4/15/11 - Tornado sirens in the wee hours

I knew we were supposed to have pretty heavy storms last night, but when I got in bed, the wind was blowing, but that was about it. At 2am, however, I was awoken by the tornado sirens. I've always been the type, that when the sirens go off, that's your signal to step outside and just have a look for yourself. I still have that same thought process, with one added piece, make sure your girls are safe (all three of them).

Last night was no exception. I immediately got out of bed and stepped outside, just to have a quick look. What I saw did not make me happy. It was COMPLETELY calm, which is always the signal that it's about to get real. But on top of that, it just felt "wrong". It might have been the fact that I was stirred from my slumber at 2am, but it just put me on edge.

With it still calm, i came back in, but before I could get back in bed, it started raining. Not just a little bit of rain, but a serious rainstorm. What came with it was from what I could tell very high winds (internet showed only 15mph winds, but I'm not buying that). It was also swirling rain, as I could hear the rain hitting each side of our house in succession. That was enough for me. I decided to get my girls and hang out in the bathroom for a few minutes, simply preparing for the worst.

Makenna slept in my arms the whole time, Kinsley sat in Cristi's arms, but was quite good with the whole ordeal. I've learned that trying to get Raider in the bathroom is virtually impossible, and with it raining outside, he was terrified already and would have peed on the carpet had I got near him...he had to fend for himself.

No more than 5 minutes in the bathroom, we went back to bed and after tucking them all in I turned on the TV to check the local channels for any updates. It took a minute for a satellite (thanks Dish) to pick up any stations, but once it came on, all they were saying is that there was virtually no more threat of a tornado and the rain was clear past our house based on their weather maps.

Once I heard that, I was much more at ease and headed back to bed. Not something I'd like to do again anytime soon, but it made me feel pretty good as the sirens actually woke me up before Cristi. Being a dad is rough, knowing you are responsible for the protection of several other lifeforms is pretty nerve racking.

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4/11/11 - Charitable giving

People know that I'm tight with my money. That's how I was raised, and although I'm not quite as much of a miser as I used to be, I still save and don't like to let it go easily. Charitable giving is something that I still have problems with. I donate money to causes that I feel are worthwhile or that I fully understand. My biggest problem is that I don't trust must other people to use the money I give in a proper way. (same issue with paying taxes, although i still do it).

But, this is a post about something completely different. I was at one my lawn care customer's homes and I saw a young boy in Boy Scout uniform and has dad walking door to door. I immediately assumed that they were doing some sort of fund raising for Boy Scouts, quite common, no big deal. (As I retell the story, the numbers might be off as it has been a while since this has happened, but the basic idea still remains).

When the reached the house I was mowing, they walked to the door and I was at a point in my job that I was able to hear the conversation. The homeowner answered and the boy began his speech. When he was done, she politely said that she didn't need any of what he was selling but asked if she could write a check. He said that would be fine. She then asked if $10 would help him, and he responded with, "No ma'am, it has to be at least $25". His father reiterated this fact.

Are you friggin' kidding me? The Boy Scouts are more than willing to accept a check, but only if it is at least $25. I have yet to figure out why this is? When you buy $25 worth of popcorn (that you can buy at your local grocery store for $5), the scouts probably only get half of that, if that much. And that doesn't include the overhead included in gathering paper work, filing papers, checking figures, passing out purchases, etc. I would think that a $10 check (which you just have to cash at the bank) would be much more profitable. Heck, a $5 should be completely acceptable.

That's like a beggar refusing to accept a wad of $1 bills because he only accepts $10 bills. If you are going to go around and ask for money, and someone is WILLING TO GIVE YOU MONEY...can someone please tell me why they wouldn't accept it.

This story ends with the homeowner telling him that is too much and sending him away. I don't guess the Boy Scouts are hurting all that bad.

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4/8/11 - We planted our garden

Last year, we built a 4' x 2' raised garden where we planted a some strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber and basil. We attempted to grow some flowers and onions but both failed miserably. This year, we kicked it up a notch.

I tilled up a very large section of our backyard, I'd say around 10' x 20' to plant all sorts of stuff. We let Makenna pick out a few things that she wanted to grow. Of course, I don't think she had any idea what she was picking, but she liked the pictures on the seed packages.

We started with 2 larger tomato plants and 4 smaller tomato plants. Everything else was started from seed. This will be a bit of an experiment as to what works best. Here is a breakdown of what we've got going.

