ordinary… mostly

"We have nothing to offer each other, except a haven." — K. Nafziger



This week out of the forest… 2 July 2012

Well… here we go with another round of creatures sneaking out of the forest and into our house. I better get used to it.

First, we caught a fishing spider just a couple of feet from our bed…

Fishing spider

Other than the tarantulas that my father kept as pets, this is the biggest spider that I’ve seen. It was roughly four inches in length. We observed it for a few days and then released it back into the wild.

Then on Saturday, it was mice…

Duh. They came from outside. Hopefully, the cats have encouraged them to return there.

However, if the cats can’t convince the mice to leave, perhaps this fellow will…

Black snake

This 4′ or 5′ black snake was sunning itself on one of the stone pillars of our house. I tried to remove it, but it retreated into that hole in the wall.

Oh, well – could you find the mice while you’re in there?

Jack has a girlfriend

(He just doesn’t know it yet. Typical guy.)

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We brought Alexis home from the adoption center at PetSmart today. She was rescued by PURRS Naperville. Now Jack will have a friend.

For at least the first few days, Alexis will hang out in the girls room. Then we’ll gradually introduce the two to each other. But so far, it’s clear she’ll get along with us – she’s really laid back and hasn’t shown any signs of fear. She just wanted to be petted.

Wrapping up 2010: from a child’s view

Happy New Year, all!

I can’t believe the Christmas holiday has passed, and I didn’t manage to blog at all. I feel like I’m not yet ready to let go of 2010. And in that vein…

My girls love to use my wife’s camera. They just snap away as much as they like, and sometimes I have to grin at what they get on “film”. I realize that there is a “child-like” way of looking at the world, and often I lose sight of that. They see things differently than I do.

I’ve gone through their pictures and filtered them to pick out the ones that I like. The result really does give a nice snapshot of life in 2010. Enjoy!

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(In no particular order, you might see: Jack, the view around our house, self portraits, scenes from the bus stop, the Morton Arboretum, Goshen, travelling, Ames, Laurelville, our church building, the Brookfield Zoo.)

The pet poll

Jack would like to know…

Ed. note:

Ha! This is rich! The first two votes were both ‘other’:

– Husband
– Gecko

Trick or treat!

Plainfield’s trick-or-treating is happening, even as I type. I’m the official keeper of the candy for our house. Here’s my view as I wait for the next group of kids to come by…

Jack has been helping me keep watch…

Oh, wait – not that Jack. This Jack…

Here’s what we’re giving out…

Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter went trick-or-treating with some friends…

Their candy should last until next Halloween.

Time for a sugar high!

Catching up with Jack…

Ordinary Spouse has taken a few interesting pictures of Jack in the last week, so I thought I’d share them so that you could be up-to-date on his shenanigans.

For those of you who don’t know your princesses, that’s Belle. I wonder what Jack is dreaming – affection or aggression?

Ordinary Spouse thought that maybe Jack was searching for the chicken that she had just cooked. However, the bones were in the trash, not on top of the fridge.

Volde-jack thinks that this would be a nice warm spot to sit if the people would turn it on more frequently.

And for those of you who were wondering, I still think that Jack likes me best. Yes – he still comes to sleep beside me at night.

Who is in charge here?

Clearly not me.

My girls came home from an end-of-the-summer celebration at the library last Friday with three coupons (one each) for free goldfish. It was clear to me when they walked in the door that it was a battle that wasn’t worth fighting. We were getting fish. They were ready to get out the fish tank and start getting it ready immediately. I just looked at Ordinary Conspirator Mommy and said, “Does anyone ask the fathers before giving these things out?”


Wait – there’s more. OCM decided that it was too far to drive to get to that pet store, when there was a much closer one and the fish only cost 25 cents. So we ended up getting the fish anyway, but not using the coupons. Something is dreadfully wrong here.

