Friday, October 28, 2005

Party Time!

We had a great time at the Halloween party today with the MOMS Club. It was at The Legacy of Dallas, an active retirement community. Yoda spent the entire time walking from place to place, and he began by leading all the kids to the fountain, where they all splashed and made slipping hazards all over the floor.

Laura and Daniel left on Wednesday, ending almost a week of lots of fun. Gabriel adores his Aunt Laura and can't wait to see her again. Some of the highlights were going to the park after church on Sunday, where Chip and Laura threw dirt at each other and the Chipster pointed out dogs to Daddy, and just hanging out at the house. We grownups had a great dinner on Saturday night at Imperial Fez, although we had to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay for it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Costume Crazy

We got it! By the time we got around to buying Chip's Halloween costume, it was sold out on every web site we could find (and we couldn't find it in any real stores, either). So we did what every other 21st-century consumer does: we went to eBay. We lost two auctions for it. One of those went from our $30 bid to $67, and the other went from our $36 bid to $76. Someone wanted to pay almost $80 for a costume! We were prepared to cut holes in a sheet for our little ghost, if sheets weren't so darned expensive.

Anyway, while we were watching those losing auctions, we continued to watch the e-stores and found one that restocked their costumes in Gabriel's size, so we bought one. Now, they've sold out again and the auctions are heating back up. One is currently at $66 and rising with just over half an hour to go.

We got our housewarming/anniversary present from Mom and Dad K today. Isn't it beautiful?!

You can see in the first photo in this post that we've been to the pumpkin patch. We went to Burt's Farm and couldn't believe how many people were there! You can see below just about half of the crowd. We stocked up on pumpkins and gourds of all sizes and have them all over the house and porches. It feels like autumn now. Here are some photos from our trip. Can you find Matt and the Chipster in the first one?

Since the mornings are beginning to get a little chilly, we figured that we should have the chimney cleaned. The next day, Tuesday, we had our first fire in our new home. Here's a picture:

And one more thing... it was Katie's birthday on the 9th of October, and although we thought about it for weeks ahead of time and many times since, we didn't call her or even send a card. BAD COUSINS!!!!! But Belated Happy Birthday, Katie, and just think - my dad got his birthday present a couple weeks ago, and his birthday was in August. That means that if you get a card before Christmas, you're way ahead of the game. Ha!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Boatload of Sushi

We just went out to Taki Japanese Steakhouse for sushi to celebrate Matt's recognition and bonus for work well done (as usual). To make it special, we got the "Love Boat for two", which was a chef's selection and included octopus (yes, that includes the suckers on the tentacles and they're chewy), various nigiri, some California rolls, some crab with a lemon wedge, and some beautiful large hunks of salmon, tuna, and yellowtail on the side. It actually came in a giant boat. We also went through a 300 mL bottle of cold sake, soup, salad, and a beef tataki (that's raw beef) appetizer. It was definitely one of our meal highlights of the year. As a reward for finishing the entire boat and Patty having room to spare in her bottomless pit of a stomach, our waiter brought us each rainbow sherbet on the house. We were in sushi heaven. Here is evidence of our sinking of the sushi Titanic:


Probably the most exciting one second of our life... or this season, anyway.

Climb Every Mountain

Gabriel took his mommy to Kennesaw Mountain today. We took the bus to the upper parking lot, and Gabriel climbed all the way to the summit from there. He ate lunch, and then we started back down to the parking lot, where we caught the bus back down. [That's the city of Atlanta at the horizon behind us, by the way.] We had a great time!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Attached At The Hip

Gabriel seems to be attached at the hip to his mommy. Here's evidence. Today's other photo is of the ring we made from the amethyst Chip got at the pumpkin patch:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Super-Fun Day

Yesterday, Gabriel had a fun, full day. We started by driving Daddy to work and coming home for a nap. We got up to join some of the other moms and babies - about 10 moms and 12 kids - from MOMS Club at Sweetwater Pumpkin Patch, took Daddy for his haircut, went home for another nap (Mommy too!), picked Daddy up from work, and went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the scarecrows.

They had a great program set up for us at the pumpkin patch. The kids stuffed a scarecrow (while Gabriel and a girl his age played on a baby-sized playset), then we all went for a hayride to the pumpkin patch. When we got there, Gabriel got to pick out a little pumpkin. After he made his choice, he wandered off for a minute and came back with his pants around his ankles - he's very good at wriggling out of his overalls. Everyone thought it was hilarious, and a bunch of people took pictures. We walked over to see the goats, pigs, and rabbit. Gabriel fed the goats and laughed when they licked his hand. After we fed the animals, we walked back and played ball until it was our turn to mine for gemstones. We found an amethyst, a Mexican lace agate, and a crazy lace agate. Finally, we went for a hike. On the hike, we saw beaver dams, beaver slides, and tree damage from beavers. As we neared a bend, Gabriel pointed and there was a teepee. Chief Pumskin left a note that we was out hunting and that he left us arrowheads, so Gabriel got to bring home an arrowhead, along with his pumpkin and gemstones. It was lots of fun.

At the Botanical Garden, we had a lot of fun, because there was a great bluegrass band (with some PG-13 lyrics), and a lot of really neat scarecrows, including one from one of our favorite Georgian artists, Howard Finster, apparantly the day before he died.

An aside: up until about 2 1/2 minutes ago, we thought that Finster was an odd choice for us to be such big fans. We'd only ever seen a small exhibition (recently expanded) at the High Museum and one original piece that Patty tried unsuccessfully to buy at a thrift shop. As we Googled his name, we found that Michael Stipe and David Byrne, two of the musicians we admire most, are also big fans. We're not sure how David Byrne found out about him, but Michael Stipe's a Georgian, so that's not too surprising. Anyway, this guy is fascinating (and reminds Patty of her great-grandpa). Check out his home page.

