Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu? Let's Hope Not

I was a little concerned when I found that Anna was staying home from school Monday with a fever, sore throat, and cough. As much as she complains about school, she hasn't missed a day so far this year, so I knew if she was staying home she really needed to.

She seemed to be doing better on Tuesday, and talked about going to school when she woke up. But apparently the effort of taking a shower convinced her that she could use another day to convalesce. Hooray, and 'whew' she was feeling well enough to go to school today.

Alyssa, on the other hand, stayed home. Sore throat, upset tummy. And Kara was feeling about the same. Yikes!

Meanwhile, I'm still in the office working hard. The first two days I had to improvise a bit, because IT was trying to figure out how to get rid of a nasty virus. Today was spent rebuilding my system, because wiping it clean was the ultimate answer.

Now I have two and a half days to get a week's worth of work done, and I might - might - be flying to San Diego on Friday to work directly with a printer that's giving us some grief. I won't find out until tomorrow. Talk about last minute.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Trip So Far

I'm three days into my trip now, and it has been great. Friday and Saturday I was at the LDStorymakers conference in Provo, and it was a lot of fun. I met a bunch of new friends, connected with people I knew only from the internet, and caught up with friends from last years conference. I will post pictures and more details on my writing blog throughout the week, so if you're interested, click on over to see.

In a nutshell:
  • I was convinced to finally get over myself and admit that the novel I have written is a romance. I'm a romance writer. (There - I said it.)
  • I pitched my novel to an editor at Covenant Communications, and he asked me to send him the full manuscript to read. This is promising, although it could still come to nothing. I need to knock off a few rough edges and apply some of the things I learned at the conference, and then I will submit it.
  • There was a first chapter contest at the conference, and I had two entries. My full novel (which I now admit is a romance) didn't win. But a Science Fiction story I started a few months ago won first place in its category. I got great feedback on both entries, which made it worth the time and effort to enter.
  • I bought, won, or was given 11 new books. I may need to ship a box home before I go.
Since the company I work for is here in Utah, I'm going to stay for a week and work in the office. I have a couple of projects that will benefit from my being in the same place as the device I'm writing the driver for, and I think it will be good to work with people face to face. And I managed to get a virus on my computer, which I can't get rid of, so I may need to have the IT guys wipe it and start me over. :-(

I stayed with my dad during the conference, and had a good time visiting with him. I'll stay at my mom's the rest of the time. My sisters and their families will be coming for dinner tonight, and I'm looking forward to seeing them.

But despite the fun I am having, I miss my wife and kids. I can't wait to get home.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Regret It Already

I shaved off the beardlet this morning. I regretted the decision 1.3 seconds after my lip was cleared.

Fortunately, it should only take a couple of weeks to grow back as good as new. And if I let it grow back, I won't have to change my Mii.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Cure for Snagletooth

We've known it was coming - there was no way around it. But now the ball is rolling, and within the month, Alyssa will have braces. We met with the orthodontist who did a full evaluation. The braces will cost more that the Blue Book value of our two cars - combined. But insurance will pay a third of that.

Gee, thanks.

Alyssa has been asking for braces for the last couple of months. We'll see how well she likes them the first time the dentist tightens those suckers down.

On a side note, the little joke in our family is that we can't seem to go anywhere without someone saying "Hi" to Alyssa. With all the teachers, classmates, therapists, and assistants at school, it seems the kid knows half the town.

Sure enough, as we walked into the orthodontists office today the girl behind the counter said, "Well hi, Miss Alyssa." And Alyssa hid, which is what she does when she sees someone she knows. It turns out this gal was a substitute aid in Alyssa's Functional Academics class a few weeks back.

Small world.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Delusion vs Reality

This weekend, I'm going to trade my delusion in for a healthy dose of reality. Maybe.

As I've mentioned before, my hobby for the last few years has been writing. I've recently finished the last of several drafts of my 80,000 word novel. This writing bit has been the height of my delusion. But this Friday, that delusion meets reality as I have an appointment to pitch the book to the editor of a publishing house. What will happen? I have no idea.

I still don't know if I'll be wearing my beardlet then or not.

I've gotten some good feedback from some readers. Others took the manuscript but never gave me any feedback, which I'm assuming means they didn't like it and don't want to hurt my feelings. Which really hurts my feelings. (jk)

I also have a couple of entries in a First Chapter contest, being held by the same writers conference that set up the pitch sessions. I may win big, proving that I'm an awesome writer after all.

Or I may just lose a bit of delusion.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beardlet: The Vote

OK, guys. I need your opinion. I'm trying to decide what to do with my face. You see, recently I've added a little beardlet to the collection, like a mustache for my bottom lip.

Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don't. I can be wishy-washy that way.

It's not itchy or hot like the full beard I tried last year, and I've gotten at least one compliment on it. It kind of gives me an artistic flair, just the kind of eccentricity required of a budding author.

