Tuesday, August 30, 2005


We have released this website to a few more select friends and family members. We would like to welcome you to our site!! We hope you like what you see!!

Feel free to click on the comments link at the bottom of each post and leave comments for us!!

Again, welcome and it's nice to have you here!!

Our Menagerie

According to dictionary.com a menagerie is a diverse or miscellaneous group. I would definitely classify our house as that right now. Last night, our menagerie continued to grow. Last week when I got home there was a business card in our door. The cell phone number was circled and all that was written on the back of the card was Please Call.

The first thing that ran through my mind was that this person had hit one of our animals. So... I started a head count. Jack - check, Sadie - check, Mouse - check... no Squeak. So I called and called, and still no Squeak. Just for good measure I went inside, Lex - check, Sylvester - check, Pixie - check. So back outside I went. I looked out into the pasture and it appeared as if all of the cows were contained, beyond the fact that I figured if they had hit one of them, there would probably be more tell-tale signs on the road not to mention someone would have called either Mom & Dad or us to tell us they were out.

FINALLY, after about 20 minutes of yelling for her and pacing around outside Squeak showed up. Okay, so I had all of our animals, now what? I called my mom, who knows this person, and the only thing she could think of is that maybe he wanted to rent some pasture. When he finally called back he informed me that was exactly what he wanted to do. Apparently he has some brude mares that he is weaning and it is easier to get them out of sight, out of mind to wean them rather than put them in a different lot from their babies and take the chance that they will get hurt trying to break through the fence.

Well, since our pasture was going unused, and since we are always up for a little extra money we agreed. Last night when we arrived home we had a few extra bodies to greet us. This now brings our total to:

7 horses

5 cows

5 cats

2 dogs

and 4 fish (of which I'm sorry to say I do not have pictures of)

Monday, August 29, 2005


Because I was asked....

The movies we watched this weekend were:

The Ring Two: This is a good movie, however if you have not seen the Ring you will not get it. It is not one of those sequels where you can just jump right in. Also, if you watched the Ring a few months ago (or in our case maybe a year or more) I would recommend re-watching it before you watch the second one. We spent the first 20-30 minutes trying to remember what they were referring to from the first movie.

The Wedding Date: Very cute chick flick. Relatively predictable, but a good movie none the less. I watched this on Saturday morning while Jake was at work. When I told him that I was taking it back on Saturday afternoon he was not overly depressed that he missed out on it.

Million Dollar Baby: Good movie, very interesting and I don't like boxing. However, the last 20 minutes were absolute torture! The ending drags ON AND ON AND ON!! Had they ended the movie 20 minutes sooner I would have liked it much better. If I told you why it drags then I would ruin it for you... so you'll have to just decide whether to risk watching it or not! :-)

Ladder 49: Love the movie, hate the ending. However, whenever anyone told me about this movie they kept telling me that it was a really great movie but it had a very sad ending so I can't say I wasn't warned. However, if you have never seen the movie, you will figure out relatively quickly how it ends knowing this bit of information. It was still a really good movie even with being able to guess the ending.

We still have Hostage and Coach Carter at home to watch so I will have to let you know about those at a later date.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The divine intervention that allowed us NOT to burn our garage down in the last year!

Apparently Sylvester is not the only one who doesn't fully grasp the concept of the kitty fountain.

Bryce seemed fully content in his interpretation of what the fountain was there for.... a new toy for him to splash in.

These pictures were taken last Sunday when Matt came over to re-wire our garage. Sometime last year it was brought to our attention that maybe plugging a three way, into a three way may not be the safest usage of the ONE plug in we had in our garage. Not to mention the fact that plugging all of this into one plug in made it too heavy to actually stay plugged in. Our solution? Tape the sucker to the wall. Yes, you read that right, rather than take the hint that maybe we should not plug so many things into one plug in we decided to just use blue painters tape and tape them securely into the outlet!! No, our garage did not burn down, by what miracle, we are not yet sure.

