Poor Doo-Doo Bird

This is a previously posted story worth sharing again.  One major change from that time until now is I have an office building behind my house, so my work environment is safer…..

Previously posted 10/10/2007:

That’s right – the title is Doo-Doo bird. Not Doe-Doe bird. I’ll explain.

I work from home most of the time. I have a desk in my garage so when the weather isn’t too hot I can retreat to the garage for extra quietness and a change of scenery. Yesterday was a not so hot day so I was out there. Sometimes I like to turn on my fan, open the back door to the garage, and raise the motorized garage door high enough to create a breeze from the back door to the garage door (I like fresh air). Yesterday I had those doors open and for the second time I got a visit from a bird.

The first time this bird came I didn’t know it had come under the door, so when I unknowingly walked close the bird started flying around – freaked me out cause there was a freaking bird in my garage. It was flying around my head and freaking out too so that made both of us freaked out.

This time I noticed the bird perched on the other side of the garage on my toolbox. So I calmly got up from my desk and proceeded to the garage door opener to raise the door all the way and encourage the bird out the door. It didn’t work. The bird started flying around in circles freaking out as soon as the garage door started making noise.

To keep from getting the flapping bird all over me, like it did during the first encounter, I decided to just go inside until the bird found its way out. I waited until the bird circled past and tried to make a break through the door. The stupid bird managed to make it in the house with me in the half second I had the door open. I couldn’t believe it.

With a lot more room to fly around in the vaulted ceilings of our living and dining area I thought the bird would calm down and find its way out. No such luck. I opened all the doors leading out. The bird just kept making laps at ceiling level. Before I knew it the bird had b-lined it down the hallway and ended up in Devin’s room.

At this point I was mumbling cuss words to myself (I’m not perfect). As I made my way down the hall I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and closed all the other bedroom and bathroom doors. I was going to try and gently swat at the bird with the pillow and/or capture it with the blanket so that I could get it back outside.

When I got to Devin’s room the bird was making laps at ceiling level and stopping to take a rest on top of a shelf every few laps. I swatted and whistled trying to scare the bird out of the room (I was no longer afraid of the bird flapping all over me – I was ready to do whatever it took to get it out). About that time I noticed some dark splatter spots on the wall and realized the bird was dropping bombs on every few laps. Now I was pissed – no other word for it.

Any understanding and compassion I had for the bird up until this point flew out the window (the window the bird should have flown out of). Immediately I remembered that Devin and I now own a machine gun similar to this picture. My brother gave it to us because Devin loves to shoot it (under close supervision of course).

I ran back to the garage, grabbed the gun, ran back to Devin’s room, and proceeded to unload on this stupid doo-doo bird. It was hard to hit while it was flying but each hit stunned it so it was having to stop more often. I would wait until it stopped on the shelf and get a good solid direct hit or three on it (rapid fire machine gun) before it took off again. Finally the bird fell over I guess in shock from all the little BB’s. I scooped it up with a garbage can, took it outside, and threw it as far as I could. It spread its wings but didn’t fly. I don’t know if it ever got up – I was too busy cleaning up its crap.

Call me cruel or whatever – I don’t care. What would you do if a bird was flying around and CRAPPING IN YOUR HOUSE? 

Devin Got Baptized – Baptism May 23, 2010 11:15am

Funny Moment

Shawna and I were talking about some kids down the street who used to home school but now they’re doing private school. Skyler overheard us and said “Private School! That’s gross”. If you don’t get it just think about it a minute. Needless to say we had to explain to Skyler what ‘private school’ really means. 

Melted Vinyl Siding

Have you ever lit your grill and left it burning on high for a while to get good and hot before you start cooking on it?

When I grill I normally don’t let it heat up for too long before I turn it back down. A few weeks ago I fired up the grill and left it on high and then got distracted by something and let it burn on high for too long – and too close to the house.

I didn’t think anything of it because I was a few feet away from the side of the house and it had never melted the siding before. But I had never left the grill on high for so long before. When I went back outside I noticed the siding bowing out from the house.

Needless to say I was ticked – at myself.

Lucky me I can’t just buy one or two sheets of siding to fix the ones that are messed up. I have to buy a whole box. I’m putting that off for now. I’ve got some other priorities around the house to spend money on before that.

Don’t burn the grill too close to the house! 

Camping Mirror

You know you have a princess when you need a camping mirror.

The other night I was playing with the kids and Shawna was browsing the net for Christmas gift ideas. She said something to me about what did I want for Christmas. A few years ago if I was asked that question I would have a list ready to read off. These days I’m a lot more simple but I find myself throwing different things out at different times to different people instead of a list all at once. I know I’m weird.

