Friday, January 30, 2009

...I just might jump off a bridge if everyone else was

Recently I watched a video about how blogging, youttube, and Facebook have forever changed the way information gets around. This is true because someone on facebook came up with a facebook forward. This particular Facebook forward (you know, the ones that generally say if you don't forward them your children will die or your friends will leave you?) was not that creative or anything, but it has caught on. So, in proving that people long to know about people...

25 random facts, habits, skills, etc., about me:

1. I think CJ-5's are 100% effective at curing the blues.
2. I want to learn how to fly fish and then do it with my dad.
3. I you gave me a plane ticket to anywhere, I'd be in New Zealand tonight.
4. Dogs were meant to be in my life, but currently I can't have one.
5. I can memorize movie lines better than anyone I know.
6. Grad school is amazingly thought-provoking, enjoyable, and, hopefully, beneficial.
7. Designing and building my own home is a dream I hope to fulfill.
8. Bigelow Constant Comment Tea is my favorite hot drink.
9. I think everyone should do a NOLS semester.
10. I enjoy playing cards.
11. My wife subbed 5 days this week which is awesome.
12. I killed Jesus.
13. I am currently refurbishing an old oil lamp to work on electricity.
14. I am blessed to be adjunct faculty as soon as I sign my contract.
15. Hilary and I are hoping to go out West in August for 2ish weeks.
16. I am a bike commuter, although I only have to go 7/10th of a mile.
17. Wifey and I are going out for dessert.
18. I secretively want a ridiculously large TV with Bose surround sound.
19. I don't have a passport.
20. I get excited about little things like a little boy at least twice a day.
21. I was stupid once and drove much faster than legally allowed just to see how fast I could go until I was scared.
22. I have a pocket dictionary for when I go backpacking just in case I don't know a word someone uses.
23. Another country will one day see Hilary and I help its citizens build houses.
24. I think the Steelers are going to win.
25. The North Country Brewery has some really good brews.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Three Dead Mice, Three Dead Mice

The impetus for this post comes from several months ago, if the truth be told. My parents hinted at this story in their yearly Christmas letter and some have heard the whole story, but for the rest of you, here it is.

One day after we were here a couple of months, I was sitting in our living room, chatting with my mom on the phone. It was shortly after Dan's parents' visited, and during that visit, we had talked about mice and the fact that fortunately, there were no mice in our old, drafty farmhouse. Well, as I talked with my mom on the phone that night, my eyes were roaming the room, and what did I see except an itty bitty mouse run from underneath the closet doors where our washing machine is housed into the living room. I'm sure I screamed, but I don't really remember. My mom's eardrums are now damaged, though, so I'm pretty sure I did. I do remember standing on the couch, yelling about the mouse and for Dan.

My mom, I'm pretty sure, let me go so I could deal with the problem, which for me looked like standing off of the floor on chairs/sofas/stools and making my way upstairs. (I'm adding this in-enjoy-from me, Dan)

Dan assured me that my screams had frightened away the mouse, but I wasn't so convinced. The next morning, I was called in to sub, and Dan graciously walked downstairs first to "scare away the mice." After school, when I had safely made it through the day without seeing any mice, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a "friendly trap." You know, the kind that allows mice to run into it and munch on the cheese & peanut butter cracker you left for them. Then, of course, you dispose of the mouse in a humane manner by bringing it to -- I don't know -- maybe a farm where mice can run and be happy and not sneak into houses.

I set this up by myself, even though Dan scoffed at the contraption. I also let the college know about my problem (with the mice in the house, not my extreme fear of mice), and they brought over a bag full of sticky traps, which are like fly paper for mice. Like that's not the grossest thing I've ever heard of. Get a mouse stuck to a piece of paper so it can either a.) gnaw its little feet off or b.) rot to death on a sheet of paper. They also sprinkled some poison around the basement.

For a while, our rodent problem seemed to be solved. No droppings were seen, no scampering was heard, no mice were spotted. I even commented on this to our RA. I shouldn't have opened my mouth, because – that very night back in November – I was sitting in the bathroom, on the toilet, going potty, and looking at the corner of the wall and tub. When we moved in, they replaced the tub, but they didn't do a great job, and left about 3" of wooden floor exposed, and for the last two inches, there is a gap under the tub. After the first mouse scare, I would look at that spot and think, "I wonder if a mouse could run through there?" And I assured myself that a mouse couldn't get through there. So I'm sitting on the toilet, checking out the spider which took up residence there, thinking that I should go smoosh it as soon as I'm done peeing. And as I'm looking at the spider web, it moves, and a MOUSE sticks its head out.

I screamed bloody murder for Dan, who was fortunately home. He came running in, but of course, by that time the mouse had left for the basement. I was freaking out – crying and practically hyperventilating. In the course of screaming and freaking out, I put my legs straight out in front of me, which in turn caused the already fractured toilet seat to totally break under my bum. I quickly wiped and pulled up my pants and then sat on the counter, which in turn caused the counter to pull out of the wall. (Excellently constructed house I live in, eh?) I was crying and my heart was racing and I was also laughing at the havoc I was wrecking on the bathroom. I stayed in the bathtub as Dan bravely went into our creepy basement to put these sticky mousetraps on the ground.

