Thursday, June 19, 2014

In An Effort to Make Up For The Last Post...

...let's try one of my all time favorite Calvin & Hobbes strips.

One day, M&M and I will be having this EXACT discussion. Just wait.

I already tell her that she's mine, I paid for her and have the receipt to prove it. Yes, I will have to stop doing that sometime soon before she starts to understand what that means.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Will Get Even With Someone For This...

....I hate crying at work.


I was (and still am) a huge fan of the Calvin & Hobbes cartoons. It makes me a little sad that I do not have a Hobbes of my own to pass along to M&M (I don't recall having a Hobbes growing up); but, hopefully, The Queen and I can help her create her own.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kill Me Now...

So, yesterday was my second official Father's Day. It was a day filled with hard labor in the hot sun, and I am paying the price today.

The Queen had decreed that we should go ahead and get the antiques moved to storage. As a result, I woke up yesterday and picked up a 16 foot rental truck. Best friend Number One Follower arrived a little after 10:00 AM followed shortly thereafter by the youngest nephew Baby Huey (that's what his mother calls, I'm going with that).

What followed was several hours of championship level 3D Tetris in high 90 degree temps involving old wood and glass including a piano, first into the truck and later into an elevator to get to the third floor storage unit. The saving grace of the day was a steady, cool breeze that felt great on sweat soaked shirts.

After 9 hours in the sun, I'm completely soaked, smell like a goat and have no critical reasoning skills left.
The end result was this:

10' x 15' storage unit with space left for boxes. The Queen vetoed my bonfire suggestion
The Queen promises me that she will locate someone to appraise this clusterstuff as a prelude to an estate sale. We just don't have time for it right now.

By the time we got done, I was overdue returning the truck, I was literally and figuratively baked, I was having trouble thinking and moving was an ordeal. As I asked NOF, when the Hell did I become an old fart? Fortunately, NOF married himself up in life. His new bride K3 was very thoughtful and brought a couple of rotisserie chickens, veggies, taters and fruit relieving me from the need to figure out what to do about dinner. After dinner, I filled the tub and soaked for a good solid hour following which I stretched out on the bed and started watching Longmire on Netflix.

Waking up this morning was an exercise in torture. Moving is optional at this point.

The good news is that The Queen has promised to make up Father's Day for me after the move is done. I thanked her profusely and told her that wasn't necessary, but she is insistent. I've learned not to argue with her about it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Daddy Hawk's Advice for M&M: Father's Day Edition

I am scheduling this post to appear early Sunday morning since I expect to be fully engaged in a fun filled, mad frenzy of purging, cleaning and packing most of the day for my second official Father's Day.

1. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

        There is no one alive, man or woman, whose opinion of you matters more than your opinion of yourself. Failure is a part of life as much as success is, but failure does not define you anymore than your success does. Michael Jordan was one of the greatest basketball players of my generation, but that didn't make him the best at everything. You have so much potential. I see it everyday. My job as your father (and The Queen's as your mother) is to help you reach that potential by discovering your gifts and helping you develop them.

2. You don't just marry your future spouse, you marry the whole family. Choose wisely. - Daddy Hawk

         A lot of people are so focused on their attraction to their boyfriend or girlfriend that they ignore the lazy, good for nothing, mooch of a future brother in law, the crazy uncle or the step mother who is an identity thief. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can change them or their whole family. Do not think you will be able to cut them away from the herd entirely either. If someone in the extended family represents a problem, make sure you talk about it with your significant other and define some boundaries...and then be prepared to defend those boundaries. Choose wisely.

3. "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan

         A lot of people fought and died to secure and protect the freedoms we have enjoyed in this country. However, within my own lifetime, I have watched as some of that freedom has slowly faded. With freedom comes responsibility and risk. We have a duty to exercise our freedoms in a responsible way and be cognizant of the risks inherent in those freedoms. Beware of those promising security or change. Those promises come at the price of less freedom.

4. "You can't be right and have peace." - Dr. Keith Elko

         You may win the argument, but you may lose a friend or family member in the process.

5. "A person convinced their will is of the same opinion still." - Dave Ramsey

          This is something do gooders and crusaders have had a hard time grasping over the course of human history. The Spanish Inquisition "converted" a lot of Jews to Christianity until you consider that the only other options were torture and death. A false conversion is not a lasting conversion.

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's That Time of Year Again...

Little bunny Foo Foo, hoppin' through the forest.
Scoopin' up the field mice and boppin' 'em on the....

