Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nasal Irrigation


But really. I get very very bad allergies in both the Fall and the Spring, I'm allergic to both trees and grasses. And cats. And oxygen. But a couple of years ago I flushed out the ole shnozz for about 4 night straight using a waterpik attachment and AK's patented Cavity Cleanse recipe. And I haven't suffered from allergies much since at all. If I ever do, just a couple of hose jobs and I'm back in action.

So after the 4,877,412th time I asked Max at dinner to either chew with his mouth closed or slow down & breathe between bites -- AK brewed up a new batch of Nose Hose Chablis for Max. She showed him her way of irrigating, I showed him mine. He's done it for 2 or 3 days now, and while the jury is out on whether it'll cure his terminal cloggage . . . he hasn't snored for the last 2 nights.

It's weird, no doubt. But it works. And it's not as weird as my old hippie Philosophy professor who told us how he learned to do it by snorting water up his nose and spitting it out his mouth. No, I believe we are downright conservative in our irrigation methods! You set the waterpik on low power and aim straight back (if you aim UP you'll get a total underwater-somersault-without-holding-your-nose headache). And I don't know what sort of frogs toes or eyes-of-newt goes into the witches brew but I think that helps too.

Lux: Two more bodies to go, then it's just paint the remaining inventory for Ebay at my leisure. Homestretch goooood. AK is strapping in for a month of hairy, nasty, pimple-ridden work deadlines so I'll be needed everywhere in the house OTHER than the paintshop.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Great Pennsylvanian Snowplow Strike of '08

Intense weather. Huge snow. All up in here. And you'd have thought they've never seen it before, the way they are NOT plowing the roads. I saw 3 plows this morning, but they were keeping the roads going the OTHER way nice and clear.

Cool. I do have a reverse commute.

But then the snow snow snow came down down down. All day day day. And it wouldn't appear they ever got around to plowing another darn road in all of Center County. I want to say "Dear Center County: Did you know that in some other places it snows too? And there, life goes on? And people get to work and to school just fine? It's not a miracle, it's called CIVIC PLANNING people. Go play SimCity for a day straight and I pet you'll do a better job. A few inches of precipitation need not bring a modern city to it's knees.

I'm still a little sick, but only in the evenings. I paint terribly slowly and watch the Heroes: Season 1 DVD set my friend loaned me. This is SO the way to watch a TV show. No pandering commercials, no cliffhanger hangs for very long. Awesome.

For a TV show, I like Heroes. It's worth watching (without the commercials). But I don't know yet how it ranks with the other superhero-theme stories I love so much. Is Season 2 on DVD yet?



Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Good.

Friday not so much. I finally got the Ick that AK had most of the week late Thursday. Friday was a complete wash. Totally useless was I. I want to say I got some Lux work done. But I was so spaced out that I made mistakes that took all of Saturday to fix. This put me, at the end of Saturday, right where I would have been had I not done any work on Friday.

I did get to have a mini film festival, catching up on all the Netflixes I don't have time to watch anymore. I watched:
Sunshine: Cool psycho-SciFi film with great music. Completely wacky ending. I'd need to watch it 3 or 4 more times to explain the ending.
Solaris: Sci-Fi love story psycho-thriller. The kind of movie that makes you say "I bet this was/would have been a great book". Turns out it was not only a great book but a more true-to-the-book movie was made in '72. So I've got the '72 version on my want list now.
The Fountain: Just downright freaky. But good. This was one of the rare movies that I liked much less AFTER I watched the special features. When you learn the movie nearly got not-made 3 times, the director is a yob, and no one had any fun doing the work -- the movie becomes less appealing.
Also recently, I saw an old Australian post-apocalypse film called:
The Quiet Earth: Surpirsingly good! Netflix it.

Saturday had me working on Lux and recovering and celebrating Max's recent skiing accomplishment: TUSCALOOSA! or Tuscarora or Talladega or something. It's the next most challenging ski hill at Tussey Mountain. Again, this is sooooo good for him. AK had been out among the living all day, so I got to go to the church's leadership conference broadcast on "Growing a Mountanous Posterior". Not really, it was "Building a Righteous Posterity" and was all about family.

