Friday, December 22, 2006

Kaylee In The Northwest

Kaylee was born to perform. No question about it. When I started singing at church, she immediately wanted to start going to rehearsals with me, and all the way home, would practice singing with me until she felt she was ready. Then she worked her way into the schedule so she was up on stage with me, setting an awesome example for all the kids at church.

What's next, you ask??

Well, this week as school wound down for Christmas vacation, there was a choir performance for the whole school... A Christmas Sing-Along! (Yay! Again, I LOVE Fircrest!) So as the plans for thie performance started to trickle down to the kids, Kaylee didn't miss a beat, and went to the teacher asking if she could sing a special duet with her friend Terra. She wanted to sing "Christmas In The Northwest", and after a quick audition, Mrs. Fellows agreed, and she was in!
Then came my job, making a semi-karaoke version of the song for them to sing with. (It's amazing how often my past-job-skills come in handy!) As this week began, every night ended with Kaylee singing the whole song for us, getting every little nuance correct. She was a little worried that Terra might get stagefright, and in the spirit of "The Show Must Go On!", she was prepared to take the whole song herself.

Finally, Tuesday @ 2:oo came, and we all waited anxiously through the choir performance... After several cutely-enjoyable songs, it was Go Time! Kaylee and Terra were introduced, walked down in front of the risers, and the magic happened....

As you can guess, we were VERY proud of our little superstar in the making! Hopefully, Kaylee's Christmas Performance will become another loved Christmas Tradition!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I still vividly remember when Ellysa & Andy started Band in 5th grade. Cindy recalled it in our Christmas Letter that year as something like "an asthmatic elephant and a wounded giraffe" or some other animal reference. She also said I blew milk through my nose as a result of the sound... Details aside, suffice it to say that they fell a bit short of making beautiful music. Well, now Ellysa's in 8th grade, and the band director at her school runs a great program. The proof of this was a couple weeks ago, at the first concert of the year.

Unlike at Hunt Middle School (BOOO!!!) where the band director found it necessary to help out the kids by playing instruments while also conducting, the bands at Curtis Junior High (YAY!) are self-sufficient. And not only do they have all the necessary seats filled, but the kids actually play their instruments well!

But it's not all roses - next year Kaylee will hit 5th grade and the cycle begins again... I'll just be sure to NOT be drinking milk at the time..

Ben Stein Loves A Merry Christmas

He's more than just the teacher calling "Bueller.... Bueller... Bueller...?" or the game show host offering a chance to win his money. Ben Stein was a lawyer for years, and was a speechwriter for Richard Nixon. He's also an occasional commentator on CBS Sunday Morning. Last year, a week before Christmas, he offered this commentary, which is just as compelling this year. And yeah, I verified that it's actually true, he really did say it, and I even went to the trouble of correcting the emailed version I originally received to make it match what he actually said. The link to the proof is after the commentary. Merry Chrimstas!

Here at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart. I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores who they are. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so darned important?
I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's baby.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe. But I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young? Hmm, not so bad.

Next confession:I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish, and it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they're slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we're all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there's a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, fine. The Menorah a few hundred yards away is fine, too.

I do not like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.

But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.


Well said, Ben. Very well said. Again, Merry Christmas to all!
If you're still doubtin the authenticity of this, click here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

'Tis The Season To Get Older

Wow, it's been over a week since I've posted anything... and it's not because there hasn't been a lot to post - in fact, the opposite is true! There's been SO much to post that I haven't had time to post it all!

December, in addition to being home to Christmas and New Years, and all the gatherings and shopping that accompany them, but it's also Andy's birthday on the 10th, and mine just a few days later on the 15th. Andy's been having birthdays since he was born back in 1992. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that suddenly out of nowhere, he had the nerve to turn 14. But it did. It really did! Most of you who know me, know that I really don't put any weight on age. My age, your age, doesn't matter. I generally have 3 "ages" that I keep track of: Younger Than Me, My Age, and Older Than Me. Within those categories are people of all different kinds of chronological ages... It's all about where you're at in life, and how it feels to hang around someone. Meaning you could be 52 years old, and still be totally "my age" to me, based on who you are. So Age to me, ain't nuttin' but a number.

Until someone who I helped create turned 14. That's just too weird!! But he did it. And I lived. In fact, I lived well enough to make it through "The Storm" and turn another year older on Friday.

That picture up there? It's from Andy's "I'm almost 14 - close enough to get a free plate of sopapillas for my birthday!" dinner. He also got to wear the birthday sombrero and scarf... And milliseconds before the picture was taken, he was shouting "Olé!" and holding a big goofy braces-enhanced grin that like I said, vanished RIGHT as the picture was snapped. But you get the idea...

So Happy Birthday to Andy (and me) and an open request to call the paramedics in a couple years when he turns *gulp* sixteen....

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Funny!

Why Wii? You Have To Ask???

By now you all know that I stood in line on the morning of November 19 to get a Ninteno Wii console at launch. I'd just like to let anyone who was concerned know, that I have zero regrets!! This system, more than anything I've ever played, just oozes fun! It's fun that starts with the console itself. Even without popping a disc in, you can have fun making characters called Miis, which can look like yourself, your friends, your enemies... And then share them with other Wii owners via the console's internet connection. The Miis then populate various games, including Wii Sports, which was bundled with the console. Remember how I said you can make a Mii of your enemy? Well Wii Sports has a boxing game. It's like therapy to beat an offending Mii senseless!! FUN THERAPY!!!

At launch, knowing that Wii Sports was included, we only bought one other game. We chose Excite Truck, an off-road truck racing game that is the most fun driving game I've ever played. I was torn between it, and Rayman Raving Rabbids, but went with what I felt was the safer bet of a racing game.

Then last week a friend (who has made and shared some great Miis) let me borrow his copy of RRR. This game is the craziest, most fun game I've ever encountered. In fact, if I'd seen this trailer before launch time, RRR would likely have been my launch title.

So far, all three Wii games - Wii Sports, Excite Truck and RRR are not just fun for the person playing them, but for anyone else in the room as well. The first night we did Wii Boxing, Ellysa worked up such a sweat she had to hit the showers afterward!

