Happy Boo-Day!



Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

(top to bottom, left to right)

#3 - Skeleton, #2 - Zombie

#4 - Ninja-clown, #5 - Dorothy (without Toto)







The girls quit a little earlier than the boys did, but they still came home with a tooth-rotting amount of loot!















Even Dad got a "treat" for Halloween!!

The Best News Out of This Election?

I was in the car with #1 of 5, when I first heard the commercial that made my "next four years"! The commercial was for "Election Night Thunderdome '08 - Two men enter, one man leaves..."

Ron_and_FezWhat is Election Night Thunderdome '08??

Election Night Thunderdome '08 is the LIVE radio broadcast from my radio buddays Ron & Fex (Noon to three (eastern)) on... You guessed it!

Election Night!

The funniest guys on radio, with the best darn radio show on the planet (in my humble opinion), will be coming in off hours, and doing LIVE election coverage..

CNN? Go away.

FOX News? Leave me alone.

Local Coverage? Ack....Gag...

I plan on spending the night, getting my election updates from Ron & Fez - It's about the only thing that will make that night tolerable! Had it not been for Ron& Fez, I WOULD NOT have watched or listened to ANY election coverage. I would have waited until the next morning to hear... BUT NOT ANYMORE!!

Election Night Thunderdome '08 - Two men enter, one man leaves...
XM Radio 202 - The Virus - 7:00 pm - 12:00 (eastern) - 6:00pm - 11:00pm (central).

Ron, Fez, Dave and Earl... Thank you!

Need I Say More?






Found written on my driveway (in chalk) by #4 of 5.

Reason #4,632

Reason #4,632 why we choose to send our kids to the private school.

The Mother of Five volunteers to help serve hot lunch at our kids school (the private school). Today, one of the other volunteers (our next door neighbor) was going to be unable to make it, and asked the Mother of Five to pass the word along.

After the other mother left, the Mother of Five cornered me, guilted me, convinced me to join her since it was my day off.

I was primarily the "baked potato guy", but I also filled in as "bread guy", and the "would you like mixed fruit or pineapple cup guy"... At times being all three-in-one!

We teach our kids to say please and thank you when people help, or serve them (restaurants, etc). I also know that not every parent instills this value in their children.

It was so impressive to see (and I am not exaggerating one bit when I say) that EACH AND EVERY ONE of the kids coming though the line, after being asked if they want a _________, they would say "yes, please", or "no, thank you" - then followed up with another "thank you" when their tray was handed to them...
It became almost surreal to see..

After my sentence was served I finished helping serve the meal, I pointed this observation out to the Mother of Five. She simply said... "Yeah.. They do." like it was no big deal...

And that is how I know that my money is being well spent. It is that type of environment that you can not put a price on.

Thanks St. John's!

(NOTE - I am not trying to say that kids who go to public schools are not capable of such acts... They are... I imagine many of the kids would do the same... It really has to do with parenting, and less with the school... I thank St. John's for providing a place where these ideals can be and are nurtured to the extent that they are.

A thank you also goes out to ALL the the parents who, even though they do not send their kids to St. John's (or a private school), spend their time teaching their kids how to live their life with dignity and respect! You all know who you are!)

Squash Bowl

Last night was #2 of 5's last football game of the season. It was the 1st Annual "Middle School Squash Bowl" (something new they are starting). The middle school 7th and 8th grade football teams were combined and then split into two teams who then played against each other.

It was a "charity bowl game". The proceeds from the ticket sales, concessions, and the 50/50 game were donated to the American Cancer Association.

The Mother of Five had to work, and given the later start time, and the cool weather (especially after the sun went down), we opted to leave #3 of 5 home to watch #4 and #5 of 5 while I went to the game.

I arrived about five minutes late, and so when I arrived there was no line at the entrance. There was a group (of apx 6-8) girls from the 7th and 8th grade (none of which I recognized) still selling the tickets.

IMGA0837As I approached the group, one of the asked me if I was #2 of 5's dad. After confirming my identity and association with #2 of 5, she turned to the others, whispering "See, I told you so", and they all started snickering in a "Tee-he-he" sort of way. (A way that only 7th and 8th grade girls can do...)

