Friday, July 31, 2015

Whatever, Dad


This cat is completely unconcerned that her curiosity incurred $400 in expenses.

One night on vacation, shortly after turning out the lights, we were startled by a loud crash. Flipping the lights back on revealed that SOMEONE jumped up on the dresser and knocked the TV over. It fell onto the corner of the dresser and destroyed the screen's guts. Ugh. The next day, we ventured off to Walmart and bought a replacement.

Two days after that, Hoss opened up his laptop and said with much astonishment "My laptop's broken!"

The laptop, you see, was on the floor below the TV. The TV didn't want to die alone, I guess.

Another $200 replacement (this time, just the screen; the laptop itself was fine).

Here you can see Hoss adjust the new TV while the perpetrator takes a bath. Irony.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sharks and UFOs

What happens when you combine:
  • 1 shark
  • 2 grandparents
  • 4 twenty-something males with beer and fishing poles
  • 5 grandkids
  • 12 black balloons
  • 24 assorted glow sticks 
  • several quarts of ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauces and whipped cream?

While the parents went carousing around Atlantic City, Hoss and I sat the grandkids down and told them we were going to do something hugely fun that they'd never done before: 

We were going to build a UFO.

Quizzical looks accompanied a collective "Whuuuut??"

Hoss unboxed the helium tank and began blowing up the big black balloons we'd picked up earlier that day while I passed out the packets of glow sticks.

"We're going to build a UFO and launch it down on the beach, and if we're lucky, someone will report seeing a UFO in New Jersey. Just think - you're walking the dog or driving home from the movies and you see this glowing, floating thing in the air. Aren't you going to freak out and tell everyone you know?"

Then, laughs and approval. Papa Steve and Nana Lett scored a win.

So we tested configurations and weights and decided that two glowing orbs about the size of cantaloupe, connected by a string so one would be suspended about a foot below the other, would draw plenty of attention. We attached them to a dozen balloons that we suspected would be nearly invisible in the dark and would give the contraption lots of lift. 

We were ready.

But first, we had to get the USS Proper safely down to the beach, along with the seven of us. Welp, there's only one thing to do: pile everybody in the back of the old Explorer and transport everyone unbelted and illegally down to the beach. Which was a first for all of them and was, in itself, a blast:

Clown Car Ride

Clown Car Ride

Clown Car Ride

(I didn't get a good pic of Laney because she was directly behind me, but she was there!)

We didn't get stopped on the single block long ride to the beach and none of the parents yelled at us, so I guess we got away with it.

We posed for a quick pic before the countdown and launch:

UFO Launch

And the USS Proper took to the air for her mission.

We watched her fly north for a few moments, then we noticed a commotion a few hundred feet up the beach. There were shouts and lights and what looked like a really big fish on the sand.


Holy cats! That's a shark!

Four young guys decided to do a little surf fishin' and beer drinkin' and had managed to catch a seven foot sand shark. The hook had him by the tongue and he wasn't too pleased about it:




They managed to get the hook out without losing digits or limbs, tagged him for tracking, then let him go.

After that, we headed back to the house and had gooey, messy, fantabulous ice cream sundaes (pics of that are here).

The next morning, the first thing Laney said was "Did our UFO make the news?"

It didn't, but we sure had fun.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Vacation Faces

Serious faces!





Funny faces!


Oscar & Laney



Hamming it up faces!

Lunchtime Laughs

Ariana & Ally

Shy faces!


Eggs Benedict for the first time faces!

Eggs Benedict?

Chocolate Sundae faces!

Chocolate Sundae Face

Chocolate Sundae Face

Chocolate Sundae Face

Chocolate Sundae Face

So much fun was had by all!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Yes, we ship thousands of tons of sodium hydroxide from this facility every year. And we
often leave it outside in large plastic baggies, because, well, what could go wrong?

Every shipper and delivery facility has its own regulations. We've delivered to dozens of nuclear plants - most require a thorough bumper-to-bumper inspection while others don't even have a guardhouse ("excuse me, random hard-hatted person ... is that your receiving department behind the enormous, steaming nuclear reactor?"), countless military installations ("you want me to follow you twelve miles east on an unpaved trail through the Arizona desert to a secluded and unmarked group of airplane hangars?"), scores of chemical companies ("ok, when I hear four quick horn blasts in a row I should look for a flashing blue light on a pole and make my way there?"), and endless other facilities with inherent danger and reason to very carefully inspect every visitor.

And then, there are the small but mighty little suppliers with a single rail sideyard and a front office outfitted with one or two of the meanest, tyrannical, self-aggrandizing women in that particular town.

The kind of women, say, who print up company rules and regulations such as this:

Wayyt, whut??

You've got enough hydroxide sitting outside in enormous woven plastic bags to bring Lake Erie to a boil and your number eight concern is that I might spit?

May I point out that it's raining today?

What is the purpose of this rule? Is it a safety issue? If so, why are you freaked out - sorry, I'll use small town old lady vernacular: in a tizzy - about spittle, but either unconcerned about, or unaware of, the effects of atmospheric moisture on hygroscopic chemicals? I strongly suggest you look up "deliquescence".

I suspect that this wasn't a safety concern, but an issue of manners and perhaps weak stomachs.

If that's the case, let me suggest that you include that drivers use "Sir" and "Ma'am" when addressing employees, walk offsite to pass gas, refrain from cursing, and forever save bacon grease.

Just sayin'.