Friday, October 28, 2011

What's Your Bandwidth Capacity?

The second ATT technician this week left our house Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. after replacing the modem and double checking and triple checking all the possible problems.  By 7:00 our system had failed again.  No phone, no Internet, no cable. 

My head almost exploded.

Do you know that Game 6 of the World Series was on last night? 

I called the 1-800 number and got a great gal, who reset our profile to 24 so that our bandwidth capacity was well below the 80% recommended maximum.  She was very impressed with my knowledge of the system and failure codes and reset explanations.  She asked if I was interested in a job at ATT.  I told her no, but that I did feel like I was taking a night class with them.  Maybe I can get some continuing education credit or something.  At least a certificate of some kind.

After she reset the profile, she was able to get it up and running, but she said her line test showed every error code that they have - Loss of Service, Service Errors, Line Code Violations...Upstream, Downstream...error codes everywhere.  She scheduled a third technician to come out Friday.

While it was working, we all very quietly turned off all other electronics in the house, with the exception of the lone TV in the den, and watched the game. 

Then it went out again.

Then I reset the new modem myself and it came back on.  AGAIN.

Another technician came out today.  He changed a port at the main box in the neighborhood and also wrote an order for the other ATT (not Uverse) to come out and do an underground wire evaluation.  He really feels like it is something outside the house not inside.

I so need it to get fixed.  Desperately need it to stop breaking down.

For now it is working....but the day is still young!

Outside of this terrifically frustrating technology dilemma, my boy Harry had a new Personal Record in his 5K Cross Country meet this morning.  He ran 3.1 miles in 23:39 minutes!  It is grandpa time for cross country runners, but a minute and 40 seconds faster than his best previous 5K.  I was so proud of him! 

It was his last meet of the season, which is kind of sad because those meets are really fun.  On the plus side, though that means more sleep!!!  Yea for sleep!

Got a few fun things coming up over the weekend - can't wait to take pictures and share them with you!  For today, I will just leave you with this picture of my boy running his heart out! 

And last, but most certainly not least, my girlfriend Liz is walking in the 3 Day 60 Mile walk in Tampa Florida.  It was raining on them this morning.  I just hope she has an incredible experience over the next three days and that her arches hold up and her hearts gets filled to overflowing the the emotion of the 3 Day!  Walk on, Sister!  Thanks for giving of your time and toenails to this exceptional cause!!  I am with you in spirit!! 

I hope your Friday is hovering at about 60% capacity so that all your data is free flowing and moving at lightening speed!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Priorities

As is perfectly normal for this time of year, my Dad kicked off preparations for our traditional family Thanksgiving holiday with an email.  He laid out the plans for the weekend, requested an RSVP for a head count and also asked for any food and entertainment suggestions.

I RSVP'd immediately, gave him my food requests (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy) and  volunteered to be the Games Committee Chairperson.  I did tell him that I would need a staff to assist me.  I like having a staff.

The emails started flying from the family about all their necessary food items:  Can Judy bring the sweet potato casserole?  Her recipe is delicious.  Alexander wants me to make the Trifle!  As long as their are rolls we are good.  Lots of conversation about the food.  And that is rightly so, it IS the eating holiday championship and food is critical. 

Then there were entertainment emails flying around...there was a request for native tribal dancers, llama rides, cow races, etc.  I think it even included my mother sewing tribal loin cloths into Thanksgiving napkins.  It was crazy. 

But let's get back to my  I spent a good part of yesterday coming up with some ideas for a Thanksgiving Olympics event.  I sent out an email to the family with the following suggested games, just to get the excitement ramped up in anticipation of Thanksgiving day:

Apple Relay (Supplies needed: Apples) Two even numbered teams. Hold apple under your chin; pass to the next person's chin. First to pass five apples wins.  Old school, but fun.

Dessert is Ready (Supplies needed: Cookie Sheets; Cookie Dough) Played in pairs. One holds a cookie sheet the other person is armed with partially thawed cookie dough. You have to throw (distance depends on age) the cookie dough up in the air and the cookie tray holder has to catch it on the tray. First team to land three cookies wins.