So my request now, is that everyone needs to get a Wii!! Then we can link 'em all up, create a big ol' family of Miis, and turn out a great big happy Wii Party!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Tradition #2

I grew up in Des Moines - Washington, not Iowa - and one of the things I loved about it was that it felt like a community. People knew each other... In many ways, most of us grew up in an area like that, and we all know that the feeling of community has largely gone away.

Not in Fircrest!! Our town is still very connected, and still thrives on small-town values. It's strange, being wedged between Tacoma, Lakewood and University Place, but the little municipality really does have its own culture. One of the best embodiments of that culture is the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.

It's 2006. This is now. All over America, the seperation of church and state has gone to extremes, particularly blocking Christianity from virtually everything, for fear of offending someone in the minority. I hate that. As a kid, one of the highlights of each school year was getting together in the lunch room before school in the mornings, and singing Christmas carols. Yes, CHRISTMAS CAROLS!! AT SCHOOL!! This was a fully sanctioned activity! The music teacher even played the piano and TAUGHT US THE SONGS!! It was a time when all the grades mingled together, and everyone got along. Were there Jewish kids at that school? Yes. Did they complain? No. Some just played on the playground waiting for the bell to ring, others sang along with as much joy as the Christian kids. It never occurred to them to be offended. I really miss those days. But back on target:

So in 2006, for an official city function, held in public, to honor specifically Christmas - not "The Holidays", but Christmas - is astounding to me! I love it! A huge percentage of the town turns out and stands in the cold dark park, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Finally, someone introduces the mayor, who thanks us for coming, and prepares us for some other guy who is going to offer the invocation. The WHAT?? PRAYER?? AT AN OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT FUNCTION?? Yep, Prayer. He invocated. In Jesus' name, he invocated. He dedicated the tree to the Christmas season, he thanked God for the miracle of Christmas, it was like being in church, except there we were, in Alice Peers Park, underneath the "Welcome To Fircrest" sign. And when he ended his prayer with a rousing "...and all God's people said..." there was an "AMEN!" that rose from the crowd that was more jubilant than many church services I've been in! Then they threw the switch, the tree lit up, I took a picture, and Santa, Mrs. Claus, some elves, and a few reindeer came parading down the street...

As the countdown to Christmas continues, Santa will make several runs through town on a fire truck, handing out gifts and candy canes. And my family will eagerly run out to greet him and wish all within earshot a Very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Treasured Christmas Tradition!

I love the Holiday Season! From Halloween to New Years, it's just nonstop fun and festivity. My family - like most - has traditions that go back several years, and in many ways, those consistant activities help define what "The Holiday Season" feels like. I'll be highlighting some of my favorite December traditions over the coming weeks, but first....
This is a tradition I first discovered back in 1999 or 2000, and ever since then, it's been my favorite signal that Christmas is indeed coming.
If you've seen this eager-to-please Burger King employee before, you're probably already giggling... If not, then welcome to one of my treasured Christmas traditions! Skippy just loves his job at Burger King! And he loves to sing about it every year as Christmas approaches. He's got such an infectious enthusiasm, you just can't help but smile and sing along... Ready?
Just click here to kick off the Christmas Season in style!
And let me be the first to say, on behalf of the Brinkerhoffs, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oh Yeah, And Our Friend Code...

Well, I was so excited about having a Wii, that I forgot to give out our Friend code! Any other Wii owners out there who want to join us in online gaming, or share Miis together, or who knows what else will eventually be added, here's the code for the BrinkerWii:


Wii would like to play!

WE GOT Wii!!!

YES!! Behold the crappy camera-phone imagery showing my Wii ticket this morning! I was number 17, and Fred Meyer had 29 to sell. This was my first time ever buying a console at launch, and it was FUN!!

After going back and forth on wether we'd actually get a Wii at launch, or wait until later, it really felt like it was going to be later. Certainly, that was the fully responsible way to go... But then last Monday or Tuesday, Cindy and I were in Target, and watched the demo video at the Wii kiosk, and when they showed "WarioWare: Smooth Moves," even she got excited, and it became clear that it was ON! (note: I resisted the temptation to say "shii" in that last sentence, but it was hard)

So anyway, after church on Saturday night, we heard an ad that Fred Meyer was doing a midnight release... Stopped at our normal FM, and they weren't... they only had 19 systems, and were opening at 7am, their regular time. Hmmmm.... A Line wasn't allowed to form until 11pm when they closed Saturday. I thought about coming back and camping for it, but just wasn't sure... Target already had 30+ people camped out, and they were rumoured to have 51 systems. Iffy. Real iffy. Then an amazing thing happened - while I was talking to the electronics department, Cindy was across the way in the shoe department. (Everyone: "No, Really?") She'd found a pair of boots she really liked, but they didn't have them in her size. So the brainstorm hit, let's go check with the FM in University Place! It's only a little farther from our house (in the other direction) so we were off. While she found her boots - which they had! - I went over to the electronics department and roughed 'em up a bit. Or actually, humbly asked how many consoles they were getting. Unlike our regular store, which had an exact number and all the details, this store was really wishy-washy. They said they had "around 40", but that the number was only a rumour. WHAT?? It's way too close to release time to play these stupid games!! HOW MANY??? Well, they weren't spilling that info. But when I asked if they expected many campers, the answer was like angels singing... "nobody's allowed to camp out here, and if they try, they won't get a system."

CHA-CHING! I'ma Get Me A Wii On Launch Day!! I did some speculation and decided that getting to the store at 5 would be a safe time. It's the same time I get up for my weekday workout, so no real shock to my system. When I got there, I was 17th in line, and naturally, most people ahead of me had been there since approximately 11pm the night before. Oh well, nothing that guy told me Saturday night was accurate. Whatever, I'm 17, so even at the other store it would have worked.

