Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day in the Life of Isderf

Okay, some of you might feel a little dubious about Isderf’s “shiny object” syndrome. So I think I’ll share a typical weekend day with you. I’d do a weekday, but since he works outside the home I’d have to rely on co-workers to fill in the blanks. And while that may be funny, I probably couldn’t post some of the things and the other parts, well, he’d know who ratted on him.

So we’ll go through last Sunday. We aren’t church-goers, but typically we try to stay home and finish up any projects so that we’re ready for the new week.

So Sunday morning started with us, the adults, trying to sleep in. With two small children, that doesn’t work out well. They did get up and go downstairs to watch some TV, but then started coming up to visit us every 10 minutes until we gave up and fixed them breakfast.

As we ate, we discussed our plans for the day. We determined that today would be lazy (since the kids had stayed at a cousin’s on Friday and stayed up way too late) and we only set two possible goals. Even as goals, they were flexible. I wanted to get the Christmas decorations up and figured the kids would have fun doing this with me. We also decided to bake something, whether it is cinnamon rolls or some Christmas cookies. Pretty easy, and doable.

While we’re eating our fruit loops, we come up with a plan to let the kids make their own Christmas decorations. I thought stringing fruit loops would be easy enough for them and not require any extra work, Isderf decided that popcorn was the way to go. So before we even have the dished put away or teeth brushed, we have project number one in progress.

Project #1: Pop the popcorn

So while we’re cleaning things up and getting around, Isderf helps the kids pop the popcorn and starts putting out lots of butter - just in case.

Then we haul in the Christmas decorations.

Project #2: Decorate for Christmas

First we have to paw through all the boxes to find Christmas music, cause you can’t decorate for Christmas without music. Then we put up our tree (it’s a 3 foot artificial one - which is easy to store and easy for kids to decorate) and allow the kids to decorate. Then the fight starts, “No we can’t put ALL the decorations on.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s three feet tall, it’ll fall over with everything on it.”

Eventually we convince the kids that just a few works best. At this time, we decide to thin out our decorations anyways and get rid of the stuff we just never use. When we first started buying decorations, we lived in home with lots of flat space - now, just about everything has to be hung up. So all those table toppers and such are now in our yard sale pile.

While the kids and I are finishing up the inside decorations, Isderf decides to put up the lights. He puts lights up around the house and then starts on our big tree. Luckily for him, when he’s looking at it probably thinking, “darn, I don’t have enough lights to go all the way around.” I find 3 more tangled messes for him!

Project #3: Christmas Lights

So you’re probably thinking, that doesn’t sound too bad. And you’re right, it wasn’t too bad, until after lunch… when the kitchen projects started.

So Isderf convinces the kids to make banana bread. We can have it for breakfast and make extra for family and friends. It’ll also empty out the dozen or so bananas that we’ve stashed in the freezer. Isderf starts making the first of four batches. At this time, he determines that we don’t have any sour cream for banana bread, so a trip the store ensues.

Project #4: Grocery Shopping

Project #5: Make Banana Bread

While this is baking, he’s thawing out the rest of our bananas and putting them into pre-measured baggies for freezing.

Project #6: Freezing Squished Banana

As a result of his trip to the store, since we were out, Isderf purchased large 25 lb bags of steel cut oats and oatmeal, each. Now we have to find storage for these things. While trying to find a place for all these oats, we also make our oatmeal bags (like buying the instant oatmeal in individual packets, but we make our own).

Project #7: Making Instant Oatmeal Packets and Storing the Rest

So now, we have a big bowl of popcorn, a big bowl of leftover oatmeal, and all the makings for banana bread, a bowl of the mixtures, and loaf pans scattered along our kitchen counter. As this time, I might mention that we have a tiny kitchen. Our counter space consists of two stretches that are about 5’ each. And we have a microwave, a toaster, paper towels, and a Kleenex box on about half of that. Now we’re getting over ran with stuff.

Isderf is still making banana bread and muffins, when something else pops up on our kitchen counter: a container of frozen pig fat. Yes, among all this chaos and mayhem, Isderf thinks he’s going to make soap too.

