Saturday, March 25, 2006

Too Big For My Britches or Too Good To Be True

Have I mentioned that it rained, A LOT, last weekend? Oh yes, I told you about the whole flooding thing. Well, with all that rain, it was bound to weeds grew and so I had to mow today. I do not like mowing. Fortunately it is not a skilled labor job (at least not at the level I do it), so I can do it without too much trouble, but I really do not enjoy it. If the weather is 'nice enough' to mow the yard, I figure it is nice enough to read a book on the back porch, take the dogs for a walk, take Amanda to the park, go geocahing or some other such enjoyable activity. But I digress.

So it was time to mow today. Since I push mow the back and ride the rest (I mow our yard and two pieces of church property in exchange for using the church's lawn mowing equipment), I always do the back yard first. The push mower has not been started all year, so when I pulled the rope over and over again in an attempt to get the motor to start, the most noticeable thing that happened was my arm got tired. Pastor David reminded us this week that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, so I decided I needed to take something apart to fix the problem. Now mind you, I know nothing about mowers, it's just that it seemed like somebody who would know about mowers would take the thing apart at a time like this, so I thought I'd give it a try. I think I found where a spring was not working properly, so I moved what I think was the choke and pulled the rope again. Whatever I did, the mower started this time.

The good news is, I did not have to wrestle with pride after fixing the mower ever-so-expertly...I didn't wrestle one bit, I just blowed up like a big 'ol puffer fish being so proud of myself. Somethin' was wrong with the mower and I took it apart and fixed it. I mowed the back yard with no trouble at all.

After that, it was time to start on the front yard. Now the riding lawn mower had already been taken apart and tinkered with and been used a couple times this year, although no mowing had been done yet. I got the mower about half way from the shed to my front yard when it just up and quit...kaput. I tried restarting it and got it to backfire several times, but that was about it. Since I was still a little puffed up with pride at my earlier feats, I took a thing or two apart, put it back together and expected the mower to start for me (after all, it must have been a good karma day for lawn mower fixin', right?). Well, it's a good thing I don't believe in karma, 'cause I didn't have any. No matter what I did, I got nothing better than a backfire. Obviously the mower is going to need someone with more experience (and better mower karma).

Since you have not had much to do with our church's riding lawn mower, you probably don't know that when it stops, for some reason, it stays in gear. This means there is no neutral, so it is near impossible to push. So here I was with the mower half way to the front yard and it would not budge. I don't know how much it weighs, but I'm guessing roughly triple what I could easily pick up and carry back to the shed. But what I lacked in muscles, I made up for in ingenuity. I brought the car around, tied the mower to it and drug the silly thing back to the shed. From there, I had to lift up the back end (yes, completely off the ground) and push it (front tires still on the ground) up the ramp into the shed.

By this time, my back was hurting and I was sweating like one of those overweight people (yes, it's a joke...I am one). I don't know if I just got too big for my britches today or if it was just too good to be true my fixin' the mowers and all, but now I have to figure out how to get the mower into the trailer and take it someplace to get serviced. I gotta tell ya, the story was a WHOLE lot more fun to tell that it was to live through today. But some things are just like that I guess. Anyway, I'll let you know how the rest turns out.

- Rob

It's Not "That" Picture

I have a friend, who shall remain nameless. He said, "Hey! It's been days! Come on! Post something... but not the picture of me asleep." So instead of posting that picture, I'll just post this picture of my friend Brad as he "listens to music with his eyes closed" in the office!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Life is a succession of lessons
which must be lived to be understood.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Nap Part Was Good

Brooke is always good about unpacking right after we get back from being out of town. Me? It usually takes me a day or two. I knew after church today I was going to need to clean up my office because all of my trip stuff was spread out all over the place in my office, but it started to rain. If you read my A Few of My Favorite Things post, you know my favorite thing to do on a rainy day is take a nap, so the clean up had to wait.

While napping, I got a call saying that the Altar for tonight (prayer/praise service) was cancelled because more severe thunderstorms were moving in...and by the way, the sanctuary is flooding, too! Now, by flooding, I merely mean that the carpet is soaked (from the back door half was up to the platform on the one side of the sanctuary), not that stuff is beginning to float or anything like that. And this did not really come as a surprise because this happens when we get a lot of rain in a short period of time. Until we get some landscaping work done, this means the carpet has to be wet vac'd and the ditch outside has to be cleared out and dug a little deeper/wider (the ditch is a stop gap to reduce the flow of water into the sanctuary).

Since we were going to be getting more rain, I knew I had to get over there and get started. While I dug out our "overflow ditch", another guy started vacuuming up water in the sanctuary. I had dug out the ditch when it began to rain again, so I went inside to help with the vacuuming. It was raining hard, so I opened the back door to see how the overflow ditch was holding up. The ditch was holding up great, but water was gushing in the back door. The gutters were full of junk so the water was pouring off the roof onto the concrete right in front of the back door...and under the door into the sanctuary. I grabbed a ladder and ran out into the rain to clear the drain. A good friend came out with me (also getting soaked) to help. I got the drain cleared by the time the really hard rain stopped and the problem seemed to be fixed. We dug out and drained (as best we could) the ditch one more time in hopes of keeping the rest of the rain out for the night.