So, back in April when I did their taxes we agreed that instead of paying me we would swap labor. His labor for my labor. Four months later, the garage is WONDERFULLY wired, and we even have a few extra light fixtures. It only took me holding one white long-sleeved shirt that Matt has had since highschool for ransom to get the job done! (HeHe!!)

As for what we did with our time this weekend... absolutely nothing! It was actually quite nice and really relaxing. On Friday we rented 6 movies and settled in for a weekend of doing lots and lots of nothing. Amazingly enough, it actually worked and both Jake and I took naps on Saturday and slept in today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Well... all of my cleaning must have paid off. (Okay... so it probably wasn't the cleaning...) The appraisal came back high enough that we will be able to pretty much wrap all of our credit cards and personal loans up into our mortgage. And... the best part is we will save at least $500 per month in payments!!

The last appraisal we had was in December and between that appraisal and this one the price jumped $45,000. Am I the only one that thinks that is quite an increase? So, for anyone else who is thinking about refinancing... here are a few things we wish we would have known the first time around...

1) DO NOT re-finance within the first year of owning your home if you want to get a new appraisal. Within the first 12 months they have to base the appraisal on what you bought it for plus improvements so if you bought it for under market value and are hoping to increase the price and get rid of PMI or pay off some debts, wait.

2) Cashing out your mortgage (i.e. getting cash back) usually gives you a higher interest rate than just a regular refinance. Make sure you factor that into your decision.

3) Dress provocatively when meeting with loan officers (opposite sex) and appraisers (also opposite sex)

4) Leave some extra $100 lying around the house when the appraiser is walking through. Look casually at the money and say... "Hmm I wonder if that will increase the value of our house... excuse me... I must go check on something in the other room."

5) Don't be afraid to throw yourself on the floor kicking and screaming if things aren't going your way. This is especially useful if you are meeting with the loan officer in the bank. Don't try this while on the phone, it looses it's effectiveness if the other party is unable to actually SEE you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Scavenger Hunt

On Saturday Jake and I attended a couples night hosted by our friends Jess and Shane. The main game for the evening was a scavenger hunt. This consisted of guys against girls, nine items to find/do and photograph plus one dare. Unfortunately, we lost. Now I know this is no excuse, but we did have one item (find 5 ISU license plates) that took us 45 minutes to do. The guys had one hard item also (find a guy in a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and wearing a belt buckle) but it was Iowa State Fair time, so it didn't take them NEARLY as long as it should have!!

Now I do have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical about this game to begin with, but it turned out to be A LOT of fun!! I am going to post the pictures of what the girls had to do. I do not have the pictures from the guys, but if Jess will be so kind as to e-mail them to me, I will post them later.

Our first three items found us wildly running through Wal-mart. First up, sing "Oh I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener" while holding a package of hotdogs in the meat section.

Next, we had to buy a carton of eggs and then return them to customer service stating that we needed to return the eggs because we had decided we couldn't eat them since life begins at conception.

While the lady behind the counter seemed nice enough... I'm unsure that she really believed that we wanted to return the eggs. When she finally got it she went through her usual speech... so there's nothing wrong with the eggs? (No lady... we just ran over from the line we purchased them in!!) You just don't want them anymore? (She's catching on...)

She finally agreed to return our poor "fertilized" eggs for a full refund of our $1.14 or whatever they cost and even asked to see the final picture that we took. (Even though she wasn't looking at the camera when we took the picture!!)

Our final task in Wal-mart found us purchasing a cucumber and KY at the same time. I'll let you guess what the implication of that was. Luckily there was nothing that we had to say to the cashier to go along with this. We were in such a hurry though that the total came to $2.91 and Jess just threw $3.00 at the poor woman and said keep the change as we were running away.

The guys also had to make a purchase at Wal-mart. Their purchase: a box of super-plus tampons and a pregnancy test. They, however, did not get off so easy on the talking to the cashier. Their job was to tell him/her... "either way we go we're screwed."

After Wal-mart we moved on to Keith's house to get the next five items on our list. We were going to go to the fair grounds but decided to only venture into that madhouse on a Saturday night as a last resort.