Project #8: Making Soap?

As the banana bread started finishing up, we had our dinner and tried to wrap up our day. Unfortunately, at that time, Isderf remembered the fat and so we had to try our hand at soap making again. Feeling in the spirit, he made cinnamon soap which smells very nice.

As the soap gels and hardens, we also prodded the kids into cleaning up their toy room, taking baths, and going to sleep.

Now if I could only convince Isderf to turn off his mind and go to sleep too - but he went outside to make Shaker boxes.

Project #9: Shaker Boxes

Thankfully we finished all our projects today, but geez it was a long day. Oh wait, we never made our Christmas decorations from popcorn (and the popcorn is still sitting in that bowl, 3 days later)! So much for a lazy day.

BTW, the pic is Isderf weighing the fat that he's just cleaned for soap making!

Addendum: Once again, Isderf is complaining about my posts. So I'm going to remind him that not only are our weekends like this, our week days get pretty busy too. For instance: on Monday, after work and dinner (which is usually around 6:30 pm), Isderf made cookies. Seven dozen cookies. And then on Tuesday, after dinner, we went to my dad's house so that he could spend an hour working with his tools to get his Shaker boxes done. The kids didn't get to bed until after 8 pm. He complains that I don't know how to sit still and do nothing, geez!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shiny Objects

Okay, anyone out there seen "Over the Hedge"? If you have, I'm sure you'll remember the Hamy scene where the raccoon used a laser (shiny object) to direct Hamy through the perils of a backyard. You'll also remember that Hamy gets distracted by the cookie.

Follow the shiny object... oooohhhh.... look there is goes, better follow it. Wait... there's another shiny object - let's follow that one now. Sounds just like a two year old, doesn't it? Here's a car, isn't it pretty? Oh look at the other car and now here's a hammer to play with.

Well, it might sound like a kid, but it's actually my husband. Isderf jumps from one project to another just like a kid with a shiny object. In fact it doesn't even have to be a project. The other day we're getting ready to leave, I can't remember at this time where we were going, but we were putting on shoes and coats, grabbing misc. items like purses and phones. Isderf goes to put a pen away in the drawer and his eye is caught by a shiny object. The next thing I know, he's trying to convince the kids to do temporary tattoos. I glare at him and say, "We're leaving." He looks at me like I'm interrupting and then admits it might be bad timing.

He keeps a white board in his garage of possible projects, this way he knows what he's been working on and what needs to be finished. Of course, most of the projects have been up there for a while. For instance... We completely remodeled our bathroom in January of 2008. Remodeled as in pulled out everything down to the studs and rebuilt it. Isderf did really well with his focus and projects for about four months. Most of it was completed and it looks great. Now I said MOST. We decided to trim the inside window with the same kind of wood that our cabinets came in. Isderf found a good piece of maple, cut it and got it to fit, but to this day that piece of wood is hanging out in his garage. No stain, no window trim. On top of that, I won't let him hang the towel bar because it's below the window. Last time we tried putting something up above something else, it got broken.

Since then, he's built the kids treasure boxes and squirrel feeders. He's even helping a friend build the extra parts of a bunkbed. He's used our Cuisinart to shred bean bag foams, which are still sitting on top of the frig outside. We have mold boxes (supposed to fill it with sand to pour hot metal into them) that are collecting water outside and lots of other things piling up.

It doesn't take much to distract him at all. You know, using a chisel and thinking, "I could make one of these." Next thing you know you've got popcorn tin furnaces to melt metals and wood lathe to make handles. Of course, I don't think I've seen an Isderf made chisel at all.

Heck, even cooking breakfast can be catastrophic. "I wonder if you can make soap from bacon?" To answer that question, yes you can. We've done it... but next time we should try to read ALL the instructions before proceeding. It seems someone intended to, but they got distracted. My mother has generously donated 20 lbs of pork fat for our next try, Isderf is ecstatic.