Turkey Trot (Supplies needed: Orange balloons; feather dusters; turkey headdress or partial costume) Two even numbered teams. Hold a feather duster between your legs (feathers out the back end) and a balloon under both arms and you have to race a short distance and back. Pass balloons, feather duster and costume to next person. Must come up with some kind of red, bulbous turkey wattle (red balloon filled with sand or a little water?) that the kids have to wear on their face.

Pumpkin Puzzle (Supplies needed: Four real pumpkins, cut into about 15 pieces) Four teams.  Team must reassemble and put the cut up pumpkin back together. Hold it together with their hands.

Hula Hoop Pass (Supplies needed: Two Hula Hoops) Two teams. Form a long line; holding hands. The hula hoop has to be passed down the line, without letting go of each others hands. You have to step through, wiggle, to get it moved to the next person.

Discus: (Supplies needed: Frisbees; Target; bulls eye painted on the ground?) Individual game. Accuracy throwing Frisbee closest to the target.

Corn Killer: (Supplies needed: Chalk; Corn on the Cob) Outline several bodies on the blacktop in chalk. Kids have to stand on the edge of the blacktop and toss corn in the cobs (with husk and all) and try and land them completely inside a body outline. NO PIECE of the corn on the cob can be touching the chalk outline. I just made that game up in my head. Isn't that sick and twisted? Let's come up with a different name besides, Corn Killer, shall we?

Do you know what I heard back from my family?

****crickets chirping****
****dead silence****

Hmmm.....wonder what they are trying to tell me?  Maybe they just want to watch football all day??  Maybe a two hand touch football game is enough excitement for the Thanksgiving holiday??  Maybe, the Corn Killer game made them second guess any relation to me? 

I don't know.
I am going to ponder that today. 

Also, please pray for me.  My AT&T service keeps going out intermittently and often.  Three days in a row.  That means I have wasted approximately 67 minutes of my life dialing into the AT&T 1-800 number before I get to talk to a real live human.   I explained to the guy on the phone that an AT&T technician had been out to our house on Tuesday afternoon and told me our modem profile was set at 32, which was too high, forcing our broadband capacity to 100%, which was why no data could get through and the whole system just shut down.  The technician yesterday was able to reset it over the phone.  It worked for about 12 hours, but started doing exactly the same thing yesterday afternoon about 5:00.  The guy I reached on the phone last night didn't know anything about resetting profiles and capacity on bandwidths, he thought it was the modem.  I explained to him that the technician the day before had checked out the modem and it was fine.  New guys said it really sounded like an equipment problem to him and that AT&T could send me a new modem through the mail.  It would arrive by Monday.  So that is one, two, three, four days without phone, cable or Internet.  I told him that was unacceptable.  I work from home and need Internet...and besides....the World Series in on this weekend.  I asked if they could send a technician back over today to bring me a modem.  He said they might charge me $149 since I was refusing to get equipment shipped through the mail.  I told him he was nuts and if he could join me for Thanksgiving in Tennessee that I might have a job for him.  He could be the perfect model for my body outlines.  Just saying.

Anyway, I hope I can keep my manners about me when the always nice technician arrives today sometime between 8 and 12.  If he hands me a bill for $149 or does not have a replacement modem in his truck, all bets are off!

Hope your Thursday is outstanding!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

World Series, Pumpkin Hairballs and Putt Putt

Hey folks!  What did you think of the title for this blog?  It's a little odd, but pretty much covers the weekend we had around here! 

Big news...Hubby and Harold got to go to Arlington to see the Texas Rangers take on the St. Louis Cardinals for Game 4 of the World Series.  Harry's best buddy, RV (who is also a major Cardinals fan) and Hubby's nephew, AC lived a sportsman's dream on Sunday.  First they went to see the Dallas Cowboys game in the afternoon and then walked across the parking lot to The Ballpark in Arlington to catch the World Series.  What a thrill!  Here are some pictures from their trip.

