Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Birthday @ McBurgers

As promised, here are the pics from "The Girl's" 1st. birthday party. Her parents (The Ogre & The Woodsman) reserved the play land at our local McBurgers to have it in.

"Where did all the kids go, they were here a minute ago?" She asked while looking into the play land tunnel.

"Oh, There they are!"

"You can't hide from me, I can see you!"

"Aw, Mom. I just wanted to greet the kids when they made it to the bottom of the sliding board."

"Let the feasting begin!"

"Mom, Do I have to keep this hat on? It's messing up my hair."

"Presents? For me? I like presents!" (There would have been more pictures of her opening her presents, which was hysterical, but she was so excited that I had to put the camera down and help keep her steady while she sat on the table and opened her gifts.)

"The peasants have no bread. Let them eat cake!" (She was placed in a "snuggie" type bib for this. A bib with arms, what a great invention.)

"I get ice cream too? Is this wonderful or what?" "OOH, finger freeze!"

"This cake is delicious, Mom. You should get the recipe."

"Was that great or what?"

"This has been my bestest birthday ever!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Flashback Friday #72

Wacky Packages

Hello, welcome back for another trip back in time. Everyone had something they liked to collect as a child. This post describes my affection with the stickers called Wacky Packages.

Most of you have probably heard of them. They are stickers that parody real life products.They were first put out in in 1967 as a test market run by the Topps Chewing Gum Company. In 1973 they decided to go into full production. When they did, I could kiss my allowance goodbye for years to come. To me, this wasn't just cool stickers, but it also helped shape (or some say warp) my sense of humor.

I bought these stickers every time I could scrounged up some money. Some people thought that I bought them for the bubble gum that came with them. I think not. I don't know where Topps got their recipe for gum, but I can see why they had to include baseball cards and stickers with it to get rid of it. If it fell out of the pack, it would shatter into a million pieces on the ground. Some say it was the same recipe as Bazooka bubble gum, only rolled thin so it would fit in the packs. I find this hard to believe. People actually bought Bazooka. When the dog won't eat it, would you?

But I digress. These stickers were on all my notebooks and folders. From elementary school through Jr. High, you could find Wacky Packages adorning my books. There were others who loved them too. We would trade our doubles to complete the set.

I recently found a website that has cataloged all the Wacky Packages that have been printed. If you have a few hours, you may want to click here. If not, I have included a few for your viewing pleasure:

When I first bought them, they were 10 cents a pack. The last Wacky Packages that came out (2004) were $2 a pack (gulp). Topps has announced that all an new series of Wacky Packages will be hitting stores in February of 2010. Unless the price drops, I don't think I will be dropping my hard earned cash on them. My grandson, on the other hand...

Did you ever collect anything wacky?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A busy three days.

Yesterday, "The Girl" had a birthday. She turned the big "1". She has a birthday party coming up Saturday. Pics to follow.

Today is Sparky the wonder dragon's adoption day. We adopted him seven years ago today. This is what he looked like then:

This is what he looks like now. He has mellowed considerably.

Tomorrow is "The Ogre's" "late-twenty-something" birthday.
She normally doesn't like her picture taken, but this was taken during a "girls night out" at the Cheesecake Factory.

It's party time around here. Woop woop!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ohio weather

Today is January 24. Currently we have a bodacious thunderstorm going on. I am not at all displeased that the precipitation coming down is rain. You don't have to shovel rain. They say that if you don't like the weather in Ohio, stick around for a while, it'll change.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flashback Friday #71

The Blizzard of '78

Hi, all. Pull up a chair close to the virtual fireplace, because you'll need it for this post. It deals with a real blizzard that happened when I was in 8th grade. I need everyone to hop into the way back machine and jump a year forward from my last post. Are we there yet?

It was January 26, 1978. We came home from school on Wednesday like all other winter days. I rode the hour or so trip on the bus while my brother, Sir Gattabout, drove his Pinto home. It was snowing, but nothing to write home about. In Ohio, it snows a lot, and you grudging get used to it. I'm still grudging.

