Monday, December 27, 2010

13th Wedding Anniversary

Celebrating 13 years of being happily married today! I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Snow Sledding

This morning, I had the day off of work and Noel did not so I took the kids out snow sledding. There is a hill in Zionsville (yes, one hill ... that's how Indiana is - and this one is man made) at the Mulberry Fields park. After going to Wal-Mart, Target and True Value Hardware, we finally founds some sleds. Time to go sledding.

On her first trip down the hill, Mallory learned that she didn't like sledding and everything got really cold all of a sudden. Mason, on the other hand, loved it. We (Mason and I) may go back on Thursday and leave the girls at home (for those that can't see the video, click here).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 3-Advil Snow Fort

The Huber boys had been cooped up in the house for going on 48 hours and it was time to get out and let off some steam. So, Mason and I headed outside to build a snow fort. Mason donned his overalls, a jacket and (for some unknown, but fortuitous reason) his bicycle helmet (more on that in a bit).

For all the snow that was on the ground and for as warm as it was today, the snow still did not want to pack on its own. This is the precise reason the Rubbermaid invented 32 gal. commercial grade BRUTE trash cans. Armed with two shovels, tested the concept in the front yard before heading out back.

We packed that trash can full 10 times to build the walls. Then we (I) made 'bricks' by filling the can 1/3 full. Mason's job was to fill in the voids with loose snow. I was originally aiming for a roof but my back won the argument.

But, before we done, Mason wanted to smash into the test block we made in the front yard. (for those who can't see the video, click here). Again, thank God for helmets.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Preparation

Tonight we did our chores in hopes that Santa would come to our house. Noel made sugar cookies and I picked up some icing while I was out today. Then we made cookies; wonderfully, sugary, delightful cookies.

Here's hoping Santa enjoys them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Quote from Saturday Night Live

From Seth Myers on Weekend Update:
Governor Patterson of New York said this past week that New York may be ungovernable. That's like Danny DeVito saying a basketball is undunkable.
That is awesome.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell

In the past couple of days, I've gotten some questions about my thoughts on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). (For those of you who stumbled across my blog, I served as a combat arms officer in the U.S. Army for almost eight years - just as a point of reference).

I think that this ruling is going to be a 'non-issue' in the medium and long run. In the short term, there will be an adjustment that many in the military will have to make. The Army that I was in was professional and focused on mission accomplishment. I doubt that has changed in five years. I don't buy the argument that it will adversely affect morale and that it will impact the 'good order and discipline' of small units. If a commander at any rank were to tell me that it would affect the good order and discipline my response would only be, "Are you telling me that you can't maintain discipline in your unit?" The army survives and thrives on discipline. it is a cornerstone of a professional fighting force. What the boss says, goes. This will be no different. Soldiers adapted to the integration of African-American soldiers and (in a more apt comparison) women into units. They, too, will adapt to this change.

Now that is not to say that there won't be some issues. There will be a small percentage in uniform that won't be able to adjust to this change. They will be dealt with through the Uniform Code of Military Justice. On the other side of the coin, there will be some homosexuals that will enlist to make a point and to flaunt the fact that this is now their right. Those few will make their point, but will have to suffer a grueling two year enlistment doing so.

The bottom line is that most will self select. Those interested in serving their country will enlist. Like most humans, they will keep their sexuality a fairly private matter, it only becoming apparent when they show up to a function with their date.

There are thousands of brave men and women who are serving this country who happen to be gay. They deserve the right to serve their country without fear of persecution or prosecution.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mallory's Christmas Concert

Like clockwork, the Abacus preschool held its annual 'Winter' concert this evening. This year we were treated to another wonderful show.

(For those who can't see the video, click here.)

Doug vs the Snowblower

Yesterday I proved I was smarter than my snowblower.

It took 3.5 hours to do it, but ... I did it.

(Why would anyone want to check the ability of one's snowblower to work before the big snow? I dunno.)

Anyway, as the snow was falling, there I was, yanking back on the pullcord, pleading with the small, stubborn 2-cycle engine to turn over. "Screw you", it grunted as the pistons moved back and forth before quieting again.

I'll show you, snowblower. I will set you on my workbench and take some of your covers off and stare at your insides (somewhat helplessly). That will show you. I may even take off some random screws and bolts to see what happens.

But then it dawned on me. Hey, this is a pukey little engine. I am smarter than 22 lbs of steel, aren't I? Channeling my dad I remembered that internal combustion engines only need three things; fuel, air and a spark ("It's actually four," the guy at Lowe's said, being 'helpful'. "You need compression, too." Thanks, Lowe's guy. You are smarter than me. I'm just trying to make conversation. Are you happy?)

So off I set on my journey to outwit the snowblower.
1) Air. Yes, plenty of it around. It's getting a bit colder by the minute, but there seems to be an abundance.
2) Fuel. Out with the wretched fuel that has been sitting idle in the engine for eight months. I will freshen your cup with nice, new gasoline with just a hint of 2-cycle engine oil mixed in.
3) Spark. I can take out a spark plug, right? I remember someone (Dad again?) telling me that God made special sockets for sparkplugs; coated with rubber to keep the ceramic from breaking in the event of a mishap. Off to Lowe's for trip number one for a socket and spark plug (Every Huber Home Improvement requires a minimum of two trips - call it Huber's Law). The entire way to Lowe's I was chanting "Rick Chuck James Ate Yams ... Rick Chuck James Ate Yams." This was the model number of the spark plug I needed (RCJ8Y). There is where I met the aforementioned 'helper' who helped my find Rick James' spark plug and who convinced me I didn't need a socket; that a small engine spark plug wrench would do the trick. I'll save you some time, it doesn't do the trick.

Back to Lowe's I go. This time, to secure what I should have gotten in the first place; a shiny Kobalt 3/4" deep well socket (not made for spark plugs because small engine spark plugs don't justify a special socket ... at least not a Lowe's. But, going on hour 3 of my project, these were mere details). Back to the house!

Now that I was armed with the proper tools, I pulled the original spark plug out and it look bad (this being a purely qualitative assessment of the original spark plug, having no idea what I was looking at).

After swapping the gas and installing the spark plug, I re-assembled my snowblower, ready for another pull of the cord.

Nothing. Amidst the quiet snowfall, one could hear my energy and motivation tiptoeing down the driveway and into oncoming traffic. Shoulders slumped, I shuffled into the garage to grab the snow shovel. Defeated, I began to shovel the drive.

But, you said you are smarter, Doug? Yes, as it turns out, but not more spiteful. After shoveling the entire drive, I looked at my snowblower one more time. I gave it one more tug. Nothing. Just one more.

That tiny engine (all 98 cubic centimeters) roared to life! Announcing its presence to all of the snow pushed neatly to the sides of the drive. I let it sit there for a moment so it could reflect on its actions. Barking, coughing and rattling there in the drive, I watched it with a great deal of satisfaction.

Then, I pushed it over to the neighbor's house and cleared their drive.