They tried to hit Krystals, but found out it was out of business.  Sad boys all around. They made do with Taco Cabana.
First stop - Cowboy Stadium! 

Father and Son.
AC, Harold and RV - all with big smiles!
Flame throwing introductions.

The monster television.  It is GIANORMOUS!
Berkman and Hamilton do the pre-game coin toss.

 In the third quarter, they left the Cowboys game, walked across the parking lot to Ranger Stadium.
Beautiful stadium.
Even prettier with a World Series banner hanging on it. Second year in a row that the Rangers have made it to the Series.  Let's hope they can bring home their first Championship this year.

It was a gorgeous day for baseball and the place was backed.
Albert taking batting practice.  We are on a first name basis, me and Albert.  Actually, I just don't want to have to try and spell his last name.
Albert and Berkman - the big boys for the Cardinals.

George W. threw out the first pitch.

Both teams are ready!
Fans are ready!

The boys are ready!  Harry looks like he is ready to spit or something.  Must be a boys trip thing

On this night, the Rangers win!  It was a great game, with terrific pitching!

Great time had by all!  It was an awesome game and well worth getting home at 1:30 in the morning and still having to go to school the next day. 

Well, the little brothers were not going to be outdone and me and Peggy made sure they had a Funday Sunday as we like to call it around here.  First we took them to Jumpstreet for some intense Trampoline Dodgeball.  They were sweaty messes.

Then we came home and carved a pumpkin for our friends "40th" birthday celebration.  All of her friends were putting cat pumpkins in her yard.  How about this one?

Cat Coughing Up a Hairball!  Isn't that gross?  It was real hair too!  Peggy's idea and it was a classic.
Then it was downtown for some Home Slice Pizza.  Delicious!

A trip to the Costume Store where there were so many costumes it boggles the mind. 

Then some Putt-Putt! 
Who doesn't love Putt-Putt?  Moms dominated the little boys, but they didn't really care.  It was a beautiful day and it went by so fast.

All is well on the home front.  Things are getting back to normal.  I have been crafting, making Christmas trees for my Lakeside visit, went back to the gym after a long hiatus, the internet has been out again and I am on a first name basis with my local AT&T repairman Tony.  Not sure what jinx we have on our house, but we have some seriously bad mojo with cable/internet/phone, etc.  I think Tony may have fixed it yesterday.  It did mean we had to listen to Game 5 of the World Series on the radio, but truth be told, that was kinda fun!  And not having internet for 24 hours meant I couldn't work.  That was insanely frustrating, but also awesome.  I cooked, cleaned, went to the gym, finished the laundry and even read for a while.  It was a good thing!

I hope your day was equally productive and awesome! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Celebrations Time....Come On!

I have a couple of things to celebrate with you today:

1)  Friendship.  Several weeks ago, The Pioneer Woman website had a give away and to enter you had to leave a comment on her website with what meal you were craving.  Pioneer Woman is awesome that way...she loves to talk about food and so do I.  Anyway, I was having a major hankering for a bowl of my mom's navy beans and ham with a big fat hunk of cornbread, so that was my entry that day.  I shared my craving information with Beth later that day.  Yeah, we talk about all kinds of mundane stuff like that, what's it to you???  Sometimes we start sentences with...."because you have to know every single thing that is happening in my world.....".  It's what we do.  Anyway, fast forward to Tuesday night about 5:00 and I find Beth at my front door with a big bowl of navy beans and ham and a huge piece of cornbread.  She also made cabbage casserole and had a big serving of that for me too!   I melted, I swooned, I tasted, I moaned.  It was just like my mom's version.  Delicious.  In fact, after a few minutes I told Beth she had to leave so I could get serious with that bowl and crumble up my cornbread in it and dig in.  She laughed.  It really was the highest compliment I could give her!  And when I tell you, that bowl of beans just hit the spot, I mean it hit the spot.  Not only because it was delicious, but because it was delivered by my friend, who was doing something nice for me just because.  I love just because.  Friends are the best and I am telling you I have got some real winners!  Thank you Beth!!