Anyways, for a while our solution was to put duct tape over the bathroom hole, along with a 5 pound weight. Also, Dan took up checking on the status of the basement mouse traps. Once day, when Dan went down to check on the status of the mouse traps, one had totally disappeared. So there's probably a mouse hopping around the house, all of its feet stuck to a little piece of paper. It gives me the shudders to think about it. Yucky.

Eventually, we removed the 5 pound weight from in front of the hole along with the duct tape, and Dan put a piece of wood trim along the side of the tub, making it look a lot better and forcing mice to find another way into our downstairs. My fear that a mouse is going to pop up has greatly diminished, although after we got back from our three and a half week sojourn, I was a bit worried that they would have taken over our house. But no! No mice did we see.

Now to this lazy Saturday morning. When we woke up, I came downstairs for a normal morning bathroom visit and everything was normal. I started on breakfast, pouring cereal and milk and heating water for tea. Dan came down and attempted to rinse out his mug with warm water and realized that we had no water in the kitchen sink! He's been working on that for the rest of the morning, capable man that he is, which has taken him into the basement with a headlamp, looking in the crawlspace and setting up heating contraptions (which includes my hair dryer). It's been a while since he's been down there (I don't go there due to my phobia), and we would like to provide an update:

Three dead, frozen mice.

This makes the score Mice 2, Dan & Hilary 3.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cold? Oh please, I sunbathe in this (round 2)

An update...

Since the last post I haven't done anything exciting but nail a thermometer on the back porch. I got chilled in the driving wind at work moving a hundred pair of cross country skis. I haven't biked to work because my wifey drove me there so I could run on the treadmill and get to work early so I could leave early and spend more time with the wife in the afternoon. Today I walked to work and then she picked me up after she was done running.

These (new) shoes were made for running...and hopefully that is what they will do (on my feet).

Hopefully it gets warmer so we can run outside again.

Sorry for the boring post. Hopefully I get creative or sentimental like my sister-in-law.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold? Oh please, I sunbathe in this

Today was my first day back to work in a little over a month. I honestly think that has been the longest period in my life that I have gone without working (getting a paycheck) since the summer of 1997 with the exception of my time at NOLS. There was much work to be done and I didn't accomplish a lot of it. We have two new GA's working with us so we showed them around and got them oriented to life in the office, hence, little real work. I have had many days of work since the summer of 1997. I did work before the summer of 1997, but not full-time. I have worked growing up since I was probably around 9 years old. I mowed the grass of two neighbors during the spring/summer/fall and shoveled snow in the winter for whoever would give me money after I shoveled their walk and driveway. Clever huh?

Speaking of snow, the last few days here have been amazing! We have been graced with multiple inches of snow and there are advisories for the rest of the week! We are to get a few more inches of snow and the temperature is going to drop.

The possibilities...

I only live .8 miles from work, but the next four days I get to bike to work in those temperatures.

Dear Lord, please let the car start for Hilary and please allow me to live in those temperatures. Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowy Wisconsin

After a month of neglecting our blog and nearly three and a half weeks of traveling, I’m sitting at the computer, trying to decide on what merits an inclusion in a blog post. I’m not really sure; I could talk about the highlights of our trip, which took us to Macedonia (Ohio), Mars (Pennsylvania), Houghton, Fredonia, and Panama (NY). I wish some of you would be fooled into thinking we visit exotic spots on our vacation, but that would be a little less than true. While we loved all the places we visited, not too many people would include them in the ‘exotic’ category. For us, they fall into the category of home – and yet, as we grow older and more independent – they aren’t entirely home. They are the places where our families live, and in a sense, that makes them part of our home. We love going back and visiting and sharing time together, don’t get me wrong. But really, home is beginning to really be where Dan and I live. Last year that was Belfast. This year it is Wisconsin. It’s nice to be (sort of) settled, as we are right now. I guess I’m a little surprised that what was lonely Wisconsin has turned into our home, at least for this year, but it has. And it’s nice to be back. Since we saw most of our readers over Christmas break, I won’t fill you in on the ins and outs of our trip this time. Maybe another day.

When we arrived here – home – there were a few inches of snow on the ground, and it was light out for at least 15 more minutes, compared to when we left. That was a nice change! I like sunshine. However, the next morning, when we finally dragged ourselves out of bed, it had snowed about 3 inches, and continued snowing throughout the day! The snow continued through today. I’m not sure of the exact number of inches we have outside because of the drifting, but I will take a gander and guess that there are about 16 inches of snow on the ground. (Is it are or is? My grammar class is failing me right now.) I’m glad we put our snow tires on the Subaru. Our maintenance men, who also happen to plow our driveway, like to plow us in, as opposed to out. Dan had to shovel our driveway today after they pushed a big pile and left it right in our way. We don’t really understand this.

Anyways, we’re gearing up for next semester, which starts on Monday. We both have evening classes Monday through Thursday, which will obviously limit the amount of time we have together. We’ve designated Fridays as our date night, which we kicked off yesterday by watching Marley and Me at the Showboat Movie Theater, complements of the college. It was the perfect date night movie – no bloody shooting scenes, no awkward “comedic” moments, no awful language. Although I did shed a few tears, I loved it. It was a nice family-type movie, a good end to the season of family visits, and a touching portrait of a couple who sticks through thick and thin.