7/31/08 - New York...not so great

I spent the last several days in New York City seeing the sites and taking in a ball game at both Yankee Stadium and Shea stadium. This is the last year for both stadiums, and so we wanted to see a game in each.

I'll have a longer write up when I get back from Nashville this weekend, but for now, we did have a good time, I just felt that New York was a let down from what I was expecting.

I'll have pictures also, which I will probably be hosting on facebook as opposed to on here. I haven't decided yet.

Although I did not get a picture of him, the most intersted person I came across was an older gentleman, I would say mid to late 50's probably about 5'6". He had a 10" spike of hair on the top of his head wearing a kilt and a long sleeve black shirt. He had big black army looking boots and on both of his arms had metal studded pads. Somehow, everyone else with me did not see this person so I am now beginning to wonder if I dreamed this guy up...I'm actually hoping that I did dream this guy up.

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7/24/08 - Exersaucer review

Not too long ago, many of the people from my office threw a baby shower for Makenna and since we had gotten pretty much everything we needed from previous showers, they all chipped in and got us a Exersaucer. We had picked out one that was slightly different, but they decided to go with this one because it had several different stages that allowed the child to grow with it, basically from birth to several years old.

Although I will not say that this is the absolute best product out there, Makenna loves hers. She is a little too short still to have her feet completely on the ground so we have to stack stuff under her so she can stand up. Once you put her in there though...she is content for easily 30 minutes. The crazy thing is that we haven't even put batteries in several of the things, so she doesn't get to push all the buttons.

The downsides that I see to this product is that it is extremely large. It does not fit through most doorways, so by putting it together in the living room, that is pretty much where it stays. On the same note, the amount of assembly was a little surprising to me. Nothing was put together at all and although I enjoy putting together puzzles, I could have spent the hour or so doing something else if it had already come put together. Also, it is much more difficult to collapse and then expand than I would have liked. It really takes at least 2 people to do it with no hassles.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being a perfect product, I would put this at a 7. It could have come with a few more pieces already assembled. Likewise, the size and difficult to collapse does not make it very portable at all. We like to use these types of things in the bedroom and the living room, but we have to pick one or the other with this item. As much as Makenna loves it, I would get it again if it came down to it.

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7/22/08 - The swing review

The correct name of the Baby Swing we purchased is actually Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing. For the sake of not having to type that every time, it's called a baby swing.

If it were not for this swing, I have no idea where Cristi and I would be. Since Makenna was about two weeks old, she has slept in her swing every night and for every nap she has taken. She is not a fan of sleeping at all, but the noises and motions of this swing put her to sleep within minutes of putting her down.

Some of the features include multiple positions of the cradle portion. You can increase or decrease the incline. You can also switch the direction of the swing from side to side to front to back. Makenna only likes the side to side, but it was good to know we had the option available.

It also has several audio options, Makenna prefers the rain forest sounds and the 6 levels of speed although helpful to some, has not been a benefit to us as we have only used the highest setting. This particular model is very portable, in that it collapses to a much size so technically if we ever needed to take it with us somewhere, we would be able to. It is still very tall which might be a problem for some, but it should still fit even in the trunk of the Accord.

Biggest drawback. The battery usage. It requires four D batteries to run, and as much as we have been using it, that lasts somewhere between one and two weeks. At a cost of $5 per four pack (cheaper when bought in bulk) that can start adding up over the long haul. We have recently invested in rechargeable batteries which has helped in that regard, but what would be really nice is to have some sort of ac adapter available for this model so we could just plug it into the wall and not have to worry about batteries at all.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being a perfect product, I think we would have to rate this product around an 8. Maybe slightly lower. It is fairly expensive as swings go, and although the different options are nice to have, they aren't really needed and therefore we haven't really gotten our money's worth of these features. usage wise, we have gotten our money and then some. The biggest negative is of course the use of batteries.

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7/18/08 - Things I miss...

- My stereo system that was originally in the minivan...yea...the 1986 Dodge Caravan.

