Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It went wrong from the very start.
There was a nice young woman behind the counter. Here is the exchange; you tell me where it went off the tracks:
Village Inn Girl: "Can I help you?"
Chris: "She would like a slice of Cherry pie and I would like a slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter."
Village Inn Girl: "That will be $6.50."**
**take note that my slice of pie cost $3.80
I swiped my debit card and the machine instantly asked me if I wanted to tip 15% or 20%. We have now been in the building 3 minutes. I saw Village Inn Girl move out of my line of vision as she headed to the back to get our pie, so I turned my head slightly to Angie behind me and out of the corner of my mouth uttered:
Chris: "Tip? 15% tip? 20% tip? How about zero?"
It is at this moment I realizeed much to my horror that my superhero-like spidey-senses have detected Village Inn Girl right behind me. She whispered in my ear:
Village Inn Girl: "If you want zero just hit zero. That's fine."
I was mortified; Angie was mortified but it was too late. Village Inn Girl gave us our pie and I slinked out.
When we got to the car I opened the pie container to make sure she hadn't spit in my food. What I found was almost as bad: I had received the smallest piece of pie I have ever seen at a restaurant. And I had paid $3.80! Here is a dramatic recreation using Village Inn's website (click to enlarge):
In the interest of social studies, I went to my friend Kimball's house and "talked him" (ie, had to pay him in pie) into going to Village Inn to order pie as well. This time he was ready to tip big. He ordered, he got a bigger slice.
Angie and I want to make the world a better place. Friends and followers of this blog know that we both want to teach others our valuable life lessons.
Here is what Chris learned: Drive the extra 15 minutes to the Cheesecake Factory if you can. It is so loud there that they won't hear you announcing you won't be tipping.
Here is what Angie learned: stop going out in public with her husband.
Monday, December 15, 2008
We have taken the boys to see musicals before. They have seen "The Lion King" and "Wicked" and they loved both. So I was a little surprised at their reaction to this play. It was almost magical to see how they all softened during the play. It was a great show!! The music and actors were really good. During intermission Jackson asked if we could sit in the balcony next time we come and see a play. Chandler thought it would be cool if we could get season tickets and Christopher decided he wanted to be an actor.
I was surprised that the boys didn't know the story of Scrooge- I guess I have been slacking in my parental duties--but they really got the point and loved the play. I loved the play and think we are going to make it a new Christmas tradition. So at this Christmas time I say "God bless us, every one."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tonight when I was bringing Chandler home from scouts we had an interesting conversation. Here is how it went:
Me: How was scouts?
Me: What did you do?
Chandler: We went to the High school and played football.
Me: Sounds like fun. So how was school?
Me: So- What do you and your friends talk about at school?
Chandler: Nothing really.
Me: Are you excited about Christmas?
Chandler: Of course
(good thing I learned how to ask find out questions on my mission or this would have been a very short conversation).
Me: What do you think Santa is going bring you?
He kind-of gave me a funny look.
I repeated the question- again the funny look.
Me:Chandler- do you and your friends talk about Santa?
Me: what do you talk about?
Chandler: we mostly talk about if he is real.
Now I know that Chandler is almost 12 and we probably should have had this conversation a couple of years ago- but I was hoping to hold off one more year.
Me: Do you think Santa is real?
Chandler: well I don't think he can be real. I mean who believes in Santa. Of course he is easier to believe in then the Easter bunny. I mean really, who would believe that a huge bunny hops around the world delivering candy.
I sat in stunned silence.
Me: so you don't believe in Santa? (I asked it like it was unbelievable that this could be true)
Chandler: well kind-of
Me : what do you mean kind-of?
Chandler: I kind-of hope he's real.
The rest of the ride home was quiet. I have to admit that I was a little teary to see my baby begin to see the world as a teenager. How I have enjoyed the innocence of youth. How I have enjoyed watching them as they look at things through eyes that think anything is possible. It makes me sad to see a little bit of that belief lost to the reality of the world. I wish I could keep them young forever and that they would have the absolute belief in all things good.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
A couple of years ago, we got together with the Wickes and the Richins to recreate the TV show the Iron Chef. Have you seen Iron Chef? Famous Chefs are given 1 hour to create meals using a secret ingredient revealed to them only moments before the 1 hour starts. The girls picked a secret ingredient (sour cream) and Kimball, Thomas and I had to create a main dish and a dessert in 90 minutes. We had to shop, gather supplies, and cook in the same kitchen in those 90 minutes. We called it Iron Chef Mesa.
