Monday, December 31, 2007

My First Near Death Experience

Or "NDE" if you will. You know, I've heard about people having these. I've read a bunch of stories where people die (momentarily) and proceed to a light. Then they see someone and they get the chance to choose whether they go back into their body or stay with the light. They usually choose to come back to earth (or we wouldn't even know about their story) and then we read the story.

Mine wasn't anything like that. So either those people were lying, or I didn't really have the famed NDE that I thought I had. You decide. Here is how it went down:

Step One: Janese and I decided to buy a new fan/light for our front room. This is due to the fact that our light had been hit with basketballs too many times and only worked part of the time, and because I think our light was hideous. Here is the light (on the ground after being "fired"):

Step Two: We bought a new light at Lowes. I thought, Oh, I can hang this thing in an hour. I always start projects with this thought.

Now for a little "aside".

I don't really know anything about construction or wires or hammers. I mean, I can fix a few little things. The light in our bathroom was re-wired by me. I built our shed (please wind, don't blow). But I'm not really the kind of guy who should decide to take on a project by himself unless someone else has promised to come and check on me to make sure I haven't "expired" during the project (especially if there are wires, electricity, nails, or fire involved)...

Step Three: Janese and the children left for two hours and Maddie went down for a nap. So, I'm alone with my precious tools and a box holding a new light.

Step Four: I opened the box. Why wasn't this thing pre-assembled? I thought it would be a light/lamp sitting in some of those foam peanuts. It was just a bunch of wood blades, screws, nuts, motors, and other stuff. I immediately began to realize I was in over my head.

Step Five: I ripped the old lamp down. Harder than it sounds. I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out which screws to mess with and which to leave intact. I finally decide just to start at the ceiling and work down. The old fans hangs for 20 minutes by the wiring. Probably not safe, but I couldn't come up with a better solution. It was pretty heavy. So it hangs there, partially supported by the top of the ladder while I search for the instructions. Sweating...

Step Six: I read the directions. I usually don't. I look at something and think, Hey, I know how this is supposed to go
and then I just start hammering things together in a way that seems right. Janese doesn't like that. She likes to read the directions. Like if we get a new board game, Janese starts reading the instructions while I just start setting up the game pieces in a way that seems logical. Janese then finishes reading the instructions. Then we re-set up the game in the correct fashion. (and then Janese looks for a way to cheat) (Don't tell her I know this)

The instructions were pretty involved. Lots of steps and diagrams. But the part that got my attention was this line:

Failure to [insert whatever step they're covering at the moment] may result in serious injury or death.

Death? This is a ceiling fan, not a weapons-grade container of enriched uranium. Why would I experience death from hanging a fan?

Step Seven: I put everything together, step by step in order, all by myself.

It took about two hours. The instructions said it would take 90 minutes so I must have taken an extra 30 minutes to contemplate my own "death and/or serious injury".

Step Eight: I turn the power in our front room back on and pull the switches for the lights and the fan. I did feel a little nervous flipping the breaker back on. I took a few seconds to determie how long it would take me to run upstairs, grab Maddie from her crib, and rush out of our burning home. I also tried to recall, from Scouts, how to put out an electrical fire (I can't remember...baking soda? fire extinguisher? stop, drop, and roll?)

So, according to the instructions, I had a near death experience. It wasn't as bad or life-changing as I thought it would be. Other people have new courage for life's problems or a new outlook or they forgive everyone who has ever offended them. I didn't have any of that stuff. I watched TV for a little while until Janese came home. She kissed me.

Also, I have an increased respect for the famous Trisha and her dishwasher...

Lastly, I will report on whether my children's Christmas wishes were dashed or not later...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

And I thought a Penguin would be tough...

I guess, technically, I could have gone to the Sacramento Zoo and found the "penguin house". We went there this summer and watched the penguins behind the glass. I know glass breaks, and I know I can break it. So, fulfilling Ashley's Christmas dreams was a possibility. A remote one, but a possibility nonetheless.