Today we just barely made it to Church on time despite being very together and collected and leaving in plenty of time. We had a sudden onset of BLIZZARD happen on our way to church! Complete whiteout no-visibility. Wacky. I passed the sacrament with all of the other "Teachers" and "Priests" (those are young men) and even though I had the easiest of the jobs I managed to somehow mess it up. :(. This, along with blessing and preparing the sacrament a little later, is part of me doing the Aaronic Priesthood thing. After all that's done, and probably some other stuff I don't know about yet, I can be a Melchezidek Priesthood holder like all of the other men at church. Mostly it's a young man/grown man thing, though technically it's a temporal needs/spiritual needs thing. The office of Bishop, the leader of the whole ward, is technically an office of the Aaronic Priesthood because his work is about meeting the worldly needs of everyone. In any case I'm glad to be over that hump. Maybe next week I'll be the guy who does more advanced sacrament passing? Wonder how long it's been since someone spilled a whole basket of Jesus Shooters on the Bishop?

Also at church today the boys of Troop 40's Lightning Patrol received a nice large plaque. For their platypus-themed sled -- which gave us visions of "Most Creative Sled Design" -- they received "Sled Most Likely To Fall Apart". Hm. A Dubious honor indeed. It is my hope that many plaques were handed out, not just ONE because there were HUNDREDS of sleds there and as, well, fallen apart as it was by the end of the day it just COULDN'T have been the the worst one. It is also my hope that what really happened was, well, out of hundreds of teams, we made an impression. Maybe we got this award because there wasn't an award for "Best Team Cheer", since several Station Mayors were very impressed with the boy's Lighting Patrol Cheer (not Playtpus-themed, but learning a song is HARD and it's taken us since the Fall just to get the cheer right). Those are my hopes. Hey, it's a plaque! It will go into a display case at church, along with the 2nd Place Overall plaque from, like, decades ago. And for all time and eternity it will read "AZTEC PLATYPII" on it. And that will help 5 boys and one man to remember a very special, very fun Klondike Derby. So that's good. I guess :/

Then I had to go to the store. That kind of blew. The store was fine, on account of being heated, actually. It was the putting in the Taurus of the $40 of gas that blew. On account of the 14 degrees and the howling wind and the NO HAIR.

But then we all had AK's spicy bean soup for dinner with a wide variety of Wegmans baguettes, and that fixes a lot of the universe's wrongs right there. Then we all sat on the floor and joked and played Jumpin' Monkeys. Then we played with finger puppets, which led to a game where the finger puppets are systematically slaughtered by the giant poodle that comes along and eats them off your fingers. VERY. FUNNY right there. Twins were actually turning blue from lack of oxygen. Comedy is serious, folks, use with care. Now Max and AK are planning out the raised gardens Gramma Gaye has recently approved for her vast backyard. The names of the varieties are greek to me, but I'm pretty sure they are talking about Thisberries and Thoseberries and Theotherberries and that is berry, berry good news. Ben and Milo are working together on Jump Start 1st Grade software.

State College is beautiful these last two days with a good cover of snow. The wind is howling like a monster. I love seasons. I love weather. I love the valleys and the twisty roads over the diagonal ranges of Northern Appalachia. So much of our story has yet to be written, but it's great to know the setting is exactly what it will be for the next 12 years. One mystery solved.

It was the kind of Sunday I look forward to having on Mondays and Tuesdays etc. . . . As soon as I'm done with Lux work and can focus on really being here when I'm here. I'm tired of the 2 Job Boogie!



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Billy Joel. Skiing. Whatever.

So Max and I went to go see "Movin' Out" and it was a blast. It was, really, a "rock ballet" in so far as there were no lines recited. There was an expanded rock band and a "Piano Man" hanging from the ceiling to play all of the Billy Joel music. Then there were dancers, who acted out the story of a group of friends through the 50s, 60s & 70s & 80s exclusively through dance. Max was very excited about it, and I think enjoyed it a great deal though he surely had no frame of reference for such a unique "play". I know it's made an impression on him, as he talks about it quite a bit and usually has a Billy Joel song in his head lately.

There were 1.5 exclusively adult-themed numbers, the really racy one being a drugged hitting-bottom scene to "Captain Jack". The other had two lovers, worlds apart, being simultaneously tempted by the fruit of another. I imagine (hope) most of the Captain Jack bit was over his head. But on the other one, he had a question. He asked it. I answered it. No big deal. Well, OK, big deal. But I can't help but think somehow we're doing something right because he was comfortable enough to ask his father about something he didn't understand and it didn't occur to him to feel weird or ashamed or awkward in any way about not knowing or wanting to know. :)

He's also going to see a student-produced play at Penn State with his class next week and looking forward to that. Our pirate play in Readers Theater is going well now that it's finally cast. Now the 5th and 6th graders need to memorize their lines. Eek. This is why we were doing READERS THEATER instead of THEATER THEATER! Oh well. It's a smaller group this semester of really enthused kids, they are ready to do a "real" play I think. Max is the only boy in the class, and for this reason he is completely useless to me.

