Monday, December 13, 2010

Aaarrrrgggg!

So this weekend Natalie and I decided to go to Scruby's for dinner. It's been a while since we've been there and we didn't feel like cooking. So we go there, get our eat on, and when we get done it's raining outside. And it wasn't the normal South Florida rain. It was cold rain because a strong front is passing, it's actually suppose to drop down to freezing tonight for the first time since I've lived here.

So since we had the baby with us I decided to bring up the car. Just as I'm loading the stroller in the car I hear a crunch and I look up and some moron had backed their suv into our new car. As if I wasn't pissed off enough these idiots looked like they were going to leave. I ran up to the passenger window and had the guy get out and he started running his mouth telling me I shouldn't be parked there and it's just a little dent that could push right out. I didn't feel like dealing with his attitude and I didn't feel like letting this go so I called the police out (I've learned from my friend that being the nice guy and trying to settle without police only ends in you getting screwed over every time). This only got the guy more pissed off. He started mouthing off to Natalie about it and I told him "if you don't like it maybe you should watch where the hell you're driving". He continued to mouth off so I told him to just shut his mouth and get away from us. So this idiot goes by the entrance of the restaurant and starts yelling all ghetto about "let it out brother, you got something to say let it out." He kept going and going and I just ignored him and stood there in the cold rain in short sleeves trying to avoid him. Funny thing is Natalie got out of the car for a second and said "he's trying to antagonize you and you work for the government. We don't need problems so just ignore him." Once she said the words "You work for the government" he finally shut up.

So the cops come out and I tell them what happened. They said yeah it's not a parking spot but they understand (I never turned the car off, I was there the whole time "loading passengers"). They said he's at fault, he backed into me. If he had hit a child would he have blamed them for being there? Watch where you're backing up, duh! Well this clown wasn't getting it and he even tried to interrupt me while the cop was talking to me so I turned to him and said "he's talking to me". So the cops tell me to wait in my car for the next 45 minutes when they try to explain to this moron that he is in the wrong. On top of that this guy was lying that he was the driver when his wife was. The cops said she has a license so they don't know why he was lying (maybe she had a beer or two at dinner). I could careless though because she was quiet and he was the idiot running his mouth so if he wants to take the blame let him.

So to sum it all up, the cops estimate the damage at 200 bucks. Florida is a no fault state but the cops still put him at fault so he might even get a ticket, I can check online next week. All this means is that I now have to pay to fix my car, send my claim to my insurance, and then they have to fight his insurance to get the money back. And the best part is, he has the cheapest, worst insurance they have to offer down here. Fun stuff eh?

I'm so sick of people's mentality down here. If I backed into someone I would have been apologizing up a storm not acting like a complete ignorant, loudmouth, jerk. There is no accountability for one's actions. They drive like maniacs and they don't care about the lives or property of others. On top of that they think "the world owes the something". Well I'm glad I fought back and didn't let this one go. I work hard for my stuff and I don't need people destroying it and telling me it's not big deal. Now his insurance can pay for it, this accident can go on his record, and hopefully he'll get a ticket as well. If he doesn't like law and order, maybe he should exit America and find a place that suits him a little better.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Weekend With The Chalupa

So last week Natalie had to go to the New York area for four days for work. I got to play babysitter all weekend, just me and the Chalupa from Friday-Monday.

I had a fun time with my little chubbo but she is quite a demanding little baby. We have definitely spoiled her. The first night I had a hard time getting her to sleep. Took me 25 minutes to get her to sleep. She was screaming and yelling in my face. I think the problem is normally when she gets that way instead of having me take care of it Natalie always takes her. So Natalie wasn't there to take her. But once I got her to sleep she was fine.

Saturday she got up nice and early for me. She kept me busy all day. The only time I could find to take a shower, clean up some dishes, do some laundry, etc, was the time when she had her naps. I would give her a 1/2 - 1 hour nap after each bottle and then get going on some chores. Other than that she wouldn't let me put her down. So after spending the morning in the yard I decided to take her out to Flamingo Gardens. Adri loves the gardens. She stares at all the flowers, especially the red ones. Her favorite color right now is red so I had to stop at all the red flowers for her. Of course she was turning everyone's heads there at the park and everyone wanted to take a look at her. I took her inside the aviary for the first time and we walked right up to all the injured birds (it's a sanctuary). I bought her a big stuffed bullfrog, Jeremiah, he has a tag with a name on his leg, and she loves Jeremiah. He has something inside him that rolls and makes a croaking noise when he gets moved. Right now Jeremiah is her favorite stuffed animal and she immediately grabbed him and started shaking him and sucking on his face. After we left there we went to the nursery next store and got a plumeria and then went home where we spent the rest of the afternoon in the yard.

