Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Attention Single Moms

At the CISD conference this week, I went to a great session from the High Tech Crime Unit of the Louisiana Attorney General office.  One of the officers said one of his online "characters" for catching predators is a 27-year old woman. We all asked why?  Here's the answer.  When an online predator chats with your child online and agrees to meet them at YOUR house,  he only wants one thing.  No, not sex.  He wants to be on Dateline NBC.  Seriously, they're getting smarter than that.

Q: As a child predator, how do I get unlimited, unrestricted access to children?
A: Date a single mom.

Be the best boyfriend she's ever had. Kind, loving, always there, great with the kid. Be everything she's been looking for, so she says "finally, I've found the one!". And of course, always be willing and eager to watch the kid when mom has other stuff to do. And when the kids starts telling her stuff about you, she'll believe you over her kids. There's no way her wonderful boyfriend is capable of such things.

The officer said it's a growing trend they're seeing more of.  This kind of blew my mind. This isn't dating a typical jerkoff who you know not to trust around the kids. This is a kind, loving, intelligent, wonderful man, who you totally trust.....who also happens to be a child predator who specifically targeted you to get to your child.  So since I know a lot of single moms, just wanted to share this and say be careful...don't leave your children with anyone you don't really know.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Remembering PawPaw Dut

Some of my best childhood memories were Saturday mornings.   My sister and I would wake up, and go climb in bed with MawMaw and PawPaw.  They were already up, drinking coffee.  It didn't matter how early you got up.  PawPaw had already gone out and got a box of doughnuts and put them on the we would have doughnuts while we watched cartoons.  Sometimes he let us drink coffee too.

And we'd always have ice cream.  Every night before bed.  And if we didn't have ice cream, it didn't matter if it was 8, 9, or 10 o'clock at night... he was in the truck going to get some.

I remember the old house at 2417 Kingbird Drive.  On the front porch, he taught me how to skin a rabbit and how to shuck an oyster.  He always had a boat... he taught me how to fish, and how to drive a boat.  When I was 7 or 8, the big kid next door, Joshua, pushed me down and kicked me.  I ran home crying.  Pawpaw asked what was wrong, and sat me down.  He didn't try to comfort me.  He showed me how to make a fist.  He said, "Roll up your fingers, tuck your thumb out the way, and squeeze really hard.  Next time he comes at you, haul off and pop the shit out of him.  Don't hit him in the stomach or the side of the head.  Hit him square in the nose.   And I mean pop him, swing as hard as you can, and pop him good!  I guarantee he won't come back.  Don't ever let him see you crying, and don't let him know you're scared, even if you are.  Just pop the shit out of him, right in the nose.   You don't have to throw the first punch, just make sure you throw the last one."   It wasn't but a day or two later.  Joshua and I got into it again.   So I rared back with my fist, and swung as hard as I could, and hit him right in the nose.  I think I may have thrown the first and only punch that day.  He fell down, put his hands over his nose, and ran home crying.  I ran home to tell PawPaw what happened.  I was so proud of myself, and I know he was too.

When I was 10, he let me drive his 18-wheeler down I-55.  I was sitting in his lap of course.  When I was 12 he taught me how to drive.  We were at his friend Mr John's house.  I was bored so I was outside in the car, in the drivers' seat, listening to the radio and waiting for him.  He came out, got in the passenger's seat, and said "Let's go."  I said, "What? I don't know how to drive."  He said "Sure you do. There's nuttin to it."  I said "Well, I don't know how to drive a stick shift!".  He said, "you put the clutch in, put it in gear, and take off."   So I did....after confirming which pedal was the clutch.  It was a rough ride, but we made it home.

He used to tell me, when he was younger he worked in a junk yard.  He'd work all week, then on friday would buy a car for $20 or $30 dollars.  I said 'you bought a whole car for $20?!'.  He said 'yea, but it didn't run...but I'd fix it on friday so I'd have a car for the weekend, ya know?  Then on Monday, I'd sell it and make a few bucks.  Then next friday, I'd buy another car and fix it up... I always had a different car every weekend.'   I said 'how old were you?'  He said 'Oh about 12 or 13'.   His stories like that always amazed me.