But I can't decide if I want to keep it or not. So I'm turning to my faithful blog readers to offer up your non-binding votes. What do you think? Does the beardlet stay, or does it go?

Please note that the mustache is not part of the vote. In the last twenty years, the amount of time I've been without it can be measured in days (not counting the last few months of my mission). It's a permanent fixture.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Easter Adventure

Easter at the Carey house started out with a big, noisy thunderstorm in the middle of the night. I'm pretty sure it went right over our house - it was loud.

I believe it was all this noise that prompted Alyssa to get up at 3:30, ready to go hunt her eggs. Anna awoke and noticed Alyssa was not in bed, and all of the lights were on in the house. Fortunately, Anna was able to get Alyssa back to bed without involving Kara and I. Thanks, Anna!

It was 6:50 when Alyssa finally made her way through our bedroom door, and when Anna got out of the shower at 7:00, the egg hunt commenced.

The Easter Bunny had a bit of a challenge filling the plastic eggs with candy at our house, as food colors have long been forbidden and Anna has recently been breaking out in a rash from chocolate. This rather limited our options.

I found some jelly beans and gum drops at Whole Foods that were colored with fruit juice, and also found some yogurt malt balls, which were a big hit.

Alyssa actually eats boiled eggs. Anna, not so much.

Once the egg hunt was done, Alyssa promptly fell asleep on the couch. That's her specialty lately - wake everyone up, then go back to sleep.

Last night we had the opportunity to Skype the cousins in Utah. That was a lot of fun. It's great to have the technology available to keep in touch that way. We spent nearly an hour talking to everyone and getting caught up.

Then last night, Alyssa woke us up coughing. It took a over an hour to finally get her quieted down, and not before she coughed enough to throw up a couple of times. So yeah, my sleep level is not particularly good at the moment.

Perhaps I should prop myself up with some of the chocolate that didn't make it into the plastic eggs. Hmmmm....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kitty Mystery Solved

If I had a searcher's license, it would be revoked for poor performance.

Jezey had moved her kitties into a cabinet in the corner of the garage. I looked in there. Really, I did. But not very well. I figured it was too small of a space for four active kittens to hide. And mama cat wasn't in there at the time.

She was in the box, acting like she was looking for her babies.

Silly cat.

Calico Kitty Mystery

The cats are gone. I don't exactly know how it happened.

They were in the box this morning. Anna went out to see them before school. She believes the garage door was down.

Before Kara left for work, she told me that the garage door was down and I should probably open it before too long because Jezebel would need to go out and use the bathroom.

So about a half hour ago, I went to open the garage door. Jezey was standing by the laundry room door, acting very anxious. I assumed it meant she had to go, so I reached over and hit the opener button, raising the door a foot or so. She ran out, but stopped just outside the garage door, looked back and me and meowed loud and long.

"What is it?" I asked. Then I thought to look in the box - it was empty. I opened the garage door the rest of the way and followed Jezey, but she didn't go anywhere - just mewed loudly and paced around. I checked all of the obvious spots where she could have hidden the kittens in the garage, but came up empty. And I couldn't hear anything, either. The kittens were pretty loud, so I expected they would give themselves away. But nothing.

Mama kitty kept jumping in and out of the box, acting like she was looking for her babies. But of course I didn't have them.

I came back inside for a few minutes - I'm still supposed to be working, after all, and now Jezey is gone, too. Hopefully she's found the kittens and is taking care of them. But it's all just too wierd.

The question that needs to be answered is this: Was the garage door really down this morning? I didn't notice before I put it up so she could get out. Anna was pretty sure, but there was a touch of doubt when I called her at school. I'm still waiting to hear back from Kara, and see if she double checked the door before she left for Dallas.

If the door was in fact up, then mama moved them - there's no other explaination.

But if the door was down, we have a true mystery on our hands.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Calico Kitty Project - Week 1

The Calico Kitty project has been underway for a full week now, and everything is going as expected.

Mama kitty - aka Jezebel, aka "Tuckie's Friend" - is doing a great job at being a mother. She's always in the box with the kittens, except on the rare potty break.

Tucker, meanwhile, is a sad caricature of sit-com style fatherhood. He comes into the garage once or twice a day to eat, and is absent the rest of the time. He seems scared of the babies, like he's going to be asked to change a diaper or something. The first time he looked into the box and saw the kittens, he did a double take and then ran out of the garage.

The babies are growing big, and are extremely vocal when taken out of the box. One is just now starting to open her eyes.

Anyway, it's hard taking pictures of tiny, squirming, mostly black animals. But you get the basic idea.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Cold North Wind...

... is good for something.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baby Cats

Well, it's finally happened. The little black girl cat who shacked up with Tucker is officially a mama kitty now. This afternoon she had 4 little kittens - one black and three calicoes, although one calico is mostly black.

Just what we're going to do with the six cat's living in our garage is still to be determined, but we certainly won't be keeping them all.

Anybody want a cute little kitty?