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Easy as 123(456)
by Ed Rozmiarek
April 8, 2007

Time to kick the dust off the family blog. Our van recently reached a significant milestone. On the way back from one of Kevin's soccer games, the odometer on the van hit 123456. It seems pretty fitting that we hit this number on the way back from soccer. It feels like half of the miles we have put on the van are due to taking kids to soccer practices and games. And since we were at a soccer game, I had my camera along and was able to record the actual odometer reading.

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at 3:46 PM | Comments (2)

20 years ago today
by Ed Rozmiarek
August 2, 2006
According to Wikipedia several interesting things have happened on August 2. In 1776, the delegates to the Continental Congress began signing the United States Declaration of Independence. In 1943, PT-109, with future president of the United States Lieutenant John F. Kennedy commanding, sunk. In 1934 Adolf Hitler became Führer of Germany. And in 1985, A Delta Air Lines jet crashed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas (I remember that well since I was living in Dallas at the time).

One thing not listed there, but just as important as any of those for our family unit, 20 years ago today, on August 2, 1986, Susan and I got married.

When thinking about what to do for our 20th anniversary, we discussed several options. One thing we really wanted to do was go back to Cancun (where we went on our honeymoon). Although it was hit by a hurricane last year, I had heard that they had recovered fairly well. But, with a 13 and 10 year in the house, we would definitely need someone to sit for us while we were out of town. Unfortunately, there just is not anyone to do that right now for us. So we scrapped that idea.

The other thing to do would be to get something that would represent our time together, something meaningful. The 20th anniversary is either the china or platinum anniversary (depending on which chart you use). We weren’t interested in either of those types of items. We were out one day and the idea hit us, or hit Susan, she wanted a new rock for our anniversary. We happen to be near a store and browsed them and realized that that might be a nice thing to do.

Well, this past Saturday, we went out shopping and picked out a new rock. In fact, we decided to splurge and picked out three smaller stones to go with it as a place setting. All in all it wasn’t as expensive as we thought it was going to be. In fact, we arranged for special deliver yesterday to make it a unique event. The rock was delivered yesterday afternoon and Susan was very happy about how it came out. I figured I better take a picture so Susan can show the world. You can see the rock and the smaller stones here.

Note: You must view the picture before reading any further. I'll wait...

Back now? Good. You may continue...

Do I have a weird wife? In some ways, yes. But that’s just one of the things that makes her great and has made the last 20 years fun. Well, actually 24 years since we dated four almost four years before getting married.

So here’s to Susan! Happy Anniversary dear! It’s been a great 20 years and I can’t wait for the next 20 and beyond.

And before any of you think “Oh my gosh, he actually bought her a rock for her anniversary. The cad!” and send me nasty e-mail, Susan actually likes the rock. Yes, we picked it out and yes, it is the main present to ourselves. Call us strange, but we think it’s kind of fitting. Something that has been around a very long time and we hope will be around for much longer. And just think, if it was a diamond, it would be about 5.36 million carats. Not bad if you ask me.

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at 8:03 AM | Comments (7)

Don't mess with us
by Ed Rozmiarek
April 17, 2006
I normally don't post these web gadgets but this was just too funny.
Robotic Operational Zombie Manufactured for Infiltration, Accurate Repair and Efficient Killing
Thanks Hinj.
Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at 8:01 PM | Comments (1)

What Spring?
by Ed Rozmiarek
April 16, 2006
I thought Easter was suppose to be the start of Spring not Summer. Where did Spring go?!? 96 degrees on April 16? Looks like a long hot summer this year. And where's the rain?
Susan and I knew it was going to be hot today but we decided we needed to get some yardwork done anyway. We started after lunch and came in around 4:30. The thermometer on the front porch was reading 95 and the WeatherBug site at the local middle school was reading over 96. So much for trying to beat the heat this year.

Happy (Hot) Easter to everyone!