I am not used to this. This is #2 of 5's first year outside the confines of the small private school setting where we know all kids (and the parents) in our kids' classes.

So, I settle into a seat in the bleachers. It's not long before I notice another group of five girls who have made their way down to the field, and with cellular phones up to their ears, and digital cameras in their hands. They follow the players, pointing, snickering, giggling, taking photos, and making various phone calls to... well... I'm not sure who they were calling, because they were all there! (rolling my eyes).

It was almost as if they were a bunch of football player groupies... Yikes...

As I watched the game, taking it all in... Watching #2 of 5 play, watching the gaggle of groupies, watching the other kids from his class all hanging around (and some of the younger High School kids - who may have had siblings or friends playing) - it really started sinking in with me that #2 of 5 is in Junior High... And that I am not sure if I am ready for all this quite yet...

Shesh... I'm getting old.

My One and ONLY Election Post

(Warning - Long and disjointed post ahead. This post has been "in the works" for over a week now, and each time I try to "improve" it - It tends to get worse. So as to not "bore" you by making the post any longer, or to make it any more confusing - I'm going with it "as-is". Thank you for your understanding, and patience. Please forgive me.)

First, and foremost - I am NOT in any way going to try and influence anyone into voting one way or another. I am not trying to change anyone's mind about their candidate, their political party, or their vote. That is what the nauseating, disgusting, and child-like behavior of the slanderous campaign ads are for.

I will also NOT be spouting off in an uneducated, uninformed , an fanatical tirade for or against any candidate or their political party. That is what covertly slanted and biased news reporting is best at.

Yesterday, I discovered that on election day I am being forced to work an extra half shift - which puts me out of my voting district, at work, and unable to attend my polling place during it's hours of operation. My vote is important to me. It is not only my right, it is my DUTY. Many parents lost their sons, children lost their fathers, wives lost their husbands, and children lost their brothers (over 200 years ago) so that we could be (today) stand proud as a sovereign nation. They were the ones who fought, and died to provide us the rights and freedoms that this country was founded upon, and that we enjoy (or try to enjoy) today - INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO VOTE! I am unable (in good conscious) to not exercise my right (duty) to vote. I have already started the process for absentee voting.

I am not a huge "political" sort of guy. I want to live my life, and be left alone. In return, I will let you live your life, and I will leave you alone. I view MOST of our Federal, SOME of our Sate, and VERY FEW of our local laws as beneficial - I find laws beneficial when they are founded in the most basic and commonly shared worldwide morals (such as murder, theft, and laws protecting children).
On an related note... In a movie I recently watched "The Kite Runner" (which I am sorry to have seen the movie before reading the book), the main character's father, Baba, was talking to his son Amir about right and wrong. He told his son ...

"Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft... When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness... There is no act more wretched than stealing, Amir."

I actually paused the movie to reflect on this quote. I found it very poignant, inspirational, and accurate. I have since told my sons this very same thing.
While some laws are important to an orderly society, I do not believe we need laws dictating every little aspect of living our life. Aspects like how long grass should be kept, how many cars you can have parked in your driveway, what hours you can "legally" have a back-yard recreational campfire, and what not. Most of the ridiculous and "liberty killing" laws come from the lower levels of government.
You can call it what you want, but I maintain a certain level of (perhaps misplaced) "pride" (?) when I commit an act of "civil disobedience". It's nothing significant. Like I said... I keep my backyard rec fire burning "after hours", let my garbage cans sit at the curbside an extra day, I store grass clippings until the quarterly "compost" pick up comes around. I just don't sweat the "small stuff".
I consider myself fiscally conservative, and socially moderate (maybe even just a "wee bit" liberal). I subscribe to the "Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime" viewpoint - but I also understand that there are members of our society that (for a number of different reasons) are unable to "fish" even if they are taught. These are the folks that we should (morally) provide for.