Long story short, we made the mistake of having Thomas' brothers be the judges. There was a controversy involving a simple shake with a sprig of parsley being declared a winner over stuffed crepes, yada yada yada, Thomas wins the desert portion, splits the votes and leaves Kimball as Iron Chef Mesa.
Fast forward 3 years later: Chris is in New York City trying to put the ugly memories of Iron Chef Mesa behind him while drowning his sorrows in Diet Cokes. I was walkiing up 5th Avenue near Central Park and who do I see coming my way? None other than famous Iron Chef Bobby Flay:
I quickly explained the facts of Iron Chef Mesa to him. His eyes grew large in disbelief as I regaled him with the ins and outs of the culinary horror that robbed the world of Iron Chef Miner. I could have sworn that I saw one lonely tear roll down his face. In our minds, we hugged goodbye, one Iron Chef to another. Both being germaphobes, however, we kept our goodbyes to a nod of the head and a picture taken by a passing old man.
Once I knew Bobby was on my side, my day perked up. I put down the Diet Coke and saw the city in a whole new light. The grass was greener, leaves were goldnener and the taxi drivers swore less.
Here are some pictures I took in Central Park:
In the end, the trip was good since the conference I was in New York for was excellent and I was able to get some new purses for the girls through some tough haggling with Nigerians selling counterfeits on the streets late at night. Plus I will always have Bobby...
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Here are the before, during and after pictures.
Christopher hated cleaning out the pumpkin- I thought he was going to throw-up. It was so funny watching him clean it out.
Jackson tried a very difficult pattern which didn't work. He adapted well and changed his pumpkin to a spider/throw-up design. I think the inspiration came after he ate some raw pumpkin.Chandler chose to carve a skull. I didn't think it turned out very well until it was outside and lit. It was amazing!
Chris worked very hard on his pumpkin. We are very proud of his pumpkin carving skills. Of course he couldn't help himself- he had to do the throw-up joke. That really caught on with the boys--thanks Chris. Can you tell who he carved? That is my cute little bat in the background.
The Boys had a piano recital a few weeks ago. I am always so proud of the boys and how hard they work to memorize their music.
Christopher is always a hoot. Everyone watches to see what funny thing he does. He is always soooo serious.
Jackson played so well. He worked very hard this year and I am glad I won't have to hear the song "The Train" any more. The train whistle was very loud at 6:30am in the morning.Chandler always takes his recital so serious. He practices hard and is very responsible. He didn't really want his picture taken and rushed out of the room so the picture is not great.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
We decided to settle it the old fashioned way: Angie and I arm-wrestled for the right to take the boys to the game.
Here is the first picture of the night that the winner took. Can you guess who took it?
What can I say? I love dancing. Just kidding. Long story short, Angie let me go even though I lost the arm wrestle. Plus she had book club that night. Now in most marriages it would be no sacrifice for a wife to skip sports and go do girl-talk with appetizers. In our marriage however, Angie is a HUGE sports fan and although I love sports, I am also happy to spend an evening yacking it up and eating finger foods.
Thanks for sacrificing Angie. The boys and I had a great time.
The tickets included passes to all the clubs at the Arena and the area underneath the stadium between the floor and the locker room. At half-time and after the game we gave the players high fives as they ran into the locker room.
After the game we talked Amare Stoudemire into stopping and signing autographs for the boys. They were so excited!
All in all it was quite a lot of fun and hopefully the boys remember the good time we all had with Amare, Shaq, Nash. And the Suns dancers. OK, I don't want them (or Angie) to remember that part.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Needless to say, Chandler was so excited to play with friends in dirt and lake water. How could I deny him?
