Friday, December 28, 2012

Jeopardy Tryouts!!!

It is that time of the year again!  I got an email yesterday telling me that they were opening up auditions again.  I have yet to hear any type of result from doing the online auditions, but it is still fun to try to be a part of the show. 
If you want to try out here is the link.  All you have to do is answer 50 assorted humbling questions to test your knowledge.  My test time is 8:00 pm on Jan. 9th.  I know I it makes me a nerd, but I really like the show and would LOVE to be on the show some day!

Monday, December 24, 2012

2. Host a Gingerbread party

Melissa already wrote about our gingerbread party here

I just need to share this picture.  Charlie loved his gingerbread house so much he leaned down and just took a bite out of the top of his house.  He didn't pick it up or anything, he just leaned down, opened his mouth and took a bite.  It was my favorite part of the day!

44 goals down!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

53. Read Plato’s Republic

After about 8 months of working to get through this book I have finally finished it.
The only reason it was on my list is because the first time I read it I had no clue what I was reading.  To compound it even more I was taking a philosophy class at NIU and had to feel even more foolish having to try to discuss this book and to write papers about it. I had such a poor understanding of the content that I depended on Melissa to read portions of the book to me and discuss it as we went along.  It was horrible and embarrassing all at the same time. This time I took my time working through it and have a little better understanding of what is happening in the book.
That is all.
43 goals down!

Monday, December 3, 2012

25. Swim 1 mile

I don't know if I was encouraged or puzzled, but swimming a mile this morning wasn't as tough as I thought it would be.  My morning started with a 5:00 wake up from my alarm clock.  I had everything laid out and ready to go so I was able to be moving in the van by 5:15.  I have learned from past experience that if I don't have it all set up and ready to go, then there is a good chance I will not go.  But go I did.

After changing I got into the pool at 5:31 and began to swim. The pool is 25 yards long which means that I had to swim 1760 ÷ 25 = 70.4 lengths of the pool.  After experiencing the Icebreaker Marathon I knew that being accountable to count to 70 wasn't going to happen.  Instead I broke it down to 4 separate 400 yard portions.  Each time I would swim two lengths (down and back) I would count it as one and would count 8 of those which would equal 400 yards.  I did that four times and then was left with 160 yards to cover at the end.  For that I just did four more trips down and back getting me a total of 1800 yards.  I'm not going to lie.  I was basically doing side strokes for the whole time.  Any other stroke would have tired me out way too much, but I got it done.

When I was done I just hung onto the edge of the pool.  I didn't stop at all during the mile swim and this was my first break.  It was then that I began to realize just how tired my legs were.  During the swim I just focused on having big kicks to get me through the water and wasn't thinking about how they actually felt. 

The recovery wasn't really that bad.  I got out and sat on the bleachers for a few minutes then went and changed and headed home.  Not a bad morning, until....

This happened on my way to school:

I should have known that was going to happen after seeing what locker I had used at the pool.

I was 2 miles into my ride to school when I heard a hissing noise from my front tire.  Upon further inspection I discovered that there was a piece of glass that punctured the tire.  That meant that I had to walk with my bike for the remaining two miles to school.  Luckily for me I left pretty early so I wasn't late, I was just flustered.  Also luckily for me, I have the best wife in the world who stopped by my school and picked up my tire and took it to get a new tube so I could ride home!

I finished with my favorite drink in the whole entire world.  This stuff is amazing!

Tonight at dinner I told Melissa that this may become my new Monday morning routine.  Well minus the flat tire.  I had a good time and really felt confident that I could do it again.  

42 goals down!

Monday, November 19, 2012

52. The Chronicles of Narnia

I just finished reading all 7 books in the Narnia series.  I have had them in my classroom library for a bunch of years and I always wanted to read them, but I never really had the push to pick them up. The students in my class this year have been that push.  They have been amazing readers and have really challenged me to also keep pressing forward in keeping reading.  I have them to thank for getting through these books.