This snow was different from any than we ever had. Most snow falls, then gets plowed off the road. Sometimes it drifts, but this was becoming something more than any of us had ever seen. The wind started blowing that night, and blowing hard. It rattled the windows of our house. Quite a storm was kicking up. We children rejoiced because we knew that if it kept up, there would be no school. We lived in a rural district with many back county roads. If the buses couldn't get through, there was no school. The weatherman on TV forecasted winds 50-60 MPH. Guess what, he was right.

Well, it snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed. The wind blew and blew and blew. The roads drifted over. It was coming down so hard and fast that there was no way that the road crews could clear it fast enough. It was snowing and blowing so hard that you couldn't see the house across the street. Transportation, business, industry, and schools were closed statewide for two days with the normal pace of society not returning to the state for five days.

School was called off early in the morning. The Highway Patrol issued a level two travel warning. Not long afterward, the level two rose to a level three. Anyone but emergency personnel on the roadway would be ticketed. Hundreds were stranded on the roads. Many more were stranded where they were. Some folks couldn't leave work. Some couldn't get there.

We were lucky. We were all stuck at home. My parents couldn't get to work, and we had no school. We were all healthy and somewhat warm. Our house was like that of George Bailey's in "It's A Wonderful Life". A drafty ol' house. But unlike many others in Ohio, we still had electricity. Down the road, a tree had blown over, taking out the power lines to the house. The family that lived there was fairly new to the area and didn't ask any of the neighbors for help. They must have figured that power would be restored quickly. They huddled together to keep warm. It wasn't enough. Their infant froze to death during the night. They moved soon after. All total, 51 people died in this blizzard, making it one of the deadliest in Ohio history.

More than 5,000 members of the Ohio National Guard were called out to help with the emergency situation. They worked with heavy equipment clearing roads. They assisted power companies in restoring power. They rescued stranded motorists. They transported doctors & nurses to and from hospitals. Volunteers with snowmobiles and four wheel drive vehicles took medicine to those in need.

You know it was snowing hard when you couldn't even see the dog house in the back yard. I put the dog's food & water in his house, in case he was drifted in. Walking along the hedges made it safe to venture out because they started near the back door and ended near the dog house. However, I didn't walk, I ran. It was nasty out.

In the days following, many of our roads drifted and re-drifted over. My brother told me of a really stupid thing he did while heading to Aunt Shelly's house. He thought it was cool. The snow had drifted across the road in a drift that he says was nearly six feet. He backed his Pinto up, and hit the drift at full speed. Fortunately, it was a light weight snow, and the drift parted like the Red Sea. Had he gotten stuck, he would have been in serious trouble. Did I mention that he did this with a Pinto? Not too bright.

This is a picture of I-70 in Columbus. It is a major freeway that runs through Columbus. If the freeways looked this bad, just imagine how the back roads looked. Here is a picture from nearby Marion County:

Notice that the drifted snow and the plowed snow are almost twice the height of the car?

All kids liked the idea of no school. That is until we got back to school to face the mound of homework that awaited us. We had to get caught back up on our studies. Due to missing a few more days later on, we also had to go to school later in June.

To my Ohio readers, do you remember the blizzard of '78? To all my other readers, have you ever gotten hammered with a big storm?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Vote Heard 'Round The World

For those of you who have been in a cave for a few days, Massachusetts (the bluest of the blue states) elected a Republican senator to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. Why is this news?

It's news because as long as I can remember (and I'm mid 40's), Democrat Ted Kennedy has filled that senate seat. The election of a Republican to fill that void breaks the 60 vote super-majority that the Democrats have held since President Obama's election. The right to filibuster has once again been given to the Republicans. Perhaps the back room dealings and the less than transparent government that has resulted in bills getting crammed down the throats of Americans will be a thing of the past. And then again, maybe the government for the people by the people exists only in my imagination.

