Saturday, December 06, 2008


Well, after a couple of weeks of torture and turmoil, the Dodge is fixed!

They did a nice job. I can't even tell where the accident happened! They washed the exterior and cleaned the interior. They even sprayed some nice smelling stuff inside. It almost makes me forget the following:
  1. It took two whole days just to get the estimate
  2. They lied about the kind of part they were going to put on the car (used vs. new)
  3. The insurance company denied (at first) to repair the damaged driver window, but after sending my dearest to talk to them, they relented and fixed it
  4. It took over a week to get the door
  5. The replacement door had a defective "check strap" that had to be replaced before they could release the car. The "check strap" communicates with the driver display to show when the doors are opened or closed and to lock the windows.
Nice. All things being equal, this was probably a normal experience with an insurance company. However, the car is instantly devalued due to the accident, even with the replacement parts. Any CARFAX report is going to pick it up since it was reported to the insurance company.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Victory In Iraq Day

I saw on the web the other day that November 22, 2008 is Victory In Iraq Day.

Victory in Iraq Day!

I'm posting it here to share in this momentus occasion. Let's hope what is posted is true, so we can bring our heroic soldiers home as soon as possible.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sad Event

I recently attended a funeral for a former colleague of mine who's daughter and my oldest daughter happen to be good friends and on the Color Guard together.

He passed way too early (he was 50) and will be missed terribly.

God Bless Tim and his family. They are now honorary Grizzwold's.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The dents, they are a changin'

Well, the Dodge is in the shop, hopefully getting fixed. It only took them five days to get me to this point. Our own insurer had an estimate in around 4 hours.

They set me up in a pretty good rental. A KIA Optima. It's the largest KIA model and is about as luxurious as the Dodge. I'd much rather drive it than the Dodge.

Oh well.


Update: 10/21/08 - Well, I've found out that there is a larger KIA, the Amanti. So I'm in the middle of the road model, I guess.

Friday, November 14, 2008


My dearest Ellen was involved in a minor accident the other day. Here's a pic of the damage. The other person was driving a brand-new Lexus SUV. The bumper was high enough to make a mess of the door. The Lexus driver was backing out of the drive through at a local fast food restaurant while my dearest was driving past. Yes, you heard right. The knucklehead was backing OUT of the drive thru.
I've spent the past three days negotiating with the other person's insurance company for money. I go to get an estimate on Monday. I hope they don't total the car. That would be bad. The car is about 5 years old and has over 92K miles on it. It's not worth a whole lot, but it would suck immensely if they totaled it because then I would have to go out an try and find a comparable car for whatever they give me (which probably won't be a lot). My insurance company said they wouldn't total the car because it's not that old and it was in good working order prior to the accident. I'm banking that my insurance company is right.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another successful season

Fall Softball is done!

I enjoyed getting back into head coaching. While we didn't win every game (we were 4-6, I think) we were in just about every one. We only got blown out once (16-5...yuck).

I had a good group of girls and asked all of them to come back. I hope I can get all of them and a couple more good players.

The kids gave me a gift certificate to a local restaurant. A hundred bucks will buy me a lot of food!


It's Over! Finally...

I think we've been trying to elect a President since the last one was re-elected.

Thank goodness it's over. I was completely sick of it.

Don't ask your ol' pal Clark for whom he voted. I won't answer. Some things are meant to be private.

So when do the 2010 primaries start?


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Open Thank you Note to all political candidates for 2008

In this fine year of political missteps, mistakes, and misogyny here is an open letter to all of the candidates:

Thank you, O political candidated for your continued ads on television, radio, road signs, billboards, cell phones, bumpers, and junk mail.

Thank you for your continued obfuscation of the facts, details, information, and opinions.

Thank you for your stump speeches in small towns that: block traffic for hours keeping regular folks from going to/coming from work; providing opportunities for people to park on strangers lawns, walk on strangers lawns, drop trash on strangers lawns, park in front of strangers houses; give opportunities for the people best known for tin foil hats to protest on bucolic streets, haranguing locals into voting for their "fringe" candidate; provide opportunities for the media to troll neighborhoods for unsuspecting nincompoops to give ignorant sound bites to equally ignorant and plastic "reporters".

Thank for your incessant phone calls during dinner to ask if I am going to vote for the candidate on their script.