At about 6:20 or so, the manager came out, announced that they had 29 systems, and handed out the highly covetable Wii pink slips. (again, I resisted the temptation to call them Wii Piink Sliips. You should be proud of me) Me, and the three people in line near me that had been getting to know each other all gleefully tucked them away safely in pockets, wallets, purses... and the checked on them about every 3 minutes to make sure they hadn't evaporated!

A few minutes after that, an amazing thing happened: Cindy drove up, with hot chocolate!! This was huge, because she made it clear that I was on my own doing the crazy 5am Wii thing... But she couldn't resist - or wanted to make sure I didn't go buy-crazy - and came to join us.. She got right into the community of the moment, laughing and joking with the group in line.

The last 15 minutes seemed to take FOREVER, so when the manager came back and opened the door at 6:57 ONT (official Nextel time) a cheer came up from the whole line! Interestingly, many people were shouting "Woo!", but I didn't hear anyone shouting "Wii!" or even "Wheee!" I thought about it, but wasn't about to win the prize for biggest dork at the launch...
BrinkerWii!So, minutes later, we left the store with our Wii, an extra controller, Excite Truck, and a 2000 point Wii card. Setup was a breeze - I really like the feel of the Wiimote! I got it on my network, downloaded the updates, and then used my points to buy Mario Brothers. Not Super MB, but the original "flip the turtles over and knock them off the screen" Mario Brothers. Then I popped in Wii Sports and Pwned the opposing team at a game of baseball.
I LOVE THIS SYSTEM!!! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hey Aliens! You feel like Chicken Tonight?

You're looking at a satellite image of a desert in Nevada. You know, like seen from space. That happy chicken pusher smiling up at you? He's a whopping 87,500 sqare feet in size... Just over 2 acres. Think of how many houses a modern neighborhood squeezes into 2 acres, and you start to realize how big this thing is. Personally, I'd love to also see it from the ground, just to see how unrecognizable it is from that perspective.
The whole stunt is tied in with KFC updating their logo - Colonel Sanders wears an apron now! I guess that after 50ish years of getting the white suit all greasy, he's ready to finally get serious and wear an apron. Go Colonel! I'm sure Mrs. Sanders is happy!
The company says this is the first brand logo visible from space... So naturally, putting it near Area 51 is the smart marketing decision, because now all the hungry aliens can find a KFC without moving too far off route. Great move, KFC!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Now THAT'S A Great Picture!

I don't think I even need to say much on this one... Our awesome kids with their noses in books - what else could I say?!

Friday Funny!

A little math humor this week... Really brings back memories of first hearing mathematical terms like "find" and "prove". Like the first time the math book said to prove a triangle. Armed with the knowledge gained from growing up on Sesame Street, my answer was "Duh, it has three sides and three corners. Of COURSE it's a triangle!!

I didn't do so well in math that quarter...

Green Eggs and...

Well, I guess it's Green Eggs and Brown Eggs... From our back yard chickens!! Yesterday, Babs finally laid her first egg, and it was a pale turqoise colour! It was so exciting to finally have another of the girls finally start earning their keep. I performed a quality control test on the new green egg this morning, and it passed deliciously!

Two down, one to go... C'mon, Ginger!! LAY THAT EGG!!!

Picture of the Week

I'd heard about this on the news on Tuesday, when the flooding was so bad... but I hadn't actually seen a picture until today. Kinda makes me wonder what happened to Mr. Fish after he crossed the street... In case you're curious, he's crossing Skokomish Valley Road near Belfair. Belfair?? I hope Mason Lake didn't rise too far!

For a whole slideshow of pics from this past week of rain rain rain coming down down down,
click here!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat and Treat and Treat and Treat...

For our second Halloween in Fircrest, we bought slightly less candy than last year, because we still had some left over that time... But tonight, possibly due to the perfect weather, possibly because of the awesome decorations at our house, we were completely swamped!! Ran out of candy, went down to the daycare and started dipping into the snack stash... GONE AGAIN! Luckily, Cindy and the kids got home, and we took all the candy that Andy & Kaylee didn't love and put it in the bowl for the rest of the hood... By the end of the night, I think there were about 4 tootsie rolls, and a few of the nasty hard candy that somebody always seems to give out on Halloween, and NOBODY wants. Including Andy and Kaylee... So I guess for a while, we became that house... Anyway, the decorations were so much fun!! I always get a green pumpkin, and this year I had the inspiration to hook it to the smoke machine. So I present Video #1, The Smoking Green Pumpkin!

After seeing how cool the pumpkin was, I decided that some extra lighting would help accent the smoke... which it did!! Unfortunately, all I had handy was my crappy cameraphone, so it really wasn't possible to capture it as it actually looked... But we had friends saying they could see the lights dancing in our trees from half a mile away! Here's a clip of the whole front yard, with extra attention to the porch area! Happy Halloween!!

Next year we're definitely going to buy more candy... :)


Monday, October 23, 2006

Fitness Update, Week 1

So despite setbacks that suck, as of this morning's workout, I am 5.5 pounds lighter than I was as last Monday's morning workout. This is good, and I'm feeling pretty good about it! Actually, considering that we had that company party, a wedding Saturday night (buffet and REALLY GOOD CAKE!) and then KFC for dinner Sunday, a 5+ pound loss makes me feel really quite good about the whole thing! Oh, and just to prove my willpower survived the weekend, I managed to not eat a single cookie, chip or piece of incredibly good smelling apple pie at church last night... Go Me!

Target + Nintendo = SO COOL!

So I've already made it very clear that I love Nintendo. I am incredibly excited for the release of the Wii in a few weeks... And Target is one of my favorite places to shop.

Now these two have teamed up to bring the coolest gift card in the history of gift cards, the glowing Wii card!

I've never been that big on gift cards, but I want one (some?) of these!! Like, enough to get one each time I go to Target, just to pay for my stuff and keep the card!

Don't forget, gift-giving season is just around the corner!! =)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Setbacks Suck...

Okay, so today is Saturday... Day 6 of the new "Get In Shape" initiative. The week started out well, as you can see from the chart. By Wednesday I was down 3 pounds, and going strong! Yay Me!! Then life, as it just loves to do, got in the way. Monday and Tuesday, I actually went to the Y three times daily. That's my master plan - to exercise to the point that I simply can't NOT lose weight! Couple that with my commitment to Target Brand Ultra Weight Loss Shakes and Lean Pockets, and it seems bulletproof. But ahhhh, sweet lady life...