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at 5:05 PM | Comments (0)

Warning: A teenager now lives here.
by Susan Rozmiarek
April 11, 2006
I'm a little late in posting this:

Happy 13th Birthday


Yes, Kevin is officially a teenager now although he's already been acting like one for some time. We took him out to eat at one of his favorite restaurants, Joe's Crab Shack to celebrate. While we were there, some girl kept text messaging him on his cell phone. Yikes, he's growing up too fast!

Here he is opening up one of his presents after soccer practice. He is so busy with soccer these days he hardly has time for anything else.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 4:53 PM | Comments (0)

Shea is a Decade Old!
by Susan Rozmiarek
March 8, 2006

Happy Birthday


Yikes, I can't believe "the baby" is already 10 years old! Where does the time go???

There's nothing like a new electronic toy to make a young boy happy!

Yes, those are "crystal" bunnies on a carrot cake. Shea is still obsessed with rabbits. Look at all that gooey, rich frosting. We preceded this cake with some of his favorite foods for dinner, hotdogs and tater tots. Talk about a stomach ache.....

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 2:22 PM | Comments (0)

You know you live out in the country when.........
by Susan Rozmiarek
January 9, 2006
you are driving your kid to school and you have to stop to let a chicken and a turkey cross the road. And this was even in the "residential" part of town near the school! Then, of course, there is also that "Found: 5 goats" sign at the entrance to my neighborhood........
Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 9:27 AM | Comments (0)

by Susan Rozmiarek
September 13, 2005
If you wander through our new rural neighborhood, one of the things you’re sure to notice is that just about every house has at least two dogs, often three. At least one of them is usually the size of a small pony. I pointed this out to Ed and informed him that we would never fit into the neighborhood if we remained a one dog family. I don’t think he bought it, but I must have caught him in a good mood because he merely rolled his eyes at me. I, of course, took that as a “yes.”

After two months of looking and turning away many cute, sad faces, I found this rather plain, thin dog languishing in a back kennel of the Williamson County Humane Society. She’d been there almost two months and I’d somehow missed her on several visits. After taking her out and spending some time with her, I had to have her. At about one year old, she is a bit younger than I wanted. She still has plenty of puppy mischief in her, which I was trying to avoid. Still, she is so sweet and playful that it’s hard to be too mad at her, even as she is prancing around with my garden glove in her mouth.

Luna seems to have some Australian Shepherd and possibly German Shepherd in her.
I made the mistake of soliciting opinions from the boys as to what to name her. Their top two names were “Zelda” and “Yuna,” both characters in video games. Blech. I compromised and named her Luna, which I believe is a character in one of the Harry Potter books. The kids complained that “Luna” is hard to say. This puzzled me until I realized that even after 5 years of speech therapy for both boys, the “L” sound does not come easily to either one. In sadistic parental fashion, I said “tough – it’ll be good practice for you.” So, Luna it is.

Chase, our grumpy, older Australian Shepherd, put her in her place right away. After almost a week, they now seem to be getting along pretty well, except when Luna runs alongside Chase and tries to steal his tennis ball from right out of his mouth. He growls but can’t snap at her because he knows he’ll drop the ball and she’ll steal it. Poor Luna; I don’t know what her past was like. She doesn’t really know how to play but Chase is quickly showing her the ropes. She actually retrieved a tennis ball and brought it back to me for the first time today.

Chase and Luna
Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 3:08 PM | Comments (1)

by Susan Rozmiarek
August 10, 2005

I was working outside doing yard work until dark and got to watch this spectacular sunset. The colors were actually even more vivd than they are in this picture.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 10:14 PM

The Hardiest Wildflowers
by Susan Rozmiarek
July 10, 2005
We just had a whole month without so much as a drop of rain, plus scorching temperatures up near 100 degrees. I am amazed that even under these conditions, there are a few wildflowers blooming around our house.