I was also encouraged to read these books because they are on my list of books that I should read.  The more I look at this list the more I realize that it is really screwed up.  It lists The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as one book, but it also lists The Chronicles of Narnia as another book.  The Narnia series is 7 books, not just one.  Oh well.  Now I just need to read one more book off that list and I will be finished with that goal.  I have a couple of the books loaded on my kindle ready to go.  Now I just have to figure out which one will be next.

Also, I just finished my sixty-first book since I started this list.  I am pretty proud and I am beginning to believe that I will be able to make it to 100 by the end of the 1001 days.

I have been so thankful for the website as it has given me a chance to keep track of the books that I have read.  It also helps me by giving me the chance to keep track of books that I want to read in the future. It makes it a lot easier to keep track of books.  For that I am thankful.

Friday, November 9, 2012

55. I passed my comps!

This means very little to most, but I just got this letter in the mail yesterday.

This summer I worked on my comprehensive exam for the program.  This required me doing the equivelant of 3 research papers over a two week timeframe.  It was as fun as it sounds. 

I am officially "intellectually mature!"  That means nothing, but what this letter does mean is that I am now considered to be ABD.  That means that I have finished most of the requirements of the program and now just have to complete my dissertation.  That is no easy task, but the last 3 years haven't really been that easy either.

Getting this letter is an incredible weight off my shoulders.  The other letter that could have come would have told me that I would need to redo the exam and do one to three of those papers again.  I am so happy that I don't have to do that!

This isn't a goal down, but it is a step in that direction.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We love old houses!

This is what I have waiting for me when I get home:

Last night there was a leak in the tub because the overflow pipe wasn't sealed completely.  About an hour after the tub had been drained I went into the kitchen and discovered the kitchen floor was soaked.  I looked up to see a bubble in the ceiling.  I got a bucket and a knife and cut an opening in the ceiling only to have a little more than a gallon of water flow down into that bucket.  I started cutting away at the soaked drywall and ended up with a hole about 3 feet by 2 feet in our kitchen ceiling.

Oh the joy of owning an older home...

Monday, October 8, 2012

New Shelf for the Back Porch

Melissa wanted a shelf.  She showed me a picture from this site and I got to work.  I was fortunate to have a lot of the wood I needed.  Here's what I started with:

Glue.  This is only important to know after hearing what I had to do with it later.

Teach them early!  Charlie sanded a little, then took his hammer and started hitting it pretty good.  After that I had to pull out the nails and scrap wood so he could have something to do.

This is what it looked like when I thought it was done.  If you look at this one and then look at the finished one (or the link from the example) you can tell it is not correct.
I took the whole thing apart and started over.  That glue that I showed earlier, that made it a problem, but I was able to get right.

Done!  The right way.

I am really glad I went back and took it apart and started over.  At first I was really frustrated with myself for not taking more careful notice of what Melissa showed me to what I was actually making, but then I realized that I will be walking by this shelf multiple times each day.  I wanted to do it right and not think about how I messed it up and didn't make it correctly.  I am proud of that shelf and Melissa says it is one of her favorites of the things I have made.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

18. Go to a Cubs game as a family

Hannah: "I can't wait until we get to go to the Cubs game!"
Melissa: "Are you excited that they are playing the Pirates too?"
Hannah: "You mean that we get to go to a Pirates game?"  (to Maddie screaming)  "Maddie, we get to go to a Pirates game!"

My kids have some competition for fanhood from Melissa's family who are life-long Pirates fans, but I think they were won over by their experience cheering the Cubs to victory.

Charlie had a great time.  He had this grin for most of the time there.

This picture makes me smile so much!

Who's excited?

All three kids got a certificate to remember their first trip to Wrigley Field.

Charlie and one of his best buds!

I think Hannah began asking for cotton candy when we pulled out of our driveway.  We went to 8 different concession stands until we finally found one that had it.  Also if you are one to discect every part of the picture (Mom), you can see Charlie in the background crying because Hannah is hogging the cotton candy.

One happy family (at least 83% of us) enjoying a day at the ballpark.

We aren't even on the highway yet and they were out.  I would say that they had fun.