So tomorrow, I'll do some more wet vacuuming, maybe some more ditch digging and maybe call the carpet cleaning people. I haven't been that wet out in the rain in a while. Amanda probably would have thought it was fun. Anyway, thanks Steve and Brad for your help today. At least the nap part was good!

- Rob

Friday, March 17, 2006

Mild, But a Panic Nonetheless

While we've been in Alabama visiting Brooke's family, her Mom and Dad decided to upgrade to DSL Internet (YEA!). Not being particularly "computer inclined", they asked me to set it up while we're home, so I called the phone company on Saturday, got the order rolling and waited to receive the modem and setup disc. The stuff from the phone company came on Tuesday, so I've got them online, download virus and spyware protection for them and have updated Windows online. Oh, did I mention they are running Windows 98 with just 64 megs or RAM? So, I've downloaded a more efficient disk defragmenter, run msconfig and shut down any programs that do not need to run at startup and downloaded/updated/scanned everything I could to try and keep the computer from running so slow and locking up. Now that they have DSL, content is downloaded to their computer faster than the computer can process it!

So the panic came just a little bit ago. I've got some old computer memory laying around back home, so I thought I'd check what kind of memory this computer uses and maybe I could mail them some additional memory and let my sister-in-law's husband install it for them. I got the computer open, pulled out the RAM, checked it and put it back in the computer. Those of you who are a little quicker than the average person may already have guessed what happened when I rebooted the computer...NOTHING.

So here I am, having spent numerous hours installing DSL, getting the most out of their computer, etc and now it goes down...13 hours before we plan to leave. Of course I panicked! I shut the computer back down, unplugged it and opened it up. Fortunately I just had not snapped the memory into place properly. Once that was fixed we were back in business. I'm just glad it was that simple. It was mild, but a panic nonetheless.

- Rob

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Day in the Life ...On Vacation

Don't want to start the day too strenuously.
Amanda watched TV and Mommy read.

Amanda and Dady headed to Hartselle for park play and geocaching.
Hartselle is the town where Brooke grew up.

This is a park where we played and geocached.

Amanda Kay preparing for a treasure swap.

"Daddy, can we play?"

It's a little hard to tell from this perspective...this is one of those
plastic tunnels they have on playground equipment.
This is Amanda Kay from the outside.

Amanda Kay on the inside of the tunnel thing.

Yes, it's my "official" geocaching outfit.
22 caches found, 2 hidden

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Geocaching in Alabama

The first day we went out, we took cousins David and Hannah with us.
Hannah was the first (in our group) to find one of the caches that day.

The family that geocaches together...gets stuck together if there are thorns.
Fortunately, woods in Alabama don't seem to have near as many thorns/briars as Texas.

This was Brooke's first geocaching adventure with us.

This time, David did everything from program the GPS, lead the way
through the woods and discover the cache.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This came from my devotion time this morning in the Student's Life Application Bible. Made me think about how obedient I am to God.

Deuteronomy 8:1 tells us to obey Gods' commands. We do this by obeying God with:
  • OUR HEART - By loving him more than any relationship, activity, achievement, or possession
  • OUR WILL - By committing ourselves completely to him
  • OUR MIND - By seeking to know him and his Word, so his principles and values form the foundation of all we think and do
  • OUR BODY - By recognizing that our strengths,talents, and sexuality are given to us by God to be used for pleasure and fulfillment according to his rules, not ours
  • OUR FINANCES - By deciding that all of the resources we have ultimately come from God, and that we are to be managers of them and not owners
  • OUR FUTURE - By deciding to make service to God and people the main purpose of our life's work
"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul, and to obey the Lord's commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good." (Deut. 10:12-13, NLT)


Saturday, March 11, 2006

From Trauma to Victory

Our "day" started at 7:00am on Friday. For the first time since she has started school, Amanda was up before the alarm clock went off. She knew her friend Rosanne was having a birthday party Friday night and then we would be heading to Alabama. Amanda went to the party, Brooke and I took the doggies to Duncanville (my parents are keeping them for us), we picked up Amanda and then I slept for an hour and a half while Brooke and Amanda watch a movie.

At Midnight, it was time to hit the road. Amanda and Brooke slept while I rotated listening to Nimitz Class (book on CD) by Patrick Robinson and loud music (on the Dell DJ) to keep me awake. I made it until 5:15am at which time I pulled over to a roadside park for a half hour nap. About 30 minutes later we were in Vicksburg, Mississippi which is the half way point of the trip. We gassed up, Brooke took over the driving and I got another hour or so of sleep.

We arrived in Decatur just in time for lunch. Brooke and Amanda went with Mom and cousin Hannah to see MaMa Gin (Brooke's grandmother) while Dad, my nephew David and I played some Texas Hold 'Em (Alabama style). David and I also did some prep work on the Internet for tomorrow when David, Hannah, Amanda and I will do some geocaching.