Next year? Totally teaching a photography class instead.

Ski Class is another timedrain for us lately. We have been fortunate that so far most of the ski classes we paid so much for have actually had snow to ski on. But Max has made SUCH PROGRESS this year. For once he gets to actually feel competent and competitive with his peers in a sporting event of some kind. He gets to be scared, face his fears, and emerge triumphant somehow every time he goes to one of this twice weekly classes. The twins have taken up the pursuit, as much as 6 year olds can. Here they are not skiing. . .

. . .and here they are manipulating the instructors by lecturing on the Hults Agenda instead of skiing down the scary hill. . .

Straight Job: I joke that Pointy Haired Boss is my alter ego at work. It's a way for me to be self-deprecating and easygoing with my charges, while also hopefully functioning as a couterpoint to highlight that I am NOT a completely incompetent supervisor.

The job is strange and familiar. It's challenging and has a bright future and I get to do a lot of what I'm good at. And it will never pay enough to make up for the time I'm not spending with my family :(. AK assures me it's saving our patootie right now, since one of her clients is not paying on time. And I try to take solace in that. But the whole point was to get ahead and get ahead fast. I never wanted it to become just-something-I-go-do-everyday. What makes it so hard right now is that I can't let Lux Graphics go until the orders are all filled. THEN I can really BE HOME when I come home. I think that will be rewarding for me, I'll feel less disconnected compared to how connected I was before -- and AK could sure use the help around the house. I look forward to applying myself in photography when Lux is gone, and at the same time wonder how I'll buy photogrpahy equipment or classes. . . . with Lux gone.

Change is in the air. These wonderful, wide-open party primaries are likely to be less interesting and wide-open after today. But it will make us focus even more intently on our futures. It will force us to ask ourselves just what is important, just what do we want in our leaders and our government. And that (prioritizing, planning, dreaming) is a good habit to start, even if -- like so many good habits -- we fall away again and again.

My employer is completely changing the very fundamentals of how it produces it's product.

My church has a new leader at the very highest (OK not THE highest. . . but you know. . . ) level.

My son is entering puberty. New babies are popping up like poopy, pukey, adorable and life-affirming little poppies.

Our economy is now, almost, oficially, getting tight. I can't believe they are just now reporting "It might. . . actually . . . officially . . . be a recession!" We've been receding here for a couple of years already.

And Mercury is in retrograde. So watch out. I have NO faith of any kind in Astrology. It's superstition. Like Stevie said, when you believe in things you don't understand then you suffer. Despite my most vehement bah's, pshaw's and poo poo's -- my life still turns to a steaming pile of dog crap due to breakdowns in technology and communications every time that little red star starts to move backwards acros the sky. For the next few weeks? Don't move your laptops. Don't upgrade to Vista. And when in doubt, just call, don't e-mail.

Rock on my blog reading peeps. Both of you. Hang in there.



Pupp Daddy Dog spends his days working as an entrepeneur and as a Dad. He is passionately in love with/obsessively neurotic about his family. Imagine Kicking Bird mixed with Albert Brooks. Oh, and throw in some Notorious B.I.G.


Alaska is the frustrated but caring cat at the center of our canine universe. All of us alternately worship, rely on and ceaselessly whine to her. Her need to control everything is confounded by the fact that she really pretty much does control everything, so in her few free moments, she knits and searches desperately for things to fuss about.



Max is smart and handsome, with a big heart. He is not only growing like a weed, but he has the attention span and concentration abilities of a weed. Despite my best efforts, AK keeps feeding him and he keeps growing. Our plan is to keep him so busy with school, sports & the arts that he won't notice he's a teenager and is supposed to hate us. T minus 2.5 years to teen launch, so far so good.



 Ben and Milo are phenomenal little creatures who remind us minute-by-minute not only how little control we have in this world, but why we should cease our controlling efforts and just laugh at all of God's jokes. Lately, Milo likes to dance and is good on the piano. Ben likes to mimic Max and enjoys manipulating adults and anyone else who has no idea how quietly brilliant he is. Both of them would love your full and complete attention. Really, stop reading silly blogs and join the fan club now. Ok? Ok.








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