I'll step off my soapbox now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My new position @ work

At the first of the year, since JC retired, I have a new position at work. In addition to my normal duties, I get to "babysit" the department beside me. This entails making labels, bringing parts to them, taking finished parts away, stacking baskets & crates of parts and anything else they can come up with. I spend more time taking care of them than I spend in my own department.

While watching me run like a gerbil on an exercise wheel for two weeks, one of my co-workers told me Friday "You're not their babysitter, you've become their nanny".

We ate at a Chinese restaurant Sunday for lunch. This was in my fortune cookie:

"Your career is moving more and more towards service to others."

Are the fortune cookie makers spying on me at work?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flashback Friday #70

The Bus Ride Home

Welcome all to another stroll down memory lane. Don't forget to wear your boots because I haven't shoveled it lately.

When I was in Middle school, I rode the bus to and from school. To school wasn't too bad because it was only about 25-35 minutes. Coming home was another matter. It took over an hour, an hour and and a half in the winter. We got out of school at 2:30 PM. It was close to 4PM when I walked through the door.

Our bus driver was nothing like the bus driver you see on TV. There were no screaming kids, no kids jumping around, and nothing flying through the air. When Ruby told you to do something, you didn't make her ask again. The bus drivers of our school district ruled with an iron fist. If they said you made trouble, you had to find another way to school, no questions asked.

Being a Middle Schooler, we had to sit closer to the front of the bus than the High Schoolers. Any "little kid" who dared venture where they didn't belong got thumped. This was done while watching Ruby's eyes closely in the mirror. When her eyes fell onto the road from the mirror, thump. I got thumped a few times.

During winter, it was a white knuckle ride. The back roads that made up the route weren't always laid out as the crow flies. I felt the rear of the bus slide several times during the ride. When this happened, Ruby would holler "QUIET!",and you could hear a pin drop. I found that I'm the same way. When it's bad, I don't like to be distracted.

We had several varsity football player who rode our bus. They were as old or older than my brother, but they had gotten in trouble for a party they were at and were forced to ride the bus by their parents. They weren't very nice because they didn't want to be there.

My brother very rarely rode the bus. Once he got his drivers licence, he drove his Pinto to school. Only when Mom & Dad had caught him skipping school did they bust him, and take his car away. He wasn't happy about being on the bus either.

Did ever have the joy of riding a school bus during the winter?

Monday, January 11, 2010

National Delurking Week 2010

It's that time of year again. National delurking Week. For those of you who don't know, (both of you), National Delurking Week is the time when you leave a small comment on the blogs that you read, but don't feel led to comment on. Even a comment that says "HI" or "Lurky lurky" will suffice. Due to Feejit, I know that there are some folks that read this drivel, but have never commented. I would greatly appreciate any comment from my lurkers, even a :-).


Saturday, January 9, 2010

It must have been one of THOSE days

Yesterday was just one of those days. I awoke to discover that Mother Nature dropped lots of the white stuff. A treacherous drive to work awaited. While I was doing my morning web surfing, I heard that school was closed. Lady Nottaguy-TYG and I had discussed the previous night, that if there was no school, I would take the day off. There was a reason for this.

It was determined through ultrasound that my MIL very likely is dealing with the dreaded "C" word. She won't know for sure unless a biopsy is taken, but she isn't a good candidate for any surgery, due to other health problems. Please keep her in your prayers.

Anyway, my wife and my youngest daughter (The Ogre), were going to discuss this with MIL and the options she is facing. They didn't want to take an eight year old along, so that's why I took the day off. While we were watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark", Indiana Jones swung over a bottomless pit. "A bottomless pit" exclaimed The Boy,"He must be swinging over my stomach". ROFL. In the mean time and between time we were having troubles with our sewer drain.

Well, the talk with MIL went better than expected. We all imagined that there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. She said she felt something was "wrong" and suspected it. At 89, she is the longest living member of her family.