Now we have Parker. Apparently his school class all wrote letters to Santa and the newspaper got ahold of the letter. They were published this week. I just read Parker's letter, via the newspaper. Here it is, in its entirety:

Dear Santa,

Haw do yure randre fli I want to noe.
And thank you for the presents last yare.
Ples give me a elf.

Parker M.

At least penguins are real. I mean, Santa could scrounge one up from somewhere; a zoo, one of the poles, some eccentric person's basement tank. But where are you getting an elf? They're busy, small, they can disappear, they have those curly-tipped boots and pointed hats. No one is bringing one of those little fellers into this house.

I can just see Ashley and Parker, surrounded by dolls and toy trains and other wonderful toys, huddled in the corner, weeping, and mumbling something about their shattered Christmas wishes...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Unrealistic Expectations...

Try to imagine the pressure felt when I came home from work today, dropped my keys on the counter in the kitchen, and found this Christmas letter to Santa from Ashley sitting next to Janese's planner (this is the entire letter, word for word, and I think she means it):

Dear Santa,
I want a penguin.

We couldn't even take care of a dog. I'm not convinced I know exactly what Santa is bringing her this year, but at this point, Christmas is looking to be quite the let-down for at least one very good little girl...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Only Movie Review (a.k.a. "Eight Thumbs Down")

It's a Festivus Miracle!

I found a movie that is worse than Rocky 6. I know...Unbelievable (especially if you've seen Rocky 6). It was the ABC Family Movie of the whatever. Title? "Holiday in Handcuffs"

I can't tell you how horrible this movie was. Just keep in mind that it was worse the the last Rocky movie. And trust me, than means it was pretty bad.

I suggest that if you see this movie being rebroadcast in any form during the holidays that you poke your finger into your eye and touch your brain. Anything to avoid seeing this one...

Enjoy December...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Some Singing and an Update

What started as a place to post pictures became a place to update about our family and then became a place for me to type whatever I want. So, I'm going back one step, to family updating. (Even though I kinda want to talk about some 80's music that I actually did like)

We'll start with a little moment from Maddie. Lately, she has not really enjoyed going to bed like she used to. It used to be so easy. Grab a blanket, read a book, sing together, pray, plop her into her crib, and skip out in a carefree way because Maddie was going to go right to sleep.

Now, when we say, "Time for night-night honey" she immediately begins chanting, in a panic, "No bed, no bed, NO bed, NO BED, NO BED! No BED!". Even though i think it is kind of cute, Janese and I both miss the easy-to-bed routine we used to have.

The good news is that Maddie still really likes to sing before she goes to sleep:

Landon and I went to the Peter Breinholt Christmas concert last night. Incredible as always.

Landon and Parker both brought home their report cards this week. All E's...E's are A's for those of you who are old. :)

Ashley had a great week in school with Miss Jami. We forgot to post a picture from Ashley's Thanksgiving Dinner at school with mom.

Janese and I just kinda stood around and watched and tried not to get in the way. Janese, of course, was busy all week helping everyone do everything. She even managed to take a second and read the chapter of Edward and Bella's story from Edward's perspective. (Spoiler: THESE PEOPLE ARE CHARACTERS IN A FICTION BOOK. THEY ARE NOT REAL. I REPEAT, THEY ARE NOT REAL.) Which, by the way, reminds me that I wanted to let everyone know that Stephanie Meyer is now selling bracelets...Bella's bracelet. I'm not putting a link to this site because I don't think anyone should buy one. Nothing against Steph, just, it is a stupid idea. They are $65. Give the money to charity. Please...

Oh, and Janese and I, thanks to some wonderful friends and neighbors, went to the Nutcracker. I think I liked it. The men should wear pants or sweats, though. Not nylons. Ever.

Janese: Tights, Brian, Tights! (I'm learning how to Blog! Yea!)