And I haven’t mentioned our five – yes, five – other pets yet. We have five monarch butterflies in various stages of development. Count them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Or, as U2 would say: “Uno, dos, tres, catorce!” Two chrysalis and three caterpillars.

So – we’ve got Jack, three fish, and five monarchs. Welcome to our zoo. I just wonder what I’ll do when Jack takes an interest in the fish.

Here are my older daughters introducing the fish.

A Day in the Life

After blogging some trips to parents and in-laws, and after a friend blogged about her day, I decided that I’d like to blog about my own day.  Ordinary Spouse astutely wondered who would like to read about my day except me. The answer, of course, is no one.  But that hasn’t stopped me from writing stuff on this blog yet! So loyal reader, here is the account of Thursday, May 28th…

0530 – My alarm goes off in a vain attempt to remind me to go swimming. I manage to turn the alarm off without waking up.

0601 – I wake up to Jack doing a happy dance on the bed. Soon he’ll start nipping at me, so I get out of bed to get him breakfast. I’m quickly distracted by Sudoku.

0615 – I decide that my brain is too fuzzy to do Sudoku, so I make my way to the kitchen and get Jack’s breakfast.

0621 – Now that the cat is content, I start my own breakfast (gourmet oatmeal!).  While that’s cooking, I start taking notes on the day’s play-by-play for this blog post.

0630 – Middle Daughter and Oldest Daughter make their appearance in the kitchen just before my oatmeal finishes. School becomes the first topic of conversation for the day. Middle Daughter shares a school project entitled, “Kindergarten Memories”. It includes these lines: “My favorite story was ‘Aliens Love Underpants'” and “My favorite song was ‘Buddy, My Beagle'”. Oldest Daughter wonders why the school district schedule two days of school after Memorial Day, because they won’t be doing much. I’ve wondered similar things.

0641 – The girls want to play with Playmobil toys before breakfast… on the breakfast table. I tell them that they’ll need to clean things up before they can eat. We’ll see how that works out. I clean up the yesterday’s remnants of some child walking around the kitchen eating watermelon.

0646 – Remember that oatmeal? Time to get it ready: grind nuts; slice ginger; and add papaya, odd spice and sugar.  Once again, I’m distracted from the oatmeal – this time to deal with bathroom and Playmobil emergencies.

0700 – I start eating the oatmeal that finished half an hour ago.

0703 – Youngest Daughter wakes up. I eat oatmeal with a daughter on my lap.

0711 – I’ve finished my breakfast, but spend some more time reading blogs.  I also help YD make a crown and listen to OD show off the latest math trick.  What started as a multiplication trick ended as a division trick.

0733 – Ordinary Spouse arrives in the kitchen to much fanfare.  Good morning, honey!

0738 – Time to finish getting ready for work.  I get distracted by Sudoku again, but have more luck this time.

0808 – After four minutes of good-byes, I’m off to work. The weather is incredibly pleasant after three days of hot and muggy.  (And the forecast is for this to continue through Memorial Day!)  I’ve got a Van Morrison in the CD player, and traffic is moving quickly today.  A good start.

0831 – At work, I make a quick check of the beamlines.

0840 – Coffee time! Mocha – while getting caught up on email.

0902 – Time to begin the day’s work. We’ve been in a maintenance period, but the X-rays return next Wednesday. One of the requirements for beamlines is that the have a very high vacuum inside – air would degrade the quality of the X-ray beam.  Since we were working on components during the shutdown, we had to break the vacuum. Much of my job today will be to make sure that the vacuum quality is back to normal for next week.

1020 – Argonne gives certain employees annual physical exams.  Today, it’s my turn.

1215 – The medical department wasn’t very efficient today.  But at least, they’re friendly.  Time for lunch.

1255 – More vacuum work.  In addition, our software developers have made a number of improvements in our data collection software, so I spend time testing those out, as well.

1600 – Our monochromator has been having some problems – probably a repetitive motion injury.  Happily, representatives from the German company that built it are working at another beamline, so I take some time to consult with them.