Allow me to set the stage. My 3-a-day workout plan is like this: Up at 5am for a cardio/weights routine. Another cardio program during lunch, around noon. Then after a SENSIBLE dinner (complete with portion control) another trip back to the Y, this time together with Cindy. She's discovered what I learned last spring, that Racquetball is one of the greatest games ever created!

So the first two days of the week went just like that. Smoove like butta, as they say on the streets. Then Wednesday comes. Work is crazy, I end up skipping my lunch break (aka workout #2). Can't play Racquetball that night either, because I have music rehearsal for Team #2 at church. This really hurts, because Cindy went out and bought us our own rackets and balls, and I really wanna play!!

Thursday, I drag myself out for the 5am workout, determined to get back on track. Again, Yay Me! But when I go to take my lunchtime Y time, they're having a blood drive, and I can't find anywhere to park within 5 blocks. Not that I'm not willing to walk 5 blocks, it's just that my office itself is only about 5 blocks away, and I've determined (scientifically!) that I don't have time to walk there, change, workout, change, and walk back in an hour. So after driving around and realizing it ain't gonna happen, I grudgingly go back to work, but to work off my frustration I did run up and down the stairs a few times... For those of you that have been to my new office, the ceilings are VERY tall, so each flight of stairs is much longer than any I've seen before.

Thursday night was rehearsal for Team #1 (my original team!) for church, so again, no racquetball. The new rackets are getting dusty! It's so sad!! As if to test my re:solve, Michael (Team #1 leader, see Mike and Tina, right) closed the rehearsal by offering to take us all to Dairy Queen for blizzards, his treat! Now, knowing that I hadn't gotten my daily allotment of exercise in, I had kept my calorie intake WAY down, so the little voice in my head immediately does the math and determines that yes, I should have a Blizzard. Plus, it's a team thing, and I don't want to be the annoying anti-team guy saying no to a free blizzard -- Oops, I mean to a team building experience! So we go. It's SOOOO good. Mmmmmm.... But tomorrow I really need to get all my workouts in!!

Friday morning, 5am: Not a chance.

Friday lunchtime: Yeah. Not my usual workout, but at least got some activity in...

Friday evening: It's our company's 10th anniversary, and they're having an open house to show off the new offices and celebrate the 10th. As the new (and first-ever) I.T. guy, I've got to be there, put faces to the names and voices and email addresses... And I know full well what the caterers are bringing. It's like a huge buffet of "Mike's Favorite Finger Foods"! Again, I REALLY behaved during the day, so I thought I had room, especially since Cindy and I were finally going to get to play R-ball that night! But ooooooh, those bacon wrapped shrimp were soooooo good... and so was the BBQ Pork... and the teriyaki beef skewers... and the cheesecake... (in my defense, the Canteloupe, Honeydew and Strawberries shared equal space on my plates...)

Then it was off to play! Uh-oh... The party ran late, and I missed that opportunity too. Ouch!!

So now it's Saturday... we're about to go FINALLY try out our new rackets, and all I've had so far today is a shake. Looking good, and DETERMINED to get back on track.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's My Time To Lose!

It's been a battle for most of my life, but earlier this year, I made some serious inroads toward controlling my weight. The determination came from many areas, including the great movie "Supersize Me", and the "Biggest Loser" reality show. At some point during that show's second season, it came to my attention that my weight had gotten up to 233, a point that was far enough above the already uncomfortable 200 milestone, that I decided I had to do something about it.

So back in Spring (probably around April) I got myself all fired up, and through an amazing fitness plan I like to call "Eat Less, Exercise More", I got myself down to 212 by the time school let out. Cindy and I went to Vegas, and for the first time in a really long time, I didn't feel 100% self-conscious at the pool!! (still a lot more self-conscious than I'd like, but it was a much more liberated experience)

However, after returning from Vegas, it was SO hard to get back on my routine. And with summer vacation, our schedules got busy, mealtimes became less standard, and little by little, I realized I wasn't going to hit the 210 goal that had been so close only a few weeks earlier. That bummed me out, but I still couldn't get motivated. Summer passed into fall, and I noticed that my clothes were getting snuggish again... Okay, time to do something drastic!

With a new job and a new church, I realized that one thing keeping me from really doing it, was the lack of accountability friends. But then when my friend Rob made the bold move to post his fitness progress on his blog, it struck me that THIS can be my accountability forum. Even if nobody reads this far, to me it's accountability. Just writing it down will help keep me on track. So today is the first day of the new push to get BELOW 200 pounds! I haven't been there since Andy was about 2 years old, so that makes it 11 years or so. Unacceptable!! I was at the gym at 5:00 this morning, and will go again during my lunch hour today. I'm hoping my resolve (which Cindy says "isn't even human") will kick in to help me avoid the butter cookies and chocolate pretzels in the break room at work... So far so good! I've even found a great online fitness tracker. For a snapshot of how I'm doing, click
here - obviously, the snapshot will be more meaningful as time goes on... but I'm sticking it out there! Making myself accountable via public records! And I'm excited for it!!

-the incredible shrinking mike

p.s. Hey, if anybody's still reading... I'd love to get into a "Biggest Loser" style weight loss competition where we all pay into a winner-takes-all pot... Any takers??

Sunday, October 15, 2006


If you look closely, in the hands of our beloved offspring you'll see a smallish, brownish, oval type object that appeared in our henhouse today!!

The fact that it's brown means that the prize for First Egg Laid goes to Marzipan, our Partridge Rock hen. Ironically, when we first got them, she seemed to be the slowest to develop, lagging behind the others in important milestones like tail feathers, and clucking... (as opposed to just peeping)

Anyway, yesterday when I was feeding them, I noticed that Marzipan had been up in the nesting area while Babs and Ginger were downstairs complaining about the lack of food, and the injustice of being locked up in their coop. Thought it was interesting, made a mental note to check there for eggs as well as the nesting boxes we thought they'd prefer. Good thing I did, because that's where I found the egg today!