Our "two-major-party" system inherently causes us to polarize ourselves to one extreme or the other. You have to choose between "A" or "B". Liberal or Conservative, Left-wing or Right-wing, Democrat or Republican, RIGHT or WRONG. You're either WITH US, or your AGAINST US. (In my book) this is a truly scary way to think. In this day and age, a candidate will not receive a party's endorsement - unless they FULLY subscribe to the party rhetoric.

Given these circumstances, I am unable to (in good conscious) cast a vote toward either of the two major candidates this election. I believe neither candidate (or party) has earned (and therefore do not deserve) my vote.
If you are not going to vote Republican or Democrat, where are you going to vote FOF?
Before I answer that, permit me (if you will) to ask a couple of questions...
- Are you fiscally conservative, and socially liberal?
- Are you socially conservative, but fiscally liberal?
- Do you plan on not voting because neither of the candidate has earned your trust?
- Do you find yourself voting "against" a candidate (as opposed to voting "for" a candidate)?
- Have you ever said (or thought) something like - Why vote? It's not going to make a difference.
- Are you a single topic voter, disagreeing with some significant views of a candidate, but feel like you have to vote for them because you feel strongly about a single viewpoint (like National Healthcare, The War in Iraq, or Roe v. Wade?)
If any of these sound familiar, or maybe you are still "undecided" (as I am) on this year's presidential candidates - perhaps it is time to consider, and educate yourself (as I do) with some of the "Third Party" candidate options!
Some people have told me that by voting "third party" I am "wasting my vote", or that if I vote "third party" it means I am voting for ___________. (The blank space is filled with the candidate for whom I am talking to is NOT voting for... )

It's funny... I have Democrats saying that my third party vote is the equivalent to a vote for McCain, as it is one less vote for Obama, and Republicans saying that my third party vote is the equivalent to a vote for Obama, as it is one less vote for McCain... It all seems so... I dunno... Biased? Which is it? A vote for Obama or McCain.))
Not one single candidate (from ANY party) will match up with my viewpoint 100% of the time. My job (as an educated voter) is to find the candidate (and party) that I feel best represents what is the best for not just me, BUT FOR THIS COUNTRY AS A WHOLE.

To be honest... It is the basics... It is our basic rights, liberties, and freedoms that are at the very core of our beliefs that I feel has made this country so great, and that are in jeopardy. My vote will be cast to the candidate (and party) who I feel will best protect these most basic fundamental rights, liberties and freedoms that this great nation was founded upon.
For those of you who are interested... I am (and will be) spending time between now and the election (or when I absentee vote) checking into both the Libertarian Party, and the Constitution Party. Fundamentally, I consider myself a "Libertarian" - but there are some significant and interesting similarities between the two parties - certainly worth checking into. We shall see...
Wanting to be part of the solution (and not part of the problem), I have put together a list of some of the more noticeable third parties, their candidates (along few independent candidates), and some links you can use to "investigate" their views.

Although I have an interest in two or three candidates, I am in no way endorsing any of these groups (at least at this time).


Socialist Party - (Also affiliated with the Vermont Liberty Union Party)

I hope you have found this list to be helpful, or at the very least - interesting. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

I'll be stepping down from my soapbox now, returning to my regularly bland observations of life as The Father of Five!

Grandpa's Shotgun - Post 2

Some photos of Grandpa's Shotgun in it's current state...

As a reminder...
Grandpa's Gun is an O.F. Mossberg Model 190 - 16 gauge - C-Lect choke.







Overall, Grandpa's Shotgun is in pretty good shape!













Action side of the shotgun with the action open.












Missing Part #1 and #2 - Magazine, and magazine feed spring.

(Note the surface rust on the magazine receiver. This is the only noticeable surface rust on the gun.)











Missing part #3 - C-Lect choke sleeve.

You can see here where I stopped removing the original bluing... The choke plate is still over the original blue...

The area where the barrel is ported has been stripped, and is in a "raw steel" state.











Wider angle shot of the muzzle, and the C-Lect Choke (minus the sleeve).














The bolt is still in GREAT shape!















Some pretty nasty fouling in the barrel...














Close up of the manufacture stamp.

((30+5) x 2) + 1

Happy Birthday to the father of "The Father of Five"!

