Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Really annoyed with Earthlink right now

Not the best customer service and now are charging me NOT to see banner ads?

I've been with Earthlink (first Mindspring) since 1995 or 1996. I know it was before the Atlanta Olympics. When we moved into the current house I upgraded to DSL for $50/month.

Last month I contacted them to see if I could get the faster DSL that AT&T was pestering me about (I know Earthlink leases the DSL line from Bellsouth/AT&T). They upgraded me and even told me it was a lower price.

After several hours of troubleshooting my DSL and internal network after the 'no interruption update', I finally got things working.

Then they billed me the old price. I got on a chat with a guy in India, who resolved the charge 'next month'. Well, next month is here and the price is still wrong.

Then I find out that for $1 a month they will turn off the banner ads in the webmail client. How nice of them. Show me crap not related to what I am interested in, slow down the UI because the ad servers are slow, then charge me to make it go away? And I pay them $50/month.

I had been hesitant to get rid of them because I've had the email addresses for so long, but I just found out they have a $5/month email only account. So I'm looking at getting a cable modem now and pay the $5 for access to my accounts.

In the clock ...

That is where we found Christopher's toothpaste. It disappeared a week or so ago and we've looked everywhere for it (or so we thought.)

Today Meghan, Courtney and a friend were working on a puzzle on the dining room table, he climbed up on one of the chairs, opened the clock and took it out. It was like he knew it was there.

I wish he could talk more, I'm sure there is a good reason for putting it there.

Yes, boys are different ;-)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hannah Montana 3-d Glasses don't work?

I have a very pissed off tweener right now.

Seems the glasses from the theatre don't work on the TV. Both the LCD and the old tube aren't showing correctly.


I am recording it on the DVR so we'll see what we can find for new glasses.

Update: Walmart didn't have any more, but I got points for dropping everything and taking her to see if they had any.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Time for some football!

The Superbowl Champion Giants opened camp today, starting their repeat planning ;-)

You have to love linemen. From The Blue Screen Blog:

The first pass of the first team drills was a perfect, 40-yard spiral from Eli Manning to Amani Toomer, who made an over-the-should catch in double coverage along the sidelines. Toomer actually had several great catches, picking right up where he left off after a brilliant minicamp in June. For what it’s worth, center Shaun O’Hara said we shouldn’t get excited about the first pass of the season, but he did note that there was “obviously great blocking” on the play.

(Yes, I played offensive line in High School.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Interesting way to teach about science

On my way to work on Monday I was listening to the Bert Show on Q100 in Atlanta when they started talking about a teacher who had been bugging the producer to let him on the air. The reason he wanted on was to talk about how he changes the words on popular songs to include science topics that he was teaching that week. They DJs joked that writing each of them every week wasn't the way to get on the radio, but they let him on any way.

To my surprise, it was Mr. Limpert from McClure Middle School. Meghan is a rising 8th grader at McClure. Mr. Limpert teaches 6th grade but Meghan didn't have him when she was in 6th.

While I didn't get to here one of his 'lectures', he did describe how it works: every Friday he does an acapella version of a popular song, but changes the words. He said he teaches the kids the chorus, and makes them sing back to him. Sounds like a lot of fun and something most tweeners would find funny and unique.

I think it is great that he's doing this. While I've been impressed with most of Meghan's teachers so far, this guy is going well beyond presenting the materials. Reminds me of a couple of different teachers I had in school. One, who taught Anatomy, went out of his way to inject some humor, social responsibility and 60's Rock into the Catholic education we received. He's the reason I started listening to 60's groups like The Moody Blues and Jeroth Tull. He was also the first teacher who talked about cars with me. (He had a 65 mustang before he sold it to have kids. I had the 80 Capri). For example, extra credit questions were to define what group sung specific lyrics.

I'm surprised I hadn't heard of Mr. Limpert before, since we have friends with kids in all grades over there. Next time I'm in there for a career day I'll see if I can find him.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Paula's 40th Birthday bash

(From left: Deb, Dolly, Paula, Maile and Cathy)

Yesterday our friend Paula turned 40. Saturday night her husband Karl and 8 of us took her out for dinner, dancing and Michael Jackson.

