Category Archives: Luke

The State of Things

I am in my zone. For whatever reason I feel like a lot of stuff has been coming together.  Yeah sure there’s a lot out of place, but nothing that I feel like is out of control.  We’ve had a tree fall on our house, well a big part of one.  A flood.  ATV problems.  Car problems.  Budget problems.  But all that seems like stuff that we can knock out just given enough time.  All the imporant stuff is great.

Emma is growing so fast now.  Every day she is picking up new words and phrases, she is starting to be able to communicate.  It’s a little bit of a relief.  Every stage is a lot of fun with kids, but communication sure makes the job of parent easier in a lot of ways.  She wants to be involved in everything, absolutely everything.  Yesterday I was going to run out to the shop real quick to get some tools for the basement, and she absolutely would not stand for letting me go alone.  She had to tag a long and see what’s up.  And then she followed me down to the basement and took some screwdrivers and went around touching it to various things and promptly exclaiming “I did it!”.  Then she grabbed the hammer and put a couple new dents in the walls before I could notice…. oh well.  It’s all getting rebuilt anyway!  At least I have an expert in demolition on my team.

Luke is in 2nd grade.  That’s incredible.  I hope he’s enjoying growing up.  From about 3rd until 5th grade I remember having the time of my life.  He’s a smart kid but takes a little pushing to get going.  But it’s so cool when he wants to learn about something and gets totally into it.  For the longest time he was all about Titanic.  It was Titanic everything.  Right now he’s getting into games and stuff.  I had my first parent scratching my head at a video game moment when he wanted to play Robox.  I had just assumed it was a Minecraft knockoff.  But when I started to read about it… I was way off.  If anything it seems more like “Second Life” for kids.  People can create these different scenarios that you can play and partake in.  And that means that people can create ANYTHING, and the internet being the internet… it’s not all wholesome, even if it is wrapped in this kid themed playground.  So we locked down his permissions.  He can’t chat with anybody, he can only play approved scenarios.  But you know, he’s 8 years old.  He’s a good kid, but at 8, you still trust pretty much everybody.

Andrea and I got to go on a little impromptu trip together a couple of weeks ago.  The kids went to stay with Andrea’s sister, and we decided we were just going to go hop in the Jeep, camp at Wilson then drive.  We had the top off the Jeep and got a bunch of sun on day one.  I myself got a little crispy.  I think Andrea did okay though.  It was hot as balls at Wilson Lake.  Not bad in the shade, but there wasn’t hardly a tree big enough to catch any.  We ended up spending time sitting on the ground in the shade of the Jeep drinking all the water we brought with us.

After that it was fun just to explore the countryside.  We generally stayed off the highways.  We found the Geographic Center of the United States completely by accident.  Just little stuff like that.  Exploring, being together, wind in your hair sorta thing.  It was a good time, but I think we both also appreciated home when we got there.

And on the homefront the basement is the big looming project.  It feels really daunting to be honest.  We are still doing de-construction and clean up.  There’s so many little things, and I want to make sure all the mold is as dead as I can get it.  I know mold can always come back if it gets wet down there again.  But I just don’t want mold to find a way to start going again under normal circumstances.  It doesn’t smell all musty down there anymore, which is a good thing.  I think we’ll get to the point here in a couple of weeks that we can start hanging sheetrock again.  We want to build some shelving into the walls for the media stuff while were at it.  Kind of like the bookshelves under the stairs.  I guess it will go quicker if we don’t have to be careful this time!  Haha.

But where’s all the money for it come from?  Well, we have some savings, but we’re pretty good about earmarking our dollars and what they are saved for.  We have some money saved up for an insurance deductible.  We think we can use that and take some from a few of our other goals to get this done.  I’m planning on doing all of it ourselves, except for the carpet.  I love learning new skills, but carpet is a job that doesn’t look fun, or sound fun, and if I mess it up, I’ve wasted a lot of expensive carpet.

So that is the current state of things.  A little off balance it feels.  But excited to have the projects that we do.  Now I just need to get cracking on all of it instead of playing Rocket League and Octopath Traveler in the evenings… but those are goals too!

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See… SEE!

I told you.  I told you in the last post.  Be careful what you wish for.  I was so excited to get the last of the floor wrapped up, the Jeep put back together and be done with projects for a while.  Then what happens?

