Most of you know that Doug is a super genius, but do you ever wonder hat a super genius does in his spare time? It’s the project. There is always a project underway at our house. There was the arcade machine, the fire truck bed, the reenforced train table, the storage space in the attic… There’s always something.
Last year a friend asked Doug how to make the Pinewood Derby finish results more accurate. Usually there’s a judge at the finish line who determines who won, but apparently that’s not the most accurate way. Doug spent a while trying to figure out a program, but eventually he just decided to build his own timer.
I can’t tell you how many hours he’s spent on this particular project, but I think it’s worth noting none of our children will even be old enough to participate in the derby until next Spring! We haven’t tried this out on an official run yet. My idea was to have a group of the adults bring some derby cars that they’ve helped their kids with in the past, and have a trial run.
Oh, and in case you’re worried about safety, there’s a warning label so that you don’t stare directly into the laser beams. That’s right, there are laser beams!
Doug always likes to celebrate his birthday in a big way. One year we did turkey drumsticks, last year we did the gigantic pizza, but this year required something extraordinary. This year Doug was turning 40. The only glitch in my party plans was that Charles’ arrival was supposed to be around the 10th of May, and Doug’s birthday is the 13th.
In order to work around this scheduling conflict, I decided to start planning way in advance. I booked our local rec center in January, and I ordered the invitations in February (of course, I neglected to put the time on them!). I was planning a surprise party, and whenever Doug would ask me about what we were going to do for his birthday, I told him we would just have to wait to see how I was feeling after the baby. Having a baby is pretty much the perfect cover for a surprise party!
The theme for the party was an all out geek celebration. It all started with a door mat that I found at Kohl’s for $5. After that, there was no turning back. I had geek glasses and Nerds for party favors. I even had an awesome playlist (think, She Blinded Me With Science). Unfortunately you couldn’t hear the music above the crowd! I had beakers and wind up robots. My sister made molecules out of Styrofoam balls and bamboo skewers. I think my crowning achievement had to be the Periodic Table of Cookies. My sister and I baked 100 cookies the day before and laid them out to form the Periodic Table of Elements.
The best part was that people came from far and wide. Greg flew in from Utah, and Doug’s siblings came from Washington, Minnesota, Florida and Dallas. Plus Doug’s parents came. My dad and sister were here too. We even had friends drive in from Ft. Hood. I think the whole thing was a huge success, but I’m a little biased!
I was a little worried that Doug was on to my plan. When He asked me again what we were doing for his birthday, I told him that my family was going to watch the kids so that we could go out to dinner. I wanted to get to the rec center at about 7:15, and we had finished dinner at about 6:45. On our way home Doug suggested taking the long way, so I was sure he knew what was up. Then his dad called to wish him a happy birthday, and so he pulled over to talk to him for a few minutes. The timing was perfect when we got to the party. I asked him to pull over, and he thought it was because there was a friend in the parking lot. He didn’t find it strange at all that there were lots of friends in the parking lot! That’s when he finally asked if it was a surprise party.
When he walked in the real surprise came. Everywhere he looked he would see someone else who had traveled a long way just to celebrate his birthday. When he first walked in, Tommy came running up to him with the biggest hug ever! The party was a great success, and Doug got to have some great family time.
I have to give a huge shout out to my sister Jessica who watched my kids, and to Christina and Dixie who hung out with me all day decorating the rec center. Those things always take longer than you think. My dad was also a huge help. He pretty much ran all of the last-minute errands, like going to Costco for the drinks and veggies. It was a crazy day, and there was no way that I would have been able to do it by myself!
Another awesome thing: with all the family and friends, clean up was a snap. Am I the only one who gets depressed that something that takes hours to set up can be torn down in 30 minutes?!
I don’t know what it is about my husband; he’s not the most social of people, yet every year he wants to throw a big party for his birthday. One year we did fajitas and another year we did Turkey Legs. Last year we did something small at home because Doug was still using the cane, but this year we made up for it!
Back in August we watched a Man Vs. Food episode from San Antonio. This involved a 6lb cinnamon roll, and a 30 lb pizza! That’s right, a 30lb pizza! Obviously you know where I’m going with this! We got 8 people together and headed over to Big Lou’s for 42″ of dough, meat, and a few veggies! We also had breadsticks just in case we were worried about not getting enough carbs! We definitely could have used two more people to finish off the pizza in the restaurant. It’s hard to imagine that a pizza that takes an hour to cook is going to taste good, but it really was yummy … once you got over the massive size! I don’t know if 42″ pizza is something that I could ever do again, but it was definitely a fun night!