At Keith's we had to get a picture of someone in cutoffs.

10 bonus points if you can guess who's butt that is. (No, it's not one of us three.) The guys also had to get this but they achieved their picture in a little more creative way. As they were driving down East 29th street they slammed on the breaks, jumped out of the truck and ran up to some woman walking her dog. She agreed to let them take a picture of her legs, but I'm unsure if she really believed them when they told her they were on a scavenger hunt.

Our next item was to get a picture of someone wearing black socks and sandals. Who does this? We were pretty sure that NO ONE does so we had to set up this picture.

Another 10 bonus points if you can guess who's legs these are. I'll give you a hint. We were supposed to find a GUY wearing black socks and sandals but we cheated a little. (It's okay to admit that since, as the guys are so fond of telling us... WE LOST!!) If we would have won... I would have taken that secret to my grave. Why sure those are Marshall's legs!!

Next came a picture of a tan line. The guys also had this, but I think they used Matt's tan line. Since we called Jess's Aunt, her other aunt and uncle who also helped make the questions were out of town, and found out we weren't supposed to use anyone in the group we used Amber.

Isn't that a nice tan line? What? Why does it look like it's been enhanced a tad with foundation? I don't know what you're talking about!! (Again okay to admit because why? Let's all say it together... WE LOST!!)

The next item we had to get was two girls kissing. Jess's aunt assured us that this would be easy, just go into a bar and ask two women to do it. We, however, didn't have that much confidence in our abilities to find two girls willing to do this at 7:30 at night. Maybe after a few more beers, but 7:30 is still early in bar time. So... we once again used Amber and Molly, our helpful participants.

Now, before you start to think... wait a minute. They seem to have gotten a lot done there, that's not fair that they used people they know... let me reiterate. The men used Matt's tan line, and when they had to sing while working out they used the gym in the neighbor's garage. The man with the belt buckle, cowboy boot, and cowboy hat was a co-worker of Jake's. AND... the picture of a woman's boobs that they had to get... those were Amber's. (Okay.. it was more of a cleavage shot... but the were still Amber's.)

All's fair in love and scavenger hunts isn't it? Besides... did you forget already? Even with all of our help from Amber and Molly...WE STILL LOST!! Our final thing at Keith's was to build a cheerleading pyramid.

Don't we look thrilled?

It was only around 7:45 or 8:00 by the time we left Keith's house. We had 8 things off of our list, including the dare and only had two things left to do. It was at this point that our evening took a turn for the worse. Did you know that it is next to impossible to find 5 ISU license plates when you are looking for them??

In hindsight we should have gone to the tattoo parlor first and gotten a picture of someone getting a tattoo. At least then, when the guys called and said they were done at 8:45 we might have been a little closer. Instead, we drove irratically through hospital parking lots, and parking garages looking for the dumb license plates.

By this point I was so into winning this game and having fun that I was just weaving in and out of the rows in the parking lots. When we got to Mercy Jess had to get out and walk around while Danette and I continued to look because she was getting car sick. Hey... wasn't it her that told me to throw caution to the wind and just go with the flow? Beggers can't be choosers!! :-)

Anyway, we had JUST finished getting all of the license plates and were heading to the tattoo parlor when the guys called. That was the only thing left on our list, but since the time limit was 9:00 or whoever finishes first, we accepted defeat gracefully and headed back to Jess and Shane's house for our "lashing."

After we got back we played a game similar to the old newlywed game and then we played cards. Somewhere in all of this mayhem the remaining guys (who didn't' live there) decided it would be funny to put a coconut in between the mattress and boxsprings of Jess & Shane's bed. (Sorry guys.) As of yesterday they had still not discovered it, so I did let Jess in on the secret. I didn't want to forget about it and have them find it six months down the road moldy and rotten. (Do coconuts rot?)

Over all, it was a very fun evening. My thought was that maybe next time we could play a game similar to the amazing race. The only problem with that is that if I made the clues and hid them I would not be able to play the game, and how fun would that be? So... I'm re-thinking my options... got any suggestions??

Why no...

actually... we don't use this treadmill.

