st birthday has now come and gone, and it was a good one. A few weeks ago I had decided to run a half marathon for my birthday (not a registered one, just by myself), because for some reason I thought the 13 and 31 would be cool. And then, a couple days before, I decided that in order to prove that I'm not getting old, I decided I had to beat my best time at that distance, set all of three months ago.

I managed to do it in 1:38, taking a little more than a minute off my previous time. Not too much, but I felt good because you generally run slower on your own anyway. I did manage to score some pretty sore toenails, though.

Anyway, enough with the boring running stuff. Now on to the boring family stuff! Katie bought me a bunch of shirts (I think I ended up with 13, so I really mean "a bunch"), and I got to go see Cowboys and Aliens (spoiler: it has cowboys in it, and also aliens). Then we went to my parents' house for dinner and family pictures, because my sister and her husband are moving to San Antonio this week. My dad made some killer beef brisket and barbecued ribs. It was great.

So it was a good day. I'm hoping to have some more frequent posts coming up, detailing the hilarious results of my attempts to install a sprinkler system, lawn, and patio. Stay tuned.

My posts lately have been few and far between lately, so let’s see where my stream of consciousness goes today. It should prove especially entertaining, given that I had about 2.5 hours of sleep last night.

I feel a bit like my blog is dying, which makes me sad. I’m trying to decide if that’s because I have nothing to say, or because I write all day for work and get a little sick of it. I’m not sure what the reason is. But since this is really my only form of a journal (at present, at least) I need to leave something to be remembered by, and I imagine a journal is preferable to my stuffed corpse standing by the fireplace. (Hey, what did you expect from stream of consciousness? At least I’m using punctuation.)

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about science fiction. This is partly because I am attempting to write a science fiction novel, having finally received some good advice on developing a proper plot structure. But it’s also because science fiction was once sort of a beacon of hope that humanity would outgrow its stupidity (see: Star Trek). There was something of vast, untapped potential in the stories of the early to mid-twentieth century, and that optimistic attitude has been replaced with a new genre of dystopic, post-apocalyptic works, apparently reflecting what is weighing on our collective consciousness.

Wow, this took a turn for the serious, so let me see if I can lighten things up. We love having our own house, knowing that if we want to knock a hole in a wall or throw a rock through the window, we can (hypothetically speaking, of course).