Wild Life Of A Little Monster

Others are scared of me because of all the fun I have. Considered a vigilante by my Eponine.

Home Ownership Sucks

It really does. I don't care what anyone says. Homes are a costly money pit. You're constantly spending to maintain, upkeep, upgrade, improve, redecorate, or junk it up a bit more.

That said, I love my home. My front lawn is looking decent. But for whatever reason the back lawn looks like crap. More weeds than ever. Last summer took a toll on it. Heat and dry weather. I may have over-fertilized too, drying it out further and opening the door for weeds. I did line a flower bed with some bricks MMcB gave me from her Waldo home.

Today I spent about three hours cleaning and shining down the kitchen cabinets. I changed out almost all the handles. It's been a pain because the screws that come with the handles are not quite long enough. I guess I have wider-than-normal cabinets. But the screws that are currently there are just slightly too long. But not consistently. Sometimes it works and the handle is nice and tight and sometimes it doesn't. Nothing is ever easy. Another reason home ownership sucks.

Then I need to sand and touch up the deck. Paint more in the kitchen. Change out more switch plates. Deal with some wood rot. Get the entire house painted. Have the lawn mower tuned up, blade sharpened. Have the carpets cleaned.

The list easily could go on and on. I'll stop for now.

I wrote to Edith Lank and asked her to remind people that if they are looking for a tax deduction they can donate to charity and receive the exact same deduction as they would for home interest. Surprisingly, whe wrote back within just a few short hours and said she receives numerous messages from folks along the same line as my message.

Mortgage interest is money out of our pockets. It's not going toward our homes. It's going to the bank in order to loan us money. Because the U.S. government wants to help folks own homes, mortgage interest is tax deductible just to make the money pit of home ownership a little less painful.

Have I mentioned that I love my home?

Shiny And New

Received my first New Mexico quarter Saturday night. It was exciting. It was in my change after ordering my favorite tamale platter for dinner at Taco Bueno.

As soon as it landed in my hand, along with two other boring quarters, I could tell it was shinier. That something was different. I was pumped that it was from No. 47.

It's really cool too. Has the shape of the state and the little New Mexico starburst-like design. I showed all the people that were standing around me near the register. I know they were jealous.

Arizona is next!

They Know Their Choreography

Came across this video on msn. It's only a few seconds. Worth a view and will certainly cause the corners of the mouth to turn upward. I've watched it more than once. I love it when the monster kind of in the middle puts his arm up on his buddy. Makes me chuckle.

Random Thoughts On April 21, 2008

Staying in a hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. Just had a fantastic dinner at Cattleman's with The Artist and the family. Some good eats. Not only was the food out-of-sight good, the company was beyond comparison. A fantastic memory.

It's somewhat strange being here knowing that 13 years ago on April 19 a bomb was detonated just a few blocks from where I am now. It changed Oklahoma forever.

After work meetings and before dinner, I walked to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Although I've visited the memorial many times, it's still emotional to me. The "perfect" memorial I think is tough. The Oklahoma City one is very close. I took some pics that I will down load later.

Co-workers sometimes make me feel like they think I'm crazy when I say I am more worried about the impact Kansans have on my day-to-day livelihood than I am someone from some Middle-Eastern country or something else. The politics, economy, people just over the state line in the Kansas City area influence so much of what happens in Kansas City. What gets funded and what doesn't. And I will never forget one fanatical Kansan who traveled to Oklahoma and killed 168 people.

April 19, 1995.

There's a tornado watch for Central Oklahoma. I wonder if it is safer to be on a higher or lower floor of a hotel during a tornado.

When I got to my hotel room Monday night I turned on the tube. Caught the tail end of "Deal or No Deal." Not a show I often catch. But it sure did make me smile watching these folks leave with some nice green! Thousands of dollars for picking the right number.

Did you know the Pope is a cat lover. Seriously. I read it in The New York Times. It's a nice story. And I'm not Catholic. However, The Artist is considering converting.

Tuesday is Earth Day.

Did you know you can make movies on the Webkinz website? That is an interesting bit of knowledge I learned this weekend. Learned tons more stuff Monday. But it was all job related. Nothing focusing on the newest toy trend.

I am exhausted. Hoping to be snoozing shortly.

A Kid's Life

In Oklahoma City for work meetings. Traveled down early to visit The Artist, The Wife, O and Mad, JMc and GMc, VMc, RMc, Mace and Chap.

After landing on Friday, the agenda including an art opening on the OU campus and brews and snacks at a place called The Library. Very nice.

Saturday started early at 6 a.m. We traveled to Oklahoma City for a track meet. O ran in the 55 meter dash and later did the running long jump. JMc and I dashed from there for Mace's dance contest. A quick run from there to O's soccer game. Then after some afternoon hanging out, we dashed back for the Mace's group dance competition. O and M went with us.

The evening ended with fun times at Steak n' Shake. That meant junior-sized strawberry shakes and a vanocha shake for this cowboy.

All In One Day

On the way to work Thursday morning, gas prices were $3.22 near home and $3.19 at the QT further south and east, in Raytown. On the way home Thursday night, everything in Raytown was at $3.33. While at the exit near my home both stations were at $3.32.