The night started at Dante's Down the Hatch for dinner. If you haven't been there, it is a Fondue restaurant with a really nice wine list. A few bottles of wine and a lot of laughs later Karl brought out an incredible chocolate cake. It was covered with strawberries. Of course, the ladies all wanted to know what the strawberries were covered in (they had a gelatin coating to make them shiny). The service was great, the waitress and the wine steward all indulged our silliness.

Some strange conversations about Diego; some horse that bothered Maile on her vacation and Karl's mistaken identity.

Next we went into the bar district in Buckhead. Personally, I hadn't been in the bar district with my wife since before Meghan was born so this was quite the unusual. I was also 23 or 24 last time, not 39.

First stop was East Andrews for a few drinks. Then we went upstairs to Andrews Upstairs for a concert by a Michael Jackson cover band. The place was packed and the crowd was singing along. I doubt there were 10 (other) people in the place older than 40 ;-) They carded everyone going in, but Dolly didn't have her license so she was giving the kid a hard time about how she was not going to walk back to the car in those heels to get her license!

The band was actually pretty good and the ladies all had fun dancing.

After the concert we went back to East Andrews for a few more drinks then we were going to head home. Then the DJ started playing 80's dance music like Bon Jovi 'living on our hair', Neil Diamond 'Sweet Caroline' and a number of other songs we danced to in the 80's. The ladies and most of the guys started dancing and there was no going home. Reminded me a lot of the bars from college. (Anyone else go to Vermont because the drinking age was 19?)

The birthday girl had a great time. Even the 20-somethings were dancing and cheering her on. At one point she and her brother did a swing-dance like dance to one of the songs. I'm guessing they had lessons because they made it look so easy. A lot of people were watching them and cheered.

We finally left at 2:30 am. Yes, I was up at 2:30 am and there wasn't a sick child or a trip to the ER involved. Damn I'm getting old.

Cathy and Maile were the designated drivers, so no fear of Deb or me driving. When we got home the girls had locked all the doors and put the chains on. I tried calling the house 3 or 4 times, kept opening and closing the doors loudly etc. trying to wake them up. Even the dog came to the door once, barked, then saw it was us and stopped.

I finally kicked the door in, breaking the chain. Of course, Deb was already in from the front door, having woken up Courtney. One second Deb was behind me, the next she's in the house after I kicked the door in. No damage, I just need to replace the chain this weekend.

We got Meghan and Courtney back to sleep around 3:30 and passed out.

Looks like I need a new Giants Jersey

Jeremy Shockey, who demanded a trade back in the spring, finally got his wish Monday when the Giants reportedly traded him to the New Orleans Saints. The Giants apparently got a second- and a fifth-round pick in return for Shockey.

Details here.

Dad, your grandchildren don't have current jerseys any longer (neither does your son. Deb is okay, she has a Manning Jersey ;-)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Movie Review: Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Today Courtney and I had some "daddy and me" time together. She's been a big American Girl doll fan for several years, she has three of them and a ton of clothes.

Since they announced the movie a couple of months ago she's been asking me to take her. This morning we finally had a chance. Courtney put on the red T-shirt from her visit to the American Girl boutique a few years ago and brought one of her dolls with us. I'm pretty sure it was Nellie O'Malley.

Since we were going to a movie we had to stop and get candy. Even though it was 10 am. A bag of Skittles, M&Ms and we were set.

We arrived a few minutes early so we went to the Best Buy first to look at home theater receivers. Not sure why she wanted to do that, but I humored her ;-)

During the previews there were a couple of dog movies coming out this fall, so she of course asked me to take her to them. For those who don't know Courtney loves anything with dogs.

The movie plot is pretty basic: 10 year old girl during the great depression goes from leading an easy life to having her father lose his job, leave her and her mother to move to Chicago looking for work. Her mother had to take in borders to pay the mortgage. She dreams of being a writer and keeps writing articles about the 'good hobos' while most of the adults talk about how bad the hobos are.

Think of it as the anti-Disney movie. This time the Dad is gone and the mother is who keeps things together.

The plot was pretty heavy for a little kid and I think Courtney didn't get all of it. As a parent, several of the scenes were heartbreaking. Without giving a lot away, I'd say that one of the fears of a parent, especially in this economy, is to not be able to provide for your family and they hit that emotional button several times. It also touched on what the changes were doing to the kids. Again as a parent that was hard to watch.