Whatever made you ask?

Monday, August 22, 2005


On July 9th my 85 year old grandpa got married. Then about two weeks ago he and his new wife Alice left for a 10 day vacation to Europe (I am insanely jealous!). Since I sang in their wedding they wanted to get me a thank you gift while they were gone. Here is my coo-coo clock brought to me all the way from Switzerland. I'm quite impressed if I do say so myself!!
While there is not a coo coo bird that pops out, it does make the sound and the detail on the figurines in exquisite. Not to mention that they went to the trouble to bring it back for me. Now if only they could have figured out a way to stow me in their suitcase!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Remember aforementioned messy house? Well we are trying to refinance. About an hour ago the lady from the appraisal company called to set a date and time for the appraisal. I was thinking early next week, no problem we have all weekend to "straighten up." Oh no, the appraiser will be at my house at 4:00 tomorrow.

Panic is quickly setting in....

Too much to do... WAY to little time...

I can't leave work until I finish the project I'm working on, which could take me another couple of hours!!

Eeek!! Anyone know any magic cleaning genies?

Different Perspective

Me: I was looking at Jake's gas receipt the other day and I was just floored by the price. I thought he had accidentally filled up with premium!

Other Person: (laughing) You make him give you his receipts?

Me: Well yeah, how else do I know what comes out of the checkbook?

OP: What do you mean?

Me: Well we only have one checkbook. If he doesn't give me the receipt then I will never know how much is in there.

OP: Oh, all my bills just come out automatically and I just go to the ATM and if it says I have money than I do.

Would it have been mean of me to point out that my daddy give me money and so I don't have an unlimited source of funds? Yeah... I thought so to so I just nodded and smiled. Oh the joys of the unmarried, no bills, never have to scrimp to buy groceries life. Is it too late to sign me up for that?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

$50 Laptop??

I think I will stick to buying them at a store.....

A rush to purchase $50 used laptops turned into a violent stampede Tuesday,
with people getting thrown to the pavement, beaten with a folding chair and
nearly driven over. One woman went so far to wet herself rather than surrender
her place in line

Sunday, August 14, 2005

All for Not...

Well, we didn't go. All that worrying for nothing!! We were up on Saturday in good time to go and for some reason Jake just looked at me and said, "I don't want to go." Now it's very hard for me to force him (or encourage him) to go somewhere where I'm not keen on going in the first place. So, he called Grandma, and after 20 minutes of guilt trips settled on the fact that he was not going.

Unfortunately, he did not have the nerve to tell her that he just didn't want to go, so he told her he didn't feel good. I have explained to him that she will probably find out that we went to the fair instead, but that is his problem to explain at a later date.

Of course after he hung up with her she called back on my cell phone to ask me if it was my decision not to go. I made him answer. He assured her that it was not my fault he was not going, but I'm not sure she was convinced.

After he hung up it donned on me that this is probably the reason that they think that it is my fault that he doesn't go anywhere. I have always made it a point not to butt in where his family was concerned. If there is a family gathering that he doesn't want to go to I generally don't put up much of a fight. (Granted, if it were his Grandma's birthday or Christmas or something I might encourage a little more) Now when it comes to my family, I want to go, so I argue a little more if he resists. When it is his family, if he says he doesn't want to go, I don't make a big deal out of it.

My guess is that this has been misunderstood as me encouraging him not to see his family. This bothers me for a couple of reasons. First of all, chances are if I didn't encourage him as much as I do he would NEVER see his family. (At least not if there wasn't something fun planned) Secondly, why is it my fault if he doesn't want to go? Up until about 6 months ago I thought I had the best of both worlds. A loving family, and wonderful in-laws who liked me. I'm starting to discover now that this in-law thing might not be as easy as I thought.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Odds and Ends

Okay... sorry I haven't posted much this week. It has been a LONG week!! I'm going to write this post to wrap up what's been going on so please excuse the fact that it will probably jump around quite a bit.