P.S. Someone has pointed out that this may be one sided and make Isderf appears as if he doesn't complete his projects. He actually completes quite a few, they just usually aren't the project we were hoping for. Also, in his defense, he usually has two children tagging along asking him a dozen questions that he likes to answer in a "hands on" approach, which means more projects!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Buying Tires

Okay, I know I said that I'd write about how Isderf gets into trouble all on his own, but at this time I feel like ranting and so I'm going to do so.

Today, my rant is about purchasing new car tires.

Now, I'm typically not an impusle buyer (unless it's chocolate). I do my research and I try go into just about every situation with some understanding of the subject. This gives me a little more power and knowledge and minimizes any scams. I know this is a terrible generalization, but as a woman without much working knowledge of vehicles, I feel very intimated trying to purchase anything for it. Also, I feel that most mechanics and such (who probably have to deal with people like me so much that they don't even realize they're doing this) talk down to me and omit items that I should know. Either that or they just plain lie to me to get the sale.

As for knowledge of tires, if you've ever gone searching online for tires you'll know that everyone and their dog has an opinion. Separating the good from the bad takes a lot of time and trying to find something that says "for this type of car use this type of tires" is impossible. I've also noticed that they are very hard to compare across brands. You might have a 40K All Season Blackwall from company A and another from company B, but because of treads and quality, it's still comparing apples to oranges. Every driver drives differently and on different roads, so reviews are difficult too.

After spending a few hours printing off suggestions and making note of tires that seemed to get a lot of both good and bad reviews, I decided to go straight to the source.

I hit five major tire dealers in our area. Thankfully, four of them were within a mile and it only took me about 30 minutes to get five quotes.

All five places sent someone out to check my tires and their size. Most commented that I definitely needed new tires (well, duh, that's why I'm here...). One gentleman showed me where it was wearing through and some metal or wire or something is sticking out. I told him that I was planning on getting my new tires within the week, but I wanted to shop around. Although it wasn't a high pressure "You HAVE to buy from us NOW", he made the comment that it needed to be done today and I felt some pressure to tell him okay and get it done with. I don't like that at all. I understand that it might be unsafe and that they need to be changed, I don't like feeling that I need to go along with whatever the salesman thinks I should do. And although he was nice about it, that I felt the need to give in automatically ruffled my feathers. This gentleman also printed off pictures and information on the tires he recommended and wrote down a quote for me. The two suggestions were on either end of the payment scale.

The next three places I stopped at were very professional. They looked at my tires (Yes, I know they need replaced) and then gave me printed off quotes that included their best suggestions along with a cheaper economy version. The quote included tax, balancing costs, and various other options I could go for.

One of those places, a younger man tried explaining why siping prolongs the life of your tires. He told me it was physics in action and that it was a suggested option for any of the tires I choose. That may be, but he needs to learn a little more about physics and such before he tries explaining why again!

Another of those places had an older gentleman that acted just like my dad. Wants to know everything about you and how you're doing and offers a lot of advice that you didn't even know you needed - I liked him immediately. He gave me a quote for a mid-level tire, I don't want the cheapos and can't afford the high-end. I also don't drive enough to get an 80K warranty unless the tire is exactly what I need and a good price.

As for the last place I visited, I threw away his bid right after I walked out the door. This might seem petty, but I visited 5 places. Most of them gave me professional bids with all the pricing & warranties in writing. This place wrote out the cost of the tires on the back of his business card. No warranty information, no other costs for balance, etc. He was nice enough to actually show me the tires, but he didn't have an exact suggestion, just that these three would work. I realize that some people don't want to make exact suggestions and don't want others to think they endorse a specific type or be responsible for doing so, but having them point out that one particular brand or type that would be the best for my vehicle and the road conditions does help. I may not be able to afford that type, but then I can choose the less expensive economy version if I need to.