Tomato: a lot of tomato, at least 25% of our garden is tomato.
Cucumber: Last year we grew two plants, this year we should have 4 or 5
Squash: We've never grown squash, so we are interested to see how it works out. We planted about as much squash as we did cucumber.
Carrots: Makenna wanted to plant carrots even though to my knowledge we have never kept carrots in our house unless we are making pot roast. We planted about a 2' x 2' section of carrots.
Onion: we planted probably 24 or so onion bulbs, just to see if we can get them growing better than last year.
Sweet Corn: Makenna also picked out the corn, so we figured we'd give it a shot. I expect to get 3 or 4 stalks of corn by the end of the season.
Dill: if the seeds take, we will have enough dill to last us a life time.
Basil: Like the dill, if half the seed takes, we will have more basil than we know what to do with.
Flowers: Makenna also picked out some pretty pink flowers she wanted to grow, so we'll see how that goes.

In another section of the yard, our ground was completely bare from where our patio had a ramp leading to it. We have since replaced the ramp with steps leaving a big dirt spot. In an attempt to get something to grow, I brought in some soil to build up the area and grade it, and then threw out some bermuda seed. I'm hopeful that if anything grows, this will be the one.

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4/5/11 - LROMMC 2011: Final Results

If you are looking for the Walker March Madness Pool, please follow and bookmark this link.

I was horrible about updating towards the end, but that was primarily because the results had come down to the championship tiebreak since virtually no one had anything riding on the title game. In fact, both 1st and 2nd came to a tiebreak, as well as 3rd and 4th. With the lowest total points in a title game since 1949, the lower the tiebreak, the better you did.

I'll get the trophy updated with the latest names this week, and you can view the trophy in Michael's office as soon as I can get it to him. Michael is not only this year's winner but the first individual to make a repeat appearance on this most sought after trophy. Here are the final standings, in correct order.

Name Points Tiebreak
Michael Hall 58 160
Gwen Bostic 58 175
Tamra Upton 56 89
Jerald Caffey 56 143
Amy Chilton 54 136
Randy Spellins 54 160
David Wagnon 54 180
Steve Habenicht 53 146
Barry Settlemoir 53 166
Tony Lewis 52 138
Levell Kinchen 51 125
Flint Allen 51 128
Chris Johnson 51 133
Stephen Shirley 50 126
Angi Orsini 48 128
Brett Krebs 48 133
DJ Walker 47 128
Donna Griffith 47 143
John McDaniel 47 148
Lydia Dixon 47 180
Darren Tillery 45 140
Rick Rocuant 44 111
Angel Cook 44 123
Eric Chilton 44 146
Jonathan Albright 43 123
Lathan Harper 43 138
Lynn McLaughlin 42 119
Roderick Ott 42 153
Rob Nossaman 41 146
Jason Holland 41 155
Tristan Elliott 41 163
Matthew Carpenter 39 143
Suzanne Gulley 39 205
William Dunn 35 143
Carl Burks 27 155

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- Walker March Madness Pool: Final Results

If you are looking for the Annual Little Rock Office March Madness Challenge held for office mates, please follow and bookmark this link.

I was horrible about updating towards the end, but that was primarily because the results had come down to the championship tiebreak since virtually no one had anything riding on the title game. Of course, it just so happens that the winner did in fact have UConn picked as their champion. The only one of the 50 or so brackets I received.

I will be in contact with the winners to make sure they are paid out correctly. Final tally:

Ryan - $129
Jason - $64.50
Cristi - $21.50

Here are the final standings.

Name Points Tiebreak
Ryan Casey 67 120
Jason Harmon 61 164
Cristi Walker 59 135
Gwen Bostic 58 175
Amy Chilton 54 136
David Wagnon 54 180
Randy Spellins 54 160
Michael Hussman 53 135
Kyle Raible 1 53 0
Phillip Walker 52 159
Nash Horton 52 0
Elizabeth Pollock 1 52 157
Uncle/Gary 52 134
Mike Bumgardner 51 143
Levell Kinchen 51 125
Josh Simpson 50 140
Elizabeth Pollock 2 50 153
Blake Bumgardner 50 142
Jessica Walker 50 164
Geoff Owens 2 50 145
Stephen Shirley 50 126
Matt Arnold 49 151
Chris Horton 48 0
Orsini 48 128
Evan Teer 47 146
DJ Walker 47 128
Donna Bumgardner 47 139
Geoff Owens 1 46 134
Greg Walker 46 135
Kylah Harmon 45 128
Cash 45 141
Roxane Martino 44 150
Jared Selby 2 44 160
Eric Chilton 44 146
Jared Selby 1 44 155
Kyle Raible 2 43 0
Lathan Harper 43 138
Jared Selby 3 43 150
Roderick Ott 42 153
Lynn McLaughlin 42 119
Jason Holland 41 155
Shannon Horton 39 0
Craig 37 147
Wes May-hem 37 139
RJ Martino 32 225

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