Left to Right
#1, Mother of "The Father of Five", #2, Father of The Father of Five, #5 (on his lap) #3, #4

For better or worse, here is where most of my "fatherin' skilz" came from!

Happy Birthday Dad, from ALL of us!

Yup, that's "Your's Truly, the gentle giant", with his "ol' man".
(oh, if you can't tell, I'm the "prettier" one!)

Grandpa's Shotgun - Post 1

Not that I do not have enough on my hands to keep me busy, but I am taking on a small side (hobby) project over the next year.

While taking #2 of 5 to his Firearms Safety Classes, the kids were required to bring a gun (a long gun... No handguns) to class. Each week there would be a wide variety of different shotguns and rifles brought to class. Wood and synthetic stocks / pump, semi-auto, lever, and bolt-action guns.

On evening while talking to a couple of the dads outside of class (about the different guns they saw the kids bringing), one of them mentioned not seeing a bolt action shotgun. They even started reminiscing about a bolt action shotgun that had an unusual adjustable choke that many had seen in the past.
As soon as I heard them talking about such a gun, I had an instant flashback.
I lost my paternal grandfather when I was 5 years old. I have memories of him talking about his outdoor exploits, but never really got the chance to experience them with him first hand. When I was around eighteen years old my grandmother (while cleaning out her attic) found my grandfather's shotgun. It had been stored (in less than ideal conditions) for AT LEAST thirteen (and more likely, for many more than thirteen years) before he passed away. She called me over to her house, and asked me if it was anything I was interested in. At the time, I WAS interested in it. It was something that belonged to my grandfather AND it would be the second gun in my "arsenal".
I am truthfully ashamed to admit that (at that time) I was MORE interested in having a second gun than I was having my grandfather's gun. I don't want you to think that having his gun was not meaningful to me... It was... But "nostalgia" and "18 year old boys" are not always "best buds". On the other hand, an 18 year old boy owning TWO guns IS pretty cool...
Back to the conversation at the Firearms Safety Class... The shotgun they were talking about, was the same as my grandfather's shotgun! It was with mixed feelings that I heard the instructors say that he wished someone would bring one, and I felt that I needed to kept quiet.
Mixed feelings? Kept quiet? Why FOF?
In a moment of "eighteen year old boy thinking" (or in this case "non-thinking"), when I got the gun home I decided I was going to give it a full cleaning, and attempt to sort of "rejuvenate" it. I was going to "re-blue" the surface of the gun.

Since I worked in a small hardware store, and we sold "re-bluing-kits", it was all to easy. I purchased the kit, read the directions, and (in preparation for the re-bluing) I removed a few of the "removable" parts of the gun.

I proceeded to strip the gun of it's "bluing" and then TRIED (tried being the key phrase here) to give it a fresh "bluing". The results were horrific. A few weeks later, I re-stripped it, and TRIED again. The results were still embarrassing. With the intention of finding either a better product, or someone to professionally re-blue the gun, I put it back into the (less than ideal) case it spent the better part of it's life in, and stuck it in the back of my closet so that I would not have to face my own disgrace.

Oh, sure... over the next twenty one years, there were times that I have remembered the gun was still there - but as time went on, I grew up and "nostalgia" became a bigger part of who I am, I became more and more ashamed (bowing my head) that I neglected my grandfather's gun the way I did. The "removable parts" were stored in a box, and moved with me into our apartment when we was married, then from the apartment to our first house, then from our first house to our second house. Sometime after moving into our second (current) house I have lost track of those parts. They are still around somewhere, but I could not tell you where if my life depended on it.

After hearing these guys talk (and jarring my memory) about old bolt action shotguns, I decided... nay... pledged that next year (when #3 of 5 and I take the Firearms Safety Class together) that I want to walk into class, with my head held high and proud, carrying my grandfather's shotgun, restored to it's rightful condition!

Since making that decision, I have retrieved the gun from my (former) closet. I inspected it's condition (noticing only slight degradation from the condition I abandoned it in twenty one years ago). I took inventory of the missing pieces. I noted the manufacture, and the model number - and (thanks to the wonder of the internet), I have located lots of information about the gun, a number of sources that still sell the parts I am missing, sources for replica documentation that came with the gun originally, and I even found a schematic diagram of the gun!