My daily commute now costs me almost $7. That stinks. And I'm sure there are others that have it worse. I know I'm lucky in many ways. But that doesn't mean I can't complain.

Wanted To

Just wanted to post a quick pic of the Gab Monster snoozing. She has many, many favorite sleeping spots. It usually depends on the sun and where I am in our home. She's a precious creature.

The Big O

Headed to Omaha Saturday morning. Was supposed to leave Friday night, but ended up staying in the office until 8:30 p.m. Then planned to leave at 9 a.m. Saturday. Since it is now 1o:19 a.m. and I am posting, I'm likely shooting for an 11 a.m. departure. I'm a loser.

It's MMcB's birthday! Actually, it is April 15. But there's a small gathering Saturday night that I plan to join. Dependent on my arrival to the Big O. It's going to be a fantastic time. Expect pictures.

April 15 also is JMc's birthday. She indicates she doesn't celebrate anymore. It's still another great day to give her a shout out.

And, of course, don't forget to get your taxes done!

The Friendly Skies

Count me among the thankful to not be flying this week. The news reports sound like it is a crazy time at airports. Especially those where American Airlines flies.

Generally, I am AA loyal. In the old days, it was the key airline out of Tulsa. I've had my AAdvantage frequent flyer number since college. I can honestly say I have never had a truly bad experience on American. Not something I can say for Southwest.

One of the recent trips to D.C. was on Midwest. The ticket agent went way above and beyond to make sure this late-arriver got on the plane. I sent a follow-up thank-you note as a result.

The flight to Reno was on US Airways. It actually was on an old America West jet, with a former America West crew (according to their uniforms). I have flown US Air east several times. Each flight served its purpose of taking me from point A to point B. However, the flight to Reno, via Phoenix, was really nice. Easy boarding, pleasant flight crew, quick to give me my Diet Coke, simple transitions in Phoenix, early arrivals at both destinations, no problems with bags. I'd fly them again.

Flying Southwest to Oklahoma City in a few weeks. Joy, joy.

Now You Know!

Did you know the main color for all four teams in this year's Final Four is blue? I can just imagine what San Antonio's River Walk has looked like the last few days. Lord knows it was oranger than orange just four short years ago when Oklahoma State was in San Antonio for the Final Four. If only we had won.

Chapman turned four last week. He is VMc and RMc's son. He was born 04/04/04 the year OSU went to the Final Four. A year later is when my father passed away.

Maybe I should be a gamer! Kansas won. But maybe one right game doesn't make a person an expert prognosticator. It was in overtime, but KU pulled out the victory. A darn exciting game. I feel sorry for Memphis, but am pleased for the Jayhawks.

As the Final Four ends it's a good reminder that the clock is ticking toward the tax deadline. April 15. Tuesday of next week. And if you are eligible to receive a stimulus check from the government a 2007 return must be filed to receive those dollars.

Don't forget that if you have an adjusted gross income less than $54,000 annually, you can file electronically for free. Here's a link to the IRS site with more details about the free filings.

Also check out the Earned Income Tax Credit on the IRS site. There's a handy EITC Assistant to aid you in determining if you qualify for this tax credit and for how much. There's even an AMT Assistant in case you are concern you might fall into that area.

Random Thoughts On April 7, 2008

With about three-quarters of the game left, my bet is that Kansas will win the NCAA Championship. It will be sweet for them since it has been 20 years since their last championship. And they have been close several times in between.

What I hate is that it will be burdensome for us in the Kansas City area that will have to deal with the gloating and overbearing Jayhawks fan. For the next year we will never hear the end of it. Ick.

The pics are scenes from my hotel window. Generally speaking I enjoyed Reno. I'd make it a point to return even when not on a business trip. As mentioned before, I'm not a gamer. So, no dollars lost that way. But I did spend my share eating out, on postcards and other items. Plus, the work meeting was very productive.

Tuesday is leaf day in my hood. Max of 20 bags. I worked all weekend long. Almost eight hours on Sunday and about four on Saturday. Plus four the week before. I have 17 bags. Still need to haul them to the curb yet tonight. I know the neighbors wonder what this crazy dude is doing hauling bags to the curb at 9 p.m. If asked, I'd tell them I had to blog first.

MMcB spent an almost-24-hour period in Atlanta the other day, which including countless hours in the airport. She told me security stopped her because she was looking somewhat psychotic. Oh my!

Sexy Lady joined me in chowing down some food at Margarita's Sunday night. It was all I could do to not lick out the bowl with cheese dip. After all the raking, I was mighty hungry.

Trying to pick out new knobs/pulls for the kitchen cabinets. The question is does one also replace all the hinges to match? Then what's next? All the door knobs? All the key locks? All the .... And I want something different in each room. Does the inside knob match that room and the outside knob in the hallway match the rest of the house.

The head is starting to hurt thinking about it all. FOCUS. One task at a time.


It's good to be home! Learned lots and generally speaking Reno was enjoyable, but home is home.

The Gabster seems genuinely glad to see me. She's even spent more time following me around and spending time with me despite a bowl of moist food awaiting. See. I often think she runs to the door when she hears the garage door opening just because she knows she's going to get tasty moist food. This time, though, I think she was wanting to see me.