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The biggest flood since 1993.  So more projects!  Yay.  All things considered, we didn’t get it that bad.  Sooo many people around us got it so much worse.  We didn’t have any of the nasty floodwater come into our home, but we did get lots and lots of crystal clear ground water bubbling up through any nook or cranny in the basement.

It started on Friday.  It’d been raining for probably 2 weeks at this point and the flood was already forecast.  At the beginning, it was just some wet spots in the carpet.  By the end, the whole floor was drenched.

So gutting the carpet and dry wall quickly became a project on necessity.  It took a few days, but with Andrea’s help, we got everything moved out of the basement.  All the wet stuff cut out, and loaded up on the trailer.  Later today I get to make a run to the landfill… if it doesn’t rain.

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I’ve never experienced a flood first hand before.  And I think my town has to be the absolute best place to have to go through such a thing.  We live in a very small community, so everyone was pitching in, helping each other out.  Checking on each other.

Once all the sandbags were stacked, everyone as prepared as you could be for such a thing, there was just this errie calm that fell over the town.  Up and down the streets, everyone was just sitting out on their porch, waiting for it to roll in.  What else can you do?  There was an attitude of indifference about it all no matter who you talked to.  So we fell in line, pulled up some chairs, and waited.

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For Luke especially, this was an event I wanted him to see and take in.  There’s not a ton of stuff a person remembers when you’re seven or eight years old, but this is something that I bet he will remember for the rest of his life.

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It’s going to take some time, but we’ll be fine.  It’s been about a week and water is still coming into the house.  Our sump pump keeps pumping it out non stop… after it runs across the floor of course.  So it’s not like our basement is filled with water.  All the mold friendly spaces have been cut out.  So now, we just wait.

The stress hasn’t got too me too much… the only annoying thing is having half of our belongings stacked up in the garage taking up space.  Well that and all the water in my basement.  But 6 months or so from now, we’ll be back to normal.  This is just temporary, and will definitely be an experience we’ll never forget.

Goofing Around

Not a long blog this time around.  Just a couple pictures of running around last night.  Andrea was stuck working, and Luke had put on his calendar over the weekend that today was the day to go to the park.  So we loaded up for a little cruise into town and decided to take the back roads.

Andrea had just washed a ton of mud off the Jeep from a muddy ride we took together on Saturday.  And we happened to hit a couple small puddles on our way into town.  Don’t worry, I cleaned up my mess, haha.

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The park was PACKED.  Was a bit refreshing to see.  People say kids don’t play outside anymore, but there was no shortage of all ages this evening.  Little itty bity babies, litter than Emma.  All the way up to the jerk teenagers.  Saw one kid tackle a girl to steal her Takis.  A kid three or four years older than Luke took great pleasure in out running Lucas all over the playground playing “tag”.  I didn’t mind though.  Luke went out pretty early.

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Kids can sure be jerks though.  And it’s a little tough to explain why to Lucas sometimes, because I really don’t know.  Heck usually the kids don’t know why they are mean.  One boy called Lucas a baby.  Luke was fairly concerned because he knew he wasn’t a baby, and it was important to him that this other kid knew that.  But the other boy was just trying to rile Luke up.  Instead of getting upset, Luke just followed this kid around the playground for about 10 minutes explaining how, objectively, he was not infact, a baby.  Haha.

Where’d Summer Go?

Man, time really does fly.  I was talking to Mom last night and realized I haven’t been back out to Cimarron since June and here it is September.  It doesn’t seem like that much time has passed, and I couldn’t really tell you exactly what’s been taking up all that time between then and now.

Luke is growing and changing every day it seems like.  He’s really gotten into Hot Wheels cars.  We all have around the house I guess.  Andrea has been cataloging them all on the Hot Wheels website, I’ll even find myself in the store alone looking for cars he doesn’t have.  Getting harder and harder to do!

Luke playing with the neighbor boy at his birthday party.

Luke playing with the neighbor boy at his birthday party.

We have a lot of that orange track, and Luke got one of those big tower launchers for his birthday, so we set it up and have a lot of fun drag racing them, or setting up a course to run them through and seeing which cars make it the farthest.  Luke gets so into it.  It’s serious business to him and he has a blast.  Andrea has a hard time because sometimes she comes up with rules (like the car that finishes first wins) and Luke isn’t so much about following anyone else’s rules but his own (which change on a whim).  But playing with cars is always a fun time for all of us no matter what.