This week at my job we have gotten a new phone system. This will allow everyone to have direct dial numbers instead of one main line where everyone who calls gets the receptionist and then she transfers people. My new number is... HA!! Like I would post that here!! Come on people... give me some credit!!

Anyhow, in theory this is a grand idea, but in practice we have had a few "bugs" to work out. This would not be so bad if I was just a regular user but somehow over the last few years of working here I have been promoted to tech person. This amazes me as I have had absolutely NO training in computers or technical things. However... I have been the only tax staff person not to leave in the last three years and also the only one who refuses to travel... so I guess this is my trade off.

As a "tech" person I get to take administrator training for the new phone system and also work with the people from the phone place when there is trouble shooting to be done. And believe me, there has been plenty of trouble shooting to be done!!

Besides the new phones we also have a tax deadline on Monday. While most of the returns that I have are double extended (due in October), as the designated "tech" person for the tax software I have had to trouble shoot a problem that we were having with e-filing our second extensions. We also have a new person in charge of sending the e-files and printing the confirmations so I have had to train her on e-file procedures, etc.

Such is my life!! As you may have guessed I have come home from work just wanting to vedge in front of the TV so our house is a pit!! My sister and Tim were over this weekend to play cards and I just looked in our dining room this morning, and you guessed it, the cards are still sitting there. I have also not managed to do any laundry this week so Jake is on his last pair of jeans. Good thing it's Friday.

We'd considered going to the fair tonight for "east sider" night, but I think since we are going to be gone all weekend (I'll get to that) we may need to stay home tonight and mow and do laundry before we end up naked walking through the jungle that is our yard!!

As for Jake, this week has been just as much of a whirl wind for him. This weekend one of the carpenters at his work was killed in an automobile accident. Since he was slow at his jobsite he was transferred to the jobsite where this guy was working. Apparently over there, they are not slow, and so they are working 10 - 12 hour days depending on the heat and the project to be completed. The jobsite is also MUCH larger so he has been doing a lot more walking and stair climbing.

The man that died apparently left behind a wife and two kids with one on the way. After we went and saw Clint on Saturday Jake had begun to think about how short life was and how maybe he should make up with his mother. After he found out about this guy it was decided that we would go tomorrow to the family reunion and he would attempt to talk with his mom.

My nervousness about this situation exists on several levels. While I won't go into specifics because this website is about our family and not about gossip about any other people in it, I will say that Jake and I and his mother have "issues." Most of these issues stem back to about a year and a half ago when Julie and Keith got divorced. The divorce was very ugly and Jake has turned most of his anger about the situation towards his mother.

Since the divorce he has "civilly" spoken to his mother twice. On Christmas I made him call her because I thought it was unhealthy for him not to speak to her. (For those of you reading thinking how could you "make" him... I didn't physically MAKE him... I did however STRONGLY encourage him for several days until he called.) After that he talked to her on his birthday and then the next conversation they had was in February and it did not go well.

While I know he loves his mother very much he has used this not speaking to her as his sort of punishment. He thinks that if he doesn't call her it will hurt her. What he doesn't realize is that he is hurting himself just as much. Up until about three weeks ago this is what I have reiterated to him weekly if not by weekly. However, for the last three weeks I have been less sure of this.

You see three weeks ago Julie wrote me a pretty nasty e-mail in which she pretty much told me that she thinks it is my fault that Jake is not speaking to her. While the irony of this exists on several levels, it hurt my feelings all the same. Therefore, he called her to try to ask her about it and things once again did not go well.

Skip forward to this weekend. While I desperately want Jake to fix things with his mother and move on, my feelings have been hurt. I don't really want to see her because I'm hurt by the things she said. However, I am determined not to let that stand in my way and we are leaving tomorrow morning for what I hope will be a good day.

My other apprehension about tomorrow has nothing to do with me, but instead stems from the "hot headed" nature of my husband. I'm afraid if he tries to talk to his mother and things do not go well he may end up saying some things that will definitely not be "healthy" for the relationship. On top of that he has an "extreme" dislike for her new boyfriend. While he may be able to control himself if things are going well and not say anything to this man, if his mother and he start to get into a disagreement, I'm afraid that her new boyfriend may try to defend her and things could just go from bad to worse... much, much worse!!

