Sunday, October 30, 2011

When we were kids, birthdays were a big deal.  If we live long enough, they are also a big deal I suppose.  But there is a period of years where the birthday thing is just another day - unless you have family & friends who just won't let it be "another day".  And especially if the birthday happens to be of the milestone sort!

So Brenda hit one of those milestone birthdays and not without some fanfare.  I think it was August 3rd she was presented with a tray of 50 chocolate mint brownies and that was the first of 50 consecutive days of gifts.

I can take no credit for thinking this up nor for accumulating the gifts.  However, it was most enjoyable to be the one presenting them to Brenda each day.  There were a few occasions where our family was together and they were able to present that day's gift.  It was during Seneca convention that 50 different people handed Brenda a total of 50 cards, each one saying Happy Birthday but each card in a different language.

Thanks for making it happen Kamela.   Your Mom loved it! 

Here's Brenda with her table full of goodies.

  1. 50 stickers
  2. 50 bobby pins
  3. 50 min. scalp massage coupon
  4. 50 min. back massage coupon
  5. 50 band-aids
  6. 50 paperclips
  7. 50 piece puzzle
  8. 50 index cards
  9. 50 songs on CD
  10. 50 thumbtacks
  11. 50 proverbs
  12. 50 poems
  13. 50 interesting facts about 1961
  14. 50 pieces of construction paper
  15. 50 snack bags
  16. 50 lunch bags
  17. 50 pipe cleaners
  18. 50 napkins
  19. 50 sheet protectors
  20. 50 straws
  21. 50 craft sticks
  22. 50 sheet lint roller
  23. 50 page notepad (box of crayons)
  24. 50 pencils
  25. 50 plastic cups
  26. 50 q-tips
  27. 50 erasers
  28. 50 cupcake papers
  29. 50 states fact quiz
  30. 50 vacation destinations
  31. 50 penguin fact cards
  32. 50 drink stirrers
  33. 50 party forks
  34. 50 address labels
  35. Happy Birthday in 50 languages
  36. 50 small notebooks
  37. 50 kid quotes
  38. 50 water balloons
  39. 50 crayons
  40. 50 page notepad (Dr. Seuss)
  41. 50 page game pad (Tic-Tac-Toe)
  42. 50 page game pad (Dot to Dot)
  43. 50 page game pad (Hangman)
  44. 50 Post-it flags
  45. 50 chocolate mint brownies
  46. 50 peanut M&Ms
  47. 50 things we’ve learned from Mom 
  48. 50 pieces of cold weather gear
  49. 50 useless items 
  50. $50

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The stalled car

The Mercury Sable Brenda has driven for the last few years had some hard to diagnose problems for the last 5 months. On 3 occasions it refused to start so we'd call the local garage, they would come and tow it in but every time it would start by the time the tow truck got to the car or by the time they got it to their service bay. They replaced the fuel pump twice but were unsure if that was the problem because before too long, the problem would manifest itself again.

Then one day in August the Sable did a particularly nasty deed. It stalled in one of the busiest intersections in Peoria; with Brenda driving and me out of town. The previous issues had happened when the car was home or I was driving. This time it messed with the wrong person!

Brenda called me on my cell and told me she was sitting at the intersection of War Memorial Drive & Knoxville Ave at rush hour. I called our local auto mechanic who immediately dispatched a truck. Forty minutes later she was heading back to Eureka sitting right seat in the wrecker making conversation with Scott, the driver. Meanwhile, I was heading home from my trip wondering what model of car we should consider for our next vehicle because I was absolutely certain of one thing. We were going car shopping - really, really soon!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and allow me to introduce our new 2012 Hyundai Elantra. After driving several models by Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia and Hyundai the decision was made. Brenda loves it. All is well!

Meanwhile, our mechanic found out the 2 fuel pumps he'd installed were defective. Apparently an entire lot were manufactured with the defect so lots of people likely suffered the same malady as we experienced. So now the Sable is operating quite nicely on it's third fuel pump and we decided not to trade it. Instead I'm driving it. We've had no further problems and it saves me some money since my Tahoe is something of a guzzler.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Got Gnats?

Oh how I dislike gnats.  

Every summer something sits in the garbage for a few days that breeds or draws gnats and then it's a battle to get rid of them.  They stick around for days even after getting rid of the things they are attracted to.  Which is how it happened at my office recently.

I'd forgotten about the old peach thrown into the wastebasket in my storage room - until taking out the garbage about two weeks later. A horde of tiny black gnats came flying out of the garbage sack as I hurriedly took it outdoors.  The next day, a multitude of hungry gnats flew circles around my face as I tried to get some work done on the computer.  After spending the morning slapping at the seemingly slow flying guys, but with very few smashed bugs to show for my efforts, I decided there must be a way to get rid of these pests.  So I consulted with my friend Google.

In case you ever need to know, take a glass jar ( or plastic bottle since I had no jar ) form a funnel out of paper and insert into the jar.  Seal the area where the paper sits in the jar.  I used tape.  Put apple cider vinegar ( white vinegar also works I found out since that is all I had ) and a couple drops of dish washing soap into the jar but leave some room between the bottom of the funnel and the top of the liquid.  It might look like this.

The idea is simple.  The gnats are attracted to the vinegar,  go down the funnel and can't find their way back out.  Exactly how long they buzz around before expiring I don't know.  I didn't watch the proceedings.  All I know is it works.  This is what the bottom of the bottle looked like the next morning when I got to work!  It was a beautiful sight!!!

( I've no idea why the dish washing detergent is one of the ingredients - maybe someone can tell me )

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Nickels worth of decades

Brenda comes up from the basement and is surprised by fire in the kitchen which immediately grabbed her attention. The flames from 50 candles are hard to ignore! 

Now she realizes multiple cameras are busily recording the moment and she reacts quite instinctively.  This is similar to what her mother & maternal grandmother would have done. 

Blowing out candles is not Brenda's best trick and now she's faced with 50 that are starting to burn down and drizzling wax into the cake. It took a few moments to get that many lit and some have been burning for awhile. But she's up to the task and makes quick work of it.

Smiling, she is ready to share with us the cinnamon spice cake. You can't see the rest of us smiling also. We love our youthful and wonderful quinquagenarian wife/mom.
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