After Kaylee carried it around for a while, I finally called for it to be put in the fridge... I mean, really.. I never thought I'd actually hear a real, live person say "I want the egg to watch the movie with us!" before... Wow.. She is definitely our animal lover!!

Watch this space to find out when Ginger and Babs quit slackin' around and finally make some eggs too! At this point, they're very efficient at turning Chicken Food into poop... and not much else!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Boo To You!


Finally, we have all four kids - EVEN TYLER - for the weekend, which means it's time to put up the Octoberween decorations! It's always so fun to pull them out, remember what we have, plan on where to put it all this year... and then reach higher and higher levels of frustration with the way the light strings are always too short, or too long, or have the wrong kind of plug to connect end-to-end...

Seriously - would it kill them to STANDARDIZE?? We finally got everything connected, but for the record, it's not to my original plan... Here's a low-quality, camera phone shot of the house - now we just need a bunch of trick-or-treaters to come eat all our candy!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Downside of Church in a Movie Theater

Cindy and I really love our new church, Discovery Community Church. There are many things we love about it, and certainly one of them is the fact that it meets in a Movie Theater on Sunday mornings. The idea seems far-fetched to many people, but think about it - one theater for the adult service, another for the teenagers, one for the school-age kids, one for babies, etc. And not only that, but there's a very good quality screen already mounted in each room - less equipment to buy!

However, there is one aspect of being "The Movie Theater Church" that while I love it (I love
things that make me laugh), I could see some people throwing their hands up, screaming, and running for a building with a steeple... And that is, the movies showing on the marquee in front of the building.

Over the last couple weeks, right next to our "Discovery Community Church"banner, has been "Now Showing: Jackass 2". I meant to get a picture of it, but I left my phone at home... Twice! (funny how having it beep during service ONE TIME can make you so leary of bringing it back again...)

Yesterday however, I was armed with the phone, and while Johnny Knoxville's gutterball sequel was no longer front-line material, it was replaced by something that did at least as good a job of illustrating the deep, wide chasm between the Church and the world.

And really, I think it helps maintain balance in the universe, that the building that shows "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" all week long has a much needed, deep-spiritual-cleaning every Sunday morning at 9:19 and 10:50.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Time Out For Fun!

It's hard for us to not see similarities between these guys and our own Andy and Tyler... In fact, my kids have done sing-alongs to this same song, and I wish I knew why I hadn't gotten the camcorder out!! Hmmmmm.... maybe next time....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Transformers - More Than Meets The Eye!

Ahh, my first cool new gadget since starting up with a construction company... The Caterpillar reps were in today, and gave CC (the boss man) this seemingly normal pen that's actually a pen AND a USB drive! Since he's more interested in the BIG things that CAT makes, he passed it on to me!
It's only 128MB, so it won't be my new music storage device, but it's enough to hold several documents, some photos, etc...
So how does it work? Check the extremely low-quality video! =)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Visit From Aunt Maggie! (and uncle clark too...)

We had a very special surprise today, when Cindy's aunt and uncle* from Wisconsin (motto: Behold The Power Of Cheese!) made an impromptu visit to Western Washington. We had to drive down to Chehalis to see them, but it was a great visit! For me, it was the first time meeting them, and they were every bit as wonderful as Cindy has told me over the years. Maggie met me with open arms, saying "I've been loving you from a long ways away!" to which I replied that I'd been loving her right back... Clark* used to sing in the "Gospel Way Quartet", and there was a bit of a reunion going on at a friend's church down in Chehalis. So they flew in today, practiced this afternoon, had dinner with us (thanks, Clark* - the 32oz T-Bone and chocolate cream pie were phenomenal!), then the show tomorrow, and an early Monday flight back... We miss them already, and it's only been a little over an hour since we parted.

Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll buy a little dairy farm out in their neck of the woods and be neighbors! (hey, it could happen!)

Have a safe journey home guys, we love you!!

* Clark left Wisconsin without packing any underwear. Although he denied rumours regarding Huggies Pull-Ups, he seemed to crinkle when he walked...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

aahhh... life is back to normal

Well Tyler is home from the hospital and feeling his old self again. What a week!
our family enjoyed a normal Saturday today with Kaylee's soccer game, (they lost 4 - 0... we were just happy Kaylee doesn't have any permanent scars - the other team was very aggressive. I actually gave "crazy soccer Mom" advice: "hit her with your elbow Kaylee, fight for that ball!!")Mike mowed the lawn and we had fun watching our chickens scratch for bugs in the lawn.

In the aftermath of the week, I find myself with a cold that is really kicking me when I'm down... But seeing as I spend 6 hours a day with 12 kids at back to school time, it's pretty standard for September. At least it waited until the weekend to hit!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why Yes, Those Eyes ARE Open!

Houston, we have healing!! Tyler is feeling WAY better, the swelling is almost completely gone, and unless he had a big fever spike or something similar overnight, he should be released from the Hospital today!!

All of us are so thankful for all the prayers and support. We're hoping we never have to go through anything like this again, but if we do, it's great to know we have such great support from friends and family!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tyler - back to gaming

Just talked with Tyler's Mom. He is feeling good this morning and had already asked her to hook up the video games by 9:30. He slept thru the night- thanks to the Benadryl. He is still reacting to the new medication but is looking better today so they must be working! They are going to put in a permanent IV today ( goes up thru his arm and into the chest), and we are expecting the results back from the culture they took from his eye and sinuses yesterday and Monday.

His spirits keep rising and he continues to beat us all at every video game we play. I was reminded a few times yesterday, just exactly who the "patient" is. No parent complaining allowed, he just is not interested in hearing how uncomfortable our chairs are! funny boy.

Any way thanks for the prayers and if anyone is in the Seattle area he would love some company -

Now THAT'S Sweet!

Last night I took Ellysa and Kaylee up to see Tyler. Kaylee in particular, was practically jumping out of her skin to go see him. (She's the primary worrier in the family, and really needed to see that he was okay.)

