Monday, September 24, 2007

Heads or Tails

Our pet cockatiel Charlie

Monday, September 17, 2007

Heads or Tails

This weeks Heads or Tails meme theme is Keys. For this I guess I'll just tell you a bit about me in as far as "keys" go. I always carry 2 sets of keys with me. One set is for the cars that Barb and I have and the other is for our apartment and such.

The first set (the car set) has keys for the 2 cars we own plus one of those automatic door and trunk opener for Barbs car, plus a few of those little cards that attach to your keyring so we get discounts at a few of the stores we go to. This set hangs on a big clip that attaches to one of my belt loops so I can get to them easily, plus they are probably the most used.

The second set has our apartment key plus keys for our storage unit, my work laundry locker and our mail box. It has another key on it but I don't really remember what it's for lol. This set is on a keyring that I carry in my right front pants pocket.

I have duplicate sets of keys made just in case I loose a set(which has happened before).

I know many people put all their keys on one keyring, but I like keeping these separate so it's easy to get at either set as I need.

There you have it lol, now through this meme you know a bit more about me and my habits.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fish Water

We (Barb and I) bought a fish aquarium and a bunch of fish(12 to be exact) a few months ago. I have to admit I knew very little about taking care of fish. The only other fish I ever had was a small goldfish when I was a youngster.

So we had our fish a few days and one of them died. There happened to be a guarantee that came with the fish that said the store would replace them if one of them died within I think 7 days after purchase. So I took the little fellow back to the store with a sample of the water it was in(part of the requirement for warranty). The nice fellow at the store tested the water and told me it had way too much ammonia in it. I asked what I could do to get rid of it and he suggested that it was either overstocking or not enough filtration. Well, we had looked online about how many fish we could put in our 20 gallon aquarium and it said that a general guideline was 1" of fish for each gallon of water in the aquarium. As most of the fish we bought were small we figured it was good.

Well, I waited a few more days and took another sample back and what do you know, it was too high in ammonia also. We tried a partial water change and a few other things, but a couple more fish ended up not making it. We even tried a chemical that was supposed to help get rid of ammonia and that didn't seem to do the trick either.

We bought a monitor thing that was supposed to tell us instantly if there was ammonia in the water and sure enough it registered high for it again.

So, we are down to 7 fish now. Just the other day, we did another partial water change(we had been doing that on a regular basis anyway) and bought a real test kit to check the ammonia level. Lo and behold, the ammonia problem seems to have vanished. The water is where it should be now. So, hopefully our fish can live in peace without having to suffer any ill consequences. This made us very happy indeed.

Just thought I'd blog about it lol. TIll next time BYE!!

I'm Not a Stellar Dad, But I Tried

I thought I'd write here about some of my past. Particularly about my relationship with my children and how it has gotten to where it is today.

My children , a son and a daughter were born in 1986 and in 1990 respectively. Things were pretty normal during their early years as things go. They were happy normal kids and really never had to worry about things. They had more toys that you can imagine or maybe you can lol. The basement was full of their old toys as I was a packrat then as I am now. I helped them with their homework and science projects and whatever else I could.

Then came my divorce. Things are never easy in these situations. My kids were 14 and 10 at this time.

I came to find out that I was being blamed for the whole thing. As you can imagine, my kids who spent more time with there mother took the same view. Things were strained to say the least between my ex-wife and I.

After I moved out of the house there was still, in the best way I know how to say it, a hostility between my ex and I. I did however start seeing my kids once a week. My ex and I worked it out that I would e-mail her and make sure it was ok with her for me to pick them up on a certain day. So, every week I'd pick them up and we would sometimes go see a movie and do other things.

At some point in this time, I had been notified by the FOC (friend of the court) that they had made a mistake and I now was going to have what amounted to half my paycheck taken out in child support payments. This made doing things with them like going to the movies and eating out a bit much as far as available money went. I still had all the normal monthly payments to make such as insurance and phone and such.

At first my solution was to pick them up and go rent a movie and have dinner at my house. We did have the occasional fast food meal that they liked, but it just wasn't in the budget for me to do this all the time. One thing I would add here is that I tend to take budgets seriously and if I don't have the money for something, I don't buy it. This is one of the things that my ex and I had arguments over.

This seemed to work out fine with the kids for awhile. Then one week, I e-mailed my ex with the usual request to pick up the kids and the reply I got back wasn't pretty. There was a whole list of things that apparently was wrong with the way things were being done while the kids were in my charge. Just to list a few things about what the e-mail said was that the kids didn't like my falling asleep during the time the movie was playing. If any of you get up as early as I do(4:30 am) you'd understand that it's easy to take a snooze at 8 or 9 in the evening while watching movies. Heck, I do it quite often, you can ask Barb about that one lol. One of the other things that my kids complained about to my ex about was the food they were eating. My daughter was mainly the one complaining about this but my son wasn't happy about it either. One side note here is that my daughter is lactose intolerant. I tried not to fix things that had a lot of milk products in them. The gist I got out of this part of the e-mail was that they wanted fast food instead of home cooked meals. The way I saw it was that home cooked meals were much better for them than fast food. The last thing I'll touch on in the e-mail is about money. My ex said that the kids complained that I wasn't spending money on them. Well, if you have half your pay being taken before you ever see it, that might be expected.