The scene where the young boy tells a hobo to write his son, because the boy hadn't heard from his own father in months was gut wrenching.

One of the characters was the daughter of the bank president. While she wasn't as bad off as the others, she did learn first hand what the depression did to families. There were some funny moments, showing that not everything during that time was bad. There was even a few jokes aimed at the parents (pay attention during the magic scenes and you'll get them.)

In the end there is a little mystery, Scooby-do like chase and the 'good hobos' doing what is right so it had a good ending. It ignored that the depression went on for several more years.

Courtney enjoyed it and only asked one question about the plot line.

I wasn't prepared for the presentation of the great depression since it was rated G and based on what I'd read in the reviews, but otherwise it was a good movie for a 10 year old. I think my older daughter would have been bored.

We then went to TGI Fridays for lunch.

FYI: one of favorite books I read with both girls is going to be a movie this fall, they showed a preview of it: Tail of despereaux

Friday, July 18, 2008

That was different ...

Tonight the little guy was overtired. When I got home from work the family had just come back from the pool and he was pretty tired.

During dinner, he decided that Mom's salad was better than his, so he ate from her disk, with his fingers. Deb really likes ranch dressing. Apparently the little guy does too. He had it all over his face and belly.

I gave him a tub to get him cleaned up, THEN he pooped. Typical little boy. Can't be clean for 5 minutes. After changing that he kind of just wandered around, bouncing off stuff, banging his head, knees etc and generally being whiny.

I took him up earlier than usual, expecting he'd play or give me a hard time. Nope. We brushed his teeth, washed his hands again and sat down to read a book. He actually sat through all of 'Goodnight Moon'.

After I turned off the light he started to do his usual routine: sit on my lap, facing out for a minute. Then placing his head against my chest for a minute, then flip flopping repeatedly until I had enough and I put him in his bed. However tonight he sat on my lap, then turned completely around and put his head on my chest and his full body on me.

I usually just make up the words to songs like 'hush little baby' but tonight I couldn't get the Adam's Family theme out of my head, so I hummed that. He looked up at me a couple of times, but eventually put his head down and passed out cold.

Compared to the fun the first part of the week with him getting out of bed, turning his light on, getting books out or throwing his stuffed animals for 30 minutes, it was nice.

But the Adam's Family? No, I don't know why I was humming it.

Now I can go watch SciFi Friday while Deb is out shopping!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Niece Molly!

John and Katharine have made it public so I can talk about it now!

John and Katharine will be adopting a baby girl in a few weeks. Some details here.

'I Love You'

Deb swears that Christopher came up to her yesterday, gave her a hug and said 'I love you'. He's not speaking much so that must have been pretty cool.

He's also been saying 'olo' for 'hello' instead just 'hi'.

Now he needs to say 'Go Giants!'.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bunny remakes of classics

This is way to bizarre not to share.

30 second remakes of famous movies, but done by bunnies.

Note: most aren't kid safe, but some are remakes of PG and G movies (like Star Wars)

See here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Panama City Vacation - Pictures!

Lots on the Flickr site, but here are some of my favorites:

Meghan about to catch a wave

Christopher taking off for the pool. Still no idea where he gets the need to take off when he's bored ;-)

Courtney's 'room'. It was really a 5' cubby hole. She loved it!

Christopher and I playing with buckets at the pool. Pretty good shot from 22 stories up.

Courtney in full almost teenager mode. Sigh.

One view from our 22nd floor balcony. (more on the Flickr site)

Christopher floating in the pool.

Deb and Christopher in his 'room'. (Yes, that is a closet)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Panama City Vacation - Day 8 - Going Home

I think we cursed ourselves last night. Deb and I were talking about how Christopher hadn't woken up in the middle of the night all week. This morning at 3 am he woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep for about 30 minutes.

We woke up this morning to a very overcast beach, with storms we could see out in the gulf. After breakfast (eating everything we couldn't bring home) the girls and I took a load of things to the van. No cart this time, none were to be seen anywhere. On the ride down from the 22 nd floor we hit 4 different groups trying to get their carts on to the elevators. Good thing I did the heavy stuff last night ;-)

As we were loading the van, the thunderstorms struck. Luckily we were in a parking garage so we didn't get totally soaked, but the rain was coming sideways.