I learned something Saturday about my Chalupa, and even Natalie learned something from it. Adri loves being outside. She would get cranky on the couch but if I took her outside she would just sit there forever on my lap looking around. And she loves it when I walk her around the yard and show her the flowers. The kid gets really mellow and she's so easy to deal with. Saturday night she was easy to put to sleep. No fussing, no tears, nothing. Just went right to sleep. Sunday and Monday were the same thing.

Anyways I proved that weekend that I'm not an idiot and I can take care of a baby for a weekend. I think it was a good weekend for me and the Chalupa because I was the only one there for her. She couldn't cry for anyone else, she only had me. She got used to that really quick and she has been a lot different with me since then. Not like I didn't give my baby attention before, but after having no one but me all weekend she just acts different. I thought she would be a little harder to take care of but it didn't seem to effect her that Natalie was gone. I don't think she was really aware of it. She did try to grab the phone when Natalie called, and she would get squawky and excited, but she didn't have any tantrums and give me hell over it.

And since then, Natalie learned that she can learn something from me. She now takes the baby outside more. Saturday she even setup a blanket on the yard and let Adriana play with her new friend, Jeremiah.

Adri loves her bouncy chair

My little monkey



Naptime for Chalupa



Adri checking out her new friend Jeremiah










Adri, Jeremiah, and Natalie having a picnic Saturday morning by the canal

Home Projects

So I've been very busy working on the house this summer. As posted in a previous blog, when my dad came out here we did ceiling fans on the patio. I hadn't posted a picture of our work so here it is. The ceiling fans are a big hit. Makes it so much more enjoyable eating outside with all three of those running.



In the last month or so I've been really busy. Not even a messed up finger can slow me down. I still don't have complete feeling back in my butchered finger so it makes working on certain things a little hard. But I still get out an do my work.

We bought a new crib for Adri. She wasn't liking being in the bassinet anymore, too small. So I spend a couple hours one afternoon putting together her new crib. She loves it and she is sleeping much better at night now.

Working on the baby's crib

Adri enjoying a nap in her new crib


A much bigger project is I have been slowly but surely removing the evil ficus hedge from the side of my house, behind my pool, between me and the neighbors. It took me five weekends with a gas pruner to knock it down from 12 feet to 3 feet. All in all there are about 18-20 different trees making up this hedge. I recently read a blog that states ficus make the worst hedges out there. They use ficus because they are cheap and grow fast, but they are the most expensive in the long run due to maintenance or the cost associated with tearing them out. Anyways I've got it down pretty short so now I just need a chainsaw to finish it up. I'm going to have to dig out the stump and cut the roots with a chainsaw. Fun stuff. Once that is done I am going to put some lobster claw heliconias, another variety of heliconias, and peace lilies as my hedge. Will look so much better, tropical, and will take so much less maintenance. I figure it's going to take another 15-20 hours to complete the tear out. Still a lot of work to go, but the neighbors are already happy to see it knocked down short, they hate it as much as I do.




As if that wasn't keeping me busy enough my sprinkler pump took a dive about six weeks ago. Lucky for me it died at a time when it was raining a lot, about 5 inches in a week. It has taken several trips to Home Depot to get this fixed because their employees are morons and don't know what they are saying. My pump was so badly rusted I had to use a mallet to take it apart so I could get my electrical out of it. And of course the hardest part of working on this pump was dealing with the fact that I didn't have complete feeling back in my finger. Makes it so much harder to do this kind of work.

After replacing the pump and getting it primed my pressure was good, the best it's ever been and my yard got dumped with 18,000 gallons of water. I was pretty excited about the results and how much money I saved doing it myself. Four hours later I turned it on again and it worked so I thought it was complete. Wrong. The next morning the pump had lost it's prime. So I replaced some of my suction line as well and my foot valve and check valves in the canal. The check valve had been on land previously which is not correct and the pipe was shoved really low into the canal and held there by cheap twine. I put the pipe about 7 feet into the canal and I put a floating goose over it so it floats 15 inches below the water line.

After doing things the right way I still wasn't able to get my pump to hold prime so I was getting very frustrated. The worst part is that the line is not pressurized and the leak was very slow so it makes it hard to find the problem. I have to fix one thing, prime it up, and wait a day to see if it works. I can't just do a repair and test so it's very time consuming. I had to do a lot of trenching looking for air leaks and I was starting to think I would never find the leak. The only leaks I could find were on the feeder lines, not the suction line so that wouldn't make any sense of why it would lose prime. I actually found a pretty big one of the feeder line last Wednesday and I fixed it on Friday. Well Friday night I finally found the problem. I dug up about 8-9 feet from the canal and instead of using normal schedule 40 pvc they had s&w pipe with the bells on the end and the bell was cracked, the glue was bad, and it was leaking water and air. I fixed that and sure enough the next day the prime had held. What a relief. So after a good 15-20 hours of work, my irrigation is finally all fixed up.