I’ve been playing some games.  Mostly Mario Kart 8 and Guild Wars 2.  I haven’t written much about Mario Kart 8 here yet.  A lot of what I feel about the game is an echo of what I’ve already written about for Mario Kart 7.  The two games are VERY similar.  The biggest difference being the amount of detail in the graphics for Mario Kart 8.  It is an absolutely beautiful game.  Oh, and I finally got my Royal Raceway re-make.  =)

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I played some Mario Kart 64 last night before I went to bed, it was a bit alarming how I had gotten used to the way the new game plays and took some getting used to to get back into the swing of things on Mario Kart 64.  I wasn’t breaking any records, but the old N64 stuff comes back to the top pretty quickly.

I’ve slacked off a bit in completing FFX-HD.  I’m quite close to the end, I need to just power through.  But I’ve gotten to a stage where I’ve been power leveling up my characters a bit so there hasn’t been a lot of action and I need to come back and push forward in the story.  Then on to play FFX-2-HD.  A game I haven’t played since I beat it the first time.  I’m probably more excited to replay that one than the first!

And I’m finally closing in on the completion of my personal story in Guild Wars 2.  It’s only taken 2 years…  After that there’s still a ton of content to play.  It’s a fun game and there is still so much to explore and see, when I have like 6 solid hours to kill on a Saturday, it’s a great way to soak that up, but that just doesn’t happen as much as I wish it would!

So that’s a very vague update.  I’m getting a new phone this week which will be nice because I’ll be able to take some more spontaneous photos and use twitter more often.  It’s just an exercise in frustration with my current phone.  And those pictures are always great for enhancing the blog posts here, so I’m looking forward to that a lot!

But for now, lunch break over and back to work!

Slip Slide’n By Himself!

Last week and this week we’ve been doing swimming lessons with Luke.  The goal isn’t to get a 2 year old to swim, but more so get them comfortable around water and be safe.  But today he actually got to swim in the “deep” end by himself with a floaty kick stick (with mom right next to him) and he got to go down the water slide all by himself!  What a big boy!

A Day Out With Thomas

What an awesome day!  My Mom got Luke and us all tickets to A Day Out With Thomas for this past weekend.  Luke is huge into trains, and most prominently, Thomas the Tank Engine.  Little Guy could watch the same ones over and over again for hours.  We have fun playing with all his little toy trains and making them talk to each other.  But this event really brought it all to life.

I didn’t really know what to expect.  If anything I figured it would be kinda like a “car show” for trains, with Thomas being the centerpiece.  Well Thomas was the centerpiece, but there was so much more to do that walk around and look at trains.  There were fire trucks there, a petting zoo, inflatables to play on, great food (for kids and grown-ups), toys and entertainment for all the kids.  I was really impressed by it all.  We spent about 5 hours there and Luke never was bored and cried when we had to leave.

 

It couldn’t have been any cooler.  Thomas took a 5 car train for a 25 minute ride which was basically down a stretch of track and back.  But we made it a point to get in line early so we could sit RIGHT BY THOMAS.  We waited in line for probably 45 minutes before our departure time, but it was completely worth it.  Luke was at the front of the train as close as you could possibly get while Thomas was pulling us down the track.  I feel like if it were me, I would have felt a little disappointed if I was way in the back where you couldn’t even see him. We had fun pretending to talk to Thomas and just taking in the ride.

I really enjoyed it too.  Everything was just so neat and perfectly set up for kids Luke’s age.  There were a bunch of tables with toy trains for them to play with, temporary tattoos and lots of little freebies.  He even got a whistle that sounds just like Thomas’s whistle from the show.  I don’t remember anything this cool and authentic when I was a kid aside from maybe, Disney Land.  And it was cool seeing Luke get to soak it all up.

So thanks to Mom for the tickets, and to Andrea’s sister Michelle and her family for letting us crash at their place just a short drive from the event.  It was worth it in so many ways!

 

Luke Plays Minestorm

Downtime

It feels kinda weird, yesterday and today not doing much productive around the house.  I suppose there’s a few things I could busy myself with, like organizing the garage, or getting the old server stuff migrated over to some new hardware.  Nothing critical though, and instead I’ve spent my time watering the grass and playing Minecraft.