41 goals down!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

78. Go to a Fair

We went to the Sandwich Fair a few weeks ago.  Melissa did a good enough job detailing our trip so I will just leave this picture:

And post this link.

40 goals down!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dryer broken? Change the coils.

I need to start this post off by thanking my dad for giving me the ability to look at a problem and not get scared by it. I grew up thinking/knowing that he could make or fix just about anything. I never saw him work on a dryer, but attempting to fix it with very little knowledge of how to fix it seems like something he would have done. So doing things like this doesn't scare me.

One day last week our dryer stopped working. The problem we had was that after the dryer was going through a whole cycle, but wasn't drying the clothes.  The first thing I thought was that the dryer vent was clogged, but after getting this pile out of the hose it still didn't work.

Then I went down to Leonardi's.  They have been fantastic with past issues I have had and even took me down to the basement when we had a washer issue last year and showed me what was wrong and how to fix it.  They went as far as having me take one of their old ones apart and fixing the part that was broken on my washer.  They did this just to make sure that I would know what I was doing when I went home.  They are great there.  My problem was the same as I did a few years ago.  Actually, when I went in there I suggested it was the same problem that I had awhile ago and the guy looked it up and it turns out that on August 21, 2007 I did this same fix on the same dryer.  He said the parts generally last for about 5 years.  How about that!

FYI, nothing too exciting about this one.

Here's the before picture with one of my beautiful models.

Maddie needed me to take a picture of her as well.

The first thing I had to do was take the top off.  I took two screws off the control panel and removed it only later to realize that wasn't necessary.  Then I took these two screws off by the lint trap.  They hold the top on.

After removing the screws, I just shoved my screwdriver into this crack and snapped the top up and off.

Like this!

Next I unplugged the switch that tells the motor that the door is closed.

Then I found out that no one was watching Charlie and he was playing dress-up.  Man that boy needs a better male role model in his life!

Last time I did this I was as far as I needed to be as far as taking the dryer apart.  That wasn't the case this time because I couldn't get my screwdriver on the screws to remove the old coils at this point so I had to take the drum out.  That part really stunk!

That black thing is one of the coils.

Here are the replacements:

Here is the dryer without the drum.  There were no pictures of the removal because that part needed 3 or 4 more hands than I already had.  It was not as easy as I had hoped.

Removing the cover off the old broken coils.

Replacing the coils.

Looking at the drum and hoping that it will just put itself back on with the belt wrapped tightly around it.

Success!  This is a picture of the flames going inside the dryer.  The coils are doing their job!

What a good sight!


I did 4 loads tonight after fixing the dryer.  We really needed that thing fixed!

As promised, nothing exciting in this post, just a description of a job that I wouldn't have the ability or ambition to attempt without my Dad doing projects similar to this while I was growing up.  Thanks Dad!

Friday, September 7, 2012

11. Take the kids out on the canoe

Mike came over today and we took the canoe out.  First I had to do some repairs.  I had some pretty big cracks and holes that needed repairing.  I was going to do a post on repairing the canoe, but I realized that what I was doing was really not the way that it was supposed to be done, so I didn't do it.  Instead, here are some pictures of how bad it looked.

This is about what you could expect out of a 35 year old fiberglass canoe. The outer surface is really chipping away.

Pieces flaking off.

Loading up the car was easy with Maddie's help!


Charlie helped too.

Heading down to the river.

Ready to go.

While waiting Charlie wanted to throw rocks.  I couldn't resist the urge either and skipped a few rocks too.

Here we go.

Aside from when this picture was taken, Charlie had a good time.
A view from the river of the new concert theater being built.
I love Hannah's face in this picture.

Lucy hung out with Melissa on the shore as we went out.  I'm sure it was pretty boring for them.

Pretty big sweat marks from the life vest.

Hopefully we can do this again because the kids really did have fun out there.  Hannah and Charlie's favorite part was scaring the geese and Maddie's was seeing a pumpkin floating in the water.  Fun stuff indeed.

39 goals down!