But the real "excitement" began after dinner...Amanda had a loose tooth. If you have followed this blog, you know that the last loose tooth was quite an "experience" and Amanda (aka "Drama Queen") wanted to make sure this one was no different. And it was no different. 40 minutes and several screams after the ordeal began, Brooke sat her down and yanked the tooth out! As soon as the tears were dry, Amanda was parading around showing everybody what a great thing "she" did...from trauma to victory in a matter of moments.

So Spring Break 2006 has began. Who knows what excitement tomorrow holds.

- Rob

Thursday, March 09, 2006

This is Why I Blog

I was harrassing a blogging family I know because they have not had a new post in while (Brad, Dawn and Laura). So I get up this morning, and Dawn has posted to her blog:

(Titled "Because Rob Bullied Me" with a :
-D next to it)
This is for my friend Rob who said I should include boring stuff about my life in my blog and not just wait around for something this is for you my friend...yep, it is one of things a friend passed on email. (you can read the whole thing here).

So, since I was called out by name, I had to come back with a response. I tried to be a little humorous, but I really just put into writing why I blog. When I got done, I thought, goodness, that sounded more like a blog posting than a comment. So here is what I said:

Since this is some of the same type "boring" stuff I put on my blog, I hope your other friends don't think this is boring either. Now I know stuff about you that I did not know before. To me, that's not boring, that's getting to know your friends better.

Different people blog for different reasons. My blog is just about my life...sometimes boring, sometimes sharing more about me, maybe even something profound every once-in-a-while (maybe?). I write for me ('cause I like to write) and for my friends/family who would care about the 'boring,' everyday stuff that happens in my life (or who would likely laugh at the same stuff I laugh at).

I've got pastor friends who write pastoral blogs or who are making an effort to change culture through what they write, friends who only write about out of the ordinary, 'interesting' things in their lives and friends who only write when they learn something from an experience they had. All of these are fine...I was merely observing that people like me who write 'boring' things about everyday life have more to blog about.

By golly, look at me. I should have put all of this on MY blog! :+)

Thank you for sharing 'boring' stuff that lets me get to know you better.

So for those of you who wonder, this is why I blog.

- Rob

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Scam Warning

Like you, I hate it when people forward bogus warnings -- but this one is important. And you might want to forward this to those you care about.

If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a survey on deer ticks and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT...IT IS A SCAM! They only want to see you naked.

I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid now.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cherokee Proverb

"When you were born,
you cried and the world rejoiced.

Live your life so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice."

- Cherokee Proverb

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Daddy/Daughter Day

Amanda and I went geocaching today...a beautiful day.
By the way...we were three for three today, baby!
(we found 3 out of 3 caches we hunted)

This cache was Amanda's first find. I read the clue
and she went right to the correct tree. The cache is
hidden under the wood pile.

No, there is no turtle inside. Yes, I let my
daughter pick up a dead turtle.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Few of My Favorite Things - Part I

  • When I am with a group of my guy friends: PLAY TEXAS HOLD 'EM INTO THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING
  • Daddy/Daughter time: GEOCACHING and PLAY WRESTLING
  • Hanging out with my Pastor: BEATING HIM AT RACQUETBALL (WHEN I CAN)
  • When I am on a date with my wife: EAT AT CHILI'S THEN CATCH A MOVIE
  • On a rainy day: LISTEN TO IT RAIN AND TAKE A NAP
  • Late night when I am by myself: WATCH A VIOLENT WAR MOVIE
  • Surfing the Internet: BLOG AND READ TECH NEWS
  • Shopping (i.e. looking at stuff I would buy if money were not an issue): FRY'S ELECTRONICS
  • Non-people part of my job: ADDING TO AND UPDATING THE CHURCH WEB SITE
  • Books of the Bible: PROVERBS, JAMES, 1 JOHN

Hide It And They Will Come

Amanda and I got out this week and hid our first cache for others to find: Treasure Island. Today was the first day it was listed on the web site and three people found it already. Hide it and they will come.

- Rob

Stats from today:
There are 24,1074 active caches in 221 countries. In the last 7 days, there have been 148,500 new logs written by 24,892 account holders.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Silly Sully

I guess at the exact moment I snapped this picture Sully decided to lick his chops, but I took the picture to show how silly he is. It was not cold enough to have the heater turned on, but Amanda had it on anyway. And what does Sully do when the heater is on? He lays in front of it...even when it makes him pant like he was when I took this picture!
- Rob

I Had to Laugh Out Loud

OK, I'll admit I was curious. When I read the headline "No Flush: Let the Yellow Mellow" I had to click it and check it out. The article talks about how waterless urinals are going to save the planet. Well, maybe not save the planet, but the environmentalists think the idea is great. On the other hand, plumbers say it is a terrible idea. Well, you can read it and form your own opinion, but the reason I enjoyed reading the article so much was a comment left by one of the readers. The part of the comment you could read said, "We've had waterless urinals at my house for..." and then when you click on it read the rest of the quote, you find "We've had waterless urinals at my house for years. Only we call them "bushes". I had to laugh out loud.

- Rob

Be Like Jesus

Amanda loves hating the devil (that's OK, right?), so we just had to
get this shirt for her when we saw it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Man's Best Friend

This was forwarded to me twice, so you've probably seen it, but it is cute enough to post here.