I think everyone should do a little research into what the Food Network says is fun to do in their town! I check them out a lot when we’re about to make a road trip so that we don’t just end up stopping at McDonald’s when we’re ready to eat!
I will say though, that I didn’t understand the restaurant’s bathroom situation. There were two toilets in one room. There was one door to the hallway, but no doors inside the bathroom. I’m pretty sure you were supposed to lock the door. I don’t care if there were people waiting when I got out!
Last year, Doug and I were trying to simplify the Christmas experience. Trimming the number of gifts was supposed to make things easier, and it was supposed to help us appreciate our gifts more. Doug’s gifts to me were a cast iron skillet (this was something that I’d been looking at for a while), and … wait for it… Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. Now, I don’t fault Doug at all. He was trying to be very sweet. He knows that this is a game that I used to play a lot when I was a kid. He thought that I would have fun with this. What he doesn’t understand however, is that I don’t really enjoy the playing of games. I enjoy the winning of games! Unfortunately for our children, Doug and I both feel this way!
I have played Super Mario Bros exactly three times since Christmas. I don’t know if Doug and the boys have stopped playing it! Doug started out by saying that it teaches teamwork, and then he told me that it was bonding time for him and the boys. He told me that they were only playing it until they beat all of the levels and then we were going to put it away.
Then, late on night it happened. Doug beat Bowser , and the game was over. He told the kids all about his success when they woke up the next morning (for the family bonding, Doug couldn’t trust the boys not to get him killed during the final stages!).
I was very excited because that meant the end of playing this game every single day. Except, that the day after Doug’s success a friend came over to play. Somehow, Nintendo has not figured out how to prevent 5 year olds from randomly deleting progress. Oh, if I could have captured the look on Doug’s face when he came home and the game was back to the beginning!
It shouldn’t have mattered though, because he had already beaten the game. He had nothing left to prove. We should have been able to store Mario on the shelf. Alas, there was no proof that Doug had finished the game. Even though I know that he’s the most honest person on the planet, he was worried that someone might think he was lying. So, we started all over again.
I wish I could say that I was patient and long-suffering, but mostly I just suffered. Every night. Trying to beat the witch and the dogs and trying to overcome the challenge that is playing with two young boys who think it’s really fun to push Mario into the hot lava.
Well, last night at 9:45pm Doug went and got the boys out of bed so that they could witness the momentous occasion. Doug was about to, again, save the princess. Success! Woohoo! Everyone is happy. The game is over and the credits are rolling. We are done … aren’t we? Wait, what is that? They said the game was over. Why on earth is there a World 9 that shows up after the credits have rolled?
Anyone want to buy a copy of Super Mario Bros?!
My friend Dixie told me about a journal that she keeps specifically to record the many reasons that she loves her husband. I thought that this was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard. Sometimes something will come to me in the middle of the day, but by the time Doug gets home from work I’m too tired or frustrated or fed up with the kids to tell him. If I can write it down while I’m thinking about it, then it will be there for him to read when he’s having a bad day. It is also a great record for my kids. They do not always see us at our best, so it’s good for them to know that we always love each other, even when they are driving us bananas!
So, without further ado, here is the first entry that is going into the journal:
I don’t know how many husbands love their wives enough to travel all the way to Utah to bring their wives a Pulled Pork Burrito, Enchilada Style. I know I’ve been joking with you about this since we moved to Texas, but I didn’t know if you’d really do it. I can’t tell you happy having that little piece of heaven made me! I’m also glad that you’ve got friends who support us in our craziness and are willing to drive you around and let you use their freezer! Maybe most people don’t equate burritos with love, but those people have not been separated from their beloved burritos for years on end. I know that I can be a complainer, but I just want you to know how happy this made me. I love you.
p.s. If any of you are wondering how a burrito holds up after being frozen and flying halfway across the country, the answer is: amazingly well. Delicious!
Sometimes I think there’s nothing my husband can do to surprise me, that I’ve heard every story possible (in the case of the Navajo Taco story, too many times!). I know all about his childhood. We’ve driven by his old house, his old school, where he stood up to the kids who wanted to beat him up, and the path he used to follow to get from his house to his grandmother’s house. I’d like to think I know a fair bit about the father of my children.
I know, for example, that he will leave the room if I turn on certain television shows. Also, bringing up certain political figures is guaranteed to elicit predictable responses. Not that this ever happens, but if I hypothetically wanted to toy with my husband, I might say something like, “That Al Gore sure is a genius when it comes to the environment. Can you believe he also invented the internet?” (I do this very sincerely, or else it doesn’t have the desired effect!)