When I was 15, I got my own car... an old Chevy Blazer.  Pawpaw taught me so much about cars.  I don't think there is anything he didn't know.  On that old Blazer, we changed brakes, batteries, starters, alternators, spark plugs, distributor caps, radiators, bumpers.  He knew it all.   He was always working on something.  All you had to do was go out there and ask him what he was doing, and he'd teach you all you wanted to know about it.

He could fix or build anything.  One time we were building something, and he measured 3ft on one board, 4ft on the next board, and made sure the middle was 5ft.  I said 'pawpaw, that's the pythagorean theorem of right triangles!'  He said, 'I don't know about all that, but this is how we get this corner square...this first corner is the most important.  if we don't get this first corner square, then this whole thing will be out of whack!'  Good advice.  He definitely wasn't a perfectionist though.  His famous saying was "good enough for this government work".  It never was government work though.  We'd be building or fixing something, and my dad, who is a perfectionist, would come behind us and say 'Awww, look at this.  Why'd ya'll do it like this?'  And pawpaw would say 'What?  Aww, that? That ain't nothin!  Quit being so damn particular!'

When I was going to school at Southeastern, I stayed with mawmaw and pawpaw most of the time.  At some point I was getting in trouble with my grades and about to flunk out.  Pawpaw told me, "I dont' know much about anything, but see them degrees, I know you need to get as many of them as you can." I now have 2 degrees.  Pawpaw didn't go to high school, but he's the smartest person I've ever known.   Ask anyone.   So many times, when I'm working on something, I'll call my dad for advice.   He has lots of answers, but lots of times he'll say "I don't know.  But I bet I know who does.  Call Pawpaw."  And I've been talking to Uncle Lee, and he says "hmmmm... did you ask pawpaw?"  I know my dad, and Uncle Lee, and Uncle Ronnie, and Uncle Sonny would call pawpaw all the time for advice.  I'm not sure who we're supposed to call now.

And if you're not yet convinced about how amazing my pawpaw is, you should've seen him when mawmaw got sick.  The man who'd pretty much never went to the grocery store, was now doing ALL the grocery shopping.  The man who'd never done any cooking, was now cooking all the meals for them.  Pulling the engine out of a car, yea, but never in a million years would you ever see pawpaw pushing a vacuum cleaner.  Yet there he was, vacuuming the rug and keeping the rest of the house in order.   He wrote out all the bills when she could no longer see to do it.  Cooked her 3 meals a day, got all her medicines in order, and got her to all the doctor appointments.  But most of the time, they sat at the table, played cards, and kept each other company.  They kept a little notebook so they could keep track of who was winning.  He took care of her until her last day, and never complained.   I could never express how amazed and inspired I was, seeing him do that for her.   My only comfort right now is I know they're together again, perfectly healthy.  And I bet they're sitting at a table, drinking coffee and playing cards.

As you go through this life, trying to figure it out, trying to figure yourself out...  you look for role models, people who amaze and inspire and uplift you...  and you say that's who I want to be like, that's what I need to be doing.  My pawpaw is one of those people.  He is the most honest, kindest, and toughest person I know.  I would not be who I am today without his unwavering love, guidance, and support.   And if I'm ever half the man that he is, well then at least I'll know I did it half right.

I will love you and miss you for the rest of my life, pawpaw.  Say hi to mawmaw for me.

Pawpaw and Emma

Thursday, March 31, 2011

User Support fun

Don't you hate having this conversation over and over?