Oh's the cat.

Little bunny Foo Foo, runnin' for his life.
Zigged insteada zagged and got bopped on his head. 

Yep, Spanky has been at it again. He found the nest last night, but he was thwarted by The Queen. The Queen reports that it was about a minute after she let him out this morning when Foo Foo was brought in missing fur from his hind end. 

Heavy sigh.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

People Are Nasty

I have made an observation about people in general that will come as no surprise to some (probably most) of you.

People are nasty (hence...the title of this post).

Case on point.

Y'all remember the photos of the piles (nee pile) of garbage on the curb that I posted the other day, right? Well, since the garbage company would not pick up Pile o' Crap 1.0 on our regular trash day last Thursday thus leading to me spending a fun filled Thursday night creating Piles o' Crap 2.0 (bagged trash), 3.0 (flattened cardboard), 4.0 (flattened cardboard), 5.0 (bagged trash), and 6.0 (recyclable items).

Well, between Thursday and our next regularly scheduled trash day on Monday, it looked like a pack of lions and tigers and bears oh my had rummaged through my once neatly organized dump.

As you will recall, this was all garbage that had been defiled by rodents. Visibly and unmistakably ruined with filth that would probably gag a maggot.

Grandma's old hard side Samsonite luggage? Gone.

Old coffee/espresso maker? Bye bye.

Whole bags of rodent ruined clothing? Outta there.

People would tear open the garbage bags to see if there was anything they wanted to take and then left it there to be strewn around the neighborhood. I had half a mind to sit in the picture window with my shotgun, but it wasn't worth it.

Fortunately, the garbage company took it all (at least what was left) away on Monday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

An Early Father's Day Present From M&M

I have the sweetest, smartest little girl in the world. M&M and The Queen were out shopping on Friday as they killed time before Niece Twig's high school graduation.

Somewhere in that sea of 1400 kids is my niece Twig
Amazingly enough, Twig was able to spot us in the crowd and wave to us. It was cute.

Anycrowd, The Queen and M&M picked me up at the office so we could all travel to American Airlines Center together for the graduation ceremony. As they arrived, I was handed a bag with small gift and card. The Queen advised me that M&M picked out both.

First, the gift.

M&M knows Daddy Hawk loves him some airplanes. She picked this one out especially for me, and she could not have done better. The Chance Vought F4U Corsair just happens to be one of my all time favorite aircraft from when I was growing up. The gull wings...the big radial of the fastest planes of its time...what's not to like? Now that I'm older and have actually flown planes, I know what's not to like. It's still a gorgeous aircraft though. Skipper sits on my desk here at the office now.

But wait...M&M also selected a card for Daddy Hawk. Before I show it to you, you have to know that M&M really did select this one. The Queen showed her a lot of cards, and M&M insisted that THIS card was the one she wanted to get me. Remember...she is still only two and a half years old.

Since she can't read yet, I feel safe in saying that she was thinking that the donkey with the googley eyes was funny.

So, there you have it. Father's Day came early for me. I couldn't be happier (well...short of M&M giving me a 1911...which will require her to have money of her own...which is a ways off). 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Somewhere in the Dallas area, right now, a home inspector is yelling "I told you so."

When the buyer's inspection took place last week, the inspector noted a laundry list of things to take care of most of which was minor stuff like adding a rubber bushing to the holes in the circuit breaker box in the garage. One of the items he noted was to trim the trees back from the electric service drop line from the  pole to the house.

Here's the page out of his report I'm talking about.

Right under the service line next to the driveway is a line of crepe myrtle trees that I have let go unpruned because I like crepe myrtles and feel that God didn't intend for them to be hacked within an inch of their lives once a year. Also, near the pole in the side yard is an ugly tree that is tall, gnarly and in the middle of trying to die. It had a limb growing over the service drop line as well.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

Dead tree limb + service drop line = this:

+ this:

Daddy Hawk is not happy. An electrician is coming by today to let us know how bad the repair cost is going to be. I get to spend my second Father's Day working my butt off cleaning, clearing tree branches, etc. The thing that really chaps my hide the most is that the option period ended Sunday, and the buyer's realtor had said to hold off doing anything until after the option period was over. Naturally, the tree limb falls while I am at work the day after the option period ends.

I blame The Queen. She was just commenting about how smoothly the sale was going.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Purge Has Begun

Let me preface this post by stating, for the record, I love my inlaws. I really do. I could have done a LOT worse in the inlaw department. They are very kind, faithful people who are easy to get along with.