So, to kick of "Grandpa's Shotgun", let me share with you the details of my grandfather's gun.

Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg
Model: 190
Action: Bolt
Gauge: 16
Other: Muzzle is equipped with the "C-Lect" choke system.

The Mossberg Model 190 was made from 1950-1955 (and may now be considered a "Curio and/or Relic gun"). I am unable to pinpoint the year of origination of this gun since it was manufactured prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968 (which required firearm manufactures to put serial numbers on guns). Unfortunately, without a serial number there is no way to trace the date of origin of this particular gun.

I will try to document this gun's journey from it's sad (yet not hopeless) state, to it's hopefully proud and rightfully honored place among my most prized possessions! (Stay tuned for some photographs.)

I am looking forward to having a little of my grandfather with me, and my boys (his great-grandsons) on a few of our future hunts!

More on "Smooth Hands"

This post started out as a comment intended for the Postulates and Pasttimes blog, to be placed in a post titled "What Smooth Hands You Have".  As I often do - I start getting long winded, and by the time I was done, what I had written resembles more of a post than a comment.

So, I did what any lazy mediocre blogger would do.  I proofread it, and make a few minor changes that fully transformed my "comment" into a "post".

(I do have to give credit where credit is due for the inspiration!  This time, it is Postulates and Pasttimes!  Thanks PnP!)

- - - - - - - - - - -

My first job was at a local neighborhood family owned hardware store.  I worked there for nearly 10 years.  I learned a lot while I worked there, and heard / saw even more!  Your tale reminds me of one of the more memorable events that happened during my tenure at the store.

One Saturday afternoon, a guy come in for some supplies to do a "quick" job he wanted to do before having to leave for a wedding he was in (as a groomsman) that evening.  He was doing some fall insulating around the exterior of his house, and came in to purchase a can of Great Stuff - Expanding foam sealant.  You may know the stuff... It comes in an aerosol can with a straw.  After being dispensed, it grows and grows into a very lightweight (yet high insulating value) closed cell foam.  (Much like what Gorilla Glue sound like - although I have never used it.).  Great Stuff comes with all sorts of warnings and instructions, cautioning the user about the potential for problems while using the product.  A couple notable warnings include...

- Read directions and plan ahead for safety and best results.

- Extremely sticky. Prevent skin and eye contact. Wear gloves and protective eye wear.

- CLEAN UP: On solid surfaces, uncured foam dissolves with acetone. For skin and solid surfaces, cured foam must be mechanically removed or allowed to wear off in time.

Great stuff used to have (stored in the cap) a sheet of instructions on a waxy paper like sheet, with a plastic glove attached to the other side.  I warned the guy to be sure to read the instructions, and to use the glove (as I did with everyone who bought the Great Stuff), and sent him on his way.

Close to an hour later, he returned to the store with Great Stuff smeared all over his hands.  He could not get it to come off.  He looked me up in the store, and told me what had happened (he had ignored my advise) and needed help getting it off his hands for the wedding that evening.  He had tried everything that he had in his garage (gasoline, turpentine, paint thinner, etc...) and nothing worked.

We went to the solvent isle, and started looking through the products. 

corrosiveHe found a couple of products that he wanted to try.  Acetone (cleans "uncured" Great Stuff), and a mild paint stripper.  He went to the cashier and bought them, then asked if he could use our bathroom to try and clean the stuff off.  I let him, and went to help - warning him that he is doing this by his own accord, and that I recommended following the directions and let it "wear off" over time.  He again spoke of the importance of getting this off his hands for the evening's wedding festivities.

The first two products did not work.  What they did do was cause him some "discomfort".  He complained about how they made his skin burn.  Yet he was adamant that he keep trying stronger products to try and get this stuff off his hands.  I warned him about chemical reactions, etc. - but (just like with the instructions) he choose not to listen.

We returned to the solvent isle, and he grabbed the strongest solvent he could find.  It was a gelled "carpet adhesive remover".  As we read the back label, it was filled with warning, after warning, after warning.  Do not use without adequate ventilation, do not get in eyes, and do not allow product to come in contact with skin.  He was sure this would work.