- being young enough to not have a job, but old enough to be able to do stuff

- high school basketball, games, practices, travel, all of it...even the running

- the 1996 Chicago Bulls

- sub $1 gas prices

- my 1996 gmc sierra

- spending virtually all my time on hostboard.com

- Goldeneye for N64

- old school cartoons like roadrunner, tom and jerry and the original scooby doo

- Just for the heck of it...Vanilla Ice

- poker, Raw and Nitro, wrestling video games, monopoly, bowling, or whatever we felt like doing that night...not so much what we did...but knowing we could do whatever we wanted

- a flat stomach

- not needing to shave daily

-Saved By the Bell, especially kelly kapowski (thanks Jason, I can't believe I forgot this one)

If I think of more in the future, I'll add them to the list...feel free to add your own in the comments.

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7/15/08 - Easy Cheese does expire

Those with a light stomach, heart condition, pregnant women, children, pets, or those who enjoy the taste of easy cheese should read this post with caution...although not puke inducing, you might change your views on certain food products.

So the other day, I was in the kitchen at my office, looking for salt and pepper in the cabinets. I reached for what I thought was a salt container only to realize that it was Easy Cheese. It was in the back on a fairly high shelf, so I figured it had been there for a while. The first thing I checked was the expiration date, I saw June 28 and thought, "No big deal, if it takes this stuff years to go bad...a few days isn't going to hurt".

I haven't had easy cheese in forever, and it sounded really good so I took squirted a long string on my hand and ate it. It was fairly tasty although there was a bit of a...I'm not sure the word to use...a bit of a "funk". I wrote this off as being part of the flavor as this was a can of Cheddar Bacon. I figured that processed bacon flavor in processed cheese was probably the culprit.

Today, I decided that since it had expired, there was going to be no one in the office who would claim it and if they did, they would just throw it away and chastise me for wanting to eat expired food if I asked for the container. I took matters into my own hand. When I fixed my morning oatmeal and coffee, and stuck it in my pocket and came back to my cube to wait for my lunch...I couldn't wait.

Literally, I couldn't wait...a few minutes later I decided I had to try some more. I pulled it down from my food cabinet and took a nice big bite. While consuming this bite, I noticed that the flavor just wasn't really "cheddar bacon" at all. Still not wanting to admit it was bad after a few days past the expiration date, I had a second and third bite. At this point, I started reading the packaging and once again made it to the expiration date on the bottom of the can. Although I had accurately read and remembered the date of July 28, I had either misread or failed to notice the year affixed to said date. As soon as the "06" registered in my head, I began to very sick...

That funk was not due to the bacon flavoring, or the processed cheese flavor...but rather the flavoring of ancient easy cheese. To keep my sanity (and my lunch down), I have tried to believe that the brownish color in the cheese was due to the bacon flavoring, but the more I think about it, the more I'm afraid that the brown was just the aging process coming through in the color...

That boys and girls is the reason that they put expiration dates on packaging. Read them and read them carefully. If you are unsure what the numbers mean, you are probably better off just throwing it away...or putting it back in the cabinet for some other foolish soul to sample the joys of moldy, rancid processed cheese product.

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7/14/08 - New McDonald's Update

No, I'm not going back to work for the fast food chain. I did want to pass on some information that I learned about last night.

We decided to have Arby's for dinner last night, so after getting my wife's order, I headed on up to the local Arby's which is a little more than a mile down the road. Our house has great location including a Subway, Rally's, Arby's, Burger King, Zaxby's, Taco Bell, McDonald's and KFC within a mile and a half. That doesn't include the sushi place, Casa Mexicana, and Shotgun Dan's.

Anyways, the lady who took my order was the same lady that trained me during my first few days at McDonald's. She didn't recognize me until I explained who I was, and then she started talking to me about all the people we used to work with.

I'd like to use names, but for reasons unknown, I don't feel comfortable adding them.

- My trainer had obviously moved on to working at Arby's.
- The guy who I worked with in the back every night is no longer there, no word where he went.
- My favorite manager now works at Wendy's.
- The General Manager now works at Burger King.
- One of the other ladies I worked with works at a different Burger King.
- A different lady is apparently deceased...I didn't ask questions.
- The only person still working is the guy who I mentioned could clean the place like nobody else. He had only recently come back to work there, and I didn't find out why he had left to begin with.

There were a few other people who I had worked with on and off, but I can only assume that they were no longer employed there. Although I had anticipated that there was high turnover, I was somewhat surprised that no one had stayed there for the last 6 months. In fact, most of them had moved on to other jobs within just weeks of when I had left.