She's walking around meowing at me now. Taking an occasional moment to play with her toys.

Had to search for them just a moment ago. Under beds and book shelves to find a few. Some are forever missing. Maybe I need to check under the fridge or oven. In any case, there were no toys in sight. The hallway is normally her choice of location to bat things to and fro. (Is fro a preposition? I can't remember. Maybe to-and-fro is a noun. I bet it should be ... location to bat to and fro her things ... then it's an adverb.)

It's only 10:49 p.m. out west as I type this post. Regardless, I'm ready to snore.

Light My Candle

Have you heard of PartyLite? They have some great products and some awesome candles. Very fragrant and clean burning. I'm a huge candle lover and like to occasionally splurge on some of the PartyLite items. Even recently purchased some sconces that are now in the dining room and in my bedroom.

Have I mentioned that David Cook, a contestant on American Idol, is from Kansas City and that I know his mom?

During the show Tuesday and Wednesday night, right over Simon's shoulders was David's mom and Betty. I know Betty! She's a friend of mine. It was fun seeing her. I'm super jealous she got to go. Betty's my PartyLite lady.

And to be clear. I don't go to the PartyLite parties. That's a woman thing. I just take a gander at the catalog and place an order with Betty. She rocks.

Random Thoughts On April 2-3

Just noticed that my computer clock is at Central Time. It's Thursday back home. I get home late tonight. Wahoo!

I wonder if Gabby is walking around meowing. Maybe she's looking for me. The other day I hid in the closet and watched her hop up on the bed, go to my bathroom, leave the room and come back looking for me. Meowing the whole time. Sexy Lady doesn't know it yet, but on my next trip Gabby mentioned she might want to go stay with Daphne. Ep was very content alone. I suspect that it gives Gabby some anxiety.

On my walk to dinner in Reno Wednesday night I passed the National Automobile Museum. Wish I had known it was there. A visit for sure would have been warranted. Maybe next time.

I haven't spent a single dollar in the casino while in Reno. Don't care to lose the money. But I could go home with some extra stash if I gave it a whirl. Hmmmm? What should a cowboy do?

While eating dinner I caught some of the Dallas Mavericks-Golden State Warriors game. I thought the dudes looked old and silly running around the court in their baggy shorts, tennis shoes and tanks. I don't watch the NBA at all. But I sure love college ball.

Had a room-mate, good friend in college, that was an avid NBA fan. Daniel. Very good guy. If my memory serves me well, he was from Waurika, Oklahoma. Although I long lost contact with him, I have kept in touch with his college love. Jane. She lives in LA. I sent her an e-mail a minute ago to say hello.

Salsa Measurement

Could've told you it would be Ramiele eliminated on Idol. I was a little surprised that Brooke was in that bottom three.

I really like Dolly Parton. She might be a little unusual. I still like her. I saw her perform once in St. Louis and once in Kansas City. It was in 1993. It was the exact same show both times. It was an hour or so of a nonstop power performance. On American Idol Wednesday night I felt some of her lustre is fading.

Interestingly, the Reno Fox station is showing Bay Area news out of San Francisco. Makes me think of my sister in San Jose and niece in Berkeley. They might be watching the same thing I am at this very moment. I'll have to take a look in the sky to see if I see the moon. They might be looking too.

Walked a few blocks to a local Mexican place named Bertha Miranda's for dinner. Had a tasty mole de pollo dish. Muy bueno! (when I write in Spanish visualize Peggy Hill speaking) I said curses under my breath because my stroll away from the hotel did not include the camera. That means no food pic. You're crushed, I know.

The salsa was pretty good. I'd give it 7 out of 10 peppers. I like chunkier salsa. But this one had a nice bite. The chips weren't crispy enough for my liking. I had a top-notch server. I felt an extra dollar tip was warranted.

The Left Side

Not the coast, but I am in the Pacific Time Zone. I am in Reno, Nevada for work. My first trip here. It's an interesting place nestled in the hills. Ooops. Mountains. I have a nice view from my hotel room. I took a few pics, but didn't bring the cable to download pics.

The time zone doesn't make sense to me. In the middle states we have Central Time. The news comes on at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., Letterman at 10:30 and Nightline at midnight. And American Idol comes on LIVE. Seven p.m. on Tuesday and 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

It's 9:14 p.m. as I type this post. It's past 11 back home. AI ended over two hours ago and I still don't know who has been eliminated. I guess I'll learn soon enough. Then I'll watch the news at 11 p.m. and be up 'til 1 a.m. watching other stuff. Likely will get some work done and maybe do another post or two.

Proud And Loyal

Oklahoma State's basketball coach "resigned" on Tuesday. Although he's only been the coach the last two years, he coached the last 10 games of the season before that and has been an assistant for many years under his father. In the early '90s he was a player.

He's long been a Cowboy, so it's sad to see him go. However, I am one of those that wasn't entirely convinced the team would ever get beyond being mediocre under his leadership.

He's forever a Cowboy. Orange blood through and through, I'm sure. I know he'll land on his feet and will be successful.