My old sprinkler pump. This thing was beat up.



The new pump

Old section of suction pipe

New and improved section of suction pipe

New foot valve on top and old foot valve on bottom. As you can see my new foot valve is much bigger and the check valve is only a little over a foot away from it so it will be underwater as well.

Close up of the new foot valve

Bugs

So normally when people see bugs they don't think of that as a good thing. Well some of my plants have been infested with scale insects, mealy bugs, and aphids. I was going to buy a bunch of ladybugs and let them go in my yard but I don't think I'll have to do that now.

I noticed this bug in my yard and I am so good with Google I was able to figure out what it was in less than 10 minutes. My yard has also been invaded with assassin bugs. That is mostly good but has some bad too. Assassin bugs are hungry predators that eat other bugs, they don't discriminate so they will eat ladybugs as well. The bad thing is they won't eat the scale insects so I'm going to  need some lady bugs to accomplish that task and they'll probably get eaten by the assassin bugs. Also assassin bugs are true bugs unlike the ladybug. Assassin Bugs kill their prey, inject it, disintegrate it, and suck out the juice. So needless to say if they bite you you're muscle and fat tissue in that area will get messed up and it hurts really bad for a couple days.

Natalie finds it amusing that I get so excited over bug discoveries but really, what better way to control my yard? No pesticides required. Let nature take care of itself the way it should be.

My Assassin Bug

Hundreds of aphids larvae and my Assassin Bug getting ready to ambush them

My Assassin Bug


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This Is So Cool. My Whole Family Needs This

So today I downloaded probably the coolest application of all time on my iPhone. It's called Tango and it does live video streaming just like a webcam only 100 times easier to setup. My 5 year old niece could figure out how to use this thing, it's that simple. Below is a picture. Natalie called me and that is what I'm seeing on my phone, Adri smiling at me. In the left corner is what she sees, the freeway from my office. If I had an iPhone4 instead of the 3GS we could both be seeing each other's faces but I don't and we don't have money to get new phones right now. So until the next iPhone comes out we'll have to view one person at a time. It's still a way cool app though. Wherever I am at I can show her what I'm seeing. Plus all the sound goes to speaker phone. Where is the "like button"?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Taking The Baby Out

So last weekend I had a 3 day weekend. In between the long hours working projects around the house we were able to have a BBQ Saturday for my birthday, take the baby for a walk on Sunday night, and go to the beach on Monday.

Sitting around the house Sunday afternoon





Diaper baby


Sunday evening we decided to take the baby for a walk to a park about 3/4 mile away from our house. We brought the stroller but I mostly carried her the whole way until we got back into our neighborhood. I used the gps on my phone and we walked almost 2 full miles. Anyways there is a nice park called Orchid Park. It's open space when you first go in and there are BBQs and it's really nice. Then if you cross a bridge they have a boardwalk that goes through a cypress forest. It was pretty cool. We got to one part in the trail where I told Natalie that 17 teens got pregnant there last year, joking of course. Well not even 20 seconds later we found evidence of the one teen that didn't get pregnant. Yeah, right on the trail was their used rubber and some napkins. So gross. Other than that the walk was nice though. Adriana loved the walk and she was looking around everywhere. She fell asleep while we were walking down Coral Springs Dr so I put her in her stroller and she was down for the count.
Bridge in Orchid Park


Me and my lil chubbo


Monday's trip to the beach. Adriana's favorite part was when I put her feet in the sand and covered them. She was looking down wondering where they went. Eventually she looked upset so I pulled her up and had her jump on the sand pile and smash it down. She thought it was funny.

I think this picture is so funny. I call it her Royalty Picture. She looks like the queen in Alice And Wonderland when she screamed "off with her head"!

Checking out the wave action













Smart baby. Already knows don't turn your back on the water.

Swimming time

All wrapped up like a taquito

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My August: Tampa/St.Petersburg, Kidney Stone, Chalupa's Photo Shoot, etc...

Well it's been a long time since I've blogged so here is a long one. We've been busy this month. First, actually still in July, we took Chalupa(Adri's nickname) to Butterfly World. She pretty much slept through the entire trip.

Then we decided to take her for her first swim when she was about six weeks old. She loved the water. I have the pictures to prove it.