Unfortunately, about an hour before we left for the hospital, Tyler started having an allergic reaction to the new antibiotic, and the doctors counter-attacked with a healthy dose of Benadryl, which proceeded to knock Tyler out cold.

He was able to mumble in our general direction, and Kaylee was happy to be able to give him a hug. She's also looking forward to skipping school on Thursday and spending the day playing with him, assuming that he's not on Benadryl anymore...

No real news this morning, just a very sweet picture.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tyler, Day 2

So there are some nasty bacteria out there... Or, in Tyler's case, there are some nasty bacteria IN there. After 24 hours of intravenous antibacterial treatment, he had pretty close to zero change. The daytime doctor was much more alarmed than last night's doctor was, likely because of the time that had passed. He called in an infectious disease specialist, who suspects that it's a highly resistant strain known as MRSA. Since the test for MRSA takes two days for enough culture to grow to be identified, they began treating for it today. He still has the same Ampicillin drip as he had yesterday, but it's now being joined by a more advanced, more aggressive bacteria killer.

In the past few hours since that change was made, Cindy said that he can open his eye a bit more than he could last night, which is definitely a step in the right direction. However, with this turn of events he won't be coming home tomorrow. The earliest release date will be Friday, and of course, that depends on how Tyler responds to the treatment.

I'm heading up to the hospital again tonight, so I'll have any new news later tonight. Thanks for the continued prayer, we're really humbled by the tremendous outpouring of support.

Talk to ya soon....


Monday, September 18, 2006

Tyler Update 2

Nope, he's not winking... Tyler's right eye is swollen completely shut. We got to spend a few hours with him, which was great. That also meant we got to meet with the doctor and nurse in charge of his care, and they both gave a great impression.
As far as his condition, they skipped X-Rays and went right to a CAT Scan. It revealed the problem, a sinus infection that crossed through the thin bone that seperates the nose sinus part from the eye sinus part, and just started pussing it up around and behind his eyeball. Thanks we're sure, to all of your prayers, there is NOT a large puss deposit behind the eyeball, pressing on the optic nerve. If that were the case, they would have to operate to drain it off.
He's on an IV antibiotic, and Mr. Dr. said that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Obviously, we're hoping, praying and believing for it to skip worse, and go straight to better. But it's a slow process, they're keeping him at least until Wednesday. It's very strange to have him up there, seemingly fine other than a swollen eye and a fever... It's kinda surreal how it's all going down.
So the plan for Tuesday is that Cindy is going to go up and relieve Tyler's mom so she can go home, take a shower, get clean clothes, etc... She'll spend most of the day up there with him, and then in the evening we'll take Andy and the girls up to have dinner and visit.
Thanks for your prayers, we would like to ask that you keep us in your prayers a little longer, going for the quick recovery here.
From all of us, God bless, and thanks!
-mike 'n' cindy

Tyler Update

I called Swedish and spoke with Tyler's nurse. She said he's having X-Rays taken, lots of blood work, and that they've started an I.V. for antibiotics. She couldn't, or wouldn't, or didn't say much else, but it sounds like they're treating it as a serious problem. Cindy and I are planning on going up there tonight, as this not knowing anything stuff is even less fun than standing in a hospital room.

Please Pray for Tyler

Unfortunately, Tyler's not feeling like an All-Star today. Cindy and I went and saw his Soccer game on Saturday, and it was clear that he wasn't feeling well. He was very lethargic and quiet, which anybody who knows Tyler will tell you, is NOT normal. He was also complaining that his eye hurt.

I talked to his mom yesterday, and she said that he was on Motrin, feeling somewhat better, but that his eye was kinda swollen.

Today I got a call from her, and he's not doing well at all. His eyes are swollen shut, he's got a fever, and doesn't want to move at all. After a long visit with Tyler's doctor, he was referred to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. Apparantly, the pediatrician couldn't conclusively diagnose whatever's going on with him, and rather than risk a mis-diagnosis, she wanted the team at Swedish to take over.

Unfortunately, that's the last I heard, because of the whole "No Cell Phones In The Hospital" thing. Ty's mom promised that she'd call with updates as soon as she hears anything, and I'll post updates here as they come in.

Right now, all we can do is pray for healing, and for the doctors caring for him to have great wisdom and knowledge to help that healing along.

Thanks for your prayers and support!

-mike 'n' cindy

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sock In Croc, or No Crocs on Socks?

The question has been posed, Is it okay to wear socks with Crocks?

Both Femme Fashionistas who have answered that question say YES! Or at the very least, "Why Not?"

But obviously, a real answer is needed. So in the spirit of helping out humanity, Cindy and I hit Nordstrom today to get enough Crocs to perform a scientific study. The results?

As you can see in the above picture, Crocs are very versatile! Both the classic, summer-friendly Cayman style, and the new Islander at the top of the picture are perfectly acceptable with or without socks.

It has been our sheer (shopping) pleasure to provide this service to all mankind. Arm yourself with this knowledge, and Do What Feels Right!*

* This means you, Rob!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, Kaylee! Have a Win!

Not only her age, but her score in Racquetball... She celebrated turning 10 by (among other things) beating me at my own game! The only handicap I gave her is that she was allowed two bounces before hitting the ball, as opposed to the one bounce I get. And with that handicap, we are very well matched!
Of course, she was so confident after her victory that she wanted to try a single-bounce game, so I got a chance to remind her that "finally being 10" is also "only being 10"... =)
Love you, Kaylee! You're awesome, and I'm afraid of your R-Ball skillz when you get a little older!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Kaylee turns 10!

ten years ago today my beautiful kaylee was born. we celebrated her first double digit birthday by having brunch at the space needle, just us girls. we had a blast, ate way too much food, took advantage of the "orbitor" (the space needles exclusive dessert made up of Ice Cream, sparklers and dry ice that causes fog to rise and cover the entire table). we took rides on the carousel horses and Ferris wheel and we were entertained by the ballonist who by the end of our visit had spoiled kaylee with a hat, two arm flower bracelets and a monkey. the view was incredible, as you can see in the picture, a clear fall day. a day i hope she will remember and cherish always. i know i will!