Jake and I have spent the better part of this week with me throwing out sinarios to him. Now if he does this you will... Now if she says this you will.... I've been stressing the walk away technique as I'm pretty sure neither of us want to see what the Iowa City jails look like from the inside. I am apprehensive about going to say the least, but it has already been decided and his grandmother will be crushed if we don't show up.

For my part, I'm going to take a good long book and read next to the river while he fishes. Hopefully there will be much fishing, and little arguing. I'll update you all on how it goes when we get back. Keep your fingers crossed!!


If my house should ever catch on fire this will be me....

Woman Dies While Trying To Rescue Cat From Fire

A Kentucky woman trying to save her cat from inside her burning home near Louisville has died.
Authorities said she died of smoke inhalation after being taken to a hospital.

Iris Kay Call and her husband had escaped from the house, but she went back inside looking for the cat and didn't reappear. Firefighters later removed her from the house.

So... if you come to my house and you see fire extinguishers everywhere... trust me when I tell you it's for my own safety.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Family Barbecue

On Saturday the Brooks side of my family trekked up to Jewel to visit my Uncle clint. When we pulled in the driveway the first thing we noticed was that Clint was mowing the lawn.

We figured with as crummy as he had been feeling lately this must be a good sign. (Quick side note, that vehicle in the back is my mother's new Tahoe... to say she is proud is a gross understatement!) As it turns out he had a steroid injection on Friday and he usually gets about two good days of relief after one of those.

The first thing we did, of course, was stand around and chat.

The People in these pictures are (from left to right) my aunt Cindy, Denise (Clint's girlfriend), Clint (on the mower), my Uncle Dennis, and my mom.

Finally someone decided that maybe we should cook something while we chatted, lest we all starve to death. Us Brookses... we are smart ones!! We put the boys to work shucking sweet corn.

Jake, Tim (Lindsay's boyfriend), my cousin Brandon, my Uncle Dennis. Even Sammy (short for Samantha) my uncle's dog wanted to help.

After the corn was shucked, the "women" headed inside to do "womanly things" (a.k.a. sit around in the living room and chat with Clint) while the men stayed outside and did some gossiping of their own.

Jake, Tim, my cousin Shawn, my Uncle David, Uncle Dennis, my Cousin Adam

Jake shows off his skills on the grill

Clint's impressive stockpile of drugs. Impressive, and expensive!! One of his chemotherapy drugs costs $2,808.46 for 30 pills. He told me to make sure I didn't leave off the forty six cents. I assured him that I wouldn't!!

After we ate there was more sitting around and chatting and then we ended the day with a round of "family" photos.

Jake, Me, Adam, Lindsay, Tim, Brandon, Shawn

Clint, Connie, David, Mom, Dennis

Overall, the day was not overshadowed by the fact that Clint is sick, but instead celebrated for the fact that all of us were able to get together and share such a wonderful summer day.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dealing with Loss

I've been struggling the last couple of days with what to post here. I know that as a general rule I have kept this website relatively uplifting. For this reason I have not really wanted to bring this sadness here. However, the more I think about it, the more I have realized that this website is about ALL the things that are happening in our lives, not just the good things.

Someone once told me that Christmas letters are not the time to tell sad things, but I disagree. I think Christmas letters, just like this website, are a tool to tell a lot of people at once what is happening in your life. And let's face it folks, not everything that happens in our lives is rainbows and butterflies.

Earlier this week I received a call from my mom asking me if I wanted to travel with her and the rest of my family up to see my uncle this weekend. When I enquired as to who the rest of my family included she informed me that my Uncle Dennis was coming from California, and my Uncle David from Florida and my sister from Iowa City, and possibly my cousin from Colorado. That is when I knew that this couldn't be good.

You see, my uncle Clint is dying. We have known this for awhile but he has recently become much worse. While I have never been especially close to my uncle, I am really struggling with this. My self analysis tells me that it is probably because my Grandma Griffieon (my dad's mom) passed away in June of last year and then my Grandma Brooks (my mom's mom) passed away in October. As a person who had NEVER lost a relative until this point, loosing three in a little over a year is starting to wear on me.