Thank you for "Change", "Straight Talk", gaffes, "improbable history", "ACORN", "Keating Five", Annenberg, POW, African Press International, Main Stream Media, blogs, polls, Ayers/Wright/Fleeger/Resko, Bush, "present", 90% for Bush, and "Sarahcuda".

Thank you for debates that weren't, moderators that didn't, and shameless plugs for books yet written.

Thank you for "nice" campaigns that called one candidate a "marxist" and made fun of the other candidates age by indicating that they could possibly wear adult diapers.

Election season.....priceless.


Monday, October 20, 2008


As I get older I often wonder why we are as we are at middle age. Men in particular have things that happen to them that just seem to defy logic. For example, some of us are particularly hairy and others are not. Then there's you ol' pal Clark.

See, I was never blessed with a lot of hair on my head, nor the rest of my body. However, I have hair that grows where I really don't want it. My back, my ears, my nose, and my eyebrows.

Thankfully I'm not like those cave men on the insurance commercials. I have moderate hair on my back, but it's freakin' annoying! It only grows on my shoulders and its patchy. I do my best to shave it off, but I can't see it! Why does it grow there?

My eyebrows aren't so bad. I've seen some guys that look like they have caterpillars on their heads. Mine are not nearly that bad, but I have these random hairs that are twice as thick as the surrounding hairs. Plus, they stick out of my forehead a little bit. Kinda like a porcupine I guess. What is the deal though? My eyebrows were fine for nearly 40 years and now they act like there is some kind of mutant DNA in them. I find these annoying hairs randomly and yank them out by the roots. Momentary pain for a few weeks of gain.

Now that brings me to my ears. I have these random hairs that grow out of random places on my ear. My left ear is the worst. For some reason the ear lobe and the pointy part near the canal have random thick hairs that just sprout out for no apparent reason. I probably could rationalize the eyebrowns and back hairs. But why the heck are thick hairs growing out of my earlobes? If I don't keep them in check, my ears look like they belong on some simian relative.

Ugh. I guess this is payback for perfect skin?


Friday, October 10, 2008


My oldest caught the pinkie on her right hand in the door of the truck. She tried to shake it off, but her threshold of pain is pretty low (she tends to faint too) so she couldn't hang with the finger in the shape that it was in. Through a consultation with the school nurse, we decided to get it looked at, so she met me at home. Her finger was in sad shape. The french nail she had on was punctured at the nail bed and it was swollen with blood. The nail bed was a delightful shade of reddish blue (purple for you "artistes").
We went to the local ER and the PA (we'll call him Dr. Apu) drilled a small hole in the nail bed to release the pressure. It took him a while (he didn't seem to understand that the french manicure was on top of her real fingernail, which explained why it took him far longer to drill the hole than I believe he thought it would take) to get the hole made, but finally blood started to come out.
Then they took the largest finger splint they could find and bent it in half to cover the end of the finger and the nail and wrapped it with some tape. It looked ridiculous. She held her pinkie up in the air like some affected snob at a tea party.
Oh, and she plans to attend Color Guard practice tonight. I told her that she was nuts and she was more than likely to injure her finger further. I sent her back to school. We only spent about 90 minutes in the ER. Quite a feat.



Your ol' pal Clark doesn't want his blog to be a political one. I prefer to read those. But I'm about sick to death of the election baloney now. Most, if not all, politicians are crooked. Some are more crooked than others. Some also get caught. It's really odd that those that get caught sometimes are still elected and re-elected to office. WTH??

I pride myself at being mostly in the middle with regards to politics. There are so many people on the fringes of both parties that are just plain kooks. I was appalled at how much money went into this supposed bailout and it didn't really do anything. Stocks plummeted and banks failed. Why not just let the stocks fall and the banks fail? Not all the banks will fail, will they? Perhaps I'm short-sighted or naiive or something, but I remember that the government bailed out a bunch of savings and loans about 25 years ago when they failed and that turned out OK. At least after a while.

