“Salt Lake is so romantic…”

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This morning as I was driving my kids to school my 6 year-old son says “I love Salt Lake, it’s so romantic.” I laughed my butt off.

Today was the second day of being Mr. Mom. One thing I have going for me is that I’m used to waking up about an hour before my wife ususally does so I’m showered, dressed and breakfasted before it is time to wake them all up. I’ve got them all ready to leave for school about 15 minutes early.

Today was Friday and a shorter school day for my kids, which meant more driving. With Girl Scouts in the afternoon that my daughter attends I tracked 2 full hours in the car driving my kids to and from school and other activities. That’s just crazy. This must be what my wife expriences all the time but what can you do? The scheduling is just bad.

My youngest daughter cried for about a total of 1.5 hours today, the biggest stretch was this morning as I attended a 2 hour conference call which I had to keep on mute the whole time. Ella cried and cried because I couldn’t find cute clothes for her that didn’t itch. I wonder how my wife gets away with dressing her every day.

At one point during the conference call I had to leave the room because Ella was yelling “I’M DONE POOPING!” which is her way of saying “Hey, come and wipe my butt!” So I got up and wiped her then came back to the conference call. A minute later I get an email saying “are you there?” I replied “of course I am” to which he rejoined “Dude, we were just asking you a question and you didn’t answer.” So I told him, in an e-mail, that I had just stepped out of the room. So Rob (Gary’s owner, you know, the cat with the petrified paw) says to everyone in attendance “Nat’s back. He had to wipe his kids ass for a minute. Nat do you want do come on down and wipe our asses too?” which created an uproar of laughter. I got him back later though when he asked me in front of everyone what I was wearing to which I calmly replied “I don’t think they care but I bet you are wearing that leapord print thong again!” That got even more laughter so I feel like I got him back. By the way, you should always know who is on the conference call before you say stuff like that.

The kids ate white bread with butter on it for dinner. That’s of course not what I prepared for them but it seems that it’s the only thing they ate. I ate pizza that I made from scratch and custom built to the kids specifications except that they all insisted that I put cheddar cheese on the pizza instead of mozzerella. When they went t eat the pizza they said the cheeze tasted “weird” and refused to eat it. Back to the pasta and white bread with butter for them.

After dinner I went to my parent’s house to help the new upcoming renter of the Little House (my parent’s rental property) store things in our garage. The management of said property was turned over to me just a few days ago in the midst of a problem (old renter not moving out until the 2nd and new renter with no where to go because they can’t move in)–I’m not complaining, I solicited taking that over some time ago. It’s just another fun adventure to add to the kids having booger fights in the car coming home from Girl Scouts.

I looked up some of the places that my wife is visiting today in Germany and Austria. It was too depressing so I’ve quit looking up the cities, castles, cathedrals, etc. I’ll just assuming she’s having an awesome time and the less I think about it the less jealous I’ll be.

Finally got all the kids to bed at 10:25 PM tonight and I think I’m the one who is more tired than they are.

I hope my wife visits the salt mines while in Salzburg, I loved my visit there! That is definitely worth seeing. And I think I remember that McDonalds is next door to Motzart’s house and is a two-story McDonalds–you don’t see many of those in America. I remember one McDonalds that was either three or four stories in some german town that I can’t recall the name of. Oh well.

Mr. Mom

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Today was the first day of my wife’s shopping vacation in Europe with her sisters and mother. They used to do this kind of thing all the time when they were all younger and not married and last Thanksgiving (2006) they all talked about how fun it would be and they planned the trip for the following year. The year has come and Erin left this morning for Germany.

So while she is gone for the next 9 days I’m staying at home and being Mr. Mom.

I’m happy to say that at the end of the day as I sit here tired I think I did OK. I got all the kids dressed (in clothes that match and are appropriate for the weather), got them all fed for breakfast, went shopping, cleaned the kitchen, made 4 trips to the kids’ school to drop off and pick up at various times and to attend the Reflections awards ceremony. We all had dinner (which the kids ate) and they all went to bed reasonably well.  I did all that and I worked 4 hours from home.

I think the disasters will start hitting me tomorrow. There is no way my luck can hold out for the next 8 days.

Gary, the Pirate Cat

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I went to lunch with my friend Rob a couple of days ago and he just starts telling us this story about his cat named Gary.

It seems that about 6 weeks ago Gary came home with a broken right-front leg. Both bones had been broken and the vet decided to put a cast on Gary’s leg that covered his paw as well. The doctor said it would take about 6-8 weeks for the break to heal.