User:  Hey, I'm having a problem with something.  Whenever I ... <insert lengthy explanation of the problem>

Me:  Wow, that's interesting.  Have you tried ...<insert possible solution #1>

User:  Uh-huh, no, but see, whenever I ... <insert same exact lengthy explanation of the problem>

Me:  Yes, I understand the problem.  How about trying ...<insert possible solution #2>

User: Ok, I didn't think of that.  It's frustrating.  It's just that, whenever I .... <insert same exact lengthy explanation of the problem>

Me: Yea you said that... I know the problem.  I need you to try this... try <insert possible solution #3>

User:  Right.  I guess I could try that.  But whenever I ... <insert same exact lengthy explanation of the problem>

Me: Ok then.  Well that sucks (for you).  But good luck with it!  buhbye!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grass cutting season

Lawnmower.  4 flat tires.  Unroll 100ft extension cord and drag air compressor to shed.  Inflate tires.  Roll 100ft extension cord back up.  Roll 100ft garden hose back up.  Clean up other obstructions from yard.  Missed some.   Lawnmower - dead battery.  Push lawnmower out to driveway.  Jumpstart on car.  Choke sticks, floods engine.  Finally get it started.  Start cutting grass.

Soon run over green tomato plant wire laying in yard.  Ninja reflex shuts off blade before engine kills.  Remove wire.  Cutting again.  Soon run over end of nylon rope hanging on fence.  Ninja reflex shuts off blade before engine kills.   Rope twisted all over blades and shaft.  With engine running, remove rope from undercarriage with utility knife.  Cutting again.  Big ant pile.  Ninja reflex shuts off blade INSTEAD of raising the blade.  Engine kills.  Push lawnmower back to car to jumpstart.  Choke sticks again.  Engine floods.  Finally get engine started and finish cutting grass.

It's officially grass cutting season.  Get to do it all again next week.  Woo.  Effing.  Hoo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Notes to my wife

Last night I fixed a faulty lid switch on our washing machine. As I suspected, my wife was secretly hoping it was broken beyond repair so we could buy a new one! Therefore, here are some FYI's for my wife.

We don't buy a new $700 washer when the old one just needs a $20 switch.

We don't buy a new $700 dryer when the old one just needs dust cleaned from the motor.

We don't buy a new $1400 stove when the old one just needs a $30 electrical connector.

We don't buy a new $400 vacuum cleaner when the old one just needs a $2 belt!

We don't buy a new $6,000 A/C when the old one just needs an $80 fan motor!!!

We don't buy a new $35,000 CAR when the current one just needs $400 tires!!!

We don't buy a new $250,000 HOUSE just cause the current house doesn't have gardens!!!!!

Perhaps these are FYI's for your wife too...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting Ready for Football

So Parker told us he wants to play football on his school's 3rd and 4th grade team.   We were skeptical, cause he's not exactly the toughest kid.  But we didn't want to discourage him, and I think all kids should be given every opportunity to find their passions in life.  So we said OK.

He went to the first two practices and did great.  They were non-contact, no pads.  They just did some conditioning and some drills, and some light hitting on the dummies.  He did great and loved it.  He was psyched.  We even had him eating broccoli and cauliflower, since you have to eat vegetables to get strong enough to play football, ya know.  However I knew the day was coming when he'd have to put on pads, and I was pretty sure he had no idea what that meant.  Amber talked to a friend who said the first time her son practiced full pads, half the kids on the team were in tears, and the other half quit.  So I wanted to be sure he was prepared.

So we borrowed some shoulder pads and had an old helmet, and Parker and I went outside to play.  We did a few drills and a few passes,  and lined up and I let him hit me and we had a good time.   Then I kneeled him down and gave him a little speech.

I said, "Football is not about how hard you can hit.  It's about how hard you can GET hit, and still get up. It's about picking yourself up after a big hit and getting back in line for the next play.  That's how winning is done!"

Ahhh good advice from Rocky Balboa.   Parker said he understood. So I showed him where the goal line was.  He took off with the ball and I softly tackled him a few times while he laughed and giggled.   Then I said 'Ok I'm gonna hit you harder this time, like you're gonna get hit at practice'.  He said OK.  He took off running, laughing and giggling, and I gave him the "hit".   Now, I'm four times his size, so obviously I didn't really hit him!!  It was more of just a shove, but a good shove.   Not hard enough to really hurt him.  But hard enough that he went down, and hit the ground probably harder than he has in recently memory.