I think the reprehensible people are the fat cat CEOs that manage to be awarded contracts that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, stocks, and bling (ooooo, I'm so hip!) regardless of whether the company they run is thriving or failing. The CEO of Lehman Brothers (Fuld I think is his name) got nailed by Sen. Waxman in Congress the other day. You see, my friends, Fuld got an estimated $450 million (or $350 million if you believe what Fuld said before Congress) in severance when Lehman crashed and burned. He shouldn't have gotten a dime over his regular salary plus two weeks. Some guy at some other company was only on the job a month and got some $20 million (estimated) in severance. Thankfully, someone with a set of cojones punched Fuld in the nose at the gym in the Lehman Brothers building in NYC. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall for that one.

Other than legislate people's salaries, which is way too socialist for my tastes, how do we combat runaway salaries for CEOs? If I were in charge, I would have written into the so-called "bailout" that CEOs immediately forfeit any severance if their company has assets purchased by the government. Those "golden parachutes" would immediately go to the government to buy back the reworked securities.

Oh, and another thing, company CEOs caught cooking the books would be prosecuted no matter how much money they gave to lawmakers on the Hill.


Financial Panic

Your ol' pal Clark is woeful like the rest of us since the US Government attempted to buy up the banking industry. Stocks are falling like so many stones and folks are losing their savings and retirement. Mine was wiped out long ago and I've not been able to get back into it. I'm hoping that will change soon. I'm supposed to get a personnel review at the end of this year or beginning of next (all of us get reviewed at the same time). I hope to be able to start to set aside at least 1 percent of my salary into something that will earn some decent interest. Not the lowly stuff like a money market...but something in the 5-10 percent range. I also have to get the Mrs. to do the same thing.

As a side note, gas is down to about $3.15 a gallon at one station near the house. I have to check out my fave spot, Sheetz, to see if they are at least that low. They were around $3.29 the other day. It's about time to fill up the Speck, too!


More on the new J-O-B

I'm stoked (is it OK for someone in their mid 40s to say that?) to be working at my new job.

I'm settling in and feeling good about what I am doing. Of course, I said that after the first month at my old job too. Just before the "football bat" situation started. Anyhoo, I've been sent out to work on another site in the DC area that wants to increase their knowledge, improve their situation, and win the re-bid coming in about 18 months. I'm proud to be included in the group that hopefully will help them out.

I'm still waiting on my own personal company laptop. They've issued me a company credit card (God only knows how that went through), too. My buddy is going to Florida for a week to hash out some issues with a project down there. I was thinking that I was going to go, but he's gonna plan for a week down there and I'm sorry....I've got too much going on at home to spend the week hand holding. I'll be ready to support him from a distance. Plus I have to review a bunch of material for my site review. I'm hoping that goes well.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New job

Hey everyone!

I've been at my new job about a month now. I've taken a sick day today cuz I'm feeling rotten with cold symptoms. My dearest Ellen keeps feeding me these zinc tabs that are supposed to help rid you of your cold faster. I don't think these work.

The new company covered me on the losses I had for missing the San Francisco trip. It was an honor to be selected, so I still have that.

More later,


Fast Forward's been a quick month. I should be more diligent in my blogging, but I'm a busy guy.

See, the boss came in on 8/25 and basically told me that I could go. I'd be paid for the day, of course, but not the rest of the week because...well...he wasn't getting any more money from the client, so he couldn't afford to pay me for the rest of the week. He offered me a laptop in exchange for the hours, but I really needed the money, not the PC. In retrospect, I should have taken the computer, but I wasn't thinking clearly at the time. That kinda sucked.

Oh well. I lost 5 days of pay. I tried getting on with my new company, but they wouldn't have an office for me for another week, so I was stuck at home. You'd think I would have blogged while I had all that down time, but I ended up doing stuff with the kids since school hadn't started yet. I did have one day all to myself, but I wasted it.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Sleepy Monday

I'm here and the last guy left are here...but no one else is here. I wonder what time these guys get to work? Sheesh! Now I know what it's like to work at the corporate office!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Class Acts All

Well, I'm free of that old client.

It wasn't the way I'd planned it, but it came true a week earlier than I'd planned.

You see, the class acts that were my clients decided that they would sever their relationship with me earlier than August 29. They sent the contract Program Manager in to let me and the last guy left go this morning at about 9:30am. They didn't even have the guts to come in and say good-bye. What cowards!

This is after I spent about 90 bucks on going away lunches where the bill was divided rather than separated. In one case, I had about a 15 dollar lunch (tip included) that I had to pay 35 dollars for!

What losers!

I guess now the "football bat" will swoop in and take over, saving the day! Ya know what? That would be poetic justice, I guess. The "football bat" and the client are made for each other.

Well, I'll have to see if I take an unpaid vacation or work some menial stuff at HQ until Sept 2nd. I take back what I said before about my current employer. At least the CEO cares something about me as a person and employee.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm saved!!

I can happily tell all of you that your ol' pal Clark has found a new job!! WooHoo!

I'm going to work with the first guy who left the team. He's a good egg and put in a good word for me at his new job cuz they had a need for a new team member. Two weeks later, Ta Daaaa! Clark has a new gig!

I won't get paid anymore because I was at the top of their scale, but that's OK, I'll be half as far away and getting better bennies because it's a bigger company. Plus, I don't have to necessarily spend all my time on client sites! It's as near a perfect gig as I can get!

As you can see by all the exclamation points, your ol' pal Clark is stoked to get started. My first day is September 2nd. I've already turned in my notice to my old employer. I think they were glad to see me go because they really haven't said much except congratulations. I tried. All of the stress and bother (not to mention the chest pain and weight gain) of this job seems to be all for naught. I really haven't felt like a part of the company much. The new guy gave me some interesting insights as to what he feels is going on there. It makes a lot of sense. He feels that they are only interested in making money and they are going to get whatever gig they can to do that. I agree that its in the best interest of all CEOs to make money for their business, however, you have to have a plan of action. I sometimes feel that we are the cash cow that is supporting all of the other activities of the business.

All that being said, I feel bad that no one at corporate seemed to take an interest in what we were doing. There is one guy left. He's feeling left out. I think he got a late start on the job hunt (although my gig was achieved with help) so I extended contact information to him as needed. The other guy who left is trying to set up something else at our new company for him. I'm hoping that works out.

Thankfully, I won't have to deal with the "football bat" anymore.


The new guy is gone!

Yep. His time was up (he actually stayed an extra week) and now he's gone. All the work he was doing with "football bat" now falls to me. Great.


Softball Season is over!

Another softball season is done. My middle child performed well overall at the last tournament, smacking a single and a monster double over the course of the tournament. Her team only won a single game, but I think they had a good time overall.

Oddly enough, my oldest got an invite from her last coach to sub in for a girl who couldn't make a the tournament in the same location. That was fortunate. Her team did better, winning 2 of 3 in the pool play and 1 game in the trophy round. She did it as a favor, stating she was glad that she didn't play tournament ball anymore.

Word of advice: Avoid the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Williamsburg, VA. The only saving grace about that place was the food. The accomodations weren't as stellar as they should have been, given the price.


The emigration...

Shockingly, one of our other teammates gave his notice and was out faster than the new guy! I don't blame him. He left about a week ago. He gave me some contacts where he is now going to work (half as far away from home for him and the same for me).

I've had some contacts from recruiters and a couple of phone interviews, but nothing firm. I am dreading the day that the new guy leaves.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

The new guy is audi5000

A few posts ago I mentioned that we had a new guy at the office and that he was put in charge of the project. As a result of the messed up environment we have at work, he's decided to put in his resignation. He'll be around for a few more weeks, but the middle of august comes around pretty quickly.

It's sad that this environment is so toxic that talented people won't stay around. My resume is already on the street as a result. The "Football Bat" is still in charge of our ITSM project for which we have to complete tasks. I can't stand that woman. We had to sit through a presentation that was so screwed up (death by power point bullet, mispellings on the screens, lack of a coherent message, etc.) I wanted to walk out.

I'm wanting to stay around for the trip to SF, CA in the fall, but I don't know if I'll be able to do it. If the right job comes around...I'm gone.


Electrical Mayhem

I often wonder at how it is that we've made it this far. The we I am referring to are those of us who are citizens of the United States of America.

Curiously, I had a conversation with a representative from our local power company (a monopoly don'tcha know) about my bill. You see, your ol' pal Clark has been going through a bumpy fiscal situation and sometimes doesn't have enough coming into the coffers to pay 100% of the bills. I try to pay the electric company in full, but if I do that, some other bill "recpient" will be forgotten, so to avoid all of that, I try to make sure that I'm paying everyone something. The electric company usually gets at least 75%-100% of what I owe them. So far, it's been keeping the lights on.

After a few months of paying the electric company "something" close to the monthly balance (and oh, BTW, they raised our rates another 10% recently), they dropped a letter in my mail box saying that we needed a "security deposit" and that it was about $500 dollars. Wow. I was a little dumbfounded. I'm already having enough financial trouble, but then the power company drops this bomb on me.

Since I had no idea where I was going to come up with the money, I called them up and got an "agent" on the line. After exchanging the usual name, account, address, phone, name of next of kin pleasantries out of the way, we got down to business:

Me: I'm having a little trouble making ends meet and want to know how to deal with this "security deposit" you are requesting.

Agent: Yes, sir. I can help you with that.

Me: Well, since I'm having trouble paying the full bill each month, how are you going to be funding this deposit.

Agent: We've conveniently split the payment up into three easy installments.

Me: OK, so on my next payment, you will be taking out money for the deposit?

Agent: Oh no, sir. You have to pay the first installment along with your next payment.

Me: OK, so what happens if I'm not able to pay. As I explained, I am having some financial problems. I have been paying most of my bill though.

Agent: Well, sir. We've been able to help you out by splitting the payment up into three easy installments.

Me: I see. That helps, I guess. So what happens if I can't come up with the bill amount?

Agent: I'm sorry to hear that sir. I have no idea how to help you do that.

Me: Right. So what happens if I am short again?

Agent: Well, I guess we would have to disconnect your service.

Me: So you're going to disconnect my service because you are asking me to pay another $150 dollars over the amount of the monthly bill that I've explained I'm having difficulty paying.

Agent: I'm sorry sir. That's correct. But we've conveniently split the deposit into three easy installments.

Me: What happens if you have someone that wants to pay their bill, but can't?

Agent: Well, we get involved with Social Services through the states.

Me: (Seeing where that was going...I thought it best to move on) So when is the deadline for paying the first of these easy installments over the regular billing amount?

Agent: The first installment is due next month on the 8th.

Me: OK, so I have a few weeks to come up with the extra money. Thanks.

Agent: Was there anything else I could help you with today, sir?

Me: No, thanks, you've been completely helpless for me today.

As you can see, I can pay the amount that I can't afford to pay in three easy installments. I felt like I was caught in an old Abbott and Costello routine.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

bill collectors


Bill collectors are truly crazed. There's not one particular endearing thing about them.

They call at 8am on a Saturday morning.

They lecture.

They can be rude.

They will take ANY amount of money. Which leads me to believe that they get paid a stipend for each person they collect money from.

I realize that they are just doing a job. Everyone is entitled to make a living. But why make others miserable while doing it?


What's new


It's your old pal Clark. It's been a little while since I last blogged. I'm not very good at this yet, so time passes before I can get back to writing here.

The Speck is running fine. I still don't have a radio...but I have been getting consistent gas mileage...around 27 to 28 mpg.

We have a new guy on the team at work. He has more experience than I do, so the CIO put him in charge of the project while I retained a corporate management position. He's the subject matter expert, so there is a ton of hope that he can right some of the messes that are going along with things. One things for sure, I already like him. You see, he has a way about him. In fact he called "she" "weirder than a football bat". In his honor, "she" will now be known as "football bat".

The kids are doing well in school and their teams are doing reasonably well for their spring seasons. Oldest has done a great job on her varsity team. The middle has done a super job on her house league team. She's played first base and pitched well. Youngest has done a super job being toted around like luggage. She's been practicing her hitting in the back yard. I must say she can smack a whiffle ball pretty good.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

New toys!

I bought a new car!

Ahem...let me be honest. It's new to me. To the rest of the world it's a 2002 KIA Spectra with 55K miles and dark green paint.

Since my dearest has returned to work, she's been filling up the Grizzwold family SUV each week to the tune of around 80 bucks a tank. Your ol' pal Clark was eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches in order to afford the near $500 a month gas bill. Now, my dearest is driving my Dodge and I'm driving the KIA (or Speck as the kids call it).

Believe me folks, it's just basic transportation. Check out these pictures:

It has an engine, doors, wheels, glass, and a host of other features. However, it is lacking a radio, power windows, and power door locks. I miss those features a lot. But, it gets decent gas mileage (27 mpg in city commuting). I hope I made a good choice. So far, it has performed flawlessy.


I can't make this up folks....

Hey folks!

I am really not making any of this up. Really.

"She" is back and "she" is in charge of a project that I will have to work on. We are upgrading our IT Service Management product to the latest version and "she" has been put in as the Project Manager working for the PMO team. I kid you not.

This "person" is serving out a settlement of some kind or other and has a contract to not work on the same types of projects that I work on. Now we are working on the same project.

It looks like your ol' pal Clark is in for a rough summer.


Friday, February 22, 2008


I've spent a great deal of my career working with people. I must say that I've gotten along quite well. Except for "she", I can't recall too many people whom I would label "enemies". However, I'm struggling with the group of people where I work that don't seem to want to participate in the concept of "teamwork".

In general terms, being a member of a team means that there is a common goal. In most sports, the goal is to win the game, match, or tournament. Having been a coach I can tell you all that a single person who spells the word "team" with an "I" can really bring a team to its knees. It's really not that different in the IT world. When you are a consultant, contractor, or employee, we all get our goals from our leadership and we try to make the goals happen within a specific time frame.

Not so recently where I work. For some reason, some people on the team have decided not to cooperate. They have no professional ethic, they are disrespectful, and they have their own set of goals that aren't necessarily in line with the rest of the organizations. It's sad. I guess they are selfish and only have their own best interests at heart. But, if they participated in the team dynamic, they would be part of a larger success. Win as a team, lose as a team. It doesn't matter if you think you spell it with an "I", the team falls when those around it are marching to a different drum.


OCD threes

For those of you out there that have little children (or remember how it was when your big children were little) I'm sure you can remember "the terrible two's". Tantrums and crying and misbehavior...I'm still having nightmares about it. Well, my dearest and I have come to a conclusion that there is another life stage of the toddler: "the OCD Threes".

Our littlest obsesses over certain things to the point of absurdity. She has to close the door. She has to pour the ketchup. She has to set the plates on the table. It's to the point where I think the child needs therapy. If she doesn't get the response to "let me do it" there are tears and much gnashing of teeth. Anyone that's been through this with their children feel free to drop me a note. An especially juicy story get's an Honorary Grizzwold mention.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Final Chapter?

You'd think by now that everything would be back to normal regarding "she who's name will not be spoken" (heretofore referred to as "she"). I guess I was wrong. However, I think we may be at some sort of crossroads.

I can pretty much guarantee that "she" won't be going away. She's managed to leverage all of her friends from the government and land a job supporting some kind of IT project for the same division where I work. According to the folks in the know at my company, some sort of "settlement" was reached between my company and "she's" company and mine. From my position, it would have been nice to know the terms of the settlement. Regardless, she's been slithering around my area recently. I ran into her two times in the space of a week. I overheard someone say to her: "sometimes things happen for a reason". I'm sure that she was talking about her "ordeal". Lest we forget about the things that lead to her "dismissal", here they are:

  1. Constant disagreements with other team members
  2. Lack of communication with the team to the point where important information was not disseminated, resulting in embarassing situations and emails
  3. Emotional ourbursts in public and private
  4. Inappropriate social relationship between her and the client
  5. Falsified credentials - she claims to have a PhD. However, the college from which she received this PhD. is a "diploma mill". While this didn't really contribute to her dismissal, it was more of the same kind of dis-information she touted as "real"
  6. Refusal to accept the generous offer of a paid leave of absense from the company. This would have given her time to get her head together (something that I personally recommended to her)

There were a couple more, but those were the big ones.

I have to live in the environment where each time I run into her I'm reminded of the stress and turmoil she put me through (the nasty comments, emails, dirty looks). Perhaps your ol' pal Clark is a little paranoid? I personally think it sucks, but I have to stick it out in order to pay the bills, if you know what I mean.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Honorary Grizzwold

To the family who drove their sainted Grandmother to the great Northwest in their RV only to have the woman pass away on the trip: you are an Honorary Grizzwold family!
Reminds me of our trip to Wally World!


Nused car

My cousin (You remember my cousin, the one who visited at Christmas time in the RV?) had a car he was trying to unload. He had it checked out and everything. I looked at it myself and thought it was a pretty good car. The kids were even excited because it had a connector for their MP3 players!

Well, we worked out a deal that I would pay him in a couple months with the tax return I was getting. The car had a lot of miles on it, but my cousin took pretty good care of it. The car did great on the trip back home. I thought we were very lucky to find a decent car for not a lot of money.

Well, everything was good until I drove it to work. It did great on the way to work, but started acting funny on the drive home. It started missing under acceleration. Well, I stopped by my mechanic and he took a look at it. He thought it was either a spark plug problem or a distributor problem. I tried to leave with it, but it wouldn't start up. So I left it there. Long story short, what seemed like a great car was in need of about $1000 dollars worth of repairs. Not such a good deal. The mechanic was able to get it running right again

Thankfully, my cousin was cool with it and he decided to donate the car to charity...eventually. Right now it's sitting in my garage with a mostly flat tire. I hope I can get it inflated before the tow truck comes!


New job!

I'm proud to announce that my dearest Ellen is back to work full time!

Since money has been so tight, Ellen decided she would get a full time job and we would put the baby in child care full time. It was really took her three weeks to get her resume together and about three days to land this job. She is working at a call center for a pharmaceutical company. You know, the folks at the end of the 1-800 number on the back of the package? She loves it and she's making good money.

I'm very proud of her.

The kids have made the transition fairly well. We found a neighbor with a set of home-schooled kids that agreed to watch my 11 year old. The baby has even taken to the day care setting. It took a while and a great many tears, but she is almost completely transitioned. I have had kind of a harder time because I have to get up at about 5:30am in order to be able to leave work at around 4pm to make sure that I am home in time to pick up the baby from daycare. By Friday I'm pretty exhausted. I've also picked up all the dinner obligations. I really don't mind cooking, but the cleanup really stinks.

Happy Holiday!

Hi folks, it's your old pal Clark again.

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas (or Hannukah...or Festivus...or whatever you do this time of year) and a safe New Year. This Christmas was just OK. Money was way tight, so we really had to cut way back on presents. Still, the kids had a blast.

I got the worst flu I've ever had the weekend after Christmas. I honestly thought I was having some awful headaches. My heart was racing, I was wicked hot or cold, depending upon my fever. I begged Ellen to take me to the doctor, but she kept telling me they wouldn't really do anything for me. So I suffered. I had horrible things coming out of both ends of my body. The worst of it was coming out the back end...if you know what I mean. I was sick for about a week. I couldn't stray far from a toilet for 5 days. Even after that, my digestion was affected for about another week after that. I really couldn't eat anything with any substance. I ate a lot of soup and pasta and drank a ton of water and soda. Ellen said she had never seen me so sick (I don't get sick much).

I did manage to wean myself off of diet soda while sick (and without the withdrawals too!) I was drinking so much water that there wasn't room for soda. Your ol' pal Clark used to drink 4 or 5 diet cola a day. That's a lot of caffeine. Now I drink (on the average) 1 diet cola a day. I drink tea or water the rest of the time and indulge on decaf diet sodas (not colas) the rest of the time. I've also gone back to making fruit smoothies and drinking juices. Not sure if this is going to lead to any kind of long term benefit, but I think I'm the better for it.


Playing catch-up

It's been a while since I've posted...the holiday seasons took a majority of my free time away. So what have you been doing since January 1 you ask? Slacking off, obviously.

Thanksgiving this year was pretty average as they go. We spent our day at my mother in laws eating and watching the games and then eating again. It was a nice time. Now after that, I lost part of my life to....Black Friday!!!

Yes, your ol' pal Clark camped out in front of my local Big Box electronic store in order to queue up for the possibility that a $200 laptop would be available for him to purchase. Problem was it was wicked cold and windy. I had layers of clothes on, camp chairs, and a cold weather sleeping bag. I started out at around 8pm. There were already a bunch of people in front of me. I bundled up and sat...and sat...and slept...and sat some more. A friend came by to check on me about 1am. I must have been quite amusing as they made a recording of me snoring on their cell phone and sent it to my wife! According to this friend, I was keeping people around me awake! Sorry!
It all worked out for me thankfully. I managed to get the laptop and survive the human ice box and onslaught at the 5am opening of the store. I hope that next year is different!