After getting showers and some final looks under all the furniture (and putting back all the stuff we moved so Christopher couldn't get to it) we took what we hoped was the last load of stuff down. Unfortunately, we missed by a couple of bags of stuff so Meghan and I had to make one more trip. Compared to what happened last year (let's just say I had to file an insurance claim ...) this was a lot smoother.

We were caught in the rain for the first hour and a half as we crawled up the main road out of Panama City. Once we got out of Florida the weather cleared and we had good traffic, weather and made good time.

Once we got home Christopher immediately started playing with all his toys again, Meghan and Courtney jumped on their bikes to see their friends and I started unloading. Deb pointed out that the cargo-carrier on the van has been there for 6 weeks!

We now have everyone settled in and asleep or in bed so I'm going to get a beer and read the paper!

I'll upload pictures tomorow.

Panama City Vacation - Day 7

Our last day at the beach and we made the most of it.

We were on the beach by 9 am and in the surf quickly. The algae was back today, not in big clumps this time, but just everywhere, so you couldn't swim around it.

After about 15 minutes Christopher had enough and took off again for the pool. I went with him this time and we played for about an hour, then he got bored. We walked around for a few minutes, but he wouldn't go back to the beach. With the layout of the building, I was able to stay on the pool 'level' and get Deb's attention on the beach. She brought me a bucket and cup, then Christopher and I went back to the pool.

If you've never seen a 2 year old play with a bucket of water, it is a trip. He started by filling the big bucket with the cup, then dumping the big bucket into the pool. I of course got bored with this, so I showed him some interesting fluid dynamics tricks, including:
- turning the bucket upside down and pushing it underwater, then tipping it so the bubbles go under his legs
- taking the bucket open end up and forcing it into the pool as quickly as possible so the rushing water would splash
- dumping the bucket over my head ;-)

At one point I had 3 little kids watching and giggling as I did the bubble tricks.

Around noon the skies opened up and we had a pretty major downpour. Christopher and I stayed in the pool since we were already wet and there was no thunder or lightning. After about 10 minutes it stopped and the sun came out.

We finally figured out why he wanted to go to the pool all the time. The new 'floaties' we bought him actually keep him upright in the pool, so he can float around by himself. He had a blast just moving himself around the pool.

Around 1 we went back to the condo to shower and eat lunch. The rains kept coming throughout the afternoon. I took the girls souvenir shopping for a couple of hours.

After the fiasco last Saturday with the elevators, we loaded the duffel bags and things we didn't need on Saturday into the van right before dinner. I had no problem getting an elevator or cart this time!

For dinner we went to a kid-friendly place right on the water. Lots of burgers and chicken fingers this time. No good seafood ;-(

After dinner we went to the go cart track. Meghan and the two other girls with us had their own karts while Courtney and I shared one. I swear I had the slowest one, since we got lapped by almost everyone. Even the other 2 person carts with guys my size with kids ran away from us. After a couple of laps I gave up going fast and just screamed like a lunatic and ran the kart along the wall bouncing off stuff. Courtney thought it was fun!

We went back to condo where Christopher passed out. I stayed with him while Deb took the girls with out friends to look for crabs on the beach.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Panama City Vacation - Day 6

Every vacation needs a day like this. We did pretty much nothing.

Tried to sleep in, but Christopher was up and around early as usual. Deb and kids went to the beach for most of the morning. Had the 'we need to eat all this stuff, so we don't bring it home!' lunch (I'm sure we'll do that again on Friday).

The weather was hit and miss in the afternoon so we hung out playing games and reading in the condo. I TRIED to get Christopher to nap, but gave up after an hour or so.

At dinner time, our friend Paula got pizzas from Mellow Mushroom for the kids and I. Deb and Paula went out to dinner for a 'girls 1/2 night out'. Herding 6 kids was a easy, since Christopher was the only one I had to watch closely. I also got some good pizza out of it ;-)

Around 7:30 I changed Christopher, then he climbed into my lap and fell asleep. I was surprised because a few minutes before he and I were building block towers and knocking them down.

When Deb and Paula got back they took all the other kids to get ice cream while I enjoyed the quite for a while and watched an episode of CSI I didn't get to watch last fall.

The kids were exhausted so they went to sleep pretty easily.