So who am I choosing? Well, it's a toss up between the father-like salesman and the non-physics major. I'm still trying to justify the cost of those expensive brands. $300-$400 seems like a lot to invest in tires, until you see that my tires have lasted about 5 years and that cost over that time is minimal. Also, I have children in the car with me. I'd rather put some money into good tires that will get me through the snow and the rain, than have something that keeps me off the streets during winter. However, that last suggestion doesn't sound too bad! We still get a lot of people from warmer climates that don't understand black ice.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Encouraging Isderf

Okay all you smart-alecks and computer geeks, this is my only warning. You will not get another one and retribution will follow swiftly. I admit, I don’t know what type of retribution, but I know enough of your wives (or how to get in contact with them) to make your life very difficult.

As for my warning… STOP ENCOURAGING ISDERF. Geez guys, what do you think this is… does everyone think that Isderf NEEDS more to do? Or is it that you KNOW your own wives wouldn’t let you do something, so you’re trying to live vicariously through my husband? And don’t even TRY to wiggle out of this one. I know most of you out there are saying, “What? Who me? I didn’t do anything.”

Yah right. Who…

-introduced him to

-found his second microwave for his welder?

-volunteered to let him shoot the first round after learning to reload together?

-stood six feet away while Isderf poured more gasoline on his furnace (after the lighter fluid didn’t work well enough)?

- sent him Angband and ruined most of my evenings from that point on?

- keeps sending him links to old trailers he can refurbish, or greenhouses he can build?

-encouraged him to take Warhammer to work?

-reintroduced him to a Rubix cube (that’s so 80’s)?

-keeps giving him broken appliances and lawn equipment so he can take them apart?

-brings him chunks of trees for his various projects?

-encouraged him to spend weeks reading, and viewing, everything on butchering his own animal?

-brought him a deer hide when he mentioned he wanted to make his own shoes?

-decided they should give hunting a try?

And I can’t think of anymore right now, but I’m sure you get my point. He gets into enough trouble on his own (with his kids right beside him), he doesn’t need the encouragement. Thank you very much…

Isderf thinks I should give a few examples of how he gets into trouble on his own. I believe he thought I wouldn’t be able to come up with many. After writing for about 10 minutes, I realized that I had enough for another blog on just that subject. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kids Do The Darnest Things

It never ceases to amaze me the things children will do. They’ll not only do things that are amazing, dangerous, and totally illogical, but they’ll have a really good explanation for it too. Okay, maybe their explanations aren’t really good, but in their own childish logical it does make some sense.

For example the other day, my 5 year old daughter came running up the stairs half hysterical. She was crying and yelling and pointing to her nose and saying her brother’s name over and over. After a few minutes of blubbering and pointing, I figured out there was something up her nose. And, it appears; her brother had put it there.

Now, yes, I was concerned about an object being shoved up her nose, but I was also wondering how it got there (and trying not to laugh in the process). It seems, from her hysterical comments, that her younger brother shoved a toy tire up her nose. At this point I’m trying really hard not to laugh in her face, but she outweighs her brother by 15 pounds! I’m having a hard time imagining this and her main concern is whether she has to go to the hospital.

So I ask her, “Why did you let N put a tire up your nose,” as I’m examining the packed nostril.

J: “I didn’t.”

Me: “So how did he get it up your nose?”

J: “I was lying there and he shoved it up my nose.”

Me: “J, didn’t you tell him no?”

J: “Yes, but he did it anyways.”

Me: “So you just laid there and let him shove it up your nose?”

J: “Uhm… No. Do I have to go to the hospital? I don’t want to go..” And more blubbering ensues.

I hand her a tissue and close the other nostril with my fingers, after she blows the tire across the room (just cause mom gives you a tissue and asks you to blow, doesn’t mean you USE the tissue!). While we are searching out the snot covered tire, it eventually comes out that she shoved the tire up her nose (surprise, surprise). I send her off to play with the threat of a hospital visit and really big pliers up the nose if she does it again. As threats go, it seems to be a good one and she appears to be properly impressed. I foresee no more objects up J’s nose. Now N is another matter all together and I’m betting that when he says J shoved it up his nose, he’ll probably be right.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Isderf's Teepee

With all the projects and plans that Isderf comes up with, sometimes he manages to find one that is just perfect.