That said, I can only imagine the pain my mom is feeling. When she was younger her dad became ill with Hodgkin's disease. At the time they did not have a high success rate for curing this type of cancer and he passed away before she ever graduated highschool. Then last year my grandma was perfectly healthy on Saturday, got a bowel obstruction and was buried by the following Tuesday. Now, for the last ten months she has had to watch my uncle slowly go down hill battling Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

I did a little research this morning on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America website and discovered that while the success rate of treating Hodgkin's disease has gone up the statistics are not the same for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It makes a person feel SOO helpless knowing there is nothing that they can do.

In today's day and age everyone seems to feel invincible. You get cancer... no big deal. You'll just have a little radiation and some chemo therapy and move on your way. It seems so easy to forget that there are still diseases and cancers out there that have a very low success rate for cures if there is even a cure at all.

I know this is probably not my most uplifting moment but I just want to take this time to stress to all of you that family is important, and you never know when they are going to be gone. Please remember that something that seems SOO important today may seem really stupid if that person were gone tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Okay... we have decided. When we are rich we are going to get ourselves one of these:

And what, you are asking is this adorable creature staring at you? Why a Bobcat of course!! For the low price of $1,500 we could be the proud owners of this ADORABLE creature.

According to my new favorite website we could own a bobcat, a lynx, a caracal, or a serval. After all, a bobcat only gets to be an average size of 25-35 lbs. It would be like a Jack or a Sadie, all be it a Jack or Sadie that jumps. And this, is the main reason that we have decided that our house is probably not equipped for an animal of that size that jumps.

We have a kitty tree that Sylvester just loves. However we are pretty sure that this thing would NOT hold something of that size. I think we would probably have to build a custom kitty condo along with some MONSTER perches to hold something that large.

The next problem... what do you feed this adorable little (okay big) kitty? According to the website big cats will become very sick if they are fed just regular cat food. Therefore, you are supposed to feed them whole meat. Conveniently enough they sell just such whole meat food. 40 lbs of Beef-Chicken-Hen for $82. They recommend your big cat eat a pound to a pound and a half of meat per day so this will last you 25-40 days. $3.28 to $2.05 per day. Sort of like feeding a small child.

Finally there is the issue of just exactly how is this thing going to relieve its self? That would be one VERY big litterbox!! According to the website if you don't want to litter train it, they also like to relieve themselves in water as that is what they do in the wild. Can we say... no thank you? Maybe if we could train it to use the toilet, but otherwise... I don't want that thing tracking nasty "used" water around my house.

So, if Jake and I ever win the lottery and you see us building on to our house, know... it's not for the children... it's for one of these!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Truck Troubles

What do you get when you put unleaded gasoline into a diesel engine?

Apparently a dead truck, as we discovered last night. At around 7:00 Jake and I were outside. I was picking things up in the yard and he was getting the mower ready so he could mow when his sister called. She was at the gas station and had pulled up to the pump to put diesel in the truck and had mistakenly put in Unleaded instead.

In her defense, the diesel was on the side of the store and there were three pumps that had diesel and only one that had unleaded. She called Keith and neither of them assumed they would put unleaded over on the side so they thought it must be unleaded diesel. We now know that there is no such thing as unleaded diesel. However, the pump handles were not marked differently as so many are in Iowa, (Green for diesel) so I could probably see myself making the same mistake. My mother said there is another gas station like that over by Prairie Meadows and three or four people that she knows have done the same thing this year.

So, back to the story... we gathered as many gas cans as we could and a siphon hose and set out for the gas station convinced that we could suction the gas out of the truck, fill it with diesel, and she would be on her way. HaHaHa!! Aren't we funny?

When we got there Jake stuck the siphon hose into the gas tank and proceeded to try to get it to suck the gas out. Here is a picture of his sophisticated suction apparatus. It consisted of a piece of a garden hose, and some clear tubing. Oh yes, and let's not forget the ever important duct tape that held it together. That stuff will work for anything won't it?