He got up quickly, and abruptly retired from the game of football.

I got him back and reminded him of our talk.  I told him part of football is hitting.  You gotta be able to hit, and you have to be able to take the hits.  Most of the time you're not gonna get hit hard, but you gotta be prepared for the big hits.  He said he wanted to play football without the hitting haha.  I said no, in your league, hitting is part of the game.  So after more pep talks, I convinced him to un-retire.

So we did a few more drills, and a few more soft tackles.  Then I told him I'm gonna give him another good hit.  He was skeptical, but agreed to take the hit.  So he took off, and I delivered the "hit".  No harder than last time, but this time he went down on his face and shoulder.

He didn't get up this time.  He laid there, and told me he could no longer walk.

When he did finally get up, he immediately starting pulling the pads off.  He had retired again.

I knew he was D-O-N-E for the evening haha!  But he got a little taste of hitting the ground.  I think he'll be much more prepared for it when they do put on pads at practice.  He did say he still wants to go to the last non-contact practice on Saturday before he decides if he really wants to play.   I told him we will go to a few Southeastern games this season so he can see the big kids play.  He also watched a few minutes of the Colts/Packers game tonight.  So he is interested in the game, he just isn't sure about the hitting haha!  I guess we shall see...

And the funniest thing he told us after his second retirement: "When you said football, I was thinking about me hitting the other guys...  I didn't think about that they were gonna be hitting me".  Hahaha!

Here's the Rocky speech:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More A/C crap...

A few weeks ago I changed the contactor switch on my air conditioner.  Now, the fan motor is going out.  Always something!  It's a motor with 3 wires, so I figure it can't be that hard to change.  So I turned off the breaker, pulled the disconnect, and took the motor out.  It is hard-wired, so I had to cut the wires.  Ugh!!  Took the motor and capacitor to the local Coburn's, but he doesn't carry Carrier/Bryant motors.   So I called the Carrier supply in Mandeville, and had a stupidly interesting conversation with the guy:

Me:  Yea, I need a fan motor for a Bryant condenser unit.
Guy: Sure, what company are you with?
Me: Uhh... I'm not with a company.
Guy:  Ah, we really only sell wholesale,  We sell to A/C companies.
Me: Ok, you know where I can buy the motor retail?
Guy: Not really have to be licensed to get A/C parts.
Me: I can buy it online, I just needed it today.  I'm not trying to recharge the whole system, it's just a fan motor.
Guy: Right, but there's a lot of electricity going through that motor.
Me: I know, it's 220 volts.
Guy:  Yea, now I'm not saying you don't know what you're doing, but how would your wife or kids feel if you got electrocuted trying to change it.  I mean, then they're gonna come ask us, why'd you sell that to him?
Me: Hahaha yea ok thanks for the warning... well if you can't sell it, you can't sell it, ya know.
Guy: Yea I really can't sell it.  I mean, if you had the motor off already, that might get you somewhere.
Me:  I already took the motor off.
Guy: Really?
Me:  Yea, I got it in my hand right now.  I need a capacitor too.
Guy: Oh ok!  Well uhhhh... ok, look just bring it in and we can probably do something.
Me:  Well can you sell me one or not?  I'm coming from Hammond.
Guy: Yea yea... just bring it in, and uhh..  ok hold on....
{long pause while he asks someone if so-and-so is here right now}
Guy: Yea just bring it in and we'll see what we can do...
Me:  Well I need to know if you can sell it before I drive out there.
Guy: no no yea... uhhh, yea just bring it in and we'll see.
Me: Haha ok thanks...

I hung up and called my uncle.  He said not to jack with those people, he'll get me a motor this weekend.  Just gotta hope the old motor lasts a few more days!  I had to wire nut the old motor back on and put it and the capacitor back together... so pretty much just wasted all morning.

Some pics:


After:  Fan and capacitor removed