I seriously doubt there will be any more followups, but I'm pretty sure that if I were to go back for dinner sometime, I wouldn't know a single person working. I might do that just to see...although I doubt it.

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7/8/08 - Kansas....not that bad

I spent the last weekend in Olathe, KS with Phillip visiting friends from camp. I had a great time and we managed to get in quite a bit of tennis and a game of ultimate frisbee. We had an incredible game of Mau, played quite a bit of speed scrabble and several other games, some of which I've already forgotten. Even without the games though, it's always nice to be in the company of friends. Big ups to the entire Nelson family for being totally awesome...they let us stay on their couch and wound up feeding us for several meals while we were there...in fact I think all of the meals while we were there.

On a side note, I've lost about 10 pounds in the last three weeks or so, starting the day before I left for camp. I dropped below 170 last friday and lost another two while in Kansas somehow. I really don't want my weight to drop that much, but the location of the weight is the problem. Since I'm not lifting weights and adding mass in the right places, I'm going to have to settle with the loss for now.

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7/1/08 - No complaints here...

I've been in a pretty good mood the last couple of days. I'm not really sure what it is. I feel pretty stress free, and in fact, on Sunday, I spent quite a bit of time in the afternoon just floating in our pool (which I finally got put together and filled). I don't remember the last time I just laid around and did nothing (nothing as in no television or video games or some other form of stimulus). It was really nice, not including the nice sunburn I got.

Speaking of the pool, what a mess. I still don't have it completely leak free, but it's close enough that I'm happy with it. At some point this summer, I might decide to replace the hose and seal that is leaking, but I just can't be bothered with all the other stuff I had to do to get this far.

Sunday night, the family came over and we had a cookout thanks to Greg's big idea. We asked if the pool was ready, I said come on over, he said let's have a cookout. Four hours later everyone was at my door ready to grill out some food and swim for a little bit. We had a great time.

Makenna is four ounces away from 10 pounds, so that is a huge deal. She is supposed to be 11 pounds at her next appointment which is in two weeks, but a little over 10 pounds should be about right for her length from what we've read. Hopefully the doctor is satisfied and we can cut back some of her night feedings. That way not only will we both get a little more sleep at night, but Makenna hates having to get up every 3 hours. I overslept the other night and almost exactly four hours later, she was ready to eat. I can only imagine how important that extra hour would be for Cristi every night.

The weekend of the 4th is coming up, and I'm really looking forward to it. I have this Wednesday off as my flex day at work (we've started working four 10 hours days), and then I go in on Thursday, where we typically get off 2 hours early the day before a holiday. Friday we have off, which I plan on spending the morning and early afternoon with family, probably playing in the pool, grilling out some steak and just havinga good time. That afternoon, around 3:00 or so, Phillip and I will be headed up to Kansas City to hang out with a bunch of people from camp. We'll come back Sunday afternoon/night and then I'm taking off next Monday as my flex day to catch up on sleep and relax after the 14+ hours worth of driving over the weekend.

I'll save the rest of my summer plans for a later post, but I've got New York and Nashville coming up pretty soon.

Huge news...a really good friend of mine from Australia, who we jokingly refer to each other as "internet husband and wife" (and yes, Cristi knows all about her) just told me that she and her current boyfriend are planning a trip to America sometime in 2010. They will be in new york and las vegas, but that's probably as close as we will ever be, so I'm thinking I might see if cristi wants to travel around the same time to be closer so we could actually meet in person. that's a long shot, but it was really exciting news for me.

I've got a few pictures I need to put up including Makenna and her first boyfriend as well as a few pictures that my mom has apparently taken over the last several weeks. Cristi was telling me that there are some really good ones of Makenna smiling and laughing. Last, but not least, several weeks ago, we had some professional pictures taken of Makenna by a friend of Cristi's. As part of the sitting fee, she is willing to shoot anything, so since Cristi's mom and grandma were in town, they got a few family shots. Here is a link to the flickr page of all the shots. If you are interested in ordering any of the pictures, leave a comment, call me or send me an email, I can get you the order forms and stuff. Here is the main link...and here's my favorite

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