After we'd removed some trees, the kids had enjoyed putting the logs together and pretending it was a teepee. So Isderf dug out all the old jeans my grandparents have given us for rags, and then spent many nights swearing over our old and underpowered sewing machine to cover their teepee.

We've since pulled it onto the patio to keep
it from getting wet every time the sprinklers go on, but they still like to have picnics in there and pretend to camp.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Craigslist Update

If I hadn't seen just about everything on Craigslist, I've seen it now.

Isderf IM'ed me yesterday to inform me that he'd found something fabulous on Craigslist... the conversation went something like this:

Isderf: I have 7 acres of farmable ground in Meridian. Ground has been neglected and needs some work, but has good soil and water. Used prior for row crops. Offering it for farming lease for free if someone is willing to do the dirt work.
email me if you are interested.

Isderf: here's a craiglist ad you would like :)

Andi: aaaaahhhhh

Andi: no, definitely no

Andi: no no no no

Isderf: come on...what fun it would be

Isderf: so what would you farm on 7 acres??

Andi: uhm... I wouldn't I don't have the proper equipment or man power for so much space

Andi: and neither do you

Isderf: whatever...since when has that ever stopped us :)

Isderf: D said that Hay is really easy to farm

Andi: yah, but you can't EAT hay

And the conversation went down hill from there... Do you see? Do you now understand the power, the danger, of Craigslist. Unfortunately, my days are filled with conversations like this.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Isderf & Craigslist

People have no idea how dangerous something like Craigslist can be with a husband like mine. I know, a lot of you think I’m kidding. But just imagine for a moment…

Your significant other is drawn to new projects like a moth to the flame. The thrill of learning something new and starting a brand-spanking-new project just brings them to life. They glow with the pleasure of it.
The potential to strike that flame is everywhere; you’re surrounded. A magazine article, a TV show, any old book they happen to pick up (from Little House on the Prairie to Basic Wilderness Survival Skills), even a short conversation with a neighbor can put your S.O. into a tizzy of new project euphoria.
Throwing anything out is a chore onto itself, “I’ll bet I could make a (fill in appropriate project) with this.” And the words, “Guess what I learned today,” make you grimace.

Okay, now that you’re in the right mind set. Imagine a wonderful place on the internet where people are constantly posting old things for sale or, OMG, giving them away (“Why would someone just throw this away?”).

Now, I have to say, we’ve managed to pick up some great things from Craigslist. Most of these items have been free… but these are also items the whole family uses or something that improves our home. We’ve even given away lots - most of our newly remodeled bathroom went that way, along with plants we don’t use.

Why would anyone want two old microwaves that don’t work? Well, let me tell you, together they have most of the parts to make an arc welder (see - another bane on my household). Why do we need an arc welder, well cause it’s cool to be able to weld stuff, that’s why.

Old propane tanks always come in handy too. You never know when you’ll want to cut one up and make a furnace so you can melt metal and make cool stuff with them. Of course, he’s only gotten to the melting metal part, we have lots of bricks of aluminum just waiting to be re-melted and made into something else.

Wood! There’s always wood for sale or for free on Craigslist. If you do any camping, keep your eyes open and you’ll get enough for a couple nights fire easily. But there’s such thing as too much of a good thing. One night, while I lay in bed with my husband, doing a little reading. He’s working on the computer in his boxer shorts. Suddenly, he jumps out of bed, proclaiming “wood” and runs away. Not the reaction I would expect from most men after making such a proclamation, but I figured maybe we’re trying something new. Yes we were, if trying something new means him getting dressed and driving a couple of streets down to find a home where someone had just cut down an elm tree. He NEEDS that elm, cause he’s going to try a new project - spoon carving.

So next time you hear someone talking about how great Craigslist is, make sure they’re aware of the dangers too!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Are We Blogging?

So, our plans to blog a couple times a month haven't worked out really well. But we are trying, I actually have about 3 pages of summaries to put into a blog - they just aren't there yet. Yah I know, sounds like I'm making excuses. So while I'm at it, I should just mention this really nasty virus going around. Our daughter had a fever from 99 -102 F for 5 days! She finally broke the darn thing just to wake up the next day with 2 earaches. Then our son got it and just when we thought the coast was clear, Isderf got it. Anyways, no excuses!