Brace Yourself For The MetalMouth!!

Andy finally took the next bold step in Orthodontia, and got his braces on today! He considers them his "Back to School" present (??) and at this point his only wish is that the expander had come out... In six weeks, that request will be granted. Til then, he's bracing and expanding simultaneously.

It might just be the advil talking, but he's even saying it doesn't hurt too bad... We'll see how it is in the morning, when his mouth fully realizes what's been done to it. Best ortho-quote so far? When asked how he felt about getting braces, he replied, "Well, it's gonna make it a lot easier to get a girlfriend someday!"
Yeah. Go Andy Go. We Love ya!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

wii will rock you - this Thanksgiving!

wii! I've been waiting for over a year for this. Nintendo Finally Announced the date and price for the wii! Even better, it was a webmaster at the Seattle PI who spilled the beans about 12 hours before the news was supposed to break.

Bottom line: The wii will drop November 19 for $250. That's exactly half the price of the low-end playstation 3. And I'm a complete believer that the wii is more than twice the console that the ps3 is going to be. There was really good press in the News Tribune for it yesterday, and nearly everyone who's come into contact with this marvelous device has had equally glowing things to say.

So... $250 is the very top end of the price range that all the wii watchers have been hearing about. I would have preferred $200 even. With the virtual console, they'll make their money back very easily anyway. (allows you to download the last 20 years of nintendo, sega and turbo-grafx games!) The article states that it will ship with "wii Sports", which includes baseball, golf and tennis. However, it also supposedly only comes with one controller, which will likely push the out-of-the-store total up over 300 just for something that even two people can compete on.

Hopefully at tomorrow's Nintendo Press Conference in New York, they'll announce that the P-I got it all wrong, and sell it for $199. Hopefully. I'm not holding my breath though...

I Really DO Do Other Things!!

Rob, Amy And The Bunnies

So there's a contest going on at a friend's blog right now.. First one they've had since I ment them! And so far I'm doing pretty good at it... Good enough that I'm feeling somewhat guilty about it - and I haven't even cheated!!

It works like this: Rob posts a question/clue every night at 9pm, as well as a random splattering of clues throughout the day. I'd just like to say that I DO NOT spend all day refreshing their blog waiting for the clue.. I stop by maybe three times - once in the morning, once again late afternoon, and then I try to stop by around 9 to get the main clue of the day. Problem is, my random times seem to coincide - almost uncomfortably - with Rob's posting times. It's not enough to make me stop yet, but I don't want people to form a posse to take me out or anything.. Maybe tomorrow I'll only check in twice.

But PLEASE, Rob! NO MORE MUSIC TRIVIA QUESTIONS!!! I just can't resist them!!


p.s. Traci saw me playing racquetball tonight, which is PROOF that I'm not just lurking around the web haunting friends' blogs... =)


Sunday, September 10, 2006


Twice before, I've held Devo concert tickets in my hands, and twice before, the show was cancelled, leaving a gaping hole in my musical existence. To add insult to injury, one of the times a show was cancelled, they rescheduled a few months later, at a 21+ venue, but I was only 18 or 19 at the time. Never had I longed for a Fake I.D. other than that time...

So, having established that I'm a long time Devo fan, and had yet to see them in concert, you can imagine my excitement - even giddyness - at music rehearsal for church a few weeks ago, when Randy (our bass player) showed me his Devo tickets for their September 9th show in Seattle... He said he was going with Matt (our wicked-awesome lead guitarist), and it was general admission standing room only seating, and that if I wanted to get a ticket, I'd be welcomed to join them. Needless to say, I happily paid the seemingly ridiculous ticket price, including the roughly $18 ticketmaster service charges, and anxiously awaited showtime.

It's been 33 years since the first-ever Devo performance, and the guys have to be well into their 50s. Weight has been gained, hair has grayed and receeded, and the band is on its third drummer. But W-O-W do they still put on an AMAZING SHOW!!!

We were probably about 20-25 feet from the stage, and saw all the gory details of aging before our eyes. And yet, in their portly (and in the case of Bob Casale - aka Bob 2 - downright FAT) condition, they rocked. Hard. Mark Mothersbaugh ran around the stage, even using Pom Poms to accent the rhythms of the songs... He threw out 10 or so Energy Domes (the "flower pot hats") into the crowd - one landed a few feet behind us, and nearly induced a brawl/riot. All in all, the crowd remained peaceful, and the show was one of, if not THE most impressive concerts I've ever seen. The three of us agreed that the next time (pray for a next time!) they come to town, we're going again.

The surprise of the night was the opening act, The Punk Group. When we saw the sign at the Paramount, pictured above, we thought they were specifying that the Devo we were seeing was "Devo, The Punk Group". We were all VERY disgusted that someone would call Devo a punk group, and were relieved to find that it was actually the opening act. They were a very pleasant surprise! Totally punk!! Not punk as in burning down buildings and screaming for anarchy, but punk as in low budget, do-it-yourself, simple rock'n'roll. Two guys on stage, one on guitar, one on bass... Both playing entry-level Squire instruments... The guitar had the two high strings removed... They played to programmed drum and keyboard backing tracks, and were absolutely brilliant!! With simple lyrics like "Fat Girls On Bicycles, Trying To Lose Some Weight" and completely singable melodies, they won us over! By the time we went back out to buy their CD, it was sold out. Luckily we found 'em on the web...

Bottom line, Amazing Show. There is SO much more to Devo than "Whip It", which is sadly what most people think of. If you ever get the chance, I can't recommend it strongly enough! Oh, and if your kids look at you like you're crazy for loving Devo, the band has set up Devo 2.0 to hook in the young'uns.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Soccer Season is ON!

Kaylee had her first soccer game of the year today! The girls played hard, and as far as we can tell, they came away with a 5-5 tie. Some might say we lost, but I'd tell them they don't count very well... We're looking forward to a great season of the Fircrest Lightning striking all opponents down!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Snake Eats Ewe, Can't Slither On Home...