This is a Two-leaved Senna plant. Notice how the ground around it is all dry and cracked. All the ground around our house was scraped when it was being built. We haven't dared to try and plant any grass or anything else due to the weather. Yet, there are a few tough plants like this one coming up. Hard to believe.

Firewheels, or Indian Blankets. These start to come up in early spring just after the bluebonnets start blooming. They last much longer, though. They have practically all gone to seed now, but a few are still around.

The very aptly named, Mexican Hats. There are several clumps of these in our yard, although most are almost done blooming.

Finally, we got a teeny bit of rain but it was less than half an inch. Still, it must have done some good, because several of these Wild Petunias were blooming along the edge of the driveway a few days later.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

First Snake!
by Susan Rozmiarek
We had our first encounter with a snake out here. I was walking out the front door in the morning and saw a large, ~4.5 foot brown snake whipping across the front yard at high speed toward the house. In hot pursuit was a very bold (stupid?) mockingbird who was swooping down and pecking at him. When he got to the house he tried to climb up the rock side but couldn't. I ran in to grab the camera and holler at the boys to come and look. (I was positive he wasn't venomous due to the shape of his head) When we got out he was hiding in a corner behind an old propane tank up against the garage door.

He was pretty mad at being disturbed. He's raring back to strike at me here. I would have loved to have teased him a bit from the end of a long broom handle, but with the boys present I didn't want to set a bad example. They need to learn snake safety since I'm sure we'll run across more snakes out here, possibly poisonous ones.

After a bit of Googling, I determined that this guy is a Western Coachwhip. Apparently they are very aggressive when cornered and can inflict a nasty bite. I hope my curious dog doesn't encounter him.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 12:02 AM | Comments (1)

Communing with Nature
by Susan Rozmiarek
July 3, 2005
We have lived here out here exactly one month now and one of the things we are enjoying is the abundance of wildlife in the neighborhood. I love trying to identify birds, bugs and flowers and there are plenty to be found right around our house. Here are a few of the critters we've spotted:

There are always hawks flying around here. I'd hate to be a small mammal with these guys around. I was able to snap a photo of this one on our power line.

We see deer every day. They are often in our yard early in the morning and in the evening. The spotted fawns are especially cute. Our dog is usually too lazy to chase them out. He's going to have to start doing his job if I ever hope to have a garden.

The boys discovered a bush in the front yard that was covered with walking sticks in the evening. Some of them were quite large. This one was on the house the next day. Notice the bird nest started between the beams. Some house finches were working on this but have since quit. Just like me, they have trouble finishing projects that they start!

I was out ridng my bike around the neighborhood and saw a jackrabbit. I don't know if this is the same fellow, but this one was near our house a few days later. Ed was able to get a picture of him through the window. We think that he is a Black-tailed Jack Rabbit.

Here is another interesting bird I've spotted, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. It has a long tail that looks like scissor blades.

There are also many, many types of wildflowers growing all over the place. Perhaps I'll devote a separate entry to them.

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at 9:30 PM | Comments (0)

Migrating north
by Ed Rozmiarek
May 27, 2005
It’s been a little over six months since construction started on our house and now it’s finally time to move in. This afternoon Susan and I did our final walkthrough with the construction supervisor and the office manager. The list we came up with was mostly nits. I think being able to keep up with the house and the weekly visits allowed us to point out things that needed to be fixed before it was too late or time consuming to fix.

After the walkthrough they gave us the OK to start moving some of our stuff in. So with the long Memorial Day weekend ahead of us, we are going to start moving the smaller things in. We’re going to start with the clothes and other junk from the closets, kitchen stuff, etc. I am also going to start working on hanging the window shades and blinds. We also need to finish packing the garage this weekend. The movers are coming on Wednesday, so we need to have everything we want them to move packed by then. We’re having them move the heavy stuff (must save my 40 year old back).