At first he tried to blow into the hose but since the gas tank was so full all he successfully did was create Old Faithful. While that did get some gas out of the tank, it wasn't exactly the result we were hoping for. So, he decided he would have to suck on the end of the hose. I can see you now, reading this and thinking we know what happens next. Yup, you are right. Gas... right in the mouth. It wasn't much, but I don't think it would take much to make a person sick.

Needless to say, the siphoning started and Jake headed into the gas station to attempt not to toss his cookies. He came out about 10 minutes later looking a little green, but told us he did not throw up. It continued this way for over an hour. I think he ended up inhaling gas or fumes 5 or 6 times during the whole experience.

After about an hour we had 15 gallons of gas siphoned out and Jake realized that he needed a special wrench to take off the fuel filter and get the rest of the gas out. So, I headed off to my parents house after wrenches. Luckily my dad was home because I would have had NO idea what I was looking for. He sent a filter wrench, and adjustable wrench and a pair of vice grips. Pop quiz... identify which is which in the picture!!

Anyhow, when I returned they had most of the gas siphoned out and Jake set to work removing the fuel filter. Sometime in all of this madness Molly realized that we probably weren't going to get the truck started again and she called the car dealership to get a tow truck sent. Jake did get the filter off and put some diesel in the truck, but we were never able to get it started.

Finally about 8:30 Molly got a call back that the tow truck was on its way. We decided that we couldn't waste the hard earned gas so we put 5 gallons into my jeep. If we had known earlier that it wouldn't hurt the engine we wouldn't have dumped the 10 gallons that we did!

If you are wondering why Jake is not wearing a shirt, it was SOAKED!! As you can see his pants are also soaked but we didn't think it would be very appropriate for him to be prancing around the parking lot in his tighty whities, so he left the pants on. After all of that sweating Jake was extremely dehydrated and sick to his stomach from the gas fumes. He was up most of last night and decided to stay home from work today to recover.

After talking to a friend today we have also discovered that apparently the new diesel trucks have something called a governor fuel cut off that kills the truck if it detects the wrong type of fuel and can only be reset by a mechanic. So, even if we would have gotten all the gas out, we would not have been able to get the truck started. Note to self, call friend next time have car trouble, save self MUCH time and husband much hurt!!

Happy Birthday!!

We want to wish Keith (Jake's Dad) and Kim (Jake's Aunt) a VERY happy birthday!! You two have both been wonderful to us and we appreciate all that you have done to support us through the good times and the bad!

We hope you have a WONDERFUL birthday!!

Love always,

Jake and Heather

Monday, August 01, 2005

Baby Laughs

I've been having a little trouble trying to figure out how to follow my last post with something equally interesting and I've come to a conclusion. Folks, I don't always have something creative to write to you. Sorry, our lives are just NOT that interesting.

However, I do want to try to post something on here as often as I can, so today I'm going to do my book report on Jenny McCarthy's other book, baby laughs.

I have to say after my disappointment in the first book I was a little apprehensive about reading this one. However, since I bought them both, I figured I might as well get my $25.81 out of them. By the way, now that I've finished them, I'm selling them both for the bargain price of $24.99, let me know if your interested!!

This book was MUCH better than the first one. Jenny truly seems to have done some MAJOR maturing during her first year as a mother. In the first book she talked about how she had spent tons of money on baby clothes and accessories. In the second book she talks about how she bought a $150 stroller and while she saw people with bigger and more expensive strollers she decided that she was not going to waste her money.

Over all, while the book still jumps around a bit, it is not nearly as distracting as it was in the first one. She still has the style of each chapter being it's own mini book but they seem to be organized much more effectively. I would say this book has made me realize that while people may not seem ready to have children, actually having one changes everything.

Being a mom happens in an instant, and I think for Jenny it really seems to have helped her to put her focus more on what is important (her child) and less on what is not (who has to most expensive whatever.) I guess I realize now why people say you are never ready to be a mom until you become one.