So other than the obvious "Ewwwwwwww" that this picture inspires, I continue to be amazed by what big snakes are able to eat... We all remember the snake vs. aligator showdown last year, and I've gotten other pics of a snake eating a kangaroo...
This one helped itself to a pregnant ewe - that's "Female Sheep" for you non-zoologists - and after eating it, was so weighed down and/or overstuffed, that it couldn't move, which made it easy for the local firefighters to capture it. Not sure what they did with it after catching it though... Also not sure if the given weight of 198.5 pounds includes the pregnant ewe or not. This all took place in Kampung Jabor, Malaysia.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Move Over, Apple!

Big Ol' Monitor!
Sorry Apple, your announcment today of a 24" LCD has been trumped by HP, and their 30" monstrosity! Home Theatre, meet the Home Computer!
HP 30 Inch LCD (via Gizmodo)

As Sand Through The Hourglass...


I know I just posted about how great the kids' first day of school was, but that was THEIR day.

MY day was a bit different...

5:53am - Alarm Goes Off

6:00ish-am - I'm up and in the shower. Ahhhhh... Nice....

6:20am - Ironing clothes for the new job. I'm ironing. And re-ironing. I really hate ironing. It's never-ending. Everything's smooth, and then - d'oh! MORE WRINKLES!! Okay, maybe that pair of pants just didn't want to be worn today. I'll go for the black ones. Yeah, they're cooperating better.

6:35am - Dressed! Brushing teeth... Viva La Sonicaire!!

6:40am - Mike is dressed, pressed, brushed, flossed, and looking & feeling great! (the crowd goes wild)

6:42am - Upstairs, packing the lunch. GOT to get back on the ol' weight loss program... So a Slim Fast, a Lean Pocket, a Banana and a Pluot. (my favorite fruit!) Best part: Really quick 'n' easy packing!!

7:02am - Ellysa and I are in the truck, heading for school!

7:08am - Why are we going so slow? It's like we're not moving at all... Well, I guess we're moving maybe one car-length per minute...

7:15am - Really. I thought we'd be at school by now. It starts at 7:30, and I need to get her there early enough to go get her colour-coordinated schedule from the lunchroom!!

7:27am - OK. We're here. Tomorrow I WILL find an alternate route. Now I'm gonna be crunched to get to work on time!!

7:58am - Suffice it to say, the drive from school to work was not smooth as butta. But at least I'm not late on day 2 of the job.

Worked straight through lunch, so much to do right now! 5:00 snuck up on me, but I was glad to see it. Got home and made dinner for the family, played Racquetball with Kaylee (she got 12 points on a 21 point game!) and came back home so she could do her homework.

Which brings me to now. 9:27pm. Tired. Very tired. Heading over to to see if the contest clue is posted... Then it's off to bed!

School: Day One, In The Books!

Well, they did it! Kaylee & Ellysa had their first day of 4th & 8th grades, respectively...

Kaylee was no question, we knew she'd do great. After all, she's been with the same group of kids since Kindergarten, and has a teacher that Ellysa had a few years ago. Needless to say, she loved it and can't wait to go back tomorrow. She even willingly did her homework! *gasp*

Ellysa was a bit more of a question... After two increasingly rough years at Hunt (our "official" middle school) we transferred her to Curtis Jr. High in the U.P. School District. I was confident that she'd find several long-lost friends, or at least acquaintances there from elementary school, but she wasn't so sure.. neither was Cindy... (she just admitted that she cried as I drove off with her baby...) But her report upon being picked up was that it was AWESOME! She had a list of people she'd forgotten about that she's getting to know again... Very big relief for me - having been so confident that it would go that way, I was a little nervous for a negative aftermath - but no problem!!

Tyler actually started on Tuesday - Kent schools just HAVE to be different, apparantly. I called him last night to see how it went, and his instant response was that it was great! This was very good - he'd had the same teacher for both 1st and 2nd grade, so 3rd was his first new teacher in a while... But he said she's really nice... I asked if she was a mean witch with warts on her nose who eats kids, and he said "No. Dad. If that was the case, I would have noticed it at orientation and asked to be transferred." Good to see that he's largely immune to the unrelenting sarcasm of his parents.

Andy's still got a week to go before he starts at Internet Academy. He's feeling a bit displaced as everyone else was going off to school, and is really really REALLY looking forward to his school starting. (and in completely unrelated news, Cindy is also really, really, REALLY looking forward to Andy's school starting back up...) :)

So the first day is a wrap, it's all smooth sailing from here... Next Stop: Christmas Vacation!! (yeah right... like kids can go that long without a day off???)


Friday, September 01, 2006

What Happen!

Yep, too much time on my hands has led to a drastic change to! It's all good, really! You can still check your email by using the link on the right - and since that was the only reason to hit the site until today, that should take care of everything!

So before (or after - your call!) you check your email, get all the up-to-date info on what we're all up to... Have Fun!!



Labor Day weekend is here at last! Sad in that Summer is coming to an end, but as parents, we can't help but be downright giddy about school starting back up!!

I know that Cindy is even more excited, because for her, Summer equals full-day daycare, and by the middle of August, it gets harder and harder to keep finding joy in a housefull of other people's kids... But she's made it through like a champion and now the finish line is so close she can taste it!

Shocking as it is, we start this school year with Andy & Ellysa going into 8th grade, Kaylee in 4th, and Tyler starting 3rd. They're all excited, and I'm sure there will be lots to tell about as September unfolds. Stay Tuned!!


Last Day On The Labor Clock!!

I've been off all week, but have been technically "on call"... The phone's been very quiet, only ringing once, for an issue that I knew would need my attention. So all in all, for the last week on the payroll, it's felt a lot like vacation - in fact, it's felt exactly like vacation, only better! Better, because this time I know I won't be returning next week to a pile of catch-up work. And really, that's always been the downside of taking a week off.

Now, I just need to prepare for the new job at CC Edwards Construction Company - I have very little idea of what I'm stepping into, but it's a very exciting prospect to go back to being the "catch all" IT guy. Tuesday @ 8am promises to be the start of something big!!