A few of Susan’s friends have been out to the house and we were really happy to get some nice comments back from them. Some of them, after seeing the house and the neighborhood, finally realized why we are moving “all the way out there”. We have also gotten some nice comments from some of the workers. Most of the comments are about the loft railing. I’m really glad we sprung for the extra money and did it. That and the beams really give the house the unique feel we were looking for.

I best get to bed early tonight, I think I’m going to need my rest. It’s going to be a long weekend.

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at 8:27 PM | Comments (0)

.info IS valid people!
by Ed Rozmiarek
May 18, 2005
I don’t rant that often, but I have just got to complain about something that hit me again today.

To the corporate webmasters out there, .info is a valid top level domain. It has been for over three years. Open your eyes and change your e-mail validation routines and allow .info as a valid domain.

At least five times this year, three of which have been in the last month or so, I have tried to use my completely valid e-mail address on a web registration form and have had it rejected. Their brain dead verification routines are saying that the e-mail address I have been using for over three years is invalid. Boy, I sure do get a whole lot of e-mail via my “invalid” address. And what’s bad, I usually get rejected when I’m placing an order or signing up for e-mail delivery of their pseudo-spam. So they are losing business from their stupidity.

Now, each time I hit this I write the webmaster a note stating the problem. A couple times they have fixed it. Most of the time I never hear back and I try it again several days or weeks later and have the same problem. In one case I actually found the Java Script code on the page the was editing the e-mail address. I sent the webmaster the exact line that needed to be changed. Two months later and the page still has the same problem.

Now for all those webmasters out there who feel they have to have verification routines on your forms for the e-mail addresses, here is a nice site with a list of the top level domains. They even have a complete alphabetical list of top level domains. Go check it out right now and make sure you accept all of the valid domains. Either that or have your quality certification department update their testcases to include all valid domains. (You do have independent testing of your webpage now, don’t you?)

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at 3:41 PM

Concrete, water and wood
by Ed Rozmiarek
May 17, 2005
Closer and closer we get to the end. The list of major items that need to be done on the house is getting really short. We are now just a couple weeks away from being able to move in. As the flurry of activity to finish up the house continues, Susan and I have been packing and getting ready to move.

Tile star in the entry way.
The biggest physical change this week is actually outside the house. All of the exterior concrete “flatwork” is complete. Since our septic tank came in under budget, we had enough money to actually install a complete concrete driveway instead of a gravel drive. The driveway and sidewalk were laid out and poured since the last update. We can now drive up to the house and park in the garage. We can also get into the house without walking through the dirt. The concrete pad for the outside A/C units was poured allowing the HVAC guys to come back to finish up their work.

Inside the house the finish work continued. The plumbers returned for their last visits, finishing out their work by installing the plumbing fixtures. They also finally hooked up the house to the water supply. We now have running water in the house. Yea!

The wood floor in the loft.

The wood floor was installed in the living room.

The flooring guys came back as well and installed the wood floor. We had wood flooring installed in the living room and the loft. That just leaves the carpet as the last major addition that needs to be installed. That is scheduled for installation on May 23.

Finally, the hardware guy came in and installed all of the hardware, door knobs, bathroom hardware, mirrors, locks, etc. He also installed the final front door.

The rest of the work is basically clean up and touch up. The cleaning crew came out last week to make a first pass at cleaning the house, cleaning the windows, counter tops, bathrooms, etc. They did a pretty good job but there is still a lot of dust on the uncarpeted floors upstairs and in the garage so it’s still very easy to track in dust.

The front door and the entry way lights.

The kitchen cooking area.

The touch up painting is last major piece of work to be done this week. The painters have a lot of work to do to get the walls into shape. They also have to stain the front door, the outside beams on the porches and the wood of the loft railing. This work needs to get done before the carpet guys come in next Monday. We have also purchased a bunch of window shades and blinds we need to install and the builder does not want me to install them until the painters come back.

As always, you can see additional pictures from this week’s visit in the house photo album.

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at 9:36 AM | Comments (0)

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