2)  My Blog hit 15,000 views today!  What???  I know!  It was just April this year when it hit 10,000.  This thing is on fire!  Spanning the globe at lightening speed.  No.  Not really.  In fact, the history feature can show you what some people have "googled" when they land on your blog.  Here are some interesting ones:  "hobo playing piano"; "cody rhodes butt"; "pantyhose kids".   I must have some awesome topics posted to get that kind of traffic sent my way!  Thanks Google!  I am sure the poor fools that land on Simply Writing Out Loud are not quite sure how they got here!  Not sure what they were hoping to find when they googled cody rhodes butt, but welcome!

3) I just ordered three mini-pendant lights to replace the FEROCIOUSLY NASTY fluorescent box over my kitchen island.  I am so happy!  Can't wait to get them installed!  Before and after pictures will be posted!

4)  My proposal is wrapping up, tying up loose ends, finalizing this, finalizing that...but the brunt of the work is over!  Hurray!!!  Feels like a new lease on life!

5)  I got to walk this morning. It was glorious!  It was chilly!  Chilly, I tell you!  I talked poor Martha's ear flat off.  We had a lot of catching up to do.

6)  Harry's team ran a XC meet today. The Varsity Boys and JV Boys both got first place!  Exciting!

That's all I have on the celebratory front!  But those are some nice things to celebrate, right? 

I'm going to go hang some Halloween bats!  Hope you do something fun today and have many things to celebrate yourself!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

Things finally seem to be slowing back down to normal for me!  It has been a rough couple of weeks!  I worked 49 hours last week!  That is NOT the normal 20 that I usually work!  Not even close!

Last Friday topped it all...proposal inputs were all due by close of business, my sweet tech guys came up with several new tasks for me to complete during the Friday morning stand up call (small things like reformat 42 teaming agreements, chase down written permission to use graphics from 12 of our suppliers, send out a new RFP...AAAHHHHHH!  Hair on fire, stomach in knots, stressed to the max!)  That was just my work life.  On the mommy front, Chip had Field Day up at school from 12 - 2:30 and I signed up to bring snacks and Harry had a cross-country meet that started at 5:00 on Friday afternoon.  Add in one monumental complication that my damn internet went out.  Phone line dead.  I was a basket case on the verge of tears. 

However, my boss and co-workers are the cream of the crop and they swooped in and saved the day for me.  And then the internet came back on at 3:00 p.m. and then we got an extension for the due date of the proposal. 

Then I collapsed into an exhausted heap.  Whew!  

NOTE:  I have a lot to go over, so you might want to take a quick bathroom break, grab a fresh cup of coffee and a snack before you start reading this novel!

So, I made it to Field Day.  Would not have missed it.  One of the best days of school. 

Chip in the zone.  Total concentration!

He has mad skills at horseshoes!
Then there was the pillow fight station.  Please note that you are supposed to have your feet crisscrossed under the pole.

Chip's girl opponent had her feet firmly planted on the ground and that pillow planted firmly upside his head.  He walked by me after he fell and said "She cheated."  Made me laugh.  I think the boys like falling anyway.

More falling at the tug-a-war station.  This time the girls let the boys start pulling and then they all let go!  TIMBER!!!  It was a spectacularly beautiful afternoon and even though I showed up stressed to the max, talking on my cell phone to my boss and then AT&T, by the time it was over I was in a much better place.

Me and Chip cut out of school about 30 minutes early and hit the Sonic drink Happy Hour. 

That's better.

With just a couple of hours to work until I had to go to Harry's XC meet, I was a mad woman.  I bet I sent 50 emails in those couple of hours, but things were in pretty good shape on the proposal front thanks to my fine co-workers jumping in.

I also need to mention that my friends were also awesome on my worst day ever!  Phone calls, texts, Starbucks and a big fat piece of homemade carrot cake will always help take away the stress!  I am a blessed girl indeed!