So I told Shawna, “The kids and I need some camping equipment so we can go camping.” I’ve seriously been wanting to do that for a while now. I think Devin would love that kind of thing (unlike me who would rather play anything with a ball) so I want to take him camping. We have a tent and sleeping bags but none of the other stuff that makes it a real and exciting camping experience.

Since I was playing with the kids at the moment this conversation was going on with Shawna I got them involved in the conversation. I asked them, “What all do you think we might need to go camping in the woods where there is no light and no water?” That is when the interesting list started to build. I should have written it down.

We talked about everything from a portable table and hot chocolate to the mini Jeep brand TV/Radio gadget that runs on batteries (that was a gift I’ve only used once when I took the kids ‘camping’ in the back yard) and a telescope so we could look at the stars (Devin’s idea). But the funniest one to me was when Skyler said “We’ll need a mirror!” in that prissy tone she uses. You had to be there. It was precious, hilarious, and rotten all in one moment.

Looks like I’ll be taking the princess ‘camping’ at the Holiday Inn Express. 

Funny Mother-In-Law Story

My mother-in-law, Grace (aka GG), came over to help us with the kids and the wedding Shawna was working on the week before the wedding date. So lots of funny quirky mother-in-law stuff happened.
(I’m very blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my ‘in-laws’. They’re not ‘in-laws’ at all. We’re all just family. If we weren’t the following story might not have been so funny…)
One night GG and I were driving the kids home from the rehearsal dinner. Shawna wasn’t with us because she had to stay late to help the bride with flowers and such, so GG was sitting in the front seat beside me and the kids were in the back of course. Sometimes as we’re getting close to our house the kids will say “Drive crazy Daddy!” They like it when I jerk the wheel back and forth and tap the brakes to make the van feel like it’s bouncing all over the place. They get the biggest kick out of it and I love to hear their little laughter, so I like to ‘drive crazy’.
I’m used to having Shawna in the seat beside me when I do this, and I think Shawna is used to what I do and knows to hold on really good. GG – not so much. As I pulled in to our street I gave the wheel one big jerk to the right, so GG swayed really far to the left. The kids are laughing so hard I’m getting tickled. Then I yanked the wheel really fast to the left, causing GG to change directions and sway really really hard to the right. Her head slammed in to the side of the seatbelt thing that is behind your shoulder. If it had been the window it would have broken, but probably wouldn’t have hurt as bad as that knob thing that adjusts the seatbelt height.
It really did hurt her head but she was ok, so I laughed hysterically for about 5 minutes.

Weekend Update

In case I haven’t already said it enough – I’VE BEEN EXTREMELY BUSY LATELY!! That’s ok though. It is all worth it when we get to spend some down time with friends. This weekend it was on the lake. Then end it off with one of the most creative services NewSpring has done in the few years I’ve been going there. Unbelievable!!! So here’s a bullet summary of the lake and the service.

  • It was hot as hell Saturday (100 degrees) and we were on the lake – all day. Everyone got burnt. My head is especially red – the receding hairline and balding crown…
  • A wasp stung me on the left bird finger at the very beginning of the day – not good. My whole hand swelled up but went back down until the end of the day. Today (Sunday) it has been swollen so big I can’t even use it. I’m taking benadryl and soaking in ice but neither is helping much. Pray that my hand gets back to normal.
  • The jetski broke while our new friend David was riding it. The rest of us didn’t see him around the bend 150 yards off shore. He swam the jetski all the way to shore before I finally noticed him stranded and waving his hat in the air to get our attention. Then we went a rescued him and gave him a hard time for breaking the jetski.
  • Eric threw me off the tube twice. The second time I skipped on the water 3 times which is normal for a small stone, but I’m a 200 pound man. That means we were going really fast.
  • Did I mention it was hot as hell.
  • Speaking of hell – that’s what the service was about at NewSpring.
  • The stage set is one of the best I’ve seen NewSpring do (Jon Creamer is the guy on staff that creates the special stage effects – excellent job). Also, I have a little bit of an inside scoop on a big surprise that is supposed to be added to the auditorium at the end of the current series they’re doing. It will be very moving to say the least.
  • I’ve seen Perry come out on stage in some creative ways – with a surf board and wearing swimming trunks, on a Harley Davidson, smashing cars, and more. Today he came out in a casket. You have to watch it to believe it.
  • The music was amazing – Justin is extremely talented – all the other musicians are too but Justin amazes me with his singing ability.
  • Later this week I’m sure you can watch the service on the web when it will be posted somewhere on these pages.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Hopefully I’ll have some time to write more this week but I already know I’m going to be very busy. Shawna seems to be doing better with the pregnancy sickness. My wonderful mom was here to help all last week, but I’m back on my own working and helping out with the kids this week… 

Buying Restored Vehicles

I’ve had this one on my list to post for a while…

My friend (financial counsellor) Joe wrote about almost buying a restored vehicle (wrecked, declared totalled, restored to DOT standards by a mechanic, sold for a fraction of blue book value). I have seen both the good and bad side of doing this so I want to tell about it.