At first Gary was kind of bothered by the cast but after a week he fell into a routine and seemed to handle it pretty well. But after about 5 weeks Gary had become very depressed and would only sit on the floor and stare at the same spot for long periods of time. Knowing that Gary was not doing well they took Gary back to the vet to see if there was any way to bring him out of the funk.

The vet cut off the cast and discovered that Gary’s leg had become infected and had swollen into a huge puss-ball which obviously had been causing Gary a lot of pain. Additionally, everything past the swelling was shrivelled and black. It seems that the swelling took up all the room inside the cast and created enough pressure to cut off circulation to Gary’s foot and it had died, shrivelled up and turn hard and black like coal.

The bones in Gary’s leg, however, had grown enough that they could leave the cast off and after draining all the puss from the infection Gary started to perk up.

But now Gary is walking around like a pirate with a wooden leg with the hardened stump of a foot making a knocking sound every time he walks on it. No more hunting mice for Gary.

Not only is it funny as hell to see him walk around thunking everywhere but Gary actually likes it. He will casually walk over to the dog and then hit him with his coal paw. He taps on the door when he wants to come in.  He likes to sit under the coffee table laying on his back and thump his stump against the underside to make knocking sounds.

Given that Gary seems pretty happy with his new feature the family has decided to leave it attached even though the doctor seems to want to remove it.

The funniest part is that this is all true. I have a voice mail on my cell phone from Gary where I hear a bunch of knocking then a soft “meow” and then some laughing.

Rock on, Gary!

Logest Salad Bar Instructions Ever

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I had lunch at a Greek restraunt today and it had the longest list of instructions I’ve ever seen. Most say “One plate per trip” or some such thing. This one said:

Do not stick your finger into any food item, do not throw any food back into salad bar. DO NOT SNIFF OR TASTE THE FOOD UNLESS YOU HAVE THE FOOD IN YOUR PLATE.

Please make sure that you get the right amount of food by using the Estimate Scale. No throwing b ack food into the salad bar allowed after you fix your plate. Please use clean plate on each visit to salad bar.

Thank You.

I took a picture just to make sure I got all the text.

A Buffet of Dreams (or my 10,000 calorie dinner)

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One of the things I look forward to, and that I tend to write about, is the food I eat while on a trip. Some might say “you didn’t mention the best parts of the trip, like the things you saw” and I reply, “no, I did mention the best parts.”

Business trips are not fun. They are filled with obscene overtime and you always wind up doing much more than your regular job because you become the personfication of the whole company. You aren’t just tech support or a manger, you are the complaint department, the shipping department, the owner of the company, etc. So you are expected to be polite, listen to everything they have to say and be professional and help them as much as you can. Some sites you wind up doing not only your job but their job too. All too often you send a location requirements, especially technical ones, and they don’t do it or they don’t have a clue how to start so you wind up doing it for them. I can’t count the number of times I’ve pulled network cable and had to set up basic IT infrastructure just so I can start my job.

In short, business trips aren’t fun. So you never get to go sightseeing and you typically don’t do anything fun because you make it back to your hotel close to midnight and have to be back in the office by 8 AM. So eating is the only fun and unusual thing. I always stay away from chain restraunts like Chili’s or Sizzler. Always go for local favorites. I usually ask “where is YOUR favorite place to eat” instead of “where should I go to eat?” Local flavor is always funner.

So last night I wound up eating at a buffet in a huge hotel, and when I say huge, I mean Las Vegas casino huge (7 restraunts inside) but no gambling.  I have no idea how they make their money (outside of outragously high-priced rooms) but there it is, in all it’s glory.  The buffet was not as big as a casino buffet but the food was gourmet. And Joe and I were the only ones in there so all the servers came and chatted with us and we talked with all the chefs and told jokes and had a great time. As a result, I ate more foods than I normally would have (at the chef’s recommendation).

The desert bar was one of a kind. I ate crème brûlée (twice), deep fried bananas with honey, two kinds of gelato, gnocci, tiramasu, chocolate mouse, cheesecake, and a cookie. That on top of the veal, pirogi, salmon, mahi mahi, three kinds of potatoes. Two hours after starting I couldn’t move but I had enjoyed one of the funnest dinners I’ve ever had on a trip. The servers all told stories and jokes. It was hilarious.

Tonight I’m flying back to Salt Lake on the busiest flying day of the year and I’m hoping the flight isn’t delayed. Right now I’m sitting in the airport terminal watching planes go by and paying way too much for Internet access. But hey, I have almost 100 e-mails from work that I need to make it through. Luckily I found an outlet hidden behind a structural column so I’m good to go.

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