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


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