All of the pictures from our super happy fun day can be found here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Smarty Pants

Crawling through tube at playground At playground

After work, we took Chip to Ben Hill Strickland Park. These two photos were taken as he crawled through a tube. He enjoyed the slide for the first time - previously, he hasn't enjoyed slides too much. Although there was some graffiti there, as you can see in the photos, it is a very nice park that has two playgrounds and a lake with walking paths around it.

"More" During dinner, he signed for more food. We've been trying to teach him this one for about 8 months now, so it's good that he's finally using it. It's his first really useful sign, but he also has signs for dog (any animal, actually), trees, and airplanes. Mostly, he just points. :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Back On The Trail

On the Silver Comet Trail We finally checked out the Silver Comet Trail today. We parked at the Florence Road trailhead and went as far to the west as Paulding County - over 2.5 miles round-trip (it's possible we walked some of it). In the photo above, we are standing near the first foot of trail, which was completed on 9 July 1998. Sleeping jogger

It was a great jog, and the weather was perfect for it. Today was the first day that it was cool enough, and we almost had to bundle up! It seems that Georgia has missed the in-between weather. It went from the 80s to the 60s literally overnight. Anyway, the weather was comfortable enough for Gabriel, who fell asleep - when else? - in the last couple minutes of the jog.

Since Chip was asleep, we took the opportunity to sit on a bench and enjoy the fresh fall air. When he woke up, we went to Moe's, Starbucks, and Home Depot and didn't get home until a few hours later.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Welcome Home, Jack!

Here's our first view of Jack. He's the one smiling behind the guy who looks confused. He came back with about 4 inches of height and 35 pounds of muscle.

Here's a great sign that Jaq's friends John and Brittany made.

This is one of the signs we made. We hung it right on the 2nd LAR sign at their headquarters.

We were especially proud of our representation of the 2nd LAR patch.

Gabriel loved the water and wanted to walk right into the ocean. This was taken at Onslow Beach, the beach on base where we stayed.

Here's Jack next to the other sign we made him. This one was on a fence outside the base, and they drove past it on their way in, but he didn't see it because it was too dark (they'd been delayed a few hours due to bad weather).

We all went to Shogun for dinner on our last night there. We had teppanyaki and sushi, and Gabriel was fascinated by our chef. He even used his fork to flip his rice when the chef used his spatula to flip some shrimp tails!

Chip loved the koi at the entrance and petted them when they came to say hello.

Here we all are after dinner.

This shows how frustrating mealtime can be - sometimes the food ends up everywhere but between his teeth. Look how frustrated Daddy looks!

And then sometimes, mealtimes are very nice, especially when he falls asleep in our arms...

How Much Comcast Sucks

We just got off the phone with Comcast. Here's a summary of our experience with them today:
  • Channel 455 (Michigan game) blacked out. Tried to call local Comcast office. Got cut off 5 times.
  • On 6th try, it went to hold.
  • In the meantime, tried online live chat. Their responses stopped coming through, so session ended.
  • Read transcript and discovered they were responding and we weren't seeing it, so tried again.
  • Same thing happened. We were talking and then stopped getting responses. Still on hold.
  • Tried a 3rd time. Got a snotty "analyst" while still waiting on the phone for a "customer service executive" (the titles change every time we call, but the sh&*%ty service does not). Here's the transcript - notice how the responses have nothing to do with what we type. I'm "Mrs." because I have a problem with these turds calling me by my first name...
    chat id : 79a933a0-535c-4cae-924e-44feb7f86271 Problem : Billing/General Inquiry Terry.5151 > Thank you for choosing Comcast. My name is Terry. How may I help you today?
    Terry.5151 > Can you please acknowledge that you are still at your computer? If I do not receive a response from you, I may have to close this conversation to assist another customer.
    Mrs. > We are having trouble contacting any live person - we have a few issues - our gameplan channel 455 isn't working, and we have billing questions, as well. We were cut off on the phone 5 times and have been on hol{cut off, message too long}
    Mrs. > yes still here...
    Terry.5151 > You will have to contact us directly at 1-800-COMCAST for further information/trouble shooting regarding this issue. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    Mrs. > at in case your answers stop coming through?
    Terry.5151 > This number will get you someone live.
    Mrs. > Wait, hold on, I've been on hold for 2 hours though...
    Terry.5151 > Follow the prompts for cable tv as this is the internet technical site.
    Terry.5151 > I do not have cable tv access actually.
    Mrs. > I'm aware of that, but the last time I was transferred to someone. Also, the option I chose was billing.
    Mrs. > Certainly since there's a billing option (there was cable tv an hour ago but not now?!), you could at least help with that?
    Terry.5151 > One moment please.
    Terry.5151 > Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst
  • Called the 1-800 number while waiting for the next analyst (escalated???) and was on hold for 10 minutes but got through
  • "Executive" not helpful at all except to say that the channel wasn't working and that we somehow have an additional month tacked on to our bill that we are somehow responsible for. In the meantime, went online to discover that our bill is not available online until next month, for some reason, and the executive didn't know why.
  • The "executive" ordered a paper bill, since we aren't receiving our statements, and has no idea when the channel will be available. She will make a note in our account so we can call back and go through this all again to fight for credit for the day of missed gameplan service. We're looking forward to that.
  • Tony calls, but since we have Comcast on both lines, we can't click over to him.
  • Hang up on first Comcast call after over 2 1/2 hours. Still on hold. Also still on hold for the next "analyst", who never showed up.

That is how much Comcast sucks.