My family knew a guy who restored vehicles and we bought a handful of them from him. Through the years I think we bought 5 vehicles from this guy. Out of all of them I think mine was the only one from hell. I’d have to let my brother and sister speak for their own. Here’s my story…

It was a Jeep Grand Cherokee – loaded. Nice for a college kid – which I was a sophomore in college at the time I bought it. Got a great deal on it – probably eight or ten thousand off the “blue book value”. But it was a restored total. So how much are those really worth? I guess it depends.

I drove it for about 6 months when a bad woman driver swerved in to me on the interstate. Before all the women make negative comments to me I didn’t say all women are bad drivers – just that this particular one definitely was. It was her second wreck in two weeks and what she did to cause this one was an unbelievable swerve from the on-ramp to the middle of 3 lane interstate – swerved all over me going about 45mph and I was going about 80mph. I tried to miss but needless to say I clobbered her with the jeep. It was her fault because of the stunt-woman swerve.

Now the problem. We both had the same insurance agent who of course wanted the easiest way out for the best interest of the insurance company – not the best interest of me the customer. Normally I wouldn’t mention any names but even though I’ve forgiven this situation in my heart other people deserve to know who the culprits were because they’re still in business and for all I know they could still be doing people wrong. Dan Combs was the agent. He has the largest State Farm agency in Dalton, GA. The adjuster was Chad Painter and since then he has started his own State Farm agency. For the record I still use State Farm but I live in SC now so my agent is different. I think State Farm is a good company but I wouldn’t touch Dan Combs or Chad Painter agencies if they were the only State Farm agents in my town. They did me wrong. They’re forgiven but since they never apologized or asked for forgiveness I feel no obligation to protect their image.

Anyway, enough about the insurance people. What happened was at a glance my Jeep looked like it could be repaired. The repair estimate (mechanic and adjusters job) must have been about half done because once the repairs started they found more than double the damage they estimated. To keep a long story short I can sum it up by saying if they had done a thorough job of assessing the damage up front they would have totalled my jeep rather than tried to fix it.

I drove a rental on State Farm’s tab for 5 months while they went around and around with me trying to fix that Jeep. The reason I wouldn’t accept it is because there was a popping sound in the suspension and the frame was bent (it went down the road crooked like a puppy walks). They tried and tried at multiple mechanics but it just couldn’t be bent back in to proper shape. By the end of the ordeal State Farm could have bought me a brand new vehicle with all the money they spent on my rental and the repairs. But it was too late to do that because they already spent it trying to fix what should have been scrapped.

You’re probably wondering what we did about it or thinking to yourself what you would have done. Trust me every bad thought possible crossed my mind at that time – including driving the whipped puppy Jeep through Dan Combs front door to see if they would claim it totalled after that.

The problem was my dad and I didn’t have much of a case when Combs and Painter claimed pre-existing damage since the vehicle had been totalled and then restored before I bought it. Our hands were pretty much tied. It looked like the only thing we could do was risk major legal costs to take the case to court.

It was definitely a bogus claim of pre-existing damage because I would have known if my vehicle was going crooked like a puppy before the wreck. I think Dan Combs and Chad Painter (and probably the mechanic too) were wrong and should have eaten the cost of the mistakes they made on the front end damage assessment. They should have replaced my vehicle.

My dad was handling all the dealings with State Farm since I was still in college and still on his policy, so he basically made me back down and drop it. I was stuck with a wrecked Jeep for over 4 more years. People would ask me “what’s wrong with your Jeep?” and I would get pee’d off all over again remembering what happened as I explained to them how I got screwed. More problems developed because of the frame not being right, and there was always a popping sound in the suspension that wasn’t there before.

For a while I had Shawna and Devin riding around in this unstable vehicle. Finally one day I guess my dad felt sorry for me and helped me buy the mini-van we have now. So I was able to get rid of the Jeep.

Just so you know I was completely honest with the college kid who bought my heep – I mean Jeep. I told him everything wrong with it and recommended that he stay off the interstate with it. He just needed something to get around town so it was a good buy – at about a quarter of what it should have been worth without the damage.

Moral of the story – think long and hard and do some very thorough research on any vehicle you consider buying ‘restored’ and on any person who is selling it to you. Get references of other people who have bought from them and do not buy from them without talking to the references. You can get CARFAX reports, let other mechanics take a look, probably even research the accident the vehicle was in to see pictures and reports from police and/or insurance claims so that the ‘restoration’ can be assessed for how well it has been done and how good of shape the vehicle is actually in.