After we had lunch, and we went our separate ways, I went over to the rental place and rented an electric drain snake. Taking off the cover, standing water awaited me. After three hours in less than 20 degree temperature, and multiple trips down the drain got the clog out. I do not envy the guys that do that for a living. The gloves I used went into the trash (both pairs of them). I was a smelly mess, and sore over every part of my body.

Once I took the snake to the car wash to clean it off, we got things together to go grocery shopping. After shopping we stopped to get dinner out. Looking through the menu, I asked my wife if I could pass for 55 so I could eat cheap off the senior menu. She told me that the way I was moving, I could pass for 85. Hey, I was really sore.

When we got home, and the groceries were put away, I took a bath. Yes, a bath. A good ol' soak your achy body in the very hot water type of bath. When I realized that I almost falling asleep in the tub, I figured I had better get out before I drown.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Flashback friday #69

Bugsy Malone

Hi all. Welcome back for another edition of Flashback Friday.

In 7th grade, we were introduced to a current events magazine in English class called Read. This magazine contained stories about TV shows, movies and had play adaptations. In this magazine, I first heard about a most unusual movie.

This movie was called Bugsy Malone. What was so unusual about this movie was that it didn't contain a single adult. It is set in New York during the depression and delt with a gangster warfare between the gangs of Fat Sam and Dandy Dan.

Some of the kids that starred in this movie were never heard of again. Some had small parts in other movies and TV shows. Others became Fairly big stars. Scott Baio played the lead character and Jody Foster played Fat Sam's girlfriend, Tallulah.

"Hits" on rival gangs were done with cream pies and "splurge guns" that shot whipped cream globs. All of the vehicles in the movie were pedal powered. The "speakeasies" sold sarsaparilla.

I just had to see this movie. It sounded so cool. I talked dad into taking me and one of Aunt Shelly's kids to see it. He had no desire to watch it, so he dropped us off at the movie theatre and went to visit a friend while we were watching the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

When I grew up (some say I never have) I looked for the video of it for years. One day I spotted it at the video store. I watched it again after 20 years. It was still great. I thought about telling the video store that it got lost, but I did return it. For several years, I searched for it on ebay, but every time one showed up, the price went through the roof.

Last year, I found a movie lot that had it in it. They didn't advertise in the auction title that Bugsy Malone was one of the movies, so I got the lot pretty cheap. I've watched it several times since then.

If you ever fell like watching a quirky movie, I highly recommend it.

Did you ever see an advertisement for a movie as a kid that you just had to see?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You're leaving when?

The other day, one of my co-workers, JC, came to work for the last time. She was retiring, but didn't want anyone to know. A few people found out, and had cake awaiting her on break. One of my other co-Workers, Red, asked JC this question, and I quote: "So, How many years have you been in this h*ll hole?" "Repeat the question please." was the reply. Only it didn't come from JC, it came from #2 boss who was standing about six feet behind Red. "Um, How many years have you joyfully worked here?" was the new way Red phrased the question.

JC retired after 28 years at the factory, we don't know how much longer Red will be around.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Birthday to me

Those of you who know me are probably scratching their heads about the title. You know that my birthday is in November, not January, so why the title? Answer: For my birthday, my youngest daughter, The Ogre, bought me tickets to the Blue Jackets/ Avalanche game in Columbus last night.

They were saying that the game was sold out, but there were a lot of empty seats. No doubt, the fear of winter weather kept many folks home. Not us. The Ogre has a Jeep.

I will admit, it was cold. While were were waiting in line inside, you could see your breath. We just happened to be directly in front of one of the player's dads. His son is Jared Boll, the enforcer for the Columbus Blue Jackets. I asked him, being a father, doesn't it concern you when you see your son "drop the gloves" (that's hockey slang for get into a fight) on the ice. His reply was "Absolutely. I keep telling him that one day his knees will just give out during a fight and he will fall to the ice." My daughter said she would be hollering encouragements if it were her son.