Like I said, every vacation needs a day like this.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Panama City Vacation - Day 5

Halfway through and we're about to kill each other. Just kidding, sort of ;-)

On Wednesday we got up extra early and took a pontoon boat to Shell Island. We were at the dock at 8 am and on the water a few minutes later. Christopher wasn't too sure about the boat, but started enjoying it after a few minutes. The girls loved it.

On the way to Shell Island we didn't see any dolphins, but the girls had their eyes peeled looking. Both even got to drive the boat for a few minutes. We stopped on the bay side of the island instead of the ocean since it was calmer.

On the island, Meghan and Courtney did some snorkeling, looking for live marine animals. They found some crabs, hermit crabs and a lot of fish. Christopher loved sitting in the water and not getting hammered. After a few minutes he decided he wanted to see what was on the other side of the island, so he took off. He's been taking off a lot lately when he gets bored or distracted. I don't know where he gets that from ...

After snorkeling and swimming for a couple of hours, we got back on the boat and headed to another part of the island. While on the way, Deb saw two different dolphins, including one who got close enough to see clearly.

On the second stop the kids went snorkeling again, then we headed back to the beach.

We went back to the condo and had lunch. After lunch I finally was able to get Christopher to take a nap and Deb took the girls souvenir shopping.

After a good nap for Christopher (and I finished reading my book!) we headed off to dinner. The restaurant was 100 yards or so from the condo, so we just walked. Christopher kept trying to touch a Harley while we were waiting for a table then our food. May be I'll think about getting one for my birthday?

After dinner I walked with the girls to a gas station up the road to get ice cream. Unfortunately there aren't any ice cream stands within walking distance of our condo for some reason.

Still no major sunburn!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Panama City Vacation - Day 4

Now we're having fun.

Tuesday started off easily enough, we went to the beach for most of the morning, then back to the condo for lunch. Christopher played in the sand and the girls floated, swam and dug a few big holes.

During lunch the girls convinced me to go para sailing. So right after lunch we went down and paid for 3 people to go up. Then the wind storm started. While not quite a sandstorm, it was pretty bad, blowing umbrellas, beach toys, tents and even a few little kids around. The guys renting the beach chair/umbrella sets responded pretty quickly and got things settled down, even helping the people who had stuff blowing all over the place.

When the storm started, our friends were up in the para sail and told us they could see the lightning and clouds behind our building. So, our trip was cancelled until the afternoon. We went back to the condo for a couple of hours, then the weather turned nicer and we went for our ride.

Meghan was in front, I was in back and Courtney was strapped between us. Each had our own harness, so we could move ourselves. The first 'dip' into the water was a little rough and Meghan was dragged a few feet. She didn't mind, calling it the 'wildest thing I've ever done'. Courtney was great, no screaming or freaking out. Deb and I had done this on our honeymoon, so I knew what to expect, but the girls found the silence kind of weird.

After our ride we hung out on the beach for another hour or so, then headed up to get ready for dinner.

We had a nice dinner at a steak/seafood place (there are a few of those here!). I got to have sushi and a California roll while Deb passed her usual chicken meal and had a steak. Christopher devoured a cheeseburger, even Deb said it was the best cheeseburger she had every had.

While we were waiting for the check Christopher started to melt down, so I took him outside. We found a small pond which had a lot of turtles in it. Courtney of course was loving that.

After dinner we went to a mini-golf and maze place. Deb took our girls and the two girls of our friends to do the maze, while out friends took their son to do mini golf. Deb and I expected Christopher to pass out, so I was just going to push him around.

Well, he didn't fall asleep and got pissed he was strapped into the stroller. So I took him out and we walked around. He found the mini-golf area and grabbed one of the balls. He held it in his hand while walking around. We went backwards through the holes: 18 to 1, just watching people play. He was fascinated watching them hit the ball and watching it go into the hole.

Deb and the girls finished the maze in 19 minutes. The place had a 'top speed of the day' board and the top speeds for 7/7 were between 15 and 22 minutes. There is a good chance the girls will be a top speed for 7/8. We'll go back tonight to check on them.

At this point Christopher can barely keep his eyes open. We have one more stop: a one event race at to go-cart track. I stay in the car with Christopher, but park where he can see one the race tracks. He keeps pointing at the cars and making noises and cheering. Eventually he passed out. Deb and the girls had a great race (Meghan could drive, Courtney is too young).