1640 – More vacuum work

1708 – The day is complete. Only one section of vacuum is still having troubles. I’ll work on it again tomorrow.

1732 – Ordinary Spouse asked me to stop for some salsa for this evening’s dinner (taco salad) on the way home.  At Meijer, I couldn’t decide what flavor or spiciness to get, so I purchased four different options.  I also picked up plain yogurt and tomatoes.

1754 – Home!  Hugs all around.

1802 – Supper time.  It takes five minutes to get everyone rounded up, hands washed, and to the table.

Here we are to thank you for this fine food;
Here we are to thank you for this fine food;
Here we are to thank you,
Because we know you’re with us
Right where we are.

1833 – Supper is finished.  Amazingly the table is quiet – just OS and I.  The girls have all scampered off somewhere.  We enjoy some conversation while cleaning up the dishes.

1856 – It’s time to pull staples out of the floor!* (That is a sarcastic exclamation point.) Joni Mitchell is the music of choice for this work.

2007 – I think I’m done pulling staples, but one never knows about these things.  Time for a few drinks of ice water.

2018 – The girls are getting ready for bed, so it’s time to read to MD and YD.  We have a funny book – funny because it’s about the human body, and it has transparent overlays so that you can take the body apart.  Reading is followed by teeth brushing (or is it tooth brushings?), bedtime prayers, and singing.

2101 – I check what’s happening on Facebook.  Not much apparently.  Maybe I should delete my account for a second time.

2127 – Time for me to get ready for bed.

2128 – Whoops!  I remember that the car is still parked outside, and that I need to clean the garage before moving it inside.

2204 – The lights are off, the teeth are brushed, the house is quiet.  I decide to take a few moments to edit my blog post.

2224 – I decide that I’m too tired to finish editing.  This blog entry won’t post until tomorrow.  It will have to be “Yesterday in the Life”.

Good night!

* Why would I be pulling staples from the floor?  That is another blog entry.

Completely random news

I’m in the middle of a thirteen-day work week, which is why I haven’t been around much recently.  I’m anxious to respond to my Extraordinary Brother-in-law, who often provides thought-provoking comments such as these.  Alas that will have to wait until I have more than just a few minutes to write.

In other news, we have a new dishwasher in our house.  The old one was a Maytag, which we thought was supposed to be a reliable brand.* However, the electronic control panel got flaky after a year, so we replaced it.  Then it did the same thing after about six months.  Another replacement.  Then another few months.  And another replacement.  And in March it died for the fourth time in about four years.  It seems that everyone who knows these dishwashers (except Whirlpool) knows that they have problems.

* Remember all the commercials where the repair dude is standing around doing nothing?  Evidently, that was before they were bought out by Whirlpool.

Anyway, Ordinary Spouse found a Bosch dishwasher that she liked, and I went to see it at Lowes.  The salesperson was so helpful that we purchased it right away on March 23rd.  The only problem was that it wouldn’t be delivered until April 1st.  On April 2nd, OS called Lowe’s and was told that the dishwasher would be delivered to the store on April 8th.  She repeated the process on April 9th, and was told that “according to the computer” delivery was scheduled for April 16th. On April 11th, Lowe’s lost the sale of one dishwasher.

So we started looking elsewhere and discovered that Sears was selling the dishwasher that we wanted to buy.  And it was going to be on sale – 30% off.  And Illinois was passing out stimulus money for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances.  And Sears could install it in one business day.  So as of yesterday, the spiffy dishwasher is installed.  We ended up paying the same price as Lowe’s, but we have a five-year warranty included now.  And given our prior experience with dishwashers, we’re glad for the warranty.

Finally, a mini-update on Jack.  Jack was eating Oldest Daughter’s cup of grass.  (I don’t know why OD had a cup of grass – perhaps OS can chime in here.)  Anyway, OS decided to plant some wheat grass for Jack.  Turns out, Jack loves his wheat grass…

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