So, imagine my surprise when, while fast forwarding through an old episode of the Gilmore Girls last night I experience the following dialogue:
image from fanpop.com
Luke: Jess is gone.
Lorelai: Do you know where?
Luke: Yeah, I think I know where
Doug: Didn’t Jess go to California to see his Dad?
Alright, I paraphrased the dialogue a little bit, but not Doug’s contribution from the sofa (while he was in the middle of programming his video game, by the way! Such the multi tasker!)
And you think you know someone!
So, Doug decided that we weren’t going to waste another Saturday at home. It was time for some culture for our family, and nothing says culture like the Texas Renaissance Fair (or is it Faire? I can never be sure sure!).
I was expecting funnel cakes and turkey legs, but I didn’t know it would be a worldwide celebration spanning centuries!
My sister Jessica loves this stuff, and I have to say that after spending a day at the fair I am seriously worried about her! Maybe it was the fact that we were there for Invasion of the Barbarians week-end! You have to wonder how Shakespeare completely comes together with Luana from 1,000,000 years B.C.
(Clearly that’s not Jessica. I meant to write “Jessica’s Prom Date!)
There were lots of fun things to do. The boys enjoyed the bows and arrows, and Doug liked the axe throwing. There was also a maze and some jousting. The best part for the kids was the Children’s School of Swords. There was a hands on tutorial with a certificate of completion at the end. This was one of the rare free activities, and Samuel had a great time.
It was disturbing how many teenagers there were who dressed completely inappropriately. I can’t imagine if I was there on a date with someone I hardly knew(Doug actually took a girl there on a date once. It didn’t end well … for her!).
There were some similarities with the French Quarter at Mardi Gras. For instance, just because you can wear a particular costume doesn’t mean that you should wear that costume; time affects everyone. Also, the fair is a fun day, it probably shouldn’t be a whole lifestyle choice. Some people were taking this whole thing very seriously! I mean complete leather outfits and dog collars seriously!
I’m trying to decide if this is something we’re going to do again next year. It might be more fun with a whole group of people, but then we would have to share the mortification! If we do go again I think we’ll choose the Celtic Christmas week-end.
P.S. Greg, this is why you need to move to Texas. Doesn’t it look like more fun than your week-end?!
Today I get a very urgent phone message from my sister-in-law Ingrid. She tells me that she has news and that I need to call her back right away. Of course, my first thought is that we are falling behind in baby making at our house, and then I think that maybe they’ve ditched their plans for Florida and decided to start up a medical practice here in Texas. What I was not expecting was a friendly reminder of the importance of today’s date.
“Do you know today is?” Ingrid asks.
“Umm Friday” I reply
“No, it’s Pi day”
“No, Pi. As in 3.14….. You need to make Doug a pie”
images from Wikipedia
How great is Ingrid. Although her husband is not near so geeky as my own, she was thoughtful enough to keep us in mind on a day that must be near and dear to geeks around the world. Liz and Sharleen, I’m not sure if this is a paid holiday for math scholars, but I’m sure it will be made into a federal holiday any time. You two should definitely hit the town tonight! Pam and Christina, you might want to do a little something for the engineers in your lives. I’m not certain if Hallmark makes a card, but I’m sure you can come up with something!
I’m trying to decide if I, myself should make a whole theme night out of it. You know, chicken pot pie, then apple pie, and then fun little math problems where we actually use pi to figure out the measurements of the pie! Ah, so much to do and so little time. Man, to think I was stressing out about St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I have got to get myself more organized. Thanks for the heads up Ingrid! I knew there was a reason that I like you so much!
My computer has been on the fritz all week long. Everything is super slow, and I can’t leave any comments on blogs requiring a blogger sign in, which means I haven’t been able to enter any of Design Mom’s contests. It’s killing me!
What’s really obnoxious though, is that I am married to the ultimate geek, and he hasn’t fixed it yet. Apparently the computer works well enough for his latest Excel spreadsheet, and that’s good enough for him! I mean, come on. I actually threatened to call Geek Squad thinking that would threaten his inner geekness… not so much! And, I can’t actually call Geek Squad because they are very pricey.
Oh what to do. I need my high speed hook up!
Everyone please keep quiet and concentrate. There are 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter and the Tigers ar up by 6, but it’s not a happy 6. In fact, I’m surprised my children haven’t been woken up by all the yelling. Think happy thoughts. We can’t lose two weeks in a row. You cannot imagine how bad the rest of my night will be if these next five minutes don’t go well.
Think happy thoughts.