After purchasing the product, I again escorted him to the back bathroom, and as he opened the can, the first thing I noticed was how the air "distorted" or appeared wavy as the fumes (no product yet, just the fumes) emanated from the can.  No kidding - you could actually watch the fumes cascade down the can...  I had a bad feeling about this one. 

This guy proceeded to gloop some of the gel on his hands, and started scrubbing away. 

Dangclass8The overwhelming odor of the fumes alone forced me to step out of this tiny bathroom, and it was not long before the guy really started writhing in pain with how badly his hands hurt.  I went back in to help him rinse the stuff off.  His hands were burning by now, and he wanted only cold water to try and "cool" the burning sensation. 

Water did not seem to help.  Within minutes, this guy was kneeling on the ground, with his hands still in the sink, screaming and crying in pain (literally).  I asked him over and over if he wanted an ambulance - to which he continually refused. 

After what seemed like an eternity, I left this guy to keep rinsing his hands (there was nothing more I could do for him).  I'd check on him from time to time, and found him (more than once) still crying - trying to reduce the pain from the burning.

45 minutes later, he emerged from the bathroom with skin that looked (what I can only describe to be) like raw flesh.  It was bright pink, and flaky - almost "dusty" in appearance (dead dry skin sloughing off).  He was sweaty, had bloodshot eyes, and a tear streaked face.  He said his hands were tingling, and the pain was still "significant" but tolerable.  He was obviously favoring his hands as he thanked me for trying to help him, and he headed out of the store. 

The Great Stuff was still visible on his hands.

Right, Left or someone in the Ambidextrous?

Thought I was going to go all political on you here huh?  Think again!!
Recently, while having a discussion with AtHomeDaddy on Facebook, a topic came up that inspired me to develop into a post.  (Not a "great" one mind you.. but a post none the less.)
- - - - - - - - -
I recently brought up the topic of someday replacing my gun, in which I talked about how it would be nice to FINALLY be able to shoot a gun made for a left handed shooter.
This brought on some (fun and good natured) ribbing about me being "wrong handed", and how my (yet unpublished) story of a unproductive yet "successful" duck hunting trip could have been made more "productive" had I been shooting with the "correct hand".  We bantered about a bit, and he had admitted that he was slightly envious of my left handedness (aren't you all??)  He has a "lefty-in-the-family" and would like to be able to help them out more than he can with various tasks (that require a left or right handed touch).
I have often wondered about my "left-handedness", "right-handedness", and "ambidextrousness".
My strong arm is my left arm.  I throw a ball left handed.  I bat left handed.  I dribble a basketball left handed.  I am left eye dominant.  I shoot left handed.  I golf left handed.  Most things I do are "left handed". 
I write right handed, and I cut right handed.
I can catch a ball ambidextrously (more on that later), and I eat ambidextrously.  (I am as comfortable with a fork or knife in one hand as the other.  In fact, at any given meal, you will see me interchanging the fork and knife - depending on my "angle of attack".  It is easier for me to switch utensils than to turn the plate, or readjust the food on the plate...)
It has always been sort of a conundrum to me.  Why do I do so many things left handed, and yet a few of the more important things I do right handed.
My parents and I have always theorized about this.  One of the most practical, and (I suspect) accurate explanations is that at a young age (perhaps kindergarten, or even "nursery school" (the "olden days" term for preschool)) the teachers noticed that I was taking my pencil, and/or scissors in my left hand, and forcibly made me use my right hand - "converting" me (like sheep to the slaughterhouse) into the world of the right-handed.
According to my mom, it was not unusual "back in the day" for schools to try and convert lefties into righties..  Which would explain the right handed writing, and cutting (school related activities) and the left handed everything else (non-school related activities).
Another notable impact the lefty/righty dominance had early in my life was little league T-ball.  I played only one season of little league (probably around first grade).  I quickly discovered the inherent problem of both throwing AND catching left handed. 
That one (and only) season of t-ball was all about learning how to catch the ball (in my left hand), grab the ball (with my right hand) out of the glove, drop the glove (from my left hand), put the ball back into my now empty left hand, and then - throw the ball.
When that season was done, so was I.
I never picked up another glove until I was (somewhere around) 12 or 13 years old.  While out "junkin" (another AtHomeDaddy reference)  Anyway, while out junkin' - I came across a RIGHT HANDED baseball glove in someone's trash. 
To be completely honest with you all, I am not a sports minded sort of guy.  Because of that, I (being completely honest here) never even knew something like a right handed baseball glove even existed!  It was a true "find"!
For the first time since I was about 5 years old, I found that I could actually catch the ball in one hand and throw the ball in the other!  Over the next few years I re-taught myself how to catch "right-handed".  I never did play any sort of community or school sanctioned baseball, and never really participated in much more than playing backyard catch, but I could now catch the ball ambidextrously.
So, that is how I roll through life.  Mostly (but not quite) a lefty, not quite a righty, and not quite ambidextrous.
- - - - - - - -
Can I be the only one out there like this?  I know, I know... I'm an "oddball" (I have been told that MANY times by MANY people).  If what I suspect is true, and that teachers (back in the day) did their best to "convert" us lefties into righties - there has to be a few more of "us" out there...
Sorry AtHomeDaddy, I cannot help you teach your youngin' how to be a better lefty (at least when it comes to writing, and cutting...)

