Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekend Update for Sept 19-21

I know very few people would care to read the following long post about my weekend escapades, but I still want to blog about it anyway, just for the sake of posterity.

Friday night I had just gotten home from a bonzai trip to Ft. Wayne Indiana.  I had driven up on Thursday evening, visited our supplier on Friday, the driven back Friday night.  I have no idea what Amanda and I did that evening and neither does she. It's not too surprising for me to forget, but it's unusual for both of us to have no recollection.  We might have watched a South Park episode.  Before bed though I got to play the tooth fairy for Emily, who lost one of her front teeth that day.

Saturday morning I got a couple things done around the house before Lucas' soccer game.  Just before we were ready to leave for the game, the kids and I were waiting in the car for Amanda to come out of the house.  Then Emily yelled "look, a little grey mouse!".  I thought she might have seen it scuttle somewhere, never to be seen again, but she could still see it so we all got out of the car to have a look.  Sure enough, there it was roaming around in the mulch area near out garage door.  Then I realized and proclaimed "That's not a mouse, it's a mole!" We have been encountering a few piles of dirt in our yard and we had suspected it was due to moles.  When it ran onto the cement and started heading toward the opened garage door I instinctively stepped on it.  I had only meant to trap it though, until I could figure out what to do with it, but when I lifted my foot it looked like I had squished it dead.  

Well, the kids started freaking out.  Emily started crying (she's and Lucas was definitely upset too).  I really didn't think I had stepped on it that hard (I was surprised at the results), and if it was only injured then I didn't want it to be suffering with internal bleeding and pain.  So I decided in all my brilliance to fetch a machete with the intent to chop off its head.  When the kids realized what I was doing, then started freaking out more.  Amanda came out of the house at that moment and convinced me not to continue with my plan of mercy.  So instead I simply scooped it up with a small shovel, placed it in a ziplok back, and threw it in the trash.  Needless to say, the kids were still upset in the car, but I apologized and explained that I didn't want to hear it anymore and that's just the way the world works sometimes.  It probably wasn't the best reasoning, but it surprisingly seemed to help.

I insisted on bringing our dog Hope to the game with us, and she did pretty good for the most part.  I kept her leash reigned in close, but I'm glad she got to get out of the house a bit.  The weather was great for Lucas' soccer game too, and the coach kept him in it for ~3/4 of the game.  He's definitely getting better.  Amanda's parents joined us there and also to Penn Station for lunch (yum!).

I worked on Emily's ceiling fan project for the rest of the day, and found yet another unexpected obstacle in the wiring.   This project has been taking me months to complete, and now it will be at least another week or two.  Ugh.

That evening was awesome!  Our friends, the Tipton family, watched the kids so Amanda and I could go on a date.  We take turns returning the favor for them also.  We started our date with dinner at a restaurant that was part of a hotel.  We never would have chosen it, except for a gift certificate that we had for restaurant.com (I think).  We had to pick from their selection of restaurants, and this place sounded OK.  Well, it turned out to be way better than we expected.  The food (and glass of wine) was uniquely flavored, very tasty, and mostly healthy too.   The ambiance was ok (nothing exciting, but clean and pleasing), and the service was great also.  Overall we were very pleased.  We followed that up with dessert and tasty decaf coffee at Starbucks (pumpkin spice latte and salted caramel mocha).  Then lastly we went to play outdoor putt-putt at Fairfield Fun Center.  Finding an outdoor place was harder than you'd think here, presumably because no one would want to play outside during the winter season.  We were the last people on the course before they closed.  Between the good food, perfect weather, and deep and thoughtful conversations it was a perfect date night.

Sunday morning we attended church as usual.  Then after lunch I got to watch the Bengals stomp Tennessee (33 to 7), and Amanda went climbing with Clara at Lifetime Fitness.  Clara did much better than we expected, considering how little she is!  Before dinner, we went for a jog as a family, stopping halfway at a small pond in the adjacent neighborhood..  Well, Amanda and I jogged, the big kids rode their bikes, and Clara rode in the stroller.  But it was still good exercise and we took our lazy dog along too - she surprisingly ran for almost the entire way!

When we returned home from the run, Clara wanted to stay outside and enjoy the weather.  So I grabbed a baseball and a small kid-sized glove and we both played catch for a while.

Finally, after dinner I went to church to help out with the high school youth group (like most Sunday evenings).  Before the worship/talk/small groups though we played Ultimate Frisbee.  More outdoor exercise is just fine for me!

It was a fantastic and memorable weekend.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dart Board Project

I bought an electronic dart board shortly after college, when I was living in an apartment with my brother, who was in high school at the time (how we ended up living together is a long story).  Since those apartment days I've lived in four houses before this one, and have mounted it somewhere on the walls of all of them.

In this current house though, the room I really wanted to place it in is a 3-season room that's attached to the back of the house, in which 3 of the walls are all windows.  Placing the dart board on a windowed wall would not only block the view, but also risk a window breakage if a dart should miss the board.  The fourth wall is made of brick and is actually the back of the house (from before they added this room) and also has one window and a sliding glass door.  Mounting the board on the brick would require making holes in it, as well as ruining the tips of any darts that might miss the board.

So the solution I came up with is to make the dart board mount in the window that's in the brick wall, but also make it removable.  It could slide in and out of the mounting brackets that were previously used for the screen (when the window was exposed to the outside).  The end result can be seen in the pictures below.

This allows the walls to remain unmarred, but we can also still use the dart board (with minimal effort).  The height is regulation, and it's in a location that suits the room perfectly, both functionally and aesthetically.

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