As for me I don’t want to say I’ll absolutely never buy another restored vehicle but I will say it is almost completely unlikely. I think mechanics who do that kind of work for the most part probably take pride in getting it right and selling a sound restored vehicle. But after it’s bought you can’t control what an insurance company is going to do if some moron runs in to you. 

Prom Redefined

If you live in upstate SC you know who I’m talking about when I say “Hawk & Tom”. They are the morning radio show on B93.7 and I personally think they are hilarious. I don’t get to listen to them very often but when I do I’m always humored. Anyway, several weeks ago they hosted their first ever Hawk & Tom Prom. Shawna and I went with several friends. It was a blast.

Once again I have been slack with the camera but I bummed a couple of pics of some friends.

Below is a picture of the whole bunch of us at dinner (except for Ken – he got cut off on the left side) I’ll try to name everybody but I’m afraid I might have forgotten one couples names. From the guy front and center. I think he is Chad and I think his wife’s name is Amanda (I hope I’m not getting that wrong). Then moving around the table there is Chase & Crystal, Chris & Elizabeth, Lenny & Tathie at the far end, Me & Shawna of course, then Orion and Kim, and part of Ken and Christy. 

Dinner was excellent – great food and a lot of fun. Forgot the name of that place in Greenville where we ate but it was probably the best steak I’ve had in a while. Our server was a good sport too cause we were having a lot of fun and including him in the fun. We were having so much fun at the restaurant I didn’t want to leave there.

Special thanks to Orion and his special hook-up for getting everyone in our group tickets. And special thanks to Kim for giving me these pics. I want the pics off Chris’s camera but after the post about his birthday he might be afraid to give them to me. Here’s the beautiful couple Orion and Kim:

And I couldn’t post about this without including a picture of me and my gorgeous wife Shawna. Unfortunately her shoes and purse didn’t make it in to any of the pictures but she was extremely proud of her dress and stuff. I was just glad she was happy. As for me – that’s my high school tux except with pants that fit cause I’m a little, ok a lot, bigger below the chest and above the knees now.

My wife is so HOT! Uhhh, yeahh. Let’s just say I was the ladies man that night. Those Hawk & Tom characters knew what they were talking about when they said this prom would be better than your high school proms. I think dancing is better after marriage. Being allowed to legally partake of a drink probably helped a bit too. But one of the greatest benefits of prom after marriage is getting to go home with your date and we’ll just leave it at that. I will say it sucks to be a high school punk hoping to get what he should wait for cause it just ain’t as good as when you’re married.

This is another unforgettable moment because prom has been redefined for me. It used to be a part misery part shame experience because I don’t remember anything good about it from high school. But now it is an unforgettable moment with my wonderful wife and all our wonderful friends. Prom Redefined.

Recycling Gifts

We’ve all heard of recycling gifts. You get that terrible thing you can’t use, or you already have one, or the worst is when it is something hideous. You put it away and save it for a day when you need to give a gift to someone else, then you just give them one you’ve put away.

I’m not sure why I haven’t, but I’ve never actually recycled a gift (it’s crossed my mind but I’ve just never actually done it). However, Skyler – my 3 yr old princess, has already learned the art of gift recycling – well, almost learned. She recycled her gifts to herself….

Well this was yet another day when I was working and one of the kids was home with me. Skyler is different than Devin though. About the worst thing I would have to worry about her doing is writing on the wall or putting stickers all over the furniture. So as long as I don’t hear her crying I’m not usually too worried about something being destroyed while Skyler is home with me.

Evidently since Christmas was just a month ago Skyler noticed where her Momma put away all the gift bags (for recycling – ha). So during this time when she obviously got bored she decided to go to that closet and get out about 20 of these bags. There were bags of all sizes – large and small – I don’t think a single one was the same size. But every one of them was a pretty bag (none of them had batman or any “boy” stuff on them).

But she didn’t just get out the bags. She proceeded to pack them with all her toys. She had almost every toy in her room (new and old) gift wrapped in these bags. It was quite interesting.

When I went in to her room and noticed what she had done I was speechless. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Skyler is like me in that she likes things organized, but sometimes she organizes things in creative kid ways. So I thought maybe this was just another creative kid organization thing. I was wrong.

I asked her what she was doing and with excitement in her voice she informed me “those are my presents”. For my own entertainment I acted like I didn’t understand and asked her who she was going to give all those presents to and she was quick to let me know those presents were FOR her.

On more than one occasion I’ve joked with friends or family that we could give kids dollar store gifts, or hide some of their toys they neglect and re-wrap them as gifts later. Well, you don’t even have to hide them. My precious daughter proved it herself.