They are also hoarders.

Now, let me back up the story a bit to give you the full effect.

Around about the end of 2003 when I was preparing to propose to The Queen, The Queen Mum's Mum (who was in her 80s at the time) was living by herself in a modest apartment in California. She was also beginning to have some health problems which was impacting her ability to care for herself. We received calls from the people in her church who were concerned and weren't sure the family was aware.

We weren't.

Discussions were had, and a plot was hatched to kidnap Grandma. She had already been planning to come to Texas to visit the family for Thanksgiving. Little did she know, she would not be going back to California. I proposed to The Queen (making her The Queen To Be at the time) shortly after Thanksgiving, and The Queen To Be made it clear she wanted her Grandma at the wedding.

Okay. Can do.

A wedding was planned in under 4 weeks. I use the term "planned" in loosest sense of the word. Most of our planning consisted of telling our friends "Handle it."

They did. Did I mention we have awesome friends?

Meanwhile, back in California, the church folks were coordinating with my inlaws the packing and loading of Grandma's worldly possessions (all of them) for moving to Texas. Grandma had been "convinced" to stay with us in Texas after the wedding. And by "convinced", I mean my inlaws told her she was in no shape to go home and was staying and that was that. Other people in the family have other ideas about what happened. They would be misinformed. So, talking.

As you might expect, things that should have been disposed of in California were instead boxed up and loaded along with everything else. The vast majority of those items are still in the same boxes they were packed in to this day.

Now, at the time of the Royal Wedding, the then proto Daddy Hawk was living in a modest 1200 square foot house with a two car garage. One side of the garage held a 1973 Datsun 240Z project that never got off the ground. The other side held a motorcycle and other stuff bachelors accumulate. To this disorganized mess was added a significant portion of Grandma's possessions the remainder of which were stored elsewhere. These possessions made the move with The Queen and I when we purchased the Castle in July 2004.

This state of affairs continued until October 2004. That was when the inlaws including Grandma moved in with us. This was necessitated by the sale of The Queen's pre-marital bacherlotte pad (a nice one bedroom condo) which was taken over by the inlaws after the ink was dry on the marriage certificate.

Now, picture for a moment, the Castle in all its glory. 2230 square feet of living space and the EPIC 1600 square foot man cave/workshop not including the "chicken coop" which is another 300 to 400 square feet of storage (in the "there's a roof...sort of" kind of way). It was a spacious palace to The Queen and I with more room than our respective pre-marriage abodes combined.

Now, picture for a moment, not one, not two, not even three, but four (FOUR!!!...mine, The Queen's, The Inlaws' and Grandma's) households worth of stuff being crammed into every nook and cranny available.

My shop, where I had great plans of building things (especially an airplane), was full. Not just full mind you but "stuffed to the gills with somewhat passable paths through the stacks" full. To make matters worse (from my perspective at least), no thought was given by those responsible nor input sought from me as to how things should be stored.

As you might imagine, this has been a sore spot for me for a long time now.

As a result, I have largely stayed out of the shop since. The rats; however, have made themselves right at home. Which, inevitably, led to the vast majority of the items in the shops being destroyed in one manner or another.

So, the sale of the house has finally led to necessity becoming the mother of disposal. Acquiescence was obtained, and this was the initial result:

That's roughly 20 to 25 feet in length, 4 to 5 feet high at the tallest and 5 to 6 feet wide at the widest. Most of it is covered in rat excretions.

Apparently, that was NOT acceptable to the trash service. They allowed as how all debris has to be in bags not to exceed 50 pounds and all boxes have to be broken down for recycling. So, guess what I did last night for three hours. That became this:

The cardboard boxes are being held down by boxes full of recyclables lest we pollinate the neighborhood with cardboard descecrated by rodents. It was interesting, however, to see some of the things that were boxed up. The empty glass juice jars were a little odd. The potato peeler in the middle of a box of sweaters (that were long out of style when they were boxed) was definitely note worthy. Phone books. Old junk mail. Electronics that were obsolete when they were boxed up. Broken glass. The meat clever in the box with the spices was a nice touch.

We did find a box full of old baseball cards. Maybe there's a Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth rookie card in there, and I won't have to work anymore.

I will say this was very cathartic to dispose of all this despite the risk of vermin borne disease (yes, mask and gloves were used; and, yes, I took a long, hot shower after I was done). The scary part is that there is still stuff in the shop and the house to be dealt with.