We went to a place north of here called Apache Lake:
It was a bit of a drive to get to the lake but on the way we stopped when the scout leader spotted a rattlesnake laying on the road. Like any good scout leader, this one got out and bothered the otherwise comfortable snake until he started to rattle. The leader wanted the boys to hear what a rattlesnake sounds like when it is ticked off and rattling so that the boys could be warned and on the lookout. This makes perfect sense to me as a carrier of male chromosomes. Angie, of course, was horrified at this retelling. Her reaction went something like this:
Me: "Wasn't that a good idea?"
Angie: "What? Are you fully retarded or just slow?"
Me: "I'm all man, baby!"
Angie: "I will take that as fully retarded."
If that wasn't cool enough, later on the drive we saw a tarantula. A huge tarantula in fact. So huge that we had to pick it up and let it walk on us. First the boys petted it (yes it was that big) but then they got brave and let it walk on them.
You can all imagine what Angie's reaction was when I told her about this part. It won't surprise you that she has asked my employer if there is a special "short bus" that can take me to work since she doesn't think I should be allowed to drive.
Once we got to the lake Chandler was good about helping me get the tent up, dinner, etc. Luckily the 11 years old scouts are still 11 and were oblivious of the girls in bikinis in the next campsite over. Just to be safe I decided to keep an eye on them and make sure they didn't wander into our campsite and frighten the young boys. You're welcome, Angie. Chandler was safe!
Of course Chandler wanted to get up at 6 am and fish which was fun except for the really smelly bait. We didn't catch any fish but we saw a couple steal the bait.
All in all it was a fun campout and we can't wait to do it again. In case you were wondering-don't worry, the bikini-clad temptresses were not out early Saturday morning. I checked several times just to be safe.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I spent the first couple of days just outside of London. I realized as soon as I landed that I had accidentally left my jacket in hot Phoenix and it was rainy every day in London. A cab driver and I shopped a thrift shop and I found a nice wind breaker for 5 pounds (about 10 bucks). It had a little school insignia on the jacket but I didn't worry about it until I got back to the office and looked up the name of the school and realized it was a school for teenage boys with emotional and behavioral problems! How fitting, some of you are thinking! I just hope that people who saw me walking around with it thought that I was a teacher and not a student :)
I did get into London for some meetings but I also had a nice dinner with my friend Adam who lives in London. He and I started at the same law firm in New York many years ago. Later when Angie and I were in Frankfurt, Adam's future wife, Karen, was dating him in London on the weekends and working in Frankfurt during the week, where we met her also. Anyway Adam and Karen now have a cute house in London and a cuter new baby and it was wonderful to catch up. It was also fun to walk the London streets again and see the tourist sites: parliament, Westminster, Big Ben, etc. Mostly I missed touring with Angie!
Later in the week I went North for several days. I did get to play hooky on a Friday afternoon and trained to York, a beautiful old city. Here is the York minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe outside of Italy:
Here is a medieval street in York called the "Shambles". Notice the rain and the crooked buildings down the street:
On the train I met a man from Zimbabwe, where the inflation is so bad because they just keep printing money. You have to spend money as soon as you get it because prices double every day. He gave me a 50 billion dollar note, currently worth about 50 pence (or $1):
On Saturday I went to a football/soccer game in Newcastle. The Newcastle fans were in a near riot with protests and chanting because the coach had just quit and fans blame the owner so it was a lot of fun and quite a scene! Here I am with my new football friends (notice the Newcastle team Jersey and school jacket):
The home team lost 2-1, but I did get to see Michael Owen play. He is a fantastic player for both Newcastle and the English National team. He is also very popular with the girls. Angie is a fan of his soccer skills!
I am so excited to be back home and have the best wife for putting up with trips like this. Traveling just isn't as fun without her and I can't to get back to England with her!!
Monday, September 8, 2008
We capped off our vacation with a LA Galaxy game. It was fun-we were a little sad that Beckham was in England- but we enjoyed the game even without him.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Christopher and Grandpa and Grandma PrattWhat a great day that was for Christopher and our family. We are very proud of Christopher and all the work he did to get ready for his baptism!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
ps--I have loads of pictures from the end of summer, but I had to take my laptop in to get fixed so they will have to wait until next week--sorry.