FOF Observation #10

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little "one line" observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.


After cleaning the bathroom up this afternoon, I came across a most curious coincidental "collection".


It would seem that one (or both) of my daughters have been stashing "princess arms" in a cubby in the bathroom.
Should I be worried that I may be raising a serial collector of severed arms?

What is even more worrisome... Could it be one of the boys??

Thankfully, none of the kids have asked me for some fava beans with a nice chianti,
or asked me to rub lotion on "it's" skin....

A Couple of Quick Photos


Just an example of the wonderful imagry seen from a Minnesota Duck Blind!


Photo edit...

After serious consideration, I removed the "staged" photo. After having taken #2 of 5 to firearms safety classes, and his first hunting trip - I decided that the photo was a "bad example", and best if not used for public display...

In it's place, please enjoy a photo of #2 of 5 peeking out of his duck blind on the second morning.

The Changing of the Oil

Boys learn many "man lessons" from their fathers, and I am no exception to that standard. 
One of my favorite "man lessons" that I learned from my dad was how to change the oil on a car.  I started "helping" my dad around age 12 or so - and I think I was changing the oil on the cars FOR my dad by the age of 14 or 15. 
Since I was leaving for a road trip (to go duck hunting), the oil in my car was in need of changing, and I was on a time crunch, I stepped out of character, and clipped one of the oil change coupons from our paper to have someone else change the oil in my car. 
$15.99 for an oil change (plus a nominal fee for oil disposal)... 
On the day before I was going to leave, I dug in my work-bag to get the coupon, and make the appointment - when I noticed I forgot the coupon at home. 
Folks, I am a cheapskate (often times to a fault).  I was not about to pay full price for an oil change that I had a coupon for, so I changed gears a bit, and decided to make time to change the oil myself. 
By the time I was 18, I thought people who paid someone to have their oil changed were crazy.  The most expensive part of an oil change (per unit) was the filter.  You could buy a quart of oil for 99 cents (and often less when it was on sale).  For years now, the price of oil has been steadily climbing - and it is not uncommon to find quarts of oil for between three or four dollars.  That brings the price of an oil change (when you include the filter) to over twenty dollars.  Not even considering the hassle of clean up, and disposal of the old oil.
I stopped at the auto parts store on the way home from work, and while truly focusing on the cost of changing the oil myself, it really struck home that (even on sale) I was spending the same to change the oil myself as it cost to have someone change it for me.  The sale was "five quarts of oil and a filter for $15.99. 
The long and short of the story is that by the time I was finished (some two hours later), along with my changed oil, I had several small oil spills on the garage floor, a pair of oil soaked underpants (I know you are all wondering...  It was not the ones I was wearing...  It was an old pair in a box of storage stuff in the garage.. Hey, I ran out of rags...) soaked to the point that I had to throw them away, no oil disposal container, and a broken plastic under-chassis cowling from the car that I now have to buy parts for...
That was it... I had an epiphany moment....
I was no longer going to keep "doing it myself".  For less money, and less time, and less problems / headaches, I can have the oil changed - all while I sit and listen to The Doors, The Bloodhound Gang, or even the previous days recorded Ron & Fez Show on my Sansa....
Does that make me a bad father? 
Is my attempt at saving time and money by having the oil changed, somehow neglectful of the tradition (and the knowledge) that I wont be passing down to my boys (and / or girls)? 
Maybe there is a happy medium were I can (intentionally) spend the extra money and time - with the sole purpose of creating a "teaching moment" - and still change the oil myself from time to time... 