When the divorce was being processed I had to go to a meeting that explained an ideal way things should be done when dealing with kids that have divorced parents. It specifically dealt with in one section that parents shouldn't try to buy kids love with expensive gifts. So what happens the first Christmas that I am away from my kids? My ex buys them each a DVD player and their own TV then tells me what she bought them so we wouldn't "duplicate" the things we got for them. I had no intentions of buying those kind of gifts for them. Heck, they were still kids so I bought them fun things to have.

I responded to the e-mail that I got from my ex explaining my point about all the things that were complained about. I got a reply that basically told me my reasons weren't good enough. My ex also told me that the kids didn't want to see me that week and that they would be doing other things in the next few weeks. I e-mailed her back telling her that was ok and that they could e-mail me when they wanted to see me again. Her response to that was "don't hold your breath". My kids never said any of this to me, they (so I assume) told my ex about it who wrote it in the e-mail.

So, I haven't seen my kids since then. It has been about 3 years since I saw them last. As I see it, I'm not going to force them to see me if they don't want to. I also won't play any "games" to get them to see me again. My son is now 21 and my daughter is 17.

It may not be a pretty picture, but that's the way it is. There are things that happen during and after a divorce that just aren't good. This is one of them.

About the Rant

I had posted a rant the other day about things going on and have deleted it. The reason I have done this is because a family member wrote me a very nice letter explaining some things to me. Also, it was never my intent to cause any family members any problems. I understand some of their points and feel some are very valid. So in short, if anyone wishes to express any more opinions about this topic( and feel free to do so), please use my e-mail link on the side of my blog.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Heads or Tails Meme

This weeks Heads or Tails Meme is September 11th remembrances or how you found out about it.

Well, I found out about what was going on while I was at work. A friend was listening to a radio with earphones and he told some of us that was working near him that at first a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. He said at first that it wasn't known whether it was a big of small plane as the station he was listening to didn't have too many details as yet. As time for our break came, we got to see what was happening on our TV's that were located in our break room. The pictures on the television didn't seem real. We found out that it had been 2 large airliners that had crashed into the towers. If I remember right, management called us back into the break room shortly after to let us watch more of the coverage and that's when we saw the collapse of the first tower. I think most of us sat there in shock as we watched. Soon after that, we were told we could go home as I don't think management figured many people were in the mood to get much done after seeing what had happened.

After I got home I called Barb (Skittles) to let her know I was ok. I also remember it being eerily quiet as there wasn't any airplanes in the sky. I also got in my car and headed over to Barbs as I thought it was a good idea to be with each other in a time like this.

Well, that's what I remember from that fateful day. I hope I never have to see anything like this again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Band Name

I saw this over at Skittles' Place and had to try it.

Your Band Name is:

The Bad Mutha Geishas

Heads or Tails

This weeks "Heads or Tails" meme theme is "school'.

So I'll tell you about a class I took a few years ago that was paid for by my company. We have a program that allows us to educate ourselves in a variety of things. This class I took was called "Racing Engine School". It was 2, 8 hour days long on a weekend and was very insightful. Of course, you won't learn everything there is to know about racing engines in 2 days, but it was still fun. I have a (background of auto mechanics anyway( I was licensed for a few years).

Quite a lot of things taught in this class was already known to me but I did learn some more technical aspects about building racing engines. All in all, with the books and knowledge I gained in this class, if I decide to build another race car like I had when I was younger, I will be better prepared to do it right.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Goings On

I haven't been posting on a regular basis for the last couple of months. I just got out of blogging and have been doing other things. Seeing as no one really reads my blog on a regular basis anymore I just post when I feel like it. I guess that's what happens when you don't visit other blogs lol.

I'll start with my getting a new video game last week called Guitar Hero 2 and it's a lot of fun to play. I'm still playing on easy so far so I'm not making any money in the game but have been able to travel to 6 cities in it. I think I'll start playing in a harder level now that I have some practice with it.

Another new toy I got this past week was a GPS thingie made by Magellan. Although we haven't taken any long trips as of yet, I think it will come in very handy. For instance you can program it to show gas stations and such. This would have come in very handy when we took our trip to N. Dakota in May and almost ran out of gas getting to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It just happened to be about 70 miles off the freeway and there wasn't many towns in that area and we weren't familiar with the area either. But, I think this little toy will be fun to use as we do take some neat trips on our vacations.

That's about all that's new with the exception of getting some new sets of dishes, but that's not all that exciting for me(I'm a guy remember lol). Till next time BYE!!

Fortune Cookie

I saw this over at Skittles' Place and gave it a try lol.

My Fortune Cookie told me:
You are dreaming. It is time to wake up now.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune