Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spooks

Well, we had a pretty good Halloween. Avey decided that she would wear her ladybug costume, but insisted that she was really a butterfly:The glasses, headband, and bracelets were her idea. She had a great time checking out all of the other kids' costumes, and she was very good at shouting "Trunk or Treat!"After her bucket was about a third full, she announced that she was all done, so we finished it up and went home.

We had a lot of fun carving pumpkins too. Avey picked from several sets of eyes, noses, and mouths we presented to her and chose the combination below on the left. I think she did a really good job. Kira designed and carved the one on the right:
Avey was very well behaved, considering she had been sick with a runny nose and slight fever earlier in the week. Speaking of illness, our home has been stricken this week, apparently. Well, it's not been that bad. I went to feed my frog the other night, and I noticed that my fish's right eye was about three times its normal size, and looked like it would pop at any moment. After a little research, I found out that Jeffery had a bacterial infection. After a few days of fish-version medical treatment, he's doing much better now.

I also completed the training for my job this week, so I begin the orientation at the facility this week! Hoorah for employment!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Visitors

Avey's quote of the week:

"Jesus, I'm havin' a cucumber!"

The reader will recall that one of Avey's favorite pastimes is to pretend her mother and I are characters from her favorite shows. Well, recently we found a couple of animated stories from the New Testament on VHS at a thrift store. Since watching them, Avey has decided that Jesus is a fun cartoon character, and subsequently has us imitate His voice and mannerisms, just as she would have us "talk like Mickey" or any other cartoon character. One night while picking up her toys, Kira was filling the role of Jesus, and Avey was picking up her plastic groceries. She had a toy cucumber in her hand, pretended to take a bite, and the above line spilled out of her mouth. I laughed for a good long while - I sure never thought I would hear a sentence like that!
In other news, we went to a corn maze/pumpkin patch yesterday. It really got me into the Fall spirit, and Avey had a good time - as long as she was in the big pit of corn. She was pretty bored with the actual corn maze, but enjoyed the hay ride and is excited to carve pumpkins later today.
We've had a lot of encounters with wildlife lately too. It reminds us just how rural this area is. We have deer sightings all the time in our neighborhood, and earlier in the week Kira caught a photo of 3 deer in our front yard, hopefully eating crab apples (the bane of my existence, along with onions):
We've also had a feline visitor (or perhaps "stalker" would be a more appropriate word) for the past few days. Avey and I were playing out in the yard one evening when a black cat approached us. We gave it some friendly caresses and it followed us into the back yard. It stayed until we went inside, at which point it stared at us through our patio window and meowed incessantly, occasionally clawing at the window. We know it's a neighbor's cat, but the thing shows up most mornings to watch Avey eat her breakfast, and comes by at least twice a day to beg to be let in. Fat chance says I. It's nice to have visitors, but we prefer the type who do not leave fur all over our carpet and furniture. But feel free to eat our crab apples!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Day, Another Dollar

I've been in training for the past couple of weeks before actually beginning my job at the penitentiary. Training has been an interesting experience. Some of the classes are rather dull, covering legal stuff and such, while others are very hands-on - including putting classmates in full body restraints. I shouldn't have to do much of that stuff in my position (mental health), but we're supposed to know it all just in case.

This week I had a very interesting experience, however. I knew that this week the class was going to be exposed to oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray), because those who will be correctional officers will need to know the effects and know if they can function even after some exposure. I had been told that all clinical people would not be allowed to participate in that training, though, because of the whole "do no harm" oath and such. Thus, I was surprised to learn just a few hours before the actual exposure that I was supposed to participate. Apparently it gets used enough at the facility where I will work, that they want to be sure that I understand what it can do if I'm exposed. Good thing I'm salaried, huh?

(Here's Avey after putting all of her "friends" to sleep on the kitchen floor)
So what happened? We all drove to the department's shooting range, where the instructors drenched the inside of a small building with the spray. We then waited our turns to enter the building, shoot a target with a can of spray, and then exit the building and carry out some small tasks.

I caught a breath of it a couple of times on the outside, and it was like taking a deep sniff of some very spicy hot wings (oleoresin capsicum is pretty much cayenne pepper on crack). I coughed a little, but it wasn't too bad. Then it was my turn to go inside. Everyone reacts to it a little differently, and I was pretty surprised to find that it didn't bother my lungs or throat very much, but it felt like a thousand bees stinging my eyes all at once - and not those cute honeybees who just want to be on their way to the next flower, but some sadistic, evil, bee/hornet/porcupine hybrids who live for one purpose: to cause me large amounts of discomfort.

Anyway, after some cold water in the face I was good as new, but let me tell you, that quickly convinced me never to commit a crime, or if I do, never to get caught, or if I do get caught, not to mouth off to anyone holding a can of that stuff.

Oddly enough, I've been craving spicy foods lately. Maybe if I get enough Tabasco in my system I'll be immune to the spray next time...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Idolatry

There's a lot about our new place that I really like. I am a huge fan of our garage, I love the yard, and the space gives us plenty of room to stretch out. But I think my favorite part is something we brought with us:
I've had a bigger TV on my wishlist for a few months now. For the first 5 years of our married life we've been watching our movies on a 20" screen like cavemen. Finally, after saving lots of pennies, we've upgraded to full HD! We tried it out last night with our first Blu-ray Netflix, The Water Horse. It's amazing how clear and sharp it all is.

The stupid thing is that now we've moved far enough into the boonies that we can't get an antenna signal. We're really not big enough into TV that we want to go with cable - the new one is mostly for movies - but I'd really like to be able to watch the news at night. So it's not like we have a nice TV that we can't do anything with, but it's been feeling that way as I've tried out different options and gotten no signal at all. Oh well, the movies look fantastic, and I can still hook up the ol' laptop to watch streaming video.

In the meantime, we've been getting a better feel for the town, and I've been in training with the Department of Corrections all week. It will sure be nice to have the day off tomorrow!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Endless Birthday

For a parent who is in complete and total denial about his daughter's aging, I sure did nothing to discourage three days of festivities this week. On her actual birthday, we were still quite busy with the unpacking, and hadn't actually done much shopping for her, so we all went to the store and picked out some gifts while also buying some nice curtains for the new place. We had a small little party with our own little family, and Avey was graced throughout the day with phone calls from her growing circle of fans.

We felt bad that we had to move relatively quickly, because we had promised Avey that we could go to an arcade near the Springs, but then moved an hour away. We debated what to do and decided that it would be best to have a celebration the weekend we were going to the concert in Denver. We drove up Saturday morning, took Avey to the arcade where she rode on all sorts of kiddie rides, and that night Kira's parents graciously watched over her while we went to our concert in Denver.
That makes two days of celebration, but that wasn't quite enough for us. Today we had the real parties with the grandparents and Avey's uncles. Her Nana made her a beautiful cake:
Then, this afternoon, she had another party with Kira's side of the family! She may get used to birthweeks instead of birthdays, if we're not careful...
The main reason we scheduled the trip in the first place was for the Muse concert. I was very excited for it, as they are probably my favorite band currently. Unfortunately, we came home rather disappointed; the stadium at which it was held was so big that the sound really suffered. While I could hear the drums very well, they all but drowned out the vocals and guitar. And the light show was really impressive, but it was a bit too much for us old people. The band also did very little to interact with the audience - almost no talking at all. I'm used to concerts where I get to know the band a little, but this one left me wanting. Oh well, at least I get to say I went, right?