Headin' out

By the time this is posted (and anyone has a chance to read it), I will be in my car, and pulling out of my driveway - en route to Ed's Cabin for the annual Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Opener.
Normally, this is a GREAT opportunity to play back an older episode (usually one that I missed) of XM Radio's Ron & Fez show... (Have I ever mentioned how much I love that show?)
This year, I will have to change my tune just a wee bit.  As much as I love the show, it is not appropriate for #2 of 5 to listen to...
Why would #2 of 5 be hearing the Ron & Fez show if you are in your car, and on your way up north for a duck hunting trip?
#2 of 5 passed his Firearms Safety Class, and received his Firearms Safety Certificate!  When I told Ed about this, he asked if #2 of 5 will be joining us this year.  I told Ed that I did not want to extend an invitation to him, as I was not sure how he felt about it.
Ed quickly piped back that of course he was invited, and that he is very interested in passing along our hunting traditions to our kids!  I was very excited to hear this!
So, we modified our schedules at home, and worked it out so that #2 of 5 is able to join me this year!  I am so excited to have #2 of 5 up with me this year... I am sure you can imagine what kind of proud papa I am... 
We packed everything up early (well ok, we packed up some stuff early) and I have scrambled to pack up the rest (surely I have forgotten something...).  As soon as he gets home from Football practice, we are heading out for a little slice of heaven, er... I mean Ed's Cabin.
I need to provide a huge "shout-out-of-love" for the Mother of Five - who takes on a lot of extra responsibility when I leave for a hunting trip.  I would not be able to go if it was not for the extra stuff she does to help make it happen!  MOF - you are THE BEST!!  Hey, I may even stay in the kitchen and visit with you while you clean this years "harvest".  (wink)
In addition to duck hunting, we will also be hunting Ruffed Grouse, and Grey Squirrel...  And who could forget the copious amounts of eating, napping, wood chopping, and some great times around the campfire that 'may' include cigars, some beer, and a lil' nip o' the bottle (for the adults)..
I will also be placing my first GeoCache out into the world this weekend!  I am up to 19 finds so far (as you can see in the GeoCache Widget on the right sidebar), and am pretty excited about placing my first GeoCache!  I have a pretty good idea where I want to place it, and will be able to do that while I am hunting!  I'll be sure to post some info on GeoCaching with Dad!
Duck and Deer hunting is a pretty big deal up in these parts.  My co-worker and friend, The King of Clubs will also "Getting Ready for Duck Hunting".  Don't be afraid to drop by and wish him luck too!
So you wont all be so lonely, I've scheduled a few posts to pop up whilst I am out. Hope you enjoy!
Sorry this is so disjointed of a post... My head is already in the duck blind, and not on writing this post..  Although, I am sure I will return with some good stories to share with you through Dad's Outdoor Journal!
Mother of Five... If you are reading this while I am gone... Don't forget how thankful I am, and how much I love you!  I'll be thinking about you while I am gone, and look forward to seeing you when I get home!
Adiós my friends! 

One of Life's Simple Pleasures #1

Simple Pleasures:

A series of posts where I share some of the little things that make a HUGE (positive) difference in the Life of a Father of Five!

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One of life's simple pleasure: New Socks.

One of my simple pleasures in life is donning a pair of "Brand New" socks for the very first time. Oooo... They are so soft, and snug...

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