August second I had a work trip to Tampa for 2 weeks. The guy that worked up there quit and they were looking for volunteers to work the site. I of course volunteered. They pay me per diem everyday so I can basically eat for free, I don't have to run my ac for two weeks, no dishes, closer to the office, and it's away from South Florida. So who wouldn't want to go? So the week before was really busy preparing to be gone for so long. I, of course, took Natalie and Adriana with me to Tampa. Adri actually did pretty good on the drive up. She slept the whole way up except for when we stopped in Punta Gorda. We fed her and went to change her diaper. It took three diapers to finally get her changed because she kept pooping while we tried to change her. After that she slept the rest of the way until 2 minutes before we got to the hotel.

We stayed in St Petersburg but I worked in Tampa, just 15 minutes away across the bridge. The office was pretty cool. It's got a nice white sand beach behind it and a park next to it. It's in a very wooded area, so wooded that in the next lot you cant even see the big buildings through the forest. A lot of the neighborhoods were like that around there too. Big old homes from the early 1900s with huge live oaks in their yards stretching out across the streets.

So the first day we were there, after work, we went to the St Petersburg Pier. They have a restaurant there called "The Columbia". I always thought it was Colombian food but it's actually Cuban and it's named after the boat the family came over on. The first restaurant opened in Ybor City in 1905. They have really good food there and it's in the top 50 icon restaurants in the states. After we left we went to the store to pick up some stuff and it was thundering really bad. So we were sitting at a stop light and after a bright flash everything went black. I guess the lightning hit the pole next to us because it blew up and half the block lost power.

Tuesday we decided to go check out the first Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. For the white folk it's pronounced E-boar or E-bore, not Yarbor. Back in the day this was the cigar capital of the world. Well this restaurant is even better than the one at the pier, this is the original one from 1905. Even though they are all owned by the same family the food was better at this one. So after dinner we walked around the streets of Ybor City. Around the restaurant is like the "Bourbon Street" of Tampa. At this time of the day the streets were empty, this block gets busy at night. I thought it was a cool area because the buildings are all old, the streets were brick, and they even had a street car.

Thursday is when the fun started. I came home from work in a lot of pain. I actually started not feeling good around noon. So finally around 4:30ish I told Natalie that if it doesn't get any better I'm going to have to go to the hospital. Natalie of course goes into panic mode and doesn't even finish with Adri's bath. We thought it was my appendix at the time so Natalie was driving all Nascar to get to the hospital. And speaking of Nascar, when we finally got there this place was full of the kind of rednecks that make us good rednecks look bad. It took them an hour to finally hook up the IV after they put it in my arm, it took them 90 minutes to get me a CT scan, and worst of all it took them 2 hours to get me medicine. I couldn't lay there and I had to get up and they started yelling at me that I'm messing up my IV. I told them get some some meds then because I am in pain. They of course ignored me. They left me in the room and then came back complaining because I'm not quiet enough while it feels like my back is broken. That's when I got into it with this stupid nurse and told her to get me some meds or I'm sending Natalie to go get my norco. She said she won't let it in the hospital so I told her I'll walk out then because they can't just leave me like that. This nurse really pissed me off. Anyways by the time they got me the meds the pain had passed. How convenient.

So finally I find out that I have a pretty big kidney stone. 8mm to be exact. Up to 5mm will pass on it's own, after that it's questionable. I had about a 15% chance of passing this thing on my own. So they gave me a prescription and sent me home. We finally left there at 9:30 and experienced the fun of trying to find a pharmacy that is open 24 hours in that town. We saw a CVS that said open 24 hours but once we got inside guess what? Yeah, the pharmacy was closed. By the time we finally got home it was after midnight.

The next couple days after that were a blur. I laid around in pain on meds and slept round the clock. Friday and Saturday we didn't even leave the room. Sunday we finally decided to get out and check out a park called Boyd Hill. It's got 3.5 miles of trails and it looks like a really cool park. Well it was hot, the heat index was nearly 110, thunderstorms were close by and I still wasn't feeling so great. Needless to say we only lasted about 20 minutes on the trail. I guess we'll have to go back when it's cooler. We wanted to go to an old Spanish fort up there too, but again, wasn't feeling up to it.

The rest of the week we didn't do all that much but the last night we were there we found a really good restaurant called Red Mesa. I got this steak called Puntas De Filet Mignon. Not only was it something totally original but it was awesome. I liked it so much I made it myself with my new and improved recipe when I got home. It's a filet wrapped in bacon with chipotle sauce, onions, bellpepper, olive oil, and jalepenos. I made my own sauce and it turned out really good.