We loaded everyone back into the van, went back to the condo and all the kids passed out. Deb and I sat on the balcony and just chilled for about 30 minutes, then went to sleep.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Panama City Vacation - day 3

After cleaning up from dinner the other night I turned on the dishwasher and went to do other things. An hour later, the dishwasher hadn't started yet. Tried a couple of things but it wouldn't work. It wouldn't be a vacation without a plumbing problem right?

In the morning the girls went to the day camp at the marine park for their day camp. Then Deb and I took Christopher to the pool at the condo. Since Christopher can't swim or really float by himself in the ocean we put him in all his floaties and let him go nuts. He was giggling smiling and jumping into the water.

After lunch we went up to wait for maintenance to fix to dishwasher. Christopher, doing his best Curious George imitation kept watching them. And not taking a nap. 2 1/2 hours later they fixed it. Christopher still wouldn't nap.

We then went to the beach, Christopher playing with the sand and water. He didn't want to go into the water past his knees but was having a blast. The girls came back from the camp and Courtney joined us at the beach. Meghan just wanted to crash so she stayed in the condo.

The girls had a lot of fun at the camp. They were able to touch the dolphins, helped feed a couple of other animals and Courtney got to see some turtles as well.

After we all took showers and cleaned up, we went to dinner at our friend's condo. They made burgers for the kids and crab legs for the adults. Did you know that the only fish Deb will eat are crab legs?

After sunset we went on the beach to do some crab hunting and watch all the people setting off fireworks. We didn't really find any crabs, but the fireworks were good.

Remember Christopher's 'room'. Well he still loves it. When the repair guys were here he'd get bored watching them and go into the room and play with all his stuff. It really isn't as redneck as it sounds.

Finally got everyone into bed and we crashed ourselves. Tuesday is going to be a day at the beach, so hopefully no plumbing problems!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Panama City Vacation - Day 2

Remember the air mattress Christopher was going to sleep on? Well it deflated and he woke up around 2 am. So he went into bed with us. God this child doesn't sleep still. By 4 am he had the whole bed except the couple of inches Deb and I had on the sides. We moved him several times and he either crawled up against my back and started pushing me (No comments Dad!) or would kick Deb in the back.

The girls slept well. We got up, had a quick breakfast and headed to the beach. The water was wonderful and everyone had a blast swimming and playing in the sand. The algae is thick, but not horrible. Christopher got hit twice with waves that knocked him off his feet, but he got up and started smiling each time. He even sat in the surf and laughed as the waves spun him around.

We went back to the condo for a late lunch, took showers and planned the rest of the day. So far, no sunburn, which is amazing for me.

After lunch Karl and I took the older kids to the grocery store to pick out the food for the dinner that the older girls were going to cook. Including a marble cake. Karl ended up cooking most of the food, including an incredible shrimp pasta. We drank some wine and sat on the balcony. Very nice and relaxing.

Around sunset we started getting the kids ready for bed, because on day 3 they are going to do an all day, behind the scenes camp at the local aquarium. Christopher had a nap, so he didn't want to go to sleep. At 10 pm someone started setting off commerical grade fireworks on the beach in front of our condo. For MOST of them we were above them, but some exploded at our level. Very thick with smoke, loud and colorful. All the more reason Christopher didn't want to go to sleep.

Remember the air mattress? Well, since that didn't work we had to come up with some place else to get him to sleep. In fine Curtin tradition, we improvised. Slight tangent here: when I was a kid we arrived somewhere in Rhode Island for our vacation and found that they didn't have our rooms ready. I don't remember why, but I do remember my Dad taking the bed apart and me sleeping on the box spring in a sleeping bag.

Why is that story relevant? Well, we took the mattress off the sleeper couch, put it on the floor in the closet in the master and that is where Christopher slept. (Pictures when we get back, I promise!). Christopher loves it. He keeps going in there to play.

We finally got everyone to sleep and went to bed.

End of day 2

Panama City Vaction - Day 1

It is that time of year again: our trek to the beach with the kids. Last year was interesting with Christopher and a non-baby proofed condo. This year should be better since he's a little easier to watch and he isn't putting everything in his mouth.

