I'm excited by Boston sports these days. It seems the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins are in synch with their wins, despite the Sox and Celts decimated by injuries. There's a nice vibe to the city these days. Grady is tickled by the sports options on our new flat screen too, so it makes for either a great time at our house when it's the weekend and he can watch, or a disappointing time for him if the games are on during a school night.
The new rage among elementary school kids are Japanese erasers, called Iwako. They are so cool. Little erasers shaped like everyday objects - from food items, to sports equipment, to animals, to plants, etc.
What's great is they are $1 each, so collecting them is an affordable endeavour. Last weekend, my wife and Liam went to the beach to celebrate Mother's Day with my mother-in-law, while I stayed home with Grady, who had a Sat. baseball game and an overnight birthday party to attend. When Colleen and Liam left, I turned to Grady and, with a serious face said sternly, "Do you know what the rules are this weekend?" With wide eyes he looked back at me fearfully. I said, "NO RULES!" and picked him up and spun him around while he laughed and laughed. We had a great weekend, and when he asked if he could use his own money to buy some Iwako, I hopped in the car and took him to an iParty store, which opened my eyes to this new phenomenon. This week he brought the five erasers he bought to school to trade, and he now has 20. He's a shrewd negotiator. I just spent $30 on a bunch of unique ones I found online to surprise Grady and start Liam off. I'm not sure whether I'll give them all at once, or reward the boys with one or two at a time.
We keep adding to the list of wildlife we've encountered in our yard. The old list: coyote, a fox, five deer at once, 8 turkeys at once, red hawk, raccoons, red squirrel, rabbits, chipmunk, and the normal grey squirrels and songbirds. Last night my headlights picked up an ENORMOUS skunk picking at our lawn. We know this means grub season has started.
This story about a toddler lost in the woods for 50+ hours has a feel-good ending, but I kind of got choked up because the still pictures of the boy being put into an ambulance look kind of like Liam. Liam was notorious at age 3 for wandering, and I could easily empathize with this boy's parents. I also think it's cute that when found, the boy was most worried about his lost shoe.
I bought a new car last month and am loving it. I had been driving a used Volvo 960 for the last 6 years, but before that, was in a Volvo 240. The 960 treated me well after pouring a couple of thousand dollars into it right after I purchased it, but I always remembered my 240 fondly, and was determined to get back into one. The problem is that Volvo stopped making the 240s in 1993, so we're talking about a minimum age of 16 years. I wanted to get one that had less than 150,000 miles on it, and my search was coming up empty. I primarily used local Craigslist, because I learned my lesson with the 960 about buying via eBay and shipping the car home. One morning after about 6 weeks of no luck, a local dealer advertised a 1990 240 DL wagon with 92,000 miles on it. I ran out to this guy's lot, which was full of used Volvos, and fell in love with the navy blue wagon. After some successful negotiations with him (and with my wife), I drove away with my "new" car. It's a 1990 that was first driven in the fall of 1989, so it's coming up on 20 years old. It runs like a top and looks fantastic. I've been getting 20 mpg city and upwards of 25 mpg highway with this tank. In comparison, my 960 was in the mid-teens for both. I sold the 1995 960 via Craigslist for a little more than half of what I paid for the 1990 240. Classics don't come cheap. The one below looks just like mine, but mine has a roof rack, and a 3rd seat in the back (which folds down flat). Click picture to see the whole tank-line beauty.
Work has been very stressful lately, with lots of late nights, but it was all worth it. The preparation for a hugely important meeting netted fantastic results. It feels like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. For the first time in a while, this morning I woke up feeling optimistic.
But, that won't stop me from some rants:
- It seems like "No Smoking" signs in downtown Boston are a magnet for smokers. I could see the irony in that if their smoke clouds weren't stinging my eyes.
- BeachBum has chronicled his distaste of pedestrians in Boston, and I'm grateful to him, because whenever I encounter a group of 3-4 people walking abreast on a sidewalk, blocking the way of everyone around them, I can chuckle at his rant, rather than getting ticked at the thoughtless actions of those morons.
- Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy, I'll take the Red Line from South Station to a stop closer to my office instead of walking the .8 mile. Today, was one such day. I stepped into a car and there was woman who was about 8 months pregnant standing up right over some teenagers and businessmen who were averting their gaze instead of manning up and offering her a seat. Usually the contrast in passengers on the Red Line compared to the stoic, robot-like passenger on the Commuter Rail is a good thing. Not today.
- On said Commuter Rail, I like to read, listen to music, or watch things on my iPod. I bought the season pass of the Ultimate Fighter, United States vs. Britain from iTuens, and paid the up front season pass fee. Well, iTunes skipped a week! Between what iTunes labeled shows 4 & 5, there is a missing show. I know because at the beginning of each show, they review the fights from the previous show. Show "5" had unbeforeseen fights reviewed. I posted my complaint on iTunes, as others have done, but to date, there has been no fix. And, in my eyes, the only fix would be to refund me the cost of one show, since I already know the results of that missing episode's fights.
To end on a high note, my work upgrade my BlackBerry from a really old school version that was huge and laden with an antennae, to the sleek BlackBerry Curve. I love it. It fits in my pocket, at just a bit larger than my cell phone. My old BB could fit in my pocket, but looked like a softball in there.