On the way home we stopped at the Skyway Bridge and took a few pictures. Then we drove down to Ft Meyers and had some food at Sonny's. Adri didn't do so good on the way home. Not even 5 minutes after we got on Alligator Alley she started screaming her head off. It was a fun last 90 minutes of our drive.

The Saturday after we got back we did Adri's two month photo shoot. Then we decided to take Adri to Flamingo Gardens and take some more pictures. We left too late in the day so we got there only 35 minutes before closing. So we didn't have long to walk around but we got a few good pictures. We actually had to run out before closing because when we got there it was hot and sunny but things got ugly really quick and we ran out just before a really bad thunderstorm hit(we got 2.25 inches of rain at my house in 45 minutes).

Then last week was a busy one. The first three days of the week after work I had doctor appointments. Monday I had to go to the doctor and then the hospital for xrays. They found the stone so Tuesday after my follow up appointment I had to go back to the hospital for another xray, a ekg, and they send me to quest for bloodwork. Then on Wednesday I finally got this stone surgically removed. They put me to sleep on bed with this ball that looks like the death star from Star Wars next to it. It has a piece indented just like the death star and that area is full of gel. They blasted me with soundwaves and pulverised the kidney stone. They want me to go back in two weeks for another CT scan to make sure it's gone even though I know it's gone and I've seen the evidence. The surgery went good and the only real side effects were a sore throat and slightly sore hip. I couldn't even eat a bread roll afterwards. After ten minutes of chewing on it, not producing saliva, and unable to swallow, I had to wash it down with a cup of water. I gave up and told Natalie to go get me a pint of Ice Cream.

This last weekend I got back to my yardwork and I'm convinced that my neighbor has put a curse on my machete. First I was cutting back his hedge and a stick hit me in the eye. When I use the gas pruner I wear safety glasses but I wasn't expecting an accident with the machete. So my eye was burning and I couldn't see and I had to ice it for a good 20 minutes.

So then I get back to work and I had to cut down one of my old banana plants. Banana's produce one, some two, bunches of bananas and then you have to cut it down. So I was using the saw on the back side of my machete to cut it down. Banana plants aren't trees, they are herbs and the stock is made of of layers and layers of leaves so it's not that hard to cut. Well normally my hand would go inside of the handle on the machete, if I'm using the blade so if using like that you have to be pretty stupid to get hurt. But since I was using the saw side my hand was on the outside of the handle. My hand slipped and all I remember is my hand feeling really hot. I thought I just bruised it but when I took off my glove there was blood gushing everywhere. So I ran inside and went to the sink to assess the situation. There was blood everywhere so I told Natalie to get me a towel. She didn't know what was going on so she didn't really respond. So I shouted back "get a towel now there is blood everywhere." She came over and saw my finger and started freaking out. She thought I lost my finger. So of course she immediately wants me to go to emergency. I told her to just calm down and let me wait it out a bit, stop the bleeding, and get a better look. So 10-15 minutes later I decided that I would be making my second ER trip in my life in just two weeks. Four and a half hours later I was stitched up (11 stitches) and all better, kind of. I didn't hit the tendons so that's good. Maybe the gloves I was wearing helped keep it from ending up a worse situation. The doctor said I'm lucky to have my finger since a lot of people lose all four fingers with machete accidents here. Of course my accident was different than the normal moron's machete accident since I wasn't swinging the machete and hit myself, I just slipped onto it. Lesson learned, don't use the saw on the machete. Next time I'll use my real saw if I need to saw something and only use the machete when I'm whacking back the bushes.

Anyways here are all my pictures from the month.

Big lunch for a little baby. This was a couple days before we went to Tampa, in July. We met up for lunch at Scrubys.


Butterfly World




Adri wasn't too interested in the really big bugs. They also had beetles and butterflies the size of her head.


Adriana's First Swimming Lesson
Can you see the excitement on her face?





Driving to Tampa. This is when we stopped in Punta Gorda.

Driving over the Skyway Bridge.



Dinner at The Columbia at the Pier. Adri was getting stares from everyone, naturally.


The Columbia in Ybor City


Laying Around The Hotel. I think this was the day after my ER visit. This is what I did for the next three days.

Diaper baby. Her eight week photo shoot, not to be confused with her two month photo shoot.

Attackin that bed



The Park




The Pier



The Skyway Bridge




Flamingo Gardens


It's not me, she hates the hat



Adriana's Two Month Photo Shoot


First Vaccine Shots




Random PicturesNap time

My version of "punta de filet mignon". It was awesome. And no, it's not stirfry.


The Accident