When we got to our seats, the view of the ice was great. It was the first time I had ever sat in the lower bowl. My daughter said she got a great discount because she works at Nationwide Children's Hospital (I normally don't use the real name of anything on my blog, but since we got a discount, they get the call out). We had a closer view of the ice than the jumbo-tron camera.

The usher let us go down to the glass to take pictures during warm ups. While my daughter was asking if this was OK, she mentioned that she had an eight year old at home that would like to see pictures of the Zamboni. When a passer-by heard that she had an eight year old, he handed her a practice puck that he had found near his seat, down by the glass. Here are some pics that I took during warm ups:

This is Steve Mason, the starting goalie for the CBJ with enforcer Jared Boll standing beside him.

This is a Civil War replica cannon that is fired off each time the CBJ score a goal. The name "Blue Jackets" comes from the fact that Ohio sent more troops to fight in the Civil War than any other northern state.

Here is a video that I shot with my cell phone of the players warming up. When I was eight, if you had mentioned taking a video, let alone a picture with you telephone, people would have thought you were nuts.

The CBJ scored the first goal, and lead after the first period 1-0. Nothing brings hockey fans out of their seats like a goal. The Avs scored shortly after the second period began tying it at 1-1. The most exciting play in hockey is a home team goal. The second thing that will bring the fans out of their seats is a fight. Thank you Jared Boll for igniting the fan base. Here's the video from Youtube:

You gotta know that Jared's dad wasn't too pleased with him possibly breaking a thumb in that fight.

The CJB scored again, and lead at the end of the second period 2-1. It was all downhill from there. Colorado scored midway into the third period to tie it at 2-2. Then, just as the announcer spoke the words "One minute of play remaining.", Colorado scored the game winner. I told the Ogre, if the CBJ was going to lose, I wished it was in overtime, so they would at least get a point in the standings for it.

Our drive home was quite eventful. A light/moderate snow fell, but with the winds we were having, almost made white out conditions. There were times on I-71 North that we couldn't see the lines on the road, and had to rely on the tail lights of vehicles ahead of us. By the time we got to Morrow county, we were through the worst of it. We got home about 11 PM. Thank you to my daughter for the fun evening out and to my wonderful wife for keeping the grand kids so we could do it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The holidays are in the books

Yesterday, The Lemons were coming up to visit. My wife lamented that she really wished that we had taken the tree down, and reclaimed our living room before they came.

She had to go to the store to pick up a few things for dinner (you know how she hates shopping). I made her an offer. We would divide and conquer. She gets the shopping done, and I'll tackle the tree. She agreed.

With Grinch like efficiency, I had the tree stripped and boxed. Most of the rest of the decorations were down before she got home. Here is all that was left of the place where the tree was:

Everything was done before the Lemons arrived.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Flashback Friday#68

New Year's Eve Edition.

Greeting to all, and happy 2010. Welcome back to another trip in the way back machine (to paraphrase Mr. Peabody).

This post deals with New Year's Eve traditions at our house. We were the run-of-the-mill, lower middle class family that usually spent a quiet night at home on New Year's Eve. Nothing exciting ever really happened.

The night would start off with mom putting sauerkraut and pork on to cook in the crock pot. Around our house, at the stroke of midnight, everyone was to shout "Happy New Year" and eat some sauerkraut. Supposedly, if you do this, you will have money all the year. I hated sauerkraut then, and haven't eaten any since I left home.

We would always watch Guy Lombardo and his orchestra. It was a big thrill to watch the ball fall at midnight. I didn't understand all the words to Aud Lang Syne. I'm not sure I do to this day.
Nobody dared to go to bed before midnight. If you had to take a nap earlier in the day to stay awake, you did it. If you fell asleep, you could expect terrible tricks to be played on you by everyone who was still awake.

After midnight, it was a mad scramble to go to bed. We were just that boring. No stay-awake-all-night-into-the-wee-hours for us.

How about you? Were you a party animal, or boring like us?