There’s a lot of work that needs done, but it’s all in a holding pattern right now.  The Cutlass is at the transmission shop right now getting rebuilt.  The Jeep needs to be looked at next.  The Toronado is ready for ball joints, but I only have half of them, the other half should come in tomorrow.  Don’t get me started on the long list of stuff the Black Car needs.  The Toro obviously has kinda just been sitting there a while, but the Jeep and Cutlass both kinda all happened at the same time.  It’s a giant sucking sound to the bank account… but oh well.  Just a setback, nothing more.  Small potatoes in the grand scheme of what’s important in life.

So I sorta feel like I’m procrastinating if I kick back and game a bit.  But in reality, I couldn’t get much done right now in the automotive realm if I wanted to.  So the only real procrastinating I’m doing is by NOT gaming.  I keep talking all the time about how I don’t have as much time to play games as I would like to, so if I don’t take advantage of that now, I’m being a bit hypocritical.

So I’m off to play some more FFX-HD.  What a fantastic game.  This is probably my 4th playthrough of the game and it’s totally time well spent.  Even with the backlog I have piling up.  Oh yeah.  I need to update my Backloggery.  Welp, add that to the list!

I leave you with this video of Luke playing Duck Hunt for the first time.  =)

“I don’t want to be frustrated.”

I really can’t believe how fast this little guy is growing up.  We were heading home from Wichita on Sunday and about halfway Luke was getting quite restless.  I had my 3DS with me so I asked him if he wanted to water some flowers in Animal Crossing.  “OH YEAH!” he said.

So I got the game started for him.  Got it all set up.  And he pretty much took over.  The part I can’t believe is how much he can do for himself.  Together we’ve probably only spent maybe an hour or 90 minutes with Animal Crossing.  But he knows how to walk around, switch his tools, paint on the patterns and open the chat and type letters.  All on his own.

It kept him satisfied for a good 30 minutes or so, but he was without a nap all day and started to get frustrated.  I asked for the 3DS and told him he needed to take a break because he was getting frustrated.

“I don’t want to take a break!,” he screamed.

“You need a break because you are getting frustrated,” I reiterated.

“I don’t want to be frustrated!” he sobbed.

It was a little sad, but mostly cute.  It reminded me of the first time I got to play a Nintendo at one of Mom’s friend’s house when I was just a kid around 5 or 6 years old. I didn’t want to leave and wanted to stay and play so bad I remember crying.

Tonight we played some Super Mario 64 and I made him do all the work.  I’d give him instructions like, “go left” or “push A” and most of the time he’d figure it out.  He’s not going to be saving princesses anytime soon… or is he?  Don’t blink, I tell ya.

Super Bowless

It sounds like I didn’t miss much of a game tonight.  We didn’t have any big plans to go to anyone’s party so we just stayed home and it was pretty much just another Sunday around here.  First time in many years though we didn’t do at least a little something special.  Sometimes we at least get some snacky stuff and make our own little Super Bowl Party.  Honestly quiet days are so far between anymore that I didn’t really want to occupy most of it with a game featuring two teams I didn’t really care about.  Today pretty much reflected my interest in the whole NFL season this year.  The Vikings started sucking pretty much immediately, so I didn’t have much to get excited about.

I spent a good part of the day playing with Luke and that was fun.  I love the weekends and being able to get up and eat breakfast with him while he watches his cartoons.  This morning we watched “Mater’s Tall Tales”, a bunch of little shorts featuring the characters from Cars. It’s fascinating watching him watch these shows.  He’ll be watching and see something funny, then just look at me and smile, as if to say, “You know that was funny.”

Later we went down stairs and built up a new fort.  It’s way better than our old one, because this one has a window!  We both had fun with it.  He was getting sleepy and he absolutely despises going down for naps, so I thought maybe he’d lay down and take a nap IN his fort.  After all, he even told me, “I’m sleepy.”  So we got his pillow, blankest and a couple of his stuffed animals and he laid down in there.  But the fun of the fort and all the toys nearby was too much to shut his little brain down and he couldn’t lay still… so it was reluctantly off to his bed.

On and off throughout the day I also started working on a new project.  It’s in the very early stages, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  Definitely not ready to show it yet but I think I’ve got a good foundation for something to build on, and it’s something I can work on here and there.

So off to bed.  It’s a (theoretically) normal week next week.  I’m really looking forward to it.  Getting a whole night’s worth of sleep and all that.  We’ll see though.  It never ends up that way.  C’est la vie.