Saturday morning we got up, loaded the car (with only a little drama, I mean how much stuff do we need for a week vacation?, but I digress). We dropped Isis at the vet and she wasn't too happy with us. I think she knows we aren't going to leave her forever, but she still took a dump on the floor when they came to get her.

The 7 hour drive wasn't too bad. We found the only McDonald's that had everyone from Georgia going to the panhandle and coming back. What a madhouse. Half pasty white, the rest sunburned. We had a couple of thunderstorms but nothing that really held us up.

As we're driving we hear from the condo owner that he has fired his cleaning crew and it room probably wouldn't be ready when we get there. We arrive around 3 pm local time and go to the beach to look around. Beautiful water, clean sand etc. Very cool, this should be fun.

At 4 pm we get a cart, unload the van and head to the '4 high speed elevators' that the leasing company AND the owner all touted. 40 minutes later, I'm still not on an elevator, so I do something drastic. I catch one going down and force my cart on it (the parking garage was on the 5 th floor.) I finally get the cart to the 22nd floor, only to find the room isn't ready.

It gets better. We're 22 stories up, the girls are fighting like siblings and everyone just wants to get into a condo with A/C. Did I mention that the beer is warm? I forgot to take a 6 and put it in the cooler before we left.

Being a boy, Christopher is loving the view off the 22nd floor balcony. The condo is build where all the entrances are in the back, with gulf facing balconies in the front. So Christopher sticks his foot through the railing and immediately kicks off his shoe. 22 stories straight down it lands on a sidewalk, just missing a guy. So I go down 22 stories to get it. I figure what the hell, so I go to the van and get more stuff.

I again get an elevator going down, but this time tell the teenagers still waiting with a cart to get on with me. When we get to the first floor there is no room to get on. But we get our stuff up.

We're still waiting for the room so I go back to the van for a few more things. Then I notice that the cleaning crew has two of the 4 elevators stopped so the can empty garbage and sweep the floors. You figure there are at least 120 families trying to get into the 23 story building. And they have 2 of the elevators dedicated to the cleaning crews. What a bunch of morons (Deb made me remove what I really wrote here.)

We finally get into our condo and unload. We then head to dinner with our friends (who were smart enough not to stay in a 23 story tower with 4 elevators).

I had really good crab cakes for dinner and Deb had chicken. Of course.

The guys went back to the condos with all the kids while Deb and Paula went to the grocery store. We got changed and went to the beach. By the time they got back the elevators were reasonable again.

We got everyone settled in, including Christopher on a blow up mattress on the floor in our room and went to sleep. Courtney is in a small alcove in the wall behind the dining room. They have 2 bunk beds for little kids. She loves the 'cave'.

Deb and I fall into bed and pass out.

End of Day 1.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Deb's birthday

We celebrated Deb's 29th birthday yesterday. Unfortunately I had to work most of the day so she didn't get much of a break. Pictures here.

We had the ice cream cake first, at 5 pm, because we were going to the Kennesaw fireworks.
Deb, being a 'firecracker baby' always has two have two things on her birthday: ice cream cake and fireworks. The cake was a Carvel, but not direct from a Carvel store (We don't have any here. Nor do we have Friendly's, both staples of our growing up/dating history together ;-)

Deb received a new camera from the kids and some pjs as well.

We then went to the Depot in downtown Kennesaw. Wow that place as packed! We've been going there most years for the last 15 or so and this was the busiest I've ever seen it. All kinds of people, outfits and attitudes. We met up with a number of our neighbors. We set up right next to the last row of 'reserved' tables. Left lots of room, but the people sitting in front of us were a pain in the !ss. They complained that we were too close to their chairs and that we were blocking the walkway. There was plenty of room, even more room between us and them and them and the next row of tables. Oh well, always someone to complain.

The fireworks were wonderful, but Christopher almost jumped out of his skin when they started. He tried to climb OVER me. I finally got him to sit down and I covered his ears with both hands. After a few minutes he was okay and watched until the finale. Again I had to cover his ears because it was very loud.

(Yes, we've celebrated Deb's 29th birthday a few times before. No, I won't tell you how many)

Christopher playing with Markers

I didn't know about this until I was transferring the pictures from the camera this morning. Looks like he had a little fun. More pictures here.