Next up, I got to see my big boy run in a Friday Night Flights event.  It was very interesting.  Hard to keep up with, but interesting.
Harry said he felt strong and he sure looks determined here at the finish doesn't he?

Don't got to sleep Harry, you are almost to the finish line!!! 

Saturday, up early for another proposal teleconference call...but all they really said was "We got the extension, let's take the rest of the weekend off!"   YAY!!!!   Best teleconference EVER!

We had a great day on Saturday.   Chip had a flag football game at 12:00 and then a baseball game at 4:00.  I got a new zoom lens for my camera last week because my old one wasn't working very well.  I am even closer to the action now!

Touchdown Patriots!!!  Chip quarterbacked the entire game and the Patriots pulled out a close one 20 - 19!  Woo Hoo! 
Brothers.  Love them.


Fabulous weather.  Great fun taking pictures.  Zoom in on one of these and see Chip's tongue sticking out.  That, my friends is total concentration!  The Bandits won big!   Next weekend is the end of season tournament and Fall Ball is over.  Seems like it just started.

Now for some real randomness....I told you it was going to be a long one.
This was my breakfast on Saturday morning.  Made me think of that giant bowl of fruit and stuff Granny ate at the Lake!  It was delicious!

Then me and Chip tried out Yoga. 


Yoga is hard.

Made even more difficult by the nine year old, laughing, farting, hyena sitting on the floor next to me.  We were both in hysterics at first with all the deep breathing going on.  Then my muscles started burning, arms were shaking, legs aching and it wasn't so funny any more.  Then every time they would go back to the same pose, Chip would say "We already did that one, I am not doing it again."  

I need to give it another go, when I am alone.  The only pose I for sure know that I nailed was the mountain pose...

Basic, I know.  But you have to start somewhere, people!

We spent Sunday relaxing around the house.  Did a little homework.  Did a little housework.  And we drug out all the Halloween decorations.

Outside we blew up Mr. Pumpkin.

Strategically placed some skeleton bones.  I spray painted some branches to hang bats from.  No picture yet, because I need to get some fishing line to hang the bats first. 
Scary tree in the house!

Candy bucket already filled by the door!  Please ask me if it was a mistake to already have bite size pieces of chocolate readily available with still two weeks remaining until Halloween.  

The answer is yes.  Yes it is a mistake.

So, as I was unpacking my decorations I started thinking about my mom.  So much of my stuff has her touch on it.
See these three and mom both made a set at a craft class many, many, many moons ago.  Aren't they cute?  I love them.

We also went to a craft class to make a scarecrow.  He is just precious in person.  Made with two empty 20 oz. coke bottles.  Ingenious.

My mom made this witch out of a clorox bottle.  Probably my most favorite of all my Halloween decorations.

And she also made this scarecrow head.  She has mad crafting skills. 

I made a slew of these spiders out of styrofoam balls and pipe cleaners several years ago.  I always scare myself the first couple of days after I put them out.  They are all over the house and take you by surprise when you glance out of the corner of your eye and see them hanging on something.  YIKES!

My mom made this wall hanging too!   I had the most compelling desire Sunday afternoon to find a craft class immediately! 

Instead, I went on Pinterest and found a really cute idea that wouldn't take me long or require many supplies.  Check it out...

Styrofoam cones and yarn....

Make super cute candy corn decorations for my table.  I burnt the *&^% out of my finger with the hot glue gun, but sometimes you just have to risk an injury when it is time to be creative!  I live so dangerously.

The cute candy corn inspired me to look for something similar for my Lakeside craft for next month.  Here is what we are going to make:

Aren't they cute!  Can't wait to see what versions my friends at Lakeside come up with!  

So, I think that gets you caught up around here.  The temperature has taken a massive dip down into the 70s for today!  It is gorgeous outside!    Boys were at the dentist early this cavities.  Breakfast at Chic-Fil-A.  It is going to be a good day! 

Congrats to those of you who made it through this long winded post!  Hope it wasn't too painful!   I should be back to something a little more regular for the next couple of weeks anyway!

Have an awesome day!