Isderf and I don't really have a "plan" for blogging. We do and see so many different things that we'd like to write about, that there is no rhyme or reason behind any of them. Right now, I have outlines for a blog about a bunch of environmental movies we've seen, and our trip to Hagerman, Idaho, and I plan on writing on the book "Let Me In" by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Isderf has plans to write about a few other things too. So I hope that our 2 readers will join us again, or give us some ideas, even though there really is no coherent thought going on at this time.

By the way, the pic is of Isderf and our 2 kids painting the cold frame for our seedlings.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Massacre (Daemon vs High Elves)

So this is my maybe 4-5th game of Warhammer Fantasy, these notes really are for me, if someone else benefits kudos.

Not that the title is any surprise to most people.
I played a 750 pt league game last night (well Mike had 825). Mike was a very polite High Elf player, fielding
1 Noble
1 Mage
12 Phoenix Guard (I think, this might of been 16 Guard)
11 Spearman
And the ever present Bolt Thrower

Versus my Daemon army of
1 Khorne Herald on Juggernaut
15x bloodletter
10x bloodletter
5x Fleshhounds

It wasn't the fact that I lost that was so surprising, but the simple fact that I was totally annihilated. I seriously don't think I even killed 10 elves. I mean I'm used to being outnumbered. But when I outnumber my opponent and then get slaughtered it is disappointing.
After much thought I have narrowed it down to several reasons (besides not having lots of game experience)
1. I changed my deployment strategy mid-deployment, I reacted to his deployment, which given the small point count and the small number of units I never should of done.
2. I had a chance to charge my fast unit (Flesh Hounds) though terrain and flank his big unit (Phoenix Guard). Instead I took the easier route which was to charge headlong into his spearman, big mistake. They died, one round of combat.
3. The only fact I KNEW about High Elves was the Always Strike First rule. This means that regardless of who charges they get to strike first. So before the game I convinced myself to charge forward headlong without regard to them being able to charge me. It didn't work, I couldn't convince myself in movement to just move forward without regard to him being able to charge (This alone cost me a complete turn of being shot at)
4. By this point the game was over, however I should of put up another fight by charging my Herald with Juggernaut into combat and then follow that up with my bloodletters, instead I charge with my bloodletters and let the Herald setup for a flank (Units of less then 5 unit strength CAN NOT flank, I know this)

So in summary, I should of gone with my original strategy of a double pincer. I should of closed the gap as fast as possible. Flesh Hounds are NOT a front line troop (duh).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fireman N

Recently our son has become obsessed with firefighters and everything surrounding them. Fire trucks, firemen, hoses, fire stations, clothes and gear - he loves it all. He tries to slide down anything that might resemble a fireman’s pole and any toy that might pass for a hose is used to extinguish everything in his path. He watches Fireman Sam on DVD and Youtube and carries his fire dog, Spot, with him most of the time.

N’s been so obsessed with firefighters that my mother made him an outfit and my father got into the spirit of things and stopped by the local fire station. They were nice enough to give him some patches and a volunteer badge for his outfit and now he looks very official.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Starting Over...Again

As you can see, we never got around to up loading pics to our newly designed site. In fact, we decided that, since we hadn't updated it in 2 years, we'd try another approach.

Yes, I know what you're thinking, "They didn't update their website for 2 years, but they expect to keep up a blog?" Yah, I'm confused too. But it seemed like a good idea... at the time. Basically, our thinking was that uploading pics and reformatting pages every time the kids did something cute or we decided to start another project takes too much time. If we could just get online, quickly and easily, and post a comment and a quick pic (that we might actually update once a week or month) we might actually do it.

So why should you read our blog? Hmmm... I don't think I have a good answer for that one. This will be a good place to keep our family updated on the crazy things our kids do and let Isderf show off all his projects (he's got a lot of them). I'd go into detail about the projects, but that would be a whole blog itself.